Boat Review: Euphoria 54

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A luxury cruiser that sails as good as it looks

A luxury cruiser that sails as good as it looks

In an often all-too-underwhelming world, there’s nothing like having your expectations exceeded, as mine were when I first saw the new Euphoria 54—and that was before we’d even had a chance to go sailing. Then it came time to take the boat out for a spin, and my expectations were nothing less than blown away.

CONSTRUCTION

Founded in 2006 in cooperation with Italy’s famed luxury-yacht builder Azimut-Benetti Group, Sirena Marine has plenty of boatbuilding knowhow in its DNA, and it shows in the Euphoria 54’s build quality.

The hull and deck are infused in vinylester with foam coring above the waterline and a series of carbon stringers for stiffness. Two different T-keels, both with iron fins and lead ballast bulbs, are available—one, a high-aspect fin drawing 9ft 10in, another a medium-aspect blade drawing 7ft 10in for more shoal waters.

The topsides are slightly beveled from bow to stern a few inches below the hull-deck joint, and there are subtle chines aft. The boat carries just a hint of sheer, which does a great job of tying together the plumb bow and reverse transom—no surprise given the fact it was drawn by famed naval architect German Frers.

The single rudder is crafted in carbon fiber and controlled via twin-wheel JP3 steering. The standard rig is built around a Seldén aluminum mast, but our test boat carried a wonderfully executed carbon mast and boom from Hall Spars supported by discontinuous rod rigging.

ON DECK

Though billed as a luxury performance cruiser, the Euphoria 54 sure looked like a fun boat to race to me! The helm positions, which include storage under each seat, include foot chalks for support and afford a clear view over the low, curvaceous cabintrunk of the blade jib. The primaries are well positioned for grinding (not that any grinding is actually necessary, the winches being Harken electrics) and there’s a fixed attachment point for an A-sail on the stem immediately forward of the boat’s belowdeck Reckmann furler. (An aggressive fixed sprit is also available.) A Navtec hydraulic backstay adjustor comes standard. Adjustable Harken headsail jib leads lie close alongside the cabintrunk to either side of the mast, providing nice tight sheeting angles.

Not that the boat doesn’t also do a fine job of addressing the creature-comfort needs of its passengers.

Aft, the transom not only drops down to produce an enormous swim platform, but it reveals an expansive dinghy garage that will serve equally well for storing water toys and other nautical paraphernalia. In a nice touch, this space can also be accessed through a large hatch in the cockpit sole between the helms. The rest of the cockpit includes a pair of long benches that stretch from the helms to the cabintrunk. The benches include nicely beveled backs and have a foldout dinette in between. Nothing fancy here, just plenty of space to relax in.

Forward, flush Lewmar hatches and substantial stainless steel handrails punctuate a vast expanse of teak encasing both the cabintrunk and side decks. In the case of the Euphoria 54, this teak is standard—not an option—and the overall effect is drop-dead gorgeous. All lines also run belowdecks for a very clean look.

The foredeck includes a spacious sail locker, complete with access ladder, and the anchor is deployed via a nifty retractable stainless/bowsprit roller, making for a very clean looking bow under sail.

The Details: Looking aft in the saloon toward the galley and nav station

The Details: Looking aft in the saloon toward the galley and nav station

ACCOMMODATIONS

The accommodation plan is a straightforward one, with an owner’s stateroom in the bow and paired quarterberths aft of the companionway, each with it’s own shower/head. The overall look is definitely Euro-chic, with clean lines and the joinery done in a very light “lime-washed oak,” all extremely well executed. There’s the option of a crew cabin in place of the sail locker in the bow.
The owner’s stateroom is one of the best I’ve seen aboard a boat with this LOA. With great side access on either side of the double berth, plenty of stowage space, a nice little work desk to starboard and a fun little lounging space snugged up against the hull window to port, this is a stateroom that makes for one heck of a space to relax in.

Amidships, what struck me was the nav station. It’s huge! And while some might see this as wasted space, I’m one of those who believe a nav station is not just a great place for getting some work done, but for hanging out as well, especially on passage. The standard navigation package is Raymarine. However, but B&G electronics are also available.

If I have a complaint with the interior it’s in regard to the galley. Equipped with a pair of fridges and a GN Espace OceanChef oven and stove, it’s a fine place for preparing meals, with a decent amount of counter space and nice, solid fiddles. However, it’s tight “C” configuration means there’s no way to step to one side or the other of where you’ll be doing your cooking. As a result, if something hot spills while you’re in any kind of seaway, you’re stuck in the line of fire. Best to wear you foul weather bibs if things ever get rough.
[brightcove videoid="4616410349001" playerid="4343385270001" height="355" width="600" featured="true"]

UNDER SAIL

The 2015 fall boat show season was a good one for boat tests, and our sail trial of the Euphoria 54 in 9 to 12 knots of wind on Narragansett Bay was no exception. One of the great things about modern yacht design is the way the right combination of proportions and materials can result in a larger boat that feels solid yet nimble all at the same time—something the Euphoria 54 achieves masterfully.

Hoisting our test boat’s North Sail’s main and unrolling the headsail, we immediately hardened up onto a beat. Once there, the boat accelerated smoothly, dug in her shoulder and started powering forward like it was on a set of silky smooth rails, sailing a steady 8 knots in 10 knots of true wind.

Coming about the boat stayed fully powered up, tacking through 85 degrees, without even thinking of hesitating as the bow passed through stays. Granted, we didn’t have to contend with much in terms of seas, but the boat is such that I’d be shocked it were any tougher, even in the worst chop. The Euphoria 54’s deep high-aspect rudder has all the power you could ever want for throwing the boat around, whether it’s tacking, gybing or surfing waves with the A-sail up.

Even more impressive was how solid the boat felt underway, calmly and confidently channeling the wind into VMG as it made its way through the water. This is the kind of speed that will make your racing friends happy, even as it allows the lubbers aboard to remain at their ease. It still never ceases to amaze me how you can sail a modern well-found boat of this size literally with your fingertips.

UNDER POWER

Motoring our way out of Newport Harbor, the Euphoria 54’s 75hp Volvo Penta engine shoved us along at 4.1 knots, running at 1,000 rpm. Revving to 2,000 rpm yielded 8.1 knots of boatspeed, and we hit 9.0 knots at 2,300 rpm. Backing down and slow-speed maneuvering was simplicity itself, even in a 12-knot crosswind. The combination of that bigger rudder and the optional retracting bow-thruster makes it possible put the boat pretty much anywhere you want with absolute ease.

CONCLUSION

While it’s not hard to create a 54-footer that looks impressive from the dock, creating one that looks even better up close and sails better still is a different matter entirely. The Euphoria 54 does all this and more—a sharp looking boat that sails great and takes exceptional care of its crew by any measure.

Euphoria-54

euphoriayachts.com.tr

berthonusa.com

PRICE $825,000 at time of publication (sailaway); $1.2 million as tested

New Boats & Gear 2016

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