Ever noticed how hard it is to tell one mid-range flybridge cruiser from another on the water? They are all starting to look pretty much the same – unless you have a sharp eye. So it’s refreshing when a brand new mid-range cruiser/sportfisher comes along that really stands out from the crowd.
Maritimo’s brand new 470 Offshore Convertible, just released at this year’s Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show, is fresh and its clean lines leave no room for misunderstanding as to its heritage and origins.
Maritimo has had very good success with both the 550 and 500 Cruiser/Sportfisher models and given the strong demand for this style of boat in Australia and around the world – and with Maritimo’s reputation for building long-range luxury cruisers – it made sense to introduce a similar boat in the mid-size range that can be on the water for a tad under $A1 million.
The 470 is based on the 500 model. It retains the same flybridge and cockpit, but it’s a metre shorter and slightly narrower in the beam.
There are also a number of subtle design innovations in the boat that are not readily noticeable at first glance, such as the boarding, or swim platform if you like. It’s moulded as part of the hull, instead of being bolted on. The transom is angled a gentle 13 degrees forward, instead of being vertical, and the raw teak mouldings on the gunwales are just wide enough to keep it all in proportion.
It depends on just how serious the owner is about fishing as to how the boat can be set up.
There is room for two rod holders each side in the coamings, although this boat only had two, but it would be an easy matter to put in another two – they’re only about $150 bucks each – to work with outriggers.
In the centre of the transom is the barbecue and again, if you’re serious about fishing, this can be turned into a live bait well, and a bait-prep station can be installed instead of the freezer forward. There is also a sink with mixer tap and a reinforced plate under the cockpit floor provides for installation of a game chair if the owner gets really serious about fishing. Another noticeable feature are the two huge drains in the cockpit, which can remove 700lt of water a minute each!
Although we didn’t try it, if someone got too enthusiastic backing down on a fish, the fixed boarding platform would probably dig in and throw the ocean over the top of the transom. We managed to slop a fair amount of water into the cockpit in one of the bigger boats in a previous test and the drains certainly had no trouble taking care of that. Given that the cockpit is the same size as the 500, fitting the same drains is a smart move.
On most game fishing boats, engine controls in the cockpit are almost seen as compulsory, but on this boat I didn’t see the need – unless the owner or skipper wanted to get into the fishing action in the cockpit and have quick access to the boat’s controls. The view from the aft helm station upstairs was probably the best I have experienced. All the corners of the boat are in view and it was easy to gauge just where the boat was, especially the bow, when bringing it into a tight marina, such as the Gold Coast’s very tricky Runaway Bay Marina. Besides, a Side Power remote came with the boat. In fact, I hear some adventurous Maritimo employees have been known to stand on the dock with the remote and bring a boat alongside. You’re braver than me, mate!
When going forward, there are a couple of steps up to the wide side decks which are 450mm wide and non-skid. For safety, there is a hand-hold on the side of the cabin, and from there is a one-piece bow rail that extends back to front of the cabin. Sensibly, there is no need to turn sideways and shuffle up the side decks as they are wide enough to provide easy access forward.
Bill Barry-Cotter, Maritimo’s founder and CEO, is well over climbing up and down ladders. He also realises that the people who will to buy the 470 are probably not going to want to climb up and down a steep ladder from the cockpit to get to the flybridge, either.
It’s just not on for us grey-haired folk, who would be keeping a chiropractor in business if we had to grapple with a ladder. So Maritimo has installed an internal staircase in its place. It’s a gentle 45-degree staircase that makes it an easy climb to the flybridge. Internal staircases are standard on Maritimo’s bigger boats, but this is a first for a mid-range cruiser and, surprisingly, the way the main saloon is laid out makes it quite unobtrusive.
The main saloon itself is simple, with a gloss teak finish and a couple of lounges; one aft and the other opposite the galley. The galley is a compact, yacht-style affair, but still has plenty of work space, with an upright fridge/freezer and a small pantry next to it. Other amenities include a four-burner stove and oven, a dishwasher and good cupboard and drawer space.
A lot of use has been made of straight lines in the design of the saloon, which is very effective and all the cabinetry is finished with rounded corners, so there are no sharp or protruding edges on which to do oneself a mischief in a seaway.
The accommodation is very much standard. There’s a guest cabin up front and a single-berth cabin on the starboard side. These cabins share a bathroom which features a moulded stand-up shower and frameless glass door.
The owner’s cabin is amidships, with its own en-suite. The cabin appeared unusually light and then I saw why. Not only does it have a big picture window almost at water level, which would be very pleasant to look out of when lying in bed in an anchorage, but there is a hatch in a box section set into the front of the flybridge, which forms the front of the master cabin. What a great idea!
My ageing knees appreciated the gentle slope as we ascended the internal staircase to the enclosed flybridge. Although there is a solid timber hatch for safety over the top of the companionway, just like the enclosed flybridges on her bigger sisters, the area becomes an integral part of the boat instead of being a separate area accessed from outside via a ladder.
The aft helm station is in the right spot to give the driver good visibility out of the threepanel windscreen and the big side windows. All the windows are tinted, while the tinting is slightly lighter on the forward windows.
There is enough room to walk between the two Pompanette helm chairs and the aft safety rail without having to suck in your middle-aged spread. Headroom is OK for an average person, but anyone over 6ft (1.8m) would have to duck a little until they sat down, either at the helm or on the lounge in front of the helm station. Extra tall people could stand under the big opening sunroof, which has a bit more headroom, even when closed.
The dash is simple, with two Raymarine C120 screens, a Simrad autopilot and Sidepower bow and stern thrusters.
The wooden wheel operates the same power steering system used on the Maritimo offshore race boats, with only one-and-three-quarter turns from lock-to-lock, while the Volvo Penta engine controls are mounted so they fall comfortably to hand when the driver sits at the helm.
The Volvo Penta D11 engines, which push out 670hp (500kW), are standard and suit the boat perfectly. The ZF gearboxes run stainless steel shafts, with five-blade nibral props cast by Maritimo in its Molendinar factory on the Gold Coast.
From rest, apply the power and the boat comes up on the plane very smoothly and the boat settles down at a very comfortable cruising speed of 22kt (40km/h). Most owners would be happy to sit there and not worry about trim, as the boat runs nicely and doesn’t drag half the ocean behind it. While at this speed fuel is consumed at the rate of 127lt/hr total. For those who like to play with the trim, we found that just one light tap on each Electrotab digital readout was all that was needed.
On a long trip, drop the speed to 10kt (18.5km/h) and the fuel usage is a miserly 51lt/hr, total, giving the boat a respectable 535nm (990km) range, with fuel to spare. And if needed, the top speed is a very respectable 32.8kt (60km/h).
One thing that was very apparent on the flybridge was how quiet the boat was when running. The fiberglass lining and acoustic insulation, along with the Aqua Lift mufflers, kept the noise down very effectively. At 22kt, we recorded a pleasant 76dBA on the flybridge, which is low enough to allow normal conversation without effort.
Maritimo’s 470 Offshore Convertible is a delight to handle and when we deliberately drove through the wash of another vessel it just sailed through it with no thumping or banging. I call it the ‘Chardy test’ – no-one would have spilt a drop. And at more sedate speeds, or in berthing situations, turning the boat on its axis was simply a matter of running one engine in forward and the other astern. It was precise and effortless and felt almost as if it was powered by pods.
And talking of pods, stand by for another mid-range offshore Maritimo powered with Volvo Penta IPS, which will make its debut at the Sydney International Boat Show. This new boat will sit alongside the first Maritimo fitted with IPS – the C47 Sports Cabriolet – which was also launched at the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show. Watch this space …
SPECIFICATIONS: MARITIMO 470 OFFSHORE CONVERTIBLE
Length overall: 16.50m
Hull length (ISO): 15.50m
Dry weight: 19 tonnes
Holding tank: 300lt
Sleeping capacity: five
Cruise speed: 25kt (46km/h)
Standard power: 2 x Volvo Penta D11 500kW (670hp)
Base price is $940,000. The test boat had $143,235 worth of options fitted. For more information, go to: www.maritimo.com.au.