A full-beam master in a 53-footer (16.15 m) isn’t unheard of in the age of pod drives, which place engines farther aft than straight shafts, but the new M50 isn’t a pod boat. Maritimo has designed what amounts to a motoryacht on an essentially convertible hull in order to deliver the best of both worlds -- the room and entertaining space of a motoryacht, with the sea-kindly, rough water abilities of a convertible. This boat was formerly called the M50.
- Enlarged cockpit with bi-fold doors
- Galley aft design with a full-size fridge and a well-appointed pantry
- Full beam master suite includes storage in drawers, hanging lockers and under the bed
- Air-conditioned, fully enclosed flybridge
- Capable of fitting three 15'' (0.38 m) navigation screens on helm
- Optional second helm seat and side lounge or double helmseat
|Length Overall||53' 0'' / 16.15 m|
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Time to Plane||9.2 sec.|
|0 to 30||9.1 sec. (0 to 20)|
|Props||5 blade Teignbridge Aquafoils 29|
|Load||3 persons, 1/2 fuel, no water, 50 lbs. of gear|
|Climate||60 deg., 53 humid.; wind: 0-5 mph; seas: calm|
2 x 670-hp Volvo Penta D11
2 x 670-hp Volvo Penta D11
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Key Features at a Glance
• Sedan with motoryacht features
• Enclosed flying bridge provides 360-degree visibility in any weather
• Extended outdoor deck abaft of the enclosed bridge
• Midship galley convenience and forward salon panoramic views
• Full-beam master suite of a significantly larger yacht
• Low-maintenance conventional shafts and propellers with optional joystick
Mission of the Maritimo M54 Cruising Motoryacht
From the forward quarter, the M54 looks very much like an enclosed-bridge sportfisher or convertible. Many cruisers prefer this style boat, which tends to handle seas well, provides particularly good visibility forward and aft from the helm, and leaves the foredeck open. With the addition of a davit this makes a fine place to mount a tender. Because the boat is built in Australia where virtually all boating is in the open ocean, she is designed accordingly. This boat was formerly called the M50.
While there are a few fishing-friendly options and the boat certainly lends itself to occasionally bending a rod, the M54’s cockpit is more typical of a motoryacht, intended for outdoor entertaining and dining. The large aft deck abaft the enclosed bridge should be a popular place for guests.
The Best of Both for Some.
In short, this M54 appeals to boaters who appreciate the cruising virtues of a classic convertible, but would prefer a cockpit and flying bridge not devoted specifically to fishing, but more for entertaining. By having a large salon on the main deck and two large sleeping cabins below in addition to a third guest cabin, she is very much a motoryacht. Thus Maritimo classes her as the Motoryacht 50.
Convertible or Sedan?
Maritimo, more than any other builder we can think of, has blurred the lines between a classic convertible and a classic sedan. By extending the coach roof overhang far back and nearly to the aft edge of the cockpit, she has the design of a sedan rather than a convertible. That together with her integral swim platform and open port and starboard transom gates pretty much relieves her
professional big-game action. Having said that, she certainly can be used for sportfishing, and many of the M48s did just that. Maritimo calls her a "motoryacht" for she is certainly that no matter how one looks at her. The blurring of the lines between a sedan and convertible is a trademark of this builder and gives the M54 what we consider a distinctive "Maritimo look".
The Enclosed Flying Bridge.
Her enclosed flying bridge provides 360-degree visibility -- much better than the lower steering station on most motoryachts, yet the bridge is air conditioned and dry through inclement weather. It creates another enclosed living area and small entertaining venue that is sure to be popular. Further, it adds an important enclosed living area to the yacht in a cost-effective way.
The Outdoor Deck Abaft the Bridge.
This unusually large deck is 31.5’’ (800 mm) longer than it was on the older 48’ (14.63 m) model, adding outdoor living space here and covering the cockpit considerably more. This is an ideal place for a couple of chaise lounges for sunning or folding chairs for viewing watersports. Again, this is a Maritimo design signature.
The Cockpit and Stern.
The stern is intended for entertaining with occasional fishing, rather than sacrificing these key areas to fishing only -- the way most sportfishers/convertibles are configured. Once again, there are few boats quite like this design on the market.
Standard Bow and Stern Thrusters.
While most builders makes thrusters available as options these days, few make both bow and stern thrusters standard. They come in handy when docking in a slip with a strong cross current or maneuvering in a tight marina with a strong current or in high winds.
Full-Beam Master Suite.
This layout gives the owner the luxury of space typical aboard a significantly larger motoryacht.
Internal Staircase to Flying Bridge.
One of Maritimo's signature features is an internal stairway from the main salon to the enclosed flying bridge. This obviates the need for a nearly vertical ladder that many convertibles have in the cockpit. Because of its user-friendly stairway, guests -- particularly older ones -- will feel more comfortable ascending to the flying bridge.
Putting the stairs inside has the obvious advantages of keeping people dry and also makes taking lunch aloft easier. It is also safer in a seaway. Its drawback is that it takes living and storage space from the main cabin and can be an eye sore, something that Maritimo has minimized with its careful design of a "flying" stairway.
Finger tip docking control comes from either Twin Disc, Yacht Controller or Xenta systems that marry joystick software smarts with engines, bow thruster and stern thruster.
The Midships Galley.
A midships galley is no longer so unusual, as nearly every builder of large boats, including motoryachts and convertibles is doing it these days. Nevertheless, all are agreed that it is a sensible layout scheme which makes serving food to either the aft deck, salon, or bridge as handy as possible -- and keeps the chef involved in the action.
Midships Engines with Conventional Shafts.
There is a strong case to be made for conventional shaft drives and running gear, although we rarely see it put forward these days. In a word, the old system reduces initial purchase price and upkeep costs when compared to pod drives. Conventional shafts also mitigate local service availability concerns while cruising.
Further, conventional drives keep the engines where they best serve the sea-keeping abilities of the boat, keeping the weight where it ought to be, low on the center axis of the vessel and a bit more forward. This is particularly important with the enclosed flying bridge and the added weight and windage of the top-hamper. With the addition of a bow thruster, a big twin screw boat like this can be easily handled in strong cross currents. Remember, boaters handled them for nearly 100 years without a bow thruster or pods.
Bi-Fold Aft Door.
Maritimo has incorporated a well-designed bi-fold aft door that nearly completely opens the galley area to the aft deck. This is a big upgrade from the M48.
Maritimo has long favored conventional shafts, maximizing efficiency with close attention to a low shaft angle. The company also balances weight carefully, so boats don’t drag a heavy stern or push a heavy bow through the water. Maritimo also fairs underwater appendages well.
This results in fuel efficiency approach pod drive boats, says the builder. If true, it is certainly a strong selling point.
In any case, there is no doubt that conventional running gear is less expensive initially and requires less maintenance than pods.
systems from Twin Disc, Yacht Controller or Xenta can be installed on either Volvo Penta or Cummins engines.
In addition to joystick docking, electronic engine controls from transmission manufacturer Twin Disc provide smooth, quick shifting in and out of gear. Twin Disc’s controls, placed in “express mode,” also slow shafts below engine idle speed for easier dockside maneuvering or trolling.
Bow and stern thrusters
are standard with or without an optional joystick docking system. Standard thruster controls at the helm can also be included along with engine controls on the optional handheld remote, Yacht Controller wireless docking system. In our opinion, experienced boaters will not need the joystick system on this boat, because of the two thrusters.
Hull Design and Construction
, the overall comfort and handling of a boat in varying sea conditions, is another area Maritimo considers carefully, thanks to the waters surrounding Maritimo’s Australian home -- the Coral Sea, Tasman Sea and Indian Ocean are all notoriously rough.
A full keel
aids in keeping a straight course in a following sea and also helps to protect running gear if/when the boat does touch bottom. (As everyone does sooner or later.)
Weight is concentrated in the center
of the M54, not in the ends, which tends to reduce pitching in a head sea. This becomes another advantage of conventional drives versus pods.
are somewhat traditional, although the company employs new technology where it sees benefits. Fiberglass is carefully laid and rolled out by hand. The deck, cabin and hull above the waterline are cored with end-grain balsa. Cabinetry is precisely cut by computer controlled routers, varnished in gloss or satin, and then assembled by Maritimo’s carpenters.
In-house foundry and metal fabrication
allow Maritimo to produce much of the boats’ equipment, from stainless steel railings to 5-blade Nibral propellers. Spares of critical parts are stocked locally, typically eliminating shipping time from Australia, says the builder.
Enclosed Flying Bridge with Aft Deck
Whether traversing the ICW through the Carolinas and Georgia, where range markers often replace channel markers and require 360-degree visibility, or cruising the Bahamas where there are no markers at all, but only water color differences to indicate intricate channels, there is no dispute over the benefit of a helm raised well above the water with good visibility all around. (The M54 also draws only 4'4"/1.3 m which is also a help in skinny water.)
Advantages of Enclosure.
On most sportfishers or motoryachts, cruising through such waters means operating from an open flying bridge exposed to the elements. Clear soft enclosures help, but they can be difficult to see through in rain, spray or in fog because they usually can't handle windshield wipers. Isinglass enclosures also invariably leak somewhere and the bridge can become a steam box when weather dictates all panels remain closed.
One main helm station, with one set of electronics to customize and master, is much simpler than running below and powering electronics on when weather suddenly dictates. Windshield wipers with freshwater wash clear away salt spray and rain, and air conditioners cut heat and humidity. There also are defoggers on the windshield.
On the bridge
there are a few changes from the M48. Overall, more wood and fabric and less fiberglass are more in keeping with larger motoryacht interiors. The full-beam helm and chart table have been reconfigured from the M48 with an eye toward the aesthetic of larger yacht helms. Two helm chairs are accompanied by more seating aft, which includes a table that folds out for dining, or in for cocktails. We consider this space a helm/sky lounge.
An opening skylight and opening side windows
bring fresh air in when desired, while a fixed windshield and air conditioning keep water and humidity out when needed without sacrificing the visibility gained by driving from aloft. So in this respect, the M54 offers the best of both worlds.
An elongated outdoor deck abaft the enclosed bridge
includes the option of a removable table, or Maritimo keeps this space open for chaise lounges or whatever an owner envisions. An optional awning provides shade here, if desired.
This extended deck does hinder fishing purists, though, who dictate that the captain can see what anglers are doing anywhere in the cockpit. Optional controls aft on the upper deck and in the cockpit at the foot of the stairs to the bridge mitigate this concern for casual fishing. Both of these additional control stations are located to port, where they augment the starboard-side main helm for side-to docking.
Main Deck Outside
Stairs to the bridge are just inside the salon door, where it is convenient to the cockpit but remain indoors for privacy while at the dock.
Cockpit and integrated stern platform
are separated by a pair of open stainless steel gates typical of a motoryacht, not the solid transom of a sportfisher.
The extended deck
of the flying bridge covers much of the cockpit turning this area into a covered aft deck. An optional canvas awning extends weather protection the full length of the cockpit. Cruising canvas could totally enclose this cockpit making it a three-season venue when cruising.
The island at the aft end of the cockpit
includes a sink, a grill and a dual-use fridge/freezer. A pair of top-opening lockers aft as well as cabinets forward, provide additional storage. Keen anglers can have this console converted at the factory to more fishy purposes. By not molding in a conventional bench seas, Maritimo has left the deck space open so owners can place a table in the center with folding chairs around, setup scuba gear, or just keep it open for cocktail parties.
Optional cockpit aft seating
moves the dual-use refrigerator/freezer (chosen simply with the thermostat), sink and optional electric grill to the back side of the island, accessible from the stern platform. The resulting forward-facing seat and removable table are much more reminiscent of the covered aft deck on a 60-something motoryacht than the cockpit of a 50’ (15.24 m) convertible.
is accessed from the stern platform. The entire center of the transom island lifts to reveal stairs. There is actually enough room here that at least one buyer turned the lazarette into tight crew quarters. On a 50-footer intended for the American market, this space will likely be used for fishing tackle, dive equipment, bicycles and similar gear that comes along when cruising.
An optional hydraulic stern platform
measures a bit more than 43’’ (1,100 mm) fore and aft. It raises 15.75’’ (400 mm) above deck level to keep it out of the water while underway and also to aid boarding from high docks. The lift similarly lowers 15.75’’ (400 mm) to launch a tender or PWC weighing up to 882 lbs. (400 kg).
Wide side decks with bulwarks and railings provide secure passage to the bow. Bow walk around decks sit a bit lower than a low trunk cabin, while bulwarks with stainless steel railings atop provide a cleaner look than ordinary railings do. The flat foredeck also offers an ideal place to carry a tender for those who want the stern to remain clear for fishing or diving -- one more advantage not available aboard most motoryachts which usually have a lower helm.
rides in a bow roller, which is integrated into the bulwarks. Maritimo offers either a standard anchor and windlass or an upgrade to a larger anchor with more chain and a stronger windlass.
Main Deck Inside
The midships galley
allows access directly from the cockpit without traversing salon carpet. Since the stern of the boat generally moves less in a sea than the bow, locating the galley farther aft also makes the chef more comfortable while preparing lunch underway. Within just a few steps, food can be delivered easily to the salon, the aft deck or up to the flying bridge.
The entire aft glass bi-fold door opens
to connect the galley and salon with the cockpit. It secures out of the way on the starboard side of the boat. During cocktail parties the centerline galley island becomes a handy place for snacks and beverages.
The galley itself is fairly straightforward with a sink recessed beneath the Corian countertop, a cooktop set within the countertop and a microwave oven tucked beneath the cooktop. The refrigerator and pantry cabinet are just abaft the cooktop. Both the fridge and pantry are full-height, which becomes possible without the aft galley blocking the view out the front of the cabin, as it would if the galley were in the more traditional forward location.
The galley island
adds considerably to counter space and allows two chefs room to work simultaneously. It can be eliminated or made longer or shorter as requested. A standard dishwasher fits beneath, facing the galley. A stainless steel handrail aids passage from cockpit to salon or the stairs to the bridge while underway.
Moving the salon forward
and including windows across the front of the cabin house gain sweeping views of the harbor off the bow while dining or relaxing. Side windows open for air.
on the port side includes an L-shaped settee and table, folding out for dining or in for cocktails. Across the boat another settee mirrors this one but without a table, thus creating a large salon for entertaining. A 32’’ LED television hides beneath the stairs to the bridge and swings out on an articulating arm.
From the salon, a few steps lead down to the three staterooms, with the VIP forward, bunk beds in the starboard stateroom, and the master suite aft.
Fitting a full-beam master stateroom
into a 50 footer doesn’t come without a couple of strings attached. Since this area sits beneath the salon, Maritimo had to utilize the full depth of the hull to maximize headroom. Still, overall this space really is close to the master typical on a much larger yacht. A pair of steps in the master stateroom floor, one on either side of the boat, are inevitable. Neither affect normal movement through the cabin, but there is a step up before reaching the outboard side of the master bed and another step up in front of the sofa on the opposite side of the boat.
The island queen bed
, set at a 45-degree angle to the boat’s keel, is a bit higher off the cabin sole on the inboard side than it is where the sole steps up before reaching the outboard side of the bed. There is voluminous storage space underneath.
Three steps up to a dressing area and master head
might take some getting used to, but there is an added benefit here. In the space at the top of those stairs, overlooking the bed, Maritimo has built a counter to use as a vanity or office desk. Provisions are made for either makeup or a laptop. The wide hanging locker and three large drawers are outboard, against the hull. Since this area is elevated, it feels like a study or dressing room separate from the rest of the master stateroom. This also creates a high overhead near the foot of the master bed -- enough to noticeably open up the space.
The master head
gets the benefit of the midships full-beam stateroom. The shower stall is separated from the head by a clear glass partition and clear glass door.
Two overhead hatches
, one in the dressing/study area at the top of the stairs and another within the master head, are another benefit to a convertible style hull with a clear foredeck. Three opening portlights, one in the port hull side and two to starboard, can replace fixed ports to gain cross ventilation -- something not possible without a full-beam master.
The VIP stateroom in the bow
includes an island queen bed, two hanging lockers and two drawers within the foot of the bed. The optional 26’’ television mounts on the port bulkhead by the foot of the bed, and the en-suite door to the head is across the boat on the starboard side, also near the foot of the bed.
The guest head
is just a bit smaller than the master head, although still quite functional. As with the master, the guest shower stall is separated from the head by a clear glass door. A second entranceway directly into the guest head from the main hallway provides access for guests sleeping in the starboard stateroom and as a dayhead.
The starboard guest stateroom
is intended for kids, a couple, or crew. This stateroom is tight but the door can be closed without the occupants having to get on the bed.
Three overhead hatches
, one in each guest stateroom and another within the guest head, add light and fresh air without the liability of opening portlights this far forward in the hull side, where they would take a beating in a head sea.
The engine room
is entered through a hatch in the aft deck sole. Engines are forward. The standard 21.5 kW generator sits aft to starboard and batteries are aft to port. Access is good to all equipment, particularly the fuel filters mounted between the engines on the forward bulkhead.
outboard of the engines include sight glasses for foolproof fuel monitoring.
is also covered by a cockpit deck hatch. With it open, anything stored here is quite accessible.
The Euro stern option includes access to the lazarette through the center section of the stern island, where a few steps lead down into the lazarette from the stern platform. Near standing headroom just inside the door turns to crouching headroom farther in the lazarette, although the cockpit table can be removed and the cockpit hatch opened for full access through the deck.
Price and Options
The base price of $1,626,000 includes a comprehensive list of standard features. Most of the added-cost options come down to personal preference.
Noteworthy standard equipment
includes power steering, both bow and stern thrusters, and an inverter to provide convenience power when not running the standard 21.5 kW generator, 3-zone A/C totaling 48,000 BTUs, electric sunroof on the flying bridge, and a collision bulkhead forward.
include half a dozen bilge pumps, stout propeller shafts with dripless shaft seals, and over-sized Racor fuel filters.
include air conditioner vents to defog the enclosed bridge forward windows, and load-sharing 240-volt AC main electrical panels to help avoid tripped dockside shore power breakers.
is mostly that -- items that one owner might want while another really won’t, such as teak decks, the transom seating and table, a table on the deck aft of the bridge, underwater lighting, a washer/dryer and electronics, among other things.
A few added-cost options will find their way aboard virtually all boats, such as televisions, a Bose sound system, and Glendinning Cablemaster for the shore cord.
In the past, boaters who preferred the sea-keeping ability and added visibility of a convertible typically sacrificed many features found on motoryachts. In many ways, the M54 incorporated the best of both. She is also the only 50' fully enclosed flybridge made, that we know of.
A full-beam master suite adds considerably to this M54 as well. Maritimo also blurs the choice between conventional straight shafts and pod drive fuel efficiency, and recent technology now brings joystick handling to straight inboards as well. The boat is well-equipped as standard.