Friday, March 31, 2006

Style and luxury: just add water

If you've got the cash to spare, then a Riva will run through it, reports David Lockwood.

It's Early on a Saturday morning and the weekend warriors haven't yet stirred. Not so the four-blade bronze propellers whirring astern of the brace of Riva motorboats. The floating fashion accessories from the prestige Italian yard are a seamless blend of old and new. Traditional lines, hand-beaten chrome fittings and classic column shifts meet high-tech diesel engines with two-speed automatic gearboxes, push-button onboard gadgetry, a lofty lux factor and, oh, a high price to match.

But if this is boating Italian-style then we must do the Italian thing first. Go hunting for attention. A roaring run down Port Jackson, a sweep past the Prime Minister's Kirribilli digs, a saunter before the teeth of Luna Park and across the gape of the Harbour Bridge, before a fling around the mouth of Circular Quay. Finally, a mad dash past the Opera Hose and down the jaws of a wind-swept Sydney Harbour. Oh, what fun ...

Though my eyes are streaming and the hair is horizontal I have no reason to doubt that we have stopped joggers in their tracks, the ferry masters near us are green with envy, and that black helicopter swooping overhead is taking a closer look. Later in the day, as the throngs emerge on the harbour, I catch anglers gazing from under floppy hats and other boaties looking with wonder.

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