The Inside Story
While the evaluation of the interior layout of a yacht is almost entirely dependent on personal tastes and preferences, there are several important points I’d like to note about the layout of the Belize 54 Daybridge.
The lower helm is raised and the helm situated on the centerline, providing good visibility all around. The result is the 54 Daybridge can actually be operated comfortably and safely from her lower helm—a capability not nearly as common as you might suppose. (And BTW, I don’t use the term “main helm” in referring to a yacht like this because in most waters, the flybridge helm will used the majority of the time and, therefore, should more properly be designated the “main helm.”)
Aft of her lower control station, the 54 Daybridge has a roomy galley to port and a large L-shaped settee to starboard with a very clever convertible dining table. The table not only raises and lowers to various usable heights, but it also converts from a smaller coffee tabletop to a large dining top to a filler piece for an occasional double bed—all in a way that puts the Transformers to shame.
At the aft end of her moderately sized saloon, the 54 Daybridge has a large sliding door, beautifully crafted of armored glass and polished stainless steel, that leads to her quarterdeck where she is additionally fitted with a generously sized aft settee and dining table (which converts electrohydraulically to a daybed or lounging pad).
The pièce de résistance of the maindeck layout is, to my mind, the combination of this large glass sliding door with a top-hinged, fully opening glass window to port. When raised, it creates a common social area fully 30 feet long by merging the saloon with
the quarterdeck area that is effectively on the same level. Add the optional (and beautifully executed) polished stainless steel frame and fabric shade extension to the flybridge deck and you have a truly huge open area for entertaining or just lounging comfortably while enjoying the pleasures of being on the water.
On her lower deck, the 54 Daybridge offers basically a threestateroom layout that includes a master suite, a VIP right forward, a third twin berth cabin to starboard, and an additional compact compartment to port that can serve as an office or a even a crewstyle or kids’ cabin. All these spaces are adequate, but here is where the 54 Daybridge displays, perhaps, some measure of cultural predisposition toward the rugged, make-the-best-of-it Aussie and Kiwi traditions.
The nominal “master” suite is placed amidship—which in most circumstances makes the most sense, for amidship is where the motion running at sea is minimized and where best advantage can be taken of the full beam of the yacht for accommodations. In the case of the 54 Daybridge, however, this location is directly beneath the maindeck control station and the saloon. With the need to provide full headroom on the maindeck plus keep the overall exterior profile relatively low, the headroom in the master suite is significangly reduced both over the king bed and at its foot.
The result of this arrangement does not affect someone like me much, but I am a relatively small guy (5’ 9” on a good day). And I’d expect anyone pushing six feet or taller would feel a bit pinched. Unless, of course, you possess that rugged make-do attitude.
This headroom situation in the “master” suite is in distinct contrast to what you find in the VIP forward, where there is marvelous headroom well in excess of seven feet, not to mention a surfeit of natural light and elbow room. All of which lead me to predict most North Americans will choose to use the nominal VIP as their owner’s stateroom, with the port small cabin finished as a bath en suite to the redesignated master stateroom right forward.
believe me, is a very big deal indeed. Because a compressor’s momentary starting load is five to seven times its running load, several compressors coming online at the same time becomes the single most important determining factor in genset sizing. Preventing multiple compressors from starting at once can reduce total max loading on the genset by as much as 65%, easily reducing the required genset size by a model step or two. And in doing so, it also reduces potential noise, fuel consumption, and exhaust emissions, as well as the propensity for lights to flicker when the air conditioning system kicks on.
And while we’re talking about air conditioning systems, allow me to bust a common myth about direct-expansion systems (which Belize uses in the 54 Daybridge) versus chilled-water arrangements. While many boaters and industry people will tell you that chilled-water systems are quieter, the claim results from mistaken reasoning. While it is true both that most larger yachts use chilled-water systems and that the air conditioning systems in most larger yachts are significantly quieter than those in smaller yachts, it is faulty logic to conclude that the chilledwater approach should be the system of first choice.
In fact, the true cause of most of the commonly noticed noise in a yacht’s air conditioning system is an accelerated cold-air flow being forced out of too-small exit vents. On larger yachts, there is generally enough room to provide for larger cold-air vent exits that allow the same given volume of air flow to exit at a lower velocity. So a split direct-expansion system can be just as quiet as a chilled-water system. My point here is that Belize’s use of direct-expansion air conditioning in the 54 Daybridge is actually a smart choice and not at all inconsistent with their demonstrated commitment to high quality and solid utility.
by circling and crossing back over our own wake to see how the 54’s hull would perform in a chop. Every indication was that her sharp-entry, warped-plane hull form would do admirably even in conditions much rougher than we could generate during our test.
With her low profile and resulting low vertical center of gravity (VCG), the 54 Daybridge runs and feels exceptionaly solid and stable. No doubt this is also the result of her warpedplane bottom, which enables her to have a deep-deadrise entry (to minimize pounding in a seaway) while at the same time flattening out to a modest 12-degree deadrise at her stern. Of course, the 54’s stability underway is also significantly aided by her electronically controlled trim tabs, which operate independently from one another to not only dampen out roll but also enable her to accelerate from zero to top speed without exhibiting the exaggerated momentary bowrise so frequently associated with planing hulls as they make the transition from displacement to planing mode.
At both top and “cruising” speeds, the 54 Daybridge exhibited a clean run and a flat wake, with no energy-wasting “rooster tail” rising from it. Indeed, even at speeds just below her transition to planing mode, she does not suck up a huge quarter wave, as do so many planing hulls. And I found the ride at an economical 12 to 13 knots to be excellent. All of which indicates an efficient hull form, and again, is very likely the direct result of her warpedplane bottom with its flatter aft sections.
When I put the 54 through hard-over tight turns at full speed, she would power into the turn with the correct heel to the inside and was generally well mannered. When I mentioned this to McCafferty, he explained that the IPS drives are fitted with electronically controlled variable radius turning that prevents the vessel from turning so hard at speed that it causes a potentially dangerous “tripping” situation.