New 54-footer is the successful result of some different design considerations.

THE ANNUAL RENDEZVOUS for owners of Bertram yachts, sponsored jointly by Bertram Yacht/ Whittaker and Richard Bertram & Co., the largest dealer for Bertram Yacht, convened at Cat Cay, Bahamas, in May. With the Cat Cay Club's marina filled with Bertrams of all sizes, Moppie, the new 54, both blended in and stood apart from the rest of the fleet. She blended in because some of the key Bertram elements-the blue horizontal stripe below the saloon windows, the high-quality glass work were in evidence.

She stood apart. though, because the company has moved to make the new boat a little more competitive in the high-style market, especially among European customers. This was done in the most subtle ways possible, by raking the saloon windshield and the flying bridge facing somewhat more than usual, by changing the after profile of the deckhouse where it meets the deck, and by putting just a bit more crown in the foredeck. The overall result is a boat that is unmistakably Bertram, yet more than able to hold her aesthetic own against some of the zippy stylings of, say, the Mediterranean.

The interior of the 54 represents an even bigger departure for Bertram. While the company has always been known for clean, functional interiors and simple, well-executed joinerwork, the new boat sports a positively lavish accommodation with lots of teak paneling, an optional circular countertop bar, and a general feeling of luxury throughout.

Forward, there's a rope locker separated from the forward stateroom by a teak bulkhead with a door giving access to the rope locker and the windlass machinery. The stateroom is fitted with a, high A-berth with good stowage space in drawers underneath, two hanging lockers, and shelves outboard of each leg of the A-berth. A writing table and hinged stool are fitted between the two legs. Two screened opening ports and a large foredeck hatch provide good light and ventilation.

A private head with shower, next aft to starboard, is reached through a door in the companionway. (Each stateroom has its own head.)

The guest stateroom, to starboard, has upper and lower berths, a large hanging locker, and a head with separate stall shower and seat. Good ventilation in the head is provided by an overhead hatch, an opening port, and an exhaust blower.

To port, the master stateroom has two single berths, arranged fore and aft, with a bureau between them and additional stowage in drawers under the berths. A single, queen-sized berth is an option. Two hanging lockers, one of them really big, should be enough for almost anyone's seagoing wardrobe. Access to the master head is via a mirrored door in the forward bulkhead. This mirror, and the full-width mirror on the after bulkhead, enhance the spacious feeling of the cabin.

The head is fitted with a Mansfield Vacu-Flush WC (as are the others), a large vanity with sink and stowage lockers, and a separate stall shower with built-in seat. An overhead hatch, opening port, and exhaust blower contribute to good ventilation.

The four steps leading up from the forward companionway to the saloon are hinged to permit easy access to the ship's large engineroom, under the saloon sole. Similarly, the steps leading down to the cockpit from the saloon lift up to give access to the engineroom from the cockpit.

In the saloon, Bertram's liberal use of teak for galley counter, lockers, and bulkheads gives the boat a warm and luxurious ambiance. The galley is forward to port, separated from the living area by a partial bulkhead housing the large refrigerator/freezer, and a counter providing stowage on the forward side and a locker housing the standard-equipment color TV on the after side. In Moppie's case, the optional circular bar with three fixed, swiveling stools extended this counter. The forward counter in the galley accommodates the 110-v. three-burner Princess range with oven, twin s.s. sinks, and drawers for cutlery and provisions. Counter tops are butcher block, with teak sea rails, and the galley sole is finished in vinyl tile.

While standard equipment includes carpeting and draperies throughout the boat, the choice of furniture for the saloon is left to the owner. Moppie carries an L-shaped couch to port, with a glass-topped coffee table and a comfortable swivel chair. A teak handrail on the overhead is standard equipment, and should be much appreciated in rough going: this is a large, open cabin.

The entire starboard side of the saloon is fitted with lockers, housing the AM/FM stereo cassette equipment (speakers with separate volume controls are provided in each stateroom as well as in the saloon and the cockpit) a wet bar, and 32-v. and 120/240-v. electrical panels.

The ship's air conditioning, a four-ton, reverse-cycle system, has separate controls in each cabin.

The cockpit is designed for the serious fisherman, with an outward-opening transom door, padded coamings, giant scuppers, and a good non-slip fiberglass sole. Access hatches aft are provided for the standard 18.5-kw. diesel generator, and for the optional 7.5-kw. backup generator, With 145 sq. ft. of cockpit area, there's ample room for playing, and boarding, the big ones. Manual controls are fitted for the fire extinguisher systems in the engineroom and the generator room, and there's a seawater wash- 84 down faucet for hosing down after a day's fishing.

A stainless steel and teak ladder on the port side of the cockpit leads to the flying bridge. The helm station is aft, affording the helmsman an unobstructed view of the action in the cockpit. A large lounge area, complete with lockers and cocktail table, occupies the forward part of the bridge.

When,·about three years ago, Bertram began the engineering on the 54, the goal was to build a boat that would provide every luxury in the accommodation, yet be fast enough in rough water to satisfy the serious fisherman. The company has long been known for beefy hull construction, and initial estimates indicated that this boat would come in at something over 70,000 lb. displacement. A good deal of power would be needed to attain the required 30-knot speed. For a time, the company considered installing three engines, but this configuration has never been very popular with American buyers. So Bertram's engineers set about a program of weight reduction.

Using a system of grids interlocking the stringers, they were able to vary the thickness of the bottom according to load requirements in various areas. The superstructure is balsa-cored. Even the weight of electrical wiring was considered, leading to a "zone" electrical system, with different breaker panels for different areas.

Lee Dana, Bertram's engineering v.p., notes that it is a great deal more difficult to reduce weight in a boat than to add to it, but he is very pleased with the results: the 54 comes in at a cruising displacement of 63,000 lb.

Returning to Miami from Cat Cay, we noted that the boat seemed very responsive for her size. In a moderate sea she affords a very comfortable and completely dry ride-though Bertram eliminated the full-length running strakes as a result of tank-testing data. They found that by extending the strakes a mere third of the way aft from the bow they could reduce drag, while still retaining the spray deflecting function of the strakes at the bow.

Deadrise at the transom is a modest 17 degrees, which takes the boat out of the "deep-V" category. The famous Bertram 31, by comparison, has a deadrise of 24 degrees at the transom. For this size boat, Bertram believes, the gentler deadrise angle provides better loadcarrying ability and a more efficient hull at lower speeds.

Standard power consists of a pair of 675-hp. Detroit Diesel 12V-71TI engines, but Moppie carries a pair of modified 12V-71s from Key Power of Miami, styled "BKX 800s" for Bertram/Key/Experimental 800 hp. In preparing these custom power plants, Key Power dismantles a stock 12V-71TI and replaces key internal parts with GM 92 series parts. They replace the standard injectors with 115-cm. injectors, increase raw-water cooling capacity, add larger turbochargers and air-intake filters, and install a large Sen-Dure fuel oil cooler. This unit cools the fuel before it reaches the injectors, and also cools the fuel going back to the tank via the return line.

The increased power of the engines called for special gear boxes: modified Twin Disc MG514 units from Great Lakes Power Products filled the bill.

Bertram has always tested their boats by hours of hard running in the Gulf Stream, but because of the modified engines, this boat got a rougher than usual workout-some 125 hours of testing, much of it at full throttle in heavy seas.

With an overall length of 54', she has a beam of 16'11", and a draft of 4'10". She carries 1,200 gal. of diesel fuel, and 250 gal. of fresh water.

With the stock 675-hp. engines and an extensive list of standard equipment, she is priced at $442,- 750. With the custom 800-bp. engines, her list is $516,550. Apparently most owners find that a worthwhile investment: eight out of ten of the orders written so far have been for the custom engines.

Unlike many builders, Bertram has long held to a policy of publishing conservative speed figures. In this case the official word is "30+ knots," but when they say it, they say it with a grin.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW BERTRAM SPORTFISHING YACHTS CURRENTLY FOR SALE IN CALIFORNIA

This review/article originally appeared in Yachting Magazine, October 1981 and was written by Dick Rath. For more great sportfisher reviews, visit their website and subscribe at: https://www.yachtingmagazine.com/subscribe-to-yachting-magazine

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