BOAT TEST MARITIMO AEGEAN 50 ENCLOSED

By: DAVID LOCKWOOD

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In a world frequented by pleasureboats, this Australian-built, Mediterranean-inspired 50-footer stands out like an island in its namesake 214,000 square-kilometre sea, writes DAVID LOCKWOOD

BOAT TEST MARITIMO AEGEAN 50 ENCLOSED
Maritimo Aegean 50 Enclosed

For many years, Australians have been told how to go boating. Huge multinational marine companies ship their wares Down Under and market them as the best in the world. But imagine if the tables were turned and one of our boatbuilders said: "Hey, I reckon we can do it better?" So it is these days: you don't have to buy an imported boat to enjoy Euro-styling and upon the latest Australian-made craft you might even find greater utility.

The new suitably named Australian-built Maritimo Aegean 50 is a case in point. Built to assuage European and local boaters, the Aegeans start with this 50-footer, available in both Open and Enclosed (tested here) variants, and range through the 55 Open to the 60 Open and Enclosed models launched earlier this year.  Although the local boatbuilders' cause isn't being helped by the strong Australian dollar, a lot of export dreams are riding on this range of imminently more pleasurable pleasure cruiser.

To get aboard this entry-level Aegean 50 you will need a tad more than a million dollars, but that's less than the going rate for a 50-footer imported from Europe these days. And Maritimo patriarch, Bill Barry-Cotter, is adamant that his Aegeans more than match the imports. After looking at all the foreign orders here he said: "Enough's enough." On the Aegeans, think big cockpit, sun protection, open-plan interior, plenty of tankage and an extended cruising range. Now that's more like it. Away we go.

 

BUILDING BLOCKS


From a manufacturing viewpoint, the Aegeans are a clever way to extend Maritimo's pre-existing range of single-level sportsyachts known more accurately as Cabriolets. Basically, the Aegeans get the addition of a sympathetic and suitably svelte and swept-back flying bridge, as though a cherry on top of the cake or Cabriolet as it were. In so doing, the lower helm station is deleted, thereby making way for a more spacious saloon. And it's here that the Euro-styling is most evident.

But while Europeans love to kick back on the flying bridges when the sun is shining, Aegeans in local waters are more likely to be fitted with a bimini top or enclosed roof as seen hereabouts. Either way, the result is a Euro-styled boat with (greater) Australian-bred purpose. You will find generous outdoor living spaces where too many European-born boats appear cramped to me - boat's 5.20m beam is the same as the 56 Motor Yacht -plenty of off-the-wheel thrills to impress the point-and-shoot border-hopping Med' skipper - Maritimo's sporty race-bred handling and hydraulic steering is always a treat - and more room to move indoors.

With twin Volvo Penta D12 turbocharged inboard diesel engines - boatbuilders have been buying Volvo Pentas for a song - the bottom line is enticing compared with imports and the Caterpillar-powered Maritimo C12 Aegean 50. In fact, the Volvo Penta engines bring a credit of $47,200 compared with the Cat-powered boat. That leaves more money for options, which are something you will need to make the most of this boat. Not just built to a price, our demonstrator came fully cocked.

Construction is in keeping with the Maritimo family, that is to say, solid fibreglass running surfaces and cored decks and superstructure. The hull shape is a hard-chine, variable deadrise planing number that rides quite high and dry, perhaps more so than the sister ship Cabriolets, which isn't surprising given that the views from the Aegean's helm in the flybridge aren't affected by a few degrees of positive trim.

The all-important engineering, meanwhile, reflects our penchant in this island nation for boats that can undertake serious coastal cruising. A floor hatch in the galley leads down to an engineroom, which, although generic in many ways, is smaller than you will find on other Maritimos. That's partly because the Aegean 50 manages to squeeze a big garage for a tender in its transom - quite some achievement in a 50-footer with three cabins - but it's also a function of being a 50-footer.

While designed for easy at-a-glance checks of the fuel filters, oil dipsticks, sea strainers, hot-water service, generator and so on, there's still plenty of room to get around all sides of the D12 common rail Volvo Penta diesel engines. A 2000W inverter comes standard so you can watch DVDs at anchor without listening to the gennie running. But run the Caterpillar 17.5kVa generator and you can dial-up or down the air-conditioning. What summer heatwave? And with the abundant surrounding glass tracing the saloon, you can keep cool, enjoy the views and remain connected inside the Aegean 50.

 

KITTED OUT


Ticking plenty of boxes, the Aegean 50 has, as mentioned, an integrated aft garage for carrying a rubber ducky to three metres in length with six to 15hp outboard. This way, you can access waterfront eateries or tavernas, grottos and beaches with a modicum of effort. Nearby is the boat's boot with stainless steel barbecue hotplate for cooking the marinated octopus, a sink and food-prep area for tossing the Greek salad, and a eutectic fridge for carrying your cruising supplies, be they frozen stores when the thermostat is turned down or, turned up, chilled refreshments.

A long moulded bridge overhang provides shade in the generous cockpit, but an awning of some kind will extend that shade to the built-in aft lounge that, with a few loose chairs, will seat and sate two families for lunch. An optional icemaker and outdoor fridge were nearby, while the teak-topped swim platform is a deep number that adds to the waterfront real estate. Cleats sit proud of the deck, thereby assisting with mooring the boat, while grab and bowrails fall intuitively to hand as you gad about the decks.

As with all Maritimos, there are broad walkaround decks and a sunpad on the bow, which like the hatches, is a circular number in keeping with the Euro theme. The recessed Muir anchor winch means you can weigh the gleaming stainless steel Ultra anchor fitted to the demonstrator without fouling your decks. Back in the cockpit, full marks to Maritimo for the internal and well-protected engineroom air intakes. Even in strong beam-on seas, your Volvo Pentas should be breathing easy.

 

SALOON LIVING


Three sliding doors usher you inside where the aft galley, marked out by hard-wearing mock Amtico flooring, takes up the entire lower saloon level. You'll find a decent Vitrifrigo fridge/freezer and pull-out pantry to port, while the cooking area opposite features a combo Panasonic convection microwave oven, four-burner electric cooktop, drawer-style dishwasher, and big rectangular sink with separate filtered drinking water  - all you need.

The astute Maritimo buff might notice the metal catches on the cupboard, a welcome improvement over the original plastic type that sometimes failed in heavy weather. Thumbs up for listening to the feedback. And the fit and finish has improved out of sight over the early Maritimos.

Naturally, that aft galley is waiting to serve back outdoors. But step up and there's a U-shaped lounge to port before a generous internal dinette, opposite a pop-up television, linked to a Bose surround-sound system, plus a flight of aft-facing stairs leading to the flybridge. Getting that staircase inside a 50-footer without swallowing up the saloon space is quite some achievement.

Unsurprisingly, the interior design is distinctly European in flavour, but without the high-gloss sparkle, chrome and gold seen on some imports. There were simple white leather upholstery, cream liners, satin teak veneers and new edgy joinery, without fiddle rails, that's emanated from Italian designers concerned with style foremost.

 

FLYING HIGH


Range up top on the Aegean 50 Enclosed and you'll find a veritable penthouse in the sky with more long lounges, a small but useful table, fridge and superlative views. Not that you don't get them in the glasshouse or saloon back down the stairs, it's just that the vision has truly commanding views up top. As with most boats this size, the rear panel of the enclosure is actually a clear curtain that you can scroll up for fresh air. Surely, one 'clear' won't be viewed as a bugbear to keep clean.

Impressively, there's 1.80m of headroom under the hardtop, a new chic carbon-fibre-look dash, and a spread of Volvo Penta engine gauges in both electronic and analogue formats. Controls range from bow and sternthrusters to a full suite of Simrad navigation gear form GPS chartplotter to radar and sounder. Thankfully, there is also storage for lifejackets, EPIRB and so on, as the boat has the legs to go places.

 

HUNKERED DOWN


Not content with assuaging owners and their guests by day, the Aegean 50 has a three-cabin and two-bathroom layout, with the amidships dens pleasantly removed from the chines so even teetotallers will sleep soundly. The stateroom to port has a queen bed and en suite, while there is a single-bed cabin opposite with washing machine/dryer.

Both amidships cabins feature huge panorama windows a short distance off the waterline. A mermaid could flap her tail and knock on the safety glass. Or perhaps you'll catch Sofia Loren preening on a boulder near the grotto out yonder.

The VIP guest cabin, which shares the second communal bathroom, is located in the bow and features another island queen bed and storage in his and her hanging lockers. Indeed, storage is considerate on the Aegean 50, especially by way of the underbed 'wine cellar' in the stateroom.

Both bathrooms have full-sized shower stalls and the Tecma freshwater loos, with new recessed sinks in place of the old above-vanity glass 'salad bowls'. The overhead hatches, however, need insect screens.

 

SMOOTH CRUISE


As touched on, the nautical style is clean, uncluttered, and edgy in keeping with European trends. But the Aegean 50 we drove was more than just a show pony. Those bow and sternthrusters, and a transom camera showing the aft edge of the boat on a navigation screen on the dash, made decamping from the dock a finger-tip affair.

To my ear, the twin 775hp Volvo Penta D12s were smooth and quiet, with none of the old Volvo black smoke apparent thanks to their common rail fuel system. Throttles to the dash, they produced 33.7kts top speed, a fast cruise of 30kts and a smooth cruise of 26kts at 1870rpm where the straight sixes are doing it easy, as indeed we were on the high-backed helm seats.

According to the factory supplied sea-trial figures, the Aegean 50 Enclosed has a range anywhere from 2000nm at 7.2kts to 1000nm at 10kts, which is about hull speed. But you can run for a respectable 470nm at 17.8kts at 1500rpm for 6.69lt/nm, which goes to show how efficient the Maritimo hull is at low cruising speeds. Similarly, a slippery 1700rpm gives 22kts, a nice cruise at sea, for a respectable 6.91lt/nm, while 1900rpm produces 26.2kts for 7.1lt/nm. These are good cruising figures by any measure.

 

LOCAL LORE


It is with a healthy dose of excitement and a degree of scepticism that I begin a maiden tour and subsequent voyage aboard a new imported boat. As a pleasureboating buff, I keep track of what's apparently hot in Europe, the UK, as well as North America. Usually these boats wow, often they woo, yet very occasionally they fall short when confronted with our not-so-peculiar way of pleasureboating. On the odd occasion, the unsuitability slaps you in the face like a wet fish in a Monty Python skit. Need I remind you, the Whitsundays are not the Med'.

Cockpit too small, lack of sun protection, introspective interior, small tankage and short cruising range… sigh, where do we go from here? Around the block, I dare say. Which is to say nothing of the backing behind the badge. Take the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show in 2008, where I shook hands with more presidents of American marine manufacturers than I care to remember. At the same show a year later, those head honchos and their boats were noticeable by their absence.

Furthermore, boats are a product of their environment and winters in the Northern Hemisphere tend to be long and bleak, while the summers are fleeting and fiercely worshipped. The moment the sun breaks through, crews flock to the decks on their over-wintered boats to thaw their lily-white extremities. Here, we tend to do the opposite and scramble to escape the heat.

Judging by the expert forecasters, this summer is going to be a scorcher. But no worries, you will find reprieve up top, on deck and down below on the Maritimo Aegean 50 Enclosed. A home-grown cruiser designed for export, she combines the best of both worlds. And one has already found its way to an owner in Melbourne - our version of the Med'.

 


Specifications: Maritimo Aegean 50 Enclosed

 

Buyer's Report


Who said you have to turn to Europe for a luxury Euro-styled boat? In many ways, the Aegean 50 beats the English aristocracy and Italian glitterati at their own game. Only the standard of finish, the level of gloss, is dialled back. But as Sophia Loren once famously said: "Everything you see I owe to spaghetti." Next time you're shopping, you better check where that European-styled luxury cruiser is made. There's a good chance it's Dinky Di these days. And besides having the look and style, the Maritimo Aegean 50 has the substance - great utility, engineering, long cruising legs, space and performance. Add Volvo Penta D12s and the boat is also priced to go.

 

PRICE AS TESTED

$1.194 million w/ twin Volvo Penta D12 engines and options including bow and sternthrusters, décor package, windscreen cover, teak deck, barbecue, bar fridge and icemaker in cockpit, outdoor carpet in flybridge, upgraded upholstery, provision for watermaker, Simrad NX45 electronics package (w/ GPS, radar and sounder), 32in LCD TV, 19in LCD TV in stateroom, Bose stereo system, outdoor speakers, soft furnishing package, and more

 

PRICED FROM

$1.135 million w/ twin Volvo Penta D12 engines

 

GENERAL


Material: GRP fibreglass w/ cored decks, superstructure and hull sides
Type: Hard chine variable-deadrise planing hull
Length overall: 16.1m
Beam: 5.2m
Draft: 1.26m (max.)
Deadrise: n/a (variable deadrise hull)
Weight: Approx 22,500kg (dry w/ standard engines)

 

CAPACITIES


Berths: 5+1
Fuel: 3000lt
Water: 800lt
Holding tank: 300lt

 

ENGINES


Make/model: Twin Volvo Penta D12s
Type: Turbo-charged, fully electronic, turbo and common rail six-cylinder diesel engines
Rated HP: 775 at 2300rpm
Displacement: 12lt
Weight: Approx 1570kg w/ gearbox
Gearboxes (Make/ratio): ZF 325/2.037:1
Props: Five-blade bronze


 
SUPPLIED BY


Maritimo Sydney, Suite 1, 81 Parriwi Road, The Spit, Mosman, 2088, NSW. Phone: (02) 9968 1222. Web: www.maritimo.com.au Email: info@maritimo-sydney.com.au

 

MANUFACTURER


Maritimo Offshore, Lot 6 John Lund Drive, Hope Island, Qld, 4212. Phone: (07) 5530 1477. Web: www.maritimo.com.au


 

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