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Great US adventures aboard a 4800 Sport Yacht

by Keri Algar 22 Oct 2020 02:53 PDT
Sitting pretty at Covered Portage Cove in the North Channel, one of the couple's favourite stops © Riviera Australia

When Roger Nulton and Laura Bradley looked into a new motor yacht, they required a fusion between a sport yacht design for all weather and a roomy cruiser that would be comfortable for extended trips.

"Laura had a very short list of mandatory items," says Roger with a laugh.

On Laura's list was single-level living with flow between the galley and cockpit, a full windshield, a tender garage and Volvo IPS drives.

"I'm a bit of an engine rat," admits Laura. "I love to learn how everything works, and after doing the research, it was obvious that the Volvo IPS system was the way to go. And being on the same level as everyone while entertaining guests was very important to us both."

Happily, the couple selected a new Riviera 4800 Sport Yacht and took ownership of Knots About You in August 2017. The following summer, they embarked on a three-month journey from Sturgeon Bay in Wisconsin to Montreal, navigating through the United States' Great Lakes and Canada's Thousand Islands archipelago - a 2,400 nautical mile return trip.

"Both were such beautiful and remote areas to anchor. It was spectacular. We could go a week without seeing another boat.": Roger Nulton

Blue-water performance

"We encountered just about every condition that you can go through, short of a hurricane, and Knots About You handled the conditions very, very well," says Roger.

The Great Lakes are known for their unpredictable weather that catches mariners off guard, especially in Lake Eire, which Roger says is relatively shallow for its size and can get choppy quickly.

"It was by accident that we found ourselves caught up in a storm where we had waves over the bow and hitting the windshield," says Laura. "But inside we felt safe and secure."

Roger agrees. "I can't stress how quiet the ride on the 4800 is, no matter what speed we were doing or what was happening outside. We could have a normal conversation while under way with horrendous weather."

Remote living

Roger and Laura like to live at anchor, so their sport yacht's range and provisioning were significant considerations for their trip.

"We seldom had to stay in marinas," says Roger. "Relative to its size, the 4800 is a fuel-efficient boat across a range of speeds; we can get 300 miles on open throttle or 1000 miles when cruising at 10 knots. Most of the time we travelled slowly, but when we had to get up and go, we didn't have to worry about range."

This gave Roger and Laura the freedom to explore Canada's remote waters of Georgian Bay and the nearby calm, clear waters of the North Channel.

"Both were such beautiful and remote areas to anchor. It was spectacular. We could go a week without seeing another boat.

"With all the amenities aboard, it's easy to live out at anchor. We love the functionality of the dinghy garage, and we use the grill at the back of the swim deck all the time; we have most of our meals out there.

"The sliding glass windows on both sides and the rear sliding doors provide wonderful airflow. The three hatches keep the downstairs cool at night, and it's great for sleeping - we never sleep with the generator on at night."

Luxurious and serviceable

Generous storage areas placed throughout the 4800 made provisioning easy.

"For the three-month trip we never lacked storage space," says Laura. "Everything had its place, and there was no clutter; it looked a showboat every day."

That was just as well as Roger and Laura invited many new friends for tours of Knots About You.

"People were curious - it looks beautiful and fast even while it's sitting still. When people asked us how many it sleeps, we always laughed and said, 'Just us two!' We do have family on board though. They call it the James Bond boat.

"We love the teak, and the fit and finish are gorgeous. It's flawless, quality work and all so well-appointed that the only thing you're adding are those touches personal to you."

The couple's only complaint is that they must take Knots About You out of the water in winter when the lakes freeze over. However, living only a 15-minute drive from the marina means the five available months to them are well used.

"Even when we don't have time to take her out, we go down to sit and enjoy the view out to the water and a sunset evening," says Laura.

Yet it could be that, for these two, the adventure has just begun.

"We met so many wonderful people on the trip that were doing the Great Loop," says Roger. "It's a year-long journey from New York to the Great Lakes, down the Mississippi to New Orleans, to the tip of Florida and then back to New York."

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