Climbing aboard a new, factory-fresh Maritimo, it’s impossible not to be impressed by the finish and quality. With marine industry identity Bill Barry-Cotter’s hand on the helm, the company has grown exponentially since it first burst onto the world boating stage with its first cruiser back in 2005.
In that relatively short 10 years it has launched a fleet of craft, from the comparatively diminutive Mustang 32 to the opulent and majestic M65 and M73 Motoryachts.
One of its most popular models has been the M48 Cruising Motoryacht, which has been a sales hit for the Gold Coast manufacturer, both here and in the US, accounting for a total of 108 sales in its first production run. The enclosed flybridge M48 has developed a deserved reputation for offering a lot of bang for the buyer’s buck, with plenty of features, long-range cruising capability, space and ‘liveability’ for a boat of its size.
Debuted in 2007, it has gone through a few updates and refreshes, including a Series II launch in early 2011, as well as spawning an offshoot M50. And most recently its latest incarnation was launched with much fanfare at the 2015 Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show in May, the first boat out of the new mould also being the 400th vessel to carry the Maritimo badge.
In its latest guise, the M48 has undergone a significant engineering, layout and fitout makeover, and really emerges as an entirely new boat, with a new hull, deck, flybridge, utility room, tender garage and new engineering in terms of its driveline, engine room liner and new wing fuel tanks.
Onboard for our outing on the Gold Coast’s Broadwater was Maritimo GM Phil Candler and master skipper Ross ‘Rossco’ Willaton. On an idyllic day, there wasn’t much else to do but soak up the Surfers boating lifestyle as viewed through the large flybridge windscreen.
As Candler explained, the new M48 has come into being very much with the connivance of potential and current Maritimo owners, as well as owners of rival brands. A lot of effort has gone into canvassing large cruiser owners about what they liked about the previous M48 and what they’d like to see less and more of in the new boat.
“We ran a couple of customer focus groups to see what people wanted in a boat between 45 and 50 feet,” he said. “The design process started with a blank piece of paper based on their feedback.
“That’s why this boat has a utility room and garage. And by putting the tender in the back and blending the walkarounds where they meet the foredeck, we’ve gained a full-width deck area at the front for sunpads and recreation. Stepping up the walkarounds to the foredeck has also given us more space below for storage and head room.”
Focus group feedback also initiated a redesign of the flybridge, with a new fold-out couch/double berth at the rear, set in front of sliding windows and a conventional single opening door. With the windows and door agape, the flybridge becomes one large entertaining area incorporating the rear deck, while the bed allows it to be used as an additional twin cabin.
The new variable deadrise hull also results in improvements in sea-keeping, fuel consumption and overall performance, according to Candler. A flatter aspect at the rear of the boat allows for shallower prop shaft angles for more drive efficiency, while also allowing the use of lower horsepower engines to give improved performance and fuel efficiency.
“The footprint in the water is wider and more buoyant, but doesn’t need as much horsepower to push it through the water,” offered Willaton. “In the past we would have run at least 670 or 715hp engines to get the same performance.”
The test craft ran nice and flat at cruising speed, with little bow lift, and the steering, developed by the Maritimo race boat team, was pin-point accurate and effortless. Visibility in all directions was excellent from the helm.
Our review model came with the standard Cummins 600hp engines, run in conjunction with Cummins’s proprietary joystick docking system, which has a station at the helm and in the cockpit. I found the control and sensitivity offered by the Cummins system, which operates in conjunction with thrusters, to be very user-friendly.
For the record, in relatively calm seas on the day, we managed figures of 24 knots for a burn of 170lt/h at 2500rpm, giving the mid-size cruiser a pretty impressive range from its twin 1500lt wing tanks. The tanks actually attach to the hull sides flanking the engine room, which tends to cramp the space a bit, although not having a single main tank in front offers more room in the forward accommodations.
Another notable aspect of the engine room is that it is part of a fully moulded liner that runs right through to the bow. It not only looks good, it also adds more structural integrity to the hull and negates the use of timber bearers for the engines.
“The liner, along with the new flybridge, hull and deck, has allowed us to take weight out of the boat, while the engine room surfaces have the same smooth look as the outside of the boat, which owners appreciate,” said Candler.
Owners should also appreciate the cavernous tender garage at the stern, accessed via an electrically operated cockpit floor, which lifts to reveal a davit and plenty of space for a small tender or possibly a PWC or water toys.
The aft of the transom bulkhead also incorporates a sink, barbecue and cooler accessed from the swimplatform.
On our model the cockpit is set up for entertaining, with a wide curved lounge, although it can be had as a ‘fish cockpit’, with solid transom doors and different seating layout.
A single step up through the bi-fold doors reveals a compact galley to starboard, with plenty of storage options and refrigeration, with another step up into the light and airy saloon. It’s a welcoming space that can accommodate around 10 comfortably, with a dining table to port. Light fabrics and upholstery combine with dark wenge timberwork to provide a clean and elegant feel to the interior.
The forward companionway leads down to the day head and shower to starboard, which is shared with the forward cabin. You pass the utility room on the descent, which houses a washer and dryer. It can also be converted into a bunk cabin.
Removing the walkaround companionways from the foredeck has allowed for more space in the side storage lockers in the forward cabin and more headroom in both main cabins.
Turning aft, it’s another three steps down to the full-beam master cabin, which offers a lot of room for a 48-footer, helped by taking out the central fuel tank in the cabin’s aft bulkhead. Apart from plenty of additional stowage, it also boasts an alcove lounge and has its own head and shower. Twin portholes on either side draw in natural light.
With a base price tag of around $1.23m, the M48 really represents a lot of boat in terms of its interior spaces, both below and above decks. As tested, and including a Sirroco tender with Suzuki outboard, tender davit, Bose sound system, teak decking, Simrad electronics and sunroof, the craft pictured is priced at $1.39m.
The M48 is a stylish cruiser, boasting a lot of innovation, solid engineering and the formidable combined experience of the entire Maritimo design and manufacturing talent pool. I’m predicting it will have a similarly long and successful run to the model’s previous incarnations.
Weight (dry): 19,000kg
Fuel capacity: 3000lt
Water capacity: 400lt
Engines as tested: 2 x Cummins QSC 600hp
Price: From $1.23m
As tested: $1.39m
For more information, call Maritimo Offshore, tel (07) 5588 6000 or go to: maritimo.com.au.