If you had to pick a yacht to go sailing in the Baltic in December, the voluminous, warm and welcoming Moody 54DS would top a lot of lists. But her size can bring its own problems, reports Toby Hodges
Moody 54DS boat test – a warm welcome on a cold day in the Baltic
Step through the patio doors and the overriding impression of the 54DS is just how voluminous she is – comparable, in fact, to a cruising catamaran, with the living area all on one upper level and cabin accommodation down below.
There is only one small cabin aft – an indication of how much stowage space there is in the lazarette and tender garage. This port aft twin cabin, with private companionway and separate heads, is an example of the yacht’s intelligent layout. It can either be a family cabin with day heads, or a generous crew cabin with ample space and privacy (if the sail locker is chosen forward). There is also the possibility to have the galley below instead of a fourth cabin. The galley works too well on the upper level, adjoining saloon and cockpit, for this to be a popular choice, however.
The deckhouse is a remarkable place to sit and view the surroundings in comfort. But there are drawbacks to the abundant glass, notably weight and privacy – blinds are not offered for the forward windows because it is a problem to mount them discreetly, the builder says. The windows soon fogged up with three of us taking coffee in the saloon, despite demister fans. And the condensation that remained during our cold trials showed the task the forced heater/aircon units are faced with.
Overall the interior looks smart and modern and I was impressed with the standard of finish. The 54DS is intelligently designed, with abundant space, tanks and stowage for liveaboard cruising.
Galley This is a fantastic arrangement for use in port, an inviting place to prepare food and drink with excellent views. It has plenty of worksurface and stowage space, including a cavernous domestic-style corner cupboard for pots and pans, plus numerous appliance options, including dishwasher and extra fridge/freezers. When the boat is heeled, however, it is a different scenario, especially on starboard, when it is hard to find any bracing. And a rolling sea quickly makes you realise how high up you are
Engine room Thawing out – the soleboards of the decksaloon lift to reveal a prize asset of the 54DS, a spacious and impressively installed engine and machinery room. There is space enough to provide all-round access to the engine and genset, plus chargers, fuses, aircon units, etc. A washing machine can also be installed here, accessed through the day heads
Forward cabin The single series of hatches and skylight above the berth in the forward cabin creates a fantastic view, especially lying on the berth looking up at the rig. This ensuite cabin looks plush, has good stowage, is flooded with natural light and decked out with the requisite entertainment mod-cons
Guest cabins The ‘VIP’ cabin reaches below the saloon and is big enough for an owner to think twice about which suite to choose – it only loses to the forward cabin in headroom. The double berth can be mounted either longitudinally or transverse. Stowage space is a little limited as there is a 680lt fuel tank below the berth, but the tall wardrobe is practical. Opposite to starboard is an airy, versatile cabin that can be a small double, Pullman, office or galley – one Italian client even has a gym here
LOA 17.10m/56ft 1in
LWL 15.55m/51ft 0in
Beam (max) 5.20m/17ft iin
Draught 2.65m/8ft 8in
Disp (lightship) 24,500kg/54,013lb
Sail area (100% foretriangle) 156.7m2/1,687ft2
Engine Volvo shaft-drive 150hp
Sail area:disp 18.9
Price ex VAT €549,000 (£407,160)
Test boat €820,000 (£608,145)
Designed by Dixon Yacht Design
The Moody 54DS offers the ultimate in hospitality for a production yacht. She’s comparable in volume to a 65-footer and may even outmatch that in terms of views and comfort (but with half the price-tag). However, this means she should be treated as such, including the manoeuvring, loads and the systems to manage.
So, while there is no doubt this was the boat of choice for the Baltic in December, especially in harbour, once out at sea I was not so convinced. The size of the hull and superstructure makes for a lot of boat to manage when sailing or docking.
Owners of a 54DS will need to plan passages carefully to ensure a comfortable ride, but the pay-off is tremendous shelter from the elements. Arguably, the same applies to others in this market. The Moody 54DS sits in a bracket that will appeal to those also looking at motor yachts and cruising cats. A Lagoon 52, for example, is similar in price and weight for similar space, but the Moody provides greater sailing pleasure and has more of a semi-custom feel.
The electronics, engineering and machinery demonstrate commendable build quality. For those who put a high value on comfort and space – sensible if the majority of your time spent aboard is at a respectable angle – look no further.
This is an extract from a feature in Yachting World April 2015 issue