In a land where virtually everything is invariably always bigger and better (and a record) than its predecessor, it is ironically satisfying to cast your eyes over something that actually is genuinely bigger and better than anything before it. Maritimo’s new flagship M73 has broken all company records and along the way now offers Australians and indeed boaters of the world, a new dimension in luxury cruising.
Following the worldwide release of the Maritimo M73 luxury motor yacht at a glittering function prior to the opening of the 2009 Sydney International Boat Show, the overwhelming reaction from assembled guests was, this boat is big – big on length, big on features, big on innovation and most important of all, big on volume. At an overall length of 24.80 metres, this latest creation from Bill Barry-Cotter, the new ‘flagship’ of the Maritimo range, definitely dwarfs anything that has gone before it. Conceptually enveloping everything Barry-Cotter has strived for in a luxury cruiser, the sheer size and volume of the vessel has afforded him the latitude to include features hitherto unheard of in a standard production cruiser.
With flowing lines typically Maritimo, boating protagonists could well be excused for initially concluding the M73 was merely an ‘expanded’ version of its earlier siblings, but compare the vessel alongside vessels formerly considered ‘large’ cruisers and one would quickly appreciate the ramifications of this volume factor. The increased length and space has allowed Maritimo to more assiduously embrace the very ‘fabric’ of this vessel – genuine luxury lifestyle boating!
Exuding opulence from the outset, for me the scene was set with a boarding feature extraordinaire. The large boarding platform, the steps up each side of the transom beam, the lavish lashings of teak, the Maritimo-inspired stainless steel anchoring features (Maritimo has its own foundry; all fittings are made in-house to its own specifications) – it was sheer class and certainly ‘invited’ you on board.
The cockpit itself was in keeping with the vessel – large! The innovation was noticeable also, not only with the teak-lined rise and fall boarding platform but also with these cast hawse fittings appropriate to a vessel of this size, and features such as the electric BBQ and refrigeration module, high pressure water blaster outlet (one in the anchor well also) the outdoor dining feature complete with fold-away outdoor dining table, the nice wide walkways to the bow and at coaming-top level, numerous wet-storage compartments, a live-well and starboard and portside anchoring features including cleats and winch.
Fully utilising the generous 6.63m beam, typically ingenious was the floor and transom beam assemblies which hydraulically cantilevered forward and upwards in three parts so as to provide access to a huge garage complete with 3.4m tender and 450kg davit crane neatly cradle-mounted between the two 860-litre water tanks. Rather than delivering the tender straight out the back, the ability for the davit crane to lift this RIB upwards then out to the side affords Maritimo the luxury of a larger cockpit area forward and aft of the dividing transom beam.
Stepping into the saloon was up three steps and immediately I gained a hint as to the efforts and attention to detail by Maritimo. With three magnificent stainless steel doors sealing the saloon from the outside world the lower S/S door tracks, works of art in their own right, were concealed by a removable gloss-finished teak cover. Inside, the saloon was, it is fair to suggest, built to superyacht-style specification and presentation, best described as contemporary European, with its trendy ‘square’ look.
To starboard as you entered was a step-down, most comprehensive galley. First impressions were of a galley with an island bench but the more you looked the more you appreciated the seriousness of this area. The house-size side-by-side ‘upright’ refrigeration, 4-burner hob, convection oven and dishwasher were items you would expect to find in a vessel such as this. But there was more; for starters the pull-out cantilevering pantry was a definite space-saving revelation. Forward and above the L-shaped granite bench-top, the seemingly innocuous servery electrically rose to reveal two upright storage facilities, the outer for crockery and cutlery and the inner on both sides, for glass and bottle storage for the bar. Simple, and clever! Continuing the electrically operated pop-up theme, the television raised out of the top of the entertainment centre-cum-staircase module which also housed the Bose Lifestyle 38 Surround Sound DVD/CD/AM/FM System.
Opposite the galley in this light, bright and very spacious saloon was the dining setting comprising fold-over table and six free-standing chairs. Following the meal du jour the free-standing L-shaped lounge and coffee table setting forward of this would provide a most ambient place to enjoy an after-dinner liqueur or watch your favourite DVD. Completing the saloon layout was an elegant and entirely non-intruding stainless steel and wood sensible-width staircase complete with substantial hand-rails each side (safety first) which led you up onto what was in effect another saloon, on the flybridge level.
At the business end the generously spec’d helm station would satisfy the most discerning of skippers, not only with its comprehensive array of remote systems controls, Caterpillar instrumentation and integrated Simrad GB 40 electronics package, but with its comfort factor in the form of three Melphi skipper’s chairs across the face of the helm. Aft of these helm chairs guests could enjoy the moment seated on lounges either side of a neat coffee table setting complete with four Ottoman stools integrated into the base.
This setting was a statement in itself and certainly enhanced the lifestyle aspect of apartment living, but it was only one facet of the luxury for other features in this upstairs entertainment gem included an aft viewing deck, electric BBQ, pop-up television, DVD stereo, bar facilities, refrigeration including icemaker, air-conditioning, an overhead electric sun-roof and yes, even an enclosed upstairs head. That was a definite first for me, a privatised head on this level!
Four-Cabin, Three-Bathroom Layout
Accommodation aboard the Maritimo M73 was as expected entirely flexible as regards both the décor, and the room layouts peculiar to each owner’s desires and expectations. In the instance of this first example the owner had chosen the four-cabin, three-bathroom layout. Descending a flight of steps onto the companionway level, the queen-size guest stateroom complete with its own ensuite was forward in the ‘V’ of the bow. The teak wood theme prevailed in all the accommodation areas, as did the down and side lighting, carpeted floors, plushly-padded wall and ceiling panels, hanging wardrobes, generous storage and of course the individual reverse-cycle air-conditioning. The latter aspect was quite staggering actually, for the M73 boasted a whopping 42kW of self-contained Cruiseair air-conditioning.
The second queen-sized guest stateroom was aft of this and to portside and featured near identical décor, its own ensuite, and in addition side and overhead hatch and (opening) porthole, bedside tables and a storage facility which resembled another room. Raise the bed in one easy movement – you didn’t need a crane to lift the end up – and there before you was a step-down facility with shelves and drawers which in this instance were used for the dry storage of items such as PFDs, safety gear and some ‘spares’.
The guests really had to ‘rough it’ in the third Pullman-style single-berth cabin opposite this, for they didn’t have an ensuite – what a dreadful shame! They had everything else though, including television and stereo, but ablutions would be done in the two-way bathroom off the second guest room, which also served as the ‘house’ bathroom.
The best was saved until last – the full-beam king-size master stateroom which was presented to absolute superyacht standard. Amidships and in below the saloon sole, this room I felt was a revelation in the context of a stateroom in what is still ostensibly a ‘production’ cruiser. Features in here included a huge walk-in wardrobe ‘room’, opening port-holes, hull-side viewing windows, a make-up vanity for the ladies, and the mandatory television and DVD entertainment system.
A very pleasant décor blend of teak wood-work, plush wall and roof panels and carpeted floor, there were also some nice touches. The padded head-board, the neat and very modern bedside tables, the full-length wall mirror, the mini lounge, the hand-rails with lights in the ends, even the pictures on the wall, all added a special ambience and feeling of ‘belonging’, to this room. The crowning glory though was undoubtedly the ensuite in behind the main berth. An elongated room with entry from either side, there was a Tecma (Silent Flush – naturally) head and vanity at each end of this room, and you could meet in the middle for a communal shower in what was a most generous-sized shower cubicle.
While the Maritimo M73 Cruising MotorYacht surely boasted the looks to impress the most discerning of families, it was also every bit the consummate performer and handler. Power was via a pair of C32, V12, 32.1-litre, 1,550hp Caterpillar turbo diesels which ran through ZF gearboxes and conventional shaft drives to two Teignbridge 39-inch diameter by 46-inch pitch 5-blade propellers – surely the largest-pitched propellers I had seen, on a production cruiser!
In the context of a 24.8-metre 52-tonne cruiser one could suggest that was a conservative rather than an over the top display of power, yet despite her size and displacement the efficiency of the hull was graphically illustrated when the throttles were applied and the M73 rose quickly and efficiently onto a plane and then a subsequent top speed of 33.1 knots. I had already witnessed for myself how well the vessel manoeuvred whilst berthing (utilising the bow and stern thrusters and literally turning on a dime); now I was equally impressed by a surprisingly responsive, agile and stable hull at speed.
The by-product if you like, of this apparent hull efficiency, was the cruising speed. This Maritimo loved to cruise at around 26 knots, with good range to boot; carrying 9600 litres of diesel fuel in the integral GRP bulkhead tank amidships, the net result was a range of 529NM at full throttle, and, 693NM at our cruise speed of 26 knots. Of course, if you were on a longer passage and were happy to meander along at the idyllic slow-cruise speed of 12 knots the range would in turn further blow out to 1161NM – the waterborne equivalent of Sydney to Gold Coast return, with a most generous safety buffer left over!
The Maritimo M73 Cruising MotorYacht was big, sleek, opulent, all-encompassing and highly spec’d and while I would stop short of calling it a dedicated trans-ocean passagemaker in the true sense of the ideology, none-the-less it boasted all the credentials to ensure it would be a most capable boat island-hopping around Australia or indeed the Pacific Basin; and certainly sublimely comfortable, hospitable and enjoyable once you reached your particular destination.
Innovation and engineering was special and workmanship and general presentation was appropriate to a vessel of this stature, as was the specification. The price, $A4,738,332 as tested complete with $A488,332 of optional extras, was more than acceptable for a boat of this size and specification, and, certainly more than competitive when compared with other (world) manufacturers at this end of the market. We all should be immensely proud that Australia can produce a vessel of this stature!
- Design Name: Maritimo M73
- Year Launched: 2009
- Designer: Maritimo
- Interior Designer: Bill Barry-Cotter
- Builder: Maritimo
- LOA: 24.80 metres
- LWL: 20.50 metres
- Beam: 6.68 metres
- Draft: 1.55 metres
- Displacement: 52 tonnes
- Max Speed: 33 knots
- Cruise Speed: 26 knots
- Construction: GRP bottom with cored topsides
- Fuel Capacity: 9,600 litres
- Water Capacity: 1,720 litres
- Engines Make: Twin 1,550 hp Caterpillar C32
- Drive Train: Conventional shaft drive
- Base Price: $A4,250,000
- Price As Tested: $A4,738,332