By Christopher White
A rainy Newport, Rhode Island, served as backdrop to our introduction to the Mochi Craft Dolphin 54 Flybridge. And it was that uncooperative weather that showed just how roomy and comfortable this boat could be.
The first impression I got when stepping aboard the Mochi 54 was space, the boat feels open and large throughout, much more so than I would have expected for a 54-footer. Case in point, there were seven people onboard, all intent on staying out of the rain, and it didn’t feel crowded. Though we didn’t use it, the large teak-soled cockpit has plenty of seating. A large middle section of the transom folds out to create a swim platform and steps for easy boarding, but it must be folded up to access the tender garage beneath the cockpit sole.
There is a sliding door on centerline for access to the saloon, which features a U-shaped settee to port with a dinette. The galley is one step down to starboard, and features a Bosch four-burner cooktop with fiddles, a GE profile microwave/convection oven, a Vitrifrigo fridge, and plenty of stowage. A companionway forward of the galley leads down to a room that can be fit out as a crew’s quarters with a single berth, but on our test boat was dedicated to stowage. A washer and dryer placed there seemed like a better use of space as it is most likely owners of the 54 won’t require a captain.
The helm, forward to port, has a large bench seat and excellent lines of sight thanks to a large, mullion-free windshield. There is a bench seat to starboard where a navigator would feel right at home, with plenty of countertop space for handling charts. A companionway on centerline leads belowdecks to the main accommodations area. There we found a twin stateroom to port with 78 ½ inches of headroom. It has an en suite head that doubles as the dayhead, and the VIP with a large queen berth to starboard. The master is in the forepeak and has an island queen and en suite head with a stand-up separate shower. There is plenty of stowage throughout all cabins, and good headroom everywhere. Natural light is plentiful thanks to hull-side windows in the guest and VIP stateroom and an overhead skylight in the master.
The flying bridge is accessed via a teak staircase on the starboard side of the cockpit. The upper helm is to starboard, and there’s plenty of seating for those looking to enjoy the weather on a sunny cruise. A small table is suited for alfresco snacks.
The 54’s hull is solid fiberglass below the waterline with balsa and foam coring above, and she is built to RINA Class A certification. The engine room is accessed through a hatch in the cockpit sole, and while it has stoop-to-work headroom, everything you need is easily accessible. She has Parker Racor fuel-water separators, a Fireboy fire-protection system, and Gianneschi pumps. Her beefy 800-horsepower MAN diesels—the only engine package Mochi offers—have 27 inches between them. That’s certainly enough to squeeze in when necessary.
The joinery throughout the interior was, as far as I could tell, flawless, and the satin-finished teak and light color scheme of the soft goods adds to the boat’s bright feel.
The Mochi 54’s handling was like that of a sports car—powerful and assertive, taking corners with ease and running straight as a train on the tracks with the help of her deep-V hull. She got on plane quickly and cruises comfortably at around 25 knots. At top hop we hit 30.3 knots (though the company claims she can hit 32), and throughout the speed range she remained relatively quiet. While there wasn’t much in the way of rough seas on Narragansett Bay, we found a few wakes to run her through and she handled them all with aplomb, staying dry and feeling sturdy with no creaks or groans.
Back at the docks the company captain slid her easily into her slip at Newport’s crowded 41 North Marina with the help of a standard Side-Power bow thruster (our test boat was equipped with an optional Side-Power stern thruster as well). Mochi definitely nailed the Down East-ish look with the Dolphin 54, and while she certainly doesn’t hide her Italian heritage with her swooping lines and immaculate interior, she fit right in on those posh New England docks.
Mochi Craft, 954-462-5527; www.mochicraft-yacht.com
: 59,304 lb.
: 674 gal.
: 188 gal.
: 2/800-hp MAN R6 diesels
: Upon request
: 13-kW Kohler
: ZF 325-1A, 2.37:1 gear ratio
Sun canopy; removable satin teak cockpit table; cooktop on flying bridge. Prices available upon request.
Air Temperature: 73°F; humidity: 93%; seas: 1-2'; load: 621 gal. fuel; 58 gal. water; 7 persons; minimal gear. Speeds are two-way averages measured w/ Furuno GPS. GPH taken via MAN display. Range is based on 90% of advertised fuel capacity. Sound levels measured at the helm. 65 dB(A) is the level of normal conversation.