Time spent on a luxury machine such as the Belize 54 is as much an outdoors experience — maybe more so — than it is an indoor one.
A lot of attention has been devoted to making the most of that experience.
A huge sunpad sprawls along the centreline of the forward deck, drink holders and music controls right alongside.
Going aft, the swim platform’s centre section raises and lowers hydraulically (its teak decking standard, by the way).
This grants easy access to the transom’s electric ‘garage’ door and space for a three-metre tender and outboard that can be easily loaded by the built-in electric winch.
Above the garage, there’s another hatch that lifts to reveal the electric BBQ and sink, with helpful LED lighting in the raised hood overhead.
Backed up to that, in the cockpit is a rear lounge with good storage under, and a folding, multi-use hi-lo table.
More storage again (you can’t have too much) is provided by the wet bar with fridge and icemaker console and its adjacent mezzanine seat (replaced with the stair ladder on the 54 Flybridge).
To the port side, an unusual, and most welcome feature: a cosy corner breakfast bar with folding stools.
By sunset, of course, it serves nicely as an ideal spot for drinking in the view.
The sense of any classical or retro references quickly disappear when we examine the technical side of the 54.
There’s nothing at all nostalgic or backward-glancing about resin-infused composite construction, double vinylester outer skin, or watertight, stepped collision bulkhead and independent foam-filled hull compartments. Or a deck both screwed and glued to the hull, with the final seam girded by a full-perimeter 60mm 316 stainless steel rub rail.
About the only backward-looking aspect in the engineering department is the twin aft-facing Cummins Zeus 3000 bronze pod drives, with through-hub underwater exhausts and very advanced lightweight, immensely strong carbon fibre driveshafts to reduce weight and horsepower loss.
Delivering all the 600 horsepower available are twin, highly-evolved Cummins QSC, 6-cylinder turbocharged diesels.
Mated to the highly-refined hull, you can look forward to a top speed of around 30 knots, a 25 knots cruise and a comfortable range, at 22 knots, of 400 nm, still leaving a safety margin of 10% reserve fuel.
Boating’s learned a lot in the many decades since the golden age of wood.
Like anti-vibration engine mountings on two-pack, white epoxy-coated I-beams.
And double layers of acoustic and thermal lagging that swathe the engine room — even on the ceiling — all faced with white perforated aluminium insulation panels.
No doubt the old world of analogue needle gauges would find it hard to believe a vessel entirely wired and monitored using BEP CZone digital switching, networked to an 8-inch touchscreen.
Or battery banks providing backups for the backups: four Mastervolt 24v sealed GEL batteries for engines alone, four more for domestic service, and even a dedicated 120AH GEL just for generator starting. As well as two battery chargers; plus an inverter to power the Bose sound system, some three LCD TV’s, and icemaker.
Would the old craftsmen think it overkill to install some four electric bilge pumps, have each ball valve in polished stainless, fit anti-siphon loops, Head Hunter odourless sanitary hoses and double hose clamps on every underwater fitting?
They wouldn’t. Nor do we.
But they might well shake their heads in wonder at the joystick controls for close quarters manoeuvring. To say nothing of Raymarine GPS connected to the Cummins autopilot/skyhook touch pad.