BOAT TEST: BELIZE 52 DAYBRIDGE

By: TONY MACKAY, Photography by: BELIZE MOTORYACHTS

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  • Trade-A-Boat

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There is a charming old song from a Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Dean Martin movie that jauntily proclaims “You’ve either got or you haven’t got style” and if you have, like the Belize 52 Daybridge, “you stand out a mile”.

BOAT TEST: BELIZE 52 DAYBRIDGE
Boat tester Tony Mackay failed to find any faults on the Belize 52 Daybridge motoryacht.

In a pond of generic lookalikes, it is rather refreshing to arrive at the Belize 52 Daybridge, take a long and lingering look, and realise that something special for the new-boat owner has finally arrived.

A collaboration of efforts by Wes Moxey and Lee Dillion, both highly regarded for their efforts with the Riviera brand, the Belize brief was to develop a product with classic looks and stylish design features that would stand apart from the general milieu. In many cases, the popularity of some cruisers styles had made it almost impossible to determine who is who, however as the snappy lines and stylish profile of the Belize enters the bay a glimpse of instant recognition will certainly prevail.

From stem to stern and at all positions in between, those with beady eyes will feast on a wealth of design features, painstakingly conceived and superbly executed. With so many years listening to the clients using the boats and judging them in the critical light of day, Moxey and Dillon are two men able to bring something fresh and clever to the table. But not just a flashy, gimmick-laden product, the Belize oozes practicality and the full spectrum of features most buyers in the cruising category desire. The specification list goes on for pages as do the superbly presented decoration-choice books, whose sample fabrics, colours, textures and timbers offer owners an opportunity for a bespoke finish. Nothing has been left to chance and it is so very clear that the instructions to the builders are simple - only the best, please.

Being able to create a timeless classic is not an easy task as everyone has an opinion as to what pleases and what fails. To my mind, the new Daybridge model has added a very welcome addition to the styling package. Not that the standard model fails in any respect, it is just that the highlighted sweep of glass and panels meld together in a synchronised swathe that delights the eye.

Of course the average person gets bamboozled by designers and their rather highbrow chatter, damming those of us so crass as to murmur the dreaded expression, "I know what I like", to get thrown out of any art gallery worldwide. However, we either like things or not, and I very much enjoyed reviewing the Belize, not just from a styling perspective but also to see how it would all work in practice. Welcome aboard!



GLAMOUR CRUISER

The days of primitive boating, with a few lights and some hot water, are long past. Modern buyers demand creature comforts, and with every conceivable amenity the Belize does not disappoint. In some respects this makes it busy but one does not want to be without all the goodies and in any case option lists are usually well ticked. The Belize wants for little from a comprehensive suite of electronics, air-conditioning, entertainment, cooking and refrigeration stuff all concealed or displayed as required in a superb blend of timber paneling, soft leathers and beautifully-textured fabrics and carpets.

The immediate impression is of high-quality everything, smartly presented and laid out. In fact, it is all a treat for the eyes and one takes quite a while to sit in each area and simply soak-up the obvious time and thought that has gone into the sum of the parts.



A TOUR DE FORCE

The full-beam moulded and laid-teak boarding platform has stairs to either side, with a tender garage in the middle. Forward of this the spacious cockpit has a large sofa and high/low table sitting atop luscious teak decks. The cockpit has a breakfast/drinks bar adjacent to the port bulkhead, which doubles as a buffet servery from the galley.

A variety of folding options opens the saloon and cockpit depending on the weather or mood, however, with everything open and a balmy day, one is ready to plop down on the sofa, pour a drink and make light work of a quality cheese platter. With a dedicated chef producing endless treats in the European inspired and fully equipped galley, one would be loathed to move an inch unless the mood changed and a shift to the luxurious saloon, with dining table and convertible L-shaped sofa, was appropriate. A large LCD TV rises from its aft compartment when it becomes showtime, however it would be a pity to impede the view.

The saloon and galley, being in the same area, have a beautiful teak floor, which is both attractive and practical for general living. Wet feet, spilt food and general grime merely wipe away, negating the carpet covers that many boats are forced to use in these areas. The galley is a work of art, combining a Miele induction cooktop, a convection microwave, Vitrifrigo fridge/freezer units, and an optional dishwasher and range hood. It looks fabulous and is conveniently connected to all the entertaining areas.

The companionway to port takes one past the starboard helm station, which is another demonstration of styling excellence. Comprising two pods mounted over a broad dash panel, the switches and fittings have the custom look of a very sophisticated car dashboard, possibly the techno brilliance of a Mercedes Benz melded with the styling ingenuity of a Citroen. Two Raymarine panels are in each of the pods and all the various accessories are seamlessly positioned for ergonomic ease of use and functionality.

Unlike the just-shove-it-in-somewhere approach of some builders, the team at Belize have sat and considered everything and one can only imagine the closed-door discussions and heated arguments debating how to get this "just right". Three helm seats allow skipper and guests to enjoy the ride and panoramic racing car view. Three large synchronised wipers will make light work of rain or spray, a waft of air-conditioning fluttering the hair (or bald spots) of the crew..



BREATHE THE AIR

At this point one must stop and extend a big thank-you to the Belize designers. Glorious fresh air is quite simply everywhere! The opening ports, windows, and hatches with screens have all been thoughtfully placed to make the most of what one is really on a boat for; nature. Her gentle breezes, even the invigorating chill of a winter storm are such wondrous and intoxicating components so many boatbuilders lock out. Pity. It is what I go boating for.

Gliding down the few steps forward to the cabins one is immediately attracted to the splendid island bed in the bow. All the best fabrics and fittings, entertainment and climate control systems, spacious storage opportunities and access into a simply fabulous en suite one is inclined to exclaim: "What a great master suite!" But no, the master suite is aft and it suddenly seems rather remarkable how all these spaces are so huge and comfortable in only 52 feet. The real master has a wonderful bed that required immediate testing, and frankly I was loathe to leave. The whole
thing opens-up to reveal a cavernous storage (wine cellar!) and the large chrome portholes allow more light and breeze into this midship cabin.

Similarly styled and beautifully detailed are the main and en suite heads. Grohe fittings, stunning floors, Tecma heads and great ventilation all dazzle among the granite vanity tops, mirror cupboards and easy-clean surfaces. A third guest cabin sports upper and lower bunks, and the same array of storage, climate and entertainment goodies. Great for children, particularly with a stout lock and some soundproofing!



ON THE FLY

Belize calls it a day bridge as it has slightly limited equipment from down below, however it is really what the true and original moniker flying bridge is all about. Flinty wartime captains, eyes peeled for the enemy had unimpeded vision and the great joy of being in touch with the sea. Unlike a metal conning tower with talking tube to the engineroom, one can take command of the Belize Daybridge in complete comfort - a gathering of friends on the large sofa, the high/low table ready for lunch or drinks from the wetbar/mini galley and a soft canvas bimini to provide shelter from the sun. Glorious stuff, and such a wonderful respite from the dreaded clears and the smell of plastic. With an all-weather lower helm, why make the day bridge into an oxygen tent? The clever people at Belize have not and I do thank them for it.

Powering-up the twin 600hp Cummins diesels with Zeus pod drives, one has the option of either a joystick or twin electronic levers for those happy to keep their skill-base up to the mark. It is deliciously intoxicating to have the full confidence of almost mistake-proof docking, particularly in the event of bad weather or in the face of neurotic passengers.

The performance is smooth and strong from this tank-tested hull and proven engine package, the Belize easily slinking onto the plane and whooshing off into the open sea. Indeed, the speed becomes rather disguised by the smooth agility of the boat, short chop demolished, tight turns all in her stride.

With a top speed of just under 30kts, my usual 17 to 20-knot cruise is quiet and economical and easily achievable in most conditions. Raymarine equipment provides navigation and features GPS, radar, autopilot and three cameras for bow, stern and engineroom. The list is too long to cover but is comprehensive and thoughtfully specified with top-quality products for longevity and reliability.

The engineroom has two access hatches in the cockpit deck, The Cummins and their 17kVa Onan 'sister' are conveniently fitted and all the plumbing, wiring and general equipment well placed for servicing. After a hard and fast run, it was quite astounding how cool the engineroom was; fresh, clean and perfectly ventilated. Dip the oils and coolant, wipe everything down and leave the rest to the service experts, none of whom have to enter the saloon to gain access to the major mechanicals.



BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!

The sidedecks are done in a well-deck manner, partially recessed and with beautifully styled, elliptical stainless steel railings. Excellent cleats and fairleads impress, yet the piece de resistance is certainly the custom-made bowroller and anchor system, cunningly recessed into the bow and a vision of polished metal. Revealed by opening the teak deck hatches, the anchor is also monitored by the camera and cleaned by a high-pressure deckwash, and there is plenty of storage available for lines and fenders. The recessed decks give a great feeling of safety and would particularly appeal to parents with young children. A large sunpad will assist for those desiring the luscious golden tan of the rich and famous.

One can confidently say that the attention to detail and high-quality finishes is the signature of the Belize 52. One really has to move from cabin to cabin, sit quietly and soak it all in. Every little fixture and fitting, every storage cabinet and those stunning bathroom and corridor floors create a quiet sensation of exciting styling and cutting-edge craftsmanship.





[HIGHS]

› Unmistakably individualistic lines

› Comprehensively outfitted and appointed

› Extensive range of fabrics, colours and other detailing options

› Maximum use of light and ventilation; a truly alfresco experience





[LOWS]

› This writer failed to find a fault of significance





[TRADE-A-BOAT SAYS… ]

You can believe in the Belize; believe that the designers have made a stylish concept into a fashionable reality. Believe also that the pooled engineering, construction and quality standards garnered over years of experience take the styling onto another level of seagoing competence. Seeing is believing.





PRICED FROM

$1,559,000 w/ twin 600hp Cummins QSC8.3



OPTIONS FITTED

Metallic paint, washer/dryer, teak sidedecks, cockpit awnings, and more



GENERAL

MATERIAL Handlaid GRP hull w/ vinylester resin layers

TYPE Modified V-bottom planing monohull

LENGTH 16.1m (overall); 15.35m (hull)

BEAM 5.03m

DRAFT 1.05m

WEIGHT 22.1 tonnes



CAPACITIES

PEOPLE (NIGHT) 6

FUEL 2400lt

WATER 700lt

HOLDING TANK 380lt



ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL 2 x Cummins QSC8.3 Zeus pod drives

DISPLACEMENT 8.3lt (each)

RATED HP 600 (each)



SUPPLIED BY

Riviera Australia,

50 Waterway Drive,

Coomera, QLD, 4209

Phone: (07) 5502 5555

Fax: (07) 5502 5599

Web: www.riviera.com.au

 

Originally published in Trade-a-Boat magazine, 436, January #2013

Find Belize boats for sale.

 


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