28 Jun 2012

A trip to Australia’s Riviera Festival was an action-packed and rewarding experience for Boating World clients Kim Labuschagne and his partner Christine. Having made the effort to travel such a great distance, they were determined to enjoy everything the festival had to offer - attending 16 events between them.

There was plenty to see and do over the four day event with Riviera’s $20 million new boat display showcasing the very latest new models. Naturally they spent a lot of time on board the different boats and they were so impressed with many of them they returned for a second viewing.

Kim said  what really stood out was that while there were a number of same-sized models - each differed quite considerably in layout and features – emphasizing the fact that they were custom-built and adapted to suit individual needs. And he added that despite their differences each unique “dreamboat” was very obviously part of the ‘Riviera’ family – giving a really special feeling of belonging.

 A tour of the Riviera factory opened their eyes to see how these beautiful boats evolve. Visitors were given a first-hand experience on the boat building process from start to finish, revealing the care and skill which goes into making each of these immaculate, top-quality boats.

This was a trip of fun and learning with educational sessions designed to teach Riviera owners valuable lessons. They learned how to drive and maintain their boats and to understand the intricacies of navigation and electronics – through to selecting a soft furnishing palette and understanding the process of desalination.  Interactive displays at the Technology Showcase on the waterfront also attracted a lot of interest.

 All of this reminded Kim of how much more he still had to learn but he really  enjoyed the fishing clinic with a couple of other owners who don’t mind getting their decks “fishy”.  He said while he and Christine both enjoyed the Men and Women on Water courses - it still remains to be seen whether she will now take care of the mooring and go down into the engine room!

They attended two social events - the cocktail party (Champagne under the Stars) which was a wonderful affair, although the stars were well hidden behind the rain clouds! The flat-top BBQ with a famous Queensland chef was also great fun and the South African pair notched up two wins in the Masterchef-type cook-off.

Kim’s mystery box of surprise ingredients contained duck breasts, celeriac (bulbs of a celery plant) and horse radish among others. Christine found Barramundi (an Australian fish) and Scallops in the shell. Both being keen cooks stood them in good stead and they came away with a good number of dollars and two bottles of French Champagne.

They have pooled their win to buy a set of Riviera plates and bowls for their own Riviera 40 -which will be on display at the Durban Boat Show this weekend (June 22nd – 24th).

Kim was pleased to find that the one bottle of champagne they decided to keep made it back to South Africa in one piece and they are looking forward to enjoying it on their boat.

All in all the Riviera Festival was an experience to remember and definitely an event worth attending.