Professional fisherman and lifelong boat collector Russell Hancock admits he once thought he’d never own a Riviera. Yet today he’s hooked and on his third, a Riviera 5400 Sport Yacht, on which he recently experienced ‘the best fishing of my entire life’.
“I was a professional fisherman at a young age,” says Russell from his waterside home at Toronto, Lake Macquarie, north of Sydney.
“I’ve had many boats over the years and I always said I’d never buy a Riviera because I didn’t think I’d ever use one. I wanted something smaller and easier to take out, but I’ve changed, I’ve converted!” he laughs.
Russell’s capitulation has not been at the expense of fishing or fishing boats, as he has kept all 11 of his boats.
“From an old clinker putt-putt single cylinder to newer fishing boats, they all have a purpose. I love boats, and my son uses the fishing boats. But now I’m lucky enough to live on the water at Lake Macquarie and have a Riviera right out the front.”
Five years ago, Russell accompanied a friend who was in the market for a new motorboat.
“A friend was looking at a boat and I just went along for the ride. He didn’t buy it and, somehow, I ended up with a Riviera 4400 Sport Yacht. At the time a few of our friends had bought boats and so we cruised together, pleasure cruising more than fishing. A few months later I saw a 5000 Sport Yacht with a tender garage and I thought ‘I’d better have one of those’.”
“For four years we enjoyed the 5000SY immensely, with the grandchildren travelling up the coast to Port Stephens and down to Sydney. The 5000SY is a beautiful boat, a tremendous boat, and I totally enjoyed it, until one day I saw the 5400 Sport Yacht.”
“We were in Darling Harbour with people that had a new 5400SY. I was so impressed. That same day I left Sydney, called into R Marine Dillon and bought the 5400SY. Procrastination is the thief of time, it’s said. Now I just love boating on our Riviera, love the social activities and rafting up. I’ve got no regrets; Riviera are beautiful boats, nice and beamy and comfortable.”
“We cruise up and down the coast on Grand Tourer and in the right conditions you can sit on 30 knots. The fuel economy is quite fair – it averages about 150 litres an hour at a full 18-20 knot cruise. And the Volvo Penta IPS drives are fantastic. The angle you get on the water with them is excellent; there’s no lag and you don’t get hung up between swells.”
Russell and his family cruise up and down the east coast regularly, from Port Stephens south to the Hawkesbury River, into America Bay and Pittwater.
“The 5400SY has tremendous capacity on blue water; the ability of the boat is second-to- none, the way it handles the seas, and some serious seas too. It does exactly what it’s supposed to driven at the right speed for the conditions.”
“With the grandchildren on board, we have up to 10 people and there’s plenty of room for us all. We’ll head away for the week and it’s outstanding. I think it’s the ease of living on our Riviera: we have it fully optioned with night vision, satellite connection and a water maker. I also love the CZone; it took me all of about five minutes to get used to it and I’m not computer literate, it’s just so simple.”
“And even though my wife has ruled there’s to be no fishing on Grand Tourer, I’ve had the best time fishing on it.”
It would seem Riviera have designed a reliable product line that is hard to turn your back on, Russell one of a number of proud owners enjoying time at sea on a Riviera.