The R Marine Queensland Great Sandy Straits Experience

“It was like paradise,” said Ron Manly. “A sheltered anchorage, lights up in the trees and the company of new friends.”

Ron was talking about the highlight of a five-day boating adventure he took with wife Bev on board their Riviera M400 Sport Cruiser, “Noona” and 51 other boating enthusiasts.

The R Marine Queensland Great Sandy Straits Experience brought together a total of 15 Rivieras.

They ranged from Sport Cruisers such as “Noona” and Simon and Prue George on their 4700 Sport Yacht to a 51 Flybridge model and two of the new Offshore Express models.

“Perhaps the most beautiful experience of the voyage came near the end,” said Ron. “We left Tin can Bay very early; it was still fairly dark. The sun came up just as we were crossing the Wide Bay Bar. It was an absolutely beautiful sight.”

The five-day Experience took the 15-boat flotilla from the Gold Coast Broadwater to Mooloolaba and from there into the Great Sandy Straits inside Fraser Island.

Simon and Prue George enjoyed the five continuous days on board their Riviera 4700 Sport Yacht.

“It really gave us the chance to test out the boat’s comforts and capabilities,” said Simon. “And we had two full days just to enjoy the company of other Riviera owners.  That’s always a special part of these Experience events.”

Both Prue George and Bev Manly were nervous about venturing into the open ocean.

“Bev sat beside me on the run north to Mooloolaba and I could see she was apprehensive,” said Ron Manly. “But we got into the marina and went to dinner with everyone and Bev began talking with the other women. She found some had similar concerns while others had done these trips before. They were great at sharing experiences. From then on Bev really enjoyed the voyage. She worked well as navigator as we wound our way through the channel of the Great Sandy Straits, calling out depth and looking for markers.

“Now she’s talking about us taking the boat to Tangalooma on our own in November!”

Simon George has owned boats for 35 years, mostly small fishing and ski boats. The Sandy Straits Experience was his longest voyage on the 4700 Sport Yacht.

“The boat handled superbly,” he said. “And the team at R Marine Queensland were great. They really made us feel part of the family. We took our 16-year-old son and he had a ball. Randall’s team included him in everything.”

Would they do it again?

“Absolutely, if Randall and his team, will have us back!” said an enthusiastic Simon George.

“I would love to go back,” said Ron Manly. “You could easily spend an entire week exploring the Sandy Straits. It’s a beautiful area.”

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