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Maritimo 2023 M600 LEADERBOARD

Maritimo S55 - Make way for the Archangel

by John Curnow, Global Editor, Powerboat.World 2 Jul 2021 19:52 PDT
Capable of up to 34 knots depending on your engine choice - Maritimo S55 © Maritimo

Yes indeed. Hark the herald. The angels certainly are singing with this one. Now we could cross religious divides, debate Jophiel endlessly, or just settle on a new birth with the name, S55. No translation from the Latin or ancient Greek required. No need to move from the Roman alphabet to Cyrillic, Hebrew, Georgian, or ancient hieroglyphs.

S stands for sedan, or single level motor yacht, and more than anything, the 55 reflects more that she lands in the middle 50-something LWL zone. Now what you cannot miss, contend, or attempt to write off is that comfortable and easy to propel running surface, a range of powerplants to make her the effortless cruiser or express gem, a gargantuan lazarette and utility deck that are simply only part of the storage discussion, and a useful, practical, and extensive options list. Oh. Wait a minute… Did we mention sumptuous, light filled and spacious accommodations? Well a sentence and paragraph can only be soooooo long… Take a breath now, hey.

Visually, basically I’m talking longitudinally, she’s clipped back in high and tight, much like a US Marine’s haircut. Now in Maritimo speak, up on that flat top is the Utility Deck, and you can place up to a tonne’s worth of goodies on it, including a 3.4m tender, as long as no one item is more than the davit’s 350kg rating, because you have to consider things like reach and drop.

Maritimo’s Lead Designer, Tom Barry-Cotter explains, “It’s going to be perfect for tenders, also things like stand-up paddle boards, kayaks, surf skis, and all your water toys. They’re in a nice, safe spot that’s out of the way, especially when you’re on that long haul, and you’re in all the conditions that will get thrown at you. It’s just the peace of mind knowing all of it’s up there, tucked away squarely.”

“If the customer wants to keep the adventure deck, or rear garage clear for more of their daily activities, then it is great to have the roof there as an option.”

Without doubt, the focal point of the S55 is the way she cascades between her levels, whether that is up and in as you board her, or down and straight into the water when you’re at anchor in your favourite bay. It is quite transcendent, and although understated or delicate, it all really adds to the boat’s amenity, especially if you opt for the long and expansive adventure deck swim platform.

The console housing the sink and BBQ is right there on the Adventure Deck, and front and centre (got to keep the military terms coming thick and fast) is the in situ access port for that huge lazarette. Up one level in the cockpit, and the for’ard side of said console has U-shaped dining and lounging on offer, which opposes even further seating and lounging before you go up one more level into the galley. One more thereafter, and you’re in the Main Saloon.

Now the whole console and dining area lifts clear when the lazarette in open, and you can still walk around it all on the Port side, which to my mind highlights just how much thought has gone into ensuring the whole vessel always flows.

Best of all, the breezeway or clears fall vertically from the deckhead directly above you when you’re seated in the banquette, and that maintains space, no matter what the conditions. Nice.

Are you looking?

Hell. I was. You have those really large (Maritimo’s biggest to date) vista windows in the sides of the main saloon, and that in turn provides for a deckhead just that little bit higher, adding to the ambience. Then in combination with the electric actuated sunroof, you almost feel like you are at one of those stadiums that has an opening roof – it’s that big.

OK, obviously not, but you get the point. Now instead of the helm station carving off a significant piece of real estate in the main saloon, as you would normally expect in a single level vessel, thereby reducing the overall utility and ambience, it only seems to expand it. How so? Well, the co-pilot’s seat swivels right around and down for dining, you can configure the whole area for a massive binge TV session for six with ease, and everyone has clear vision of the 50-inch screen, and then whilst steaming, everyone can face forward, and feel part of the gang, without having to become cling-ons draped around your neck like pillion passengers on a motorcycle.

Barry-Cotter said, “The saloon is certainly a highlight. We’ve got that curved screen in the front providing huge amounts of light into the atrium below. It’s really bringing along a lot of what we’ve learnt from the X series projects over the past few years. All in all, it’s really setting and forging the new path for the S series moving forward.”

“If you look at each area throughout the boat, they’re really all category leading in terms of what they’re offering in our size bracket. So if you go from the rear platform and adventure deck, look at that space there, it really is market leading. Go to the upper cockpit; there’s nothing even close to its size.”

“The orientation of the TV also works for all of these areas so that it can be viewed from the lounges, the galley, the cockpit, and even from the grill, even if you’re barbecuing out on the adventure deck. So the spaces have just had a lot of thought put into them, and a lot of customer feedback has been applied during the design process, which we think has come off really well.”

It is no wonder the S55 featured in a recent editorial about current design thinking called, The rice paddies of Bali. This cascade, or terracing of decks is totally en vogue, and no matter whether you like to be in the shade or the sun, this format provides for that, and also a very strong connection with your other family/guests, and also nature herself.

Obviously nearly all of the talk so far has been about the S55’s communal spaces, and there is good reason for that, as hopefully you have come to appreciate from reading this. They are special, and also point to a very different future for Maritimo in this section of the market.

Now the atrium light well does an incredible job of not only inviting one down below to the accommodations, but also of ensuring that sense of space continues on the lower deck. Maritimo’s offset bed takes pride of place in the for’ard VIP, which has its own access to the day head on the port side. Across to starboard the cabin can be configured as a twin, double and even triple, should you require such.

Athwartships and aft is the Master Stateroom, which you enter by passing along beside the head that houses one of the best shower stalls in something under 80-feet that I have seen to date. The deck sole only impinges at the very edge, and this means you have full walk around capability, just as the VIP does too, and whilst this may seem a small point, to many, it is one of the most crucial aspects when considering which boat to purchase.

Wheels, donks, behaviour, numbers, and tech stuff.

We were on Hull#1 of the series, and she is soon on her way to a delighted customer in Fort Lauderdale. It is a boat well suited to that area. Now we had fitted a pair of Volvo Penta’s D13-800hp, 12.8l, six cylinder iron ladies providing the shove for her 37 inch wheels downstairs, and they make her a genuine 30-knot boat, WOT (2300RPM), where you’ll be drinking effectively 300lph (10l/nm), combined. Come back to an 80% load cruise of say 26 knots, and you’re down to 240lph (9.2l/nm).

With these donks you’re on the plane at 13 knots, no tabs, and thereafter it is off you go. Yes, you will play with your trim tabs dependant on the conditions, but she is not reliant on them. However, do bring them back up when backing down. The S55 was a very pleasant cruiser at just under 7 knots, and I am not sure there was any point saying to yourself that 8, where she excelled, or 10 did anything more except burn more fuel and provide a larger wash profile. With all of this in mind, I would imagine the standard 670mhp units are for people wanting to do very long range cruising. On that very point, the S55 carries 4550l across three tanks, with 2500 of it located very low and central under the Master bed, with the remainder split across the two wing tanks, (gravity feeding down to the main), and this also keeps it all around the centre of buoyancy.

Indeed, most S55 customers are ordering the 800s. The upscale options include the Scania 925s, the Volvo D-13 1000, and now a recent addition to the plan are the CAT C12.9s, which are also rated to 1000mhp. The latter are Tier 3 compliant, and are actually a Fiat Powertrain unit. Either brand of the 1000s will propel the S55 to 34-knots WOT, and a 30-knot cruising pace, if that’s your thing.

Barry-Cotter explains, “We’ve developed the platform of the hull and engineering so it can take multiple different power units. It just gives the customer that option, depending on where they are in the world, what their preference is, and what kind of support there is in their region.” “It also keeps it very versatile in terms of what sort of customers we’re appealing to. Both the Volvos and the CATs are great engines in that thousand horsepower range, and providing really good performance and figures, smoothness, quietness, along with really good fuel efficiency from both of them. Obviously their support around the world is very important, as well.”

Anyway, we left the Gold Coast Seaway into easily 2.5m swells, and they were only going to get bigger as the tide began its journey out in a hurry. We had a nasty little chop on top of that, courtesy of a building Sou’easter that would make 25 knots easily, just a little bit later on in the day. None of it was a problem for the S55, but anything over 22 was just not worth it. Never is. 16 and bow up was great, but in all honesty, the most impressive aspect was running back in a quartering sea, which is never a pleasant time for driving a boat. Here the tractability was the noticeable element. The wheel was not being spun like a radar dish, or the agitator in top loading washing machine, which is great.

The question for Barry-Cotter was then, what do you attribute that to, given that she is a fairly shallow draft boat overall? “We do a lot of work on our steering systems, our rudders, the geometry of everything as well, which stems from the racing team (Remember Barry-Cotter and Rosco Willaton are the reigning XCat World Champions). Those little nuances, like tow in, and tow out, are very important in the setup of a boat, and it’s often overlooked. So someone like Rosco, who has had years of experience in setting our boats up, is just vital in ensuring that you have a nice boat.”

What’s really felt in the S55, is just how stable she is. I am struggling to think of why you would install a gyro stabiliser, given the initial cost, ongoing maintenance, and the thirst for power, necessitating the use of the genset. “Along with the triangulated fuel tank system, and the general focus throughout the whole boat of keeping the centre of gravity low in the hull you feel it, especially when you go beam on”, added Barry Cotter.

“You take any novice out that hasn’t been on a Maritimo before, and they would swear you had a gyro on board, just with the way the boat reacted in the swells and the chops. Having a nice wide beam to begin with, and having that beam run aft in this new generation hull as well, is just creating that beautiful running surface for all those different conditions”, said Barry-Cotter, without giving too much away in the great debate of Black Art versus Science.

I had spent a bit of time offshore, but to be honest I was very keen to play in close quarters with the S55, and see just how manoeuvrable she was. Not everyone buying boats like this has been around them all their life. Some are even newbies. Apart from the optional 800mhp mains, out boat was fitted with the standard bow and stern thrusters, so I tucked myself in amongst the moorings on the Broadwater to see just how controllable she was in the now very stiff breeze.

Naturally the mains do a splendid job of hustling her 29,000kg mass around. No doubt a legacy of the 2900nm on offer from each of them, so please be very diligent when applying throttle during clutch-based manoeuvres!!! For sure it is fun, but do make sure you know where your boat is relative to others and the quay, lest you have to make an insurance claim. Just saying…

No, what I wanted to see was how well either the bow or stern thruster would do, when it was on its own, or in conjunction with the one at the other end, and especially with getting her bow to wind, or even better, holding the stern into the breeze!

All I can say is mission accomplished. Yes there is a delay as things take place, but it does happen, and you can control the speed with which it all unfolds, and that’s how you look like your Ship’s Master back at the dock. So when your new S55 arrives, go and play in a spot you know well, and become one with what’s on offer.

Now you’re going to need just two really big gorillas to get into what is a really nice package, and it may end up at more like $2.5M if you go tick, tick, tick, all the way down the page. Simply put, its your call, and isn’t that nice.

Part of the orchestra

The S55 is very much a stand-alone model in Maritimo’s line-up. It has to be, for if you are going to go down the component path, then you simply have to get it right, or run the risk of making a real mash of it. Each iteration has to be created so that its personality shines through. One cannot be a Nobel Prize laureate, and the other living on the streets. To make it work, you have to combine everything in a special way, so as to gift the craft her very own character.

The company’s heritage has been built on their walk-around deck, and enclosed flying bridge motor yachts. However, in the S55 you get the genuine feeling that this new sister is definitely going to be seated in the first row to the left of the conductor. Even a short jaunt with her is enough to see why.

Once upon a time I was all about the open flying bridge, and even the for’ard helm station. Clears were boring. Only a couple of years ago I got converted to single level boating. The S55 would seem to have sealed the deal.

Simply put, Maritimo’s Archangel has the pedigree and the attributes to command her position, thereby affording you the ability to go soaring with your own wind beneath your wings… So take flight, and enjoy.

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