Yacht Class n°25 (june-july-august 2021)
The second yacht in the Oceanis Yacht range, after the 62 launched in 2016, the 54 offers a modern and elegant design for ease of use, especially equipped with its furling mast as standard. The comfortable interiors are designed to be seaworthy, practical and refined to accommodate six people ready to enjoy the joys of cruising.
Written by Christophe Varène – Photos: Gilles Martin-Raget et Nicolas Claris
In these times of restrictions, each sea trip takes on a particular flavour, tenfold and intense. And when you go to Port Ginesta, south of Barcelona, to try out the brand new Oceanis Yacht 54, you know you’re in for a treat. With medium wind conditions – a breeze gently increasing from 8 to 15 knots, before gradually evaporating – and under a pleasant autumn sun, this latest addition to Beneteau’s cruising range will be able to express most of its potential and demonstrate its ability to offer its crew comfort and ease of handling. The latter is confirmed as soon as it leaves the quay, an operation carried out with ease thanks to Easy Sailing’s navigational aids: Under this term are grouped together the Ship Control, installed as standard – which manages all the technical data of the yacht (lighting, batteries, motorisation, tank gauges…) to which are added, as an option, the Assisted Sail Trim (AST) that adjusts the sails according to the apparent wind and the Dock & Go for port manoeuvres with its joystick, which controls the bow thruster and a saildrive base that pivots 360°. And it is indeed this last system that secures pontoon departures and approaches.
Performance meets expectations
Equipped with a furling mast and a furling genoa, sending the sails poses no difficulty and, even with a very small crew, the physical dimension of this operation on a conventional rigging disappears completely. Offered as standard, in order to maximise the pleasures of cruising, this configuration can be replaced by a traditional mast with, without doubt, a definite gain in performance: with an additional 1.80 m in height, the upwind sail area increases by 25 m2. With a light wind, around 8 knots, the speed of the Oceanis Yacht 54 exceeds 6 knots and will follow the reefing curve to stabilise at around 8.5 knots at 45° to the apparent wind. After a few tacks, which follow one another without fatigue and make you appreciate the boat’s reactivity, it is time to open the angle and replace the genoa with a 123 m2 Code 0 (135 m2 in the classic mast version). In a stronger wind at 13.5 knots, the speed increases to 9 knots and you can feel that the hull is just waiting to accelerate further. Biscontini Yacht Design had already collaborated with Beneteau for the First Yacht 53 and the Oceanis Yacht 54 offers the same sensations and the same level of performance. The return to port allows us to note the cruising speed of the engine, an 80 hp diesel, situated at 7.5 knots for a speed of 2 500 rpm, knowing that the maximum is a little over 8.5 knots.
An asset: the two helms
The helmsman takes advantage of the two steering stations to always position himself with the best possible view of the sails, which he can trim at will, without moving, with the winches and cleats within easy reach. He also has two control panels, the one on starboard being more dedicated to navigation with a nice B&G screen and the engine controls, while on port it is possible to manage the opening of the dinghy garage, the position of the cockpit tables and the lighting. Traffic is easy thanks to a clear deck plan forward, with two small steps on the catwalks to access the solarium installed in front of the mast, but also in the cockpit with the central passage between the two telescopic tables that can be transformed into a sunbathing area. As on the other Oceanis, the mainsheet is taken up on the hoop, thus freeing up space in this area, which is appreciated both at sea and at anchor. The transom opens onto a garage that can accommodate a tender, with inflated floats, of 2.40 m.
Bright and modern interior design
The meticulous design on the outside is reflected in the fittings, as the whole has been designed by Lorenzo Argento, with strong markers such as the clean lines and the constant concern to make the Oceanis Yacht 54 equally at ease and comfortable to sail as it is in port. Two atmospheres are proposed, walnut or light oak, the latter being the one of the test boat. The saloon is characterised by its contemporary and luminous aspect, but many details will be appreciated by sailors, starting with the practical descent with its two side uprights, the wood fiddles on all the furniture and the handrails fixed to the ceiling. The bow of this beautiful living area, illuminated by the numerous portholes in the hull, deck and deckhouse, is occupied on the starboard side by a beautiful table for six guests, as long as two extra stools are provided, and on the port side by the saloon with a comfortable sofa and a beautiful chart table, all of which makes the navigation station a place where several people can meet to study the day’s programme and the weather. Behind at the bottom of the companionway is a U-shaped galley, ergonomically designed to offer a position whatever the heel, and the presence of two small opening portholes above the cooker is also a plus.
The owner’s cabin, in which you have to go down a small step to increase the headroom, is at the front with a double bed on a central island and two small side benches. There is plenty of storage space with, among other things, two wardrobes and a cupboard with shelves and drawers. A toilet is located on the port side, while the shower cubicle is on the starboard side. Guests have two cabins of similar size at the stern, but there are two options for the shower rooms: on the one hand, a single space accessible either from one of the cabins or from the saloon, and on the other hand, two private bathrooms, but in this case the galley is cut by almost half of its surface area…
With six people on board, the Oceanis Yacht 54 offers real comfort and a good level of performance by playing on the clarity and generosity of her living spaces, but she also demonstrates a great ability to sail over the long term, with equipment focusing on ease of use and safety at sea.