R Marine Perth gets a buzz out of the Variety Splash

Buzz Lightyear and Sheriff Woody, on board a new 43 Open Flybridge aptly named ‘Bullseye’, led the fleet of 28 Rivieras as they completed the formal sail past, which marked the beginning of the annual R Marine Perth Variety Splash.

In its second year, R Marine Perth’s annual Variety Splash has grown significantly with 131 adults and 30 children participating in this year’s event, raising about $150,000.

R Marine Perth dealer principal Brendon Grieve said the Variety Splash had become one of their biggest calendar events.

“The Variety Splash gives owners the chance to give back and help sick, special need and disadvantaged children live, laugh and learn.  Above all it is a fun event,” Brendon said.

“Each participating boat and their crews were dressed in a theme.  R Marine Perth chose Toy Story but other themes included The Wiggles, Mash, Romans, Priests and Nuns, Grease and Surf Lifesavers to name a few.”

Jennifer and Greg Ferguson chose ‘Beverley Hillbillies’ as their theme.

“We thought this was an appropriate theme for us and our boat because we are ex-farmers from Beverley Shire,” Jennifer said.

“We moved to the city in 2003 and although we miss the country lifestyle we have developed a business which is “Drought Proof”, hence the name of our boat.

“This was our first ‘Splash’ as we only took possession of our new 43 Open Flybridge just before Australia Day this year, so it was a great introduction to the joys of boating for us.
“We hadn’t taken our boat south of Fremantle prior to the ‘Splash’ and if the R Marine crew hadn’t been guiding the way I doubt we would have cruised so close to the shore between Mandurah and Bunbury, but this was one of the cruising highlights.

“Dressing our boat and ourselves in theme certainly helped us to get to know our fellow ‘Splashers’ and being able to include our children made it a fantastic family affair, but most importantly, to be able to raise such an impressive amount of money for The Variety Club through the generous donations of fellow ‘Splashers’ made it a sensational ‘Splash.”

R Marine Perth’s Brendon Grieve said, “To raise $80,000 last year and then $150,000 this year is just phenomenal and it’s a real credit to the Riviera owners who give so generously to this worthy cause.”

R Marine Perth’s annual Variety Splash began with the formal sail past and leading the fleet out of the harbour was the Fremantle Port Authorities Fire and Rescue on board Response.

“They had their fire pumps going making a nice big fan of water as we headed out of the harbour on day one of the six day convoy, a 240nm journey” Brendon said.

“As we headed south to Garden Island we asked permission to enter naval waters.  The navy boarded some of the vessels and most were issued “fines”.  It was all a bit of fun and we raised some much needed funds for Variety WA.”

The fleet celebrated the first night with a cocktail party at Dolphin Quay in Mandurah before heading further south to the Margaret River region where they were treated to the Michael Buble concert at Sandalford Winery.

“We had beautiful weather for cruising.  The South West Coast was gorgeous and we stopped in various ports along the way including Mandurah and Bunbury.  We encouraged owners to anchor overnight at Abbey Beach where we enjoyed a beach barbecue. The charity auction and entertainment at the Port Geographe Marina and the raftup in the beautiful turquoise waters of Meelup Bay were highlights for many of the Splashers,” Brendon said.

“The main reason we started hosting what was originally called ‘The Geographe Bay Experience’ was to give owners the confidence to take their boats further than Rottnest Island and explore the Coast. Having service technicians and Fremantle Sea Rescue group accompanying us gives comfort to all the participants.

“We also wanted to teach our owners how to do that in a safe environment and get our owners used to their boats and using the onboard equipment.

“It is also a great opportunity to give back to the community and Variety WA is a very worthwhile cause.”

Variety WA began in 1980 and has since raised more than $20 million to enrich the lives of children who are sick, disadvantaged or have special needs.

R Marine Perth would like to thank their major sponsors and event partners Club Marine, Cummins, Onan, Volvo Penta, MTU Detroit, Brig, Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue Group, The Boatmen, Sealegs, The Aqua Resort, Linneys, Heliwest, Birds Eye View Photography, Port Geographe Marina, Spirit Paddle Sports, Absolute Cosmetic Medicine, Dolphin Quay, Fremantle Ports, RAN HMAS Stirling.

Photographer Mark Stothard captured some wonderful memories from the 2011 R Marine Perth Variety Splash and for every one metre wide print that is sold, he will donate 50 per cent of the proceeds to Variety.  Prints cost $500 each.  For more information contact R Marine Perth on (08) 9339-8877.