In his interior arrangements, Koroglu benefited from the extra space afforded by the IPS installation. The master stateroom sits amidships on the port side, across from the galley. Forward, the VIP stateroom and the over/under guest room can be closed off to create a private suite, with an en suite head. The guest head features the same marble countertops, large shower and mahogany cabinetry as the master.
In the engine compartment, the room gained from IPS is readily apparent. The bright Awlgrip is illuminated by LED lights, with a lot of space to move around the engines and the pod units. Vicem worked with Volvo Penta to match the pod system with this boat, so everything is engineered to precise detail. The engine blocks are mounted directly to the stringers, built to bear their specific load. Moving forward in the engine compartment, I poked my head through a fire door and eyeballed space gained up front, the separate section for ship systems, as well as extra space for stowage belowdecks.
When we cleared the no-wake zones and had nothing but open water in front of us, Boehmer and I put those twin diesels to the test. Glass-calm conditions meant we had to make our own rough seas with sharp turns back into our wake. The increased maneuverability gained from pod-drives is well documented, and I found that proved true at the helm of this 54-footer as we carved turns like those of a slalom skier. I grew particularly fond of the Humphrey auto trim tabs, which adjusted according to need as we climbed onto plane, banked into turns and encountered whatever small chop we could muster, though I wish we could have had some real seas to put the 54 Bahama Bay’s hull to the test.
For all the beautifully crafted mahogany joinery in the salon and belowdecks, to me the wood you can’t see is what’s most impressive. Vicem constructs its hulls via the cold-molding process, cross-planking mahogany veneers, impregnating them with West System epoxy and covering it all with layers of E-glass. The result is a hull with a superior strength-to-weight ratio compared with conventional fiberglass molding techniques, and with the solid feel of wood moving through the water. In our calm seas, the 54 moved effortlessly as we accelerated to 30 knots at wide-open throttle. At 20 knots we settled into a pleasant cruising speed and enjoyed watching other boaters watch us.
People kept staring as we returned to the marina, and a crowd awaited us on the pier as we lined up our slip. Nothing adds pressure to a tight docking situation like an audience, but of course the IPS joystick controls make it all go away. Our test boat had an additional feature, a remote joystick control hidden in the armrest of the after settee in the cockpit. Once we had the boat lined up, we could walk back to the cockpit and bring her home from there, keeping an eye on the swim platform and the concrete bulkhead while working the joystick. The after controls are a popular feature in Europe and one that American captains might consider. I’d hate to see someone scuff up the teak swim platform, the only exposed wood on the Bahama Bay series besides the mahogany doors leading to the salon. Like the paneling around the flatscreen, it’s all seamless and beautiful.
If there’s one thing to remember about the Vicem 54 Bahama Bay, it’s the wood that makes it good.
Displ.: 60,627 lb.
Fuel: 635 gal.
Water: 265 gal.
Deadrise: 12 degrees
Power: 2 x 700 hp Volvo Penta IPS 900 diesels
Vicem Yachts USA, 954-462-8828; www.vicemyacht.com
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