The world's top production manufacturers vie for coveted titles in motorsports to demonstrate their superior design and manufacturing. In the production motoryacht world, Australian builder Maritimo surprisingly stands alone as the only major manufacturer with an active and dedicated racing division competing on the world stage.
Maritimo uses their racing division as a purposeful platform for the development and testing of construction and engineering techniques that trickle down to their production boats. The other purpose of Maritimo's race team is the palpable passion for going fast and being the best at it.
Maritimo Racing are the current World Champions in both the World Pole Position Title and XCAT World Championship Title, crowned at the end of 2019. They are the first team to win both titles in the same year, and they've done it in the boat they built at their special project facility on the Gold Coast.
The win will no doubt have a profound effect on Maritimo's production team and the pride in what they produce, and there are plans in motion to foster this racing culture even further at the grassroots level with their apprenticeship program.
Apprentices will have the opportunity to get hands-on experience as support crew in the Australian events. They'll see first-hand the stresses and demands these high-performance boats endure and how reliability and durability are the two tines of the Maritimo pitchfork as it looks to the future.
FLOW ON EFFECT
There's a presence about the X50R boat in its monotone external colouring. It's a cross between a stealthy shark skin and an Italian designed speed suit, and even at rest you know it's capable. Acceleration is impressive; it jumps up and boogies with an explosive thrust and quickly settles into a fantastic running attitude. We achieved just over 35 knots on a wet and windy afternoon with opposing wind and tides on a corrugated surface. Performance tweaks by the race team should see an increase in this number as they play with the props a little more before delivering it to the owner.
The power on the X50R is another level up to warrant the R badging. Generating the thrust are twin Scania DI13s producing 800hp each, putting out 130hp more per side than the standard X50’s D11s from Volvo. They take up a tad more space and weigh about 140kg more, but for this extra weight and horsepower you get Maritimo’s fastest off the mark production boat to date. The DI13 Scanias come in a 925hp version which would likely push this model over the 40kt mark, but, unfortunately, they are not viable for the X50 due to gearbox limitations.
Unlike their race boats, the X50R is required to run at a range of speeds below flat-out. It needs to perform over a wide range of speeds and conditions, and that comes down to not only science, but a lot of intuition to prop it right. Like all Maritimo models, the Maritimo X50R benefits from the racing division in multiple ways, including lamination techniques to prop selection, and propping is something that they know how to get right — an extensive racing library of over sixty prop sets and nearly 50 years of racing experience by world champion throttle man, Rosco 'the Prop Whisperer’ Willaton, helps with prop selection accuracy.
The real surprise about the souped-up X50R is the fuel economy. At 1500rpm this shaft-driven fifty-footer moves along at a comfortable cruise speed of 17kt, consuming a combined 143L/h. It's a pleasant and gentle canter for the X50R and gives you a range of 320 nautical miles with a 10 per cent reserve. Push the throttles forward to 2000rpm and it speeds along a hair below 30kt. The exciting difference is it affords 95 per cent of the range achieved by cruising at 17kt, but you'll get there 42 per cent sooner.
For a sports yacht, the balance is spot on. The running attitude provides excellent visibility, and using their renowned race-bred steering, it feels sporty, agile and responsive.
The world champion driver Tom Barry-Cotter pens the X series. He's created purposeful and sharp lines that have been enhanced by the exterior colour on this model, and unlike a standard coloured hull, the colour continues above the gunnel. The entire shell has the same appealing grey gel coat accentuated by bold black framing and stainless-steel deck fittings.
Maritimo One is the customisation and bespoke division of Maritimo, and they are responsible for the colour palette, fabrics and styling. They've done a magnificent job here, and it's one of the most appealing colours I have seen cloaking a boat.
What sets the X series from Maritimo apart from the competition is the versatility and ability to adapt. The engine placement allows unmatched adaptability in the Sport Yacht market, allowing Tom Barry-Cotter to fit a beach club, a third double or twin cabin with ensuite, or a more traditional tender garage if desired. Personally, the beach club with the hidden fold-out bed is hard to beat for multi-modal living.
Raise the beach club door and it feels like a Tailgate party with significant benefits. Replacing the eskies is a wine fridge and an icemaker. Visual entertainment can be either on the big screen TV or the view over the anchorage, and there's no need to leave the area when you have a full-sized bathroom with separate shower to the side of the wet bar.
The hi-low swim platform completes the beach club with easy access in and out of the water and multi-tier seating to achieve an entertaining area with a very intimate connection to the sea.
When I first spied it from a distance at a boat show last year, the X50 garnered a lot of attention and it was difficult to find a quiet moment, so I never ended up exploring it. This was my first time aboard this model, and the biggest surprise is the size and space of the beach club — it is much more generous than I anticipated. We comfortably had four adults milling around with ease, and with the bed folded out there's plenty of walkaround space for it to remain deployed.
Dual entries to the cockpit from the swim platform reveal the second generous entertaining area. I am a fan of the standard hardtop extending the length of the cockpit beyond the back of aft seat cushions, avoiding the drip of the rain we got on review day. The continuation of the grey Gelcoat sets this area off with a smart casual appearance, and the moulded BBQ station with sink completes another entertaining dominion with style.
Inside, Maritimo's typical layout is enhanced by Maritimo One’s Italian inspired colour palette. Warm natural tones and beautiful modern fabrics give this interior a real homely feel.
Storage in the galley has excellent volume and ergonomics in mind. The full height upright, space-saving, pull-out pantry has exceptional access and visibility of supplies. If you've ever discovered out of date supplies in low cupboards or hard to inspect overhead lockers, then you'll appreciate this practical home like solution. Even the fridge freezer is a familiar upright domestic style refrigerator, a real bonus for packing away fresh and frozen provisions all in one space.
The island bench, a signature feature in Maritimo galleys, is still one of my favourite ways to deal with the dual demands of concurrently cooking and entertaining. It has storage, servery and bar functions, including an icemaker, all accessible without stepping into the galley proper. Also when the doors are open to the cockpit, you can access the pantry and fridge without getting in the way of food prep, cooking or washing up.
The galley bench has loads of natural light and a central position, much like in a family home. Overhead and oversized, the opening sunroof combined with the full opening side windows is a superb feature of the X50 design. The windows slide back from behind the mullions of the windscreen halfway back in the saloon to the galley. It's a bright, breezy feel that gives the generator and air conditioning a welcome rest.
By positioning the main features of the saloon and the helm station where they have, Maritimo has created an interactive environment for coastal passage making. The galley is the conductor's position, and the orientation is ideal for the function and gives the ability to be part of a single-level cruising dynamic. To starboard opposite the galley is a two-seater lounge. One half faces the galley bench, the other the saloon dining and seating, an elegant dynamic of interaction and easy passing of food to the dining table. The galley also has an excellent distance for communication with the helm.
The helm station on this X50R looks a little different from the standard X50 — there are the Scania engine data displays and a few additions requested by this particular owner, including the latest Yacht Controller. It controls an AC electric bow thruster which gives users a truly variable input and control when docking or rafting up.
The helm seats are the well-known Pompenette, but you won't find this colour combination of leather and stitching off the shelf as it's been done in house by Maritimo One. The Persian orange stitching is a nice feature against the warm grey leather of the bolstered dual helm seat.
The first level of stairs from the companionway leads you to the forward VIP stateroom. The double berth is positioned uniquely, with an offset from the centreline adjusted to a 45-degree angle to allow excellent access to either side of the bed. It is also at a height you can plonk down onto rather than step up to as you often find in the forward cabin of a boat of this size. It's a small detail that makes the forward cabin more liveable and ergonomic with both sides having similar access to the full-size bathroom that runs fore and aft. Dual access entry allows day head access to this bathroom from the landing at the bottom of the stairs from the saloon.
Moving aft down the next companionway is the owner's stateroom. It's more than just a cabin, it's a welcoming retreat. The low centre of gravity gives excellent stability, complemented by comfortable seating to starboard and a desk/vanity area to port. There is plentiful storage and ample space around the magnificent king-size berth. The bathroom is finished to a high standard and sports some beautiful fixtures, including the stylish halo-like showerhead, another subtle customisation by Maritimo One.
The X50R is more than a sticker pack. Maritimo has achieved a shaft-driven boat with tremendous speed off the mark and that’s quick onto the plane boat with race-bred characteristics that suit a wide range of cruising speeds. The real sports yacht coup d 'état is the third protected entertaining area that morphs from beach club to the third stateroom with ensuite, a remarkable achievement on this footprint. The bespoke division of Maritimo has done a commendable job creating a unique and customer-centric boat. Wrapped up in a svelte grey package, this is multi-modal boating at its best, bringing with it a welcome freshness to the rinse and repeat sports yacht market.
FACTS & FIGURES
Grey hull, teak cockpit sole MORE COMING
PRICE AS TESTED
TYPE Monohull power yacht
LENGTH 16m (52’3”)
BEAM 4.55m (14’11”)
DISPLACEMENT 19,000kg (dry)
MAKE/MODEL Twin Scania DI13
TYPE Inline 6, fuel injected four stroke turbo-diesel
RATED HP 800hp (each)
DISPLACEMENT 12.7L (each)
GEAR RATIO 2.01:1
PROPELLER A trade secret
15 Waterway Drive, Coomera,
P +61 7 5588 6000