Exclusive sea trial for the brand-new Ice Yachts Ice 54
What we’re about to tell you today is an absolute world preview. At The International Yachting Media, in fact, we had the privilege of testing the brand-new Ice 54 in the wonderful waters of the Gulf of Poets.
An evolution of the past 52, the new Ice 54 exploits the maturity of a successful project, enhancing its strengths and thus achieving an almost perfect symbiosis between the cruising world and the racing one. The result is something simply amazing.
The sleek and streamlined lines softened by some more traditional round ones, the increased habitability and a high-performance hull make this project signed by Umberto Felci an important achievement destined to have a worldwide success. Aggressive and sporty under way, the boat however makes you feel like on the sofa at home, even when sailing upwind or under an important heeling angle.
Not a creak is perceivable. The high silence and comfort levels offered by the softness of the hull are capable of amazing even the most experienced sailor. Added to this is a sophisticated appearance, with a design that manages to be elegant and sporty, refined and consistent at the same time.
Ice 54 Construction
Hull, deck and many architectural elements are made of carbon in autoclave or hybrid carbon/glass for greater sturdiness and lightness. All the structural joints are resin-coated, which justifies the total absence of hull movements and structural noise.
Even the rigging is made of carbon, without rigging screws: the mast, in fact, is equipped with the Mast Jack system, whose hydraulically-operated jacks raise the mast millimetrically until shrouds achieve the desired degree of tension while the rigger places special spacers under the mast and finally unloads the jacks. Made of prepeg carbon, both the mast and boom are designed by MaxSpar. More specifically, the boom is equipped with a wind bloom system, whose geometry recalls the park avenue technology but is made lither by the presence of some side cavities.
The steel handrails available on the sides and amidships, as well as the bows, are the result of a particular process that gives them an iconic black colour, replicated by the folding mooring cleats. The ceilings and many of the interior coverings are made of leather, combined with elements finished in high-quality gelcoat.
In short, the construction parameters of this boat are of the highest level. The attention to details and exceptional care lavished by the shipyard make the Ice 54 a legitimate competitor of the most prestigious yachting brands.
The lines of the Ice 54 are surprisingly clean and elegant. The deckhouse protrudes slightly from the deck (completely covered in teak), the riggings run in special recessed channels and are collected in the cockpit: as a result, the deck appears uncluttered and almost free from dangerous edges.
The gunwale is structural and continuous, which allows to perfectly deflect the water, thus eliminating the unsightly drippings that characterize the classic aluminium gunwales. The boat is very dry, thanks to the particular and correct bow volumes/hull design ratio which also translates into improved comfort on board and easier cleaning.
The huge cockpit offers two large sofas and a central fixed table with two openign wings. This solution is as safe as convenient, since it allows to have a safe grip in very heeled navigation.
The two carbon-look wheels are mounted on as many structures with a minimalist and practical design: a sturdy structural handrail is obtained in the internal part. The push-button panels of the eletric winches and of the electrically-operated mainsail traveler are housed on the side of the wheelhouse, in a very convenient position even for the mainsail trimmer who seats forward and can also take advantage of a very comfortable removable stainless steel footrest. The halyard and mainsail winches are electric, while the jib one is manual; five stoppers on each side carry all rigging in the cockpit, including reefs.
The sail plan – remarkable for a boat that can be used even as a cruiser – is equipped with a carbon/kevlar sails, a 106% jib, an electric jib furler housed below the deck, a Code 0 mounted on the furler of the structural bowsprit (which enhances the beautiful profile of the boat), a full-batten mainsail perched on Harken trolleys with lazy jacks to facilitate lowering.The backstay is split and hydraulic, with a lever control shared with the equally hydraulically-operated vang. The spreaders are angled while the rigging, as mentioned above, is entirely made of carbon. Under the aft deck, a large garage, with folding transom, can accommodate a 2.80 meter tender or be used as a spacious storage compartment accessible from a hatch on the deck.
The careful dimensional study of the Ice 54 project and the topside 6 cm higher than the 52 result into spaces that are comparable to those commonly found on a 60 footer. The aft port cabin, in fact, following a specific owner’s request, has two comfortable twin beds, surprising width and headroom, as well as a large panoramic side window.
Equally spacious and comfortable, the starboard cabin, instead, has a double bed.
The aft head, accessible from the dinette, is designed to offer maximum comfort during navigation: the seating position in navigation is, in fact, made extremely comfortable and safe by the particular shape of the sink cabinet. Moreover, the head has a separate shower box with doors.
The rest of the dinette houses a fully-equipped C-shaped galley, with Corian top and complete equipment. There is even a waste grinder integrated into the sink drain that allows not to accumulate bags of foul-smelling wet waste on board.
Space optimization is extreme: cabinets, doors and storage compartments are positioned everywhere to improve the stay on board. There is even a door with a coffee machine inside, mounted on a sliding surface that appears only when necessary.
The dinette is extraordinarily spacious and comfortable: a large rectangular table is surrounded by a C-shaped sofa in clear leather, as well as all the seats on the boat while a storage bench is positioned amidships.
Along the starboard side, a sofa, whose aft end is represented by the chart table, can turn into an additional bed, by quickly removing its padded backrests.
The chart table, essential in design and equipped with a card holder, is completed by a wall multifunction tool which, interfaceable via Can Bus with external devices such as tablets and smartphones, includes electric management panel, chartplotter and wind station.
Positioned in the bow, the master cabin is furnished with a double bed which, positioned laterally, leaves room for a large passageway to the bow head, equipped with separated shower box. The light colours of the interiors and the presence of many hatches in the ceiling and side windows make the Ice 54 a truly young and fresh yacht.
However, it must be remembered that the shipyard builds in semi-custom mode, which means that, with the only exception of the layout and fixed partitioning, the rest (colours, essences, fabrics, materials and equipment) can be chosen by the owner.
Ice 54 Sea Trial
We had already tested the great seaworthiness of the 52, so we were somehow prepared for what we would have experienced: however, we went even further during the test we carried out in the surroundings of Portovenere and its islands, on a sunny autumn day with calm sea, very pleasant temperature and wind between 6 and 16 knots.
The boat is docile and responds with extreme sensitivity to the slighest helm pressure. However, it is never nervous and overlooks the possible route or sail trimming inaccuracies: it’s really fast and, especially in light wind, is able to overcome the true wind, offering extraordinary sailing experiences.
Pure fun in complete simplicity; with an extremely small crew, if not single-handed, you can sail everywhere in total safety. The electric winches guarantee fast and precise trimming. The electric mainsail traveller is great. Furthermore, the steering position, both upright and seated in the side bench, is always optimal: to improve driving comfort and safety during very heeled navigation, two platforms open with a quick movement and lean on a steel bracket so as to become two comfortable flat surfaces. Visibility is excellent, even for the large-digit instruments placed on the mast. Motor navigation is equally smooth, quiet and vibration-free, with a cruising speed of over 9 knots.
In conclusion, the Ice 54 is designed for cruising, as suggested by the geneous spaces and the comfort level on board, but is also suitable for offshore racing thanks to her sturdiness and speed features that we had the opportunity to experience and appreciate during our test.
Ice 54 Performance
|Cruising Speed||9.3 knots|
|Maximum Speed||10.4 knots|
|With Code 0|
|Wind Angle||True wind in knots||Speed in knots|
|Wind Angle||True wind in knots||Speed in knots|