Perhaps you’re one of those people who drives a boat that’s as presentable at the yacht club as it is reliable in sloppy seas, but for all of its commendable features, you can’t help but wish it didn't resemble so many other cruisers in the ports you visit. You want a boat that’s more distinctive but you’d prefer not to invest the time and money required to procure a semi-custom or custom build? If your heart’s desire is a vessel that looks every inch an original but carries a price closer to a production model, then you might want to walk your Sperrys onto the deck of the new Belize 52.
This is a new boat line from Australia and it was developed with a core mission: To combine what most of us recognize as a timeless style (we see classic Downeast cruiser coupled with a dash of European panache) with the practical and proven engineering, construction, and performance of a motoryacht built in Australia. To assure that the line maintains a distinctive edge, the builder plans to build in limited production, guaranteeing that you won’t be tying up beside a look-alike. In fact, the builder reports that supply for this model won’t ramp up to more than 30 boats a year, worldwide, over the next five years.
The 52 is the first model in the new Belize line, and it’s offered in two versions: a daybridge and sedan, which made its U.S. debut at the 2013 Miami International Boat Show. While both models showcase a classic style, they seem to represent a glammed-up twist on tradition. Discerning eyes will admire the angled coach roof, the round port lights, the sexy, fluted gills of the engine air intakes, the curve of the hull’s tumblehome and the glass bulkhead at rear of deckhouse, which is curved outward to enhance the exterior look of the boat and to create the impression of a larger saloon for those passengers sitting inside.
Layouts for both versions of the 52 are very similar. Both feature an open saloon with a big, L-shaped settee that does triple duty as a lounging space, a dinette, and purpose-built stowage for crockery, glassware and charts. Opposite the settee is a fully equipped galley with premium appliances and fixtures, including a Miele induction cooktop, Vitrifrigo refrigeration system, and Grohe faucet at the double sink. The décor in the salon is as fashionable as the space is functional, with walls paneled in textured fabrics, leather on the seats, and hardwoods throughout.
The helm station is forward in the saloon and it’s equipped for the skipper who believes that classic looks can be coupled with systems for high-tech navigation. The Belize can be equipped with two 15-inch Raymarine multifunction screens, Smartcraft digital tachs, Weman fuel and water gauges, electric engine controls, automatic trim tabs, a standard autopilot and displays for the cockpit video cameras. The captain controls all of this, plus a joystick, from a Treben Italian electric leather seat. There’s a passenger seat at the helm, too, along with a chaise lounge.
For overnighting, there are three cabins. The master stateroom with ensuite head is full-beam, a layout that is in high demand today. With so much space to work with, the builder was able to fit a queen berth, two hanging lockers and an ensuite head that the company calls “posh” with its satin-varnished teak floor and premium Tecma toilet with quiet, fresh-water flush and high-gloss teak seat and lid. Guests can put their seabags in the VIP stateroom forward (it has access to the day-head) or in the third cabin with twin berths.
While the 52’s interior is a fine place to spend an afternoon, there’s plenty of space on deck for passengers to enjoy. In addition to a sunpad on the foredeck, there’s a big lounge and table in the cockpit that’s served by an electric barbecue and wetbar. The feature that caught the attention of many people touring the boat in Miami was the breakfast bar with folding stools in the port corner of the cockpit. There can’t be a better place for coffee and croissants in the morning. We like the slick features just beyond the cockpit: the hydraulic swim platform with standard teak decking and the tender garage with electric winch.
For power, both versions of the 52 are equipped with two 600-hp Cummins Zeus pod drives. They deliver a top speed near 30 knots and a cruise speed of 25 knots. If you bump cruise speed back to 22 knots, the 52 will produce a range of 400 nautical miles; that’s with a 10 percent safety reserve. They power a warped-plane hull with fine entry and a deadrise of 12 degrees at the transom. Pod tunnels protect props and allow for a keel that improves tracking.
|Weight (Bridge/sedan)||41,887/40,785 lbs.|
|Fuel capacity||634 gal.|
|Water capacity||184 gal.|
The primary difference between the Sedan and Daybridge versions is the bridge. You get on one with the Daybridge, along with a second helm, lounges and dining table. If you count that wind-in-your-hair-while-underway experience as one of the joys of cruising, then look at the Daybridge model. You give up a mezzanine seat in the cockpit to accommodate the stairs that lead up to the open air, but that’s a small compromise. In the end, both 52s are distinctive enough that you can enjoy a motoryacht that is both a stand-out in style and a fine example of contemporary engineering.
Other Choices: The Maritimo M50 is another Aussie-built motoryacht, this one with an enclosed bridge. The Azimut 55S is an express that place more emphasis on speed and sleekness, and has triple pod drives. And the Sea Ray 510 Sundancer may have many brothers and sisters, but its popularity is a testament to the boat’s attraction.
For more information, visit Belize Motoryachts.