Cavileer 53 Update

Boat Test Update — February 2004
By Capt. Ken Kreisler

Cavileer 53
First launched in 2002, this 53-foot convertible gets a brand new Dave Martin hull.

 More of this Feature

• Cavileer 53
• Cavileer 53 Specs and Deck Plan

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On September 15, 1998, Cavileer Boatworks, under the direction of owner John DiDonato, opened its doors for business by launching a semicustom 53-foot convertible designed by Donald L. Blount and Associates.

Two years after that, DiDonato introduced a new Cavileer Model at the 2001 Miami International Boat Show. The 48 was developed around the primary architectural elements of her predecessor’s blueprint: A basic three-stateroom, two-head layout, the 48 Convertible featured what Cavileer said was the largest flying bridge in her class.

Cavileer presented a redesign of its 53 last year at the Miami International Boat Show that is now running on a Dave Martin bottom. “We learned a lot with the Blount design of the 48, which was done from scratch,” says DiDonato. “Now with this redesigned boat, we have a different running angle with a sharp entry of about 63 degrees, somewhere around 28 degrees amidships, and flattening to ten degrees aft,” he explains. DiDonato also had Martin alter the boat’s weights and measures by changing the placement of the engines, batteries, and other equipment, giving the boat a lower center of gravity. Basically this means that the lower the center of mass on the object, the greater the angle will be before it falls over. “We feel it gives better handling and running,” he adds, noting that Martin also tucked in the flying bridge and changed the deckhouse lines. Some things that didn’t change on the re­designed boat include the hull being solid fiberglass to the waterline and balsa-cored above, the balsa-cored flying bridge and deck, and the three-stateroom, three-head layout.

To make the interior appealing to both cruising and fishing owners, Cavileer added a wine cooler, plasma TV, and rounded joinery work. “Our doors are solid teak instead of plywood, and those in the interior are arched. And underneath our gunwales, you’ll find smoothed-out fiberglass, just like our exteriors,” says DiDonato, explaining further how some things, like these, weren’t changed.

He goes on to explain that he wants to distance Cavileer from production builders and make it more like a custom builder. “We’ll lay out whatever the customer wants as long as it doesn’t harm the integrity of our build,” he says.

Cavileer Boatworks ( (609) 965-8650.

Next page > Cavileer 53 Specs and Deck Plan > Page 1, 2

This article originally appeared in the January 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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