There is plenty of open-air space, a hull that is designed to be used, and a deck set-up and interiors that are as innovative as ever. Bluegame’s 2.0 season starts with the 54’
by Niccolò Volpati
Since its foundation Bluegame can be summed up in two concepts: enjoying available space, especially open-air areas, and sailing comfortably and safely. «We are now at version 2.0», says Luca Santella, Architect and Product Manager, «in that its features are the same that have characterised the brand since its beginnings, but with a natural evolution from new technologies and the most innovative solutions that shipbuilding allows. It is not just a case of adding technology, but of seeking out the technology that you need to reinforce a concept». There are four people behind it: Lou Codega did the waterlines, Luca Santella developed the concept and Martina and Bernando Zuccon handled the interior and deck design. The overall 54 design project began two years back because there was a gap in the 40-to-60-foot size segment. «Initially we worked remotely with Codega, who handled the hull from the US. Once we got past that stage, we worked very closely with the Zuccon design studio to get the best outcome. And we have now become a well-drilled team», continued Santella.
The boat we tried had the optional Volvo D11s with IPS transmission in the engine room, each developing 725 horsepower compared to the standard 2×625 hp set-up. The sea we found outside the harbour at Carrara wasn’t completely calm, there was a scirocco wind and the waves were nearly a metre high. We took them head-on, not even at a three-quarters diagonal, and we quickly appreciated the 10.4-degree deadrise angle. The hull cut through the waves nicely, and we didn’t feel pounding even at 25 or 30 knots. The boat stayed dry even when turning and despite the waves and the gusts of wind no spray reached the cockpit or even the windscreen. The steering is very soft, and the boat is certainly easy to handle.
The compactness of Volvo Penta IPS propulsion systems means there is a lot more space below decks. Buyers can choose between two or three cabins and two or three bathrooms.
It doesn’t feel as if you are on a yacht that is over sixteen metres long overall. It turns tightly, without any difficulty, and without the engines losing rpm in beam seas. Everything is intuitive and easy. This is thanks to the IPS, the trim assistance and the Humphree interceptors. But mainly, and above all, it is because of the hull design and the waterlines which mean you get a sporty, stable, safe and manageable boat. So essentially something suitable for somebody who wants to use it, and not necessarily just for short distances. We are talking about an express cruiser with a hard top. It doesn’t have a second steering position up on the fly, so the only one it does have is going to have to work well. And that’s how it is. The wheelhouse has 360-degree visibility and I especially appreciated the fact that you can see the whole horizon, even when it is at an angle while doing a tight turn. The forward-slanting windscreen is in a single piece, without supports. The hard top differs from those on previous Bluegame models because the aftmost supports rest on the bulwarks. That means the side decks are protected, and the way through to the bows is left nicely clear. The top part of the windscreen rests against the hard top, thus ensuring greater protection.
Santella explains: «We worked hard to understand how high it should be because we didn’t want to go up too much, but neither did we want to reduce visibility». And the result has been achieved, with both looks and functionality ensured. The hard top has a further difference determined by the stairs up to it. Bluegame normally had two sets, which was an echo of the fisherman style. But in this case, there is just one. I felt that worked better because it is best to have just one easy-to-use staircase, that is broad and safe, rather than two narrow and cramped ones. This is, of course, a 54 rather than a 72-footer.
Underway, apart from how it feels, you can appreciate the consumption figures. Even with the most powerful engines fitted, the figures are very contained. The perfect speed is between 25 and 27 knots. Litre per hour totals come in at less than two hundred, and litres per mile at just over seven. Nor do you need to work very hard at the helm up to 27 knots. You can forget about the waves and where they are coming from because the hull doesn’t get much affected at all by the few demands put upon it. But the BG54’s strong point is how much open-air space it has. What I noticed, and what anybody would see in an instant, is the roominess in the stern. There’s a very extensive beach club area, and it can be customised. There is a galley unit with a grill, bar and fridge.
The galley is perfectly located because there is nothing above it and so it really can be put to use. One increasingly sees grills inside the dinette, based on the idea that opening the hard top is enough to let the smoke out, but it doesn’t always work well as a chimney. On this boat, there is no danger of being engulfed by smoke from the grill, not least because it stays downwind when you are at anchor. The beach area can also be set up in a more sporty way and fitted for fishing or water sports. The same approach can be found on the hard top because you can choose between the classic sun pad, or having the roof fitted for transporting kayaks, paddleboards or similar equipment. There is a choice in interior layout as well, with two or three cabins, and two or three bathrooms. But what isn’t in question is the headroom below decks, the natural light and the numerous details that make these spaces elegant and comfortable space, and a pleasure to spend time in.
Luca Santella and Zuccon International Project (concept & design), N.A. Louis T. Codega (water lines)
LOA 16.57m • Length 15.29m • Maximum beam 4.85m • Draft 1.34m • Light mass displacement 20,250 kg • Fuel tank volume 1,800 l • Water tank volume 500 l
2xVolvo Penta IPS 950 D11-725 • Outlet mechanical power 533 kW (725 hp) • Swept volume 10.84 l • 6 in line cylinders • Bore&Stroke 123mm x 152mm • Compression ratio 16.5:1 • Maximal rotational speed 2500/min • Dry weight 1,800 kg
Starting from 1,650,000 € as standard (August 2022)
(BG54, Open beach – Barchemagazine.com – August 2022)