Maritimo 58

By: Jeff Strang

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Only time will tell if master craftsman Bill Barry-Cotter has created another classic in the Maritimo 58 Cruising Motoryacht. Australian correspondent Jeff Strang says the imposing new cruiser oozes presence and pedigree.

Maritimo 58
Maritimo 58

To say the team at Maritimo Offshore has been busy in the last 12 months is a decently proportioned understatement. The company's purchase of the ailing Mustang brand pushed Bill Barry-Cotter's men to the absolute limit, working frantically to overhaul and launch a new range of Mustang models into a difficult market.

These new-look ponies have been well received in this part of the world, and even more so in the US where the Maritimo and Mustang brands continue to thrive in a slowly recovering domestic market.

As if the Mustang project wasn't challenging enough on its own, the company has also released two new boats in the Maritimo range: the M45 and this M58.

The M58

The new Maritimo 58 is a vessel with undeniable presence. I saw the new 58 twice before getting aboard for on-the-water testing, first at the Sanctuary Cove Boat Show and most recently at the Sydney International Boat Show. Even packed in among such prestigious company, the M58 shone and, 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 M58 has a refined appearance. Design subtleties like the sleek bow and entry lines and the softened flybridge and stern quarter sections combine to ensure that the new model has none of the bulkiness of some large motoryachts in this category.

Graceful lines aside, it was Rossco (our guide for the day), who rightfully pointed out that great boats don't start at the topsides, they begin under the water.

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. At one stage during testing we had seven passengers seated comfortably without having to utilise the mezzanine deck out back — which is very pleasant and a remarkably quiet space, even when underway.

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

Style queen

In the archetypical Australian way, the saloon speaks of beach living at its best. Naturally, the galley is located aft where it can best serve both the cockpit and saloon. The bi-fold rear doors allow for a variety of configurations between fully closed and fully open, and the quality of the aluminium joinery is a cut above that often seen on large cruisers.

I also liked the way counter-space has been maximised without the compromise in headroom sometimes seen when designers attempt to shoehorn in extra overhead storage. The island bench-top has excellent cupboard space and is cleverly placed so as not to hinder flow through the boat.

Foodies will be delighted by the clever pantry setup and the full-height domestic fridge/freezer unit, although a household oven could be justified in a boat of this calibre, as opposed to the combination microwave/convection unit it makes do with instead.

Finished in contemporary leather and timber, the saloon utilises every inch of space to good effect without any hint of clutter. A large entertainment/cocktail cabinet with concealed TV on an electric lifter, as well as the fridge and icemaker are nestled under the flybridge staircase.

Adjacent and slightly aft of the main saloon lounge is a high-gloss timber dining table flanked by more sumptuous couches. No one on this boat is going to struggle to find 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 twin starboard cabins are – each with shared en-suites, oversize 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 and 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 widescreen sea-level windows.

The king-sized bed is set diagonally to the hull. It's an arrangement that I've only seen on Maritimo vessels and it does seem to add to the spaciousness of the cabin by freeing-up space to the left-hand side of the bed. This extra space allows room for an ample chaise lounge which could be the best place on the boat to while away a lazy hour or two with a good book, especially with cool, dappled light washing through the portholes during the heat of a summer's day. Even if the summer heat becomes a little oppressive, the boat's personalised on-board air-conditioning will quickly cool things down.

The only negative aspect of the master cabin that I spotted was the concealed access to the boat's laundry facilities.

The business end

While the niceties throughout this boat are part and parcel of the overall aesthetics, Maritimo Offshore is not in the business of building floating apartments.

The company's marketing material speaks boldly of its boats offshore and long-range cruising capability and this has proven to be the case to date. There are many examples of quality engineering and forward thinking throughout the new M58 that harks to the reality that regardless of build quality, systems and components need to be serviced. To this end all the bilge spaces can be reached with relative ease and there are several dedicated service compartments with ladder access.

Special attention has been paid to the placement and appearance of the M58's heavy-duty Muir anchor winch which is built into a custom anchor well that is tilted forward and recessed to drain water and muck over the bow instead of down the deck. The visual impact of the chunky winch is also greatly reduced.

Engine room access and serviceability of the motors is to a high standard, yet it is the lazarette that caught my eye. One of the biggest inconveniences for crew is the need to clamber into deep storage lockers to retrieve bulky items like fenders. The M58 designers have sorted this by dividing the boat's lazerette into compartments at differing levels whereby regularly required items are stored at the top and less-used equipment is stowed in deeper compartments.

Drive time

There are few experiences more enjoyable than taking a serious vessel offshore and putting it through its paces in the environment in which it was designed for.

Compared to some boats in this class, the Maritimo 58 has reasonably small power-plants. Where some boats of this size would be fitted with twin 1200hp-plus power plants to deliver performance, the M58 is powered by relatively economic 800hp Volvo Penta D13s.

That the M58 performs as well as it does, turning in 30 knots plus at WOT, this is testament to the boat's efficient hull design. While fuel usage had yet to be analysed, I suspect the figures are going to be pretty good providing a generous range from the M58's 5000lt on-board fuel supply.

On the helm at speed, the Maritimo has a big boat feel and the power at your fingertips is palpable. Steaming into a slight chop there is no hesitation or shudder and the way the boat ambles over the waves 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 shaft drives and thrusters in this boat. In order to deliver the user-friendliness offered by pod systems, the company has fitted an aftermarket joystick. The Xenta Smart-Stick system we encountered earlier is a product developed in the USA to simplify the operation of twin shafts and twin thrusters in low-speed manoeuvring, effectively putting the control of all propulsion systems into the palm of one hand.

This was the first time I had tried the Xenta Smart-Stick solution and I liked it very much. The transition through all the required thrusting directions was very smooth, winning a tick of approval from me.

The bottom line

After a full day and extended cruise on the Maritimo 58 I felt I had a comprehensive understanding of what this boat is all about. While it's a large volume, luxurious motoryacht, it still manages to boast the performance of a spirited thoroughbred rather than a cumbersome draughthorse and has pedigree looks to match.

It's a boat that should definitely suit the New Zealand and Australian boating lifestyle, with a perfectly practical layout and generous specifications and equipment. While it's unlikely to be a boat of choice for hard-core fishers, it could still hold its own in game boat company if customised correctly.

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