The popularity of boats like the Maritimo C60 tells us something about the Australian character. It also tells us about how the Australian character has changed its attitude about how it wants to go boating.
The theme of this craft, its essential character, is that it offers a massive one-level entertainment area, which embraces cockpit and saloon, the latter providing a bar, galley, lounge and driving station. Everything you want is here, in one large area. Thus, you have an indoor/outdoor ambience; you are of the open air, but not necessarily in it.
This pampering environment is mounted on a remarkable hull. The C60 is one of Maritimo’s new generation of hulls designed to be easily-driven and, as a consequence, be easier on fuel. The result is a very sweet hull, which handled beautifully in a nasty, windy, choppy and sloppy sea.
The C60 is a pleasant place for passengers but, as I would find, it’s also very pleasant to drive. There is an integrity in ride, handling and directional stability that makes this big craft a pleasure to steer – like driving a very fine motor car. It’s a feeling that, for reasons I can’t explain, you don’t get from a game-style flybridge boat. The lower centre of gravity, perhaps?
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
The saloon has a big lounging area amidships, but the business end is aft, where you find galley and bar adjacent to the multi-panel sliding doors. These open onto the cockpit and the cockpit table, which is protected from the elements by the roof overhang. This layout is original, and it makes complete sense to me. The cook is only a couple of steps from the table, which is outside, and people like to eat outside. Where I live, the cafés that don’t offer outside dining don’t stay in business long.
The timber trim is a light beech. The boat we tested had the optional electric sunroof, which is about 1 by 1.5 metres.
There are four cabins. The VIP cabin in the bow has an island double berth. There’s a double bunk cabin on the portside and a single-berth cabin to starboard, while the owner’s stateroom is set across the boat. The bed is set with its back against the starboard hull side, which means that, when you’re in bed, you can’t look out of the three vertical windows set in the hull side. On the port side is the best walk-in wardrobe I’ve ever seen on a boat; the missus could hang ball gowns there.
We took out the Maritimo C60 on one of the best boat test runs I have ever had. There was a bit of wind, three-metre swells and lots of chop; enough sea action to test the boat, but not enough to slow it. At the helm was Maritimo’s Rossco Willaton, the same skipper who accompanied editor Beattie on his Grand Tour to Hammo (see Grand Touring, P142). Rossco knows a thing or two about handling boats. He’s a great driver and made the C60 do things I wouldn’t have thought of.
As the C60 strolled through Sydney Heads, we were doing 21 knots in a two-metre swell. Within minutes, it was a three-metre swell, standing up with ever-steepening faces. Beyond the Heads, the sea changed colour and went a stunning and deep translucent blue. To the north, bobbing on the water, was a group of shearwater birds; the kind of birds that only boat owners see. It’s always a great moment when you realise your world is reduced to you, the boat, the sea and the diesels.
As the C60 punched into the steep swells without pounding, the four windscreen wipers instantly cleared solid water from the four-panel screen. We ran along the crests like Kelly Slater, then bore away down-sea; not dead down-sea, the swells were actually on the stern quarter. By then I was at the wheel; I took my hands off and the C60 ran dead straight. That short keel was doing its job.
The boat we tested had the standard engines, a pair of 715hp Caterpillar C12s. Are they economical? You can run all day at 1800rpm and 20 knots, using 140 litres of fuel per hour. An easy cruise speed is 25 knots, using about 180 litres an hour. Top speed is a fraction over 30 knots. We ran happily at these speeds in the open sea and the C60 handled the same at 20 knots as it did at 30.
Back at the marina, we had to berth on the lee side of a two-boat pen, with no boat to windward and a nasty 15-20 knot sou’ wester blowing across the pen. We got the lines on bow and stern, then Rossco used the remote control to operate the bow and stern thrusters (the latter is optional) to hold her off the pontoon, while we tossed a line across to the windward side of the pen. Neat.
The skipper showed us the stern garage. As the hull moulding lifts up, a section of the landing platform rolls down for easy access to the water. This submerged section also acts as the swim platform.
The C60 is a terrific sea boat whose layout, habitat, accommodation, whatever you call it, is entirely appropriate. The aft galley, bar and cockpit table setup is brilliant, as is the transverse owner’s cabin.
Otherwise, the C60 is a conventional boat; the engines are amidships with shaft drive, there are no tricks in hull shape or engineering, but all the components work together perfectly.
You have to be emotionally dead if you don’t enjoy bounding around in the open sea in a powerful, responsive, good-looking boat. Sometimes, though, it can be hard to separate your feelings about the boat from the general high you get from a great day on the water.
With the C60, I have no doubts.
SPECIFICATIONS: MARITIMO C60
Weight: 27 tonnes
Holding tank: 300lt
Engines (starboard): 2x Caterpillar C12 715hp
Sleeping cabins: 4
Price: Base boat – $1,540,000
Price as tested: With teak decking in cockpit and landing platform, stern thruster, double helm seat, electric sunroof: $1,707, 465
More information from Maritimo, tel (07) 5509 3600 or go to: www.maritimo.com.au.