Review: Moody 54 DS

By: Kevin Green, Photography by: Kevin Green, Barry Ashenhurst & Moody

Moody 54 DS stern Moody 54 DS stern
Moody 54 DS 03 Moody 54 DS 03
Moody 54 DS 04 Moody 54 DS 04
Moody 54 DS 06 Moody 54 DS 06
Moody 54 DS 20 Moody 54 DS 20
Moody 54 DS 40 Moody 54 DS 40
Moody 54 DS 41 Moody 54 DS 41

The Moody 54 DS sailing yacht is a genuine deck saloon with wide appeal. This is one luxury cruiser that even powerboaters can appreciate.

With its longer waterline of 17.15m, the Moody 54 DS sailboat offers faster passagemaking than the Moody 45 DS, while costing substantially less than the flagship Moody 62 DS. But throughout the range of passagemaking sailboats the key features are the same: sheltered cockpit on the same level as the tall deck saloon, views while you relax in the vast lounge or cook at the galley, and steering done from the elevated aft deck.



Moody 54 DS

The Moody 54 DS sailboat can be controlled from the inside steering position where throttle and autopilot is part of the chart table arrangement. Located at the forward part of the cabin and surrounded by tall windows, it’s a position that gives the skipper plenty of confidence to run the boat from, while chatting to guests who get to relax on the U-shaped lounge opposite.

A large, solid wooden table with folding ends dominates the area, overhead skylights giving plenty of ventilation to what is already an airy room.

Behind the lounge the U-shaped galley’s facilities spread across the entire aft section of the saloon and are extensive for what is the best liveaboard yacht in this category that I’ve seen. Corian work surfaces give space to prepare food along with two covered sinks and there’s a three-burner gimballed stove.

Serving guests dining in the cockpit is done by merely stretching out the aft window. In the cockpit, simply pull across the overhead bimini cover and sit down behind the table to enjoy sheltered alfresco dining; and with the sailing controls safely located aft, this can be done underway as well.



Owner's suite on Moody 54 DS

The vast production strength of Hanse yachts means the Moody brand has an extensive list of options, finishes and layouts. The key layout choices are galley-up or galley-down in the midships section of the 54’s deep hull. The latter was chosen for hull #3 and created a vast entertaining area in the saloon, allowing the cook to work undisturbed. The cost of the galley-down is the removal of the third cabin and the navigation station is moved aft and to port.

Accommodation comes in three layouts with two midships cabins and a third aft, but the owner’s suite is forward in all. A king-sized island bed with adjustable headrests dominates the suite and even when climbing onto its elevated step, there is head space above six-foot tall sailors. The dark wood surrounds contain cupboards with quality metal locks and gas-assisted struts for secure opening, while the tall wardrobes will cater well for liveaboards.

The vanity table doubles as a remote navigation spot on the test boat with a plotter that allows the owner to maintain a relaxed eye on things. Above, the TV is nicely placed for bedtime viewing. Moving into the en suite the facilities are everything you’d expect with the essentials well covered – deep sink, tall separate shower and electric head – but quality touches add to the ambience.

VIP cabin on Moody 54 DS

Guests in the adjoining two cabins are fairly well catered for, especially the portside VIP one that has the larger bed and en suite. Below the corridor steps is a large storage drawer and beside the handrail the CZone screen.

Moving to the aft accommodation brings me to a double cabin with separate berths. Despite the cockpit impinging, it is a comfortable space with man-sized berths, a tall wardrobe and opening hatches on both sides. It’s a private area with your own corridor leading to the third toilet that also contained the optional washer/dryer. There’s a sink and a cover over the Miele that allows the area to be a shower area as well. In addition there’s a crew cabin in the forepeak.



Moody 54 DS control station

On deck the Moody 54 DS sailboat’ GRP bimini gives protection as you walk, before stepping up to the main steering positions where twin pedestals are linked to the single deep spade rudder by quality Jefa linkages. The position allows those of average height or above to see over the tall saloon, while for those a wee bit shorter, simply look around the side. The coachroof located mainsheet blocks leaves the aft area free for kids to roam in and of course the boom is safely beyond head height.

Our review boat’s steering pedestals bristled with marine electronics and other gear: Raymarine Glass Bridge screen plotter, wind instruments and autopilot. A most useful item I found at sea are buttons controlling the electric Lewmar EVO winches allowing the steerer to trim from the helm. Other good points are throttles for the Volvo on both pedestals, as are the joystick controls for the drop-down bow and stern thrusters.



Moody 54 DS sails

The sailplan on the test Moody 54 DS was extensively fitted to be easily managed. So there is in-mast furling and the genoa has an electric furler as well, while Hanse’s proved self-tacking jib is a feature on the Moody as well. The Moody standard Elvstrom FCL sails were upgraded to the performance EPEX carbon-taffeta wardrobe and made a big difference at sea; but more about that later. Interestingly the sister yacht, hull #3, had a boom furling mainsail with a Southern Spars carbon boom attached to the tapered alloy mast, which lowers weight aloft.

The powerful keel stepped Selden alloy rig on hull #1 is held up by wire shrouds and twin outboard backstays. Keel options are a standard cast iron L-fin or shoal draft, and the hull is GRP sandwich. The hull shape has plenty of beam and rounded aft sections, while the upright stem and transom maximises the waterline and also enhances the overall aesthetics created by the slanted deck saloon.

The topsides are another good feature on the Moody 54 DS thanks to deep bulwarks, thick teak decking and sturdy guardrails to guide you forward. The pulpit has a large vertical Quick windlass and capstan, with the chain locker separate from the large lazarette, and there are twin rollers. Other notable details include retractable cleats, including midship ones, and a useful gate in the guardrail.



Moody 54 DS sailing yacht

For our sea trial we motored out from Middle Harbour in company with hull #3. Hoisting sail was a push-button affair involving pulling the outhaul of the mainsail before clicking another button to sheet the genoa out, allowing us to speed off nimbly in the brisk 18-knot conditions. My hands enjoyed the feel of the GRP Carbonautica wheel, while the high-backed seat supported me comfortably as we sailed past Middle Head with our sister ship fading in our wake.

Vertical battens and some halyard tensioning helped set our EPEX mainsail beautifully, allowing me to power-up the Moody 54 DS nicely. I was beginning to appreciate these performance Elvstrom sails that gave us a little edge on our sister ship that had the standard FCLs. Hardening up – by simply pushing the trim buttons – put our heading on about 40 degrees with the GPS showing a brisk 9.4kts speed as the telltales went horizontal. The helms felt balanced and tacking was done with surety as the spade rudder proved well up to the job in the brisk conditions.

The view forward is slightly restricted by the tall deck saloon but that’s the price you pay for this level of comfort and at sea most owners would click the autopilot on anyway. With the breeze increasing, switching to the smaller self-tacking jib was done in a few minutes thanks to the electric Lewmar EVO winches doing the work for us after we’d gybed around without dramas in Rose Bay to beat home. Moving between helms was a matter of strolling across the teak deck when tacking, while standing or sitting at the helms were equally comfortable, although foot chocks would be nice.



Moody 54 DS interior layout

Arriving at the shelter of Middle Harbour the furler buttons were pressed to douse the sails before I unfolded the four-bladed propeller to use the engine, smoothly and quietly reaching 8.8kts at 2400rpm before throttling back to check the handling. Again, no dramas going aft with the balanced spade rudder nicely controlling the tall hull, but with the insurance of the bow and stern thrusters at hand there was nothing to worry about. Which about sums up the Moody 54 Deck Saloon: a well-mannered luxury yacht that indeed does take the worry out of sailing. 



• Very liveable concept

• Effective sailplan

• Quality build



• Slightly obscured view from helms

• Foot chocks behind helms needed



Moody 54 Deck Saloon price: $1,800,000 (price as tested)



Raymarine navigation package, Fusion package and TV system, electric cockpit table, Fischer Panda 11kVa generator, two 12/220V inverters, air-con 48,000btu, extra fridge/freezer in galley and cockpit, dishwasher, washer/dryer, microwave, Elvstrom EPEX carbon sails, and electric Furlex on headsail plus genoa







TYPE Keelboat

LENGTH 17.1m overall; 15.55m waterline

BEAM 5.2m

DRAFT 2.65m

WEIGHT 24,500kg (ballast 7000kg)



CABINS 3/4/5

FUEL 520lt (std); 940lt (opt)

WATER 810lt



MAKE/MODEL Volvo Penta D3-150 shaftdrive w/ four-bladed folding prop




AREA 81.5m² mainsail, 79m² genoa, 65m² jib, 200m² gennaker



Team Windcraft NZ

1 Westhaven Drive

Westhaven 1010


Phone 09 413 9465



Moody 54 DS layout


See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #250, February / March 2015. Why not subscribe today?

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