By: JOHN WILLIS, Photography by: Supplied

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This superb game boat is something of a white whale for serious anglers; a rare sight on the open market



Second Hand Custom Merritt 60 Flybridge Game Boat For Sale

Spawned out of the Intracoastal in Pompano Beach in Florida, USA, Merritt Boats are the epitome of classic custom game fishing cruisers. Merritt's Boat and Engine Works was born way back in post-WW2 1947 when Franklin (Roy) and Ennis Merritt first purchased a 10-acre parcel of waterfront property with the initial intention to service and maintain their own charter fishing fleet, and complete contract works on commercial and recreational vessels.

By 1955 sons Buddy and Allen were instrumental; Buddy managed the new boat building division and Allen took the reins for the supervision and administration of the boatyard. Further generations have followed in their shoes. The Merritt family group and their associates have always been famous for their friendly personal service and professional attitude toward their premium craft.

They started with 37-foot tuna catchers that Buddy, along with many satisfied customers "perceived to be the perfect fishing boat." Over the years the range has grown to custom sport-fishing and cruising machines up to a magnificent 86 feet, with a strong leaning toward wide chine designs which Merritt says, "comparing apples to apples, wide chines offer better lift over drag and fuel economy than narrow chines."



Merritt combine state-of-the-art construction and materials with time honored craftsmanship to produce their beautiful cruisers. Some larger offerings include resin-pre-impregnated epoxy/Kevlar/E-glass skin and vacuum-bagging with coring throughout (even the running surface), producing fully composite hulls that are very light but exceptionally strong. They mix it up with plenty of timber craftsmanship, fibreglass components with a huge range of premium accessories.

Merritt's Boat and Engine Works still produce their beautiful boats in the same, time honoured traditions at their Pompano Beach facility. Many of the boat yard staff have remained dedicated to the company for decades and it is still run with the Merritt family commitment to quality products, service and repair. They also now offer full brokerage services, a wholesale marine, aviation and industrial supply company and Smith-Merritt Insurance (a Marine Insurance Business).


It seems more than fitting that "arguably Australia's most renowned and maintained sport-fisher" is now available for purchase through the equally well credentialed crew at the Gold Coast’s Game and Leisure Boats at Runaway Bay; and interestingly the dealer tells us that she is only for sale as the owner has purchased an even bigger Merritt!

Game and Leisure sum up the pre-loved vessel by saying, "Maitai offers the best in sport-fishers money can buy. Fast, luxurious, immaculate and a brilliant sea boat, her construction quality must be seen to be believed. The instructions from the owner have always been to keep Maitai in better than new condition!"

This 2001-built offering is simply gorgeous and wets the lips of any passing sport and game fisho with half an ounce of saltwater in their blood. She has been admired by Australia’s best boatsmen and still enjoys a very healthy lifestyle up and down the Queensland coast in search of pelagic prey.

At 18.29 metres (60 feet) overall with a beam of 5.48 metres she has the capacity for true intercontinental wanderings, while her 1.52-metre draft ensures entry into not only most accessible harbour but safe passage into remote coral lagoons for extended exploration on northern safaris.



She weighs in at around 35,000 kilograms, giving her tremendous purchase in rough seas, and her twin Caterpillar C3412E 1,400 horsepower engines not only supply exceptional longevity and economy but an exhilarating 36 to 38 knot Wide Open Throttle (at 2,300rpm) but a surprisingly swift 31-knot cruise speed at 1,950rpm (quoted 100 gallons per hour). While she’s clocked up a considerable 7,800 approximate engine hours the service and maintenance routine has been unquestionable with many more thousands of hours service life expected.

The extended planing areas, wide beam and large chines of the hull design combine well with the engine efficiencies and 6,300 litres of fuel capacity to give enormous range for extended coastal cruising or exploration of far offshore fishing grounds.

You won’t be running out of power either with twin Onan 27kva diesel generators keeping the wide range of accessories running superbly including a built-in double fridge-freezer in the galley and two Merritt custom freezers in the cockpit. You will be needing every bit of that cold storage and freezing capacity on successful fishing soirees.



Other electrical features include a Gaggeneau four-burner stove, 1,200 US-gallon per day freshwater maker, three TVs, two VCRs, a Samsung DVD, Fusion sound system, Sony digital cinema sound system, Infinity speaker system, Pioneer multi CD player and recorder, HP Vectra computer, full air conditioning and Miele washer and dryer. To keep you insulated and protected up top she has new flybridge front/side/rear Strata Glass clears as well as full console and cockpit covers.

Maitai features 10 automatic/manual bilge pumps, "Palm Beach" controls, dual 110v/220v AC electrical system, two 40amp battery chargers, trim tabs, engine synchronisers, emergency engine stop, four bilge blowers, oil change system, engine block heaters and your crew will just love that stability that has been well enhanced by twin Seakeeper Gyro stabilizers.

The Furuno electronics suite had a full upgrade in 2017 with three Navnet screens incorporating Navpilot autopilot, Furuno 72-mile radar, four engine room cameras, Furuno FCV-1200L 10.4-inch colour depth sounder and Northern Star 952xGPS sat nav. The ground tackle includes a stainless steel anchor with new Muir 4500 winch, 50-metre rope, 130-metre chain and custom roller and stainless steel bow protector.

To see all Game and Leisure Boats' boats for sale, click here

Maitai has 1,135-litre water capacity to run the showers and toilets in the three en suites for the owner and guest staterooms plus the crew cabin, combining with the water maker to keep you all cool, hydrated and refreshed. The owner’s cabin is forward and then further aft is the second double guest cabin with upper bunk and lower bunks easily accommodating seven passengers in comfort.


The deck gear includes fresh/salt water wash downs, a large live bait well, transom door, custom tuna tower, fish box, a beautiful Merritt custom game chair, RUPP Triple spreader outriggers and electronic teaser reels all presented beautifully on that majestic timber deck, transom, rear bulkhead and combings.

This 60-foot Merritt Maitai package is completed with the inclusion of a 4.7-metre Rib with a 50 horsepower Yamaha and hydraulic davit on the front deck.

The listed price is AU $2,400,000, which doesn’t sound too bad for a cruiser of this caliber and condition. It is truly one of those pinnacles at the premium, top end of the market where price is only dictated by what an adoring customer
will pay for it.



PRICE $2,400,000

Location Gold Coast, Queensland
Year 2001
Length 18.29m
Beam 5.48m
Weight 35,000kg (approx.)

ENGINES 2 × Caterpillar C3412E (1,400HP 12cycl)
Cruise Speed 31kt (100 US G/hr)
Accommodation 3 cabins

Fuel 6,300L
Water 1,135L

Game and Leisure Boats, Queensland
247 Bayview St, Runaway Bay QLD 4216
P (07) 5577 5811

This story was originally published in issue #511 of Trade-a-Boat magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest boat news, reviews and travel inspiration.


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