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Maritimo 2022Mar - S75 LEADERBOARD

Embracing both USA coasts and creating memories, one Riviera at a time

by Riviera Australia 13 Nov 09:31 PST
Catalina Island Adventure – Island View © Riviera Australia

Once a Riviera joins a family it becomes an integral part of their life. Near nature and far from modern-day distractions, families form ever deeper bonds through shared experiences. This couldn't be truer for the Richardson family.

In 2017, Mark and Anita acquired a Riviera 4400 Sport Yacht, Island RV, in Newport, California. Their elder sons had left home for college, so it was their youngest, Ben, with whom they shared the experience.

"Ben has been with us since the beginning," says Anita. "Having the Riviera has made us closer than we ever would've been without it. We have so much fun together."

Anita says the experience has shaped Ben into the captain and person he is today: capable, confident, and conscientious.

"It's given Ben so much confidence and maturity," she says. "He'll take me and my friends out and everyone's amazed at how mature he is and how well he can handle everything."

Rules across the US differ but, generally, an individual over the age of 12 years can drive in the company of a licensed driver over the age of 18 years. That meant while Mark was at work, Ben would take Anita and her friends out when he was just 14.

"We had a boat partner at the beginning, a friend we bought the boat with," says Ben. "He had experience and so I was able to learn that boat inside and out, and now dad asks me for maintenance advice for their new Riviera!"

That's right, the Richardson's were so impressed with Island RV that they purchased a 5400 Sport Yacht Platinum Edition, Something Bruin, in West Palm Beach, Florida. But the memories created over five years on Island RV were too dear to part with, and so they've kept her for the west coast.

"There's a tremendous amount of sentimental value with the 4400 SY," says Anita. "Our boat partner who got us into ocean boating unfortunately passed in 2018, but it feels like a piece of him still lives onboard. With all our memories on Island RV, and since we still loved going whale watching and taking friends out on it, in the end, we just couldn't bring ourselves to part with it."

While whales and dolphins are common encounters, Ben recalls a particular day when two humpbacks hung around them for over an hour. "They'd swim right under the boat and then come up to look at us - it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It's nice to be able to take friends whale watching and see how excited they get; we get to relive the experience through them as if it was our first time too. We've taken countless people out on different trips to spend the day looking for wildlife and hanging out with whatever we find - huge pods of dolphins, humpbacks, blue whales, fin whales, minky whales... all kinds!"

The remote work revolution has enabled Mark and Anita to adopt a new lifestyle. They now move between weeks living on Something Bruin in Florida and their home in California. "We've learned how to remote work a whole lot better and my work is not geographically dependent," says Mark.

"Now we follow the weather, and you've got to have a boat on the west coast. You can't not go boating. To me the 5400 SY and 4400 SY have the same use; they're similar in design but spending more time living on the boat is easier on the 5400 SY.

"It handles so well. Actually, when we took delivery in November from Fort Lauderdale the conditions were bad for our first trip up to West Palm; it was supposed to be 5 to 6-foot swells and thunderstorms, though it was more like 8 to 10 feet, so it was quite the maiden voyage, but we still felt very safe. I feel very confident in the 5400 SY in every way."

The characteristic luxury and comfort of a Riviera makes living on Something Bruin a pleasure, says Anita. "I love the L-shaped couch in the front so I can be with Mark when he's driving; I feel part of it that way. There's plenty of room and I love the outdoor area and the wine fridge too!"

New memories on the 5400 SY are now being created, with the whole family connecting on Something Bruin last Christmas. "The nine of us got together," says Mark. "With our three sons, their two spouses, and two grandchildren, we moored out in front of the Breakers Hotel on Palm Beach Island and spent great days hanging out, swimming and Ben giving the kids joyrides on the dinghy. Ben will have a great relationship with them because of this. It's a way to spend time together and be close. They will be times our grandkids will remember forever."

Having spent hundreds of hours on the water, the Richardsons' communication now transcends words. And as any yacht owner will understand, communication is key. "With the family bonding and the dynamics we've created, communication seems effortless," explains Mark. "We've clocked over 500 hours on the 4400 SY and Ben, only 19 years old, has at least half of those at the helm. Just with a look, we know what needs to be done. It's not telepathy, but it kind of feels like it."

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