Delta 54 IPSBy Jason Y. Wood
If the Delta 54 IPS were an apartment, this carbon-fiber Swedish import would offer three bedrooms, a spacious terrace, and, of course, a water view.
It’s easy to picture the Delta 54 IPS making her way through the Öresund off southern Sweden or bringing her bow around to head north into the Gulf of Bothnia on the Baltic Sea. There’s just something about her reverse pilothouse and broad stance that says I’m not from around here, especially when you encounter her in Florida where I gave her an in-depth look for the first time.
The boat is built to be light and rugged. She’s constructed using carbon fiber infused with vinylester resin, and she also has either standard twin or optional triple 435-horsepower Volvo Penta IPS600 drives, for that burst of extra speed when you need it. Think of a Scandinavian owner who would love to make long, slow passages around the waterways of Europe. But alas, there’s business in Gothenburg on Monday, and he’d better get a move on if he’s going to relax this coming weekend. Indeed when our readers first glimpsed her profile on Facebook, one commented on her reverse pilothouse windshield: “A mini expedition yacht?” The observation is not without merit. She’s high-sided and salty in some ways, yet cosmopolitan in others. It’s a pleasing mix.
Underway, the boat felt big and solid. Reaching a sprightly 37 knots during one of our speed runs, this boat seriously uses her triple-engine installation and has all the maneuverability I’ve come to expect from pod propulsion. The forward-facing props bite well for smooth helm response at speed. Her helm feels like it’s pretty far forward, but I think this results from a combination of two factors, one being the expansive saloon and immense cockpit stretching all the way aft from the helm, and the other being the reverse windshield in the pilothouse. It simply works in any case: Lines of sight were excellent.
When I had a chance to check out the Delta 54 IPS dockside, the first thing I noticed was how spacious the teak-lined cockpit feels. I got this sensation for a couple of different reasons: First, the transom is open. Four modular folding chairs with tubular stainless frames and teak seats fit into sockets in the cockpit sole, and double as a transom rail when placed in the aft sockets. The chairs can be moved easily to sockets that surround a rectangular table I described in my notes as high-low-lowdown because it retracts into a recess in the deck. Once the chairs are placed where you want them, seat and back cushions improve the comfort level. The hydraulic swim platform, beyond the open transom, can lift and lower 900 pounds worth of tender.
This cockpit is interesting for other reasons too. First, it’s actually quite large, measuring 11 feet 6 inches long and 10 feet 8 inches wide. But those are just the sole dimensions. It feels even more spacious because both sides have 17-inch-wide benches running fore and aft with huge lockers beneath. The teak-topped seating surfaces actually blend into the boat’s side decks as you move forward along both sides of the house. And a retractable SureShade can offer welcome shelter from the sun.
Engine-room access is through a large hatch in the cockpit sole and the machinery spaces are fairly full—but this is no surprise, given that the space contains a triple installation of Volvo diesels, three IPS drive units, a Fischer Panda genset, the intruding pedestal from that cockpit table on the deck above, and so on. With 54 inches of headroom, I measured 9 inches from the forward bulkhead to the forward end of the engine, and 18 inches between the side engines and the center. Everything was rigged nicely but there was not a lot of extra space.
Enter the saloon through sliding stainless-framed double doors and you are met immediately by an L-shaped settee with folding-leaf dinette table to port and a galley along the starboard side outfitted with Siemens appliances. I noticed two striking features: The forward end of the space, which includes a companion dinette and the helm station, is surrounded by glass—low-e glass, it turns out—with narrow, polished-stainless mullions that help make the view genuinely expansive. The second thing I noticed was a pair of supportive posts—continuing the polished-stainless motif—one on centerline at the forward end of the settee, and the other just abaft the port end of the helm seat. Once you get into the flow of the boat, moving about the helm and saloon, these posts seemingly vanish, unless you need a handhold. There’s one step up to the helm level in the saloon and it was noticeable for being just a tad high. The Delta rep told me they are already working on a fix.
A huge forward sunroof over the helm area and an aft moonroof over the saloon and galley provide even more natural light, and have retractable white roman shades that cut harsh direct sunshine to a pleasant glow.
The clean-lined veneered cabinetry conceals smart stowage lockers specific to glasses and dishes, dedicated wine stowage, and more. The look resembles what you might see, say, in a stylish flat in a tony Stockholm neighborhood. One thing that Delta pays particular attention to is the stuff people like to carry around with them, like smartphones, tablets, sunglasses, and so on. There are places to actually stow these things onboard the 54—cabinet tops have fiddled edges to keep things where they belong, and grippy surfaces, such as the suede-like Alcantara material at the helm, for the same reason.
Huge flat surfaces at the starboard-side helm station accommodated two 15-inch Raymarine G-Series displays on our test boat, and the reverse pilothouse windshield combined with the displays’ near-vertical installation made for a glare-free navigation experience. The Volvo Penta joystick is placed at the starboard end of the helm’s dashboard, so it’s easy to reach through the door from the side deck, allowing you to stand out there for docking maneuvers (there’s a joystick-equipped wing station on either side of the cockpit as well). The Volvo Penta engine-control binnacle was located on the near-vertical surface of the helm dash, to the right of the wheel, somewhat inconveniently since the control buttons on the front of the binnacle faced the deck.
On centerline, next to the helm, are the companionway stairs down to the accommodations deck, where you’ll be met with a pleasingly symmetrical layout. Port and starboard guest staterooms each have twin berths and share a dayhead with a glass-enclosed shower stall to port. Placement of the helm station on the deck above reduces headroom over the berths in the starboard guest stateroom to 55 inches—it’s 67 inches over the berths in the port stateroom. In the bow is the master, where hanging lockers combine with other clever little lockers to make use of virtually every cubic inch of space, and headroom is 79½ inches. Hullside windows and a sunroof-hatch combination in the overhead provide a bit of natural light.
So take it from the Swedes, who enjoy the long golden light of summer well into evening, as a sort of recompense for the interminable darkness of their winters: Be equipped to enjoy the good things while they last. And that would seem to be what the Delta 54 was built to do, with serious speed and sea-kindly capabilities, along with a layout that takes advantage of every last cubic inch. It’s a combination, and a philosophy, I’d say, that works virtually anywhere.
Brokerage Listings Powered by BoatQuest.com
Click to see listings of Delta Powerboats currently for sale on BoatQuest.com. ➤
This article originally appeared in the November 2013 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.