Boat Review: S&J Violator 54

The Violator 54 resembles the classic sportfishing machines of the Palm Beach area with a varnished mahogany helm pod, teak cockpit, modest bow flare and a high freeboard forward.

Violater 54 big

Violater 54 big

Several Palm Beach anglers decided that they knew exactly what they wanted in a sportfishing boat, but they didn't want to pay custom-boat prices for it. They also figured that other knowledgeable owners might feel the same way. After a bit of research into who could build such a boat without an inflated price, the group discovered the Vicem Yacht Shipyard on the western coast of Turkey. I know you've never heard of it, but don't let that frighten you away? Vicem enjoys a respected reputation in the Mediterranean boatbuilding community.

The result, the Violator 54, resembles the classic sportfishing machines of the Palm Beach area with a varnished mahogany helm pod, teak cockpit, modest bow flare and a high freeboard forward. (I'm not sure whom or what it violates.)

The flybridge provides a centerline helm with a slight wraparound to the electronics console. Violator situates the helm well aft to facilitate a clear view of the cockpit. The companion seat abuts the starboard flybridge coaming. This design affords plenty of space behind the captain for guests to access the companion seating without the helmsman needing to move. Forward bridge seating includes an L-shaped settee and table to starboard with storage beneath, along with a wet bar and straight settee along the port side.


****LOA** 54'0" BEAM 16'6" DRAFT 4'9" WEIGHT 42,600 pounds (dry) FUEL 950 gallons WATER 200 gallons POWER T1,050-hp MAN diesels BASE PRICE $1,111,940S & J Boatworks Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 561-776-6237|

You'll also find every fishing amenity you'd expect aboard the finest American sportfisher in the Violator's cockpit. Two 7-foot in-deck fish boxes with baffles, a transom-mounted livewell, hidden gaff storage compartments, a bait-and-tackle prep station, a deep freeze, fresh- and saltwater washdowns, and a reinforced teak sole to support an optional fighting chair come standard on the 54.

The spacious salon boasts a U-shaped settee to port, facing the 40-inch flat-panel TV that rises on rams for viewing. Forward to starboard, the L-shaped dinette faces the horseshoe galley across the centerline stairway to belowdecks. The galley -- with its granite counters and teak-and-holly sole -- features all the appliances you'd expect, from refrigerator and freezer to trash compactor, all as standard equipment. However, in the true spirit of custom boatbuilding, you can design and/or decorate your interior in any fashion you see fit.

One recent 54 owner opted for a three-cabin layout consisting of a master stateroom immediately to starboard at the base of the salon stairs, an over/under berth cabin opposite and an island-berth double cabin in the forepeak. The master cabin contains a head-aft queen berth, hanging locker and private head with shower, while the two guest cabins share another head and shower.

The engine room is well-soundproofed, and to isolate noise from the living quarters even more, fuel tanks are positioned along the forward and outboard bulkheads. Generators and pumps mount aft. Standard power -- twin 1,050-hp MAN diesels -- push the 54 to a top end of about 41 knots with a healthy 35-knot cruising speed.

Vicem cold-molds each Violator from Khaya mahogany and epoxy. All structural members (beams, ribs, keel) are also mahogany. The builder covers all exposed surfaces with a coat of Awlgrip, and all the joinery on board is made from teak.

If you want to join the elite corps of custom-boat owners, yet pay much less for the privilege, contact S & J Boatworks and inquire about the line of Violator sportfishing yachts from 54 to 106 feet.