When I hear Vicem, I immediately think of a meticulously hand-crafted yacht, built using a cold moulded build process and mahogany timbers. This Turkish yard is one of the few 'production' builders in the world that still uses this construction style. However, while they still retain the heritage of building the 'old fashioned' way, they now offer some of their models in fibreglass composite. One such model is the Classic 55.
This cold moulded process involves applying layers of thin solid-wood veneers, oriented at different angles, to be saturated by epoxy over a computer-designed mould. With substantial forward orders for the Vicem 55, the company needed to move on from this somewhat slow build process. With the Vicem 55, construction is the more conventional fibreglass method using GRP, sandwich PVC and vinyl ester resin. The 55 Classic 55 falls in the middle of Vicem’s Custom range, which spans from 14m to 24m overall. Available in sedan style or flybridge, the Classic 55 typifies what Vicem boats are all about. Classic style with modern amenities. With over 150 boats built over the last twenty-five years, the Vicem 55 Classic has stood out as one of the company’s most popular models. While the Vicem 55 is the first of this model in Australia, there are already several Vicem’s cruising the local coastal waters.
The blend of a luxurious and comfortable cruising experience, with its sleek lines and spacious interior, makes the Classic 55 a superb cruising boat for Kiwis and Aussies. There is no escaping from the distinctive external profile of the Classic range, which is very reminiscent of the iconic lobster boats of Maine. While with the 55 Classic, Vicem has not forgotten the timber tradition that radiates through the entire boat. Teak is in Vicem’s DNA, and the 55 is no exception. Teak decks, cockpit sole, swim platform, multiple tables and tow rails are all teak. Fashioned to the highest standard, the teak finish brings back the classic boat era, when timber was the paramount choice of boat building. The yacht’s interior is finished with high-gloss or semi-glass, mahogany or oak combined with modern materials and fittings, there is a seamless blend.
Vicem is a semi-custom boat builder, so you can change layouts. The first 55 Classic in Australia featured a traditional two-cabin, two ensuite design. Other options include a three-cabin format, which sees the downstairs galley moved upstairs. Our 55 Classic featured a master stateroom forward and a VIP to starboard, each with its ensuite bathroom, with the VIP bathroom doubling as the day head. The large ensuite comes complete with a mosaic-lined shower cubicle and rain shower. A forepeak master has a queen-sized island berth with abundant storage options, including deep-hanging lockers. The proliferation of oak or mahogany timber, offset by light fabrics and roof panelling, is accentuated by large hull windows, allowing natural light to flood the cabin. While the boat is fully air-conditioned, all the cabins have opening side ports, with an extra deck hatch in the master. There is an obvious perception of attention to making even the smallest detail as perfect as possible, with the interior a masterpiece in detailing. Just look at the joinery; you can see that the builders are artisans when working with timber. The VIP stateroom has a pair of generous single berths with an infill to form a double. Like the master stateroom, storage is plentiful, and an extra-large hull window lets in plenty of natural light. If you need more accommodation, there is an additional Pullman berth in the saloon. As this was the two-cabin model, the galley is downstairs and while not so common on locally built boats, it works fine. The large atrium brings plenty of light and spaciousness to the galley, so you don’t feel confined. The Classic 55 lacks for nothing when preparing a meal, with a convection microwave, two burner hob, two drawer fridge freezer and plenty of storage space below the composite bench and above. If you go for the three-cabin model, this space is replaced by a twin berth cabin with two single berths, with the galley above the saloon deck level. With the galley down, the saloon is exposed to plenty of seating and in the case of our boat, we had a settee lounger on either side with a moveable coffee table and a couple of ottomans. Even when the galley is brought into the saloon and replaces the atrium, the seating layout mostly stays the same.
TRADITIONAL OR MODERN
When you take delivery of a new Vicem Classic 55 Sedan, it comes complete. The electronics package is your choice, with the owner of our boat favouring a pair of Garmin 12″ screens. The dash is available in either traditional or modern. The traditional layout is a timber finish with a two-tier console to flush mount your electronics, controls, Fusion head unit, switches, etc. The modern option is all about leather and chrome. It is up to you to choose a style. I like the traditional look as it is more in keeping with the visual aspects of the rest of the boat. Simple, practical and everything at an easy reach. A double helm chair is fixed, with a pantograph door alongside for easy access to the side deck and in case you need to go forward to sort out an anchoring issue. All interior and exterior fabrics are finished with diamond pattern stitching and an extremely high level of fit and finish. The top-tier woodwork with high-gloss varnish is another upgraded option, as is the choice of timbers. The saloon and accommodation areas remain the same for the flybridge version of the Classic 55, with an external staircase from the starboard side of the cockpit.
Beautifully finished timber sliding doors lead to the cockpit, which is spacious with ample seating for all guests. The Vicem Classic 55 cockpit lends itself to entertain with a large L-shaped lounger to starboard, overhead shade provided by the cabin overhang, and a soft bimini extension. In keeping with tradition, the cockpit sole is genuine teak, with a high gloss timber finish high/low table. The cap rails, coamings and external handrails are mahogany, as are the entire rear bulkhead and doors. To port is a fridge and BBQ, with copious storage throughout the cockpit. There is a single access to the full-width boarding platform and outdoor shower.
The Vicem Classic 55 Sedan is powered by a pair of Volvo Penta IPS650s, providing a top speed of 26 knots and a cruising speed of around 20 knots. Based on 90% fuel available, the boat returns a range of approximately 280 nm at 20 knots, using 6.6 lpnm. Interestingly, the range varies very little from 2600 rpm (310 nm) to 3400 rpm (280nm), showing how efficient this hull is. Even at maximum rpm with the fuel burn at 188 litres total, you still get a 250nm range. It’s an easy boat to drive, and a bow thruster certainly helps when returning to the marina’s berth. Even in rough seas, the deep-V hull ensures a smooth and stable ride.
The Vicem Classic 55 is traditional yet modern and will appeal to anyone looking for a coastal cruiser, day boat or a vessel for entertaining their friends. The option of a two or three-cabin layout in either sedan or flybridge means the Classic 55 will appeal to a broader market. I have reviewed very few boats built in Turkey, and I must admit I was super impressed with the overall finish and detailing, especially with the woodwork. Blending the durable grp hull with a powerful presence of timber, Vicem has taken the classic look of its old-style heritage and firmly placed it into today’s market.
- BOAT DESIGN NAME Vicem Classic 55
- DESIGNER Vicem Yacht Design Team
- COUNTRY OF ORIGIN Turkey
- YEAR LAUNCHED 2023
- PRICE AS TESTED $NZD2.7m
- STYLE Sedan Cruiser
- BUILDER Vicem Yachts
- LOA 16.85m
- BEAM 4.41m
- DRAFT 1.12m
- DISPLACEMENT (DRY) 24.8 tonne
- MAX SPEED 26 knots
- CONSTRUCTION GRP & Vinlyester Resin
- FUEL CAP 2000 litres
- ENGINE MAKE 2 x Volvo Penta IPS 650
- MFD 2 x Garmin 16
- TABS Bennett
- ENT SYSTEM Fusion
- WINCH LOFRANS X3
- LIGHTING LED
- BOW THRUSTER Sidepower
- AIR CON Dometic