Cummins’ response to an engine problem in notorious Bass Strait convinced businessman Ray Haddrell he has the right power in his Riviera 5000 Sport Yacht.
Ray’s Riviera is equipped with Cummins MerCruiser Diesel’s Zeus drive system. Twin Cummins QSC 600engines power the boat.
The sleek 5000SY is Ray Haddrell’s fourth Riviera and the third he has bought from R Marine Jacksons, the Riviera dealer based at Sandringham Yacht Club in Melbourne.
Ray’s business interests are in Supagas, a company he co-owns with brothers Bill and Don. Supagas produces and distributes industrial gas through outlets in Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
Ray usually does one big trip a year in his Riviera, and this year he went to Tasmania with close friend Dave Prior.
On the way back to Melbourne, one of the engines in his 5000SY derated in Bass Strait, the sea separating Tasmania and the Australian mainland.
“We were in a two-metre swell and there was a one-metre chop on top of that, so it was pretty rough,” Ray recalls.
“My first reaction was, ‘how the hell are we going to get someone out here to help us fix the problem’. We could only manage 9 knots so we limped to Flinders Island (in Bass Strait).
“I rang the Cummins 24-hour number which got me through to the Cummins Support Centre, and they connected me straight away to Mark (Mark Davies, Cummins Laverton’s marine diesel technician).
“Mark then let me know he was chartering a plane to Flinders Island… we collected him on Flinders and he had the problem fixed in an hour and a half.
“That’s the kind of support I associate with Cummins,” says Ray.
The Riviera-Cummins combination has worked well for Ray Haddrell. “I’ve had nothing but good experience,” he says.
“The main reason I own a Riviera is Stuart Jackson (principal of R Marine Jacksons). I know that if I do have a problem Stuart will fix it.”
Cummins Laverton (Melbourne) technician Mark Davies is also a key person in the support equation. He’s dedicated to the marine business, and has won a reputation for both his technical and customer relationship skills.
Stuart Jackson concurs, saying: “Boat owners learn from Mark…he doesn’t mind them looking over his shoulder and giving them troubleshooting tips.”
The Riviera 5000SY with theZeus pod drive system is winning wide acclaim for its exceptional performance and handling, and Ray Haddrell doesn’t disagree.
“I wouldn’t buy another boat without Zeus,” he says. “The manoeuvrability is fantastic…you can put the boat anywhere.”
The Zeus system incorporates steerable pod drive units mounted under the hull with twin aft-facing, counter-rotating propellers.
The pod drives are linked to 8.3-litre electronic Cummins QSC engines rated at 600 hp – the highest power density for this engine class.
Apart from the exceptional manoeuvrability, Zeus users report improved fuel economy and faster cruise and top speeds. Integrated features include automatic trim, autopilot and the GPS-inspired ‘Skyhook’ system that holds the vessel’s position, even in strong currents and windy conditions.
Zeus alleviates the fear that many people have about handling a boat with a joystick making berthing as logical and intuitive as using a DVD remote control.
Ray Haddrell is also a fan of the Riviera Sport Yacht concept. His previous Rivieras were flybridge boats. “I like the single-level design of the sport yacht,” he says. “When you’re driving the boat you can communicate with everyone.”