As every yachtsman knows, the ocean is not a thing to be trifled with. That applies whether you’re trolling through dulcet Bahamian coves or cruising down the Baja coast. But, like seemingly everything else having to do with nature, it goes doubly in Australia. Maritimo understands Australian waters as well as any boatbuilder, having developed a strong business catering to intrepid Aussie yachtsmen seeking hardy, seaworthy boats to tame the waters. The M64, which debuted internationally at the 2016 Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show and domestically at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, should delight Maritimo’s loyal fan base and newcomers alike. This yacht represents the best of what the brand strives to achieve.
The M64, which I tested recently off Australia’s Gold Coast, exudes a certain sturdiness that was undeniable from the moment I stepped aboard. Hell, it was undeniable the moment she came into sight. Her lines are, in a word, stubborn. They look like they’d put up a fight. And they do.
The shipyard’s attention to construction starts with her hull. Maritimo hand-lays each hull with vinylester resin and builds it solid below the water-line, with balsa coring above for weight savings. Maritimo prefers the efficiency of hand-laying its hulls instead of infusing them. Hand-laying is still quite common in Australia — it’s the mode of choice for most Aussie builders I’ve spoken with, actually. And when it comes to this yacht, there’s no arguing with the results.
FLIP THE SWITCH
Lest you think all Maritimo does is turn out bruising, over-built cruisers destined for traveling to all the world’s exotic ports, you should know that the builder also, somewhat paradoxically, appeals to another type of adventurer. Maritimo is heavily involved in serious offshore racing. The company has a few hardcore raceboats, including a catamaran that can hit absolutely scorching speeds of 220 mph (though it usually races closer to a heel-dragging 180) and that competes internationally in top races. The contrast with Maritimo’s long-range designs shows just how deep this Australian brand’s nautical knowledge goes.
On test day, I had the M64 out in a blustery Coral Sea that was hurling confused, foam-crusted 3s and 4s at us from all angles. The M64 simply ate it up with a spoon. I cruised her at 21 knots, where her range is right around a very respectable 500 miles — just about what you would want and expect out of a yacht built like this. When I dropped the hammer, she climbed all the way to 31 knots, which, I have to be honest, was more than I was expecting from a build this beefy (she displaces 86,000 pounds at her dry weight). Those speeds were thanks to optional twin 1,150 hp Scania engines (twin Volvo Penta D13-900s and twin Caterpillar C18 Acerts are also available). But even at top speed and launching off the tops of some of the day’s larger waves, we fell into a few unseen holes, and the entry was pleasingly feathery.
The yacht’s ride was made all the more enjoyable by a comfortable and highly usable helm. Located on the enclosed flybridge deck, the helm has optimal lines of sight. Two Pompanette Platinum Yacht seats are at the helm, with three Simrad screens plus ZF controls and a joystick for redundancy. And because the deck is enclosed, it offers cruising versatility. If the weather is nasty, you’re fully protected. If it’s hot, just flip on the air conditioning (take note, Floridians). Maritimo likes to refer to this deck as an apartment, and indeed, it does have convertible berths in case you’d like to sleep here.
Also notable: Maritimo’s signature indoor staircase leading between this space and the salon. It’s safe, it’s elegant and it makes it a heck of a lot easier to get up to the bridge with a cup of coffee in your hand.
The staircase is indicative of another key theme aboard the M64: safety. Handholds are everywhere, and that staircase has a protective gate at the top, something I’d like to see on more yachts. It’s never sat quite right with me to see a hole in an upper deck with nothing around it to stop someone from taking an unfortunate misstep. Another key safety feature this yacht has is a Portuguese bridge, a detail I’ve come to appreciate over the years. The transit space makes it much safer for a captain or mate to go on deck in a rough seaway, and it lets children and pets navigate the yacht freely with no fear of taking an unexpected dip in the drink.
“The yacht, which I tested recently off Australia’s Gold Coast, exudes a certain sturdiness that was undeniable from the moment I stepped aboard. Hell, it was undeniable the moment she came into sight. Her lines are, in a word, stubborn.”
That Portuguese bridge has another happy advantage: The yacht is more fishable, particularly when drifting. Maritimo has no intention of competing with the sport-fish designs of the world, but the builder knows it is nice to be able to catch a fresh meal when you’re on board. To that end, Maritimo can also set this yacht up with a fishing package, which includes livewells and a tuna door.
But what the M64 is truly meant for is long-range cruising. Maritimo outfitted her with features that prepare her for the far-off treks Australians are forced to take if they want to leave their isolated homeland. The boat has stowage in every nook and cranny. Look underneath a seat cushion, and you’re almost guaranteed to find space to stow things for a long journey. The salon sports not one, but two refrigerators, as well as a full-size pantry and a smaller, supplementary one.
A SECOND SALON
There are a few really nice things about having an enclosed flybridge. For one, it gives you top-notch protection against the elements when you’re at sea. But additionally, it creates a kind of second salon. Usually, for whatever family dynamic, the space becomes a private man cave, most builders say. On the M64, Maritimo saw fit to imbue the area with great sight lines too. Those help in a seaway, of course, spotting debris and boat traffic, but they also enhance the views, much like salon windows. You’re up there with your buddies and something cold to drink, and the sun’s going down in the distance. That’s living.
And as you might expect on a yacht built for adventures, the engine room is large, to ease the hassle of repairs. The headroom is stand-up, and there is full walk-around access. It’s all sparkling white, so you will spot any spills instantly. In short, it’s a true working engine room that will appeal to any serious owner-operator.
The Maritimo M64 is, in many respects, a little ship. She is built burly throughout, in a manner that will let serious cruisers sate their thirst for adventure with a high level of comfort. She’s an excellent choice for anyone wanting to see the world — or just the Intracoastal Waterway, albeit with more built into her than any yachtsman could possibly need there.