Belzona 27 CC Boat Test

The Belzona 27 CC is a boat that Boating's top crew of editors sea-trialed and evaluated so that boaters-boat buyers especially-can learn the in-depth details about this boat's performance, construction and other features. Is it the right boat for you? Read on.

Belzona 27 CC Boat Test

Miami-based Belzona Boats carved a brand-building course with one of the marine industry’s most unique features. The 32- and 40-foot models offer side doors that slide aft for wide-open access to the aft cockpit, be it at the dock or on the water.

The compact new Belzona 27cc carries forward that tradition with a starboard side door that operates differently yet just as easily. More about that later.

LOA: 27'2" | Beam: 9'4" | Draft: 1'9" | Displacement: 6,500 lb. | Transom Deadrise: 21.5 degrees | Bridge Clearance: 8'4" | Max Cabin Headroom: 5'8" | Fuel Capacity: 200 gal. | Max Horsepower: 450 | Available Power: Twin Mercury outboards up to 225 hp each (Courtesy Belzona/)

One of the smallest Belzonas, the 27cc ranks as the brand’s most angling-centric to date. Gunwales reach to midthigh for a superb combination of onboard security and fishing access, and coaming pads encircle the interior to cushion legs while fishing. A level self-bailing deck with grit-style nonskid features wide walkways aside the console.

Recessed handrails bracket the bow for security when going forward. A cabinet abaft the leaning-post/helm-seating module can be optioned to accommodate tackle stowage. You can order the 27cc with a slide-out Yeti Tundra 75 cooler for the space underneath the module.

Optional slide-on backrests convert the bow seats to a pair of loungers.
Optional slide-on backrests convert the bow seats to a pair of loungers. (Courtesy Belzona/)

For keeping fish iced down, a pair of huge, insulated in-sole fish lockers flank the aft deck, with a third insulated fish locker under the foredeck. Deck hatches feature friction hinges to prevent them from slamming shut on your toes or fingers, and macerator pumps evacuate blood, gruel and meltwater overboard.

You’ll find seating on the forward console.
You’ll find seating on the forward console. (Courtesy Belzona/)

Five rod holders are built into the transom bulkhead, another four Mate Series combo rod/drink holders are recessed in the backrest of the helm seating, and five rod tubes line the aft edge of the fiberglass hardtop. These are in addition to three gunwale rod holders on each side of the boat for trolling, kite-fishing or drifting.

The 27cc is available with a pair of transom livewells, including a standard 29-gallon well in the port quarter and an optional 18-gallon well in the starboard quarter. Both feature clear acrylic hatches that latch and seal, as well as friction hinges to keep them from slamming shut.

The helm can accommodate twin MFDs.
The helm can accommodate twin MFDs. (Courtesy Belzona/)

Belzona’s penchant for passenger comfort emerges with the optional bow seating with slide-on backrests that convert the seats to a pair of loungers. Underneath is extra storage.

You’ll find seating on the forward console (with a 45-quart insulated cooler underneath) as well. In the stern, a transom bench seat can be folded down or removed when fishing takes priority. You can option the upholstery to feature the colors you wish, and add features such as diamond- or honeycomb-accent stitching.

You can order the 27cc with a slide-out Yeti Tundra 75 cooler.
You can order the 27cc with a slide-out Yeti Tundra 75 cooler. (Courtesy Belzona/)

OK, now let’s look at that unique side entrance, which Belzona dubs its Jumper Door. It uses articulating arms that make it easy to open and close. Lift and then pivot the lightweight carbon-fiber door aft to open. To close, lift and pivot it forward. A locking arm and latch keep the door secure and sealed.

This feature makes it easier to board the 27cc from a floating dock and haul aboard a big fish. A telescoping boarding ladder lets you reboard easily through the doorway when swimming or diving.

Shopping around? No other boats have the Jumper Door, but Scout’s 277 LXF center-console ($223,701) comes standard with a portside swing-in boarding door, transom door, integral three-sided windshield and a greater emphasis on family-friendly comfort.

Options include a permanent marine head or portable marine toilet.
Options include a permanent marine head or portable marine toilet. (Courtesy Belzona/)

Dash-panel options on the 27cc range from plain fiberglass to the racy carbon-fiber panel on our test boat. You can order one or two multifunction displays. This particular 27cc featured a pair of Garmin 15-inch touchscreen displays and a Garmin Fantom 24 dome radar. The carbon-fiber steering wheel complemented the techie dash panel.

Belzona offers an array of windshield choices that range from no windshield to a three-sided clear polycarbonate enclosure. Inside the step-down console we discovered an electrical control panel and access to the immaculate rigging behind the helm. You can order an optional permanent marine head or portable marine toilet to put inside.

The 27cc features 21.5 degrees of deadrise at the transom and carries a sharp entry forward. The sheerline sweeps upward from midship to a high, proud bow. A Euro-style transom melds pleasingly with the integral engine bracket.

Five rod holders are built into the transom bulkhead.
Five rod holders are built into the transom bulkhead. (Courtesy Belzona/)

Propelled by twin Mercury FourStroke 200 hp V-6 outboards, our boat charged from zero to 30 mph in 8.38 seconds, reaching a top speed of 51.7 mph at 5,800 rpm. The optional SeaStar Solutions Optimus 360 joystick steering system eased docking in tight quarters.

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The hull knifed smoothly at speeds as high as 35 mph through the 2- to 3-foot waves in the bay waters outside Miami’s Matheson Hammock Park, offering a dry, level ride no matter what direction we attacked the seas. Hairpin turns were executed without skidding. The propellers held their bite during lateral acceleration. Construction felt solid, with nary a creak nor rattle as we charged through the waves.

The 27cc’s Jumper Door is sure to impress anyone. Yet setting that great feature aside, this is a great-looking center-console boat, and one that’s in league with larger models when it comes to performance, range, fishing and comfort.

High Points

  • That Jumper Door is just icing on the cake for this sweet 27-footer.
  • Confidence-inspiring cornering at speed.
  • Easy access to rigging behind the helm.

Low Points

  • Posts that secure the transom bench have the potential to gouge chins when the seat is removed. We’d like to see a redesign.
  • Stowage nook or shelf on the console would be nice for stashing cellphones.

Price: $228,444 (with twin Mercury 200 FourStrokes)

Available Power: Outboard

Belzona 27cc Certified Test Results
Belzona 27cc Certified Test Results (Boating Magazine/)

How We Tested

Engines: Twin Mercury 200 hp FourStrokes

Drive/Prop: Outboard/Mercury Enertia Eco 16″ x 17″ 3-blade stainless steel

Gear Ratio: 1.85:1

Fuel Load: 120 gal.

Crew Weight: 200 lb.

Belzona Boats - Miami, Florida; 305-512-3200;

Source : Boating Magazine More   

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Cruising Norfolk: Essential guide to Britain's best kept secret coast

Azimut owner and professional photographer Simon Finlay shares the joys of cruising the Norfolk Broads and other East Coast pleasuresThe sun sets on another glorious day’s cruising on the Yare. Words and photos: Simon FinlayCan you remember the first time at sea in your own boat? For us it was a seminal moment. Behind us lay a tranquil cruise through the Norfolk Broads, two bridge lifts and a steady run past the historic quays and industrial relics of the past. Ahead loomed the dark foreboding piers of Great Yarmouth […] This article Cruising Norfolk: Essential guide to Britain's best kept secret coast appeared first on Motor Boat & Yachting.

Cruising Norfolk: Essential guide to Britain's best kept secret coast

Azimut owner and professional photographer Simon Finlay shares the joys of cruising the Norfolk Broads and other East Coast pleasures

The sun sets on another glorious day’s cruising on the Yare. Words and photos: Simon Finlay

Can you remember the first time at sea in your own boat? For us it was a seminal moment. Behind us lay a tranquil cruise through the Norfolk Broads, two bridge lifts and a steady run past the historic quays and industrial relics of the past. Ahead loomed the dark foreboding piers of Great Yarmouth and those strong protective buttresses that lead to the open sea.

This was our coastal debut, our initiation ceremony, our first taste of sea air and salt spray on board our own boat. OUR OWN BOAT. We were actually going to sea in our own boat!

As we left the sanctuary of the river and into a slight sea swell I pushed forward on the throttles of our Sealine S34 Venus. The high-pitched whine of the superchargers on our Volvo KAD32 engines kicked in, the bow raised as she climbed over her own bow wave and then, as the turbochargers took over, she started to surge ahead with real purpose and determination.


The Norfolk Yacht Agency Cruising Club directs the charge out to sea

The canopies were off, a gentle breeze cascaded over the screen and I cheered out loud at the sheer joy of it all. We were at sea, at speed, in the company of our fellow Norfolk Yacht Agency cruising club members on our first big adventure!

Broadly speaking

It was a few years ago now but the memory remains as sharp as ever. We have always been based in Brundall, Norfolk but started our boating life when I returned from an overseas assignment to hear my wife say the immortal words: “Darling, I have seen a boat I really like.”

A few weeks later and we were cruising the Broads in our own Sealine S240, a great starter boat for us to cut our teeth on. A couple of years of Broads cruising later, a change up to the S34 and we were ready for our open sea debut. Having now got the taste for coastal cruising and wanting a boat that would allow us to stay on board longer and explore further we upgraded to our current boat, an Azimut 42 called Astralis.

Article continues below…

Secret South Coast cruising: Discovering the hidden gems of Sussex and Kent

Cruising around Britain in a 27ft boat: Part 2 – Ramsgate to Grimsby

I know that many South Coast and Mediterranean boaters like to dismiss the Norfolk Broads and East Coast as all brown water, muddy marshes and rental boats, but those of us who live here know better.

The Norfolk Broads can be divided into two areas: the southern side with its big skies, open vistas and fabulous wildlife, and the northern side with its sheltered broads and air-draft restricted channels, which is where most of the holiday hire boats flock. We keep to the southern side, partly due to our air draft but also because of the choice of moorings and pubs.

From Norwich to Great Yarmouth the river Yare meanders through a gentle, shallow-sided tree-lined valley, instantly dismissing the notion that Norfolk is totally flat! Next comes Bramerton, a favourite stop of ours with moorings on the common sheltered by ancient woodlands and with views across the valley.


A Sealine S43 meanders its way along the River Yare at Brundall

Kingfishers and otters are part of the attraction as is the Water’s Edge pub, which has hosted us on many boating parties – mooring alongside dressed as Dracula for a Halloween party springs to mind!

From there we head downstream, often stopping at The Surlingham Ferry for great value food and good beer before passing our base at Brundall. Here the valley opens out, gradually revealing the low lying marshes with their lush summer grazing and iconic Broads wind pumps cutting into the sky. The river starts to widen as it cuts a meandering path past further pubs, inlets for private moorings and the Cantley sugar beet factory.

Just past this the Reedham Ferry pub is another great place to stop for lunch on the quay, with a good local ale while you watch cars, bikes and pedestrians being dragged across the river on the chain ferry that has been there since the 1770s.


Passing the historic Reedham chain ferry

It’s a favourite meeting point for cruises in company before heading out to sea, where anticipation rises, drinks are downed and last year the biggest thunderstorm I have ever witnessed kept us up far longer than we should have been, but the pub stayed open!

After this comes Reedham village, another great stopping point but now there is more to consider for the skipper. The river is tidal and can run fast towards the next hurdle of the railway swing bridge, but a call on the radio will often give you the next opening time or if you’re very lucky: “I’ll open it for you now.”

The downside is that it’s an old structure that during the summer often gets stuck due to the heat, much to the annoyance of river users – strangely, it never gets stuck open so the trains can’t use it! That’s one of the reasons why in summer we travel early or late, enjoying the sight of the dawn mist rising off the low marshes.


Early morning mist rises over the Broads

And then a choice, the river splits, do we turn to port and go to sea via Yarmouth or stay on the Broads and head for Lowestoft, where we can access the sea via Oulton Broad or turn down the Waveney Valley to Beccles?

Historic Yarmouth

Opt for straight ahead and it’s a very pretty cruise up river leading to the lovely market town of Beccles. The road bridge limits access for taller craft but there are moorings before it and a pleasant walk into town for provisions, food, entertainment and the pretty quay area.

Back downstream is Oulton Broad with its choice of pubs, restaurants and the lock, which gives you access to Lowestoft and the sea beyond. We like to moor up at the yacht station and, with glass in hand, watch the powerboat racing on a summer’s evening as the sun sets over the horizon and another blissful Broads day comes to an end.


Turn to port instead and a different adventure awaits. Past the moorings at The Burney Mill, the river suddenly opens up into a vast expanse of mudflats as far as the eye can see. The clearly marked channel picks its way east through mud beds where thousands of wading birds feed at low tide.

This is where we can start letting our hair down because unlike the rest of the Broads, there is no speed limit on Breydon Water and, with the lifting road bridge at Yarmouth tantalisingly in sight, the urge is to push forward those throttles, while still being considerate, purely to make sure all systems are working correctly, of course!

Yarmouth arrives quickly and having booked ahead with the port authority a quick radio call has us through the first bridge. Another short wait for the second bridge and we are heading past the historic quay with its restored fishing vessels and period merchants houses that once served the herring industry but now relies on gas exploration and wind farm development.


One of the two lifting road bridges at Great Yarmouth

With sea air filling our nostrils and urging us on, this is where our ‘other’ cruising starts. Port, starboard or straight on? Straight on lie Holland and Belgium but we are sticking to UK waters so we turn to port and head for the gem of the North Norfolk coast, Wells-next-the-Sea.

Like most of our coastal cruising grounds, it’s vitally important to time your arrival for high tide. The channel is well marked and the beach patrol should guide you in, but don’t make the mistake of following them when they run out of fuel and drift towards the beach without telling you why.

Wells is stunning with visitors’ moorings offering views for miles in one direction and a backdrop of brick and flint buildings on the other. Great pubs, shops for every need, stunning beach walks and award-winning fish and chips on the quay, looking down on your own boat as the sun sets and birds come in to roost for the night. Then it’s up early to watch the first light of day paint pinks and purples in the vast Norfolk skies, the channel filling with the tide as yachts gently swing on their moorings.


Picturesque Wells harbour is a short hop up the coast from Yarmouth

Here you can relax on your boat all day and marvel at how many crabs are being caught by eager children and competitive dads while pondering if it’s the same 100 crabs being caught or are there thousands down there?

Back to Yarmouth and this time we turn starboard, our first port of call is Lowestoft, the historic fishing town. It has seen better days but does have the sanctuary of the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club with sheltered visitors moorings, food, a bar and all the usual facilities.

From Lowestoft we head for another East Coast gem, Southwold. Again, it’s very tide dependent, needing good planning a careful approach but it’s well worth the effort. Synonymous with wealthy weekenders, the quay is south of the town on the River Blyth about 30 mins walk away.


Even the fish and chip shop has a certain period charm at posh Southwold

Along its banks ancient black tarred fishing huts huddle together strewn with old nets, buoys and boats that seem to have taken root in their retirement, but between them, in another shack-like building, is an amazing fish restaurant serving that day’s catch brought in by the few local boats still plying their trade. From our mooring, we enjoy strolling along river bank to the pretty of village Walberswick.

From Southwold we head for the River Deben, past huge shingle banks, which seals and dolphins like to play between, and the imposing Napoleonic Martello towers guarding the entrance to the river leading to Bawdsey Manor, the WW2 radar station and at the end of its navigation, Woodbridge. The entrance to the Deben is particularly narrow and needs care but on summer evenings as you head into the light, it’s a beautiful cruise along a well marked channel past swinging moorings.

Tidemill Harbour is the destination, set in the ancient mill pond which fills and empties on the tide, so care is needed to clear the sill on entry. Once tied up, Woodbridge is a delightful town to enjoy with good amenities, great pubs and the station just a few yards away.


Dinghies and motoryachts mix happily at Woodbridge

South of the Deben is the Orwell with the entrance dominated by the huge container port at Felixstowe.  The Orwell is another fine river that gets prettier upstream, with stopping points at Levington, Woolverstone and once through the lock, Ipswich Marina. Revived in recent years the marina area of Ipswich is now a thoroughly pleasant place to stay.

Head further south and the mighty Thames awaits with the run up to London and St Katherine’s Dock marina set in the shadow of Tower Bridge itself.

Best of both

So there you have it, our little secret, the East Coast and the Norfolk Broads. Here, we can enjoy the best of both inland and coastal cruising.


The NYACC holds fun-filled cruises in company

Yes, we have brown water; yes, you need to keep a very close eye on sand banks; yes, we more often than not have holiday hire boats to negotiate. But we can also enjoy fantastic diversity, amazing views, big skies, fantastic pubs and wildlife aplenty, not to mention all the same great boating facilities as the South Coast but without the high fees and the overcrowding.

And finally our biggest secret, The Norfolk Yacht Agency Cruising Club. If ever there was one person who has encouraged us, and so many more like us, to head out to sea it is James Fraser and his fabulous team at NYA.

They organise, plan, arrange moorings, provide mechanical back up, support boats and lead from the front, allowing all of us to build the confidence and experience to head out on our own and navigate this beautiful area ourselves. And what do the NYA charge for all this expertise? Not a single penny!

First published in the August 2020 edition of Motor Boat & Yachting.

This article Cruising Norfolk: Essential guide to Britain's best kept secret coast appeared first on Motor Boat & Yachting.

Source : Mby More   

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