Unfazed by the previous day’s 300-mile delivery dash, the Maritimo M45 Motoryacht rested in its berth, quietly taking on diesel.
Approaching, I felt a tingle of déjà vu; a strange familiarity that turned back the hands of time and prised open recesses of the mind. Here was a boat, ostensibly ‘new’ in 2012, but bearing an uncanny physical resemblance to the Maritimo 440 Offshore Convertible I tested in 2010.
There are small styling nuances, of course, like a longer flybridge overhang and a forward helm station, a twin-gated transom with central module rather than a fishing-friendly solid stern with single gate, and smaller topside ports. Also, within there are two cabins instead of three, and weight is up by 1500kg to 16 tonnes.
The big difference, however – and the heart and soul of this new 45ft lovechild – are the shafts so cherished by Maritimo patriarch Bill Barry-Cotter, whereas the old 440 sported Volvo IPS600 drives … indeed, IPS is also available for the M45.
It yields a distinct difference in personality, athleticism and attitude. Where the 440 seemingly flirted with IPS to meet market demands, there was a lingering sentiment that the procreation was one of convenience: a one-night stand more than a marriage made in heaven.
Maritimo’s PR man at the time of my 440 test described its hull thus: “The bow is Bill and the stern is Volvo”, making it sound more like Dr Doolittle’s pushmi-pullyu.
The 440 was posh in the way it held its nose slightly elevated when running. Holeshot and turning ability were excellent, though, and it accelerated to 20 knots (37km/h) in a matter of seconds, while going easy on the juice.
I penned at the time: “Twenty knots is the sweet spot for the diesels – they’re purring at 2700rpm, lapping up fuel at around 100lt/hr in total.”
March forward to 2013 and we’re sluicing down the NSW coast in the M45, passing the beaches of Newcastle on a winter’s day.
Swinging five-blade props on traditional shafts, the Cummins diesels were purring at around 2800rpm, lapping 118lt/hr in total as we ran at a sweet 21 knots (39km/h). For a hull essentially unchanged, it felt more settled, more balanced, happier.
With a clear runway between the waiting coal ships and jutting headlands there was no need to spare the QSB5.9s’ 480 horses. Maritimo delivery driver Rosco bumped the throttles and our speed built to 25 knots (46km/h).
On the electronics front, we had two Garmin GPSMAP 7012 12in screens, G2 vision card, GSD24 sonar module, autopilot, VHF radio and GMR24HD radar.
There wasn’t a single gauge on the helm console, having been rendered redundant by Cummins’s Vessel View digital display. You can drive the boat perfectly by watching load figures, fuel figures and speed.
At 25 knots we were at 3000rpm and 85 per cent engine load; still acceptable for long-distance cruising and affording a range of over 300 nautical miles (555km). If it turns rough, the hull will hold the plane as low as 15 knots (28km/h) for 2400rpm and 90lt/hr – range then drops to 265 nautical miles (490km).
The longer our journey, the more there was to like about this blue-blooded sea boat. Cocooned from the crisp morning chill by the enclosed bridge, which is really a second saloon, I kicked back in the saddle and steered with a socked foot instead of bothering with the autopilot.
But for the fact the bow can be seen ahead, you’d swear you were on a 50-plus footer. Ride is soft and dry, the variable-vee hull having around 15 degrees of deadrise aft and a chine above the waterline to deflect spray.
My pre-conceived notions about the 45’s motion, given the obvious bulk above waterline, dispersed in the wake. Aided by full fuel tanks, the aft chines sat low and magically dampened the rolling moment. The lower centre of gravity and improved weight distribution of the shaft configuration also did their job.
Down below, the main fridge is incorporated in the space beneath the stairs, directly opposite the aft-located galley. It can serve the cockpit through bi-fold doors and the forward saloon dining area if you’re eating inside.
To starboard are a leather lounge and the entertainment unit, with a 32in TV mounted inside the hinged lid. The test boat also featured a Bose Lifestyle V35 package, with speakers and amplifiers to the flybridge and cockpit.
Three steps down, there’s accommodation for five – a longitudinal single and lateral double berth in the amidships guest cabin and an island double in the master stateroom. Both have huge en suites with walk-in showers, sensibly sacrificing the cramped third cabin from the old 440.
It’s all very chic and contemporary, apartment-like, with high-glos stimbers counter balanced by muted furnishings. Where the 440 was a big boat writ small, the 45 is more like a small boat writ big. The bridge, cockpit and saloon are all said to be larger than on the original M48.
The only area where size is limited is in tankage, with 1800lt for fuel and 400lt for water. To be fair, most people like a refuelling break after a few hundred miles of open sea and a watermaker (a $24,000 option) will save you carting dead weight.
In averaging 25 knots on the delivery run, the M45 hovered around the magical gallon per nautical mile – figures formerly associated with boats around 35ft long, not 45. While there’s only marginal fuel difference between pods and shafts at lower revs, around the cruising mark of 3000rpm the shaft boat has a range advantage.
It gets interesting once you start wringing the throttles, with Maritimo’s data for the 435hp Volvos and 480hp Cummins showing top speeds of 29.7 knots (55km/h) and 29.5 knots (54.6km/h) respectively – but the pods are burning some 30 fewer litres at WOT.
All shaft boats come with a bow and stern thruster as standard, eliminating marina manoeuvrability concerns.
There’s nothing in it in terms of purchase price, either. That Maritimo has pegged this enormous 45-footer at under the million mark – just – is nothing short of remarkable.
With the 440 now axed from the range, it would only be the most ardent IPS lover who’d choose pods over shafts in this example. Maritimo’s ‘Oceans Apart’ branding has been applied with a hot iron to the M45, so why compromise?
SPECIFICATIONS: MARITIMO M45
Weight: 16,000kg (dry)
Fuel capacity: 1800lt
Water capacity: 400lt
Holding tank: 150lt
Cabins: 2 plus skylounge
Engines: 2 x Volvo IPS600 435hp (standard) 2 x Cummins QSB5.9 480hp
Price as tested: $995,000
For more information, go to: maritimo.com.au.