Not too many people who start out as novice boaters end up owning four boats in seven years, but Larry and Svea Mason are an exception. They developed a passion for boating and spend at least five weeks each year cruising the remote Broughton Archipelago. They started off with a 40-foot Riviera flybridge, then moved up to a 47-foot Riviera flybridge, then a Maritimo 52 Skylounge. Each was a command bridge model (no helm station in the saloon). After years of climbing up and down stairs and having split entertaining areas, they decided that they wanted a larger yacht where all the entertaining and driving was on pretty well the same level. They were impressed with the reliability and quality of their previous Martimo and when they heard that Maritimo was coming out with a sedan version of its popular 58-foot Motoryacht, they figured it might just be exactly what they were looking for. They did extensive research and visited the plant in Australia while one of the first sedans was under construction. They signed up, decided on which custom features they wanted, and during the build process they were in almost daily contact with the factory and were regularly sent progress photos.
The Company Australia’s Maritimo was founded by Bill Barry-Cotter, who was also the founder of Riviera Yachts, which he sold before starting Maritimo in 2002. Barry-Cotter has been building boats for 40 years and is said to be Australia’s “most awarded boat builder.” Maritimo builds a number of long-range semi-custom luxury cruisers and offshore convertibles well known for their striking design and deluxe accommodations, 30-knot top speeds and tough, go-anywhere sea-keeping ability. Most models have fully enclosed flybridges with dark wraparound molded windshields and no lower helm station. The 58 sedan (S58) shares the same hull as the company’s M58 Motoryacht and has pretty well the same interior layout options.
On Deck The teak-soled cockpit was designed to accommodate a movable teak table and folding deck chairs instead of built-in seating. This makes a lot of sense in our sometimes-rainy climate where cushions can take a long time to dry out. And, because the S58 is designed as both a cruising and fishing platform, the decks can be cleared when it’s time to catch dinner. The solid cockpit overhead means that even in a light rain, outdoor dining is an option. A second docking station to port should make it easy to back down to a dock or manoeuver when fishing. A large transom locker contains a freezer, sink and counter for a portable propane barbecue. A hydraulic swim platform that extends aft, behind the standard swim platform is an option, however, the Masons opted instead for a Freedom Lift, which has two hydraulic arms and a cradle for their 13-foot Italian-made Zar rigid-hull inflatable. (They find the Zar absolutely rock solid, even in three-foot waves.) With this setup, the dinghy is mounted far enough aft that there is plenty of room to walk around on the swim platform. The platform has a custom feature designed by the Masons: a removable P-shaped handrail that drops down into recesses in the platform. It can be positioned several ways to help with secure boarding from the dock or dinghy.
Forward of the cockpit, walkaround side decks have high bulwarks for added safety when moving fore and aft.
Saloon The interior of the S58 features super high-gloss teak paneling, luxurious off-white carpet, real leather upholstery and grey leather accents. We found the fit and finish throughout the S58 to be excellent, with grain-matched teak throughout. Svea Mason is an interior designer and her personal touches and artwork blend beautifully with the standard fixtures.
The aft galley concept, first popularized by Bill Barry-Cotter, is now being seen more and more on new sedans, and for good reason. Positioned central to both the saloon and cockpit, large glass doors open to allow cockpit and saloon to become one great big open space. In the S58, that doorway consists of three heavy glass-panel doors that fold nicely out of the way.
The galley features an impressive full-size fridge and freezer unit and a nifty, full-height slide-out pantry tucked in to the aft corner of the galley. As noted, the Masons embark on extended cruising each summer (as well as shorter trips cruising out of their home port of Sidney) and that means storage is very important—and the S58 has plenty of it. In addition to the transom freezer and the fridge and freezer in the galley, there’s a large, deep, drawer-type refrigeration unit built into the beautiful teak cabinet unit across from the galley. It can be configured as a wine cooler, vegetable drawer, refrigerator or freezer. In an adjacent part of the cabinet is a dedicated icemaker. At the forward end of the teak cabinet unit there is an athwartship recess for a pop-up flat-screen TV. It can be rotated to suit any seating arrangement.
The L-shaped settee in the saloon has a sliding teak table top, which can be pushed in or out for easy egress, lounging or formal dining. Two portable ottomans or deck chairs provide additional seating, making it easy for six to dine in comfort.
The helm station has two high-end Stidd helm seats and a very clean layout with twin 15-inch Garmin 8200 Glass Bridge Series multifunction units—the latest and greatest from Garmin—that can be linked to pretty well any system, except perhaps your electric toothbrush.
Accommodation The big treat here is the full-beam master, set on two levels. We were immediately “wowed.” The raised entry area is up about four steps and has a dressing area with teak desk, a wall of lockers and drawers and access to the large ensuite. The ensuite has a tile floor, large, separate shower and heated towel racks, which are a real bonus for anyone who’s tried to keep towels dry in the humid climate of a boat.
The foyer/office/dressing area looks down over the king size island berth, which is oriented 45 degrees to the centerline. It’s a pleasing departure from the traditional fore and aft or athwartship bed orientation. Three large, vertical, opening hull windows on either side bring in plenty of light. On the bed level there’s tons more storage in hanging lockers and drawers and a long drawer unit under the windows on the starboard side. The Masons, who have homes in several cities, keep plenty of clothes aboard at all times so that when they want to head out for the weekend, or whatever, all they need to bring are groceries.
The guest stateroom in the bow has an island queen, plenty of storage and handy open shelving alongside the bed. It shares the second head with the third cabin, which has a single berth (there is an optional bunk-bed layout) with good storage in drawers underneath. The Masons primarily use this berth as a place to store their paper charts and as a raingear locker.
The standard layout has a third head—a day head—at the bottom of the companionway stairs, but the Masons opted instead for full-size washer and dryer.
The engine room, accessed via a hatch in the cockpit sole, is neat and uncluttered, with plenty of room to work around the engines. There’s also ample room for their tools and spare parts. (The owners are extremely organized and detail-oriented and have enough spare parts so they don’t have to rely on others should something break when cruising in remote areas.)
The lazarette is also large and well organized with the spare props, prawn puller, prawn and crab traps, fishing gear, watermaker, two folding kayaks and plenty of room left for fenders.
Besides Espar hydronic heating (which also heats the freshwater), the Mason’s S58 was also equipped with standard reverse cycle air.
The house batteries consist of two 320-amp hour lithium ion batteries. A 4,000-watt inverter converts DC to AC. The advantage to lithium ion is that they can take a massive charge (150 amps) that would quickly boil regular AGM or lead acid batteries. This means they charge much faster. They can also be depleted to as low as about 10 percent of their capacity compared to about 50 or 60 percent for lead-acid/AGM batteries. The downside is that they are about three or four times the cost.
Underway Despite having 1,600 horsepower pushing us, we were impressed at the S58’s acceleration. We went from zero to full plane at 18 knots in less than eight seconds, with minimal bow rise. The steering was precise and in sharp turns there was no cavitation. The yacht hugged the water tightly without slipping. Noise wasn’t an issue with engine sound at cruising speeds not much more than standard conversation level. Visibility ahead and all around was excellent. When docking, the sliding door next to the helm station makes it easy to see distance off.
Anyone who can afford a yacht such as the S58, which is designed to go fast in comfort and luxury, isn’t buying based strictly on fuel economy, though the S58 has quite reasonable numbers. At a sedate 9.3 knots, (1,000 rpm) we were burning 8.5 US gallons per hour. At 1,500 rpm and 13 knots (just below planing speed) we were burning 26 gph. At 2,000 rpm we were making 20.7 knots while burning 51 gph (about 0.4 miles per gallon). At wide-open throttle (2,300 rpm) we were making 25 knots. Top speed was a bit lower than during initial sea trials in Australia (top speed 28.7 knots), but we had 2/3 fuel, 1/2 water, an extra 400 feet of anchor chain and the bottom hadn’t been cleaned in 15 months. Regardless, Larry Mason said that he was very happy with the fuel numbers, which were about 30 percent less than his previous boat, which had smaller, 715 horsepower Cummins diesels.
Concluding Remarks The Masons wanted a yacht that offered comfortable single-level cruising, with all the amenities of home. They wanted a fast, reliable yacht that they could cruise in for weeks without worrying about food, gear or clothing storage. They wanted a layout for sleeping two couples but with room to entertain large crowds. After two trouble-free five-week trips to the Broughtons and extensive local cruising, during which the Masons have put theirs through some pretty tough seas, Larry says he has nothing but good things to say about their purchase. Base price for the S58 is US$2,215,025.