About this Sailboat:
Helena was sailed by the BOTY panel after display at the Annapolis Boat Show:
“BOTY judge Ralph Naranjo was impressed with the evolution of Beneteau’s engineering in this boat and others we sailed. “The signs of good engineering fall, for example, in the chainplate realm, where the tie-rods work well.” He was pleased, too, to see stainless-steel keel bolts and lead ballast, at a time when other high-volume builders are moving, seemingly backward, to mild steel and iron.
We sailed the Beneteau 54 in light conditions, which showed off the advantages of the boat’s low displacement-to-length ratio of 118. In scarcely more than 6 or 7 knots of breeze, we close-reached at a pleasant 4.2 knots. Under the power of a 110-horsepower Yanmar diesel at 2,600 rpm, we made 8.1 knots; at a fast-cruise rpm of 3,400, we made 8.6. “Boy, this boat really trucked along!” said Ed. The noise under power ranged from 92 to 94 decibels, placing it in the quietest third of this year’s fleet.
For all the boat’s volume, the Beneteau 54 proved a well-laid-out boat to sail shorthanded. Genoa-sheet winches are installed within easy reach of the twin helms, and the three or four steps from the helm to the cabin-top sail controls are uncluttered. The companionway itself features a sliding hatch and folding louvered doors, which may be fine for near-shore sailing; those who venture farther should add more seaworthy drop boards. The bridgedeck area leading to the companionway provides a comfortable “pit” to brace yourself in while you’re winching control lines.
All in all, after sailing and exploring the Beneteau 54’s interior, I’d say it stands worthy of its flagship title.”
Equipment on Board:
Yanmar 110hp auxiliary diesel; Shallow Draft Lead Keel; Stem (crew) Cabin; Anodised Furling Mast; Roller Furling Mainsail; Roller Furling Headsail; Asymmetric Spinnaker Rigging; (2) Electric H70 Harken Self-Tailing Winches; (1) Electric Harken 44 ST cabintop; “Elegance” interior trim level; ST70 Ray-marine, (2) colour screens; Teak Cockpit; (3) Bose Speakers; (3) Opening ports in fixed windows; Fresh Water Foot Pump in Galley; (3) Burner Stainless Steel Stove with Oven and Grill; (2) Extra 140amp Batteries; Fresh Water Shore Supply; 12volt Freezer; CD; MP3 Player; 2000watt Inverter; Bow Thruster (Easy Docking Pack); (2) Wheel Covers; Cockpit Windlass Control w/ digital chain counter; Mooring Lines and Fenders; Electronic Pack C: Pivoting Plotter Pod, E80 8.4″ Colour Multifunction Display; ST6002 Auto Pilot and PC Interface; Upgrade to E120 at Chart Table and Cockpit; 9 KW Onan Diesel Generator 110v with sound shield; 110v Microwave Oven; Air Conditioning; Folding and Pivoting Salon Table; Wireless Seatalk Autopilot Remote Control; AIS Receiver; Radar-Radome only; Mosquito Screens; Solid Marine Hardwood; Electric Heads Fore&Aft; 3 Blade Feathering Max Prop; (2) Coats Epoxy Primer on bottom; 32″ Pop Up TV; TV Antenna; Lightning Master; Varnished Cockpit Table, Companionway Trim and Doors; Dodger, Bimini, Insert, Side and Aft Grab Rails, Glass Dodger Wings; Raymarine 55 VHF with Ram Mic; (4) Hella 12volt Fans; Lamp on forward main salon bulkhead; Reading Lights on either side of head of beds; Upgraded Anchor Package to 60lbs CQR, 140′ chain, 100’rode; Air-con Vent to Crews Cabin; 3) Heads (2) Electric and plumbed for either fresh or seawater supply, manual head in stem cabin; 6 Dock-lines/5 Fenders/Horn/Bell/3 Fire Extinguishers/6 PFD’s/Horseshoe Pony/Olin flare kit; LED to all overhead recessed lighting; CO2 battery powered detectors; Line holders mounted in after port Lazarette storage device for large aluminum Fortress Anchor; Kato custom mast base wiring guard; Balmar 150 Alternator; MC-614-H Regulator w/ Harness; (4) 4D Sealed Batteries (installed 2-21-11); Yanmar 4JH4 3 Pulley Serpentine Belt and Pulley from AltMount