If you dream of one day heading off as a couple for that extended, open-ended cruise — perhaps to Tasmania or chasing the sunshine farther north as we often plan — then the new Maritimo M53 Cruising Motoryacht will be hard to beat. Caterpillar engines, low shaft angles, and bow and stern thrusters are a great combination, while the new Maritimo style teamed with purpose and practicality add to the mix.
The M53 comes with the right credentials from a boatbuilder with a well-deserved reputation for creating comfortable long-distance cruisers. But the M53 is more of an evolution than revolution — the boat replaces the Maritimo 52 while retaining the foundations like high-quality construction. The fuel-efficient, variable deadrise hull, low nine-degree shaft angles, full walkaround decks and a luxurious well-designed interior are among the established features.
Then the Maritimo M53 departs to follow the styling introduced by the M56 released last year. There’s more rake to the bow, the flybridge is swept back and gone are the side wings projecting from the bridge. This contributes to a modern, sleek look but not at the expense of practicality. The walkaround sidedecks, and the enclosed flybridge with internal staircase make this boat easy to get around, especially at sea. Yet the boat isn’t so big that she’s unwieldy and, as such, will suit a cruising couple to a tee.
The saloon lends itself to spending serious time onboard. There’s L-shaped seating around a fold-up dinette forward on the port side and lounge seating to starboard. In between is the companionway down to the accommodation. We’ll get to that.
The galley is aft and opposite the polished timber staircase to port leading to the flybridge. Under the staircase is a comprehensive wetbar that includes bottle and glass storage as well as a fridge. The TV is at home sitting atop this cabinet in what would otherwise be wasted space.
The gourmand’s galley is superbly appointed with Corian benchtops, a stainless steel sink with mixer, four-burner electric cooktop, microwave and dishwasher. A couple of special features worth mentioning are the large upright fridge-freezer built into the cabinetry and the swing-out pantry that would do justice to any swanky apartment kitchen. There’s also an optional island bench, with cupboards below for appliance storage.
The large side windows, wide windscreen and the framed glass bi-fold doors that open out into the cockpit let in a vast amount of light and add to the sense of space. The doors, which are a Maritimo feature these days, work well. The saloon, galley and cockpit become one huge, single-level living or entertaining area when you swing them open.
The cockpit is partly covered by the overhanging flybridge and features a large outdoor-entertainment module across the transom with a sink, eutectic freezer and an optional barbecue. As such, you can entertain a large group or stage an intimate soiree for two at that picture-perfect anchorage somewhere or other.
IN THE DETAIL
As a boatowner and operator, I like the attention to detail in the M53. The freshwater and water-blaster connections are housed neatly in a cockpit side locker and, just forward, there’s a second moulded sink with storage underneath. A fishbox with gulper pump is recessed in the cockpit sole, near the huge lazarette, housing the blackwater tank, freshwater tanks and air-conditioning units, plus plenty of room left over for storage.
There’s access via another cockpit hatch to the engineroom, where it’s vast and almost standing height! You’ll find room for a washer-dryer combo just inside the entrance, opposite the Caterpillar 17.5kW generator, and you can see forward to the bulkhead where the fuel filters and coolant bottle are mounted for at-a-glance checks. Seawater intakes have easy-to-see glass tops, there’s a fully moulded liner to spot spills or leaks, and good access to all the bilges and double freshwater pumps. The latter is a nice touch; just ask anyone who’s had a water pump fail while away.
The twin 715hp Caterpillar C12 engines are located well forward, allowing for low shaft angles, while servicing room is about as good as it gets. In short, this is a sensational engineroom. Everything is well thought out, from the hinged aluminum checkerplate panels covering the shaft wells to the hinged-lid battery boxes outboard of both engines that form the perfect seat for replacing oil filters or checking engine anodes. With plenty of ‘eggshell’ soundproofing foam on the ceiling, the boat is also quiet. Enough said.
OUT AND ABOUT
The M53 has nice, wide sidedecks making it safe and easy to get around, even for children or pets while underway. Big rails right to the bow, where the coachhouse roof makes a pleasant spot to sit and watch the world go by, add to the sense of security. The big Muir winch is housed in a recess, so that mud or silt coming up with the anchor flows back overboard rather than on deck, and there’s a chain locker either side. Foot controls for the winch are close by as is the connection for the water-blaster hose. There’s also a seawater washdown.
By this stage, I was feeling pretty good about the M53. But if I needed any more convincing the next couple of hours at the helm certainly did the trick. The helm is located in the fully enclosed flybridge, which is a standout and ideal for long passages. There’s great vision all-round for skipper, navigator and guests. There’s also an optional sliding sunroof so that you can decide how much fresh air and sunshine you’d like.
A single, fully adjustable helm chair (doubles optional and preferable) faces a large console with plenty of room for a couple of 12in screens and an array of nav gear, engine controls and monitoring systems. Aft of the helm is an L-shaped lounge with fold up table, with another lounge to port. There’s a wetbar and sink in the port aft quarter, while sliding glass doors lead to a spacious rear deck. All told, it’s another room.
Accommodation on the M53 is truly luxurious and spans three cabins and two bathrooms all accessed by a wide staircase featuring LED lights. The master stateroom amidships is big and bright, courtesy of the large portlight in the hull as well as another separate porthole plus overhead hatch. The full walkaround queen-size bed has a fully sprung mattress that lifts to reveal storage and there are inbuilt bedside tables and plenty of hanging space. The en suite is beautifully styled and equipped with separate shower with frameless glass door, vanity and electric toilet.
Forward is the guest stateroom with queen-size walkaround bed, lots of storage and hanging space. Portholes either side and an escape hatch provide plenty of natural light and cross-flow ventilation. Guests have direct access to the communal bathroom, which has a separate door in the companionway to service the third cabin and double as the dayhead. The third cabin is fitted with bunks and a large hull portlight.
With accommodation like this, spending extended time onboard certainly wouldn’t require sacrifice! And travelling with friends, or having the occasional guests or family come to visit and stay overnight, wouldn’t be a problem either. Thus, size-wise, the M53 is just right.
The M53 is a very easy boat to drive, whether cruising with just enough power to be on the plane or travelling at full throttle. It’s quiet underway, too, especially with the flybridge hatch closed. As we headed out through Sydney Heads on a beautiful sunny day, with a gentle 2m swell rolling, everything felt right. To top it off, we were joined by a curious whale on its annual migration. I, too, felt like I just wanted to keep going north.
As I said, as a coastal cruiser the M53 won’t disappoint. There are no gimmicks, what you see is what you get — a real home-away-from-home with proven seaworthiness, safety and cruising comfort.
The M53 is predictable, with just the right amount of feel through the wheel, a sense of security underway and a feeling of being at one with the ocean. If you happen to be caught out in a big sea I’m sure this boat will handle it. At 14kts, she guarantees an impressive cruising range of 450nm-plus.
The C12 engines, rated at 715hp at 2300rpm, produced a top speed of 30kts on the day. Cruise is 22kts at 2000rpm, but as the official figures show, 1700rpm gives 18 to 19kts for 6.87lt/hr and a range of 505nm-plus from 90 per cent of the fuel supply. Now that’s comfort cruising.
PRICE AS TESTED
Caterpillar C12 engines, Simrad NSE Package, GS15 GPS antenna, BSM-1 sounder, BR24 broadband radar, air-con to flybridge, sternthrusters with flybridge controls only, engine controls portside and aft, flybridge rail covers, Strataglass windscreen, wiper and washer fitted to centre fixed window, windscreen cover, lower helm, saloon carpet covers, teak-laid cockpit, sidedecks, swimplatform and flybridge balcony, flybridge carpet, cockpit 240V stainless steel barbecue, cockpit floodlights, high-pressure water-blaster with outlets in cockpit and anchor well, hydraulic swimplatform, electric sunroof, galley island bench, vinyl-teak flooring at saloon entry, flatscreen TV-DVD in saloon and master stateroom, Fusion DVD/CD/AM/FM sound system with iPod dock, subwoofer and cube speakers, cockpit marine speakers and remote, underwater LED Lights, and Décor package
$1,485,000 w/ standard 2 x 715hp Cummins QSM11 engines
Material: Fibrelass with cored topsides
Type: Variable deadrise deep-vee monohull with moulded spray rails
Weight: 27 tonnes (dry)
Holding tank: 300lt
Make/model: 2 x Caterpillar C12 ACERT
Type: Six-cylinder common rail diesel
Rated hp: 715 (each)
Maritimo M53 Cruising Motoryacht (Photo by Maritimo)
Maritimo M53 Cruising Motoryacht Flybridge Helm (Photo by Maritimo)
Maritimo M53 Cruising Motoryacht Stateroom (Photo by Maritimo)
Maritimo M53 Cruising Motoryacht Galley (Photo by Maritimo)