I was once told what I thought at the time was a dark secret buried deep within the boatbuilding catacombs. Sitting in the cockpit of a 50-foot convertible designed for a serious angler, an employee of the well-respected builder mentioned, “Well, only about a third of our owners actually fish and campaign their boats seriously.” By “seriously” he was referring to folks who participate in the tournament circuit every year.
Go on. He then explained that another third fished their boats, but without the same level of commitment, and the final third might never even drop a line in the water. This segment cruised and would often equip their boats with the requisite angling appendages such as towers and outriggers in order to appeal to the resale market.
In a way, the more I thought about it, the less surprising this revelation seemed. The essence of a good convertible design — one with a functional cockpit, speed, sound running characteristics, comfortable accommodations and pleasing aesthetics — ought to appeal to a range of boaters beyond those anglers battling it out for the next grander.
It is for this segment — the two thirds who cruise more than fish — that the new Maritimo 470 Offshore was designed. Based on the successful 500 Offshore, the 470 proved to be a solid performer, extremely well-engineered, with the creature comforts that would make a long cruise in search of fish a fun and easy endeavor.
The 470 features the builder’s trademark enclosed bridge and internal staircase, also used on their Cruising Motoryacht and Aegean series. It’s not easy to incorporate both design elements into a boat of less than 60 feet without having it look like an afterthought, let alone a boat under 50 feet. In my opinion, Maritimo pulled it off remarkably.
The three-side-enclosed bridge is well-suited for both fishing and cruising missions, with an aft helm overlooking the action in the cockpit, and an L-settee forward of the helm allowing guests to look ahead over the bow. Equipped with a table, it’s also the perfect place for happy hour after a day on the water. A single seat is on the portside, and a sink is aft and to port.
In the past I’ve had reservations about running from enclosed bridges, especially on a sport-fisherman, concerned that I was removed from the action and the outdoors in general. None of these concerns are relevant on the 470. The back end is open, allowing the helmsman to keep an eye on things below, as well as baits off the stern. The bridge can also be closed off with Isinglass. And once you open the electric sunroof, the area feels just as open as a bridge design, in my opinion.
The helm layout is an obvious beneficiary of Maritimo’s serious investment and participation in offshore racing, where gauges, electronics and engine controls must be perfectly placed in order to react and adjust at speeds of more than 100 knots. The 470 features a three-panel dash with room on each end for a 15-inch monitor, and the engine gauges and various breakers are placed on the center panel, just below the compass.
The salon has a functional layout, with generous proportions dedicated to each area — the galley, dinette and settee. There is more than enough stowage to stock up for at least a month in the Bahamas or Mexico. A pantry flanks the staircase, an extra refrigerator is on the portside, and additional lockers are in the galley.
The entire interior is sophisticated, yet simple. Maritimo offers several interior wood choices. Our test boat featured teak with a matte finish, or you can specify high-gloss. Forward there are three staterooms and two heads, and each stateroom benefits from swaths of natural light. It’s tough to decide if the amidships or forward stateroom qualifies as the master. They both have en suite heads and are equally spacious. A single stateroom is to starboard.
Nice appointments, joinery and cruising comfort are just part of the story. To be frank, these areas are about on par with other boats in Maritimo’s competitive set. The real difference is when you take the helm and start to put this boat through its paces offshore. “It’s all about the shaft angle,” Maritimo’s founder and CEO Bill Barry-Cotter told me. With an incredibly flat shaft angle of approximately nine degrees, the 470 shoots onto plane like a 4,000-pound center console.
Equipped with twin 670-horsepower Volvo D11 diesels, we maintained an average top speed of 32.9 knots. It should be noted that this was not in the shelter of an inland waterway, but in Australia’s unforgiving Coral Sea surrounded by large swells. As we blazed over the rollers at top speed, I cringed, not wanting to hurt Barry- Cotter’s new baby. Yet upon impact, there was hardly a creak or protest. The beefy stringer system and stout construction employed by Maritimo were overwhelmingly evident. At 1,900 rpm, or about 80 percent of load, we easily maintained an average speed of 26 knots.
During the offshore sea trials, I was reminded that every Maritimo I’ve run thus far is extremely well-balanced. By placing the single, 793-gallon fuel tank across the centerline of the variable deadrise deep-V hull, no trim was required to operate at about a five-degree running angle. Steering was sure-footed and extremely responsive, and with the building swells on our stern as we ran the inlet, she behaved like a tanker.
With about a foot less beam than the 500, it was a little tight on the centerline between the two engines for my gut, but the outboard sides were wide open. The engine room’s fiberglass liner makes cleaning the area extra easy.
The cockpit meets the aforementioned dual-purpose fishing/cruising roll. An optional livewell is integrated into the transom, and there is a bait prep station with tackle drawers and a sink. Maritimo installs a backing plate beneath the cockpit sole ready for the installation of a fighting chair. Cruisers and anglers alike will appreciate the wide side decks, transom door and hearty ground tackle system.
By setting out to create a new model that would satisfy the cruiser and angler, the Maritimo team has created a design that recognizes the compromise required to fill this mission, yet has built it to standards without compromise. And that’s just fine with Bill Barry-Cotter and his team.
Displ.: 41,890 lb.
Fuel: 793 gal.
Water: 156 gal.
Engine Options: 2 x 715-hp Caterpillar C12 ACERTs
Engines Tested: 2 x 670-hp Volvo D11 diesels
Base Price: $947,000
Maritimo USA, 425-614-2628; www.maritimo.com.au