15 November 2023
In the third chapter of Maritimo’s 20th-anniversary celebration, we chart the phase that followed the instantly successful M60, building on the momentum with the introduction of Maritimo 52 and Maritimo 48 models and propelling the Maritimo brand to new markets.
We also chat with two passionate Maritimo owners (and their seafaring cat) who epitomise the Maritimo spirit of adventure and appetite for the bounties of the boating lifestyle.
Following the Maritimo 52, which launched in 2005 and sold 72 units, the Maritimo 48 was an exceptional model for Maritimo – 108 units of this revolutionary flybridge were sold and delivered to owners all over Australia, driving the continual growth of the company.
As Bill Barry-Cotter described it at its 2006 debut at Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show, “the Maritimo 48 brings together all our ideas at a competitive price for this category.”
The Maritimo 48 spurred on the company’s expansion at its Coomera headquarters, comprising a new lamination facility and fit-out facility on-site as well as upgrades at the Hope Harbour facility.
“The expansion was activated in late 2005 and meant we were ready for the increase in production to keep pace with demand on these new models,” comments Phil Candler, Maritimo General Manager. “Manufacturing was in full swing by 2006 and staff numbers doubled in that year.”
The Maritimo 48 found its niche, earned praise from critics and customers, and was a successful export, particularly to New Zealand and the US.
“In the US, under Dave Northrup, Maritimo Director of the Americas, the Maritimo 48 appeared at Fort Lauderdale and Miami boat shows, supported by traditional marketing and media,” says Candler.
“Social media wasn’t as sophisticated then. It was all about boat shows and seeing and experiencing the model for yourself. Customers got on board, liked what they saw and ordered.”
The 52 and 48 appealed to the US market for their enclosed flybridge, which made them suitable for all-weather cruising and worked as a second social space. The strong, stable hull design and fuel economy also impressed.
“The Maritimo 48 really hit a chord,” says Candler. “Bill found the perfect opportunity in that size boat with its features. A 48 was considered a big boat in those days, and it lay the foundations for future boats, including the modern-age 55. The Maritimo 48 seeded the success of the models that followed it.”
The three-cabin, two-bathroom Maritimo 48 comprised all the Maritimo hallmarks: internal staircase leading to the flybridge, the comfortable, enclosed flybridge that is another social space, wide walk-around decks, well-equipped galley adjacent to the cockpit/aft deck, and on the technical side, long-range cruising capability and shaft drive technology for reliability and performance.
The Maritimo 48 earned its accolades and sales success. In 2015, coinciding with Bill Barry-Cotter’s recognition in the Queen’s Birthday awards, Maritimo celebrated its 400th vessel sold – a Maritimo 48 Cruising Motor Yacht.
In a crowded and competitive market, Maritimo cut through for its long-range prowess and superior seakeeping. “US customers found affinity in Bill’s previous track record with motor yachts,” Candler asserts.
“There was always that expectation of Maritimo, that trust that Bill’s boats would be reliable, safe and modern looking, and at each step of the development of each of the new model, Maritimo maintained that trust and delivered something special. There was strong acceptance of the brand and the product.”
Today, Maritimo relies on the same principles underpinning the development and design of new models. “It’s a combination of customer interface and innovation melded to create an ever-improving product, while staying true to the core Maritimo principles,” says Candler.
In Brisbane, Barry and Stephanie Roper are eagerly anticipating the delivery of their new Maritimo M55, which they have named Ropes – a play on their surname and the pleasant task of “chucking them out when we pull into a marina”, as Barry explains.
The M55 will be their second Maritimo after a much-loved and well-travelled Maritimo 48. Ti Amo, which they bought in 2020 during a break in pandemic travel restrictions, has since cruised thousands of nautical miles – with their constant companion, the avid sailor and first mate Bob the cat.
“He just loves it,” Barry states. “He sits up next to me at the helm and pays attention to whatever’s going on. Even when we’ve been out for a few weeks, he’ll jump off, pop over to the neighbour’s house to say hello, then jump straight back on board. He loves being on the boat as much as we do. He’s a very cool cat.”
Their Maritimo 48, Ti Amo, so named for their love of boating and each other, was bought on a referral from a friend and former boat broker familiar with the brand. “Our mate found it for us in Newcastle. He owned a Maritimo and said it was the best boat he’d ever owned, so we bought it, sight unseen, and went down to pick it up. Our first trip was up to the Whitsundays where we stayed for eight weeks and just enjoyed ourselves and the scenery.”
The Maritimo 48 “ticked all the boxes” says Barry, a seasoned boat owner. “It’s spacious, well laid-out and technically brilliant. If ever there’s been an issue, it’s been dealt with immediately. Maritimo’s Service & Aftermarket Support goes above and beyond, which really impressed us. Nothing is ever too much trouble.”
This adventurous couple is looking forward to semi-retirement coinciding with the arrival of Ropes. “The beauty of boating is that we can head off, spend a week on board, and Steph can fly back to work when she needs to.”
They document their exploits on their YouTube channel Let the Ropes Go, sharing their tips and fishing triumphs aboard Ti Amo. With Captain Baz at the helm, ably assisted by Steph, and with Bob the cat making cameo appearances, they navigate big swells, visit incredible anchorages, pull in some impressive cobia and prepare it and cook it for viewers’ delectation!
Ginger-beer-battered fish is Barry’s specialty, and his kingfish ceviche would render Gordon Ramsey speechless. “It’s a bit of fun,” Barry says, referring to the series. “It keeps us entertained, anyway – and our restaurant has the best views, no matter where we are!”
In one episode, Steph and Barry present 10 ways to cook cobia, which includes red curry and rice, pizza, nachos, sushi and sashimi, and a hearty stir fry. “Yeah, it’s become an obsession,” he jokes.
“We’re quite competitive. Steph has a few tricks up her sleeve and is really good at provisioning for long stints at sea, labelling cans and ingredients so we know how many we have left and when it’s time to stock up.
Ti Amo, decked out with rod holders across the rear and storage for gear under the rear locker, has been the ideal platform for their love of fishing. “We’re into all kinds of fishing – fly, game fishing, spearfishing – as well as snorkelling, cooking, eating and relaxing.”
This affable and adroit seafaring couple has definite on-screen chemistry, and their passion for boating is clear.
The choice of their first Maritimo might have been made with the heart, but the decision to buy the M55 was made with a combination of heart and head.
As Barry explains, “I’m old school. Maritimo makes a robust boat – they’re seaworthy, practical and beautiful. Steph loves the styling, the space, the choice of colours and textures, and everything having a place on board. It’s a very logical layout and it works.
“It’s just us two, but we’re ready for more space,” he says, referring to the M55 on its way.
Ropes has several custom features installed, including the mandatory array of rod holders. Inside, bar stools have been installed at the galley counter and the lounge was redesigned to accommodate. Then there’s the OC Tender 350, a New Zealand-made carbon-fibre tender that weighs just 60 kilogramsg, or 100 kilograms with the outboard.
“I hate dragging the tender,” Barry says. “This one can be carried by one person, it’s tough and looks good, and is easily stored on the hydraulic platform.”
As the date for delivery of their M55 inches closer, Barry and Steph are counting the days until they can set off into the blue and enjoy these pastimes seven days a week. “Ropes is our retirement plan – it’s our holiday home on water,” says Barry, rhapsodising about the peace and fulfilment they both feel on the water.
Asked where they’re planning to voyage aboard Ropes, Barry exclaims “Everywhere! We’ll head north to Cairns and Port Douglas, and explore the reef. Then cruise south to Tassie and enjoy that part of the world. In a few years, we’re hoping to sail to New Zealand for a year, maybe as far as the islands of the South Pacific.”
No matter where in the wide world they voyage, the Ropers and Ropes are destined to enjoy fresh fish (cooked 10 ways!) and breathtaking views. “Every day, there’s something new to experience.
“It can be relaxing one day and hectic the next. We’re learning and challenging ourselves, while having fun. You never sleep as soundly as you do on a boat. That’s what we’re looking forward to – quality and quantity time.”