MARITIMO 58 CRUISING MOTORYACHT REVIEW

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Time will tell if master craftsman Bill Barry-Cotter's latest creation is regarded as yet another classic boat.

MARITIMO 58 CRUISING MOTORYACHT REVIEW
The Maritimo 58 Cruising Motoryacht has the looks, size and luxury to gain entry into anyone's dream boat list

Bill Barry-Cotter has created another classic in the Maritimo 58 Cruising Motoryacht. JEFF STRANG reports the imposing cruiser has the presence and pedigree to woo boaters accordingly, both locally and internationally

To say the team at Maritimo Offshore has been busy in the last 12 months is an understatement. The much publicised purchase of the then ailing Mustang Marine pushed Bill Barry-Cotter's men to the limit, working frantically to overhaul that brand and successfully launch a range of completely new Mustang models into the worst possible market conditions. These new-look ponies were well received in Australia and even more successful in the US, where the Maritimo/Mustang brand continues to thrive in a slowly recovering domestic market, much of it under the care of the Galati family and their extensive US dealer network.

As if the Mustang project wasn't challenging enough Bill and Luke Durham's team continued on to release two new boats in the Maritimo range - the M45 and this M58. Perhaps the guys thought they were spreading themselves too thin. Whatever the reason they decided to add more horsepower to the senior management team with the addition of Garth Corbett as CEO, and yet another descendent of Australian boatbuilding royalty, Greg Haines as Senior Manager, Sales and Marketing.

Corbett probably said it best with the statement: "Maritimo has embarked on a significant journey of reflection and rigorous self-assessment over the past nine months, however, it is only the beginning." Haven't you got enough on your plates guys? I reckon you might.

 

THE M58


So how is this new boat? Two words - big and beautiful - the end… thanks for reading.

Seriously, though, this is a vessel with undeniable presence. I saw the 58 twice before our on-the-water test, first at the Sanctuary Cove show and most recently at the Sydney event. Even packed into such prestigious company the M58 shone. Like an A-list celebrity strutting into the hottest restaurant in town, it's impossible not to stare - whether you want to or not.

And while it is big, the 58 has managed to retain a refined appearance, like an athlete rather than a body-builder. Design subtleties like the sleek bow and entry lines, and the softening of the flybridge and stern quarter sections have combined to ensure the great, white, bulky characteristic of many of the 58's rivals has been avoided.

Graceful lines aside, it was Rossco, our guide for the day, who rightfully pointed out that great boats don't start on the topsides, they begin under the water. So we happily climbed aboard in Darling Harbour, dropped the lines and pointed the bow at the horizon. Okay, so we only headed to Pittwater and back, but this full-day experience would be the perfect opportunity to truly get a feel for this outwardly classy vessel.

 

FROM THE TOP


Accessed via a solid timber and stainless steel internal staircase, the fully enclosed flybridge is classic Maritimo. Spacious and eminently comfortable, thoughtful design has allowed the bridge to cater to quite a crowd without distracting the helmsman in any way. At one stage, we had seven passengers seated comfortably, with room for one more, without needing to utilise the mezzanine deck out back - which, by the way, is very pleasant and remarkably quiet even underway.

Two fully electric and customised Maritimo helm seats sit behind a dash featuring an equally customised wheel and dual Simrad NSS12 widescreen multifunction navigation systems. Rossco commented that although any brand can be installed by request the company has noticed more and more Simrad installations on its boats. Everything else a boating aficionado would expect to see is present, including a glorious fully automatic sunroof and an interesting aftermarket Xenta joystick control system - more on that later.

 

OUTDOORS INVITED IN


In that archetypical Australian way the saloon speaks of "living at the beach, and doing it in style".  Naturally, the galley is located aft where it can best service both the cockpit and the interior of the saloon. The multi-fold rear doors allow for several configurations, from fully closed to completely open, and I was impressed with the quality of the aluminium joinery, a feature often not up to standard.

I also liked the way the preparation space had been maximised, without any of the compromises in headspace occasionally encountered when designers attempt to shoehorn extra overhead storage. The island bench-top contains excellent extra cupboard space and is perfectly located so as not to hinder traffic flow. Keen caterers will be delighted by the clever pantry setup and the full-height domestic-styled fridge-freezer unit, although I do think a proper household oven could be justified in a boat of the M58's class rather than the standard combo microwave/convection unit installed. Maybe it could be optioned in?

Presented in timeless yet contemporary leather and timber finish the saloon proper has utilised every inch of space without appearing at all cluttered. Nestled under the flybridge staircase sits a liberally proportioned entertainment/cocktail cabinet complete with concealed TV on an electric lifter, drinks fridge and the all-important icemaker. Adjacent and just aft of the six-seater, full-gloss timber dining table are more sumptuous couches - no-one on the boat is going without a comfortable place to kick back and absorb the ambiance. 

 

ENTER ALADDIN'S CAVE


As impressive and well-appointed as the VIP cabin forward and the twin crew/children's cabin to starboard are, with their shared en suites, oversized wardrobes, luxurious soft furnishings and entertainment amenities, it's the master cabin that demands column inches.

This centrally located, full-beam master cabin has an entrance that sets the scene perfectly. A slow decent past an oversized en suite, through an office/vanity space, which includes a huge wardrobe, will find you in a substantial hotel-like grotto complete with ever-changing scenery through the wide, sea-level windows.

The king-sized bed is set diagonally to the longitudinal run of the hull. It's an approach I have only seen on Maritimo vessels and it does seem to add to the spaciousness of this cabin by freeing-up a good deal of space to the left-hand side of the bed, without crowding the other side. This extra space has allowed room for an ample chaise lounge, which could be the best place on the boat to kill a lazy hour or two reading a book, with cool, dappled light washing through the portholes during the peak heat of a summer's day. Even if the heat did manage to penetrate all the way down to this cabin the personalised air-conditioning will quickly rectify the situation.

The only slight negative I spotted in the master cabin would be the concealed laundry access. Slightly odd I thought, but it perhaps this was the only place available.

 

THE BUSINESS END


While the niceties throughout this boat are very important to the overall aesthetic Maritimo Offshore is not in the business of building floating apartments. The company's own marketing speaks boldly of its vessel's offshore and long-range capabilities. In fairness the organisation has the pedigree to deliver on those promises. I noted many examples of quality engineering and forward thinking, which suggest the company probably has.

With clear understanding that no matter how well you build a boat you will have to access virtually every item onboard at some stage to service it, all the bilge spaces can be reached with relative ease. A couple of dedicated compartments feature ladder access and space has been allowed where necessary to work on various components.

Experience teaches that regardless of aesthetics there is no substitute for quality. What appears to be a relatively simple step to improve the functionality and appearance of the fairly agricultural looking, but supremely reliable, heavy-duty Muir winch verges on groundbreaking. The unit has been built into a custom-designed well, which has been tilted forward and recessed thereby draining away any saltwater and muck over the bow instead of down the deck. As a bonus the visual impact of this chunky hardware item is greatly reduced.

The engineroom access and serviceability of the motors is to a high standard, yet it is the lazarette that caught my eye. One of the biggest "pains in the proverbial" for regular crew is repeatedly clambering into deep storage lockers to retrieve regularly employed but bulky items like fenders. Many vessels store them on the bow in purpose-built stainless steel receptacles, a strategy equally cumbersome to those performing the task. To solve this Maritimo has divided the lazarette into a series of compartments at various levels to store equipment by priority according to frequency of use. Regularly accessed items are stored at the top, where they can be grabbed in one effortless movement.

 

TO SEA


There are few experiences more enjoyable to a seafarer than taking a serious vessel offshore and putting it through its paces in the environment in which it was designed to excel. For me, having been restricted to paltry harbour blasts for a few months, this test was a genuine pleasure.

Compared to other vessels in this class the Maritimo 58 has reasonably small power-plants. Where many would feature great, hulking twin 1200hp-plus fuel guzzlers to deliver performance the 58 has a pair of relatively miserly 800hp Volvo Penta D13s under the hood. That the vessel performs as well as it does (30-plus-kts) is testament to a very efficient hull design. At the time of writing I hadn't seen any fuel figures but I suspect they are pretty good, which suggests the 5000lt fuel supply gives the boat a generous range.

On the helm at speed the M58 has a big-boat feel and the power at your fingertips is palpable. Into a small chop there was no hesitation or noticeable shudder, and I don't think we even got spray on the deck, let alone the flybridge windows. I have to say I really enjoyed driving this vessel at speed. The way she ambles over the swells in an effortless and mile-consuming pace is a pleasure to experience.

 

XENTA SMART


For very valid reasons Maritimo has chosen to stick with conventional shaftdrives and thrusters in this boat. In order to deliver the sort of user-friendliness offered by pod systems the company has fitted an aftermarket joystick. The Xenta Smart-Stick system is a product developed in the USA to simplify the operation of twin shafts and twin thrusters in low-speed manoeuvring situations, effectively putting the control of all those propulsion systems into the palm of one hand.

It was the first time I had encountered the Xenta product and I liked it. The transition through all the required thrusting directions was very smooth and minor corrections could be done seamlessly. The Xenta system gets a tick from me.

 

THE BOTTOM LINE


After a full day and an extended cruise on the Maritimo 58 Cruising Motoryacht I truly felt I had a good understanding of what the boat is all about. While it is clearly a large volume, almost luxurious vessel, it boasts the performance of a thoroughbred rather than a cumbersome draughthorse like many of this ilk. The M58 is also damn fine looking - a factor that always goes a long way in my book.

It's a boat that should suit the vast majority of Australian's boating lifestyle choices by virtue of a practical layout and generous list of toys. While strictly speaking the boat will not be the first choice of hard-core fisherman it could hold its own in that department if customised correctly.

Much about this boat suggests it could become an Australian favourite, maybe even an icon. Thus, given its genuine long-range coastal cruiser credentials and great looks, I have to say this is my favourite Maritimo so far. 

(Facts&figures)
MARITIMO 58 CRUISING MOTORYACHT

PRICE AS TESTED
$2,141,000

PRICED FROM
$2,050,000

GENERAL
MATERIAL: GRP
TYPE: Planing monohull
LENGTH OVERALL: 18.7m
BEAM: 5.2m
DRAFT: 1.35m
WEIGHT: 29,000kg

CAPACITIES
PEOPLE (NIGHT): 5
FUEL: 5000lt
WATER: 800lt
HOLDING TANK: 300lt

ENGINE
MAKE/MODEL: 2 x Volvo Penta D13-800
TYPE: Six-cylinder turbo-diesel
RATED HP: 800 (each) at 2300rpm
DISPLACEMENT: 12.78lt (each)

SUPPLIED BY
Maritimo Offshore,
15 Waterway Drive,
Coomera, QLD, 4209
Phone: +61 7 5588 6000
Website: www.Maritimo.com.au

From Trade-a-Boat magazine Issue 431, Sept-Oct 2012. Photos: Barry Ashenhurst.

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