Poetry in motion

Mark Rothfield | VOLUME 24, ISSUE 5

The bar has been raised in Australian boat building with the launch of Maritimo’s breathtaking new 73 Motoryacht.

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thouart more lovely, andmore temperate. Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

Call it fate or serendipity, but Bryan Ferry’s heavenly rendition of Shakespeare’s Sonnet XVIII began playing the moment I started my car after testing the Maritimo 73 Cruising Motoryacht. No man could better sing the praises, or pen so eloquent a summation, of this wondrous new creation …

Which is just as well, for if ever divine intervention was needed it was now. The 73’s breathtaking performance had rendered me almost speechless. With mouth agape and dribble trickling down my chin, I could do little but ponder the synergy as homeward bound I drove.

Summer was made for this mother of all Maritimos.

Here was a vision as fresh as any sea breeze, with lines as crisp as the first rays of day and an interior as warm and temperate as the setting sun.

BILL THE BARD

If Maritimo supremo Bill Barry-Cotter is, indeed, the Shakespeare of his design generation, as some folk maintain, then the 73 is Bard to the bone. His signature is stamped over every act of a classic play.

The man himself humbly writes it off to experience, quipping that it takes 40 years to build a Maritimo. But, jokes aside, this vessel stands tall as the pinnacle of his life’s work, both in size and scope.

We’re talking 50 tonnes of pure luxury, a behemoth that measures 81 feet (24.8m) once the integrated swim platform is factored in, and a nigh-on 22 feet (6.7m) across its generous girth. The flybridge alone stretches the tape to 38 feet (11.6m).

Barry-Cotter and his manufacturing team have pored over every inch, hellbent on maximising efficiency and user-friendliness. While there’s no escaping the engineering complexity inherent in a vessel of this magnitude – from coping with 3000-plus horsepower to accounting for several miles of wiring – outwardly it displays remarkable simplicity.

Where possible, redundancies have been factored in. This long-range cruiser is destined to go where no technician has gone before, yet owners needn’t be intimidated, nor should they require a professional skipper, simply because they choose to think big.

Take the plumbing, for example. With some boats, should one toilet become blocked, it’s possible to lose the lot … a disaster when you’re miles from anywhere. The Maritimo runs four sanitation lines for its five heads, so, in the worst-case scenario, you’ll drop two loos.

Conspicuous on the bow are two 100kg and 80kg picks, because in remote regions it’s vital that a 50-tonne vessel be held snug at anchor. There is one electric and one hydraulic windlass – the port side is hydraulic and thus the primary.

Other redundancies? Boat No.1 has ZF joystick and Smart Command throttles for ease of docking – it needs only the bowthruster and props, but Maritimo adds a stern thruster and provides at the three helm stations a dual joystick for both thrusters. If you had a problem with the ZF you can simply override it.

The hydraulic thrusters, run off the port engine, and the starboard engine has the steering. If either motor was to fail, you would still have steerage.

SIMPLE GENIUS

The themes of simplicity and ingenuity continue in the engineroom. A gelcoated liner is glued in place, adding integral strength, while keeping the engine bay spotlessly clean. The moulding is matched to the engines and allows for Racor filters.

With full headroom, you can mosey on forward to check the strainers or potter over the aft-placed workbench, which has an accompanying toolbox.

So as not to impose, the air-conditioning units are self-contained within their own recesses throughout the hull, and the underfloor bulkheads have a circular cut-out to allow service access. The electrics reside elsewhere, as well.

Only one of two 24kVa Caterpillar gensets is needed to run the systems, aided by the predominant use of LED lighting, which barely troubles the six 210-amp house batteries. An inverter feeds 60 amps to several powerpoints, galley fridge and freezer, TVs, stereos and engineroom lighting.

BIG PICTURE

Another small, but significant point in the big picture is the bilge system, with six separate pumps running on twin circuits. The Rule 2000s are set slightly off the floor so a diaphragm pump is fitted to purge the dregs – leaving the main pumps to concentrate on the emergency role.

The self-draining cockpit is truly massive, covering almost 18 square metres and including seating across the transom as well as an L-shaped lounge beneath the flybridge overhang. If anything, this may be a rare case where there’s too much entertaining space – aesthetically it is slightly disproportionate and I can’t imagine having enough people aboard to justify the virtual dance floor.

The logic is better explained when a three part hinged hatch opens to reveal a garage large enough to house a 4.5m RIB and 450kg crane. Though a major concession to tender stowage, it means the foredeck is left unencumbered. In turn, the six foredeck hatches flood the accommodation with light and air, while a curved seat and table are built into the cabin top’s forward edge.

Some owners may prefer to use the garage space for chest freezers and storage, others will use the cockpit for fishing, and the builder will oblige by reconfiguring the cockpit to suit the buyer’s individual needs.

Framed sliding glass doors lead seamlessly to the main saloon, and it’s with a hushed reverence that you enter. Corian benchtops, creamy furnishings and rich, dark teak welcome the eye.

Immediately to starboard is the galley, equipped with two upright fridge/freezers, a Miele microwave/grill oven, four-burner cooktop, drawer dishwasher, pull-out pantry and ample storage.

At the push of a button, glass and crockery cupboards raise for easy access. Lower them, and the breakables are well cocooned – at the same time the view through the saloon is enhanced.

To port is a fold-over dining table with seating for six, plus clever chair storage when not in use. Natuzzi leather lounges are well-placed to face the 40-inch flatscreen TV, which also recedes into its own housing.

The flybridge stairwell is oriented aft, partly due to the placement of the galley and the desire to have a central helm in the bridge. While creating a storage ‘dead spot’ beneath, it greatly enhances passenger flow through the cabin as you can come down from the bridge and out through the pilot door or continue downstairs to the accommodation level.

Below, the 73 has a full-beam master stateroom fit for a king-size bed. There are walk-in wardrobes built forward, but the piece de resistance is a full-width bathroom tucked behind the stateroom.

With entrances on either side, it has two vanities, two toilets and a central shower stall that’s almost indecently decadent. To save water, you can shower with a friend, though it’s not strictly necessary as the 73 has 1720 litres of fresh water aboard, and an optional watermaker at its disposal.

Guests are catered for with a plush vee stateroom, another double to port, and a bunk cabin, each with ensuite access.

TOPSIDE TOILET

Because it’s a long hike from the flybridge to the lower day head, especially in a seaway, the flybridge boasts a discreet head compartment of its own. This apparently resulted from customer feedback and has been cleverly executed.

It taps into the lower plumbing and all odours from the holding tanks then dissipate through a vent atop the flybridge, so you’ll never get a waft in the cockpit.

On most voyages, passengers will naturally gravitate toward the enclosed flybridge, drawn by the view and comfort. It has two lounges and companion chairs either side of the central helm seat, along with a lift-up TV and a wet bar.

Considerable thought went into the dashboard design, with pride of place going to three 19-inch electronic displays as well as the new coloured Caterpillar gauges. One of the big screens had a live camera feed of the engineroom, while the others showed the chartplotter and sounder. It’s also possible to have a radar overlay.

All this sets the stage for the thrilling main performance. Fire up the turbo-charged C32 1550hp Caterpillars and let the show begin!

Actually, the opening credits saw skipper Ross helping to cast off before manoeuvring the 73 from its berth using a radio remote dangling around his neck. He casually strolled to the upper helm while tweaking the controls.

It helps that the hydraulic thrusters are continuous, unlike their electric counterparts, which are prone to cutting out.

In gear and idling at 700rpm, the big Maritimo is good for nine knots and a total fuel consumption of just 24 litres. In 20 seconds and less than 100 metres, it can accelerate from standstill to over 30 knots, but the real story lies at mid-range cruise speeds.

There’s an almost imperceptible transition to plane at 13 knots, and at 15 knots you’re drinking 150 litres (10 litres per nautical mile). Consumption at 1500rpm jumps to 230 litres/hour for 18 knots, while 1750rpm is good for 23 knots and 300 litres/hour. Engine load is still below 50 per cent and to the human senses it feels like barely six knots of boatspeed.

Come 30 knots, you’re using 450 litres/hour at 76 per cent load, which means you can cruise all day at that speed without cooking the engines. Top speed is 34 knots at 2300rpm, and if you whip into a fast turn you’ll notice speed diminish by just seven knots. There’s only a slight heel and its turning radius is around 50 metres.

FRUGAL FLYER

Absurd as it sounds, 3100 horsepower is minimal power for a 50-tonne boat, and the fuel figures in particular had me checking my past records to see if they were fictional.

The rival Riviera 70, running twin 1825hp Cats, came onto the plane at 15 knots (slightly faster) and at 1500 clicks burned 240 litres per hour for 18 knots. At 29.5 knots, 65 per cent load, consumption jumped to 440 litres per hour. Wring another 300 revs from the Cats and speed climbed to 34.5 … but they were guzzling 720 litres all-up.

Bill Barry-Cotter doesn’t believe in prop tunnels, whereas Riv’s Frank Mulder does. The figures are too close to call a decisive winner, but the lower power requirements of Maritimo’s variable-deadrise hull certainly impressed. It is a soft-riding, impeccably mannered hull with no discernible flaws.

One senses that Maritimo’s hierarchy was motivated partly by mischief in its decision to give the market a second flybridge convertible of this magnitude, though nuisance value will only go so far. Neither company can afford to ignore the Asian influx.

Maritimo’s people feel their edge lies in their founder’s uniquely Australian design approach. I say that with some reluctance, since so frequently is Barry-Cotter referred to as a “legend” or “genius” you’d swear he’d changed his name by deed poll. But this article was going to break the mould – for the first time since the Mariner Pacer was a buoy, it was going to be “Bill”. Just Bill. But I picked a bad boat to start with – the Maritimo 73 is that good, the stuff of legends and genius, indeed. It easily befits its base price tag of $4.25 million and $4,738,332 as tested.

Of course, the last word should go to that other Bill – Shakespeare – and the concluding lines of Sonnet XVIII:

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.


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