In musical circles, the ‘difficult second album’ can make or break a band.
After initially turning heads with a revolutionary new sound, it’s notoriously difficult for musicians to replicate the runaway success of that exciting debut the second time around.
This was the challenge faced by Queensland boatbuilder Maritimo as the company sought to build on the popular triumph of its radical X60 sports yacht.
Just 12 months after its debut, the X60 has soared to best-seller status on the strength of stirring design and startling performance. But the real hit with boating fans was the industry-first modular Beach Club cabin.
So what next for Maritimo? How would they follow up the breakout X60? And what would buyers think?
The answer was hinted at during Sydney International Boat Show last year and debuted in June at the Sanctuary Cove edition – Maritimo’s new release X50.
Featuring all the innovation and excitement of the X60, but engineered within a 16m hull, the X50 is no bridesmaid to her big sister – this is a motor yacht that will comfortably hold her own in an incredibly competitive market sector.
Rather than fumbling awkwardly under the weight of customer expectations with this follow-up boat, it seems Maritimo has delivered. Again.
The trick to ongoing success in any business venture, be it making music or building boats, is to continually refine your strengths and promote those elements that keep the punters coming back for more.
The fundamental point of attraction on Maritimo’s X Series yachts is undoubtedly the modular versatility of the aft cabin arrangement, and so the new X50 sees this space offering greater utility than ever.
X60 buyers faced a ‘difficult’ choice in deciding just what their aft cabin might become. Would you like a tender garage, extra cabin, luxe galley or waterside Beach Club?
What lead designer Tom Barry-Cotter and the Maritimo team discovered during the process of chatting to prospective buyers was that while most were leaning toward the social Beach Club fitout, there was also demand for an extra cabin, even if it was just for occasional use.
So it should come as no surprise that the latest incarnation of the X Series yacht contains both these features.
Yes, the X50 has a water-level bar, wine fridge, television and full ensuite all gloriously adjacent to the hydraulic swimplatform for ocean access.
But this superyacht-style Beach Club also contains a fold out double bed and bedhead divider that creates one of the most enviable oceanside cabins this reviewer has ever seen. It is sensational.
On the (admittedly very slim) chance I’m ever invited to stay onboard one of these X50 beauties, well, you can keep your full-beam master suite – I want a bed next to big blue in the stern.
Buyers are still welcome to customise their aft cabin as they see fit, and this personalisation of each vessel lies at the heart of the X Series’ philosophy.
But it’s hard to see any owner coming up with a better use of space than that which Maritimo has already arrived at.
If readers need further evidence as to the instant appeal of this crowd-pleasing series of boats from Maritimo, they need look no further than the staff car park at the Coomera factory.
The company has put on 75 new workers over the past eight months and expanded its production facilities to the point where their crew of craftsmen are turning out about one new boat per week.
But as Tom explained to Tradeaboat while we sat anchored off Tangalooma at Moreton Island for our boat test, while sales success is welcome, the company was also conscious of becoming too big and losing the focus on excellence that drew customers in the first place.
“We want to make sure our attention to quality remains and we’re not getting ahead of ourselves by trying to become the biggest boat company,” he said. “Really, we just want to be the best boat company.”
Nine months on from my test of the X60 hull number one, Maritimo is now putting the final touches on hull eight, with many more on order.
And just one month after unveiling the first complete X50 at SCIBS, there are already an impressive 11 boats signed for.
Clearly this innovative design has struck a chord with the market, but what about Maritimo’s core range – those flybridge gamefishers and sporty sedans the brand built its name on?
As Tom explained, any exposure is welcome exposure and the X Series’ success is translating into sales across the range.
“What we’ve found is the X Series as a range has added another layer to our offering and that diversity has captured new customers into the brand,” Tom said.
“It’s helped to bring more attention to the Maritimo brand via the media attention from the X60, and this is helping flybridge sales as well.
“So across the board, it’s been really positive.”
As mentioned, our first peek at Maritimo’s latest single-level stunner was on the docks at SCIBS, but this review took place on the turquoise waters of Moreton Island, amid the Tangalooma wrecks.
A stunning winter’s day that had even the locals searching for fresh superlatives produced the arresting images you’ll see on these pages and allowed our team to fully explore the limits of relaxation lucky owners might experience on such a vessel.
A dip off the swimplatform, quick bake on the forward sunpad, lunch in the cockpit, coffee in the galley, a chat in the saloon – all that was missing was a siesta in the master suite.
Lest you begin to imagine the glamourous life of a boat reviewer is all just sunset beers and frolicking with dolphins, I did jot down a few notes on board, too.
What’s impressive on first viewing is how well Maritimo’s designers have managed to retain a sporty profile within the X50’s 16m length; a significant reduction on the 19.42m X60.
The new version is certainly more compact, even muscular looking without the swept back roofline and extended transom that contributed to the X60’s streamlined silhouette. These features are still present, they’re just shorter.
Also evident as you step aboard is the hydraulic swimplatform for tender storage or lowering into the water as an enticing addition to the Beach Club.
This is an included option on our test boat – the base model has a fixed platform that brings the LOA in under 16m which opens up a wider range of berthing options.
A new series of three portlights are evident in the transom door, too. These let light into the Beach Club bedroom, but more on that later.
Bring the Outdoors In
For this debut X50, Maritimo has done away with a fixed table to create more space in the aft cockpit.
This was the area where the drop in size from 60-feet to 50-feet was most noticeable, but a folding table and a couple of deck chairs can easily be set up to meet the rear lounge for outdoor dining, and there is ample storage for these beneath the adjacent stairs.
A barbecue and sink line the starboard bulwark and tri-fold doors push away to port as you link the aft lounge and galley zones.
Alternative layouts can involve narrower doors and an L-shaped rear lounge with table, plus the galley island bench can be reduced for more room within – such is the beauty of the X50’s customisable design.
The galley is chock-full of quality Miele appliances including a full-height fridge, swing-out pantry and an Isotherm icemaker, while a lack of intrusive bulkheads ensure each space flows naturally into the next.
Chefs can feel the sun on their skin, compliments of an electric sunroof overhead and with the wide saloon windows pushed open, there’s a real sense of being out among the elements – just how boating should be.
Beach Club Cabin
This notion of communing with nature is taken to its satisfying conclusion in the X50’s Beach Club.
Here is a space where guests can do it all. Relax with a cold drink while watching the kids enjoy the ocean? Tick. Launch dive missions off the swimplatform with the greatest of ease? Absolutely. Freshen up in the day head before heading upstairs? No problem. Spend the night snoozing at water-level and wake up to a glorious sunrise? Oh yes!
There is even rumour of some genius installing custom underwater seats that hang off the swimplatform. These are particularly recommended for watching the cricket from water-level (did I mention there’s a TV in the Beach Club?).
When it comes time to convert your Beach Club bar into bedroom-mode, it’s a simple task. The ‘bar’ itself flips up to become a bedhead and privacy screen, while the double bed unfolds from below.
With the lazarette hatch open, this covetable cabin enjoys world-class views and an insect screen roller blind will keep bugs at bay. But even with the hatch closed, three hull windows provide waterside views, with the central one able to be opened for ventilation.
Steps from the Beach Club lead past the engine room door to the saloon, with the main cabins located down another stairwell next to the helm.
For those with extended voyaging on their mind, it is possible to fit a washer/dryer combo inside this forward stairwell, and this vessel also comes with a second fresh water tank under the forward bed, in lieu of a watermaker.
The master suite makes smart use of the 4.55m beam with a daybed and desk on starboard, plus full-height hanging locker and shelves on the opposite side.
Furnishings are muted light and modern colours, contrasting effectively with the darker satin walnut timbers.
Much like the X60 design, the bed in the forward guest cabin is set into the starboard hull, offset at about 60-degrees to the centre.
This allows better access either side of the bed with no steps required and it’s this sort of unconventional thinking which has really set Maritimo boats apart of late.
The lack of a closed in ‘atrium’ area next to the helm is another good idea which lets light flood down into the accommodation corridor and creates a more open living area.
The helm features further refinement of the new look rolled out with the X60 – vessel info and monitoring systems located centrally, with controls such as thrusters, trim tabs, spotlights and wipers arrayed down the arm rest behind the throttles.
It looks neat and contemporary, but more importantly, is super-functional for the skipper.
Maritimo is now manufacturing helm chairs in-house, building on a Pompanette framework but with their own custom upholstery, including the slick quilted leather with contrast stitching found on this new X50.
Taking the wheel, the wide screen and helm-side windows provided uninterrupted views of Moreton Island as we sped north past the wrecks to our photo location.
The glassy conditions provided zero challenge for the X50’s hull, so I was forced to create my own chop.
A series of figure-eights at 20-plus knots showed the hull gripping tightly into short-radius turns, but even when ploughing back across our own wake, the X50 never blinked – just a short thump and she continued onward like the waves were never there.
The standard Volvo D11s had the 16m hull on the plane at around 16 knots and punched us up to 32.5 knots wide open with four crew and 2000L of fuel onboard.
A quick run through the rev range proved a full load of fuel (2900L) would deliver a range of just over 700nm at a respectable 10 knot cruise (including a 10% safety reserve).
This means, from Brisbane for example, owners could reach almost to Cairns in the north or Melbourne in the south on one tank – so serious coastal cruising is certainly a reality with this latest Maritimo.
What became abundantly clear after spending time on the X50 is that Maritimo – perhaps without realising it – have applied the Japanese concept of ‘kaizen’ to their boatbuilding process.
This is an approach to creating continuous improvement, based on small ongoing positive changes and I can’t think of any better term to describe what the X50 represents.
Tom and the team took a winning product and repackaged it in a different size for an even more competitive market, while still retaining the essence of what drew buyers to the X Series boats in the first place.
On paper, it sure sounds like a solid recipe for success, and after testing the X50 on the waters of Moreton Island, it’s difficult to see any reason why this boat won’t be every bit as popular as the first X60 release.
Maritimo X50 Specs
PRICED FROM: $1,490,500
PRICE AS TESTED: $1,759,613
OPTIONS FITTED: Hydraulic swim platform, sliding windows to saloon, electric sunroof, Miele galley package, icemaker, Apollo/Bose entertainment package, wine fridge, underwater lights, Simrad navigation package, Yacht Controller joystick and much more.
TYPE Aft-cabin monohull sportsyacht
PEOPLE 6 (night)
HOLDING TANK 200L
MAKE/MODEL 2 x Volvo D11 670hp
TYPE Six-cylinder inline common-rail diesel
15 Waterway Drive,
Coomera, QLD, 4209
Phone (07) 5588 6000