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After decades of designing shaft-driven flybridge cruisers, Bill Barry-Cotter builds his first IPS alternative. The new 440 Offshore Convertible is indeed pivotal, discovers DAVID LOCKWOOD

Maritimo 440 Offshore Convertible IPS

click here for the video

Bill Barry-Cotter has built more flybridge cruisers than anyone else in this country and maybe beyond, but his new Maritimo 440 Offshore Convertible takes the unsinkable boatbuilder to an altogether new place. Rather than provide pack-horse passagemakers, in which you head away with everything including back-up kitchen sink, the new 440 Offshore Convertible dances to a new tune - that of just-add-water at-whim cruising - and rivals the sportsyachts and cabriolets for practicality and performance.

Of course, Barry-Cotter can't hide from the fact his wasn't a love-at-first-sight romance with pod drives. His charter has been to build long-range cruising motoryachts that reel in the sea miles - all the way to Hamilton Island and beyond. But then the new-market forced a change of hand and mind. First came the Maritimo C47 Sports Cabriolet with Volvo Penta's IPS 600s (tested last issue) and now this 440 Offshore Convertible - his first flybridge cruiser with pod drives.

Yet the 440 Offshore Convertible is more than a one-trick pony. A lot is bundled into the boat including many of the signature features that have made his bigger shaft-driven sister ships so popular. Yet it manages this in a smaller, more manoeuvrable and affordable package. For this reason the boat should appeal to a younger demographic, as well as those downsizing, and/or constrained by today's diminishing berthing space.

In the good old Australian way, outdoor pursuits are catered for by a broad cockpit and generous walkaround decks, yet the boundary between indoor living is less defined -  intentionally blurred, actually - thanks to trifold saloon doors (also a feature of the new C47 and M53). At which point, the aft galley takes centre stage, before you note the internal stairwell leading to what is, by any measure, a big flying bridge up top. More than just a helm station, it's enclosed on three sides and loaded with amenities so as to double as another all-weather entertaining room.

Next, consider the three-cabin and two-bathroom layout designed to sleep up to six, the local backing and dealer network and, even though its pod driven, real offshore intent. The 440's cruising legs aren't quite as long as the yard's shaft-driven Offshore Convertibles and Motor Yachts, but the 350-plus nautical-mile range at 22 to 25kts (based on the full 1800lt fuel load) is more than handy. Then comes the price: under-$1 million as tested (sans tender and davit). It's a lot of boat for your bills.




As with all IPS-powered boats, Volvo Penta checked off on the hull design. But quite unlike Maritimo's new 47C Sports Cabriolet, the single-level cruiser also fitted with IPS, the new 440 Offshore Convertible has been designed as a sea boat. Compared with the Sports Cabriolet running 11.5° of deadrise at the transom, the 440 hull has 14° to 15° for extra wave-cutting power. Meanwhile, the interesting second chine that sits above the waterline does an admirable job of providing spray deflection (and boosting internal volume) - there wasn't a drop on the flybridge windscreen after many snappy turns.

On paper, at 14.8m (48ft6in) in length overall, this is a big 440 in typical Barry-Cotter fashion. Both the deep boarding platform and bowsprit are integral parts of the mould. But the boat derives its 440 designation from its 13.4m hull length, while its 4.68m beam adds to the footprint. This results in a broad cockpit with an impressive built-in livebait tank, with fridge plate and/or barbecue - your choice - but rather than sidepockets for storage there's extra flat floor space. Storage is via a small in-transom hatch, with custom underfloor options. There's also a moulded sink with storage locker against the bulkhead and the usual handheld hot/cold shower.

The high-volume, self-draining cockpit is based on 550 Offshore Convertible's, which began life as a tournament-equipped gamefishing boat. But with research revealing most Maritimo buyers aren't actually hardcore anglers, there's been a shift to fitout the boats primarily as pleasurecraft. Deleting the integral marlin board is now an option, as were the spread of underwater lights fitted to the test boat.

Other legacies of its gamefishing roots are the heavy-duty deck gear and nice wide optional teak-topped covering boards, although they will add to your maintenance. Meanwhile, moulded steps backed by a terrific spread of rails lead to generous walkaround decks, giving safe crew access forward, where there's scope to fit the tender and davit. The recessed Muir windlass has a capstan and there's a (second) rope locker in keeping with true bluewater boats, with the supplied 20kg stainless steel plough and 60m of chain will keep you firmly in place.




Engineering is in keeping with the line-up and vanguard IPS-driven Maritimo, the C47 Sports Cabriolet that includes built-in buoyancy tanks for floatation in the event of a breached hull. A day inspection hatch, or full-floor electric-lift grant access to the twin aft-mounted six-cylinder diesel 435hp Volvo Penta engines. Washable membranes on the vents help extend their life. There's abundant servicing room thanks to a separate watertight machinery space forward that, among other things, contained an Omega washer/dryer to launder the toddlers attire.

With the engines back aft, the 1800lt of fuel and 400lt of water, plus the 11kVa Onan generator and boat battery banks, have been moved forward. Among the other details of note were clear sea strainers for at-a-glance checks, twin Jabsco waterpumps (the boat functions with just one if there is a failure) and smart plumbing. An inline sensor in the shower pipe triggers a gulper pump and negates the need for one of those sump boxes that all-too-often gum up. The air-con units are located so their condensing water drains overboard. Such things stem from boatbuilding experience.

A 1300W inverter looks after the AC lights (including engineroom), AV system at night and powerpoints in the bathroom without needing the gennie. That said, there was only one 240V powerpoint in the entire galley and saloon and the water-tank gauge in the galley is listed among the options. Such things help keep the price keen, yet the demonstrator had teak decks. Suffice to say, prospective buyers are advised to trawl the options list and consider their needs closely.




With the tri-fold saloon doors locked open, the saloon has sway. Hardwearing synthetic woodgrain flooring means you can waltz inside while dripping wet, grab a drink from the built-in upright 24V fridge/freezer below the internal staircase, and then dive back overboard without trashing the carpet. The L-shaped galley beckons at night, too. Traced by Corian counters, its home to a four-burner electric cooktop, big Panasonic combo microwave oven, and optional dish-drawer dishwasher.

Blum soft-close drawers, all the rage in domestic kitchens, find their way aboard the 440 Maritimo. Although there isn't an extractor fan, the opening saloon door will do a better job anyway. Besides which, with the doors open, the gourmand will gain a greater sense of space. This really is an outdoor entertainer in flybridge guise that rivals the single-level cruisers. And as everyone gravitates to the cockpit on a boat you're likely to be right in the action.

Opposite the galley you'll find the generator start, air-con controller, and AC/DC panels with new BEP colour digital display that monitors, among other things, the bilge pumps and high-water alarm. Check the memory and you can see if your boat's being pumping water while you were away. Lighting is a point of interest, with LEDs saving amps. That means less battery power is needed and weight savings are key to IPS performance. With LED lights the Maritimo 73 now draws 16amp versus 150amp previously.

Head forward and the carpeted saloon unfolds with opposing L-shaped leather lounges and a small timber dinette before matching teak cabinetry up front housing a 42in LCD TV linked to a Bose Lifestyle V25 entertainment system with additional flybridge speakers. Thanks to the internal stairwell leading to flybridge, it doubles as another entertaining space.

At rest or underway, you get to go boating up top in company, do lunch around a dinette, grab refreshments from the built-in fridge, and party with the separate sound system or Bose zone. Nervous skippers can even sleep over, alongside the helm controls and electronics with anchor-watch alarms. The lounges were optioned to convert to a berth for this very purpose. Meantime, the optional sunroof and sliding windows assist with climate control.




Back down below, the three-cabin, twin-bathroom layout is quite an achievement for a 44. With the separate machinery space, there isn't a full-beam aft cabin as I was expecting, as Bill Barry-Cotter felt there wasn't enough headroom to justify it, we're told. But the portside cabin can sleep a couple on the lower transverse double-bed mattress on the floor, above which is a single berth destined to be lowered for greater legroom in future.

The en suite for the portside cabin doubles as the dayhead, while the owner's digs and stateroom with island bed (storage under) in the bow has its own separate head with nice big shower. Saltwater-only Jabsco toilets were fitted to maximise the 400lt of water while holidaying away. I'd fit a desalinator and freshwater heads if you're set on serious cruising or just make one of the tow heads switchable (as per the Tecma models) so you can save water that way.

Portlights in the forward cabins continues the light-and-bright theme, there are nice big panorama windows (with blinds) that let you sleep with the mermaids and enjoy the oceanic vistas from the two other cabins. While timeless teak and blue-and-white upholstery colour scheme ensure the broad appeal. The hatches have insect and shade screens, underscoring the fact that the 440 Offshore Convertible retains a high degree of utility.

Despite its cutting-edge propulsion system that thrusts Maritimo from the tried-and-tested league into the technology race, a lot of the principals of sound boatbuilding remain firmly in place. Not least being the performance. The 440 Offshore Convertible is an exciting boat in so many ways.








Twin high-backed his-and-(optional)her helm chairs sit before a well-appointed dash including a suite of Simrad 12in electronic displays with broadband radar and Google Earth overlay on the charter. There's a 7in colour Volvo Penta digital engine-display in place of analogue gauges, electric trim tabs, EVC controls and, of course, the joystick that makes docking and decamping child's play.

Top speed was 30.5kts on the day for 165lt/h, cruise at 3000rpm gave 23.5kts for 118lt/h and 2750rpm returned 20.2kts for 100lt/h, which is a fine effort for this amount of boat. The official sea-trial figures hereabouts suggest slightly better numbers and point to a handy 380nm range at 22.6kts - a nice comfy cruising clip on the wide blue yonder - based on the full 1800lt fuel load.

Think of the 440 Offshore Convertible as a bolter instead of a packhorse -lively and exciting, even youthful in keeping with most new-age IPS-powered cruisers. Providing you keep the pod drives and props clean, and the boat isn't overloaded, it's bound to provide years of nimble and efficient coastal cruising.




Twin 435hp Volvo Penta IPS 600, full fuel and water, with four people onboard

600      3.55kts     2.4lt/h                4759nm
900      5.45kts     6lt/h                   2885nm
1500    8kts          22lt/h                 1145nm
2100    10.45kts    62lt/h                 531nm
2500    17.05kts    82lt/h                 655nm
2900    22.6kts      107lt/h               665nm
3300    28.45kts    138lt/h               649nm
WOT    32.3kts      167lt/h               609nm

* Official sea-trial data supplied by Maritimo




$964,161 w/ 2 x Volvo Penta IPS 600s, and options




Flybridge aft clears (Strataglass, inc. rail covers), second helm seat, chain counter readout only, fuel gauge to helm station, flybridge carpet, bar fridge to flybridge, flybridge upholstery upgrade to Austex Decorline, flybridge dinette convert to bunk, sunroof in flybridge - electric with shade slide, teak-laid decking to cockpit and swimplatform, cockpit covering boards (unvarnished teak with covers), timber floor to saloon entry and galley, dishwasher to galley, washer/dryer combo under galley, water gauge to galley, décor packages, entertainment with 42in LCD TV mounted on saloon wall (inc. UFO TV antenna), Bose Lifestyle V25 entertainment system, flybridge speakers - Bose zone 131 marine speakers inc. amp and remote, 4 x underwater LED lights, and Simrad NSE electronics package w/ 2 x NSE 12in screens, GS15 GPS antenna, BSM-1 sounder, B258 transducer and BR24 broadband radar




$844,000 w/ 2 x Volvo Penta IPS 600s




MATERIAL: Solid fibreglass bottom w/ cored topsides
TYPE: Variable deadrise deep-vee monohull
BEAM: 4.68m 
DRAFT: 1.1m 
WEIGHT: 14,500kg (dry)




FUEL: 1800lt 
WATER: 400lt 




MAKE/MODEL: 2 x Volvo Penta IPS 600
TYPE: Six-cylinder common rail diesel
RATED HP: 435 (each)
DRIVES: IPS w/ T2 props




Maritimo Offshore,
15 Waterway Drive,
Coomera, Qld, 4209
Phone: (07) 5588 6001




SBM Maritimo Sydney,
Suite 1, 81 Parriwi Road, The Spit,
Mosman, 2088, NSW
Phone: +61 2 9968 1222




Though we reckon the 440 Offshore Convertible still needs a tender and davit, and a watermaker to supplement its modest 400lt capacity, it's a good value buy. Furthermore, it ushers in the new age of flybridge cruising. Such are the terrific comforts and great internal access up top that single-level Sports Cabriolets and Sport Yachts seem, well, one dimensional.

There is now talk of a 40-foot Maritimo flybridge cruiser with hardtop, stairwell and Volvo Penta IPS pod drives. We find it difficult to see how that's achievable, but if it's do-able Barry-Cotter will find a way. Meantime, the keenly priced 470 sister ship selling for just $100,000 less, with noticeably bigger cabins but shaft drives, remains bona fide competition.

click here for the video


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