Issue: October/November 2005
No one, not even Bill Barry- Cotter, expected his Maritimo 60 to take off the way it has.
After selling a successful company and brand, and after a lifetime in the boatbuilding business, most people would put their feet up and enjoy a well earned retirement. But not the irrepressible Bill Barry-Cotter. He decided to build the boat he'd always wanted for himself and with very little fanfare released the Maritimo 60 at the Sydney International Boat Show last year.
It seems many others had the same idea as Bill. The Maritimo 60 literally took off with sales that saw the Hope Harbour factory on the Gold Coast operating to capacity for more than 12 months. It was not long before Bill implemented plans to build a purpose-built factory at the Gold Coast Marine Precinct at Coomera right opposite his former factory. In addition, the impressive 60-foot cruiser took out the coveted Boat of the Year for its overall innovation and design.
Twelve months on and the little sister of the 60, the Maritimo 52, arrived in Sydney Harbour for this year's Sydney show. And prospective boat owners were just as enthusiastic about the 52 as they were the 60.
While Maritimo has kept the sales figures from the show quiet, marketing manager Peter Jenkins said that the sales made during the show and the expected follow ups have justified building the new factory.
The 52 shares the same hull shape as the 60, only scaled down proportionally. At the end of the day the boat loses just seven feet in length and four inches in the beam and still retains the nine-degree shaft angle of the 60 without having to use tunnels.
As far as Bill is concerned tunnels are not an option. Nor are game fishing outrigger poles for that matter, although some New Zealand owners are fitting them.
Step onboard the 52 and it's not much different to the 60. Except for small changes like the two-door fridge in the galley, it feels very much the same. The difference in size only becomes obvious when the two boats are put side by side.
Most of the innovative features that helped the 60 win the Boat of the Year Award have been built into the 52. Like the slide out pantry in the galley and the glass doors between the aft cockpit and the main saloon that slide all the way across to give direct access to the galley.
Another huge feature is the lift up owner stateroom bunk with its walk down hanging space and storage draws underneath. And the bathrooms don't seem to have lost much space either. They have similar fittings to the 60 including stylish glass basins and the racks in the showers for shampoo and other odds and ends ladies like to keep.
There is a lower helm station but it comes minus a steering wheel, which is not needed. The only time the lower station would be used is when docking the boat, and this would be done with the twin-engine controls and the bow and stern thrusters that operate from separate controls. There are five optional positions to place the controls and if the driver wants to wander around the boat there is a remote control as well. To make this even easier there's a cabin door that gives access to the starboard side deck.
Underway, the driving would normally be done up on the fully enclosed flybridge. This is more like a bridge with its easy access via the internal staircase, just like the 60, so the more mature owners among us and their guests don't, have to go outside and climb a ladder.
The Maritimo's flybridge is comfortable and feels like an integral part of the boat. Although it is a fully enclosed hardtop, it can be opened up with a sliding side window next to the driver and the centre section of the windscreen can also be opened up forward.
This is where the 52 differs from the 60. The windscreen is made up of three long, vertical sections, which are different and distinctive from the 60's windscreen treatment, and on the water it is probably the only way to tell the two craft apart especially at a distance.
Unlike the 60, the centre window on the 52 doesn't provide access to the forward deck, but there is a sliding door at the back of the flybridge that opens up onto a 'patio' over the main cabin, and the whole party can be taken outside.
The design of the flybridge offers the best of two worlds. It can be closed up and the reverse cycle air-conditioning keeps it comfortable, or it can be opened up to let the air flow through. On the trip down to Sydney for the boat show, which incidentally only took 19 hours from the Gold Coast to Pittwater, it became a little cool at night, so the air was turned down to warm and it was a shorts and T-shirt affair. And with the internal staircase no one needed to go outside.
PERFORMANCE & HANDLING
On the trip around from Pittwater to Sydney we cleared Barrenjoey just after 8am and went through the Heads into Sydney Harbour 42 minutes later. It was an easy trip and the Sydney slop didn't bother the boat at all. It was a true limousine ride and very quiet.
The steering is the same system installed in Bill's off shore race boat with one turn lock-to-lock, so it is fingertip control and the boat responds appropriately.
With the optional twin C12, 522kW (700hp) Caterpillar diesels ticking over at 1800rpm, the boat was doing a comfortable 20 knots and the sound level on the flybridge was a low 69.5dBA. In the main cabin the sound was slightly higher at 79.5dBA, but still comfortable.
Best economical cruising speed was at 2000rpm and 24.4 knots with a fuel usage of 175lt per hour.
This gave the Maritimo 52 a range of 536.8 nautical miles from the 3850lt of fuel she carries with her tanks full.
This is more than enough to get to major refueling ports up and down the east coast comfortably.
At full song the electronic readout showed both engines running at 2363rpm and with the GPS reading 30.2 knots the sound level on the flybridge was only 74dBA and still very much below the everyday noise level standard of 80dBA.
The engine room is impressive with a moulded liner instead of the usual Flocote finish and checker-plate walkway between the big Caterpillar diesels and over the driveshafts and seals.
The Maritimo 52 has all the innovative features and advantages of the 60 and puts true long distance cruising within the reach of people who want a boat like the Maritimo and don't have the budget to spend on the $2 million-plus 60.
Like the 60, the Maritimo 52 is a genuine cruising boat the style of which many people have been waiting for.
According to the team at Maritimo, it's not easy to make comparisons with Maritimo Offshore, because no other cruiser has been built with the vision of its maker, Aussie boat-building icon Bill Barry-Cotter.
This boat boasts a swathe of lavish appointments from the water up to the stylish lines and the strength of its Aramid (Kevlar) reinforced hull. Add to these the awesome power of twin Cat Marine diesels and everything has been designed with one thing in mind long-range, luxury cruising.
The discerning voyager will feel and appreciate one of Maritimo's endearing features the moment they step onboard. It's a sense of space. More headroom, more walkaround area, more freedom than you've ever experienced in an offshore cruiser.
The Maritimo 52 was fitted with the optional Caterpillar C12 diesels that produce 522kW (700hp) each and add an extra $52,000 to the price over the standard Caterpillar C9s.
The engine room is very impressive with a moulded liner and non-slip checker-plate walkways.
The 52 has a top speed of 30.2 knots. In calm conditions she returned the following performance figures: 20 knots @ 1800rpm, 24.4 knots @ 2000rpm, 25.6 knots @ 2130rpm, 30.2 knots @ 2363rpm
WEIGHT: 22 tonne
Words : Kevan Wolfe
+ Innovative design, Long range cruiser
- Look of windscreen
Tags: Maritimo 52