53 Motoryacht — By Jeffrey Moser
— December 2005
Italian-American Social Club
Part 2: Tanganyika, a rare African hardwood with a reddish-brown hue, is Uniesse’s wood of choice throughout.
While the engine room revealed the 53’s solid construction, I was eager to see how Uniesse’s background in fine hardwoods would translate into the 53’s interior. From the Burmese teak cockpit, I entered the saloon through a three-panel stainless steel sliding door. Although the morning was rainy and gray, the light coming through the door and the forward and side windows was enough to show off the 53’s interior, and the woodwork was stunning. Tanganyika, a rare African hardwood with a reddish-brown hue, is Uniesse’s wood of choice throughout. The spot-on grain match, superlative joinery, and nine-coat, high-gloss finish exemplified the skilled artisans who performed the job.
With all that gleaming wood, I failed to spot the galley and at first assumed it was down the centerline stairs. But my test boat had the optional galley-up aft and to starboard (the standard layout is three steps down and to port, just aft of the lower helm), tucked under a Tanganyika counter that rises on gas struts to reveal the standard three-burner Kenyon cooktop and stainless steel sink. Countertops were Botticino marble, below which were two Sub-Zero drawer-style refriegerator/freezer drawers as well as five cutlery and cookware drawers. Above, the cupboards are shallow; they’re fitted with stemware and plate holders and are also crafted from Tanganyika.
Buyers who wish to cruise for longer than just three-day weekends may opt for the standard galley-down version, which offers more total countertop space and room for an optional dishwasher. However, it isolates the chef from the rest of the saloon and cuts into the 53’s full-beam amidships master, which features a dressing area that’s more like a walk-in closet, complete with a 38"x28"x53" hanging locker and full-length mirror. The en suite head, on the same level, is a real beauty, with Botticino marble and inlaid onyx countertops and floors, a Techma MSD, a bidet, and a split-door shower that has 6'5" headroom and room for two. Two steps up from here is the master itself, with a six-drawer dresser to port, a vanity /desk to starboard, and a queen berth. Our test boat had the optional layout with VIP forward and two single berths to starboard, with the VIP and guest staterooms sharing the forward head, which also has a separate shower. All staterooms are accessed from the saloon’s centerline stairs.
When it came time for the sea trial, I opted to run from the flying bridge, accessible from the cockpit via molded fiberglass steps. Given the rainy conditions, the lower helm might’ve been a drier choice, but sightlines are not as good from there as they are from up top, where they are excellent in all directions. I measured an average speed of just over 40 mph in a steady two- to three-foot chop. The occasional four-footer and large wakes from other vessels didn’t trouble the 53, and with her standard BCS hydraulic steering, she banked sharply, with hardly a loss in rpm, something that likely can be attributed to Hudson’s modified-V running surface.
Performance like that explains Uniesse’s success in the States, noteworthy considering the competition it faces from other Italian boatbuilders, with Azimut, Aicon, and Ferretti offering similar-size flying-bridge models. And while each of those builders has a revered lineage of its own, Uniesse’s one-two punch of Italian style and Yankee hull design may just button up the market.
Allied Richard Bertram ( (305) 633-9761 www.arbmg.com.
This article originally appeared in the December 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.