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Review of Bering 55

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Review of Bering 55

JW Yachts image Bering Yachts 55' Steel Trawler Lower the Waterline and Raise the Curtains... ..a New Steel Star is Born! Review by Judy Waldman YachtForums associate writer Judy Waldman flies to France for a sea trial of a little boat making big waves in the knot-so-fast community. Bering Yachts is quietly filling an industry overlooked niche for a go anywhere, fear-knot boat ready to do battle with wind, waves or even reefs. Bering Yachts may best be described as a worldly trawler in more ways than one. MILA, Bering Yachts’ latest launch, was custom ordered by her new owner from Russia after having seen the Bering 55 Hull # 1 in North Carolina. MILA was in Antibes France since being shipped from China in time for display at the Cannes International Boat Show. MILA’s transom reads Road Harbour r>BVI. Alexey Mikhaylov, the American founder of Bering Yachts, was aboard in Antibes for this YachtForums review. Alexey’s beginnings in shipbuilding started in Russia in his twenties when he and a partner in the shipbuilding business rebuilt an abandoned 136’ crew ship. The intrigue and subsequent success of this rebuild and resale project left its mark. Alexey moved to North Carolina in the 1990s and established a successful company exporting poultry to Russia and China. As his business grew and he began thinking of early retirement, Alexey initiated his search for a passagemaking trawler for world exploration. Alexey had been impressed with a popular steel trawler advertising steel as the safest material for hedging bets against things that go bump in the night, or in the ocean. After extensive research and brand comparison, Alexey concluded that this material was “Steel The Best.” Coupled with his reflections on the sense of accomplishment and the fun he had on his ship rebuild project in Russia, Alexey decided to embark on a second career – building affordable steel trawlers drawing on his shipbuilding partner still in Russia, his experience from 10 years of successfully doing business in China, and his love of boats.

The Bering 55 prototype, Hull # 1, was bought by a US client who had previously built a 65ʼ steel trawler and subsequently downsized. The owners saw the Bering while still in China and had her shipped to the US. While Hull # 1 was built as a spec boat, Hull # 2 was ordered by a European client who flew to the US outfit yard in NC where Hull # 1 was going through commissioning and realized an opportunity to have his dream yacht built just as he wanted. And there began the drawings for MILA. Built in the “Trawler Delta” at the Poly Marine Yard with Class A CE certification, the Bering 55 sat right on her lines at launching. Designed for the ability to take on any ocean, and a rating with no limits to weather, MILA’s curved hull with hard chines, combined with 60 ton displacement, gives her the stability that sets her solid.

In spite of Beringʼs forge ahead or trudge through anything look, MILA actually glides through the water. Hefty is a more appropriate description than salty; nonetheless, the typical trawleresque features include Portuguese bridge, reverse rake pilothouse windows, and high bulwarks. The Bering usually comes with stainless steel 3” oval rails and steel decks with non-skid, however Bering Yachts pride themselves on their willingness to customize, and installing teak caprails and teak decks for this owner was an easy request to accommodate - and they do add a touch of elegance even if somewhat negating the “low maintenance” goal of the Bering philosophy.

Full walkaround side decks make line-handling a snap, but more importantly, the Bering 55' has deep, 44" bulwarks; the commercial standard for passenger vessels, adding safety to its intended cruising grounds.

Accessed from easy to manage stairs from the aft deck or from the pilothouse, the upper deck provides spacious areas for entertaining and for manning the helm while enjoying the environs. The helm offers excellent visibility for anchoring, wending through tight marinas, or docking. The wheel is comfortably positioned for hand steering and perfect for foot steering when hands are busy with essential functions such as holding cans, soda of course. Smartly but simply tailored seating for 7 or 8 is around the dining table with storage beneath. A built-in cooler is at the end of the seating.

The full array of electronics includes the Glendenning throttle control with electronic press button fine-tuning (active, sync, warm, or troll), Cummins display, Furuno color screen, radar, gps, Simrad autopilot, depth sounder, compass, Icom radio, Alpine stereo speakers, and the control for the Buel dual trumpet horns. The Cummins, Furuno, and emergency stops are in a box that pivots to fold down for sleep mode. The maneuvering “cheats” are SidePower bow and stern thruster controls.

The hinged radar arch houses two radars; an M5 KVH TracVision and TracPhone, along with lights and more speakers. Stairs at the radar arch are long and lighted and assist in the safety of moving around the deck at night, as well as giving the extra lift for reaching storage cabinets built into the mast. Deck lights include mast and forward flood, forward and aft remote search, deck, stair and flybridge overhead and courtesy lighting, of course the nav and anchor lights, and the now “must have” underwater display

The open aftdeck area is for lounging, sun pads or an optional cooking center. It is large enough to accommodate a 17’ dinghy, or a 3.6 Zodiac with a Suzuki 40hp, 4-stroke outboard placed horizontally and lifted by a Steelhead ES-1500 davit. The high rails on the upper deck artistically provide a safety barrier.

Two Freeman watertight hatches open to the locker storing the chain of supply for two Muir windlasses. Tapered stainless stanchions support teak handrails line the perimeter of the Bering 55. The foredeck offers prime-time viewing in calm seas. The beneath seat stowage can be accessed from either the foredeck or from the storage doors in the Portuguese bridge and also conceals the escape hatches from the master stateroom.

The ease of movement around the Bering is aided by the full walkaround side decks that feature a full upperdeck overhang from amidship to aft. The sidedecks are surprisingly ample for a 55' boat and provide unimpeded access for line and fender handling. If things get fishy on deck, a built-in sink is located to port on the aft deck.

The aft deck offers seating for 9 for alfresco dining at the hi-lo table with grill and sink conveniently nearby. The aft deck also houses storage cabinet, port and starboard Lofrans winches, Glendenning Cablemaster, and access to the lazarette and aft watertight engine room entry.

Entry to the salon from the aft deck through the Diamond Sea Glaze watertight door leads to a surprise of contrasts. While the exterior of the Bering announces rugged, tough traditional trawler, the interior presents a sleek, contemporary look of modernity. MILA’s owner didn’t want the traditional all wood look, so he specified teak veneer for the lower half of the walls with white vinyl covering for the upper; teak trim and accents complement the wood/white look while the bamboo soles add to the contemporary/traditional blending.

The salon has barrel chairs to port that are form-fitted to the cabinetry with the end and center tables forming a contiguous piece of built-in furniture. Good use of space is made from the hinged lids on each of the three tables. MILA’s owner used this space for bottle storage: 13, 19, & 13 – 45 bottles safely stowed and easily accessible. To starboard is an L-shaped settee seating 7 or 8 with underseating storage. The hi-lo dining table is teak with marble inset. Forward is the 52” LED flatscreen TV, sound system, and bookshelves.

There are 5 large boxed windows, 5/8” laminated tempered glass, providing near panoramic visibility and good natural lighting. The lighting options are impressive and offer different moods and functions, not only in the salon, but throughout all of the cabins. There is mood lighting above, rope lights at the kickboards, LED courtesy and overhead lights, plus 5 wall lamps. The 220 and 24v can be varied for energy saving yet warm and bright functions. The openness and contemporary flow is accented by the artistry of the stainless rails going up 3 stairs to the galley. The high gloss varnished teak contributes to the yachty look.

On the portside, concealed behind cabinetry, is a full size Miele washer/dryer. Next forward are the 2 residential capacity Fisher & Paykel refrigerators with freezers. The galley is a bright and happy place to perform the culinary duties. The bamboo sole and white headliner continue the feeling of lightness and openness. Teak cabinetry and granite countertops are aesthetically pleasant and practical. The cooking center is on the starboard side; facing aft, the chef can interact with family or guests using the prep and serving counter or is within easy reach of serving the pilothouse when facing forward. Generous requisites of gourmeting at sea include Fisher & Paykel full size dishwasher drawers, Broan trash compactor, Whirlpool convection micro, 4 burner cooktop with fiddles, a large deep stainless steel sink. and numerous cabinets and cupboards. With good prep areas, easy maneuverability, and flexible lighting including mood, pin, and 7 spots, the cook will feel comfortable performing the gastronomic mission in any sea.

No steps required going from the galley to the pilothouse making it an easy grab for snacks. Making good use of space behind the staircase going to the flybridge is a storage cabinet for bottle storage, 25 wine bottles safely cached. The wine refrigerator is at the pilothouse settee. Excellent visibility is enhanced by the 5 large front windows and the 4 side windows in addition to the port and starboard watertight Dutch entry doors with windows, as well as the open view to the salon aft. The Lebroc fully adjustable helmseat is at the command center with electronics in easy reach at arm level or on the display above. Just as the Bering was built to take any sea, the electronics were selected to insure getting “there” with all the modern aids available and in duplicate or triplicate, day or night.

The displays include 5 Dell monitor screens, two of which are 20” screens for the Furuno MFDBB, a black box computer that displays radar, gps, camera (aft deck and mast), and depth. There is a backup system with the same functions on the Furuno MFD8. Other monitoring includes FLIR night vision, Simrad AIS system, VesselView Smartcraft, Victron Battery Monitor (2), Onan display, Fireboy monitor, bilge pump panel with 10 bilge pump lights and manual switches. The Maretron DSM250 monitors engine room temps, shaft seal temp, tank levels (8), smoke sensors and high water sensors. The navigation equipment includes Simrad autopilot (2), Simrad wireless remote, Furuno NavNet 3D, Furuno Radar (2) Icom M504 (2), Icom SSB (2), KVH Satcom (2). The controls include the Cummins suite and the Glendenning controls which include a remote control for the engine, as well as SidePower bow and stern thrusters, AutoAnchor (2), and watermaker controls.

The controls for the Cummins 65hp wing engine are in a “tuck-away box” with a hinged lid so as not to take up real estate at the helm for a presumably never to be used piece of equipment. And then thereʼs the polished wooden ships wheel as a nice backup or when one is inclined to practice old-fashioned seamanship.

Centerline steps from the salon lead to the staterooms with the master being forward. Interior headroom on the main deck is 7’. As well, the height for the staterooms is 7’ which gives a voluminous feel. All interior doors have a head clearance of 6'6” and are 2” thick solid wood with closet doors and furniture being 1” thick. The centerline bilge is easily accessible from the contiguous hatches from the engine room to the forward bulkhead and houses the fresh water manifold system enabling the quick isolation of leaks. There are nine 24v DC bilge pumps each with in-line check valve, float switch, and auto/off/manual selection.

The centerline bed is on a wooden base, all contributing to a solid feel of a quiet, segregated enclave. Numerous lighting options are from courtesy lighting at furniture kicks, mood lighting, and Japanese screens for manipulating natural lighting from the portholes. There are 2 emergency hatches which are required for the CE certification.

The master head has marbled walls, granite counters, and a 1/2 glass frameless shower with seat. The amidships guest stateroom to starboard is generously comfortable with queen bed and plentiful stowage. The portside guest cabin has an L-shaped settee that easily converts to a bed and also accommodates a desk and cabinets to serve as an office.

Entry to the engine room is from the 3rd stateroom/office which is ideal for a live-aboard crew member. Past the solid wood vanity door to a watertight dog-down door is a 5ʼ5” headroom entry; however, once inside the engine room height is 5ʼ8” although subsequent hulls will have a 6ʼ2 head clearance. The engine room is bright, open, well organized, and downright roomy as well as practical. The centerline single Cummins 285hp engine surrounded by a sturdy guardrail is easy to see, service, and even to get underneath. Quick inspections for underway checks are made easier with the forethought put into the engine room design. The sea strainers are all visible on entry; the day tanks have visual gauges, and the fuel management is by the door.

To port is a stainless steel storage cabinet and work center with sink, Reverso Oil Exchange system, battery controls, Sea Recovery 700 gpd watermaker, Victron Energy System, and Onan 27kW generator. To starboard is the Cummins 65hp wing engine and DeAngelo exhaust systems. Aft is the fuel management system, two sea chests, AC compressors, and watertight door to the lazarette. Forward, at engine room entry, is the used oil tank and battery charge switches.

Bering Yachts, as per nomenclature, are designed on the basis of the North Sea fishing trollers. Aided by Russian naval architects, the hull form is designed for efficiency and sea keeping capabilities simultaneously. While the comfortable and fuel efficient cruising speed is 8 knots, a maximum of 9.7 knots is attainable with the Cummins 285 hp engine, ZF 325 gearbox rated at 500hp, and Nibral 38” 5 blade prop (Aquamet shaft with dripless seals). The Cummins 65hp wing engine, with a separate shaft and a Gori 26” 3 blade folding prop, can slug its way home at a respectable 5 knots.

The exhaust system was designed by the engineers at DeAngelo using Bering’s CAD files. There is a water separator for both the main and wing engine and the exhaust outlets are just above the waterline portside aft. This accomplishes an ultra-quiet, fume-free, non-gurgling exhaust. The muffler is baked with carbon fiber insulation contributing to the low sound production and to the cooling of the gasses to the point that even the muffler is cool to the touch. With the piping being 2” above the water level, then advancing to the elbow, there is no chance of seawater getting back into the engine. Simple, efficient, stout, and well-designed systems are no headbangers for DeAngelo.

To support the ship’s power needs, the fully charged system will allow unrestricted usage for 3 to 4 days; all the appliances and 220 outlets are supplied by the inverters. If air-conditioning is included in the full load power sucking, then at anchor power life is shortened to a half day at anchor before generator re-start is necessary. Back at the dock, the Bering can take any power, through the chargers or direct, from 45 - 70 Hz again substantiating her intended worldwide usage.

Sound, vibration, and thermal insulation starts with the hull being painted with sound dampening paint. The top of the engine room and the tanks are covered with a bitumen type rubber vibration absorption material; superior to that is 1/2” layer of porous rubber and then fiberglass. There is 4” fiberglass matte sandwiched between aluminum sheets at every bulkhead and the ceilings. Above that is 1/4” marine plywood and finally the bamboo flooring for soles or the microfiber vinyl with foam backing for the ceilings and walls. The total thickness of the engine room insulation is 6” at the ceiling and 8” at the bulkhead adjoining the cabins.

The Cruisair reverse cycle air-conditioning/heating system (6 units with a total of 84,000btu) has an electric heating coil; if the water gets colder than 40 degrees, the electric heat automatically kicks on. The heating system is designed to keep the occupants toasty with air temperatures up to –10 degrees regardless of water temperature. Additionally, the engine room has 16000 btu of heating/air with the engine room temps not getting more than 10 degrees warmer than the outside temperature. Bering has provided an a/c vent to the engine room to help keep working conditions tolerable underway.

All Bering Yachts are built to ABYC standards, while those intending to include European cruising are built with CE certification. MILA has the CE certification stamp on all major equipment, and electrical and plumbing systems. The steel used for construction is Lloyds certified A36, is factory sandblasted, and epoxy coated.

The 530 gallon fresh water tank is epoxy coated; all tanks are integral to the hull providing essentially a double steel hull. There are 5 water-tight compartments, bilge keels, bulbous bow, and fully protected prop and rudders, all contributing to safety, ease of maintenance and the ability to sit on her own bottom.

The steel is 8mm thick below the water line and for the tank sides; the hull is 6mm above the waterline; the superstructure is 5mm. Hull sides have a 4” stainless steel pipe rubrail. The hull is treated with an Alexseal premium paint system consisting of 2 primers, fairing, and topcoat. All stainless steel is tested to assure 316 quality. With an LOA of 55 feet, LWL of 50, beam of 18, and 6’ draft, the hull is designed to feel heavy in the water.

Underway, one can feel the beefiness and power of the vessel, while experiencing a soft and gentle motion. This small ship took her first few excursions cruising from Antibes to Corsica and back mostly in seas that other vessels felt compelled to stay in port. In 9’ seas, the Bering 55’ was taking it on with little more than splash on the windshields. The noise underway was minimal and the vibration almost nil. Bering has produced an affordable, comfortable, safe, and purposeful yacht. With two additional vessels under construction, Bering may have succeeded in satisfying the international needs by maintaining the slogan... Steel The Best.

Review by Judy Waldman


LOA: 55'
LWL: 50'
Beam: 18'
Bridge Clearance: 25'
Draft: 6'
Displ: 132,000 lbs.
Cruise Speed: 8k
Max speed: 9.7
Fuel: 2300 gals.
Water: 530 gals.
Holding: 260 gals.

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