Read the original here at http://www.boatpoint.com.au/reviews/2013/maritimo-m50-cruising-motoryacht-36720
First Australian test of revolutionary, best-ever Maritimo
– Shaft-driven reliability and extra-long cruising legs
– Massive full-beam master stateroom with headroom
– Spacious enclosed flybridge with internal staircase
– Aft galley and bi-fold doors merge indoors with outdoors
– Improved fit and finish with more interior wow via designer Dave Stewart
– Local warranties and solid local dealer support/events
NOT SO MUCH
– Switch panels in forward saloon lockers aren’t that convenient
– Skin fittings high on hull sides might leave streaks
– Tighter engine room especially outboard side of engines
– Groundbreaking motoryacht sets new standards
History shows that adversity breeds ingenuity. Not that boat-building doyen Bill Barry-Cotter is scratching to pay the rent. But, he will tell you, the new-boat market is as tough as he’s seen it in 50 years of boat building. It’s no different for plastic surgeons, jewellers and other purveyors or luxury discretionary items. But it’s also true time and tide wait for no man. Or Maritimo.
Enter the new M50 Cruising Motoryacht, a long-range, shaft-driven, ocean-going conveyance that inspires. You get pod-like docking agility from big-bladed bow and stern thrusters, a full-beam/full-headroom master stateroom including dresser/office/en suite, and living spaces or stations from bow to stern that are befitting of a 60 footer.
Supplanting the M48 that racked up 109 builds, the M50 has big shoes to fill. But somehow it totally overshadows its predecessor within a footprint that’s not that much bigger. Indeed, Barry-Cotter has pulled off a magic trick and, in so doing, redefined the 50-footer cruising class with renewed vigour, design smarts and real class.
Compared with the M48, the new M50 has a cockpit that’s four per cent larger, a saloon that’s 9.5 per cent longer, a flybridge balcony that gains 15 per cent in floor space, and a full-beam master cabin that is — get this — 230 per cent bigger!
With an enlarged fuel capacity of 4000 litres, 500 litres more than the M48, the M50 also has a bolstered cruising range of more than 500 nautical miles at 22 knots. Pack your bags. Saddle up. Read on…
PRICE AND EQUIPMENT
– Price premium for a premium product
Thankfully, the M48 has retained much of its value on the second-hand market. At the time of writing, there were a good half-dozen M48s for sale at BoatPoint.com.au and boatales.com.au with asking prices for 2007-2008 models from $745,000-$829,000.
As tested in 2006, the M48 had a $1.1 million asking price and later models are fetching upwards of $950,000. This intrinsic value bodes well for those who might consider upgrading to the M50. Although you might think the jump up wouldn’t warrant tipping in a half-million or so, we saw an M50 (#6 with bigger D13 800hp engines) all set-up with a boatload of options for serious cruising that was bought by an M48 owner. He was looking at the bigger M56 till the M50 came along and answered all his needs in an easily handled, frugal package.
The boat we drove, M50 #4, was heading for the 2013 Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show before being shipped to the US West Coast. As part of the relaunch process that’s occurred at Maritimo, and designer Dave Stewart’s input, as well as a new in-build survey process, the fit and finish has been lifted.
Rather than build down to a price, Barry-Cotter is building up to a standard to woo today’s discerning buyers. The M50 has a base price of $1.39 million, a premium over the previous M48 acknowledges Barry-Cotter, but the new boat has a lot more kit, a trim level befitting of the price, and a new level of design intellect and nous.
With some options including teak laid decking to swim platform, extra power points, Breezeway cover to inside of flybridge, Volvo controls to cockpit, teak laid decking to flybridge balcony, saloon stainless steel fridge, David Stewart soft furnishing package, twin Recaro helm chairs, 32” Samsung TV to saloon and master cabin, the M50 had a boat-show price of $1.445 million. Watermaker, tender and electronics were still needed.
Meantime, M50 #8 was heading to Steve Batton Marine in Sydney, with optional Euro transom, and Dancing Lady Blue hull to create something different again and turn heads. The new best-seller is most certainly a better boat than its forerunner and the previous Maritimo crop.
– Connectivity and living space are the keys
Aussie-sized cockpit? Tick. Transom amenities centre? Tick. Walkaround decks? Tick. Aft galley? Tick. Enclosed flybridge? Tick. How about full-beam master stateroom? Well, yes, tick! Suffice to say there’s not a lot left wanting on the new M50.
“We design and build the boats for spending time aboard, for long-range cruising, to be practical,” explains Bill Barry-Cotter. He also makes the point that even the American market has changed focus and is chasing fuel efficiency, another strength of his boats, rather than all-out speed these days.
With three cabins and two bathrooms providing sleeping for up to six, plus two on the bridge and/or saloon lounges, the M50 will make a great floating holiday house. Add a watermaker and your autonomous. And with an easily accessible foredeck, an enclosed flying bridge, a big cockpit, and raised saloon, the boat has a bunch of terrific living areas for extended boating.
– Aussie cockpit, with optional layout, and walkaround decks
The M50 and its cockpit sole, saloon floor, ceiling and freeboard have been raised a few inches (5cm or so) over the M48. That means there’s a small step down to the boarding platform, which might result in a drier cockpit when the stern wake catches up as you come off the plane.
An optional hydraulic swim platform with 400kg lift capacity is available, although the standard swim platform is still a decent size. As touched on, you can get an optional Euro transom with aft-facing lounge. That’s breaking even more new ground in the flying bridge market, as this transom was previously the preserve of Sport Yachts aka Cabriolets.
Game fishing isn’t the M50s intent, but with the extended hydraulic platform, some drop-in rails, rod holders and cutting board, you can fish this boat. Otherwise, the central amenities centre will be the hook, with its moulded sink, 24V top-loading fridge/freezer, optional barbecue, hot/cold transom shower, and 240V GPO handy for firing-up the wok for chilli crab on deck.
Storage exists in the transom module, in side pockets — you can turn one of these into an outdoor waste bin, the other can take an optional water-blaster hose — and under the central lazarette lid, which has a compartment for fenders. There’s room between the rear-mounted polypropylene water and black-water tanks, to carry a small folding table and chairs, your crab traps and more.
Deck hardware is nice and chunky for taking wraps of large-diameter ropes. Extra breast cleats have been added to the M50, the Muir windlass in recessed with a saltwater wash at hand, while the recessed walkaround decks that have made Maritimo’s Motoryachts so popular are slightly shallower than the M48 but still perfectly safe for kids, grandmothers and dogs to negotiate.
Back in the cockpit, you might notice the solid flybridge balcony has been extended well aft. This means the cockpit gains greater shade and weather protection. It also makes it easier to run insect and/or shade cloth covers as needed heading north to the tropics.
Just standing at the dock, we couldn’t help but notice the flowing indoor/outdoor living arrangement on the M50 that’s just ideal for boating in this country. With side decks swooping forward, commercial-grade bifold saloon doors, and an internal staircase, the M50 is a wonderfully accessible boat.
– Aft opening galley and raised saloon
Barry-Cotter had a C50 Sport Yacht version of the M50 in the final stages of fitout during our post-test factory visit. The boat was intended for his own use, he said, so it sported an upgraded décor and Miele appliance package including range hood and widened island servery to accommodate a full-sized dishwasher. “Just fill it up, hit start and leave the boat on shore power,” Barry-Cotter said, in anticipation of onboard entertaining.
The aft galley, a design highlight of the M48, has more bench space, a decent splashback and servery. Appliances run from four-burner electric cooktop to convection microwave and domestic-style fridge and freezer, alongside a neat full-height pull-out pantry. A second optional fridge and standard issue icemaker were in a cabinet, opposite, under the staircase to the bridge.
Creating a wet bar, the cabinet top can be used as a mounting spot for a television. But that’s better forward on the flat surface behind the windscreen. With the addition of some soft-rubber matting, the wetbar will double as a neat charging centre, as there’s a 240V outlet nearby. Or plug in the blender at cocktail hour.
To create headroom in the master stateroom below decks, the forward saloon area has been raised two half steps from the galley, while the ceiling liner has been lifted and bridge storage reduced in volume. Along with vastly improved saloon lounges — finally they are long enough to double as daybeds – and a decent dinette, the saloon is now a great relaxation area.
You gain great views from the raised lounges, while side opening windows grant natural ventilation — there’s the option of an additional opening window and range hood near the galley — and the lounge bases lift to reveal valuable storage space. But the big, big improvement to my mind is that improved lounging that now doubles as day or sea berths. Mount a big flat-screen television to starboard, under the windscreen, and you’re set at movie time.
Another big change was the split AC and DC (mainly 24V) switch panels in the overhead cabinets in the raised saloon. The portside cabinet at the saloon entrance is now additional albeit narrow storage. While any addition to storage is welcome, the downside is that the new switch panel location is not as convenient as it was on the M48.
Meantime, the lifted finish includes joinery available in teak satin or high gloss, with square or round edges. We had square edge but high-gloss round edge is the timeless combination. Along with the improved soft furnishings, leather inserts on grab rails, the bigger dinette with bottle holder, ducted air-con, and positive-lock drawer and cupboard catches, plus a whole new expanded LED lighting plan, the M50 has been duly modernised.
– The best master stateroom in its class
The M50 is a three-cabin boat, but nothing like the old M48. In fact, it’s a class-leading accommodation layout. Even the island double bed in the VIP cabin in the bow has been lifted and widened, with various ledges and fiddles to help contain personal effects and even a glass or two.
Split-doors improve access to the vinyl-lined (no cheap front-runner) his and her hanging lockers, while two drawers pull out from under the bed. The new bedhead, lighting, and soft furnishings create a sense of suave. The escape hatch with insect and shade screen takes care of air and light. There’s scope for a separate AV system and a 240V GPO, too.
The third cabin to starboard is a twin-bunk arrangement and handy storage spot for your soft bags. That said, the twin bunks are said to be slightly wider than those on the 48, there’s air-con and a big hatch, plus a half-height storage locker. Kids will love it.
But the crowning jewel is the full-beam master stateroom. You arrive via a landing area come dresser/office with desk, pouf, and cedar-lined hanging locker. Forward on the same level is the owner’s en suite, one of two home-like bathrooms each with American-sized showers, solid counters, boosted storage, switchable freshwater to saltwater heads, air-con and hatches. All the plumbing is accessible throughout the boat.
Step down from the landing and the stateroom opens up like an exclusive waterfront hotel suite. There’s a chaise lounge that doubles as full-blown adult-length single bed by the two opening portlights to starboard. Read a book in private or crack the ports and kick back at night.
Offset, the island double berth doesn’t hinder floor space, with a single portlight nearby to create cross-flow ventilation. Lift the mattress base and there’s abundant storage in addition to the low-boy with drawers and dedicated cupboard for your combi washer/dryer.
With dedicated mounting space for a decent flat-screen television facing the bed, the owner’s abode is complete. To recap, you get a single bed, the queen, a dresser and desk, plus en suite, all in your own private midships locale, away from chine slap, generator noise and, presumably, the buzz of the inverter. Such is the calmative effect you should enter with spouse at your own financial risk.
– Climate-controlled penthouse
Meantime, the flybridge is accessed by an internal ladder (over which a gate can be added to contain the kids) and there’s been some remodelling due to the new raised saloon ceiling below. All you really miss out on, compared with the M48, is the dicky seat alongside the helm, which I never much liked at sea anyway, and some sub-dash storage space.
One big expanse of low-glare grey vinyl now runs across before the windscreen, concealing a sink, with a storage drawer below. The new raised dash brow has been designed to accommodate three 15in navigation screens, as is de rigueur on serious cruising boats these days.
Our test boat had upgraded twin Recaro seats — pure luxury for passage-making — as well as a Garmin GRID remote on the armrest that puts you in complete and remote control of the GPSMAP 8000 glass screens (t/c) without needing to lean forward from the helm seat.
Also welcome are the standard bow and stern thrusters, chain counter and wipers with intermediate setting. The Volvo EVC electronic engine controls with single level and optional low-speed and cruise control add to the driving pleasure, while the Webasto sunroof above and side-opening windows provide natural ventilation. There’s access to the air-con units behind the dash and space under the guest lounge base for lifejackets.
The standard guest seating comprises a longitudinal lounge for up to three before a decent teak table. But we saw another M50 with a forward-facing aft return on this lounge that added to the seating — it should be standard on the M50 in our opinion.
We’d also add the optional convertible double bed in the bridge for sleeping the kids on the go, for the skipper during bad nights on the anchor, or for those who snore. The bridge comes with a fridge and you can add a small television, too. As the staircase leads down to the galley, you can waltz up and down with breakie or lunch in hand while cruising.
But the best flybridge feature is surely the extended balcony that’s 15 per cent bigger than the M48’s. In fact, it’s so spacious you could mount twin sun lounges, plonk a bottle of fizz in an ice bucket on a stand, and kick back at anchor while taking in the superlative views. A coveted calm-weather station for sundowners.
HULL AND ENGINEERING
– Extended hull and new engine-room layout
The M50 uses an extended M48 hull that is said to give 5-10 per cent better fuel-consumption, says Greg Haines, Sales and Marketing Manager at Maritimo, owner of an M48, after a delivery from the Gold Coast to Sydney. The extended hull and running surface also leads to greater aft buoyancy to compensate for the fuel shifting to wing tanks in the engine room.
Removing the previous transverse fuel tank and using wing tanks further aft, with an enlarged 4000-litre capacity, has freed up a lot of space in the master stateroom. The downside is the reduced servicing room outboard of the twin 670hp D11 Volvo (test boat), Cummins 715hp QSM11 or upgraded 800hp D13 engines (M50 #6).
Herein a compromise for the full-beam master stateroom. But what would you prefer? Besides, in this day and age of electronic engines, one tends to call the experts for servicing and repairs. As the owner, you deserve to enjoy the living gains instead of giving it over to engines and mechanics.
The M50 has new bigger Lenco trim tabs with oversized flaps that are said to provide a big effect without a lot of drag. We didn’t need the tabs much during our drive, where the boat’s raised freeboard didn’t have a noticeable effect on stability, either.
Although the engine room is busier than Maritimos of old, the engineering has stepped up a notch. Those wing fuel tanks are integral GRP numbers with sight gauges, big inspections/servicing ports and external shutoffs. Each engine had a twin/redundant Racor fuel filter set and the hydraulic oil for the power steering was mounted nearby on the forward bulkhead.
The batteries are kept neat and tidy in rear-mounted boxes, while the air intakes have washable membranes. All the sea strainers come with clear inspection lids, the fluorescent engine-room lighting works off the inverter, while the 17.5kVA Onan will run the entire ship including tropical-strength air-con.
The sizeable 4kW inverter powers the AV systems, 24V fridges, GPO 240V outlets in the galley and a GPO in each cabin for, say, overnight charging. This way, you can hunker down without needing the gennie and drawing ire from surrounding yachties (who will then start up their old smoky diesel engines for power anyway).
There’s increased clearance over the engines and their turbos to prevent the galley floor getting hot — something that happened on early M48s — and renewed focus on reducing engine noise in general.
Elsewhere, like behind the saloon lounges, is terrific and much-improved access to the water pumps, charcoal drinking water filters and air-con units, which drain directly overboard via skin fittings rather than weep into sump boxes.
Note also that the M50 has six bilge pumps, in other words a back-up pump, in the three watertight areas. After extensive testing, Maritimo went with Whale pumps.
Underfloor, in the accommodation area, there are floor hatches to massive storage areas, the hot-water service and valves to switch the toilets from fresh to salt water. These bilge areas are ideal for storing plonk and, with some customisation, game-fishing rods, provisions and more.
The improvements to the boat’s engineering and build in general stem from a new independent six-stage survey process that checks laminates, electrical, engineering, build list, fit and finish and more. Leaks are found and ultimately eliminated via a vacuum process where water is ‘forced’ into the saloon, hatches and engine room.
Meantime, the business end or running gear includes 2 1/4in shafts with a low eight-degree angle (we’re told) spinning 30 x 37.5in five-blade Teignbridge props through 2.037:1 ZF gearboxes. And the variable-deadrise, handlaid hull comes with five-year structural guarantee.
ON THE WATER
– Sweet performance, big range, across the rev range
We had one of those magical Gold Coast days, sparkling true to the place’s name, where the sea is barely heaving, there’s not even a zephyr, and once clear of the entrance you can’t help but look north, along South Stradbroke Island, and dream about what might be.
As with all Maritimos, the M50 hull delivers across the rev range. We had a bit of tide, give or take a knot or so, while noting an easy transition to plane without needing trim tabs. There was full water but just one-third fuel and not a lot of ancillary items, food, tender or suchlike.
At 1550rpm, heavy-weather cruise of 16 knots saw a respectable burn of 95 litres per hour, 1750rpm returned 20 knots for 123 litres per hour, while 2040rpm gave 25 knots cruise for 165 litres per hour. Top speed offshore was 30.5-31 knots, meaning the M50 should remain a genuine 30-knot boat with the standard 670hp D11 engines. Sea trials with half fuel point to a top speed of 29.5 knots.
According to the official supplied data, 1700-1900rpm is the sweet spot in respect of litres per nautical mile. The former gives 18.55 knots for 126 litres per hour and 6.79 litres per nautical mile, resulting in a safe range of 529 nautical miles. At 1900rpm, cruise increases to a lovely 22.15 knots for 154 litres per hour, 6.95 litres per nautical mile, and a safe range of 517 nautical miles. Trust me, that’s all you’ll ever need, unless you want to sit at 8.65 knots for a range of 1382 nautical miles!
– Innovative leader in the 50ft class
Suffice to say, it was all very comfortable in the climate-controlled flying bridge, lounging in the new saloon, with the aft galley ready to serve, a big adjoining cockpit for outdoor pursuits, and the wonderful accommodation headed by the full-beam master stateroom below decks. It’s the clincher that makes the M50 a one-of-a-kind in the 50-footer shaftdrive league.
In short, this is a much better boat than the M48, which has proven itself with voyages from Queensland across the top to WA, to South Aussie via Bass Strait, through the Newfoundland fjords, hey, we’re even informed of a M48 that was stolen off a ship in the Malacca Straits and used a pirate boat.
Given what it achieves within the footprint, the deeper level of design, the improved quality, we’ll go so far as to say this new M50 could just be the best Maritimo of all time. Your search ends here, but the journey has only just begun.
Price as tested: $1,445,000 with standard 670hp Volvo D11s and optional teak laid decking to swim platform, extra powerpoints, Breezeway cover to inside of flybridge, Volvo controls to cockpit, teak laid decking to flybridge balcony, saloon stainless steel fridge, David Stewart soft furnishing package, Recaro helm chairs x 2, 32” Samsung TV to saloon and master, and more. Watermaker, tender and electronics needed.
Priced from: $1.39 million with standard 670hp Volvo D11 engines and a boatload of standard inclusions include bow and stern thrusters, 17.5kVa Onan, 4kW inverter and more.
Hull length ISO: 16.15m
Draft: 1.30m (max)
Weight: Around 22,000kg dry with twin Volvo D11 engines
Fuel capacity: 4000 litres
Water capacity: 800 litres (plus 200 litre/hour watermaker)
Holding tank: 300 litres
Engines: Twin 670hp Volvo D11 common-rail diesel inboard engines with shaft drives, 2.037:1 ZF gearboxes, with 30 x 37.5in five-blade Teignbridge props
Generator: Onan 17.5 kVa
15 Waterway Drive,
Coomera, Qld, 4209
Phone: (07) 5588 6000
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