Mike and Jan Bolton are spending a lot more time cruising since they purchased their Riviera 52 Enclosed Flybridge, Living The Dream, 12 months ago.
A dramatic change in terms of technology from their previous two Rivieras – a 40 Open Flybridge and then a 47 Enclosed – the now-retired couple is really enjoying their coastal cruising along the eastern seaboard of Australia.
They have logged over 400 hours in 10 months.
Living The Dream was the first of the luxurious 52 Enclosed designs from Riviera … and Mike and Jan’s first foray into the empowering world of pod-drives, joystick maneuverability and the myriad other easy-boating features of Volvo Penta’s Glass Cockpit and proven Inboard Propulsion System.
“You don’t really notice the difference when you are cruising offshore at 25 knots but you certainly do notice the difference when you are in a marina docking in a tight berth,” said Mike, whose 52 is powered by the twin-diesel D11-IPS950 system.
“I admit that at first I wasn’t sure about pods but then I followed a 53 down the Queensland coast from Lizard Island to Hamilton Island and that really broke the nexus for me … now I’m a big fan.
“I really enjoy the quick acceleration from the Volvo engines and pod-drives and everyone who comes aboard comments on how quite and smooth the ride is.”
Mike says he has also grown fond of Garmin’s touch-screen navigation and systems monitoring technology – the Glass Cockpit – that displays all essential information in one place at the helm.
“It’s a giant step forward,” says Mike.
“Over the years I have had different engines and covered lots of coastal miles so what stands out to me is the technology of the Garmin system’s interface with the Volvo propulsion system – it’s seamless.
“As a skipper it makes managing the engine systems and navigation so much easier.
“This is also our first taste of the CZone digital switching system and it really is head and shoulders above the old circuit breakers.
“Jan was apprehensive about the switchboard on our previous boats because it is easy to get one breaker wrong but she is more than capable of using CZone … in fact she uses it all the time.
“We also have CZone in the flybridge, so we can do everything there that we can do downstairs.”
“Now I really feel I’ve nailed it,” said Jan.
“It’s very easy to use and if I can use it, anyone can.
“I also have to say that the Dynamic Positioning System is brilliant – I mean I can take the helm when needed but I’m really the deckie who does the ropes, lines and fenders. When we need to, Mike can switch on the DPS and come down and give me a hand.”
Mike says he is very proud of Jan’s growing confidence on the open water – a fact he attributes both to easy-to-use technology and the boating education provided by Riviera and the Australasian R Marine network of dealers, and also to the fact he has spent time sharpening his own skills at the helm.
“Over the years we have undertaken many of the courses at the Riviera Festival of Boating – navigation, offshore seamanship, CZone and the house-keeping workshops and they have really helped us.
“We’ve cruised quite a bit in company of other Riviera owners and the team from R Marine Crawley – I’d absolutely recommend the Experience cruising events to anyone who wants to build their confidence at sea.
“These voyages take you out of your comfort zone and, along the way, you make lots and lots of friends … lifetime friends.”
Jan says that while she is looking forward to cruising from Hamilton Island north to Townsville, Cairns and then Port Douglas in the next few months, her favourite place to go cruising is the Whitsundays:
“It’s really is a privilege to be able to go boating around there,” she said. “This is our fourth season – it’s the perfect time.”
Mike adds the Edward and Percy islands should also be considered as part of the mix for people wanting to explore the Queensland coastline.
“There are just so many great spots that most people do not even know about – that’s the beauty of cruising with the Riviera Family: you visit so many amazing places,” he said.
* Thank you to Tourism Whitsundays for supplying Riviera with images of their magnificent cruising destinations from their library.