Maritmo Offshore 500 Convertible Boat Review
Author: Barry Tranter
The search for fuel economy has resulted in a great all-rounder. The Maritimo Offshore 500 turns without hesitation. When accelerating from a standstill she is very fast.
A step in the hull gives it wider beam and side decks. The saloon and entry up to the roomy flybridge make entertaining easy. The galley features a cooktop, with microwave and dishwasher underneath. There is an option for either a hotplate and sink or live bait tank in the stern.
We needed some rough weather to really test Maritimo's 500 new-generation hull. it's a style, which began with the 550, specifically configured to be economical on fuel. Economy is one thing, but how would she go in a seaway?
"Everything is being done to make the hulls fuel-efficient now," says our skipper for the day Ross ‘Rossco' Willaton, powerboat racer and Maritimo's boat boss. To achieve that, the Maritimo's shaft angle is seven degrees and the hull is very flat aft of the short keel. Flat sections should help the boat plane early, keeping the nose, and fuel consumption, down.
"It is a good all-round hull," says Rossco.
"There is no such thing as a perfect boat. The boat that goes into a head sea beautifully will be a pig going downhill, and the one that runs downhill really well is a banger and a slapper and as wet as a shag going the other way."
This hull planes so readily we don't need to use the trim tabs when accelerating; they will be used mainly for lateral trim. Later, punching into a sloppy sea, Rossco uses a little tab to trim for the swells. Then it's easy cruising all the way.
There's a step in the hull, like a chine, above the water level, which gives the hull the beam for a full-width saloon and wide sidedecks. The liferails don't reach back to the cockpit; security is provided by good handrails on the coachroof side.
This 500 offshore Convertible is a classic flybridge cruiser. The enclosed flybridge is large, and to get up there you use the internal stairs.
The bow cabin is known as the VIP, the master cabin is amidships on the port side with an ensuite bathroom. The third cabin has two bunks; this cabin and the ViP cab share access to the second bathroom, which also acts as the day head.
The galley is in the saloon, on the same level, a layout the market seems to be calling for these days.
The fridge is big, and the freezer below it has three pull-out drawers-a nice idea. The four-burner cooktop is backed up by a convection microwave, mounted immediately below it, and below that is the dishwasher. This is a really neat, user-friendly installation.
There's a hotplate and sink in the stern, but this can be replaced by a live bait tank if a spot of fishing is regularly on your agenda.
The trim timber is teak with a high-gloss finish which reflects a lot of light, offsetting the dark colour. This is a conservative interior, in no way radical, but nicely done.
The 500 has big props driven by, on this boat, the standard engines, a pair of 10.8L Cummins each producing 661hp. Twin Caterpillar C12s are an option.
At 600-700rpm and 6-7 knots, she will run straight with one engine in neutral. At this speed (and higher speeds, if needed), she will turn without hesitation against propeller thrust. With the port engine in neutral, the 500 turns happily to starboard.
When accelerating from a standstill she is very fast. As we head out everyone agrees we have a metre swell with wind chop, but the sea is building fast. I reckon we have 1.5m; from the flybridge the sea state is diminished. Between Sydney Heads we have 1.5-2m, getting quite steep with whitecaps everywhere. As we head out into the seas, with the cold 15-knot sou'-wester on our beam, Rossco uses a bit of tab but there is no pounding. We run the 500 at all angles to the sea. She runs well across the seas, down-sea she runs straight and keeps her bow up. At this angle the seas are actually on the stern quarter, not dead behind-an even tougher test. Not once does she pound, nor does the heading waver.
We do a few performance and fuel checks. 18 knots is just under 1700rpm, a very easy cruise, when the 500 uses 120L/h. Rossco reckons a good fast cruise speed is 24 knots when she burns 158L/h.
The 500 can be set up for fishing, so we test her credentials. Rossco backs her up into the sloppy seas at 8 knots; solid water comes over the transom and drains instantly-another tick.
This classic flybridge cruiser is a fine boat. It looks good-the superstructure's proportions balance the hull lines nicely, not the case with enclosed flybridges from all manufacturers. The enclosed flybridge and internal stairs make it a family cruiser, but if you want to fish, the cockpit can be configured to suit.
Maritimo owner Bill Barry-Cotter designs all the hulls and the behaviour of this one seemed exemplary. The structure was tight-not a rattle or squeak.
It is good to see a big-boat builder accept the challenge to build more economical boats. It is also good to see that nothing has to be sacrificed to achieve that aim. This hull is not compromised-it is all the better for the changes. Another brainchild of necessity, the mother of invention.
Two 10.8L Cummins six-cylinder turbocharged diesels delivered the following performance:
RPM Speed in knots
640 : 6.6
1400 : 12
1650 : 18
1900 : 22
2080 : 25
2300 : 30
LOA : 16.5m
Beam : 5.2m
Draft : 1.3m
Weight : 21t
Fuel : 3500L
Water : 800L
Holding tank : 300L
Sleeps : 6
Price as tested : $1,152,183