Power & Motoryacht
By George L. Petrie

The Davis 52 Sportfish is the natural follow-up to the Davis 52 Express (“Heavy Hitter,” June 2006), it being just a matter of time until a more hard-core sportfishing version arrived on scene. The big difference between the two boats is, of course, their interior layouts. Where the Express offers two staterooms, two heads, a galley, and a saloon all on her lower deck, the Sportfish is a true convertible: She has a fully equipped galley, dinette, and saloon on her main deck and three staterooms and two heads on her lower deck.

An island double berth, cedar-lined hanging locker, vanity, and built-in TV with DVD highlight the air-conditioned master stateroom, while the en suite master head has a separate shower stall with a built-in seat. Up forward, the VIP stateroom has a centerline double berth, large hanging locker, and entry into the second head; a second doorway lets this space also function as a day head.

In lieu of the open bridge deck on the Express, the Sportfish offers a shape galley with a four-burner cook-top, double stainless steel sinks, and under-counter refrigerator-freezers. Opposite there’s a U-shape dinette that accommodate four anglers, while aft there’s an L-shape settee, the perfect spot for enjoying the standard entertainment center to starboard or for just relaxing with a refreshing beverage.

Because the helm station is well aft on the flying bridge, the helmsman has a clear view of the cockpit. Two handsome Murray Brothers chairs provide a touch of class, their varnished teak providing a pleasing contrast to the flawless white fiberglass helm console. Guests can enjoy the ride from a settee forward of the console, savoring fresh air and sun or sheltered by the available bridge enclosure. A hardtop is standard, and the 52 is available with outriggers, a full tower, and complete battlewagon regalia.

My only quibble with the design of the 52 Sportfish relates to her flying-bridge access, achieved via a near-vertical ladder on the starboard side, just abaft the doorway into the saloon. True, I’m in that over-55 demographic that favors something more inclined, but scaling an athwartship ladder in a heavy sea poses a potential safety issue regardless of age. There’s a hatch at the top of the ladder that can be closed to guard against the errant step into empty space.

In most other respects, the 52 Sportfish is pretty similar to the 52 Express. Her spacious cockpit is battle-ready with all the requisites: bait prep station, tackle stowage, in-sole fish boxes, live well, and laminated-in fighting chair base. An assortment of options can be had to suit most any fisherman’s preferences. Providing just the right touch of pizzazz, she sports oiled teak covering boards around her cockpit and varnished teak toe rails from her cockpit to her bow.

Designed by Nick Boksa, the 52’s hull is classic Davis: a sharp entry, deep forefoot, and abundant bow flare to deliver a soft, dry ride. Her bottom is purposefully warped, varying from an aggressive 21-degree dead rise amidships to take the sting out of heavy seas to a moderate 11 degrees at the transom to boost speed and efficiency. To maximize performance (and reduce draft), her hull is offered with optional propeller pockets molded into her bottom. But for purists, she’s also built with a conventional (nonpocketed) running bottom. And whatever the shape of her bottom, she comes standard with that signature tumblehome in her stern.

52 Sportfish