As many of you know, we’ve been hard core Sabre/Back Cove owners for the past seven years (Downeast 37, Back Cove 41, and now a Sabre 48 Flybridge).

We loved them all and hoped to stay in the family when the time came to add a third cabin (so our grandkids can cruise with us.) Alas, it was not to be. I love much about the Sabre 58, but after running our 48 Relentless, I’m a confirmed Flybridge guy and Sabre has no plans to build a 58 Flybridge.

Discovering Maritimo

The first 50’ yacht I ever saw with an enclosed Flybridge was a Marlow 49 on Block Island in 2018. I wasn’t a big fan of Flybridges at the time, but I loved the idea of riding up top and adding space to the salon by removing the lower helm.

I admit I was fascinated and somewhere along the line I stumbled on Maritimo. I was at the Newport Boat Show in 2019 to give the Sabre 48 a closer look when I first saw the Maritimo M51.

We loved that boat and started considering it over the Sabre 48. I reached out Sheryl Northrop (Maritimo Americas Sales) and got to learn all about the M51, the S51, and the X50.

Mrs. Horne and Sheryl Northrop

We were on track for a 2023/24 build when our Boatyard told us the M51 wouldn’t fit in our primo slip. A few days later we bought Relentless – our Sabre 48 Flybridge (click here for the story – you’ll need to scroll past the stories on all the other boats I’ve had).

Relentless – Sabre 48 Flybridge

We love Relentless, but after seeing how much our grandkids loved boating this summer, we knew we’d be getting a bigger boat down the road. And, as you may know, the lead time on a new yacht build is currently out to 2023/24, so we once again engaged Sheryl at Maritimo in July.

Maritimo Background

I never heard of Maritimo before 2019. Since then I’ve learned a lot about them and from what I’ve learned, they seem to be a great company to buy a boat from (more on that later).

The company was founded by a legendary Aussie named Bill Barry-Cotter. Here’s how The Robb Report summed up Barry-Cotter’s resume in a 2019 article (see Bill Barry-Cotter)

“At 22, Barry-Cotter established Mariner Boats, building a large range of motor and sail craft. Selling Mariner in 1978, he established Riviera on Queensland’s Gold Coast in 1980. Riviera was sold in 2002, and Barry-Cotter went on to create Maritimo. Barry-Cotter has also successfully built and raced offshore powerboats, winning seven Australian Class I offshore powerboat championships.”

Not only is the company run by a very serious boater, but I’m sure he learned a lot about boat building founding Mariner and Riviera. And I’m optimistic that he’s applying that knowledge at Maritimo – as they say “Third Try is a Charm.”

Maritimo make a wide range of boats from the X50 to the M70. I understand they make about 40 boats a year with half of those going to the Americas.

Fort Lauderdale Visit

By August I’d confirmed that Mattapoisett Boat Yard could accommodate a bigger boat. Beyond the M55 I did a deep dive into the Riviera EB 54 and EB 57 as well as the Princess F55 and F62. After running all the facts and figures through my trusty spreadsheet, I concluded the M55 was the boat for us.

My only concern was it’s size. Mrs. Horne is very nimble for her age, but neither of us are getting any younger. I think she first suggested the idea of a bigger boat in June on Nantucket when we saw a couple bring in a Princess 78 alone. But before we bought one, we thought it best to see one in person.

Maritimo has sold over forty M55‘s with eleven in the US, but none had been delivered when I started talking to Sheryl.

She told me they were exhibiting an M55 and an S55 at the Fort Lauderdale In Water Boat Show and invited us down. Unfortunately, FLIBS falls on our granddaughter’s birthday, so that wasn’t happening.

I asked her if they’d be staging the boats the week before, she said “Yes,” and we booked our flights.

The S55

The S55 we saw is actually hull #1 and as I write this, it’s a demo boat available for purchase. It’s docked in front of the Maritimo office in Fort Lauderdale and it was the first stop after we left the airport…

Both Maritimo 55’s sit on the same hull. The primary difference is the addition of the Flybridge on the M55. The S55 has dual helm seats in the front corner of the salon…

There are minor differences in the cockpit as well. It looks like the cockpit on the S55 is longer…

This makes sense since the M55 has an additional cockpit aft of the Flybridge whereas the main cockpit is the only outdoor living space on the S55.

Both boats have three cabins and two bathrooms…

Starboard Cabin on the Maritimo S55

The Starboard Cabin is the smallest. There are a couple of options for this cabin. The inside berth can slide over to create a double/queen. There is also an option to have one of these as a bunk bed with a washer/dryer beneath. As is, it’s perfect for our grandkids.

The VIP Cabin on the Maritimo S55

The VIP cabin in the bow is really innovative. They’ve turned the bed 45 degrees to facilitate ease of entry and more importantly, ease of making the bed!

This is a large VIP – probably larger than the master on our Sabre 48. The shelf that runs along the port hull to the bow is substantial and could be used as a seat (albeit not especially comfortable).

The two bathrooms are good sized and nearly identical. The #2 bath is shared by the VIP and Starboard Cabin and has a second door that makes it a guest day head.

#2 Bath Shower on the Maritimo S55
#2 Bathroom Head on the Maritimo S55

The big difference between the two bathrooms is that master has a large medicine cabinet behind the mirror and the #2 Bath does not (more on that later.)

Master Cabin on the Maritimo S55

The master on all M and S class Maritimo’s is full width. I didn’t measure it, but the beam is 17’2”, so it’s probably 16’ wide and nearly as deep.

I noticed a few other details on the S55 worth sharing…

The electrical control box is located aft port in the salon.

The Electrical Control Box on the Maritimo S55

The S55 we saw had a ladder in the cockpit to access the roof.

Ladder to Roof on the Maritimo S55

The S55 had the optional port helm control just inside the cockpit…

Both the S55 and the M55 have what they call an “Atrium Staircase,” which makes what is otherwise a rather tight spot feel open…

Before I get to the M55, let me leave you with a few more photos of the S55…

Aft Kitchen with Massive Refrigerator/Freezer on the Maritimo S55
Galley Looking Forward on the Maritimo S55
Miele Freezer on the Maritimo S55
Miele Refrigerator on the Maritimo S55
Optional Port Side Refrigerator and Freezer Drawers on the Maritimo S55
Huge Pantry on the Maritimo S55
View Aft on the Maritimo S55
Engine Room on the Maritimo S55

This S55 has 70 hours on it and I was told that it hadn’t been cleaned since delivery. It was truly spotless…

Attention to Detail on the Maritimo S55

I shot a photo of this clip because most boats have snaps that are hard to close, hard to open, and eventually fall off. This clip will undoubtedly solve those problems.

The M55

As mentioned earlier, the M55 is very similar to an S55 with an enclosed Flybridge on top…

But Maritimo didn’t just slap a Flybridge on an S55 and call it an M55, they actually did an entire new cabin from the deck up to add beam to the interior of the bridge…

The Flybridge is about 12’ wide and 16’ long, which makes it larger than the Salon on our Sabre 48 (10’ wide and 15’ long).

Very Large 55’s

By early August, it was clear that we were on track to order an M55 for 2023/24 delivery. Mrs. Horne’s only real concern was “is it too big for us to handle?”

The Maritimo 55’s are very large 55’s. It begins with their 17’2 beam, which makes them the widest yachts in their class.

The length is a little tricky since Maritimo may be the only builder that makes the swim platform optional. Also, unlike most yachts in this class, there is no bowsprit adding to the overall length.

So while the specs say the 55 is 56’8” overall, it’s actually longer. Add in the 4’ 7” swim platform and it’s 61’ 5” long. Compare it to another yacht in class with a two foot bowsprit and you can see that it’s actually larger than boats other builders call 60+.

We were in Newport last summer and we walked by an Azimut 60. Mrs. Horne asked me “Is the Maritimo that big?” Then we were in Edgartown next to a Princess F-64 and she asked the same question.

So I went on the internet and looked up the spec on those two boats and compared them to 55 with similar swim platforms :

Azimut 60

Length – 59’ 10”

Beam – 16’ 7”

Princess F64

Length – 64’

Beam – 16’ 4”

Maritimo 55

Length – 61’ 5”

Beam – 17’ 2”

If the swim platform wasn’t an option, Maritimo could easily call the 55 a 61 or a 62.

But that’s only half the story. The Maritimo M55 really stands out when you compare the interior space thanks to the fully enclosed Flybridge.

I don’t have interior dimensions for the Azimut or the Princess, but I did measure the salon of our Sabre 48 – which is a large 48. It measured 10’6” wide by 15’ from the cockpit door to the base of the windshield or about 158 square feet.

The M55 really has two salons thanks to the Flybridge. The main salon is 22’9” long and 11’9” wide or about 267 square feet. The Flybridge interior is 14’7” long and 11’5” wide or about 168 square feet.

Add them together and you discover what I am already telling you. The M55 has 435 square feet of salon living space – nearly three times the space in the Sabre 48!

Yep, the Maritimo M55 is a very large 55 indeed…

Additional Considerations

We spent three days in Fort Lauderdale writing the specs for our M55. There is a lot to process and decide when preparing a build order.

  • The Power – The standard engine is twin Volvo 670’s. They will build your 55 with Volvos, Scandias, or Cats up to 1000 HP. I spoke to their company captain and he said the big difference between the 800’s and the 1000’s wasn’t just a knot or two. He said the big difference is that the 1000’s perform well no matter how big a load you’re carrying.
  • The Interior Decor – There are a wide variety of interior decor options on the Maritimo, but they are driven by the choice of color palettes. We’re going with Newport, which has a sandy beige palette. The other is Whitsunday based on light grays.
  • Adventure Deck – I referred to this earlier as the swim platform. This is the aft extension and it can be ordered fixed or with a hydraulic lift for raising and lowering a tender. I’m not a fan of swim platforms since I end up backing into a lot of unknown slips and I don’t like something so fragile hanging in my blind spot, so I like being able to delete it.
  • Engine Controls – Maritimo will install port controls in either the salon cockpit or the Flybridge cockpit. They also offer the handheld Yacht Controller, which is my choice.

Beyond these major decisions, there are another 100 or so standard options to choose from. Maritimo is also more than happy to do custom options if that’s what you want. The biggest custom option we’ll be adding is cockpit side doors. We stay at several old school marinas with fixed docks and we need all the boarding options we can get.

Options or Design “Flaws”?

No boat is perfect and while inspecting the Maritimos in Fort Lauderdale we did discover a few “flaws.” In all cases, Sheryl assured us we could fix them through custom options, but I’d like to see Maritimo fix them by making them standard features.

The Steps to the Bow – The Maritimo has nice molded toe rails leading to the bow, but there are two steps that we almost tripped over on a bright sunny day.

We’d like to see lights under the edge of these steps to make them jump out in day or night.

Anchor Locker – We always carry four large fenders and store them in the bow lockers. The starboard bow locker is also the receptacle for the anchor chain…

Clearly this would be problematic if we tossed 2-3 large fenders with ropes over the anchor chain. We’ll be adding a 3/4 wall so the chain will stay in between the lockers.

Steps to the Lazzerette – One of the great features of the Maritimo 55’s is the huge Lazzerette near the stern. I tried to step into it and found the steps to be too far apart…

It would be very simple to add a folding step that would make getting up and down easier for less than nimble folks like me.

Medicine Cabinet in Bathroom #2 – Although both bathrooms are large, only the master has a medicine cabinet. I’m guessing the hull wall prevents one in the #2 Bath.

Sheryl suggested adding one above the head and we concurred…

I’m not sure this needs to be a standard feature, but it certainly should be a modestly priced option.

Doing Business with Maritimo

We built two Back Coves and while we loved the boats, the builders “Make Ready” process was a bit of a pain. These boats ship from Maine with the drivetrain untested, no prop, and a long checklist for the “Make Ready” boatyard to complete after the boat arrives.

I had to make the final payment before the boat left Maine and then pay Mattapoisett Boatyard about $20,000 for the final assembly. I’m not sure if this is just a Sabre/Back Cove thing or other builders do the same; regardless, it’s wrought with problems. In both boats we spent months discovering little defects and waited for our boatyard to repair them.

Doing business with Maritimo looks to be quite different. The boats are completed in Australia and driven by sea to a ship that brings them to Philadelphia. There everything is double-checked by the American delivery team and driven by sea to our marina in Massachusetts.

Once in Massachusetts, the boat is fully detailed and the delivery captain spends a day or two providing me with operating orientation. This should result in a showroom clean and complete boat upon delivery.

Like the Back Cove’s, all warranty work will be performed by Mattapoisett Boat Yard and SK Marine Electronics.

There are two important advantages to this model. First of all, there are two factory quality control checkpoints before I see the boat or make the final payment,

Second, all the boats delivered in America are “made ready “ by the same experienced factory team. This is vastly superior to having a local boatyard – who likely see one or two boats a year, try to figure it all out.

We met the team in Fort Lauderdale. John McCarthy is the lead for support in the Americas and Tom Jagucki is the delivery captain.

John McCarthy and Tom Jagucki

While I know going in that all boats are a compromise, having bought five boats before this one, I really appreciate Maritimo’s approach.

What About Relentless?

The Maritimo won’t be delivered until April 2023 and we’re looking forward to enjoying our third season on Relentless. As of this writing, there is a shortage of high-end boats in America and assuming that continues in 2022, I plan to list Relentless in the spring for an October 2022 closing and delivery. I believe the new owners will have the option to store her indoors at MBY until 2023.

I don’t think anyone will be buying a Sabre 48 who doesn’t already own a boat and this approach will give the new owners time to sell their boat before closing on Relentless.