With a graceful turn to starboard, Ian Reynolds fulfilled a dream to circumnavigate Australia. At the age of 80 years young, he and his Riviera 56, Investigator IV, entered the Gold Coast Seaway after a year exploring the sometimes exotic, sometimes fierce and always awesome coast in a 9,000 nautical mile adventure.

Ian’s voyage ended as had begun, under a giant Riviera flag hovering over the fleet. The flag, measuring 12 metres by 12 metres, was used to salute his departure from the Gold Coast Seaway on November 1, 2007. Now – 380 days later – it welcomed him home.

A fleet of boats of all sizes waited as helicopters hovered overhead. Then the boat appeared from behind the headland and the fleet surged forward to greet him, sounding their horns. Crowds on the breakwater applauded.

Ian Reynolds and Investigator IV made their way through the gathered boats that quickly formed a line astern, heading north on the calm Gold Coast Broadwater toward McLaren’s Landing for a celebration party, a time to talk of the voyage and finally to relax.

During the party, Riviera presented Ian with a large framed chart, a copy of the one first published by Matthew Flinders in 1804, a year after he circumnavigated Australia. With the chart, the continent’s true shape was shown for the first time.

Ian Reynolds Riviera 56 On BowAsked at the beginning of his epic voyage why he would undertake such an arduous venture at his age, Ian Reynolds responded: “People think I am mad undertaking an adventure such as this at my age. But my theory is that, if you want to do something badly enough, you should find some way – any way – of achieving that dream. Never die wondering. It has long been a passion of mine to do this trip, and see this magnificent country from the water – and now I have the boat to do it in.”

Reynolds’ Investigator IV is a standard Riviera 56 Enclosed Flybridge, fitted for the voyage only with the addition of an extra 713-litre fuel tank, a watermaker, extra anchor chain and sophisticated electronic navigation aids.

The adventure included a brief diversion to take the helm of the 70-metre long square-rigged sailing vessel James Craig, diving with great white sharks off Port Lincoln in South Australia and losing his starboard propeller in the aptly-named Whirlpool Pass in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. 

Throughout the voyage, Ian Reynolds sought locations to remember Matthew Flinders, the first person to circumnavigate Australia and, in doing so, to give this continent its name. Ian has owned five Rivieras over the past 12 years – all except the first called Investigator after Flinders’ ship.

A true blue-water sailor, he began his voyaging aboard a Riviera 35, venturing from Melbourne across Bass Strait to the entire northern Tasmanian coast and return. He navigated Investigator II, a Riviera 48, from Port Douglas to Hobart, inspiring him to plan his first circumnavigation – around Tasmania. That task was completed in 2006 aboard Investigator III and plans began immediately for the continental voyage.

Asked his plans for the next voyage, Ian responded: “I think I will spend some time behaving like a normal person. I will have some family time but then, yes, I am already planning another voyage of adventure and discovery.  Stay tuned!”