Whitsunday rendezvous as Princess owners head north

Whitsunday rendezvous as Princess owners head north

A fleet of Princess Motor Yachts made the journey north from the Gold Coast to tropical waters in late September. The destination was Hayman Island, a jewel in the azure waters of the Whitsunday Islands.

With around 40 owners and their families and friends, the flotilla made stops at Tangalooma in Moreton Bay, Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast, Lady Musgrave Island, Fitzroy Island, Hamilton Island and finally, their destination, Hayman Island.

The Princess Owners’ Event spanned three days, hosted by Hayman Island InterContinental Resort.

At the northernmost point of the Whitsundays, Hayman Island is a private island resort specialising in bespoke experiences in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef: snorkelling, diving, fishing, adventures on neighbouring islands.

The Princess fleet was among the first to rendezvous at the new marina, taking advantage of the concierge service and the perfect spring weather to savour all that the resort had to offer.

“The Resort staff were extremely hospitable,” said Greg Haines, Dealer Principal at Princess Yachts Australia. “Our event was a celebration of Family, Friends and the Finer Things, which encompassed gourmet food, Veuve Clicquot and a series of events and activities.”

One of the highlights of the three-day rendezvous was a day trip to Whitehaven Beach, hailed as one of the World’s most picturesque and pristine. The Princess fleet anchored close to shore and tendered in, to be welcomed by Hayman waiters with Veuve Clicquot and mouth-watering morsels by Divine Catering: seafood, steaks, salads and fruit.

Under a marquee, guests sampled the crème of local produce, creatively combined in delectable delicacies. Kids were well catered to as well, swimming, knee-boarding and playing beach games, laughing and making new friends on the dazzling white sand well into the afternoon.

Back at Hayman, the schedule of events included a formal welcome dinner, a cocktail party Zoom call with the management team at the Princess Factory in the UK.

Owners were able to ask questions of Antony Sheriff and Will Green who shared insight into the achievements of 2020 and forecasts and innovations planned for the year ahead.

There was a smorgasbord breakfast at the hill-top retreat of Hayman Estates, multi-million dollar luxury residences designed by internationally renowned Architect, Kerry Hill.

As part of the Kids’ Club program, the younger set were invited behind the scenes at the InterContinental Resort for private cooking classes with the Chefs, making pizzas and then devouring them!

For the final lunch of the Rendezvous, guests gathered on the shoreline for a Hawker-style banquet of noodles, oysters, seafood and satays, with beach cricket and other games on offer.

“It was an amazing opportunity to reconnect with family and make new friends, which this year especially, is more important than ever,” said Greg Haines.

“From the feedback, people appreciated the time to enjoy their vessels in a boating paradise. For next year, we’re planning to add some activities and a day of leisure when people can go jetskiing, parasailing or simply reclining by the pool.”

First time boaties, Simon and Kate Jupe and their three children travelled north aboard their Princess 57, “Y-Knot”.

Based at Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast, they had cruised to the Gold Coast in March to explore the Broadwater and get work done ahead of the Princess Rendezvous.

“We don’t come from a boating background, so we jumped at the chance to meet other owners,” he said. “The support and instruction from Scott and the Princess ‘family’ is invaluable,” referring to meeting the former owner of his boat, experienced cruising couple Rob and Rosemary Ungar who now own a Princess 88 Flybridge, “7th Heaven”.

“We bought our boat from Scott with the aim of making family memories. We have three children, aged 8 and two six-year-old twins. At first, they were apprehensive, but now they love it. They’re very confident onboard, they love snorkelling. They keep a boat diary about the coral and the fish they see. It’s awesome for travel and adventures.”

Simon’s background is in motor racing, an industry he acknowledges can be quite competitive. “There’s a completely different vibe among Princess owners. It was a great opportunity to meet other owners and really enjoy the bonding that boaties share.”

A highlight for him and his family was meeting Lee and Rachel Strivens and their seven-year-old twins. “It was fantastic to pull up at Whitehaven Beach, perfect weather, an amazing marquee on the beach, the kids just scrambled off and enjoyed stand up paddle boarding and games. It was honestly one of the best days we’ve ever experienced.”

Lee and Rachel Strivens, aboard their Princess V62, “La Mellizo”, meaning “the twin” in Spanish, spent six weeks in the Whitsundays, exploring the islands and the Reef.

“We spent a week up there, then returned for work,” he said. “Then we returned with family and enjoyed the camaraderie of the Princess Rendezvous. After that, we stayed and cruised around for two weeks.

“The Princess Rendezvous was incredible,” Lee continued. “The events they organised were pretty special. The good company made it even more memorable. Turning up to Whitehaven to have a marquee on the beach with superb food and champagne waiting for us was the highlight.”

Experienced boat owners, Lee and Rachel have owned their Princess for four years, gravitating to the brand for its quality finish and impeccable design.

“We’ve had other brands, mostly British, and we liked the way Princess design their motor yachts as a ‘home away from home’ we can enjoy no matter what the weather is like. If it’s raining or windy, we can step inside and watch a movie with the kids in total comfort.”

Despite their youth, the twins are well travelled and love the excitement of new destinations and the adventures they entail.

“Our kids love traveling to new places and meeting people. They love helping onboard and sharing their knowledge with others. Like us, they’re intrepid adventurers.”

For their next adventure, the Strivens hope to travel south in 2021 to Lee’s home-town of Sydney, aiming to explore the meandering waterways of the Hawkesbury River and Sydney Harbour.

“Then of course, we’re up for the next Princess Rendezvous at Hayman in 2021. This year’s was something we will never forget.”