Kufner 54 Exclusive: the sea trial of a super-spacious queen that glides over the water perfectly.
Looking at her size, the Kufner 54 Exclusive is deceptive: the new creation from the Croatian yard D&D offers far more excitement than one would expect.
Heir to the famous Kufner 54, which amazed by its sturdiness and the immense space available to owners and guests, this Exclusive model goes one step further.
At 17.30 metres long and 4.95 metres wide at full beam, the new 2023 model extends the stern by a good 70 cm compared to the previous model. These two extra feet give an enormous amount of space behind each wheel, where, however, an optional extra can be fitted: a bench that serves as a galley when open, or as a sundeck when closed. But we will see this in more detail later.
An unmistakable characteristic of Kufner is the possibility of customizing the boat, a feature now also possessed by this 54 Exclusive. Indeed, the owner can decide on the fittings and on-board equipment, but also create his own semi-custom boat. Customization can be done with almost no extra charge, except in one case: changing or moving the interior bulkheads. In this circumstance, the modification would entail an increase in the cost of creating a bespoke hull from scratch.
Kufner Yachts is a shipyard founded by engineer Damir Kufner, former CEO of the Nautika Kufner Charter Company, with 25 years of experience in shipbuilding and yacht chartering. The construction of sailboats originated from internal charter requirements: not always finding what satisfied the market and knowing exactly what the customers’ needs were, Damir Kufner decided to start his own production and was immediately successful.
These Kufner fast cruisers lay their design and development foundations on truly relevant issues: robustness, comfort, safety and reliability. They are boats made to last, without compromising on aesthetics and the needs of every owner.
An important strength is also the starting price, which under 335,000 euros offers plenty of scope for adding options and making modifications without the final outlay becoming unaffordable. With Kufner Yachts you can get a beautiful, comfortable, spacious and top-quality boat at prices that are certainly much more affordable than competitors.
Now, let’s discover the new Kufner 54 Exclusive in detail…
At first glance one thing is immediately obvious about this Kufner 54 Exclusive: the space is immense. Access is very simple, the transom lowers, is generous and skims the surface of the water.
From here, three steps lead up to the deck, which offers plenty of room for movement and gives more than a metre behind each wheel. There are two alternatives in this additional space: either leave the stern free, taking advantage of the space behind the wheels to move around more easily, or install a ‘summer kitchen’. An optional extra, as I mentioned earlier, developed precisely for this space that has two functions: barbecue and sundeck. It is structured as a locker that opens upwards and from the transom you can access the worktop that also includes a sink and a barbecue. When closed, on the other hand, it becomes a large sundeck with a comfortable cushioning that takes up the entire width of the stern, which is also very useful for the skipper when sailing.
The teak evens out and covers the whole boat, right up to the bow, where three sunbeds can be installed forward of the mast and another four on the deckhouse, which has been deliberately developed flat to be comfortable and usable as a sundeck.
Despite the fact that the large cushions occupy a large part of the bow, Kufner 54 Exclusive nevertheless guarantees free and walkable space in both the foredeck and forward areas.
The choice to use an original 10 mm Burma teak could not have been more appropriate, not only functional but a true marvel for the eyes.
The cockpit is impressively comfortable with its two L-shaped sofas that can seat up to ten people, and the extendable central table also houses a mini fridge, without having to go below deck every time for a cold drink… ingenious, to say the least.
Entering below deck, the large space available is immediately noticeable, a truly abundant headroom and width giving the living area unparalleled comfort. To starboard is a linear galley, spacious, modern and superbly equipped with appliances… as at home. A large island counter divides the kitchen area from the central hallway, which is very useful for placing dishes or as a quick dining table thanks to three interlocking stools that hide inside the table and are also useful as a handhold for safer navigation.
A large table with a U-shaped sofa occupies all the space to the left, providing comfort and space for all the guests who would like to eat below deck, up to 10 people.
There are five cabins in this model: two doubles aft, comfortable, with en-suite heads and space in front of the bed for easy changing. Two are after the saloon, towards the bow, with bunk beds and heads with separate toilets, and a very large master cabin, with en-suite bathroom and space to put a small table and beauty area for the ladies.
Headroom is also generous, a six-footer stands without any problem, all along the boat. In the central dining area is the chart table and the electronic part with the easily accessible control panel.
This is not the only configuration of the Kufner 54 Exclusive; on the contrary, it is possible to have a 4- or 3-cabin version, which is totally customizable. One of Kufner’s real strengths is precisely this: the incredible freedom to customize spaces and on-board equipment, each boat is different from the last, it is unique and developed according to the tastes and requests of each owner.
Kufner 54 Exclusive Sea Trial
It is late afternoon when I climb aboard the Kufner 54 Exclusive, the sun is still high, the temperature is close to 23 degrees, which for the end of October is not bad at all! Alas, there is little wind, but we decide to make the most of what little there is and so we get ready to go out.
Access is comfortable and easy thanks to the folding transom and the three steps that allow me to reach the deck. We sit on the cockpit sofas and I notice with pleasure that the cushions are really comfortable, as well as being really elegant.
Once the unmooring operations are over, the owner, Damir Kufner, takes the helm, starts the engine, a Yanmar 110 hp shaft drive, and we leave the dock. Getting out of the harbour is really difficult because the channels are tight and the number of boats moored is really vast, then let us remember that we are moving a 54-foot sailboat that weighs 20 tonnes, but in this the bow thruster is of fundamental help.
We wait our turn in the middle of the channel after doing a few manoeuvres (yes, there was a bridge that could be opened by the hour) we finally leave the harbour. The sea is very calm, there is little wind, but we do not give up and shortly afterwards we switch off the engine, preparing to sail. We unfurl the genoa and the mainsail, and start to move slowly.
The feeling is incredible, no noise, direct contact with the sea and nature, we bear away and the boat begins to sail. With a true crosswind of about 6 knots we are sailing between 4 and 5 and a half knots, which is certainly not a bad performance.
This only means one thing: there is no drag, the hull is designed and engineered to be frictionless, but one thing stands out above all others: the smoothness of the Kufner 54 Exclusive. Even upwind the boat is stable, smooth and when making the first turn it almost doesn’t slow down. Operations on board are very simple and tacking is no problem at all.
On this side the wind increases a little, we pick up speed, the true wind is at 7 knots and we sail at 6.5 with 30 degrees on the sails!
The experience that this Kufner 54 Exclusive gives is that of sailing a much smaller and less heavy boat, instead we are moving a 20-tonne 54-footer at 30 degrees to close-hauled, almost touching seven knots… a unique sensation, it feels like gliding over the water without any difficulty.
The wind suddenly stops blowing and we, who are between a small island and the harbour, first slow down and then stop. The sun was setting over Biograd and so we started the engine and returned to port.
What feelings, what emotions this Kufner 54 Exclusive…!
Our conclusions about the Kufner 54 Exclusive
We can say that the new Kufner 54 Exclusive is a sailboat that certainly surprises: designed for charter use, it is also perfect for private use. Seeing and testing her one immediately perceives her robustness, the quality of the materials and the extreme manoeuvrability, despite her size.
The price/quality ratio and the smoothness of this boat on the water are truly unique and very attractive.
Inboard Sfaft Drive
Article also available in: English