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Model citizen – loved it so much, he build one!

Building boats takes time, precision, and passion. Making models of them is no different, and due to the size of it, possibly even more intricate. Former Maritimo employee Chris Clark must have all of these qualities in spades, for the model of the Maritimo 550 Offshore Motor Yacht you see here took him a whole three years of his spare time.

Weekends and afternoons got consumed with the project, and it wasn’t like he had no idea what to expect, either. Previously, Clark had built five models for different people over the years, and had also completed a tall ship in kit form that now shares pride of place on his mantelpiece with the Maritimo.

Clark commenced with Maritimo back in 2005, and was involved in the build of the first two of the 550 series, before they went up to Cairns to take potential clients out fishing for marlin. What really sealed his adoration of the boat was when the tuna tower was fitted to the top of the first one. It was right then that he decided he would have a go at making a model of it.

Before joining Maritimo in 2005, Clark had run his own business in Northern NSW, looking after 33 schools. He says of the change to Maritimo, “I always enjoy a challenge, and that certainly was the case. Three weeks after joining I was made Head Electrician. I’d never worked on a boat in my life, electrically, so that was certainly pleasing. The other upside was changing over from working out of a truck and carting gear everywhere, to just walking along the catwalk straight onto the back of the boat and then back off. I didn’t have far to go, and I really enjoyed that.”

Certainly pleased with his advancement, the other benefit he found was that he no longer had to work out of a truck and carting gear everywhere. At the factory, he didn’t have far to go; just walking along the catwalk straight onto the back of the boat, and then back off again.

Tapping into his desire for a challenge, at Maritimo, Clark got to be involved with all the ins and outs of the boat. From engineering and plumbing to fit out one and fit out two, there he was. Of course, years later when he was taking the model on, all of these skills would pay dividends.

Clark’s time at Maritimo started with the eighth boat they ever built, and went all they way up to hull #43 of that series. The 52-footers followed, then the 48s, and the 55s, including the one that got him so inspired. He also did a lot of special work at the Hope Island facility completing aftermarket projects. One of his final projects before finishing in 2013 was the floating pontoon that is used at the boat shows and other events.

Approximately 1:22 scale, and measuring 760mm long, 300mm high, and 210mm wide, this is a substantial model, but it is the accuracy of scale, attention to detail, and finishing touches that could well be the crowning moment for this model. Making moulds was new for new for him, as he went about creating the model in that same way as the boats themselves. He says it might have been a ‘bit painful’, and after nine months just building the deck, he was only focussing on the fact that he had to see it through.

The flying bridge would be another five months, with the hard top another two months on top of that, and quickly you can see why the entire project spanned three years.
“Getting it to scale was probably the most challenging aspect, along with working out how I was going to join it all together. The bow rails were the next most difficult element, with deciding to make it remote control after the fact coming in after them”, said Clark.

Propellers and shafts may have come from an RC component company, but skegs, and all the fittings for the steering were done by hand. Obviously when you look at the pictures you can see that the main saloon and enclosed bridge are completely kitted out, and even the navigation lights work.

“Definitely the interiors are fiddly work, but with the help of the General Arrangements (plans) I was able to work it all out. Those and a lot of photos taken as we worked on the boats really helped me to complete the project.”
Continuing on with his desire for challenge, Clark is now a project supervisor at a commercial nursery, but remembers his time at Maritimo both fondly and distinctly. His memories won’t be leaving him any time soon, and he’s always got that reminder in his house.

As for more models, Clark says, “Five years ago we had a young boy, so my time’s pretty well spent, occupied with other activities. There are other projects and my new job, so I’m pretty busy. I still have the moulds for the 550 Offshore Motor Yacht, but because it took me so long, my wife was a bit upset with me. She said if I actually sold it, she’d let me build another one.” That obviously did not happen, but a commission now might change things…

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