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Close Relations

by John Curnow, Global Editor, Powerboat.World 2 May 2023 23:00 BST
Stealth by look, and by nature. Anthracite powercat/centre console/day boat is also quick - like plus 50 knot type fast © Pacific Projects Consultants

We have talked about the first relative twice before, and now she is a reality. The initial time was in Engelbert Humperdinck, and then shortly thereafter in a bit more detail with, What do you get...

She is of course the 50-knot plus Centre Console Day/Overnighter Cat that was once a 275km/h offshore screamer in pink, just so you could not miss her flying by. (Like the sound of the force fed, two-stroke Diesels was not a complete giveaway to begin with!)

'Stealth' has had her sea trials with her pair of Mercury 600hp V12s, and is back in the shed for all the important things like anti-foul, and stereo with subwoofers. They also walked away from ideas of the tealy blue duco that was an early front-runner, and went with anthracite for that cool, chic, Lamborghini Urus kind of look - and it works!

So walking on her in the sun will require shoes, but you certainly won't need the Herald to announce Stealth's arrival to the guests at the ball. The 50-footer has an elegant menace coupled with an impressive and almost subtle utility that is quite captivating.

'Never a boat been built that isn't for sale' is the line, and we can all see Stealth for real at the impending Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show. Prospective purchasers can line up from now, for you queue jump the wait list for Mercury's flagship donks by 12 months at least, and you can have the whole lot at a price that is more budget conscious than a lot of her competition. Looks like 'now' is the word of the paragraph...

Chainsaws not allowed

Often when you think of cut-and-shut it is laterally, but this boat was done longitudinally, with the extra gunwale height affording the enclosure around the centre console, and more headroom in her twin cabins (where the Diesels used to live).

Her creator, Grant Wharington, commented about the new boat, "I'm really excited about Stealth. The engines are beautifully quiet and efficient; just fabulous. It literally jumps out of the water in a nice horizontal attack, and you seriously need to hang on because the acceleration from the Mercury V12 600s is phenomenal!"

"So we haven't had much chance to use her thus far. We had a quick sea trial over the course of a weekend whilst we were moving to our new, larger shed here at Gold Coast City Marina. This is the perfect place for us, and for all these sorts of projects."

"This centre console is just a fantastic thing with the curved aluminium roof structure and the curved glass. The whole vessel is the ultimate in resurrection and the ultimate in recycling."

As for the mission behind displaying Stealth at the impending show at Sanctuary Cove in May, 'Wharro' said, "we've had a lot more interest in her since we moved sheds. Now that she's been out and been seen by a few people, many have asked if she is for sale. If you go and try to find something similar, you just can't find it, and you end up in America with a 50 to 60 foot centre console that will cost five, six, or seven million dollars. Equally, there's sort of nothing like this boat anywhere in the world."

"Here at Pacific Project Consultants we extend, modify and build boats. Everything's a project for us. So you know, if someone wants it more than me, well..."

Looking at her capabilities a bit closer, and given that Stealth looks like doing low to mid 50s WOT, you'd think given her former life, that she'll deliver a 40-knot, real world cruise speed. Wharro sees the potential here too, commenting, "I do have a little desire to do a Gold Coast to Sydney Poker Run. Breakfast on the Gold Coast, dinner at the CYCA in Sydney. 10 hours at 40 knots is close to the same speed as you can drive there. It certainly would be a bit of fun."

Even if the boat does get sold, there are more than enough projects at PPC Marine to keep the team busy, including a larger replacement for the Yot Club, the floating corporate hospitality venue they built a few years back now.

So here's the thing

This is where it all gets tied in. Bill Barry-Cotter OM built the now former pink race boat, and used it in the Class 1 World Championships in Europe in 1998. The company he went to found just on 20 years ago now, Maritimo, is about to launch its biggest and best ever yet. The unveiling of the mighty the S75 Sedan Motor Yacht at the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show, and then later on her sister M75 Flybridge Motor Yacht, are an auspicious anniversary gift to all.

Phil Candler, General Manager of Operations at Maritimo commented, "Everyone here has had some level of involvement in our new flagships. Designers, R&D, Manufacturing, Quality Control, and Customer Service have all contributed to the ongoing evolution. From design concept of the two variants done in parallel, the all-important customer interaction, to prototyping, R&D, then building of plugs, moulds and the construction of the first couple of boats has taken in excess of 250,000 man hours.

"The whole company's delighted to begin the delivery of these vessels in 2023 to the list of clients."

The first vessel coming down the line, an S75, has the base 1150MHP V8 Scanias on board. Interestingly enough, the second (an M75) has the upgrade to 1625hp V10s from mtu. A distinct proportion of the clientele has opted for the larger motors, which will only further enhance their experience with long range, blue water cruising.

Apart from their power to weight credentials and overall fuel economy, the mtu powerplants are also continuously rated, meaning they are able to run at WOT all day if you want to. That's impressive, but also remember the box behind it also has to deal with that, and in this case the ZF units are well qualified, come with joystick controller, and it is all under the master mtu warranty as well. Nice.

What's the real deal?

So are we really talking about Australia's best blue water cruiser? Well clearly we have not driven it yet, and the actual numbers will tell the full tale, but there are two very important things going on that will make that the case.

Firstly, the M and S75 are the only Australian built vessels to offer the mtu donks from Rolls Royce Power Systems. Similarly sized craft have larger, V12 units with additional mass and thirst issues - that's the very next part of one's thought process. More importantly, being continuously rated means that the mtu V10s and their ZF boxes can do whatever RPM you select, all day, every day!

On top of that, there is no implication to the overall maintenance programme, so instantaneous and long-term efficiencies remain firmly in the camp of the 20 not-so-much-iron ladies from Friedrichshafen.

Up for evaluation are things like real world range and true pace. It goes without saying that this is one theorem I am going to be particularly keen to prove after time with the boats, so it could be that you will see an editorial called Quod Erat Demonstrandum in the near future, and so you'll know exactly what that pertains to when you do.

Secondly then, "The hull liner is the biggest we have ever done, and also the most advanced," says Candler. Deployed for the last seven years, Maritimo's patented system not only adds strength by making the entire vessel a truly monocoque structure, but also means you look at nice, shiny, gelcoat surfaces when in places like the engine room, along with access to bilges and service areas. "It goes from the bow to the back of the engine room, and requires four major jigs to locate it into place."

There are also overhead liners to run cables and hoses, and in certain places there are sound deadening aspects to them as well. "The headliner has two major components, which are the forward part and the back part, and this extends to the back of the engine room. It all means you have liners from the anchor locker to the back of the crew quarters (Utility Cabin aft of the Engine Room), as well as the hull one we just mentioned."

"Then all your bathrooms are actually bulkheads between those two. They are all single components, and all put in as parts. As we evolve our patented process, the 75s are the first to have the deck liner over the engine room. Obviously there is a fit and finish aspect to it, but importantly, no one else in our market space does it. There is a lot of detail in the headliner, especially the one for the Engine Room, with patterns, details and shapes, and it means it is always clean and tidy with a gel coat finish to top it off."

It is terribly interesting to distil all of that into an essence, for what you end up with are very important benefits like accuracy, durability, sound abatement, reduction in vibration, and production efficiency. The key elements to help configure one's thinking are that the hull, hull liner, cabins and bathrooms, deck liner, deck, flybridge, hardtop liner, and the hardtop itself all end up as just the one item courtesy of Maritimo's world patented bonding methods.

The crucial uptakes are obviously strength, but also a lighter mass compared with the traditional style of building GRP boats. Any interior then going in gets mated to just the one piece by extension, and not several unique items all trying to hang on together.

Now a lot of attention was also paid to the for'ard bulkhead of the Engine Room that leads into the Master Bathroom, where multiple noise reduction aspects were applied. It is a bit of secret squirrel business, but the principles and products used are bound to be super-effective. It will also be effective against vibration, which is great for getting a nap when under way.

The nature of the entire process aids with the speed of production and assembly, which is good news for those sitting a bit further down the order queue. The building of sub-assemblies, and then bringing it all together on a set timeframe provides for the removal of bottlenecks. Major shipbuilding is done this way now, with the Koreans showing the way.

"The acceleration in certain areas means we have been able to introduce some components that would normally exist in the last phase of the build, which generally has a far heavier labour content. This balance is critical to production flow, and pace," said Candler.

Big boats require a lot of space to work on them, and you most certainly cannot park them outside overnight because you do not have the production bay ready to accept the vessel.

And what does it all mean? Well it adds up to strength, integrity, durability, and efficiencies for pace of manufacture. Coupled with the usability and range highlighted in the first section you do appear to have what can only be described as best in class. Across the board, it is win, win, win... Now, we just have to get our hands on one!

OK. Today you will find that the website has an abundance of material from right across the globe, and if you cannot find something, just try the search button right up the top of the landing page, above our logo. If you cannot find what you want or wish to want to add to that, then please make contact with us via email.

Finally. Please look after yourselves.
John Curnow

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