Riviera 38 – A labour of love May 2011

Sydney, Australia:  

When avid water-skier Jeff Camenzuli was looking for a new trailer boat, he didn’t expect to buy a 38 foot Riviera.

But Jeff had one goal in mind.

“I was going to buy the biggest trailer boat I could get,” he said.

And that is exactly what Jeff did. 

In March 2010 he bought Riviera 38, Intuition, and with Riviera skipper Casey Dent they drove 789 nautical miles from Cairns in north Queensland south to the Gold Coast where Jeff met up with a friend who helped him skipper the boat to Sydney.

While in Cairns, Jeff met up with three of his friends who joined him on board for the first leg of the 1058 nautical mile journey to Sydney.

“We fished from Cairns to Townsville and that was with three friends I have known for over 20 years.  They haven’t been in a position to do this before so it was a first time experience for them as it was for me, so for all of us it was something special,” Jeff said.

Unlike most boats of this size, Intuition does not live in a Marina Berth.  She rests on a custom built trailer inside a specially built shed at Jeff’s acreage on the Hawkesbury River in Sydney.

The Hawkesbury River is about 45 minutes from Sydney’s city centre.  Surrounded by national parks, the Hawkesbury River offers a tranquil and picturesque cruising ground with secluded and peaceful anchorages.

“A large boat has to go into a Marina and be exposed to the weather so when I was looking to buy the 38 I decided that regardless of which boat I bought, it had to be housed under cover,” Jeff said.

“I spent a lot of time looking for a specific piece of land that was close to the water.  I got the plans approved to construct a large shed, launch ramp and pontoon.  It took 12 months to get it approved by the local Council,” Jeff said.

“After consultation with Riviera’s New Product Development manager, Alan Dowd, I had a trailer custom made to fit the 38.  The tailer is about 4.3 metres wide by about 14 metres in length.

“I then had to buy a tractor to launch the boat into the Hawkesbury River.  I decided it had to be a four-wheel-drive with a minimum of 80 horsepower so that it could pull the 38 out of the River without slipping.”

For Jeff, keeping his boat in pristine condition is a top priority which is why he went to great lengths to build a shed to store his beloved Riviera 38.

When Jeff returns from a weekend away he cleans Intuition from top to bottom.

“It takes me four days to clean, polish and wax her but it makes it all worthwhile because she looks like she has just left the Riviera factory,” Jeff said.

“I might put three or four days into it but the boat stays like that until I use her again and she is not going back out into the weather.  I just stand back and see her gleaming and looking like new and this gives me great pleasure.”

Jeff and his wife, Lisanne treasure their time on board where they like to entertain friends while cruising around Sydney.

“My wife likes relaxing with a glass of wine and a good book,” he said.

Jeff’s four children also love boating so when they are not working, playing sport or studying at university, they enjoy going out for a family weekend on board Intuition.

“The kids have been around boats all their lives, they have had water skis on their feet from a very young age,” he said.

“They have grown up in a ski boat in summer and in winter we go snow skiing.  Now as they are getting older they are branching off a little bit and doing their own things but they still enjoy coming out on the boat.

“We enjoy cruising around the Bay.  It is something we have always wanted to do for a long time.  I haven’t taken Lisanne outside yet but my next big trip will be 387 nautical miles to Melbourne for the Melbourne Cup weekend.  I plan to take Intuition down with a friend and the family would fly down and meet us there.”

The Melbourne Cup Race Day is Australia’s biggest horse racing event, known as ‘the race that stops a nation’.  It began in the 1860s and has become the greatest 3200 metre handicap horse-race in the world. 
Jeff also plans to take Intuition 817 nautical miles from Sydney to Hamilton Island for a three month cruise around the Whitsunday Islands in tropical north Queensland.

“The big plan was to take the boat from Sydney to the Whitsundays and have the family fly up and meet me there.  I didn’t expect to buy the boat from Cairns so I have sort of done the trip backwards but I still plan to take a three month cruise to the Whitsundays with the family.”

Despite the time and effort it took to build the shed and trailer for Intuition, Jeff said he had no regrets and it was well worth the effort.

“The whole experience has been pleasant.  I have struck a friendship with the previous owner who said I can ring him if I need to know anything about the boat.