Repeat business is invaluable to any industry, but when that business is crafting luxury yachts, the value of customer loyalty is compounded. Boat purchasers these days are spoilt for choice as high-quality overseas offerings go head-to-head against prestigious locally-made products. So when one of your long-time customers chooses to stick with his 'local' boatbuilder, this can only be seen as a positive sign that you're on the right track.

Such is the case for hull number 11 from Maritimo's S51 range of bluewater sportsyachts. The Melbourne-based owner previously enjoyed a 470 Offshore Convertible flybridge model for seven years before signing on for a new- build sedan.

Owner John plans to berth the new S51 on the dock outside his soon-to-be-completed house at Port of Airlie, where he and wife Nancy spend six months each year escaping the Melbourne winter.

On the drawing board are extended missions through the Whitsundays, plus coastal hops to Townsville and Cairns, courtesy of the S51's enviable cruising range.

As John explained to Trade-a-Boat, the verdict to stick with Maritimo was a simple one: "They just make a wonderful boat," he said.

"I looked at all the other builders, but I had my previous boat for seven years and had a great run - the Maritimo after-sales service was terrific - so it was an easy decision to make in the end."

"There are a lot of other people making a boat this size, but they don't have shafts; they have pod drives. And I'm not into pods - I like shaftdrives."

"On the drawing board are missions through the Whitsundays, plus coastal hops to Townsville and Cairns, courtesy of the S51's enviable cruising range."

Wide walkarounds and well placed handholds make access to the fender holds easy.

BLUEWATER LEGS

Those shaftdrives in this case are powered by a pair of the 670hp Volvo D l l diesels which combine to provide a range of approximately 400 to 500nm from 30001t of fuel at fast cruising speeds. A shallow shaft angle combines with Maritimo's bluewater-proved variable deadrise hull to provide desirable economy figures such as these.

For experienced boatic John, further security (and ease of maintenance) comes from the fact his new ride is running much the same engineering as his old boat - the engines and generator are identical, albeit coupled with an upgraded watermaker to complement those far- flung adventures.

At the wheel, the skipper will enjoy running the show from Maritimo's new-look command station which features a pair of slick Pompanette helm chairs set in front of twin Simrad 17in multifunction screens, which themselves perch above a digital Volvo Penta engine monitor.

Wide open throttle showed as much as 34 kts. The author at the helm.

CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE An extended sunshade adds protection from the elements; Teak detailing is top-notch; Sports yacht popularity is on the rise on account of their ease- of-use and sociability.

ALFRESCO APPEAL 
For the new owners of this fresh SSI, much of the appeal is drawn from its single level-design. John told us that over the years he rarely used the flybridge area on his 470 and was particularly drawn to the large alfresco living areas offered on the new sedan's aft deck.

The addition of a teak-clad hydraulic swimplatform on this vessel also means launching the tender will be a simple affair, rather than wrestling against a centre console RIB hanging from a foredeck crane, as was the case on the former vessel. 

Enjoying the acres of aft deck space on the S51 is enhanced by the addition of an extra-large shade awning that stretches from the hardtop to the corners of the swim platform where it meets removable stainless steel supports. In combination with zip-on Sunbrella side covers, this extra shade sail ensures guests will be amply protected from the harsh reality of the Queensland sun while exploring offshore. 

ABOVE Integrated into the transom, the BQ will be a popular spot when the weather permits

As shown in the photos hereabouts, the aft deck is truly centre stage on this 16m sportsyacht and it's the space where most owners will spend the majority of their time. 

And why is that? Simply, it has everything you could desire for quality time afloat: comfy lounges, a wide alfresco dining table, shaded areas, electric barbecue, chest freezer for drinks and water-
level access. What's more, the incredibly well- appointed galley is only steps away through the stainless steel-framed bi-fold doors. It honestly captures Aussie ocean-front living at its best onboard this Maritimo, and this appealing single- level social area has new buyers lining up at the Coomera boatbuilder's door - this is hull number 11 in the series, after all. 

As evidenced on the revolutionary X-60 launched last year (and the upcoming X-50) Maritimo's genius designers have managed to squeeze an enormous lazarette into the aft end of these sedan yachts and the same is evident here. Okay, there's no Beach Club in this case, but what you do get is a huge utilitarian storage area that will lend itself perfectly to extended voyaging. The S51 lazarette could easily swallow up a PWC if required, but will more likely be used for water toys, diving gear or spares (and we should point out that a fishing rod rack would fit neatly into the roof of the lifting panel, too). 

Below The swimplatform features hydraulic lifters to make launching the tender easy

CHEF'S DREAM
Stepping forward through the bi-fold doors from the aft deck sees you entering a galley that will keep even the most demanding yacht chef satisfied. All the major appliances boast Miele badging, including the full-height DynaCool fridge-freezer on port, which sits opposite the all- important icemaker. Those crew assigned to meal duty can enjoy wide vistas through the saloon windows while standing at the four-burner stove or in front of the sink. 

As mentioned, this zone is immediately adjacent to the aft seating area with none of the separation a downstairs galley might involve. In fact, just behind the chef is a handy island bench (clad in Corian Pearl) for serving food to those clamouring hordes on the aft deck. This bench also houses the dishwasher and rubbish bin (perfectly placed for scooping waste ofFyour prep area into the cavity below). Generous storage is further enhanced by a Hafele pull-out pantrywhich swivels open on starboard to swallow up all your dry goods.

Above the bi-fold doors, a 22in L E D television faces back toward the saloon lounges, beaming satellite T V from the KVH dome up top. 

Does all this sound appealing? It really is. W h a t you gain on the S51 is a lesson in fitting everything a demanding yachtie could reasonably require, all squeezed into an economical 16m length. It's impressive work from Maritimo. 

UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS
Now this single-level socialising is all well and good, but what about when it's time to hit the hay? Much as you might expect from boatbuilders of this standard, the downstairs accommodation is every bit as appealing as the living areas. 

Starting from the bow, the VIP cabin has a plush double bed set along the centreline, accessed via steps to each side. On port is a three-quarter- 

length hanging locker and a hatch overhead to provide natural light. The starboard door leads to the bathroom, and this space doubles as a dayhead, with a secondary entry to the corridor. Easy-to-clean surfaces abound here, with a minimum ofjoins between glossy white surfaces which complement the pearl-finish benchtops. 

The owners of this yacht chose to forego a third bedroom, installing a utility room on starboard instead. This space provides a handy benchtop and deep cupboards — ideal for extended voyaging - plus a combination Miele washer/dryer to make life easy offshore. 

This fitout will arguably see far more use than a third bedroom ever would and is another example of Maritimo's commitment to making its customers'boats work for them. 

In the owner's stateroom, a range of light and dark fabrics contrast in a stylish fashion on wall panels and soft furnishings, complemented by the grey carpet underfoot. In an inspired design move, the master bed is offset 45 degrees to port which provides acres of space to play with in this area. The stateroom itself is accessed down three steps from the forward accommodation area, adding to the exclusive feel and a comfortable- looking couch against the starboard wall makes this an appealing option. Opening portlights bring ventilation to this downstairs cabin as well as water views, while a portside door offers entry to the master head. This includes a wide shower stall and frameless glass screen for a very modern look, the fitout including the same easy-to-clean surfaces offered in the upstairs bathroom. 

THE WRAP
Back at the helm, the SSI is a tale of two boats. On one hand, the powerful Volvo D l l s offer enough fire to punt this 16m beauty around the harbour in hot-blooded fashion. It's not called a sportsyacht for nothing. But on the other hand, more sedate cruise speeds will have the stylish sedan eating up the sea miles as she heads offshore for days or weeks at a time. The versatile hull design, shallow shaft angles and powerful 670hp Volvo Penta diesels ensure either option is viable and more importantly, extremely enjoyable. 

The fuel consumption figures shown hereabouts are taken from a sister ship running upgraded 725hp Volvos, but economy on this SSI will be very similar, perhaps even a little better at cruising speeds. 

What struck me most while performing high-velocity manoeuvres in front of our camera boat was the way this yacht refused to heel, even while pushing into full-lock turns at 26kts. The result is a solid predictability to the ride, backed up by graceful acceleration as you approach planing speeds. 

Owners will use their SSI in a variety of ways, whether it's taking friends out for a sunset blast, or heading up the coast on a long-range adventure. It's this sort of versatility that Maritimo has hinged its success on and it's why owners like John keep coming back for more 

CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE On the hunt for shelter on a typically windy day within the Broadwater; Golden light for a golden yacht The broad, or should that be the beamy appeal of the S51

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