49, 606 lbs.
|Max Headroom||N/A||Bridge Clearance||N/A|
|Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.|
|Std. Power||Not Available|
|Tested Power||Currently no test numbers|
The Maritimo 500 Convertible is over 54’ (16.5 m) long counting her bow pulpit and swim platform. At 49,606 lbs. (22,500 kgs.) displacement she is in the middle of 50-foot convertible fleet.
The Maritimo 500 Convertible is designed to be a performance-oriented offshore vessel for both cruising and sportfishing. She has been carefully engineered to maximize speed with a minimum of horsepower and therefore a minimum of operating expense. Her interior is in keeping with the tradition of Maritimo’s commitment to cruising comfort.
We like 50-something convertibles because they have 3 staterooms, a low center of gravity, a huge foredeck for a tender, and a big cockpit for fishing or parties. We would paint a black mask across the front of her cabin to break up the white fiberglass.
There are seven or eight convertibles built in both the United States and Australia which are in the 50 foot size range, all dedicated to being both good coastal cruising boats and offshore fishing boats. However the history and culture of Maritimo has it roots in cruising boats rather than flat-out fishermen. It is that culture of luxury, comfort, and utility that comes to the fore in the 500 Convertible.
Bill Barry-Carter. The owner and designer of the boats is the same person – Bill Barry-Carter. He is a swashbuckling Aussie who takes great pride in everything he does and the company is his baby. The fact that one man owns the company sets the Maritimo 500 apart from all but one other of the seven builders we are tracking for this report, and it is an important aspect for consumers to know.
The 500 is Barry-Carter’s vision of an offshore convertible. Her performance characteristics, sea-keeping abilities, and simply the size of things are his idea of what a boat should be, not the compromise we sometimes see in a more corporate structure. We're told that here is no indecision at Maritimo.
This layout needs to be carefully studied and compared with the competition. We find that the living spaces are surprisingly large and the slight differences in the salon layout could create more utility.
Cruising heritage. From the bow to stern the Maritimo 500 Convertible is quite obviously designed by a veteran boater who knows what’s needed in a boat that is going to do offshore work. For example, the 500 has a proper, molded-in fiberglass bow pulpit with the shank of the plow anchor resting in its molded-in cradle.
The anchor windlass is hefty, and there are two large hatches to port and starboard of the windlass so that access to the chain locker is easy at hand. This is vitally important to the cruising man who knows that when going offshore in rough conditions the anchor chain often becomes tangled.
The boat also has high safety rails, exceeding both ABYC and CE standards. Again, this is the mark of a design interested in good seamanship, and it is marked contrast to the American builders of convertibles who often leave off safety rails altogether in order to look "cool".
More and more convertibles and sedans are making the centerline console in the transom a dual use compartment. You have your choice of a grill, an Aussie “hot plate” and sink, or a baitwell.
Versatile transom design. At the transom there is a swim platform which is an anathema to the avid big game angler, but which nevertheless has its advocates among some fishermen who rely on their captain to keep the lines where they should be. There is a compartment in the transom which can be fitted with either a grill and sink if the emphasis is on cruising, or a live baitwell for fishing folks.
Probably one of the most unusual aspects of the 500 Convertible can be found in her cockpit. Along the aft side of the cockpit is a continuous fiberglass grate from port to starboard. Under it is a deep channel that leads to scuppers. When backing down on fish -- particularly off of the East Coast of Australia -- it is not uncommon to take green water over the transom. When that happens it is essential that the cockpit not only be water-tight but also be drained out immediately.
The flying bridge is enclosed on three sides, with stern covered in isinglass. The flying bridge is both heated and air conditioned, making it an integral part of the yacht.
Enclosed flybridge. Over the years the flying bridge has evolved from being little more than a chair on top of the pilothouse to the sophisticated arrangements we see today. 15 years or so ago builders began enclosing the flying bridges on motoryachts, calling it a “sky lounge.” A few years later the first convertible builders did the same, enclosing the flying bridge on three or four sides.
Maritimo has chosen to hop over the open flying bridge evolution and go directly to the enclosed flybridge. By closing the bridge on three sides and leaving it open on the aft side, the designer has been able to incorporate the best of both worlds in the 500 Convertible. For times when the guests want the feel of the great outdoors, it is simply a matter of opening up the center forward windshield and the hatches in the overhead and letting the breeze flow-through.
During inclement weather all one needs do is zip up the isinglass in the aft side of the bridge and turn on the heat. The Maritimo 500 comes equipped with a reverse cycle heating and air-conditioning system that is plumbed to the flying bridge. While some builders of 50 footers make an enclosed bridge an option, it is standard on the 500 Convertible.
While traditionalists might have a bit of difficulty getting used to the visual aspect of the enclosed flying bridge, veteran cruising people will have no trouble. We like the concept because it extends the seasons of the boat, and adds lots of usable living space to any size boat.
Looking forward in the 500’s salon, we see the builder’s “trademark” inside staircase to port but also a very large settee forward. Put a leaf on that table and you can seat four. Pull up a couple of folding chairs and you can seat six.
Interior staircase to the flying bridge. Maritimo calls its interior staircase to the flying bridge a “trademark” aspect of its designs. This is something that the builder has been doing for years in it's cruising boats and obviously it has been a successful design feature. Most builders of convertibles put the access to the flying bridge from the cockpit outside the cabin to the flying bridge. In some cases this may be a ladder that's quite vertical, and in other cases it might be a molded-in staircase leading from the cockpit to the bridge.
Either way it takes up cockpit space and may encumber the use of either the baitwell or the mezzanine seating in the cockpit. It also exposes guests to inclement weather when going aloft. By putting the access to the flying bridge completely in the interior, the builder is able to install a staircase with wooden treads that is not going to become slippery and which is easy and safe to use in a seaway.
Obviously the downside is that the staircase takes up room in the interior of the salon and becomes a visual element. This design also takes up square footage of deck space on the flying bridge by its very nature, as opposed to other arrangements. Nevertheless, when going offshore in sloppy conditions it can be problematical getting from the cockpit up to the flying bridge safely.
There is only one helm on the 500 Convertible and that is in the enclosed flying bridge which on this yacht is more of a pilothouse/ sky lounge. We like the concept.
Performance and room with low horsepower. In the 500 Convertible Bill Barry-Carter has created a boat which has interior room and wide side decks, but at the same time a minimum-sized footprint. On deck the boat is 17'6" (5.33 m) wide which is among the widest of the 50’ convertibles. However, at the water line the hull is relatively narrow. Barry-Carter has done this by having a hard chine above the water line that steps inward to minimize wetted surface. It is for this reason that the boat draws 4’3” (1.3 m), a bit more than a lighter boat and about the same as a heavier one.
As far as displacement goes, the Maritimo is also right in the middle of the seven boats we have compared in class – three are lighter and three are heavier. One is 24% heavier and little wonder that it requires twin 1100-hp diesels to propel it.
We have not tested the 500 but sources indicate that she can cruise comfortably in the mid 20-knot range, which is about as fast as most people want to go offshore in a chop.
By presenting a relatively narrow waterline beam forward, keeping the boat's weight in moderation and by having variable-degree deadrise bottom which is is relatively flat aft, Maritimo has been able to create a boat that will get up on plane relatively quickly and be fuel-efficient at cruising speeds. Most any boat can be made to go fast by simply putting in huge diesel engines. But in this day and age particularly, the name of the game is to get peak performance with minimum use of fuel and treasure.
Bird’s eye view of the Maritimo 500 with the hardtop off to show the arrangement of the flying bridge. Note the large cockpit and the ability to mount a tender on the foredeck.
In addition to the unique dewatering system in the cockpit already noted, we also like the fact that the 500 has a large transom door which opens out and has a safety gate on the top. Also in the transom is a console that can hold either a grill and sink or a baitwell, depending on the primary use of the boat. This is a good example of Maritimo bringing a cruising man's thinking to the convertible yacht world. Forward in the cockpit, port and starboard, there are convenient steps up to the boat's side decks. Their treads are teak.
Another distinguishing feature of the boat is it’s conventional bait prep station with sink and place for freezer across the forward side of the cockpit. This is how all convertibles were designed prior to the mezzanine craze that started about 10 years ago. Evidently there are some places in the world that still use live bait.
Because there is no ladder or stairway across the back of the boat this area is large and can also serve double duty as a place to sit when trolling (just like in the old days). When entertaining, this fiberglass counter makes a great place to set out a buffet or bar when at anchor. Most cruising people we know love to congregate in the cockpit, sitting on the combing or on folding chairs.
On balmy summer days when no A/C is needed, simply open the forward windshield and the two hatches in the overhead and enjoy the outdoors much as you would without the enclosure.
The Flying Bridge
Because the staircase is internal and takes up a bit of room on the port side of the flying bridge, the layout is a bit unusual when we compare it with other boats in class. The helm console is offset to starboard but the skipper will sit on the centerline as he should in this kind of boat. The navigator sits outboard to starboard and in front of both skipper and companion there is lots of real estate for all sorts of nav screens. Forward of the helm console is an L-shaped lounge with square table that can come comfortably seat 4-5 people.
As already noted, this space can be buttoned-up tight and heated or air-conditioned, or it can be opened up to let pleasant balmy beach breezes flow through. Frankly, we think that it is probably ideal for entertaining, and it is certainly preferable to a conventional flying bridge totally enclosed with isinglass when there is a chill in the air – which can come even in the summer time everywhere except the tropics.
The shot of the galley and the salon shows how Maritimo has allocated space slightly differently than what is seen on most convertibles in class. The galley area is slightly smaller allowing the settee (where the photographer is standing) to be slightly larger.
The Maritimo 500 diverges slightly from some boats in class by having two L-shaped seating areas in its salon -- one forward to port with a small triangular table as the settee, and the other in the lounging area.
The galley is L-shaped and is well-equipped with a four burner cooktop, something we rarely see these days in convertibles as large as 70 feet. Below the cooktop is a convection microwave oven and below that is a pullout drawer-type dishwasher.
This is the master stateroom which is large enough for walkways on either side of the queen bed. Otherwise, we’d say this space could use an interior decorator. We’d move the air conditioning vents so cold air is not falling right on the heads of the owner and companion, and put in a large port light. These are small fixes and can be accomplished in the after market.
The master. Just as in most 50 foot convertibles the master stateroom is on the port side of the boat amidships. There are two nightstands port and starboard of the queen bed, something you often don't see on a 50’ boat. Maritimo has made good use of the deck flare and has installed cabinets just below the overhead on the outboard side of the cabin to port.
This photo shows the VIP stateroom in the bow and the head which it shares with the guest stateroom. Both heads have separate, minimal-sized shower stalls.
Guests. To starboard across the passageway is the guest stateroom which has two bunks as well as remarkable storage, again in the flaring side of the hull. The VIP cabin forward is the conventional and benefits from the use of bow flare for storage which most builders are doing these days.
Because the profile of the 500 appears to be high, Maritimo has worked hard to keep heights as low as possible. Therefore there is only crouching headroom between the engines. Note the 7-degree angle of the shafts for a better angle of attack.
The Engine Room.
The standard 500 is powered by twin Cummins QSM11, 10.8 L diesels developing 715 mhp, as noted above. They drive through conventional straight shafts that are at a 7-degree angle, something that helps the performance of this boat. Headroom in the engine room is limited due to the profile of the boat.
Lower-profile convertibles have been the trend the last 10 years, and because Maritimo has chosen to go with the enclosed flying bridge, it is clearly more sensitive than most builders to the profile issue.
The boat comes standard with a 17.5 KW generator. Fuel capacity is 925 gallons.
Since we have yet to test the boat we cannot comment further on the systems installation in the engine room, nor on the boat's performance.
The settee on the flying bridge can comfortably seat four people. Note the companion seat behind the helm in this photo.
With the Australian dollar and the US dollar at almost parity these days, the price of the boat is pretty much the same on both sides of the world, freight and any duty notwithstanding. In Australia the boat sells for just under $1.2 million. The Maritimo 500 is set up so that a prospective owner can outfit the boat to either emphasize the cruising or the sportsfishing aspects of the vessel.
Because her cockpit is large and because the helm is aft there is no reason why this boat cannot go toe-to-toe with the most favored brands of big-game sports fishing boats with conventional drives. Because of her enclosed flying bridge, her interior staircase, her comfortable master stateroom, and her large salon, the 500 makes an admirable cruising boat as well, in our opinion. Whether one has two other couples aboard or large family, there are plenty of places on this boat for people to enjoy themselves.
For entertaining guests, as noted above, we prefer the enclosed bridge to a conventional one, and we find its cockpit potentially more functional for parties than a convertible with mez seating because the console along the bulkhead can be used as a serving credenza.
Because our nautical eye is not used to the enclosed flying bridge, this boat may look a bit odd at first. But take off the enclosed flying bridge and this profile would be hard to distinguish from most production convertibles built on the American East Coast.
Let’s face it, Maritimo is not a “Blue Ribbon” big-game convertible brand name, not in the U.S. But having watched a man boat a record 1,100-lb. blue marlin in a major fishing tournament out of Bimini in a decades-old Pacemaker (as all the hot brands milled around hoping for a hook-up), we know that boat brands don’t raise fish, savvy fishermen do.
We think that the Maritimo 500 can raise as many record fish as brand X, with identical crews. So with that issue out of the way, our suggestion is that consumers take a close look at the details of the boats, their performance, sea-keeping abilities, and what exactly they are getting for the money they are spending. Many, we think, might find the Maritimo 500 compelling.
= Standard = Optional
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