Peter Haig – lauding the lifestyle

Peter Haig was driving home from Dubbo in Western New South Wales. It was late on Friday afternoon after a long week. He had one simple plan for the rest of his day: to get home, pick up his wife, Denise and head to the Royal Motor Yacht Club in Sydney and their boat.

“It’s our holiday home,” Peter explained. “It’s where we can both really slow down and relax.”

The club, at Newport in Sydney’s northern beaches area, gives Peter immediate access to the Pittwater, a large expanse of protected water virtually surrounded by national parkland. He and Denise and their family have explored every cove, bay and beach over more than 30 years of owning boats.

But Peter came into boating almost by mistake.

“I started my working life as a motor mechanic. I love cars and all things mechanical,” said Peter. “Then I had the opportunity to buy a service station franchise.”

Peter now owns a freehold site as well as a number of franchises, most around Sydney. He also owns workshops and a tyre business.

One of Peter’s account customers in the early 1970s had a home-made water ski boat.

“One day he came in and told me he had to sell the boat,” said Peter. “Would I like to buy it? I told him I couldn’t afford to pay for it outright. He was happy with an instalment plan.

“I was quickly hooked on boating. I bought a number of boats after that, progressing into cabin cruisers and that gave us a real taste of the lifestyle.”

After about 10 years of boating, Peter bought his first Riviera in 1986.

“It was the beginning of a love affair with the Riviera brand.”

Peter and Denise have progressed since then to a Riviera 39, a 43, a 47 and, since August 2006, a 51.

Peter said that the move to the 47-footer was only because it was fitted with a bow thruster.

“Denise said the 43 was everything we would need as a family,” he explained. “And she was right. But the bow thruster added a level of comfort in control for both of us.”

Denise has been deeply involved in every aspect of their boating life, from the buying decision through interior fitout and furnishing.

The washer/dryer combo on the 51 helped sell the idea of another upgrade to Denise.

“No more trolley loads of bedding and other washing to take on to the marina,” she said. “Once, again, it’s just like home.”

While Peter and Denise have looked at other boating brands over the years, they have never seriously considered changing.

“I can’t afford to gamble with that amount of money,” said Peter. “I trust the product and the people who build it. Denise and I have spent enough time at the Riviera factory in Queensland that we know many of the people there and we know their pride in workmanship.

“And the Dealer Network provides incredible support. I don’t have time to muck around with issues on a boat. If something is not right I have to know that I can call someone and it will be dealt with quickly.”



Click to enlarge image: Denise and Peter Haig on their Riviera 51

Denise and Peter Haig on their Riviera 51

The Haigs' Riviera 43 on the production line

The Haigs' Riviera 43 on the production line

Raft up - the Haigs' Riviera 43 is fifth from the left.

Raft up - the Haigs' Riviera 43 is fifth from the left.

The Haigs' first Riviera, a 38 Mk II.

The Haigs' first Riviera, a 38 Mk II.