Formula Icon 54

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Formula Icon 54

Author : Barry Thompson


While Karizma has been set up for game fishing, the primary focus will be on general cruising, with three generations of the family set to enjoy the summer. Based in the small port of Kiama, 70 miles south of Sydney, Karizma is the eighth ICON 54 to be built, but the first with a fully enclosed flybridge and forward helm.

The owners had originally seen ICON #7, a fully spec’d game fishing version with game tower, solid front screens and the rear helm station in the semi enclosed flybridge, liked the hull lines, feel and performance of the boat, but didn’t want a full fishing battlewagon.

“The compromise was very easy for us to do and we were able to make the required changes without any problems, giving the owners the boat exactly as they wanted it”, said Troy Woods, sales and marketing manager for Formula Cruisers Ltd.

He adds, “We were very keen to build a Formula Icon 54 with a forward helm and fully enclosed flybridge as this opens the boat up to a whole new group of clients, who are not game fishing orientated”.

The previous seven ICON 54s have all had a smaller bridge with an aft helm, hardtop and rear clears, with Karizma built with a 650mm longer bridge, which enabled the helm to be moved to the forward position and add a rear bulkhead with an electric drop down window and larger upper deck with bench seat.

“Karizma is also the first with our new window styling, which offers a different, more modern profile that is also frameless, so there are no mullions or outer frame. We worked closely with Alutech, a local company, to develop the window shape and it has given us a noticeable increase in window area, while at the same time improving the look of the boat”, says Troy.

The owners of Karizma have also chosen the double-front windscreen option, the first since ICON #5, with ICON #6 & #7 both having the solid GRP arrangement. That, combined with the new side window profile, has accentuated the feeling of space and light and made a massive difference to the visual dimensions of the saloon.

Three-Cabin Layout

The accommodation layout has a VIP cabin for’ard with an island berth, master cabin to port with private en-suite and a twin-bunk guest cabin to starboard. Between the two guest cabins is a shared ensuite, which also acts as the day head, as the owners chose not to have a cockpit day head on Karizma.

The twin single bunk cabin is, like all the cabins, complete with its own aircon system and also has a fixed side port. The owners’ stateroom features a queen size island berth, and with a single-level sole all the way to the topsides, access all round is easy. Storage lockers are plentiful, plus the hanging lockers and night stands either side of the bed also have drawer storage.

The ensuite has a shower stall with a glass screen door, with polished cherry sole and Corian vanity top. It’s reasonably spacious, with excellent headroom, something that is evident throughout Karizma.

The VIP guest cabin has another queen size island berth with large drawers underneath, twin hanging lockers, upward and outboard cupboard storage, as well as a massive void under the berth itself. Both this cabin and the master also have the Raymarine ST70 Nightwatch display. The headboard panel is a feature of the cabin. Finished in metallic fabric with mirrors either side, it adds a modern theme to the layout.

“We can offer just about any accommodation layout a client wants within the space we have available, but to date what you see in Karizma has been in the other 54s, except that in ICON #7 the master cabin layout was arranged to accommodate more guests”, said Troy.

Spacious Saloon

Up in the saloon the area is split between a forward dining area and aft galley to port, with the internal staircase to the flybridge on the starboard side. Below the staircase is the full size F&P fridge-freezer, with the circuit breaker and switch panel alongside, well hidden behind a cherry timber door. All the interior timber and cabinetry of Karizma is cherry, with the main dining table accented with a maple inlay. Karizma is the first Formula to be fitted out with the new switch panel design that runs a standard BEP AC panel but on the DC side runs a BEP C-Zone system for monitoring and controls. The main advantage is that there is now one central control and monitoring display and being a network-based system, it doesn’t require copious wire cabling throughout the boat.

Every function on the touch screen replaces the traditional circuit breakers so the space required is also minimised.

The aft galley opposite incorporates all the necessary amenities such as microwave, four-burner hob with cooker, dish drawer and large Corian surfaces. There are plenty of dedicated drawers beneath for crockery, utensils etc. and a convenient cockpit servery.

The dining table is mounted on an electric pedestal which converts from a coffee or dining table height right down to form the base of another huge queen size plus berth. There’s seating around the U-shaped settee for 7-8 with the addition of a loose chair or ottoman. Storage is available under all the seating, either via drawers or front loading compartments.

Opposite are the glass rack and liquor cabinet, LCD TV and another settee, plus access to the flybridge. The pelmets have been redesigned and are now flush to the outside, which has created an even wider feeling of space and the drop-down centre panel has been changed for a flush high gloss Cherry timber section which offers a nice contrast to the light cream coloured macro-suede.

Fabulous Flybridge

The staircase to the enclosed flybridge has been changed from the previous models with lower risers and being further aft, has added 300mm in length to the side window. It is in the flybridge that the major alterations have been made and they have changed the whole concept of the 54.

The flybridge is 650mm longer, with the side windows following the same new, modern styling of the lower cabin side windows and like the downstairs windows provide those inside with an improved visual experience.

The helm features twin Navigator chairs facing towards a trio of Raymarine E140 hybrid touch screens and a very complete dash that has all the navigational and control systems easily at hand. Karizma is extremely well set out, with a lot of thought having gone into positioning of instruments, controls and switches so what’s needed can be quickly found and activated.

To port aft is an L-shaped settee that converts to a double berth with an infill and opposite a timber unit with a fridge and extra storage. The owners expect this area to be well utilised as a ‘fourth’ cabin. . The aft bulkhead includes a large electric drop down window providing plenty of airflow along with the deck hatches and opening side windows.

You step out through a large alloy and glass door onto the aft upper deck, complete with full width teak seating, seven rod holders mounted on a stainless steel railing and a secondary set of controls to be used as a docking station or when Karizma is in gamefishing mode.

Cruising Cockpit

The biggest change in the cockpit from previous ICON 54s is the side stairs, which have been split into two steps with lower risers for easier access to the side decks. Because Karizma is going to be used extensively for cruising, the owners have gone for two cockpit settees with removable tables on stainless steel Chatfield pedestals. Under the port settee is a big chest fridge/freezer and the space under the starboard one is used for storage. The extra overhang above from the extended flybridge provides plenty of protection, without the need for a small bimini cover.

There is the option of building in an alfresco dining area, but it would be at the expense of cockpit space. To transform the boat into game fishing mode, the twin tables are stowed away and a game chair is mounted in the centre of the cockpit. There are tag pole lockers built in forward of the cockpit, with a huge rod locker to starboard.

Karizma has a laid teak cockpit sole, circulating live bait tank with glass viewing screen in the aft coaming, copious storage lockers and another live catch tank under the boarding platform. There is also a removable electric BBQ and plenty of rod holders.

An electric drop-down window provides a good servery space through to the galley, with Stainless Down Under providing the custom-built saloon door.

Long Range

Accessible from the cockpit sole, the engine room is impeccably laid out and finished in a two-pack paint, so long term it should be easy to keep clean. Even with the twin MTU engines taking up most of the space, access all around is good. Just prior to the engine room, complete with  atertight doors is the service room with a washer/dryer, tool space, batteries and inverter/charger. Karizma runs the standard engines for the ICON 54, a pair of MTU Series 60s @ 825 hp each, which give a top speed of 32.8 knots. Other engine packages are available with greater or lesser horsepower, although to date every ICON 54 built has been launched with the MTU Series 60 engines. Fuel tankage is now 4000 litres and as the attached chart below shows, in passage making mode – NZ to Fiji or Australia – there’s ample fuel without adding extra tankage.

While the owners have chosen to ship the boat to Australia from Auckland, had they gone the sea route, with a 10% reserve and no extra fuel they could have done the trip non-stop at round 9.8 knots.

Based on starting the trip at Opua in the Bay of Islands, it is around 1240NM to Sydney. Lord Howe is 830NM from Opua and Lord Howe to Sydney is approximately 500NM

Getting Bigger

Karizma has certainly changed the ICON 54 as we know it and lifted the boat from its dedicated gamefishing image to one of a more versatile nature. The fact that it is still able to provide all the necessary attributes that make a serious gamefishing boat, but now with the addition of better cruising comforts, indicates just how versatile this design really is.

Formula Cruisers have a reputation for building boats to the very highest standards and Karizma is testimony to that. In my opinion Karizma is faultless in all aspects of construction and finish and has the performance and handling to match.

The ICON series is also available in 42, 58, 62 and 75 plus, but for now it seems that most of the interest has been in the ICON 54. Of the eight now built, three have gone to Australian owners with the rest staying in New Zealand. Troy Woods says that while the ICON 54 has had a great run, it is the ICON 58 that seems to be attracting the most attention at present.

“We are working with a number of clients right now, in both New Zealand and Australia, who like what we have done with the new hardtop on the 54, but want a bigger boat. Being able to offer a similar enclosed bridge on the 58 again opens up the potential market for the boat to a wider clientele”, says Troy.


  • Boat Design Name: ICON 54
  • Boat Name: Karizma
  • Year Launched: 2010
  • Designer: Grant Senior
  • Interior Designer: Formula Cruisers
  • Builder: Formula Cruisers
  • LOA: 17.8m
  • Length of hull: 16.4m
  • Beam: 5.65m
  • Draft: 1.2m
  • Displacement: 27,000 kg (full load)
  • Max Speed: 32.8 knots
  • Cruise Speed: 26 knots
  • Construction: Composite FRP
  • Fuel Cap: 4000 litres
  • Water Cap: 1000 litres
  • Engines Make: MTU Series 60, 825 hp x 2

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