Moody 54 DS test

Moody 54 DS Sea Trial. The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

13 mins read

Moody 54 DS, a Judel/Vrolijk-designed hull under the evening dress

There are boats that are still able to astonish, Moody 54 DSbringing together features apparently not compatible with each other. This is certainly the case of the Moody 54 DS, a boat that we tested in Cala Galera during a nice windy day.

At first glance, the Moody 54 DS might look like a luxury blue cruiser that, like most boats covered by this definition, has a little of trouble navigating under sail but, as we will see later, that is not the case.

This sailboat is just a yacht where Moody Boats engineering has succeeded in combining spaces and performance, luxury and functionality, craftsmanship and high technology.

What has resulted from this considerable design effort is a boat that, in a way that no other boat does, is able to interpret the pure concept of cruising.

Moody 54 DS deckYes, because the Moody 54 DS is an unparalleled boat and, judging from the (high) number of units sold until now and the (very high) value of the few used models which can be found on the net, we can certainly say that she has been extraordinarily successful.

She is unique because she is a real Deck Saloon, with a living space offering a spectacular view over the sea. She is unique because she is probably the only one monohull with a (huge) cockpit developed in a single level along with the dinette and, when the glass door is open, she creates an unparalleled space in terms of volumes, comfort and supplies.

She is unique because, under her evening dress, she hides a hull designed by Judel/Vrolijk studio that, as most of us know, can’t seem to conceive low performing sailboats.

Moody 54 DS – Sea TrialMoody 54 DS Sailing

The sail plan of the Moody DS is simple and compact, the mainsail is furling, tri-radial with vertical sticks and measures 81.50 square meters; the jib is self-tacking, highly practical and measures 65 square meters. Optional equipment includes a 135% genoa and a gennaker/Code 0 which can be installed on the bow plate, specifically designed for this purpose.

Analyzing these data in relation to the boat weight – 24 tons – we should not expect much of the sailing performance of this boat but, surprisingly, as we raise sails, the 54 DS casts off the robes of Dr. Jekyll and converts into an exuberant Mr. Hyde.

Moody 54 DS heelingThe true wind is blowing at 15 knots, the sea is slightly rough/ almost flat and we perceive no pitching while we bear away to reach the fateful 30-degree apparent wind. As the jib telltales are trimmed for speed, the boat heels, takes off and speeds up until it almost touches 7 knots. Seeing this boat heeling and sailing close to the wind in an excellent way, despite of the superstructures it is equipped with, is a really strange sensation.

As we bear away, speed increases rapidly. At 60 degrees, while heeling decreases, we touch 9 knots! A speed that the boat manages to maintain even when it sails with the wind abeam while navigating fast in an unparalleled comfort.

Even when wind weakens a little, speed is always great, the Moody 54 DS keeps on running as fast as a train, with an average speed of 8 knots.

At this point, considering the design concept of this yacht, I want to Moody 54 DS seen from the bowtry to steer alone. The crew easily takes a seat in the cockpit, which is totally protected from both wind and elements, and I enjoy my solo navigation from the raised stern pilot station.

All electric navigation controls are located in the two columns. I start luffing up and, with a light pressure on the buttons, I haul the mainsail and the jib. The boat takes off again and I comfortably steer, leaning on the lumbar supports of the seats. Of course, especially if the helmsman is, like me, not too tall, the forward view is not excellent but it is sufficient to pitch forward to enjoy a fairly good view. When the boat starts heeling, the visibility forwards improves and everything is ok.

From the pilot station, I can manage my maneuvers with no problems. I tack and, of course, I don’t need to do anything else because the self-tacking jib does it all by itself. Without putting the boat on autopilot, I switch from the downwind to the windward steering gear and the Moody stays on course without never luffing up.

Moody 54 DS SailingI try to bear away and, since I need to ease, I engage the autopilot and ease the mainsail and jib sheets, I adjust them from the side-decks in order to benefit from a good visibility towards the sail luffs.

This time – I continue to steer the boat alone – I enjoy a broad reach at almost 9 knots while the rest of the crew is in the cockpit, chatting and checking e-mails on their smartphone.

And, at that very moment, I understand the very essence of this boat.

Moody 54 DS – Performance

Test conditions: 7 passengers on board- 70% fuel capacity, 30% water capacity- true wind from 15 to 17 knots – calm sea

The data shown in the table refer to a very dirt hull. It was not possible to detect performance under engine because the propeller was so dirty that a reliable test could not be carried out even if, considering the 150hp engine which the boat was fitted with and the statements of the boat captain, the boat would deliver a cruising speed of 9 knots and a top speed of 10.

The hull features modern lines with high vertical sides while the rudder is double-bladed. These great volumes allow large tanks and good range: 800 liters for the water tank and 520 for the fuel one, which can even become 920.

As for the keel, the owner can choose between two draft options: 2.65 or 2.25 meters.

Standard equipment includes a 24Volt retractable bow thruster, essential for such amount of surface exposed to the wind, while stern thrusters are optional.

Deck54 DS

Particularly striking is the feeling of total protection you have in both the cockpit and on the deck. The first is built-in astern, with very high railings and a huge deck house which shields from both wind and sea.

The rigid T-top stretching over the cockpit features a fabric section which can be opened manually. The deck, with its high bulwarks and solid handrails, provides both passengers and crew with total protection.

Side-decks are protected by both the railings and handrails present on both sides. Forward, there is a double and highly solid bow anchor plate and the skylight of the large sail store, whose opening is wide and convenient.

Moody 54 DS winchHighly comfortable is the arrangement of the tables and sofas, the layout is asymmetric while a large corridor gives access to interiors. Under the starboard bench, there is a huge locker, equipped with a stair, where you can come in.

On each side of the two large electrical winches, we can find two practical rope hooks. Within the starboard one, there are the Electronic Bus system backup controls.

Behind the two wheelhouses, each of which is equipped with all the instruments necessary for the proper boat management and steerage, the seats, which can seat up to 2 adults, are very comfortable and their backrest can convert into a real lumbar support when standing at the rudder.

The stern is equipped moody 54 DS controlswith a medium-sized electrically-operated tender garage, whose hatch can convert into a bathing platform. A medium-sized tender can be easily stowed in this compartment, accessible also from an additional hatch positioned on the cockpit flooring.


Building quality and luxuryMoody 54 DS Interiors are visible everywhere on board the Moody 54 DS. The owner can indeed choose between four different wood essences, eight different teak and seam options and dozens of fabrics for both interiors and exteriors.

The result is a completely custom-made boat, capable of serving the various owner’s needs.

The shipyard offers four different interior layouts with three or four cabins. A series of huge windows floods the dinette with a great amount of natural light (high-safety glasses are designed by Trend Tempered Glass ad alta sicurezza). 5 meters long, the dinette is a nice convivial space which overlooks the cockpit.

Moody 54 DS Interiors 2The traditional version features a large, well-equipped U-shaped galley. The chart area, as is appropriate in a real deck saloon, includes an interior pilot station, perfect when sailing in cold or bad weather and offering a great external view. There’s enough room to install electronic devices and the special compartment intended to accommodate navigational charts is simply great!

The boat hosts a real engine room (accessible through a ladder) positioned just in front of the galley and below the dinette. Both engine and systems are all easy to reach and positioned at amidships. Sound insulation is very good and, when sailing, noise is minimal.

Two stairs lead from the deck house to Moody 54 DS master cabinthe sleeping quarters: a master cabin with en-suite bathroom and two double cabins ( one double and a twin-bedded one) with shared bathroom in the bow; and a fourth twin-bedded cabin in the stern. A multitude of closets, drawers and lockers guarantee a great storage capacity. Headroom is always great: almost 2 meters in the first three cabins and 177 cm in the stern cabin.

Technical Specs

moody 54 DS layoutmoody 54 DS layout2

Length Overall
17.10 m
Maximum Beam
5.20 m
Displacement 24,500 kg
Ballast 7 t
Draft 2,65/2,25 m
Fuel Tank Capacity
520 l
Mainsail 81.50 sq.m.
Jib 65 sq.m.
Genoa 79 sq.m.
Fresh Water Tank Capacity
810 l
Propulsion system Volvo 150 hp
EC Category
Design  Dixon YD

Importer for Italy
Nautigamma – Marina Punta Faro – Lignano (UD) – +39 0431 20500 –

1 Comment

  1. Ladies and Gentlemen,
    I am seriously interested to buy a Moody DS54 boat in spring 2023. Is it posible to test the boat for 24-48 hours on the Mediteranean French coast in the area Cannes – St. Tropez ?) I will be there between August 26 and August 31. Please let me know if there is a boat available fpr this purpose and its harbour address.
    Best regards from Germany,
    Dr. John Ionescu / Clinic Director
    Phone: +49 173 3859235

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