Wizards of Aus: Aussie Yacht Icons
Buizen 52: Precision Performance
Our certified sailing expert Kevin Green was in his element aboard this beautifully crafted yacht in issue #459.
The Buizen Yacht company was built up by its founders, brothers Eddy and Fritz, between 1980 and 2005. Their emphasis was on traditional, painstakingly produced sailing yachts for the Australian market. Then in 2005 Steve Howe took the reins and incorporated a modern design sensibility, with new emphasis on contemporary performance, while still retaining the heritage and hands on approach.
Despite updates to the manufacturing process, our review boat was a year-long intensive build at a time when the company could only turn out two boats annually. The reason for this rather humble output being the exactitude by which the cabinetmakers and fabricators operate.
When our reviewer stepped aboard this the Buizen 52, he was immediately captivated by the quality of the woodwork. Walnut flooring and bright American oak panels created a refined interior, which didn't come at the sacrifice of comfort, while teak decking provided a classic underfoot feel at the helm. Once Kev got it out on the water he was struck by the ease with which the hull slid, relative to its sail area. Behind the wheel the experience was second to none; the balanced helm required little effort as far as steering was concerned, allowing the steerer to tend to the manual winches as need be.
The combination of quality and performance extended to every part of this luxurious flyer; a noteworthy galley, comfortable accommodation, Hydranet mainsail and a cruisy 160 horsepower Yanmar shaft-drive. What Buizen achieved was a pure boating experience, fit for any dyed-in-the-wool sailor. Tradition, performance and pleasure all wrapped up in a sleek-looking package.
PRICE (then) $2,360,000
LENGTH (overall) 15.85m
DISPLACEMENT 18.47t (6t ballast)
SAIL AREA 74.5m²
Where is it now?
Our reviewer stood at the helm of Buizen 52 hull #3. At the time of writing its predecessor, hull #2, was up for sale for a mere $1.3-million.
Caribbean 49: Haul or Nothin’
In the name of ‘work’, John Ford spent two days fishing from the Caribbean 49 for issue #478.
Here at Trade-a-Boat HQ we're firm believers in purpose-driven boat reviews. So much so that we thought in necessary to subject John Ford to a two day fishing mission aboard the Caribbean 49 for the Port Stephens Billfish Shootout – our reviewers sure do have it tough.
This full-spec game boat was fitted out by Sylvania Marine for Dean Hoye and is sure to induce fits of envy from any onlooking fisho. It's packed to the hilt with fish-finding electronics, navigation, radar – it's even got a satellite receiver to feed Foxtel through to the TVs.
The monolithic custom Black Marlin tower raises occupants more than four metres above the deck, not only adding height to the vessel but also adding a hefty $70k to the price-tag (that's before any of the elevated electronics were factored in). Needless to say, the rest of the rod and reel related kit on board was the best of the best.
Beyond the fishing functionality, the vessel was equipped for long-haul voyages in search of the ultimate catch. There's reasonable sleeping-space for nine passengers, while a full cohort of up to 25 can make use of the boat by day. A good-sized galley features ample refrigeration, allowing for plenty of supplies to be loaded up before heading on a big trip, then provides all the space needed to stash the haul on the return journey. And with two Cat C12 engines it'll have you out there in no time.
PRICE (then) $1,380,000 as tested
LENGTH (overall) 14.77m
ENGINE 2 × Cat C12 Diesel
Where is it now?
People don’t tend to part with their Caribbean 49s all that often and when they do they don’t do so easily. With a potential saving of less than 20 per cent of new, most prospective buyers err towards kitting out their own factory-fresh hull.
Dickey Semifly 32: Aluminium Allies
Matthew Jones was treated to a taste of Kiwi hospitality in issue #463, and he felt right at home.
Wait, what's that? A Kiwi boat in the Aussie Icons list? It looks like our editor, New Zealand native Captain van Duyl has, been handing out home-town favours – or so we'd speculate if it weren't for the exquisite detail and finishing on the Dickey Semifly 32. Credit where credit's due, it's worth extending some ANZAC camaraderie to our cousins from across the way.
This refined design does excellent job of fitting everything in its place. Often a lack of on-board real estate results in unusual spaces, awkward proportions and elements that look as though they've been shoe-horned to fit. This Dickey, on the other hand, maintains visual balance and ergonomic functionality, sleeping up to six people on custom inner sprung mattresses and offers versatile living spaces – all in a modest 10-metre hull.
An integrated Czone system enables access to the boat's many features via two Gramin 8012 touch screens, or from an iPhone or iPad. Functionally, our test boat utilised the latest technology in an intuitive manner, allowing easy operation for more time spent relaxing.
All of this comes about thanks to the brand's customer-focussed approach to design that starts as soon as pen hits paper. It may seem obvious that a company would create its product with the customer in mind, but nobody does it quite like Dickey. Where other boats are designed for owners, the Dickey Semifly 32 is designed for people – what more can you ask for?
Dickey Semifly 32
PRICE (then) Unknown
LENGTH (overall) 10.6m
ENGINE Volvo Penta D6-400
Where is it now?
With so many interconnected gadgets, there’s a good chance this Dickey Semifly 32 is sitting in a marina somewhere waiting for updates to download. All Dickey boats are custom-built to order, so their specs, prices and resale opportunities will vary dramatically.
Elandra 53: Flash in the Pan
Few can say they’ve been aboard an Elandra, but in issue #458 Ben Keys was given the opportunity to review one of these near-mythical vessels.
At the time we reviewed this boutique beauty, the Elandra brand was considered an independent manufacturer. But in retrospect, one has to wonder exactly how independent they were. After spotting a gap in the market for low volume production of excessively high quality boats, a couple of Maritimo alum, namely Tom Barry-Cotter, set out to give it a go. Now you may be wondering what happened to said 'independent' manufacturer, and rightly so.
Less than two years after their first hull
hit the water, Elandra was bought out by Maritimo. What was once Elandra is now, in essence, known as Maritimo's X range.
Despite its short run, however, the brand managed to produce a small number of immaculate builds. Our review boat featured a pristine American walnut interior, lashings of chrome, finely crafted furnishings and the highest quality appliances and electronics on the market. If that weren't enough to coax potential owners, the fledgling brand had gone one step further and developed a hull that they claimed was eight to nine per cent more efficient overall than any other shaft-driven boat in its range.
Clever systems and uncompromising comforts added to the luxurious experience of our reviewer, who found the 53 hard to fault.
PRICE (then) $1,867,128
LENGTH (overall) 16.66m
ENGINE 2x MAN R6 800hp
Where is it now?
While Maritimo translated the essence of Elandra into their X range, they’re not making carbon copies of the boutique boats. All told, the short-lived company only produced a handful of boats, so opportunities for second-hand sales are seldom. And thanks to their stellar reputation, when they do pop up for sale they retain a high resale value.
Maritimo X60: Aussie Innovation
It didn’t take Ben Keys long to figure out what all the hype was about, and he waxed nautical in issue #508.
Maritimo's X60 is a powerful thoroughbred that echoes the brand's racing pedigree. Designed by the Tom Barry-Cotter, son of the company's founder Bill, the sleek sports yacht presents a clever hull form and an exhilarating ride with the throttle dumped. The boat's performance under way is complemented by its comfort at rest, which can be found in a smart modular interior or out on the rear Beach Club.
The fastidiously engineered sportster hit the market to great acclaim and had hungry boat-buyers champing at their bits. Such was the demand for orders that Maritimo were hardly able to keep up. Part of the appeal was the freedom with which prospective owners could customise their X60s, a rare treat in a boat of this size. By putting all the heavy engine components at the centre of gravity, changes to layout have little effect on the handling.
The aforementioned Beach Club was another big draw-card for those eager to sign on the dotted line. This customisable aft cabin opens onto the swim platform, providing water level access to a full bar, dayhead and storage, while providing a shady refuge for parents to keep an eye on swimming kids. But those who didn't feel the need for such a space were able to swap it for an extra guest cabin or tender garage, in keeping with the customisable spirit of the boat.
Sections of the saloon were brightened up with large retractable sunroofs, while broad, panoramic windows allowed for the entire saloon to be opened up. Initial feedback on the X60 was that wherever you looked there was something fresh to entice, each forward thinking feature designed to make a more pleasurable experience on the water. As tends to be the way with innovative designs, we're sure many of the X60's features will become standard in years to come. But we doubt the imitators will ever do it with such style.
PRICE (then) $2,232,000
LENGTH (overall) 19.42m
ENGINE 2 × Scania DI 13 093M 925hp
Where is it now?
Maritimo launched the X60 at Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show, 2018. It was reported that they took 13 orders right off the bat, helping the company to set a SCIBS record with over over $40 million in sales over the course of the show – we’d imagine there were a few more that followed. Later that year they took it to the USA, where it was met with equal acclaim.
Maritimo S70: Leading By Example
When the founder of the company orders one, it must be the best. Ben Keys confirmed our speculation in issue #504.
If you were the founder of one of Australia's pre-eminent luxury yacht manufacturers, you wouldn’t be short of choices when it comes to picking a personal cruiser. So Bill Barry-Cotter's choice to build his own Maritimo S70 was perhaps the strongest co-sign a new model could have received. The formula that produced this beauty was one part sedan sportscruiser and one part long-range passagemaker, and was originally requested by a couple of clever Kiwis. Their’s was hull number one, Barry-Cotter copped number two.
Our reviewer was quick to pick up on the nuanced niceties that wooed this illustrious owner, noting the flow-through inside/outside single-level living space was perfect for the QLD climate; managing to be both roomy and suitable for long-range family living. The helm had a sporty aesthetic, which translated into a punchy performance from twin 1,200 horsepower Scania V8s down below.
Not only was the company's owner impressed, but the skipper who delivered hull number one across to New Zealand reported that the S70 was the best performing boat he'd piloted in more than 50 crossings.
This leaves us thinking that either this is a real boaties boat, the kind of pure ocean-going thrill that you need a lifetime of experience to understand, or it's just one of the all-out best boats on offer. We can't say with absolute certainty that either one or the other is the case, but we're willing to bet this is a yacht that anyone would enjoy.
PRICE (then) $4,011,035 as tested
LENGTH (overall) 21.51m
ENGINE 2 × Scania DI16076M
Where is it now?
The S70 has received nothing but glowing reviews since its debut in 2017 – locally and internationally. If it’s a spacious and sporty passagemaker you’re after, there are still few better choices.
Mustang 32: An Encore Performance
David Lockwood sets out in a revitaised boat of a local legend for issue #415.
The proud Australian-made Mustang name began to tarnish in the years prior to this particular model’s release. What had once been a popular manufacturer seemed to have lost its way, building down to cost, resulting in some less-than-ideal results. Then in swept Aussie boating titan Bill Barry-Cotter, who – in 2010 – purchased the fading brand, in a move that surprised industry onlookers.
Enter the Mustang 32 – the first to come charging out of the stables since Barry-Cotter took the reins. Suddenly it all made sense. With the help of his Maritimo legions, the new owner was able to correct a convoluted assembly process and start churning out quality entry-level cruisers. For a fraction over $200k the reinvigorated Mustang offered sleeping space for four, bathroom, galley and a sturdy hard-top. Most notably, however, our reviewer was greatly impressed by just how much living space had been squeezed out of this 32-foot hull.
After considering a catalogue of pre-existing hull forms, the Mustang 32 was given a newly engineered tub to reach a satisfactory level of performance. It cradled a 380hp MerCruiser petrol V8 to provide plenty the guts to take it up to almost 40kt, although you'd have it suckling at the bowser at such speeds. For a diesel alternative, an extra $29,000 was loaded onto the price tag.
The Mustang 32 was a good reminder that quality and reasonable pricing aren't mutually exclusive.
PRICE (then) $215,000
LENGTH (overall) 9.85m
ENGINE MerCruiser 8.2 MAG
Where is it now?
You may have noticed a distinct lack in conversation about Mustang lately, and indeed the name seems to have slipped into the background. Last we heard, the folks at Maritimo will still build them on request, but are no longer actively marketing the entry-level craft.
NorthCape 34: Land of the long white bow
One of the finest fishing boats you’ll ever see, as discovered by Matthew Jones in issue #450.
The NorthCape 34 is a good-looking ‘fushing’ boat, no matter which way you look at it. Yep, that's right, a fushing boat. As in, Kiwi for fishing boat. And with the obligatory good-humoured dig out of the way, let's focus on the fact that this beautiful boat radiates quality craftsmanship from aft to bow.
Brad Rowe of Bluefix Boatworks is the master builder behind the NorthCape 34. His exacting standards were nurtured over years spent producing custom creations for those with money to burn, which he carried over onto this more accessible vessel to produce one of the most refined off-shore fishing boats we've ever seen. All of the on deck fittings have been laid out with precision positioning to maximise the sporting experience, showing that the sleek seafarer is more than just a pretty rig.
The luxurious qualities continued through to the inner areas as well, with a spacious master cabin, comfortable saloon and functional galley, all clad with pristine woodwork and upholstery. You probably won't be surprised to learn that it also handled beautifully. Our reviewer was not only impressed by the acceleration that could be gleaned from a single 440 horsepower Yanmar, but also by the stability achieved by the large chines, wide beam and low centre of gravity.
There are few fishing boats that have managed to combine usability and style in such a way as the NorthCape 34. Looks like us Aussies have got our work cut out.
PRICE (then) $610,000
LENGTH (overall) 10.5m
ENGINE Yanmar 6LY STP2 440hp
Where is it now?
Bluefix Boatworks will build these beauties to order, fully customised for the owner’s pleasure.
Riviera 395 SUV: Shop Local
Kevin Green discussed the virtues of supporting local luxury yacht manufacturers in issue #507.
When a luxury yacht manufacturer release an 'affordable' model you realise that all things are relative. In this case, the 12-metre sports yacht is indeed at the more accessible end of the Riviera catalogue, but at a lofty $850,000 is still out of range for your average Joe.
That being said, the Riviera 395 SUV offers a whole lot of boat for your buck and, thanks to growing interest in the sports cruiser category, has been designed with great attention to detail. The burgeoning market for this style of boat has seen an increase in cheap imports taking away from Aussie brands, which lets us look at this entry-level Riviera from another angle; rather than seeing it as a small model from a big-boat brand, it becomes clear that this is actually bastion of quality among a sea of low-cost competitors.
Our reviewer found it to be an extremely comfortable boating experience, free of upper-crust contrivances and unnecessary luxuries. And because it was designed for Australian conditions, it featured all of the little things that you need for boating Down Under; more shade from bulkheads and extended overhangs, as well as enough flare in the bows to make it seaworthy.
The open-plan saloon and two-cabin layout make it perfect for young families, with functional owner-operator facilities for relaxed outings. When all's said and done, this top-quality bit of kit still looks like a Riviera! Flowing lines and swooping windows are the icing on the cake, anyone in the market for a casual sports cruiser would be remiss not to consider this local offering over international alternatives.
PRICE (then) From $848,900
LENGTH (overall) 12.06m
ENGINE 2× 370hp Volvo Penta D6-IPS 500
Where is it now?
Not all that much time has passed since our initial review of the Riviera 395 SUV, so there’s not much to go on. The design has proved popular so far, but we’ll be keeping out eyes on them to see how they go with time.
Steber 38: Split Personalities
John Ford sampled two Stebers for issue #441 and found both were more than fit for purpose.
It's likely that many who've been aboard a Steber weren't having a casual day on the water. That's because the trusted Aussie builder has become a go-to for government contracts over the years, which has resulted in their building many of the country's marine rescue and water police vessels. We like to believe that the pencil pushers in our public service only award such contracts to the best of the best, and though in many cases we've seen government jobs awarded for reasons not centred around merit (to put it lightly) it's easy to see that this tough Aussie boat brand have earned their place on the tax-funded payroll.
But the bureaucrats aren't the only ones who've noted the virtues of this family-run operation, as our reviewer discovered in a chat with Alan Steber, as around half of the company's sales are to private buyers. Side by side, we compared the marine rescue Steber 38 SLR (Super Long Rescue) with the 3800 Twin Cabin game boat. While they couldn't have been kitted out with more distinct and separate purposes in mind, both the boats performed as though they'd been build exclusively for their given task.
In rough conditions our reviewer was able to get the rescue boat up around 15kt without too much hassle, while the leisure cruiser pushed up to 30kt in smoother waters later on. The former was fitted with twin 320hp Yanmar engines and the latter with a pair of Yanmars that could put out 420hp, both handled well though the flybridge fitted to the game boat produced a noticeable yet minimal sway, as you'd expect.
By looking at both Steber 38s together, it just goes to show how versatile a well-built boat such as this can be. If you do have the opportunity to step aboard one in the future then it's well worth your time, we just hope it's a leisure trip, rather than a rescue.
PRICE (then) ~$900,000
LENGTH (overall) 12.2m
FUEL 1500L (SLR); 1350L (Twin Cabin)
WATER 100L (SLR), 400L (Twin Cabin)
ENGINE 2 × Yanmar 6LY3-UTP (SLR)
2 Yanmar 6LY3-STP (Twin Cabin)
Where is it now?
Steber are still producing the 38 SLR and twin cabin, as well as commercial and utility variations. As one of the most capable vessels around, we’re sure the brand will continue to produce them for many years to come.
2015 Malibu Wakesetter 22 VLX
Australia’s big boats are the poster-buoys of the industry, but it’s the little fellas that account for the majority of sales. The market continues to grow and with it, home-grown innovations have sky-rocketed. So with a tip-of-the-hat to our weekend warriors and trailerboat terrors, it’s time to turn out attention towards our finest small boats.
The 2015 Malibu Wakesetter 22 VLX was bigger and better than that which came before. Ushering in the second-gen Power Wedge and sporting the company's revolutionary Surf Gate, the updated design pushed the manufacturer's international acclaim one step further while still retaining their recognisable aesthetic. Since this particular model dropped they've continued to progress with newer technology and refined performance, though it's clear that this vintage marks a shift in wake boat design as a whole.
PRICE (then) $137,602 (as tested)
LENGTH (overall) 6.65m
ENGINE Indmar Monsoon 410 marine V8 ISSUE NUMBER 466
White Pointer 263 Hardtop
White Pointer's 263 Hardtop is everything an offshore fishing boat should be. Twin 250hp Suzuki outboards paired perfectly with the fibreglass deep-V hull (based on the legendary 233 hull) to produce immense power with excellent handling. The big deck was kitted out with all the accoutrements of a die-hard fisho, while the helm was similarly equipped with every electronic system you could poke a rod at. All of it's functionality was wrapped with a stylish exterior. It's a seriously tough boat that was primarily marketed to commercial operators, but has since gained more and more attention from a recreational point of view.
PRICE (then) Unknown
LENGTH (overall) 8m
ENGINE 2× Suzuki 250hp outboard
ISSUE NUMBER 478
Haines Hunter 680 Patriot
The Haines Hunter 680 Patriot is a local legend. We had to send out a reviewer for yet another look in 2009 when the true blue trailerboat was beefed up by the 300 horsepower Evinrude E-TEC – that's just 20 horses shy of the hull's max rating. At 26 knots it gave a respectable range of 162 nautical miles, which is plenty of ground to cover in this tried and tested fishing boat. It's easy to see how this popular boat earned its sterling reputation.
PRICE (then) $123,506 (as tested)
LENGTH (overall) 7m
ENGINE Evinrude E-TEC 300
ISSUE NUMBER Trailerboat Mag 233
Sailfish 3200 Platinum
Although it’s a little too hefty to classify as a trailerboat, the Sailfish 3200 Platinum is just a small step up. This crafty cat was built to be that little bit bigger, giving extra workspace for fishing missions, and is aimed at the trailerboat owner who’s looking for a bigger footprint. We tested it in rough seas and the twin-hull handled the conditions with confidence, demonstrating why Sailfish have won consecutive Trailer Boat of the Year awards. It lives a double life as a family cruiser and fish-hauling haven, and is no doubt the envy of many when those twin 300hp Yamahas are fired up and put to good use.
PRICE (then) $460,000 (as tested)
LENGTH (overall) 9.7m
FUEL 2 × 300L
ENGINE 2 × Yamaha F300
ISSUE NUMBER 509
White Pointer 940 Pro Sportsman
Our Kiwi editor has snuck quite a few NZ boats onto our list, but we have to posit that the White Pointer 940 Pro Sportsman is the best looking of the lot. The eye-pleasing form comes courtesy of White Pointer’s “rounded compound curve” hull, which forces water out for a smoother ride. Every little thing on this boat is pure class and the finishing is second to none. Everything has been installed with one purpose: fishing. The Pro Sportsman range is going strong, which proves that good design will always stand the tests of time.
PRICE (then) $350,000
LENGTH (overall) 9.4m
ENGINE Volvo Penta D6-400
ISSUE NUMBER 453
Powercat 3100 Platinum Series
Powercat’s 3100 Platinum Series is one of the strongest proponents for the advantages of trailerable catamarans we’ve yet to come across. Although it’s definitely on the larger side of what’s towable, on the water it offered phenomenal performance to suit a variety of water-borne pleasures. The spacious layout and comfortable ride made it ideal for general cruising, while the queen-sized cabin put it on the luxurious end of weekend fishing boats. The rumoured centre-console version is yet to materialise, but is said to be arriving some time this year.
PRICE (then) $137,602 (as tested)
LENGTH (overall) 9.4m
FUEL 2 × 250L
ENGINE 2 × Suzuki DF300APXX
ISSUE NUMBER 499