The In­side Story

Passage Maker - - News & Notes -

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.

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