The M55 is Maritimo's Sea-Tamer
The Maritimo M55 expands the builder’s M range to five yachts, from 51 to 75 feet length overall. Courtesy Maritimo
The seas were turbulent as we departed Haulover Inlet in Miami, known for its confused waters. As predicted by the weather report, there would be four to six feet of snow outside.
Our Maritimo M55 met six- to eight-footers, along with a few tens. As our captain, Shawn Minihan, pushed the throttles down, he didn't hesitate. More than a few launchings at 20-plus knots later, we regularly went astronaut (you know, totally weightless).
Despite being sluiced with solid water onto the enclosed bridge's windscreen, the M55 was a rock, cleaving the seas. We moved around 35 tons of yacht into the air, then back into deep, green-water valleys without a squeak or groan.
In addition to having a rough-and-ready reputation for spartan interiors, Australian yachts have a reputation for being tough. Additionally, the M55 is equipped with grain-matched joinery (walnut or teak) rivaling that on mega-yachts, innerspring mattresses, ice makers (everywhere), wine chillers, and wool carpets with Rolls-Royce thickness in the staterooms.
As the son of Bill Barry-Cotter, the founder of Maritimo, which has built more than 4,000 boats, Tom Barry-Cotter is a world champion ocean-racing powerboat driver. M55's hull lines were influenced by his experience. To soften the ride, large, full-length strakes were incorporated into the variable-deadrise hull, along with an airy chine.
A dedicated 12,000 Btu air conditioner kept us cool and dry on the flybridge in the Florida sun. The captain and crew had the twin pedestals behind the tidy dash, while another 12,000 Btu cooled just the salon. I chose the deeply upholstered, J-shaped seat opposite the helm for my flight time. Getting to the lower deck does not require dangling from a ladder, which is a much-appreciated touch.
Under the overhang of the sky lounge is a deck area with recessed tracks for a full enclosure, just beneath the alfresco lounge. There is a similar setup in the cockpit on the main deck, enhancing all-weather dining and lounging options.
An airy galley is located aft of the twin settees on the main deck. A buffet-sized island, swing-out pantries under the counter, a Miele cooktop with four burners, a microwave and a dishwasher complement the galley.
Bi-fold doors lead from the galley of the M55 to the cockpit, which has lounge seating and a single-level deck leading to the hydraulic swim platform, which Maritimo calls the "adventure deck." A lazarette “toy box” can hold dive gear or bikes, and it’s big enough to stow a 9-foot-2-inch Williams Minijet 280 tender. A 550-pound davit can be ordered to launch it, or owners can carry the tender on the swim platform. Yet another option: a sport-fish-style davit and chocks on the foredeck to replace the sun pad.
Using the M55's entire 17-foot-2-inch beam for the guest areas, Maritimo offers a master stateroom with a king-size island berth, an en suite head and stall shower, and 6-foot-4-inch headroom. A guest stateroom with twin berths slides forward and to starboard. A real surprise is the VIP stateroom forward, which has an island queen berth and full walk-around space. As well as serving the guest stateroom, the en suite head with a shower also serves as the day head.
A short-handed couple can cruise the M55 with or without guests. It is possible to dock the boat more easily with the wing helm station hidden in the cockpit to port. Regular maintenance tasks can be conducted in the engine room, which has nearly 6 feet of headroom. Maritimo deserves credit for positioning all electronics and batteries above high-water incursion points.
Volvo Penta D13 diesels produce 1,000 horsepower, Scania DI13 diesels produce 900 horsepower, and Caterpillar 12.9 diesels produce 1,000 horsepower. On the M55 I boarded, there were Cats. Despite the conditions preventing us from getting the M55 to its top hop, the Caterpillar test report on this yacht showed a top speed of 34.6 knots with Teignbridge Aquafoil five-blade props. As I can personally attest, these Cats should run for a long time at our speed of 20ish knots at 1,600 rpm and 65 percent load.
In addition to the Seakeeper gyrostabilizer, this M55's seakindly hull shape also kept us comfortable even high above the water. Muir's oversize capstan/windlass on the bow, coupled with a Bruce anchor locked in the roller, was a clear indication of the M55's tough side.
In addition to having the look of a white dinner jacket, this Australian import is as tough as a prop in rugby. While most owners won’t be out on the M55 on days like we experienced, it’s good to know the boat can handle whatever the ocean chooses to dish out.
Build by Bluewater
As you'd expect from a country surrounded by water and with long distances between harbors, the Maritimo M55 is built toughl with a one-piece liner and a patented bonding system. The deck and superstructure are fiberglass with foam coring, and the main bulkheads are free-standing with fiberglass cores. A watertight collision bulkhead is forward.
In North America, Scania expands
For diesel engines, Americans tend to think of Caterpillar, Cummins, Volvo Penta, or MAN, but Scania is gaining ground here. Based in Sweden, Scania makes products for trucks and buses as well as boats in Europe. The company has a comprehensive dealer and service network throughout North America, with diesels up to 1,150 horsepower that propel patrol boats and yachts.
We got aboard a Maritimo M55 that had a Bruce anchor. The Bruce anchor was originally designed to hold oil rigs firmly in place, but it is now a favourite for cruisers due to its ability to hold in mud, sand, and gravel bottoms. Due to its one-piece construction and lack of moving parts, the anchor will not grip thick grass or hard clay.