Maestro 82By Capt. Bill Pike
The Maestro 82 is maneuverable, Americanized, and as comfortable as a five-star hotel.
We’re gonna try to park this vessel alongside that?!” I asked, pointing at a wobbly little dock a hundred yards astern resting on floats and surrounded by much smaller vessels. Maestro Yachts’ company captain Antonino Pollio grinned lopsidedly at me, apparently grasping my question despite the language issues we were occasionally having, thanks to my deep-fried, south-of-the-Mason-Dixon-line accent.
“S, Signore,” he replied. “S.”
Oughta be interestin’, I told myself. Our big, beamy Maestro 82 stood poised to enter a little Italian marina that was truly gorgeous (thanks to calm, deep-green waters and gray cliffs topped with umbrella pines) but obviously designed to accommodate small boats, skiffs, and dinghies—not motoryachts. Capt. Pollio stood poised as well, seemingly unfazed by the prospect, looking on from the 82’s cockpit and using his right hand to deftly manipulate the sticks at her aft control station to momentarily maintain our position with thrusters and mains.
A minute or two passed. Then, a bronzed old fisherman in an outboard-powered RIB succeeded in pushing a moored fishing boat out of the way, stretching her lines like rubber bands, so we could squeeze in between her and the dock. And half of the citizenry of Piano di Sorrento (a sort-of suburb of nearby Sorrento) began surging forward, shouting greetings and encouragements, and proffering advice.
The whole thing was so Italian. Instead of devolving into total chaos, which given its complexities and subtleties might well have occurred had it taken place in another, less free-wheeling country, things simply worked out. A couple of guys handled our lines. Several others retreated from the edge of the wobbly dock at a critical moment, averting a capsize. And the tasty comestibles we’d come for materialized.
Of course, the 82’s close-quarters maneuvering prowess contributed to the success of the endeavor as well. Thanks to the torquey oomph of her big, straight-shaft diesels and the vigor of her 20-hp Side-Power bow and stern thrusters, Pollio was able to ease us in port-side-to just as the RIB driver let the fishing boat go, allowing her to snap back against some fenders on our starboard side. “Wow!” I told Pollio, shaking my head, “This boat’s a perfect fit...anywhere!”
It wasn’t the first compliment I’d come up with that day. Earlier in the afternoon during the sea trial we’d performed along the south shore of Ischia, a beautiful volcanic island not far from Capri but much less frequented by tourists, I’d been favorably impressed with several other features. The 82’s average top speed of 35.1 mph, for example, had been quite sporty, particularly when you considered her displacement was something like a massive 73 tons. Moreover, she’d felt as stable underfoot as a supertanker, cornered briskly but broadly with the helm hardover (a characteristic of most straight-shaft inboard vessels), exhibited no tendency to lean disconcertingly outboard in turns, evinced optimal running attitudes, and remained bone-dry throughout—thanks to the Carolina-style flare of her bow.
Then, thanks to a seemingly simple but ever-so-slippery warped-V bottom (sans turbulence-prone, buoyancy-robbing tunnels), there’d been the 82’s slo-mo operating efficiencies. Not only did they manifest as some serious range numbers (like 1,251 NM at approximately 12 knots (14 mph)), they promised fuel-cost reductions by as much as 50 percent when stacked against other Italian-built 80-plus-footers.
And finally, the driving experience itself had been way cool. At the upper station, helming the 82 felt bracingly outdoorsy with superb visibility all the way around, a smooth steering system (thanks to engine-driven power-assisted BCS hydraulics), ample protection from the wind (at least while seated), and enough bench-type seating and lounge space nearby to accommodate half the sunbathers along the Amalfi Coast. At the lower station, the ambiance was more subdued but equally compelling, with two ultra-comfy, umpteen-ways-adjustable, Besenzoni helm seats (pilot and copilot), a flat, easy-to-read-and-manipulate dashboard for instruments surmounted by an elevated fiberglass module containing Raymarine and other flatscreens, and sound levels that stayed whispery well into the rpm register’s midrange. And not only did the stylish verticality of the immense windshield panels provide clear picture-window visibility, they shed rain and nixed glare.
My take on the 82’s interior had a chance to mature over the three days and nights during which my wife BJ and I lived aboard. The floorplan turned out to be a sumptuous, intelligently arranged affair, wholly amenable to stateside sensibilities, thanks to its customization for the American market by Marc-Udo Broich, Maestro’s U.S.-based CEO. An immense, conservatively decorated saloon occupied the after portion of the main deck, with a wheelhouse forward (with adjoining day head) and a U-shape galley (a watertight door offered outdoor access and ventilation) in between. On the lower deck were the full-beam master BJ and I so thoroughly enjoyed, a VIP, two guest staterooms, and all the way aft, two cabins for the crew. All the staterooms had en suite heads with separate shower stalls.
Features we particularly liked included the large walk-in wardrobe in the master, as well as the opening ports in the big, fixed hull-side windows that flank it; the heavily-insulated forward firewall in the engine room that minimizes sound and vibration levels in the master as well as throughout the rest of the vessel; and the familiarity the boat engenders in the typical statesider, thanks to appliances, entertainment options, and engine-room auxiliaries from manufacturers like GE, Bosch, Miele, Sony, Bose, Mastervolt, Racor, and Fire-Boy.
I’m going to forego my habit of ending boat-test reports with a personal observation or conclusion and let my wife (who tends to be quite openhearted about her likes and dislikes) have the last word here. She and I spent quite a while onboard the Maestro 82 just prior to the brand-new vessel’s departure for the United States, and her synopsis of the experience, in my opinion, pretty much says it all:
“I loved the boat...the way she ran, the way she looks, the way she’s arranged, both inside and out. Really, I can’t think of a thing I’d change about her. Not a single thing!”
This article originally appeared in the October 2011 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.