First Look: Viator 54DS – Electric Explorer


German company Viator Marine is a new name in the world of shipbuilding and the Viator 54DS is its second boat. An electric yacht ready for high latitudes

Electric propulsion makes a lot of sense for exploration yachts that need to be self-sufficient for long periods of time. Energy reserves can be replenished through regeneration when there is enough wind to sail at a decent speed, as well as a large area of ​​solar panels. And that’s the meaning of travel for the new Viator 54DS.

Electric range cookers and electric motor tenders eliminate the need for fuel and gas supplies in remote areas. A small additional ‘range extender’ diesel generator will keep the boat moving in prolonged calms.

German company Viator Marine is a new name in the shipbuilding world, but one that is backed by significant private equity investment.

The Viator 54DS is a semi-custom aluminum explorer yacht designed to withstand contact with ice and is the yard’s second model after a 42-footer. It is fully insulated, which reduces heating needs in cool climates and helps eliminate condensation. At the same time, good insulation makes life on board much more comfortable in the tropics and allows air conditioning to operate with relatively modest power consumption.

Viator 54DS has a generous deck saloon and a large walk-in cockpit

Propulsion is provided by twin 50kW engines, which provide plenty of reserve if needed to get away from a leeward coast or across the sea, as well as nimble maneuvering in harbour. Founder and CEO Hendrick Heiner told me shaft drives were chosen over saildrives because of their inherent greater reliability on an explorer yacht.

Battery options extend up to a 100kW bank, providing 8-10 hours of range, which equates to around 40-50 miles at cruising speed in pure electric mode. It takes remarkably little power to push a yacht at moderate speeds relative to the waterline length in calm conditions, so a surprisingly small range extender generator will suffice.

In this case, it’s a 15kW unit that gives the Viator 54DS non-stop range under power up to 1,600 miles from an 800 liter fuel tank. The additional battery charge comes from an array of 1.5 kW solar panels on the coachroof.

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Despite the ice-resistant hull, which has a reinforced waterline with reinforced stringers, the displacement has been reduced to around 17 tons. The iYacht naval architects have also designed a powerful and modern sail plan which promises to offer good performance even in light winds, when a code 0 of 160m2 can be used to increase speed. This reduces reliance on electric motors and allows regeneration to start in lighter air. Once the boat speed reaches 8 knots, the regeneration increases to over 1 kW.

The Viator 54DS benefits from both a large cockpit and generous deck saloon, knowing that there are certain parts of the world – whether hot or cold – in which it is much more comfortable to be on the inside. This has a full 360º view which allows a watchkeeper to comfortably steer the boat from an elevated helm station aft on the port side.

A cockpit layout allowing easy access to the side decks via two steps outside and ahead of the helm stations, while handling of the sails is done from inside pedestals using four electric winches.

Viator 54DS Specifications

LOA: 16.5 m 54 ft 1 in
Shine: 5.12m 16ft 9in
Disorganized: 1.55-3.20 m 5 ft 1 in-10 ft 6 in
Shift: 17,200 kg 37,900 lbs.
Sail area: 195m2 2,100ft2
Base price: from €1,550,000 excluding tax

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