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Rebirth of a Classic


Photography by Bertram

Some say don’t mess with a classic, but the folks at Bertram beg to differ. The Miami-based builder of the new 540 convertible has reinvented the classic 54 it launched in 1981. To a hull that maintains the seaworthiness and fishability of her predecessor, the 540 adds a healthy dose of luxury and a number of European design touches.

The most noticeable characteristic of the 540 is her wraparound windshield (below). Worried about leakage or worse? Don’t be. It’s made of multiple layers of glass and was designed and tested by the Ferretti Group’s Advanced Yacht Technology department to hold up to the roughest sea conditions. In fact, it’s so strong, Bertram says it’s actually part of the fiberglass structure and so contributes to the overall strength of the hull.

The galley, to port and aft, has an open bar and a retractable window so that snacks and cocktails are easily passed into the cockpit. Opposite, there’s a 32-inch LCD TV that can be viewed from either a C-shape settee (forward and to port) or an L-shape settee (forward and to starboard). Or Bertram will remove a settee and replace it with a lower helm station, an option more popular in the Mediterranean than it is here.

Below decks the 540’s accommodations include a port-side guest stateroom featuring two single berths, a forepeak stateroom with a queen berth, and a master stateroom, also sporting a queen berth. The port and forward cabins share a head, while the master has en suite facilities. All rooms have iPod connections and 19-inch LCD TVs and are accented with white oak cabinetry that offers plenty of stowage.


Photograph by Bertram

Outfitted for the serious angler, the 540 has features designed to maximize the fishing experience. An in-transom fishbox can be converted into a baitwell or drink cooler. There’s also a transom door and in-sole fishboxes on either side. Tackle stowage, a bait-freezer, and a livewell are all incorporated into the mezzanine (a great place from which to watch the action). And in case you want to enjoy a little Jimmy Buffett while waiting for the bite, the cockpit is iPod-ready, too.

The 540 comes standard with twin 1,224-hp MAN V-12s, which are said to produce a cruising speed of 34 mph and a top speed of 40 mph. Add to that the traditional Bertram deep-V hull and unmistakable fine entry, and the 540 is ready for the canyons. Just like her forbearer

For more information on Bertram, including contact information, click here.


  • Builder: Bertram
  • Model: FRANCHINI
  • Boat Type: Cruiser
  • Base Price: n/a
  • LOA: 57'1"
  • Beam: 17'10"
  • Weight: 83,737 lbs.
  • Fuel Capacity: 1,524 gal.
  • Water Capacity: 225 gal.
  • Standard Power: 2/1,224-hp MAN V-12s

This article originally appeared in the March 2009 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.