Improving on perfection is never easy, but with the release of the daybridge version of the Belize 52, the builders have shown how it can be done.
When the idea behind the Belize 52 Daybridge was first discussed, the overriding criterion was not to lose the existing lines of the 52 Sedan, but rather offer an alternative styling on the same platform. Because of this, a closed-in hardtop was never in the mix, although a soft bimini was certainly a good option.
When I first saw the mock-up of the new Daybridge in the Kha Shing yard in Taiwan earlier this year, I came away with the impression that it was quite small. Almost too small and I thought it would be to the detriment of the existing 52 Sedan. Wow, how wrong I was!
When I finally saw the finished product at the recent Sydney International Boat Show, I was amazed at not only the space on the bridge, but also how it so easily blended into the original sedan design. It looks like it should have always been there – it certainly doesn’t look like an afterthought.
While Riviera (the Belize brand is now part of its stable) may pitch this as a daybridge boat, in essence it is a fully functional flybridge, sans the hard top and clears.
Below decks, everything is identical to the 52 Sedan apart from a stairwell from the cockpit to the bridge and the exclusion of the sliding sunroof on the cabin top.
“When we released the boat at SIBS the reaction was absolutely fantastic and for all four days, people were queued up to get on,” said Ryan Hanson, Belize Motor Yachts’ spokesman.
“We sold two 52 Daybridges directly from the show and when you add that to the six 52 Sedans already sold – all in just over 12 months – we are confident that we will receive more orders in the future,” he added.
It came as a surprise to me that he said that the interest in the new daybridge actually exceeded the interest in the sedan. “I think that some of our clients came along with a pre-conceived notion about the boat and expected a small, token open bridge, but once they saw it they were pleasantly surprised and keen to learn more”, said Hanson.
This new model features an elegantly curving deep-tread teak and stainless steel staircase, leading from the cockpit up to the bridge. Here you find a plush L-shaped lounge with high-low table, which can be converted to a second sun pad. There’s a wet bar opposite, including a drawer fridge, sink with hot and cold faucets, garbage bin and glass/bottle storage. From a single helm seat, complete with moulded footrest, you look onto a central helm facia with just enough controls and electronics for functional safety. The large wind-deflecting screen works very effectively, as I discovered during our test run on Sydney Harbour, through the Gap and up to Manly.
There were four of us aboard and we spent virtually all our time on the bridge. We had the added benefit of the soft top bimini to keep off the sun, which will be well appreciated in the summer. The upper helm is a neat place to drive the Belize 52 and while you don’t get that same sensation of speed – around 30 knots – as you do at the lower helm, it is amazingly quiet.
If the weather turns nasty then you can always retreat from the upper helm area and head down to the saloon, where the second helm is located. The styling of the centreline helm is very automotive in appearance, and very functional in layout. The main helm station is impressive, with a joystick control, two 15-inch Raymarine multifunction glass screens flanked by a pair of SmartCraft digital tachometers, a chain counter for precision anchoring, electric steering with adjustable wheel, auto-pilot, and cockpit video cameras keeping you in the picture on boat extremities. You have the comfort of driving from a Treben Italian electric leather helm seat, with matching passenger seat that has a fore-and-aft chaise lounge lying alongside.
The saloon is easily described as being social and with its teak flooring throughout is ready made tough and durable. High windows and plenty of glass mean you have great all-round visibility. Electric blinds drop down on the side windows, should you want some privacy or sun protection. It wouldn’t matter if you were working in the galley, at the helm, or relaxing on the starboard side lounge, you still feel very much part of what else is happening around you.
To port is the fore-aft galley, complete with overhead and under-bench storage, microwave convection oven, twin pull-out AC/DC fridge drawers, a single pull-out freezer drawer and a three-burner induction cooktop. Corian is used on the bench top but you also have the choice of granite. A glass hopper window provides for easy serving through to the cockpit guests.
The bespoke nature of the boat and yard means that you can have modifications to the standard plan done reasonably easily. An example is that in an earlier Belize 52 the owner replaced the forward bar and storage locker at the end of the galley with a swing-out chair and small office bureau for a laptop.
To starboard is the rear-facing L-shaped settee, with deep storage drawers beneath. You have the choice of a high-low dining table that converts to another berth or a fixed table with plate and crockery storage built in. There is a dedicated entertainment unit that includes a Bose media centre connected to flush mounted surround sound speakers, an iPod dock and a Blue-ray player for the LCD TV.
To date, all the Belize 52s have been sold with walnut timber finish, although there are other timber options available. Personally, I love the richness of matt walnut and the way it blends so well with the two-pot paint finishes. Classy, and befitting the image and high standard of perfection you would expect to find in the Belize.
The Belize 52 is offered in either a two- or three-cabin layout, but to date all have been three-cabin, two-bathroom. All cabins are individually air conditioned, have flat screen TVs and are generously proportioned. The forward VIP cabin has a large double berth, huge fixed portholes either side, lots of natural light, a bureau with swing-out seat and cedar lined hanging lockers on both sides. There are plenty of storage options, such as the four-drawer storage under the berth and even a separate chart table which may come in handy should the electronics fail.
Double door access means the forward ensuite can be used also as the day head. The fully moulded unit has great headroom and like the entire Belize, all of the fittings, be they the latches holding the cupboards closed, or the door hinges, are of the highest quality.
You have your choice of coloured two-pot painted accents to individualise the look, and the choice of changing the conventional toilet lid to a timber one to match the décor. There’s a raised bowl on the lightweight granite veneer vanity and a generously sized shower with a glass door.
To starboard is the second guest accommodation, with twin upper and lower berths complete with TV, nightstand in timber and leather finish, hanging locker, plus opening deck and side ports. This is also the cabin that can be replaced as a lounging area and left open or even utilised as an office if the two-cabin option is chosen.
The subtle interior of the full-beam master stateroom utilises surface materials that blend well together, with the finishes and grain of wood creating patterns of rich complexity. Again, small touches, such as the recessed mirrors, reflect quality with fastidious care and attention gone into the smallest detail.
Opening portholes either side provide for cross flow ventilation and a lounge to port, beside the centre king size double berth, is ideal for quiet time or to sit and read. The bed base lifts for extra storage, and that’s something this cabin doesn’t lack…there is plenty in drawers, cupboards and hanging lockers.
The master bathroom has a large walk-in shower cubicle with frameless glass shower door, teak on the sole and a Grohe shower set. Belize uses a large single moulding to form the bathroom and toilet area and like the day head area is also finished with a granite solid surface vanity and raised bowl.
An interesting feature of both ensuites is that for the practicality of cleaning, the entire sole is removable.
The Belize 52 Daybridge’s focus is certainly pitched towards enjoying the outdoors and a lot of attention has been devoted to making the most of that experience.
The wide walk-around side decks make it easy to get from the cockpit to the huge sunpad, which sprawls along the centreline of the forward deck. Moving aft, the swim platform’s centre section rises and lowers hydraulically to allow easy access to the transom’s electric tender ‘garage’, which has plenty of space for a 3m tender and outboard that can be easily loaded by the built-in electric winch. Above the garage is another hatch that lifts to reveal the electric barbecue and sink. The teak decking is standard.
The cockpit features a rear lounge with plenty of storage underneath and an optional high-low table. To the port side is a breakfast bar with swivel stools and icemaker, which by sunset serves as the ideal spot to enjoy a cold drink while taking in the view. Overhead, the GRP roof extension is further extended with a stainless steel framed soft bimini complete with built-in LED lights.
Power by Zeus
As in the 52 Sedan, there is only one power option for the 52 Daybridge – a pair of Cummins QSC 600s through Zeus pod drives. Maximum speed in light trim is around 30 knots.
One of the advantages of the Zeus pod drive system is that it comes as a complete package with steering, trim tabs, drive train, gearboxes and drives. Virtually everything from the steering wheel to the propeller is included. The other advantage is that it adds at least 1m of useable space in the accommodation areas, which in the Belize has been well utilised in the owner’s stateroom.
When we reviewed the Belize 52 Sedan in our Jan 2012 issue, we mentioned an economical cruise of around 22-24 knots, where the boat has a range of approx. 360 nautical miles (with a 10% margin). Performance orientated perhaps, but it’s still able to return excellent fuel figures throughout the range.
The bespoke Belize Motor Yacht line is inspired by classic timeless style, incorporating traditionalism with Australian practicality. Like the 52 Sedan that has gained unprecedented acceptance in the short time it has been on the market, the 52 Daybridge retains the same elegance and sophistication that will unquestionably ensure its future success.
Hanson says that they like to have the closest possible relationship between themselves and their clients so they can be involved with every aspect of the build process.
“Most of our owners have visited the factory in Taiwan during the boat’s construction period and this gives them the opportunity to get involved with some of the smaller detail, even if it’s just making sure the drawers in the galley are the right size to fit their crockery”, says Hanson.
Highly regarded Taiwanese boat building yard, Kha Shing, has been carefully selected to build the superbly crafted Belize motor yachts. The Belize Motor Yacht line uses resin-infused composite construction with a double vinylester outer skin, stepped collision bulkhead and independent foam-filled hull compartments.
Kha Shing has more than 35 years of experience in building luxury vessels and is not only ISO certified and builds to that quality management standard, but it also constructs in compliance with a virtual alphabet of international maritime codes such as, CE Mark, RINA, BV (Bureau Veritas), DNV, MCA, ABYC and NSW Waterways.
Such is the quality and the confidence in the brand, a five-year structural warranty is offered by Belize.
In my opinion, the Belize 52 offers quality, style, refinement, design and finish of the very highest possible standard, that is as good as you will find in any much larger superyacht.
- Boat Design Name: Belize 52 Daybridge
- Year Launched: 2012
- Designer: Riviera Design Team
- Interior Designer: Riviera Design Team
- Builder: Kha Shing Enterprises
- LOA: 16.10m
- LOH: 15.35m
- Beam: 5.03m
- Draft: 1.05m
- Displacement (dry): 22000kg
- Max Speed: 30.5 knots
- Cruise Speed: 22.0 knots
- Construction: resin-infused GRP
- Classification: CE
- Fuel Cap: 2400 litres
- Water Cap: 700 litres
- Engines Make: 2 x Cummins QSC600/Zeus
- Gearboxes: Zeus
- Drive Train: Zeus Pod
- Propellers: M8
- Generator: Onan EQD 17.5 kVA
- Inverter/Charger: Mastervolt
- Air Conditioning: Cruisair
- Anchor Winch: Muir
- Anchors: Custom S/S
- Steering: Cummins
- Engine Controls: Cummins
- Lighting: Hella
- Underwater Lights: Aqualuma
- Paint (Antifouling): International
- Hatches: Man Ship
- Wipers: Exalto
- Windscreens: Alfab
- Porthole Hatches: Man Ship
- Heads: Tecma Silence
- Woodwork: Walnut & Teak
- Rise & Fall Platform: Davco
- Tender: Brig Falcon 300
- Stainless Steel Fab: In House
- Saloon Doors: Aritex
- Upholstery: Leather & Ultraleather
- Autopilot: Raymarine
- GPS/Plotter/Sounder: Raymarine GPM 400
- Radar: Raymarine
- VHF: Raymarine
- Entertainment Systems: Bose
- Digital Switching: BEP C-Zone
- Base Price of Boat: $A1,559,000
- Price As Tested: $A1,577,290