Land Down Under

An Australian couple enjoys the best of Sydney Harbour on their new 270 Sundeck

The Ovadias know what they want. A retired couple living in the gloriously sun-filled city of Sydney, Australia, they seem to have gotten most of it, too.

Charles and his wife, Maureen, purchased their brand-new Sea Ray 270 Sundeck without even test-driving it. Their purchase is just 36 hours old, christened by launch in Sydney’s Darling Harbour a slim hour ago. The smiles on their sunlit faces suggest these new Sea Ray owners are experiencing total satisfaction. It’s almost as if the Sundeck is a family member that has been there all along—a fixture of the Ovadias’ routine, like the gorgeous Sydney skyline they plan to cruise past as often as possible from now on.

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“We have owned many boats over the decades,” Charles says, explaining that their experience with boating added to their confidence in choosing Sea Ray.“When our children Robert and Jacqui were young, we owned large open-bow runabouts and spent most of our weekends on the water.”

These days, the Ovadias’ top priority is bonding with their five grandkids, and the 270 is the perfect boat to facilitate it. The Darling Harbour water itself is a vehicle for those bonding moments between grandparent and grandchild. In fact, Charles (12), Eleanor (10), Max (10), Holly (8) and Lucinda (8), although not present on the Sundeck’s maiden voyage, are the entire reason the Ovadias purchased a new model. “We needed to have a boat big enough to accommodate the tribe but at the same time, small enough to play with,” Charles explains.

Of course, Charles and Maureen needn’t look any farther than their own backyard to find the perfect playground. Although the Ovadias currently live 15 minutes inland, they spent seven years in an apartment directly above the water of Darling Harbour, so they’re no strangers to the Sydney sights. “Sydney Harbour is one of the most diverse waterways in the world,” Charles says, “and we think the most beautiful.”

From Australia’s iconic Sydney Opera House to its environmentally revived harbors, Sydney boasts world-class on-water entertainment perfect for five young kids to spend time with their grandparents. A unique mecca of recreational boating mixed with Sydney’s urban playground, Darling Harbour was named after Lieutenant-General Ralph Darling, who was Governor of New South Wales from 1825 to 1831.

Situated on Bennelong Point, the Sydney Opera House actually comprises multiple performance venues and is one of the highest-trafficked art centers in the world. The Anzac Bridge complements the world-renowned architecture of the Sydney Opera House; the bridge between Pyrmont and Glebe Island in the central business district of Sydney is the longest span cable-stayed bridge in Australia.

This record making is paralleled by the spindly structure of the Sydney Tower, a many-cabled structure resembling Seattle’s Space Needle. As the city’s tallest structure, Sydney Tower is a member of the World Federation of Great Towers.

Sydney offers an enormous range of activities, and Charles affirms, “We enjoy them all. The harbor offers beaches, secluded anchorages, great fishing opportunities, water skiing and endless sightseeing of spectacular nature,” he says. “We can leave the harbor for open waters in 25 or 30 minutes. That opens up yet another world of ocean beaches, deep-sea fishing and even whale watching.”

With so many strong selling points, the Ovadias are no strangers to the various ways Sydney boaters can get around Darling Harbour to take in the sights. For years, the Ovadias entertained their two children on the water with various bow riders in the 30-foot range. “The kids used to love it when we would jump on the boat at 3:00 a.m., go get a few fish and then tie up in the city for breakfast.” When their children had children, however, those early-morning fishing trips gave way to adult-centric boats and activities.

“We discovered that young babies and boats were not the most compatible,” Charles says. “So we stopped owning our own boats.” They preserved an on-water lifestyle, however, by belonging to a boating club, which gave them access to large sport cruisers more suited to grown-up entertaining. Now that their grandchildren have gotten their sea legs, the Ovadias recently set out to buy the perfect model to dive back into boat ownership.

Years of practice taught them what qualities were must-haves. Their new boat would have to be spacious with plenty of well-placed storage lockers. It had to be a performer for the big blue water surrounding their beautiful city, but also to rev up the kids for watersports activities and early-morning fishing excursions. And with all of that hard work of having fun, the model had better be very easy to clean down after a day’s use, because, as Charles says, “We like to keep our boat gleamingly clean at all times.”

Charles and Maureen on their 270 Sundeck

The Ovadias were looking for the 270 Sundeck, and they didn’t even know it. They simply knew what they wanted in a boat. “Originally we were drawn to this type of layout and size before gravitating specifically to Sea Ray.” Which is when the story’s sage adviser steps in to point their way on the many-pronged path.

Mark Chapman, an old friend of the Ovadias who worked at the dry-stack facility they had used over the years, would soon be opening shop under the name Chapman Marine Group. When the Ovadias first learned of Mark’s big news, Mark’s appointment as Sea Ray dealer for the area was only a few days away.

“That was that. The reputation of Sea Ray is such that we did not feel the need to investigate anything,” Charles explains. “When, having heard our requirements, Mark introduced us to the about-to-be released 270 Sundeck, the match was made!”

As for the first ride and review of the 270 Sundeck? “There is nothing on the water we don’t love to do,” Charles says—pre-dawn fishing included. They haven’t managed to get the kids aboard for that bonding experience yet, but the couple purchased fishing gear even before their 270 Sundeck arrived. “It won’t be too long before we revive that culture with them,” Charles assures.

An hour into ownership and the Ovadias have plans to visit their favorite dockside restaurant, go fishing and pull the grandkids on a water tube in the coming weeks. Not surprisingly, they have also begun shopping for the appropriate lettering to affix to the transom. Their always pristine, gleaming red 270 Sundeck will read CHELMAHOLU—two letters for each grandchild they plan to have aboard for many sun-filled afternoons to come.

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