Smooth and Cool
By Kevin Koenig
The Belize 54 is the brainchild of Riviera CEO Wes Moxey, a hands-on digger with a penchant for building great boats. The 54 is no exception to his record: She combines a smart use of space and good performance in a really cruisable package. Here’s how she held up during our test of her.
Onboard, the clear attention to custom detail that went into this boat persists throughout. The engine room is gelcoated and orderly. Belize clearly labels nearly every component, a highly appreciated virtue when you’re trying to find a pump or track a fuel line in a hurry. Duplex Racor fuel-water separators forward are easy to reach, and forethought is plainly evident.
Below, a sizable amidships master was notable for a somewhat unorthodox detail that acted as a microcosm for the entire area. There’s a starboard-side hanging locker near the head of the king-size berth that is absolutely cavernous—so big it’s hard to see the back wall. That’s an impressive feat of design on a boat this size. The forepeak VIP was no slouch either, with an island queen berth, and access to a head that also opens up to the common area. Bunked berths to starboard round out the deck.
Moxey designed both the Daybridge and Sedan iterations of the 54 (previously known as the 52), and though they’re very similar boats, he designed them separately, so the Daybridge’s titular deck wouldn’t look like somebody just tossed a big ol’ ball cap on the Sedan’s head. It worked. My test boat, the Daybridge, had unusually sleek and graceful lines for a flying-bridge boat. From a distance she looks traditional without being stodgy, and classic while still feeling fresh. Lots of credit for that feeling also belongs with the Taiwanese labor that went into her. Belize chooses to build in Taiwan—with plenty of Aussie oversight—because of the island’s proximity to shipping lanes, its yards’ ability to handle larger vessels, and of course, its concentrated and skilled workforce that excels at custom builds.
Out on the water, the boat was relatively swift with a top hop of 28 knots, and she was as smooth and nimble as any boat I’ve tested. Her twin 600-horsepower Cummins engines with Zeus pods were dialed in so perfectly that I turned her hard-over in about a single boat length, without encountering much heel at all and with little obstruction of sightlines. Her acceleration was even and powerful throughout her range, and her trim numbers remained absolutely fantastic. Coming out of the hole she peaked at a measly 3.5 degrees on my inclinometer, and then settled into a comfortable 3 degrees flat in her upper rpm echelons. What’s more, she never breached 77 decibels even running flat out.
The 54 is, at her core, a sturdy and able Aussie cruiser. She’s got a fine entry in the bow and just a bit of flare to shrug off waves. She’s also got a deep keel to help with tracking at both low and high speeds, as well as a strong, hand-laid hull. All of these details add up to one thing. When she hits the States, the Belize 54 will be able to take you wherever you’d like to go.
Belize Motoryachts, 561-267-1995; www.rivieraaustralia.com
: 42,000 lb. (dry)
: 634 gal.
: 185 gal.
: 2/600-mhp Cummins Marine QSC8.3 diesels w/ Zeus pods
: Cummins Zeus, w/ 1.21:1 ratio
: Cummins M8 Zeus
Metallic hull paint ($26,760); Full cockpit awning on oval stainless steel tube ($16,739); Fisher & Paykel Dishwasher ($1,950).
Air temperature: 65°F; humidity: 30%; seas: flat; load: 317 gal. fuel, 93 gal. water, 5 persons, 1,500 lb. gear. Speeds are two-way averages measured w/ GPS display. GPH estimates via Cummins display. Range based on 90% of advertised fuel capacity. Sound levels measured at the lower helm. 65 dB(A) is the level of normal conversation.