The weekender and entertainer gains another social space, with altitude.
Cruisers’ Cantius Line has been on a steady growth pattern, both in number and length, spanning the size range from 60 feet to — with the latest introduction — 42 feet (which we’ll get to test very soon). The largest two models, the 60 and 54, both have a flybridge version, and it was the 54 Fly I was on the Pacific Ocean to test.
Based on previous experience with the 60 Fly, I expected the flybridge to be a sizeable social zone with a fully functional helm, the amenities necessary for a day of cruising, and views all around. And I wasn’t disappointed.
At the top of a ladder-like staircase whose teak steps were much deeper than ladder rungs — appreciated by a dude with size 15 feet — I found what’s essentially an elevated dayboat atop an express cruiser. A C-shaped settee aft and another to port by the helm can easily seat nine passengers, and the generous helm seat makes it an even 10. Both settees have a table and feature built-in cupholders. On the port side, between the settees, is an integrated console that houses a grill, a sink, a refrigerator and an ice-maker. Situated to starboard is the helm station. Its tilted dash face houses an MFD, a VHF radio, a stereo head unit and the Seakeeper gyro display. A compass and two cupholders are on the top, and the engine throttles and joystick control are on a console extension that runs aft.
A hardtop covers the expanse of the flybridge, so everyone up top can enjoy the breeze while being protected from the sun’s rays and heat. It will also shield everyone from the rain, but given that the boat has a lower helm, most folks will retreat indoors in inclement weather. About the only thing missing from the 54’s flybridge that’s on the 60 is a two-person sun lounge forward of the helm station. Some kind of mechanically or manually operated opening in the hardtop would be nice, too, for those times when folks want a little sun to come through.
Surprisingly, test day didn’t lend itself to operating from the flybridge helm. While the rain fizzled out right about test time, everything outside was still covered, and the temperature hovered just above 50, so we spent most of the test at the lower helm, enjoying the Seakeeper gyro stabilizer working its magic on the choppy sea. With the twin Volvo Penta D8 IPS800 diesels, each cranking out 600 hp, spinning at 3050 rpm the 54 Fly hit a top speed of 29 knots. Fuel burn was 55 gph. At 2800 rpm, the boat traveled at 25.5 knots and burned 44 gph. We hit 22.5 knots at 2600 rpm, 19 knots at 2400 rpm and 15 knots at 2200.
As per usual with Volvo Penta engines, the 54 Fly’s range from 2200 rpm to 2800 rpm varied by just 10 miles, 250 vs. 260 (with a 10 percent reserve built in), with its most efficient cruising speeds being 25.5 and 19 knots. Slowing way down to 7 knots stretches the range to about 900 miles.
With the pod drives propelling the vessel, handling was easy and stable. The yacht exhibited a slight sportboat-like lean into turns and carved a tight circle, which gave the 54 a chance to split through its wake without pounding or vibration. When it was time to put the yacht back in its slip, Silver Seas Yachts’ Jerry Reeck used the joystick to spin it and back it with precision. He did it from the lower helm, but the upper helm had a joystick and our test boat had the optional third unit in the cockpit.
Access to the 54 Fly is via a large swim platform that has two hidden boarding ladders and tracks for a dinghy or PWC cradle, and it lowers into the water to make launch and retrieval simple, or to serve as an offshore beach. Built into the base of the transom console is a storage area large enough for fenders, life jackets, life rings, cleaning brushes and supplies, towable tubes and more. It’s accessed by lifting the cockpit’s transom settee, which is push-button simple.
Up stairs to either side is the cockpit, which features a C-shaped settee aft that can convert to a sun lounge, with filler cushions, the aforementioned stairs to the bridge, access to the sidedecks and a grill. The flybridge deck overhang covers most of the cockpit.
Two stools front a bar that shares its countertop with the galley. It’s one of the yacht’s signature features, as it is on the 60. With the door swept aside and the portside window lowered into t he bulkhead — a really cool feature — the cockpit and main cabin become one unbroken space, with the bar as the main attraction.
On the bow are twin sunpads, one to either side of the skylight windows in the forward VIP stateroom. The pads can lie flat or be propped to about 60 degrees — or angles in between — and each has a convenient cupholder.
Back in the main cabin, the galley occupies the aft third of the space, with a U-shaped portion to port and a straight countertop and more cabinets opposite. Under the U-shaped counter is a two-drawer refrigerator/ freezer, a microwave and drawer storage. Built into the forward section is a two-basin sink, and in the portside section is a cooktop that’s sunk into the stone, creating a barrier that prevents pots from sliding around. A dishwasher and another refrigerator drawer are under the starboard-side counter.
Forward to port is a C-shaped settee. Four people can use it to dine, while a one or two more could squeeze in for lounging. Opposite is a loveseat that occupies the space between the galley countertop and a doublewide helm seat that faces a futuristic-looking helm done up in black, gray, stainless steel, leather, carbon fiber and glass. Twin Garmin glass cockpit MFDs anchor the angled upper dash, while the flat lower portion features an engine display, system switches, a stereo head unit, a Volvo-Penta joystick, a steering wheel and more. Engine throttles and tab controls are on an armrest-like extension of the dash.
The aft corners present the only obstructed views in the main cabin. Large side windows, shaped like the top half of a stylized ancient Egyptian eye, and a huge windshield with a center mullion provide nearly 360-degree views from everywhere in the cabin. And the severely angled windshield hangs over the belowdecks landing and creates a well-lit atrium.
Off that bright and airy atrium is access to all three staterooms. The VIP, with direct access to the second head, is in the bow. Its queen-size berth is situated directly beneath the nearly six-foot-long skylight that lets the light shine in — or not, as blinds can be drawn along the length of the glass. Hull windows to either side run nearly the length of the room and add to the well-lit atmosphere.
Amidships is the full-beam master stateroom, which is essentially a seaside retreat for the yacht’s owners. A queen berth sits on the centerline against a bulkhead of wood, plush fabric and three horizontal stainless steel bands that remind me of the bar that runs across both large amidships hull windows. (Those bars are signature features of the Cantius line.) Nightstands flank the head of the berth. To port is a large built-in bureau with a stone top and an abundance of drawer storage. To starboard is a breakfast nook/vanity. Two plush seats face each other on either side of a table whose top is in two sections, both of which lift to reveal storage for makeup and other beauty routine items. One part includes a mirror.
Facing the berth is an entertainment wall, a section of the forward bulkhead that’s finished with hardwood and houses the flatscreen TV, a Polk sound bar and a stereo head unit. The master en suite head is in the companionway from the atrium to the stateroom, across from a locker that houses a washer and dryer.
A third stateroom, with bunks, is immediately to starboard at the base of the steps from above. The space can be optioned as a lower salon, if buyers are keen on keeping the volume of overnight guests to a minimum.
Owing to its layout and overall flow, the 54 Fly lends itself to family excursions or even two adult couples spending a weekend on the hook or an island mooring. There’s plenty of room, from the bow to the flybridge to the cockpit, to spread out for some downtime, but the social spaces are conducive to coladas, conversations and cookouts.