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Kings' life of adventure leads to a 445 SUV in the Great Lakes

by Riviera 26 Mar 13:23 PDT

Forty-two years ago, before Tim and Tricia King were married, the pair agreed theirs would be a life of adventure. They set themselves a 10-year plan to own a sailboat, have kids and set off for a life of cruising.

"That's our story and we made it happen," says Tim aboard the Tricia Anne, their Riviera 445 SUV moored near the Straits of Mackinac, which separate Lake Huron and Lake Michigan in the Great Lakes of the US."

"We were living in Alaska in Prince William Sound when we had a wonderful baby boy. We put him into a fruit basket in the master berth and out into the Pacific Ocean we went."

Over the following decades, the Kings raised four children on four yachts in an extraordinary adventure traversing the Gulf of Alaska, the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, the Great Lakes and the Caribbean.

"Now with the kids off, we wanted something simpler. It's time to transcend sailboats and enjoy the luxury of a motor yacht!"

Falling in love with a Riviera

Four years ago, the Kings purchased their first motor yacht, but it was too slow. They moved onto another, which brought with it issues. When they visited the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in 2019 to advise friends, the long-time mariners caught a glimpse of a Riviera 39 Open Flybridge and fell in love.

"We went aboard and were just fascinated," says Tim. "The next day we decided we needed to take a cruise on a Riviera. We were taken out to the Atlantic on the 39 Open Flybridge on a rather boisterous day - and we were sold."

"She was quiet, fast, rode level and everything was secure; the furnishings were solid. We were pounding the waves and she responded well. When we came in, I moored her from the stern with the joystick. We thought, if the 445 SUV is anything like this, we're sold."

Commissioning the Tricia Anne

The Kings took possession of their Riviera 445 SUV in April and in June transported her to Lake Michigan's Beaver Island where they have a holiday home. Coming from such experienced seafarers, their first impressions speak volumes.

"It's just beautiful," says Tricia. "We've commented multiple times on how livable this boat is. It's very spacious and comfortable. When we have guests for a week you're usually in close quarters and climbing over each other, but on the Tricia Anne there's space to be alone. I love the layout of the galley and all the storage too. I admire the speed and the comfort while under way; there's minimal rocking and rolling. She's been perfect; we've taken her out in some pretty boisterous conditions, and she did very well."

"We're still putting her through her paces," adds Tim. "The six-foot chop on the lake is horrible so we've enjoyed the ability to alter speed and heading to minimise roll. We're experimenting with different configurations that allows her to respond best; yaw is minimal because of the wide body, the shape of the hull and the interceptors. We really like that she's quiet and fast and beamy. She's a phat girl - that's Detroit slang - it's a good thing!"

The Kings are among many Riviera owners in the US today whose luxury motor yacht draws the admiration of others.

"We get a lot of people who come and hope to take a look," says Trish. "We love sitting on the mezzanine looking out at the setting sun after having a barbecue."

"And we're enjoying single-level living," adds Tim. "The side decks around the cabin are wonderfully wide with handholds - it's great for walking the dogs around and for going through locks."

Though the two are both pilots and have crossed oceans using sextant navigation, they admit the GPS and Garmin chart plotters on the 445 SUV are exceptional.

"We have to go through many locks and wait for bridges to open. We use the Dynamic Positioning System (DPS) to hold us in one position. DPS also makes coming into harbour easier because it holds position while we deploy fenders and lines," says Trish.

"I love the layout of the helm station and how the electronics have been very thoughtfully put together," adds Tim.

Beyond the horizon

Due to COVID-19, last summer the Kings were constrained to the Great Lakes. They spent time exploring Lake Superior in the hope this summer they may sail the northern loop: through Canada's Trent Severn Waterway then north to Montreal, Quebec City, around Nova Scotia and south into the US along its north-eastern states to New York before winding back west into the Great Lakes. The Great Loop along the major rivers, Gulf of Mexico, and Florida is also on these explorers' bucket list, including a Bahamas detour.

"There's nothing in the US that compares with the niche that Riviera has created. The quality, the adventurous style, speed, comfort, outfitting, livability and how when you need to get somewhere you can without worrying about the weather. And that opinion is based on a lot of time spent on the water."

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