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Maritimo X50 – Trooping of the Colour

by John Curnow, Editor, Powerboat-World 16 Jul 00:46 UTC
The very new Maritimo X50 on her way down from Lake Macquarie to Broken Bay in NSW, ahead of the impending Sydney International Boat Show. © John Curnow

The phrase is most commonly known today as the very regal affair conducted each June to mark Her Majesty’s birthday (and also that of the Sovereigns before QEII). However, its etymology comes from a very practical application used by the military, and this has distinctly particular relevance to us now, as we look at the second in the line of Maritmo’s X Series.

What it all really refers to is the display of the regiment’s colours, so that the troops could all gather into their respective positions, ready for battle. Now we looked at the first of the line, the X60, in a piece we called Changing of the Guard. That is what gave us our marshall theme, of course. Then, whilst the X50 was actually being made, we also had a sneak peek before her recent unveiling to the world at Sanctuary Cove.

So therefore, now is the certainly time to come to grips with her, and we did this only 10 days ago on a run from Lake Macquarie on the NSW central coast down to Pittwater in Northern Sydney. The theme is made all the more important too, if new models in the X Series are to appear in the future.

Little sister can’t twist, she doesn’t rock n roll, but sure can boogie…

Now the X50’s definitely and distinctly from the same family, but she is not just like they pressed 83.33% into the Xerox, and shrunk the plans down. They gave her a character all her own. The girl’s good. Very good, actually.

Typically from Maritimo, her two, five-bladed, 37.2x30 inch wheels at the other end of the shafts from the Volvo D11-670s get her out on the plane early. This is at something like 12 knots, which is not too dissimilar from her bigger sister, as it turns out. The big, flat planing surface you see in the production video accounts for that effortless transition, as too I dare say does the 2200 nm of torque from each set of the iron ladies. The optional, meatier Volvo 725hp donks deploy the same 10.84l force fed straight six with aftercooler, but the torque curve is significantly flatter and broader, peaking at 2350nm of oil burning grunt.

Now the X50 does require the minimal use of tabs to get up and boogie, whereas the X60 puts her extra 10 feet to good use, and does so without. Equally, that gorgeous ‘pincer’ stance of the bigger vessel is gone to allow for headroom in the forepeak. Never fear though, for the sheer line was altered slightly to account for that, and the fact that her freeboard is almost identical as well. Whilst her beam is significantly narrower (4.55m versus 5.21m), the overall package is right on theme. Tom’s learnings as an Industrial Designer accounts for that.

Barry-Cotter’s time behind the wheel of the company race boat is what accounts for the ride, performance, and stability. Along with Ross Willaton, and the rest of the R&D crew, they hone the balance of the craft from deadrise to rocker, engine placement to shaft angle, and finally the all-important screw selection to ensure the powerplants deliver the best speed to economy mix. They also look at placement of the heavy items over the centre of buoyancy, and utilise wing tanks for the Diesel, so that as they drain, they do not adversely affect the vessel’s attitude. She’s also weighs lighter than her larger sister, and is say 11,500kg better off (lightship).

Perhaps all of this is why she drinks anywhere from a moderate 125lph to a totally respectable 200lph combined, as she goes through from 18 knots to 28, with an effective range that barely alters from a bit over or just on 380nm at each and every increment therein. Just on that, inshore you’d think that 27 is the number, which we did with most of her 2900l of bunkering on board, whereas 22 is absolutely the go when offshore. At that speed she is very surefooted, and the harmonics are also totally in balance, too. That is important for passage making, and also taking some rest whilst someone else does the driving.

The X50 probably rides most of a degree higher than the X60, with the latter really being quite a benchmark for unassisted running angle. The X50 is smooth, and relatively quiet once closed up for running, and rigged for sea.

Options I hear you say?

When the maths first came out she looked like she’d pull low 40 knots with 900hp a side on board. That would seem to be still in the mix, but Maritimo themselves are not looking for that just now. At AUD 1.49M to start with, including the base 670s, there is a lot on offer. Things like Volvo’s 725s, or Scania’s straight six D13 825s add to it, and you will go from 33 knots at WOT to high 30s, perhaps even making 40 knots. You’ll also add in the Vista windows in the pilothouse, because almost everyone does. The X50 has just the one sunroof, and that too is almost an essential tick box. Stabilisers, yacht controller, Mielé package, and so forth are your call, but at $1.7M as we tested, you have a handy package, and that is effectively a three Stateroom, three head vessel.

Nearly all X-Series boats are now delivered as the Beach Club out aft, due to the new fold out bed in the bar. The tailgate, or transom door has a much larger porthole in it now, and that also that opens airflow. In the X50 this is a double, the full beam Master Stateroom has a Queen that can be optioned up to a King, and the for’ard VIP is the offset Queen, so that both sides are infinitely accessible.

So what does the boss have to say his new 19-tonne (lightship) baby?

Barry-Cotter said, “Yes. We really like the new transom door with the larger window and opening port. Both the X50 and now the X60 come standard as the popular Beach Club, with fold out bed, rather than the fully-dressed cabin. Accordingly, sleeping capacity increases for both, but the aft space also works as a bar, and separate entertaining, in addition to the accommodation.”

“Every single cabin in the X-Series has natural ventilation, as too the main saloon. The X50 has optional, one-piece sliding vista windows, as opposed to the two-piece on X60, and this opens up the entire lounging area. Some markets have fixed glass and AC, but by and large the boats are ordered with the windows.”

“Raked glass, and no brow over the windshield means there is ample light for’ard, so the rear sunroof just makes it all tie in due to the cabinets, and overhang from the deckhead over the cockpit. We placed the one sunroof directly over the return in the galley and the cooktop, and again, almost all have selected this option.”

Personally, I would also opt for the L-shaped settee facing aft in the cockpit, as well as the forward facing Euro seat, for this arrangement has a coffee table/dining table configuration that will make the most of the dining and lounging spaces, and combine well with the standard aft galley. This seems to be the best use the shielded space, whether you’re talking the sun of Queensland, or the cool breezes of New Zealand.

There is also an optional watermaker, which will sit in the top port side at the back of the engine room, above the Aqualift Reservoir Management System. That leaves no space for a gyro if you are so inclined, but Maritimo thought long and hard about it all, and delivered a practical solution.

“We’ll install a Quick 19 air-cooled gyro with no through-hull fittings to go into the bilge compartment in the for’ard companionway. It can be retro fitted through the for’ard deck hatch, and then on to existing mounts in the mould, which can alternatively house additional water tankage if you want, should you desire more than what is available under the main bed. Fully loaded it would be about the same mass as the gyro.”

Typically for Maritimo, they love to put the heavy gear right on the centre of buoyancy, so that the craft’s attitude does not alter significantly as the load varies. For this reason, wing tanks are moulded into the engine room liner, and as we saw, fresh water is carried just the other side of the main firewall/bulkhead.

Screws are also a key element of the Maritimo DNA. Barry-Cotter commented, “Rosco (Willaton) has been racing for 48 years, and is intimately involved in the running of new boats. Screws are so crucial, spinning at 1000RPM+ from the 2:1 boxes in this case, and this is his forte. There are efficiencies lost or gained here that get multiplied many times a minute. This is the cheapest and easiest performance gain you can get, versus additional horsepower, or lighter mass.”

“Every new model has a propeller programme. Our race shop has a library of props in terms of pitch, diameter, blade profile, rake, number of blades, cup shapes and so on. There are so many variables, and it is both a science and art, even some black magic. To have someone who knows this intimately, and then can test and develop from sound knowledge is fundamental to our work. We have full confidence that they are the best screws for the job by the time we order them for stock. This time they are Nibral (nickel, bronze and aluminium).”

There are two things that Barry-Cotter is most impressed with on his new X50, so that makes this #1 -

“For a 50-footer, you’re getting all this volume, and they are part of uniquely separate layout - front, middle and back. Accordingly, you are not compromised in terms of overall space, and this helps with the layout, the area given to the cabins and heads, along with flat floors and no steps once inside each space.”

“Even the third cabin out aft has a separate, internal access, along with a 50-inch TV, and this is distinctly different to other 50s, which are either stacked bunks, or side by side. Also, at anchor this is the best place to sleep, as it is quieter, more stable, and the most protected. We get some people coming on board, and they start having a serious look at the aft cabin for themselves. Yet it is a real kids haven, so just remember to lock the bar up!”

“The competition for the X50 is probably for something much larger, as each accommodation space has its own, complete en suite that are not vying for space with other things, and this means we can put full length storage into wardrobes, provide cabinetry and a myriad of nooks and so forth to place your gear securely.”

Consequently, that would make this #2 -

“We are proud of the X50’s look, her performance characteristics, and her seakeeping qualities. This is a boat our customers can have confidence in. We have a fully moulded hull, deck, engine room liners and headliners, and these are all moulded together to make what is effectively a monocoque structure. We have always been about simplicity and functionality, so that you know you’re in safe hands.”

“Our third or fourth hull has the 725s, so it will be good to have one for real when she arrives. We also have a few X60 orders with Scania’s 16l V8 of 1200hp. There are 11 X50 build profiles in the schedule, and almost 20 X60s built or on order. After her reveal at the Sanctuary Cove show we got quite a few more orders for the X50, and it really has been an amazing start to this project.”

If you look at all that, and account for the new factory space, then you would think it will be about 18 months before that #11 comes up. You would think production must be up by 40%, so quality has to remain key. “This is something we have been well recognised for, and are keen to ensure stays during the expansion. QC is our main focus in this next growth phase. We have outside QC contractors that inspect each boat, and work alongside our own. ‘Well-built’ remains a Maritimo hallmark, and we are also looking to further enhance it.”

So do you need more time in your own X50 to explore her distinct character? Well like me if you want to, whether it is the coast of Queensland, the Great Lakes of the USA and Canada, or perhaps historic Croatia, then maybe you just have to go here to check it all out. Of course, showing up at the Sydney International Boat Show, or Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth after that could see you behind the helm, and even though it will be brief, Hull #1 is presently for sale, and you may get a deal that suits you even more!

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