Agile Aegean

Kate Innes | VOLUME 24, ISSUE 3

Maritimo says its new Aegean 60 offers European style at an Australian price.

During his six years at Maritimo’s helm, forward-thinking Bill Barry-Cotter has worked with his team to adapt and enhance the company’s motor yachts to ensure they remain at the forefront of luxury cruiser development. The Maritimo team has focused particularly on advances in marine technology, emerging design trends, demands for luxury inclusions, fuel efficiency and the latest challenge: the omnipresent global economic downturn.

Barry-Cotter has spent more than three decades in the boating industry. He has seen it all before and knows the economy – and shrinking boat sales – will recover, just as they did the last time and the time before that.

So in defiance of the prevailing doom and gloom, Barry-Cotter’s bold strategy has been to concentrate on research and development. He says this $10 million effort will ensure that when the clouds lift, Maritimo will be perfectly poised with a stable of new craft designed to cater for buyers likely to be considerably more discerning about how much they spend on luxury items such as boats.

Recently, Maritimo released the first striking result of its R and D efforts, the Aegean 60; number one of three designs proposed for the Aegean range. Maritimo’s Marketing Director, Luke Durman, believes this glamorous 60-footer has the potential to become one of the company’s best sellers; not just here in Australia, but internationally.

Although already hailed by critics as ‘a masterpiece of European styling’, Durman says the A60, as it’s known, sells for around a million dollars less than an equivalent, European-built sports cruiser.

“European boat manufacturers have been selling their products here in Australia for many years. We decided we could build the same kind of boats just as well, if not better, but at a price that made them more affordable than their European counterparts,” said Durman. “To play in the world market, you need to have a world class product. I think this boat is on the money, both in affordability and style. The A60 is the only Australian boat made in this configuration.”

CABRIOLET-PLUS

The A60 mirrors the clean, distinctive lines and luxury, safety and performance of the popular Maritimo Cabriolet 60, known as the C60, but in keeping with its European theme, has an open flybridge added to its superstructure.

The flybridge is accessed by an internal staircase located on the starboard side, just aft of the lower of the two helm stations. Whilst some enjoy the exhilaration and vista that comes with an open air flybridge, an optional bimini top can be added to keep the rays at bay.

Durman said the wrap-around windscreen at the flybridge helm is a by-product of Maritimo’s research and development.

“We wanted to retain the Eurostyling, but still needed to ensure the design and height of the screen didn’t present the usual wind or weather problems associated with an open flybridge,” he explained. “In comparison with European builders, who typically use deflector shields, we decided on a windscreen that rakes with the contours of the flybridge,” he added.

An L-shaped lounge and table, wet bar, sink, stainless steel bar fridge and hot and cold running water complete the roomy upper entertainment area.

For those who prefer a more sheltered vista, the indoors starboard side main helm is perfectly positioned. Its twin leather seats are fully adjustable and about as soft and welcoming for a long-haul trip as a luxury car. The seat height contributes to its excellent all-round vision, while the view is enhanced by the latest marine technology housed in stylish walnut burl cabinetry.

The aft galley is simple and understated, yet offers all the requisite inclusions to prepare a banquet at sea, including a two-door stainless steel fridge and freezer with icemaker, four-burner cooktop, microwave, dishwasher, cocktail cabinet and ample cupboard space.

FULL-WIDTH MASTER

The A60 sleeps eight in four air-conditioned staterooms. The full-width master has a queen-size island berth, ensuite and walk-in robe. The forward stateroom is also queen-sized with ensuite. The port and starboard cabins both have over and under single bunks, with a combined washer/dryer located in the starboard cabin. Bathrooms, tapware and fittings are first class and, like all Maritimos, the A60 features lashings of stunning, high-gloss timber cabinetry throughout.

The combination of full-width sliding doors at the rear of the saloon and generous picture windows allows the A60 to strike a harmonious balance between the interior and outdoors. The cockpit again reflects Maritimo’s choice of Euro design for its Aegean range, which conveniently complements the Aussie penchant for the great outdoors.

Maritimo builders clearly had long, leisurely Sunday lunches in mind when they designed the well-positioned transom lounge and dining table. A large gas barbeque, food preparation station, built-in fridge and freezer, sink and hot and cold shower are seamlessly located around the cockpit in a way that ensures the available space is not compromised by too many inclusions. Importantly, the cockpit design also affords plenty of room to drag in a big fish or ten.

ROOMY GARAGE

One of the most popular features of Maritimo’s Sports Cabriolet range has been the transom garage, so naturally it was added to the A60’s list of impressive features. One push of a button and the cockpit sole lifts and the transom drops to reveal a garage that’s roomy enough to house a 3.5m tender, and a few more toys to boot.

The engine compartment shares the same set-up as the C60, with full-height headroom, twin 715hp C12 Caterpillar diesels and a ZF gearbox, which delivers the power through conventional shaft drives to the five-bladed propellers.

The day Club Marine tested the A60, the Gold Coast Seaway bore no resemblance to the crystal clear, calm waters seen in postcards from its namesake, the Aegean Sea. Whilst a howling 30-knotter and huge, three-metre swells were hardly conducive to smooth cruising, crossing the bar provided a perfect opportunity to see how the A60 handled in less than ideal conditions.

We opted for the indoor helm station to avoid the rain and felt quite comfortable and safe as the A60 sliced through big waves in the bar without much fuss. Huge windows made visibility excellent and although bumps were unavoidable on a day like this, the overall feel was quiet and stable, even with waves slapping us sideways.

Despite its length of 18.8m and beam of 5.3m, the A60 is quite agile. The power below more than matched the conditions and in tight turns it pulled out and onto the plane without much effort. Like the C60, the A60 shares the same ‘new generation’ hull, which is designed to be easily driven and, as a result, is easy on fuel. Although capable of running sweetly at 30-plus knots, optimum cruising speed is around 20-25 knots.

Like all Maritimos, the A60 is a long-range craft and at optimum cruising speed, a full tank of 5600 litres will take its passengers from Sydney to New Zealand, or the Gold Coast to Hamilton Island, without a fuel stop.

Although my time on board was brief thanks to the inclement weather, it was obvious that owning an A60 would be every boatie’s dream. And whether spending a day cruising offshore or fishing the Whitsundays, there’d be no shortage of eager friends and family putting up their hands for a berth on this beauty.

All things considered, it appears Maritimo’s fondness for Eurostyling will be a winner and with a price tag of a bit over $1.7million, the Aegean A60 represents excellent value for money against its European competitors.

More information can be had at: www.maritimo.com.au.

SPECIFICATIONS: MARITIMO A60 AEGEAN

Length overall: 18.8m

Beam: 5.2m

Draft: 1.3m

Fuel: 5600l

Water: 800l

Power: 2 x Caterpillar 715hp C12s

Price (base spec): $1,711,000

Industry Insight

Full speed ahead

The world may be in dire economic straits, but try telling that to the folks at Maritimo…

By Chris Beattie

Bill Barry-Cotter and his busy crew at Maritimo are obviously ‘glass is more than half full – it’s positively overflowing’ people. In company with other selected journalists, I recently spent a day at Maritimo HQ on the Gold Coast and while there is no denying that the world is currently enduring a global financial meltdown, its full heat has yet to be felt here. Over a hectic day spent being briefed on new product plans and visiting various Maritimo facilities, including the race team shop, propeller and shaft making factory and both boat manufacturing facilities, it was obvious that Barry-Cotter and his team are not content to wait for the much-talked-about recovery. They are already ready, willing and able.

Our day kicked off with a briefing from marketing chief, Luke Durman, who explained that, while he acknowledges that times are tough in the marine sector, he believes that a recovery is now in sight and the company is planning accordingly.

“I believe we have seen the worst of this recession and while we’re not out of it yet, there is certainly light at the end of the tunnel,” he said, adding that Barry-Cotter has been driving the company to work harder through the downturn in preparation for an upswing in the not-too-distant future.

“Bill (Barry-Cotter) is, without doubt, a master tactician. In a declining market and when most other boat builders are applying the handbrake, his direction to the management team was to step on the gas.

“We’ve invested over $10million in 2009 developing new models,” explained Durman. “This financial year we’ve already launched the C55 Sports Cabriolet, the A60 Aegean Flybridge and the A55 Aegean Flybridge.”

Underlining the ‘full speed ahead’ message, Durman also offered a sneak peak at three new models released at the 2009 Sanctuary Cove show: the C50 Sports Cabriolet; 56 Cruising Motoryacht and the A60 Aegean Enclosed (see p32). In addition, Maritimo will release its largest boat to date, the 73 Cruising Motoryacht, at the Sydney International Boat Show in late July.

SITUATIONS VACANT

Maritimo General Manager, Martin Lewis, was also on hand and said that while the company has laid off some staff – over 100 in September last year – it was now adding staff as it brought more manufacturing processes back in-house.

“We’re now starting to put people on again as we bring more work, such as at our foundry and engineering plant, back on board,” he said.

“There will be more unemployment and more people will go down,” he said in a reference to the local marine industry, “but it’s plain that we’ve lifted off the bottom and definitely turned the corner.”

Following our briefing, we were bussed to Maritimo’s nearby foundry and engineering facility, where we were just in time to witness the fascinating process that produces one of the new propellers that have been designed with input from international expert Cotty Faye, who was involved in development of the Zeus pod drive. As we watched on, a ladle of molten bronze alloy was deftly manoeuvred and poured into a large mould and then left to cool before commencement of the intricate machining process that eventually results in a Maritimo propeller. Incidentally, we were told that the design is almost identical to that used on the US Navy’s nuclear submarines.

The foundry also produces skegs, rudders and sea strainers.

Next we wandered across the yard to the company’s developing engineering complex and were shown over some of the high-tech, computer-controlled machinery, which is now employed producing prop shafts and various other steel components. Lewis said the engineering department would be producing more and more components in line with Maritimo’s plans to do as much manufacturing as possible to achieve cost and quality controls across its range.

POD-FREE ZONE

Speaking of engineering, Lewis also revealed that the company has, in conjunction with US marine transmission company ZF, developed a proprietary joystick control system for its boats. The system, called JMS – for Joystick Manoeuvring System – links bow and stern thrusters with conventional transmissions to effectively offer the same manoeuvrability as pod drives.

Lewis said Maritimo was unimpressed with moves by many other manufacturers to adopt pod drive systems, such as Mercury’s Zeus and Volvo Penta’s IPS. He said that Maritimo had looked closely at the advantages and disadvantages of pod drives and decided that there was no need to move away from conventional shaft drives on its boats.

“We’re very sceptical about the power and efficiency claims made for pod drives,” he said.

He explained that Maritimo’s shallow shaft angles – typically in the order of seven to nine degrees – provided enough fuel efficiency and performance, as well as keeping manufacturing and servicing costs down. And with the JMS system, any advantages that pod drives offered in terms of boat control were now negated.

“We see no need to move to pods,” he commented.

Durman also announced that Maritimo was recently awarded internationally certified ISO9001 quality assurance accreditation in recognition of its standard of manufacturing and management excellence.

“This achievement, and I might point out that we are the only production boat builder in Australia to be accredited, ensures a commitment to total quality management and allows us to internally diagnose deficiencies in the supply and manufacturing process and rectify them immediately,” he explained.

We also enjoyed a fascinating insight into the rarefied world of Class 1 international power boat racing with a visit to Maritimo’s own racing facility. The scrupulously clean workshop houses a number of race boats and every spare space seemed to be taken up with various hugely powerful Lamborghini V10 and Chevrolet V8 racing engines. Maritimo runs a number of boats in both the world championships and local competition and Durman explained that the company learned a lot from its racing program that could be translated directly into its cruising craft.

“The Maritimo Racing Facility is where much of our understanding of hull design is fine-tuned. Everything from weight distribution, powerto-weight ratios and lift and drag is precisely measured,” he said. He went on to explain that the company’s one-turn, lock-to-lock steering system for its production craft was developed directly from its race program.

My impression after a day spent with the people from Maritimo is that the company is wellplaced to come through the current economic crisis and, while some others have battened down the hatches as the storm rages, they are continuing to plan ahead and develop and innovate. Another $10million is to be tipped into new model development over the next 12 months and Durman says that international demand for its boats remains strong.

“Our 2009 forecasts indicate a 20 per cent drop in total unit sales. Having said that, the market outlook for Maritimo is very positive and our 2010 forecast indicates a 15 per cent increase on 2009 unit sales,” he said.

“The most positive sign is that our production schedule is full to September this year.”

It’s a claim, I’m sure, that many other boat manufacturers would love to make.


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