2017 Belize 54 Daybridge
All you could want, with something extra on top.by Sulthoni, on
If the legendary wooden boats of Belize past had kept evolving, how might they look today?
Belize could well offer some insights.
Belize sense they may have stayed with a lower profile than many of today’s offerings. Not just for beauty’s sake, but because of the taller and top-heavy a boat, the more ungainly and susceptible to windage.
The trick is to have a sweet sheerline and profile without it stealing room below decks. On the Belize, the sheer remains fairly flat until gently rising toward the bow.
But in this case, even good looks can be deceiving; the Belize actually delivers greater space— in the sizing of beds, heads, showers, in fact, all living areas— than similar-sized production counterparts.
It’s a testimony to very experienced thinking, artful computer-aided design and stronger, less bulky miracle materials. But there are more differences: Unusually for a motoryacht today, the Belize sheer is really the top edge of a substantial and shippy bulwark— instead of a token toerail— for more secure side access and drier passagemaking.
This bulwark is in turn capped with a shaped teak rail (left natural, but available with four coats of gloss, if desired).
Set atop the caprail is a beautifully electro-polished array of stainless stanchions (32mm rather than 25mm) carrying two horizontal rails that wrap right around the boat, to almost halfway along the cockpit.
The top rail isn’t the usual 25 or 30mm pipe, but a 60mm X 40mm elliptical shape that, as the hand falls upon it, feels as substantial as the reassuring traditional teak handrail of days gone by — without the vulnerability and maintenance.
2017 Belize 54 Daybridge
THE SURFACE BELOW THE SURFACE
It’s a warped-plane hull with a very fine entry, and strong flare decreasing to a fairly flat run aft — a deadrise of 12 degrees.
As you well know, the geometry beneath any planing powerboat is crucial to performance.
Belize was never going to make do with some off-the-shelf version, nor even settle for creating their own in the absence of propulsion data.
First prize, really, is to design in conjunction with the particular drive setup a boat will have.
Because Cummins Zeus pod drives had been agreed upon for the 54, the boat’s running surface was primarily penned on that specific basis. First, by Ocean Yacht Designs, then reviewed by Cummins’s own in-house naval architects.
With all their approvals in hand, the hull was then taken to the Australian Maritime College (AMC) in Tasmania, for two rounds of tank testing.
Further shape tweaks were made during AMC’s testing; all the time improving efficiency, (a reduction in running trim angle, for instance, as well as a nice bonus of ‘less effective power required’) and resulting in a shape beautifully mated to her power source.
Essentially, it’s a warped-plane hull with a very fine entry, and strong flare decreasing to a fairly flat run aft — a deadrise of 12 degrees.
Further aiding efficiency are pod tunnels scooped into the aft section, protecting props and allowing a proper keel to assist tracking, with a very substantial turn-down chine in the bow to deflect spray and deliver a more dry and silky ride offshore.
The boat simply proceeds in a stately fashion, in keeping with her exterior style.
In more traditional times, the actual profile of the bow itself might’ve been dead plumb. But at the speeds Belize was able to drive their boats today they need buoyancy forward; Belize don’t need a bow that will dig into a wave (this is not an ocean race) but lift over it. Hence the slight spoon arc of the bow, at any sort of speed slicing a glassy sheet of water that turns into spray further down the flanks.
Following this wake along, almost halfway down the hull Belize start to detect the gradual compound curve of the hull’s tumblehome, becoming quite pronounced at the transom.
This reverse curve is more than sensual, it’s also practical; placing less weight up high in the hull and offering protection from slamming— against a jetty, or rafted companions.
IN ITS ELEMENT
Time spent on a luxury machine such as the Belize 54 is as much an outdoors experience.
Time spent on a luxury machine such as the Belize 54 is as much an outdoors experience — maybe more so — than it is an indoor one.
A lot of attention has been devoted to making the most of that experience.
A huge sun pad with adjustable backrests sprawls along the center line of the forward deck, drink holders and ample dry space for the music controls right alongside.
Going aft, the swim platform’s center section raises and lowers hydraulically (its teak decking standard, by the way).
This grants easy access to the transom’s electric ‘garage’ door and space for a three-metre tender and outboard that can be easily loaded with the built-in electric winch.
Above the garage, there’s another hatch that lifts to reveal the electric BBQ and sink, with helpful LED lighting in the raised hood overhead.
Backed up to that, in the cockpit is a rear lounge with good storage under, and a folding, multi-use hi-lo table.
More storage again (you can’t have too much) is provided by the wet bar with fridge and icemaker console and its adjacent mezzanine seat (replaced with the stair ladder on the 54 Daybridge).
To the port side, an unusual, and most welcome feature: a cozy corner breakfast bar with swing-out stools that won’t mark the decks.
By sunset, of course, it serves nicely as an ideal spot for drinking in the view.
A MORE GRACIOUS TIME AND PLACE
The saloon’s opening side windows allow for natural ventilation.
The Belize designers at Riviera have struck a keen-eyed balance between European panache and Australian practicality.
Throughout any Belize yacht, fabric panel walls, leather, weatherproof leatherette and passages of woodgrain are used in a contemporary palette to create a warm and inviting ambiance, and to contribute to excellent acoustics.
Two-pack polyurethane finishes accent and protect key surfaces in the galley, on door panels and other key joinery interludes.
High lustre is not, by any means, the answer to every décor decision; a number of Belize interior surfaces are quite muted. Satin varnish, for instance, is evident throughout the saloon, galley, helm, companionway and forward cabin threshold.
Galley bench tops offer a choice of natural solid surface materials.
The Miele name badges the induction cooktop, combination oven, and microwave.
The AC/DC Vitrifrigo system provides two capacious chiller drawers and a separate freezer drawer.
The dual bowl sink is served by award-winning Grohe Euro tapware.
Right across from the galley, on the starboard side, is the true heart of the saloon; a large L-shaped seating area that does double duty as lounge and dinette. (Or triple duty, with its clever purpose-built storage for crockery, glassware and charts tucked under.)
The saloon’s opening side windows allow for natural ventilation.
Opposite is a wet bar with sink and fridge. And a second station acts as a day helm and offers the essential navigation aids.
Every bit as sociable as the main saloon, the Daybridge area has a large L-shaped lounge and hi-lo table that can drop to create a second sun pad. Opposite is a wet bar with sink and fridge. And a second station acts as a day helm and offers the essential navigation aids.
Obviously a bimini can be added, but full clears are probably unnecessary. When weather becomes too hot, or cold, the Daybridge cover can be snapped on, the stair-ladder hatch closed and a retreat made to the cozy protection and luxury of the lower saloon and sports-inspired main helm.
PLEASE TAKE YOUR SEAT
All this can be controlled from the luxurious leather electric helm seat.
Let’s take a closer look at the helm station.
Centre stage is a joystick control, two multifunction Garmin Glass Cockpit display screens, a Muir anchor windlass control with chain counter for precision anchoring, electronic engine controls, automatic trim tabs (with manual override), electric steering with adjustable wheel, standard autopilot, and Camray lipstick cockpit video cameras keeping you in the picture on boat extremities.
All this can be controlled from the luxurious leather electric helm seat, with matching passenger seat and a fore-and-aft chaise lounge lying alongside to starboard.
BELOW DECKS, ABOVE STANDARD
Either side of this cabin space are twin cedar-lined hanging and drawer spaces.
Full-sized beds and roomy staterooms fill the Belize down below.
Rarely seen on a motor yacht of this style and size, the master stateroom extends the full beam of the boat.
Its large queen-size innerspring mattress a very cosseting eight inches thick, with storage under its baseboard.
Mounted on the wall, flush, is a LED TV/DVD.
Either side of this cabin space are twin cedar-lined hanging and drawer spaces and, on each side, opening port lights for cross ventilation.
INDULGE IN PURE LUXURY
Every bit as opulent as the master, the VIP stateroom itself occupies the entire forward V-section.
In there, teak floors are satin varnished, with non-slip finish in the large frameless glass shower stall, with elegant Grohe fittings again providing the tapware and shower fittings.
The same high specification is shared by the VIP ensuite/dayhead forward: including semi-recessed porcelain sink, opening portlight and insect screen, round deck hatch overhead, plus cedar-lined timber storage lockers.
Every bit as opulent as the master, the VIP stateroom itself occupies the entire forward V-section: carpet to your choice, portlights to port and starboard, round hatch overhead, makeup drawer with folding seat and mirror.
The third, guest suite, is slightly less grand but no less highly specified.
Here there are twin, two-metrelong upper and lower berths, hanging locker, bedside table and drawers, and the benefit of an opening portlight, circular deck hatch above and plush carpeting below, fleecy between your toes.
This cabin is a great example of the Belize belief: “no second-class accommodation”.
The engineering department affords choices between the smooth, fuel-efficient pod-drive propulsion of either Volvo Penta or Cummins Zeus units.
The sense of any classical or retro references quickly disappears when you examine the impressive technical side of the 54.
There’s nothing at all nostalgic about resin-infused composite construction, double vinylester outer skin, or watertight, stepped collision bulkhead and independent foam-filled hull compartments. Or a deck both screwed and glued to the hull, with the final seam girded by a full-perimeter 60mm 316 marine grade stainless steel rub rail.
The engineering department affords choices between the smooth, fuel-efficient pod-drive propulsion of either Volvo Penta or Cummins Zeus units, each with through-hull underwater exhausts.
There are three drive choices for the Belize 54:
Volvo Penta IPS2-800
Twin D11 engines and drive units (2 x 460kW/626hp), joystick maneuverability, Dynamic Positioning System, auto and manual trim tabs, Volvo/Garmin Glass Cockpit navigation and system monitoring system, Active Corrosion Protection and line cutters on propellers.
Volvo Penta IPS2-950
Twin D11 engines and drive units (2 x 533kW/725hp), joystick maneuverability, Dynamic Positioning System, auto and manual trim tabs, Volvo/Garmin Glass Cockpit navigation and system monitoring system, Active Corrosion Protection and line cutters on propellers.
Cummins Zeus QSC 8.3
Twin 6-cylinder turbocharged diesel engines system and drive units (2 x 442kW/600hp), joystick maneuverability, Skyhook GPS, auto and manual trim tabs, cathodic bonding system to zinc anodes on drive units, glass navigation and monitoring system.
Boating’s learned a lot in the many decades since the golden age of wood. Like anti-vibration engine mountings on two-pack, white epoxy-coated I-beams.
And double layers of acoustic and thermal lagging that swathe the engine room – even on the ceiling – all faced with white perforated aluminium insulation panels.
No doubt the old world of analogue needle gauges would find it hard to believe a vessel entirely wired and monitored using CZone digital switching, networked to a 10-inch touchscreen at the saloon entry and, in the case of the Daybridge, an additional 3.5-inch touchscreen at the upper helm.
The house power is 24-volt, which allows for simpler charging, lower current draw and smaller cables (further reduced weight) than equivalent 12-volt systems.
All batteries on board are maintenance-free to ensure carefree boating and are housed in special battery boxes in accordance with American Boating and Yacht Council (ABYC) and the European Union’s CE industry standards.
The house power is 24-volt, which allows for simpler charging, lower current draw and smaller cables (further reduced weight) than equivalent 12-volt systems. The Mastervolt inverter provides power to the icemaker, entertainment systems and all outlets onboard, ensuring watching television while relaxing quietly at anchor is whisper-quiet.
LED lighting is utilized throughout and provides trouble-free boating while reducing electrical current draw. The lamps use less than 10 percent of the power required to run a bulb lamp – no bulbs mean no maintenance and long service life.
Additionally, Residual Current Device/Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (RCD/GFCI) provides protection over the entire yacht and also complies with ABYC and CE standards.
|Length Overall (inc. swim platform & bow roller)||16.50 m / 54’ 01"|
|Beam (inc. gunwale)||5.03 m / 16’ 06"|
|Maximum Draft (inc. props)||1.07 m / 3’ 6"|
|Dry Weight (approx., depends on engines & options)||22,500 kg / 49,604 lbs|
|Fuel Capacity||3,000 L / 792 US gal|
|Water Capacity||700 L / 184 US gal|
|Holding Tank Capacity||380 L / 100 US gal|
|Sleeping Capacity||6 adults|
|Engine Option - Volvo Penta IPS800 x 2||460 kW (626 hp each)|
|Engine Option - Volvo Penta IPS950 x 2||533 kW (725 hp each)|
|Range||304 nm @ 21.1 knt|
|Generator Brand||Onan EQD|
|Generator Output||17.5 kW / 60 Hz|