June 21, 2013

Classics - Bertram 54 (1981 - 2001)

Picking a classic is always hard, and this becomes near to impossible when you mention a company like Bertram.  The company Dick Bertram created, made waves in 1960 its start, thanks to the Ray Hunt designed 31 model.  In those years Bertram and Hunt invented the Deep Vee hull, and also created production boat building as it is known today.
One can easily say that most of the models Bertram build up until the nineties can be regarded as classics nowadays. Still the 54 is one of Bertram's most iconic and admired models.  In the people's mind the 54 is challenged only with the smaller and more affordable 31 sold in over 1800 units in its various versions for a production run lasting 23 years.
David Napier designed every Bertram from 1972 till 1998, with his first design being the 28 which was very much an inspiration to the Ray Hunt 31 which started the company. Born as a 53 project, for the Bertram 54 Napier set the trends in the sport-fish category creating the modern era of the genre, but also in yachts over fifty feet.  Important note that since its launch the 54 is highly regarded as one of the most sea worthy yachts of its size and class even today thirty years plus after its launch. Considering that any sport-fish has to be a good ride that is high testament to the status the 54 has among this genre aficionados.
For the Bertram 54, designer David Napier followed what he started with the 46 a decade earlier with a modified Vee shaped hull featuring a deep entry and lowering itself to a medium aft dead rise of seventeen degrees.  Napier and Bertram again made school and while the Hunt deep design was revolutionary in the 1960's, the 46 from Napier invented a more cruising approach to the Vee shape ideal suited for high cruise speeds and larger yachts of over fifteen meters and around the thirty knots range.
Accommodation wise the Bertram 54 was offered with three interior layouts all having three double cabins, and two or three heads. In a long term production run many make up changes where made over the years both inside and outside, with the most notable modernized fix coming in 1998 from Italian design firm Studio Faggioni.
The Bertram 54 had a production run of twenty years from 1981 till 2001, with the last decade being a start and stop situation build due to the luxury tax of 1993, and the negative effect this had on the North American boating industry in the period it was on and the aftermath left after.   
Specifications: 
LOA - 16.46 m (54ft)
Beam - 5.16 m
Draft - 1.57 m
Displacement - 35 t
Fuel Capacity - 4500 l
Water Capacity - 950 l
Accommodation - Three different layouts. 6 berths in 3 double cabins, two or three heads version
Engines - 2 x GM 850hp, Cats 1400
Propulsion - direct line shaft
Speeds - 37 knots max with the later builds equipped with Cats 1400hp units
Hull Shape - modified Vee shape with forward 45 degrees entrance, and 17 deadrise aft
Project - David Napier hull and design, 1998 Studio Faggioni interior and exterior make up changes
Variations - forward windscreen option was possible in early models, later versions 1985 onward had no central pillar in side windows and produced in one peace, in 1997 studio Faggioni also changed the interiors and softened the design around the corners of the topside.  The 1997 version is referred as the second series by the followers of the 54.
Production Run - 1981 to 2001
Builds - over 135 
Developments - 1990 Bertram 60, and 2002 570 both use the David Napier hull of the 54 with some modifications.  570 had a complete new topside designed by Zuccon and renewed engine position.
What Is Awesome
+ Broken Shear-line
+ Flybridge and main saloon size
+ Hull Lines
What Looks Dated
Small aft deck for a 16/17 meter recent sportfishing yacht
Square profile windows, especially the two parts of earlier models
COMPETITOR - Hatteras 52 Convertible produced from 1983 till 1990.
* Please note that some Specifications are not from official sources and may not be accurate

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