29 May 2014

Riviera’s third annual Festival of Boating has been hailed an overwhelming success with record attendance, sold-out social events and impressive growth of over 50 per cent in registrations across its educational workshops combining with a strong result in sales.

However, it is the glowing endorsements from existing and new Riviera owners which has Riviera promising to make the ultimate boating event even bigger and better next year at the company’s 14-hectare boat building facility at Coomera on the Gold Coast.

“The Festival is not just about selling boats – the Festival is all about bringing the Riviera family together, sharing experiences and knowledge and showcasing our world-class boats,” said Riviera brand and communications director Stephen Milne. “There’s a big focus on the educational events and making our existing owners feel part of the Riviera family – we want to do all we can to help them achieve the ultimate boating experience.”

Indeed the impact of that philosophy is quickly evident when speaking to those who attended the Festival this year, some for the first time.

Drew Sellick from Port Lincoln, South Australia – after ordering a new 445 SUV at the Festival – said he felt compelled to share his thoughts to a crowd of more than 400 people at the Riviera Cirquetacular gala dinner on the Saturday night.

“I haven’t even turned the key yet on the 445 and I already feel I’m part of the Riviera family,” he said. “I’ve had a number of boats and maybe I’m a slow learner … I should have bought a Riviera earlier!”

Drew, who attended the Festival with his wife, Jenny, said later that the fact his new Riviera 445 SUV was Australian-built by an Australian-owned company was a key factor in his decision.

“I’m in manufacturing myself and I employ 40 people so I know how hard it is to produce in Australia,” he said.  “Riviera has its eye on quality and after-sales service and that was part of it too – I’m really impressed by R Marine South Australia and the whole nationwide R Marine network.”

Chris Pearson, who with his partner Toby also finalised the purchase of a 445 SUV at the Festival through R Marine Mandurah (WA), said the build quality of Riviera was streets ahead of anything else he had owned. “This was our first time at the Festival and the factory tour was first-rate,” Chris said. “We were able to see the process from concept design through to the completion and it was great to get an insight into how much goes into building a Riviera.”

Jon and Nicolla Nicolls from Sydney (NSW) are currently upgrading from their 43 Open Flybridge – they hailed the Riviera commitment to making them feel part of the ‘family’. “The best part about the Festival was the chance to come together as the Riviera community,” said Jon. “We’ve also been on a couple of the Experience trips and we really enjoy the chance to go offshore and be around other Riviera owners who know their boats and your boat too.”

Graham and Biddy Stevenson of Coomera Waters (QLD) have been to every Riviera Festival of Boating since its inception three years ago. “We’ve caught up with so many people … some we have not seen for three or four years,” said Graham, who owns a 51 Enclosed Flybridge. “We’ve attended plenty of educational workshops and we really enjoyed the cocktail party and Saturday night’s dinner.”

Peter Haig – Commodore of the Royal Motor Yacht Club at Broken Bay (NSW) – said he and wife Denise appreciated the fact Riviera went over and above expectations to make sure Riviera owners enjoyed a great experience for the entire life of their boats. “That lifelong commitment is something that really makes a difference,” said Peter, the owner of a 51 Open Flybridge. “When you buy Riviera, you are really joining a family.”

Riviera’s chairman and owner Rodney Longhurst said there were over $12 million in sales finalised during the four days of the Festival from boating enthusiasts joining the Riviera family and that number is expected to rise after this week’s sea trials across Riviera’s range of Flybridge, Sport Yacht and SUV models.

“The Riviera Festival of Boating was created for all Riviera owners and aspiring owners to come to Coomera with their children, grandchildren and friends for four days of fun and educational experiences.

“We want to help our valued owners realise their individual boating dreams and we have created a unique environment where they can meet fellow Riviera and Belize owners – after all, the family which boats together stays together.”

Highlights of this year’s 3rd Riviera Festival of Boating included the world premiere of the striking, sleek and sporty new 515 SUV and Mr Milne reported that there were several forward orders taken for this model.

There was also an order “off the plan” for a sophisticated and stylish new 6000 Sport Yacht, which will make her world premiere at the Sydney International Boat Show from July 31 - August 4.

Riviera CEO Wes Moxey said this year’s educational program truly had something for every luxury boating enthusiast, including skipper training for men, women and children, interactive displays, Riviera factory tours, offshore seamanship seminar with Captain Bob Jones, maintenance tricks of the trade, fishing clinics, electronic navigation, sanitation system maintenance, and anchoring, line work and rafting.

Popular new educational events included Jet Ski Practical Handling, Riv Kids Tender Practical Handling, Navigation Marker Challenge, and a seminar by long-time Riviera owners Peter and Narelle Williams, who shared their unique experiences after clocking up 36,000 nautical miles on board their Riviera 47 Open Flybridge.

The world-class entertainment program included a marina cocktail party and Jazz nightclub attended by 380 guests, the Riviera Cirquetacular gala dinner attended by more than 400 guests, ladies champagne luncheon and Master BBQ Chef Challenge.

“Everyone we’ve spoken with is thrilled to be part of the 2014 Festival and are all looking forward to next year,” said Mr Milne. “Lock in the date – the 2015 Riviera Festival of Boating will be held from May 21-24 at the home of Riviera.”