A flotilla of 90 Riviera luxury motor yachts and more than 600 Riviera family members and their guests made a spectacular sight as they cruised through Auckland Harbour last weekend in support of Emirates Team New Zealand.
The impressive armada of enthusiastic Riviera owners, one of the largest ever assembled in the 41-year history of Australia’s largest luxury motor yacht builder, was organised by New Zealand representative R Marine Flagship.
The flotilla featured Riviera motor yachts from 34 feet to 72 feet in length cruising from the Auckland Harbour Bridge on Saturday morning (March 13) heading to prime vantage points for the much-anticipated day’s racing in front of North Head and Rangitoto Island.
The motor yachts headed in a two-by-two configuration creating two separate convoy lines more than 2km long. Each line was led by Riviera’s flagship 72 Sports Motor Yachts, with another two at the end of the convoy.
Impressive line of motor yachts
Dealer principal of R Marine Flagship Dean Horgan said the impressive line of motor yachts heralded the start of a weekend of camaraderie and enjoyment by the Riviera family as the Cup racing took place.
“It was a wonderful opportunity for Riviera owners to share such a great event with their friends and the Riviera family while watching the fast-paced action unfold,” said Mr Horgan.
“We had an overwhelming response to this special outing for our Riviera motor yacht owners with 90 yacht enthusiastically attending on the day. The support and passion for this exclusive event was incredible.”
“In fact, this was the largest gathering of Riviera’s since our record-breaking raft-up in February last year.”
That raft-up in February marked the start of celebrations in 2020 for Riviera’s 40 years of evolution with a record flotilla of 106 Riviera luxury motor yachts joined together at Awaawaroa Bay, Waiheke Island, to create a massive circle measuring 234-metre in diameter.
Memorable experience for all
Leading the Auckland Harbour flotilla on their Riviera 72 Sports Motor Yacht Auspicious were Peter Baker and Jacci Serville. Mr Baker and Ms Serville said the organisation and support from the R Marine Flagship team ensured a memorable experience for everyone.
“We had Dean Horgan as skipper and the whole experience was just unbelievable. Dean, his wife Suzie, Jacci and I had our families on board; we had 24 passengers, and it was a day none of us will ever forget,” he said.
Ms Serville said the experience was extraordinary.
“The day was nothing short of epic. It really was mind blowing really – that sums it up. It was such an exciting day it’s hard to put it into words.”
For Mike and Jolene Kennedy on their Riviera 51 Enclosed Flybridge Koenig, the event was a surreal experience.
“It was a great way to head out to the racing as part of the Riviera family and with the convoy arriving as it did, we certainly made our presence known,” said Mr Kennedy.
“We travelled at five knots as a safety factor – the whole Gulf is a five-knot zone – and that made it easy to control the convoy as we were all pretty close. We had an awesome time with all our friends on board. They were out the front dancing and having a ball, and we were positioned in an incredible spot down by the starting box so the race boats were flying all around us, which was great.”
Bucket list experience
Bringing up the rear of the convoy on their Riviera 72 Sports Motor Yacht Slainte were Phil and Colleen Kenny.
“My father aged 84 came out with us and he said it was the most amazing thing of his life,” said Mrs Kenny.
“It was just so overwhelming, not only the convoy, the racing and the atmosphere, but having it all on our beautiful Riviera. All our other guests felt the same. We had 23 guests onboard and everyone was saying that it was a bucket list experience, they were all so blown away.”
“Once we got out from under the Harbour Bridge, we split into two lines and the convoy looked awesome.”
Riviera has a very strong following in New Zealand with more than 600 motor yachts now cruising local waters since the arrival of the first Riviera in 1984.
“We’re ecstatic by the number of Riviera motor yacht owners who took part in this awesome event,” said Riviera owner Rodney Longhurst.
“It is a credit to the hard work of the team at R Marine Flagship for bringing the Riviera family together in such a spectacular way, and what an incredible outcome with the win by Team NZ this afternoon. Last weekend was truly amazing for all concerned, reflecting the fantastic efforts by our representatives around the world to deliver outstanding boating experiences for our owners, their family and friends.”