Despite a sea of multi-million-dollar luxury craft cruising the Gold Coast's Broadwater on the day of our expedition, the Maritimo S50 Cruising Motoryacht proved to be a head-turner.
Cutting through the blue on a crystal-clear day, the bold and shimmering granite-grey sedan was an impressive sight. What the raft of envious onlookers didn't see, though, was the no expense spared, glam-packed interior, which truly lived up to Maritimo's reputation for going the extra mile to deliver a floating palace.
Loaded with options and upgrades, the Maritimo S50 Cruising Motoryacht is a go-anywhere, do-anything vessel, which has to be up there among Bill Barry-Cotter's finest. Rumour has it the S50 was specially designed for the Maritimo founder, who wanted a luxury cruiser that ticked the boxes on his wish list: single-level living and cruising space aboard a boat that could easily glide under the low-slung bridges between the Maritimo factory and his home on the Nerang River.
It appears Bill's design probably covered his wife's wish list, too.
Catering for guests would be easy in the spacious, well-designed aft galley fitted with classy Miele appliances, including a four-burner cooktop with extractor fan, full-size fridge and freezer, microwave/convection oven, and a dishwasher conveniently located within the island cocktail bar. A large roll-out pantry, various cupboards, and an ice-maker complete the picture.
Adding to the entertainment value are bi-fold sliding doors, which open from the galley to the cockpit, creating a seamless and social space for guests to enjoy the fully covered cockpit. This S50 was fitted with a cockpit sink and an integrated fridge and freezer, and there's an option to include a barbecue.
The three-cabin, two-bathroom layout of the Maritimo S50 sleeps six very comfortably.
The full-beam master stateroom oozes opulence, intelligent use of space, and a commanding island-style queen bed. The stateroom's landing houses cedar-lined wardrobes and a writing bureau, and entry to a spacious, white-tiled en suite with teak-trim. A chaise lounge doubles as an adult-size single bed, lifting to reveal a large storage area. Complete with a 42in flatscreen TV, it's unlikely the masters of an S50 would miss any of the comforts of home.
Guests won't complain about the VIP cabin either, with its island double berth, plenty of hanging space and pull-out drawers located below the bed.
The third cabin is a comfy twin bunk configuration with more inbuilt storage, perfect for crew or children.
A surprise find was a dedicated cupboard for the combination washer/dryer, again a conveniently located inclusion.
A large electronic sunroof, Bose sound system supplying the audio throughout, stylish teak decks, plush seating and a raised U-shaped dinette midships in the saloon create an ambient and ultra-modern space. Companion seating aft of the single-seat helm can be hydraulically raised or lowered for passengers keeping the skipper company.
Two options are available for the stern: Maritimo's conventional island module, or a new Euro transom with plush seating and rear access to the spacious lazarette. A number of options are available for the tender, including a cradle and tie-down system on the hydraulic swim platform to create a float-on/float-off launch and retrieve.
Wide walk-around decks allow safe and easy access to the foredeck, which provides an alternative seating area and can be fitted with a sunpad with canopy.
Fully optioned, the S50's price tag is in the vicinity of $1.5M to $1.6M - but make no mistake, this vessel has all the trappings of a well-appointed luxury apartment, making it a lavish, yet tranquil alternative to bursting-at-the-seams beachside living or bustling suburbia.
The S50 would have undoubtedly impressed the Barry-Cotter household but, sadly, Bill never got to take his wife on an adventure on the first S50. When it debuted at the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show last year, it was love-at-first-sight for a Sydney buyer, who snapped up the prototype.
Travelling at 30 knots (56km/h), the Maritimo S50 was just under top speed (WOT delivers 30.5 knots/56.5km/h), but there was underlying confidence this vessel had the grunt to outrun most approaching storm fronts... or to get you there before the other guy.
While underway, I wondered aloud what the minimum plane speed would be. Our skipper, Maritimo Sales and Marketing Manager Greg Haines, was quick to pull the throttle on the big twin 670hp Volvo D11 shaft drives back to an impressive 1500rpm at 14.5 knots (27km/h), which still kept us on the plane. At this speed, the consumption was in the order of 90.5lt/h, but at 1700rpm and a smooth 19 knots (35km/h), the efficiency increased to a modest 114lt/h, giving the S50 a range of just under 600km at 90 per cent of the 4000lt tanks. Or, as skipper Greg put it: "One short fuel stop between the Gold Coast and Hammo."
The uncluttered helm was equipped with Simrad electronics, including two 12in screens, radar, autopilot and VHF sonar module. All engine systems can be interfaced with the screens for ease of monitoring.
The upgrades and options available on the S50 are extensive. Top of the list, especially for the big-boat novice, would be the Yacht Controller remote control for the engines and thrusters for starboard docking, and portside engine controls in the cockpit. This should allow one-person docking or departure in most conditions.
For those who can afford the $86,700 price tag, coupling the Express Positioning System (EPS) with a 550kg Seakeeper 8000 gyro stabiliser would also be a winner. This would eliminate any boat roll when underway at low speed or while at anchor.
Stay! A command quite often directed at a husband when he unwittingly partakes in a shopping trip. But when telling the other half to 'stay' on the S50, it takes on a whole new, nautical meaning.
Manoeuvring this luxury vessel is a breeze, with the addition of joystick control technology. At the press of a button, the Express Positioning System (EPS) enables the skipper or skipperette to manoeuvre the Maritimo S50 to the desired position and heading, automatically controlling the propellers and thrusters to maintain a position. Perfect for keeping guests happy once the fish start biting or, if the location is perfect for a dip, without the hassle of dropping and retrieving the anchor.
Not that this is a chore on this vessel. In fact, nothing at all is difficult, time consuming, tedious or complicated, including docking this extremely obedient beauty.
The S50 is all about fun, without the usual bumps, scrapes and language.
SPECIFICATIONS: MARITIMO S50 CRUISING MOTORYACHT
Length overall: 16.15m
Dry weight: 21,000kg
Engines: 2 x Volvo D11 670hp
Fuel capacity: 4000lt
Water capacity: 800lt
Cabins/sleeping capacity: 3, sleeps 6
Base price: $1,385,000
For more information, contact: Maritimo Offshore, tel: (07) 5588 6000. Web: maritimo.com.au