BOAT REVIEW Artnautica 60 Sportfisher Matuku

May 2023 Launch Reviews
Words by Lawrence Schaffler. Photography by Gareth Cooke/Sub Zero Images. Copyright.
Build Quality
MODEL Artnautica 60 Sportfisher
DESIGNER Dennis Harjamaa (Artnautica Yacht Design)
BUILDER Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders
CONSTRUCTION 100% resin-infused carbon
ENGINE 2 x Volvo IPS 800 (625hp each)
Maximum Speed 32 knots
Cruise Speed 24 knots
ACCOMMODATION Three cabins, plus saloon. Up to 8.
  • Carbon construction – a light, technical marvel that delivers speed and range
  • The electronics – very clever integration of various transducers and MFDs
  • Spacious, fishing-oriented design of the cockpit. Even the fish will be happy to come aboard

Launched late last year, the 18m sportfisher Matuku is a bespoke creation (and then some) from Auckland’s Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders. She’s distinctive for many reasons, but her 100% carbon fibre construction is the defining feature of the overall package.

Around two years in gestation, Matuku is remarkable for the sheer detail and cleverness of her design. She’s unquestionably built for hunting (the Kilwell outriggers a not-so-subtle clue) but she’s also a fuel-efficient, long-distance passage-maker, yet equally at ease as a luxurious family cruiser pottering around the Hauraki Gulf.
If the synthesis of these attributes sounds unlikely in a single vessel, even more unlikely is that the driving vision for Matuku stems from an owner who’d never held a fishing rod prior to arriving in New Zealand 11 years ago.
A British gent with years of sailing experience, his first impressions on arrival can be paraphrased as follows: “OMG we’re going to need a boat. This Hauraki Gulf is a jewel – we can’t live here and not have a boat.”


Sailing memories evaporated. The mind shift evolved into the purchase of a Protector RIB powered by a pair of inboard diesels – an excellent platform for family jaunts around the Gulf. But then fate intervened.
“We began building a house and when the builder saw a photo of the RIB he said – ‘Oh, you have a boat. You must be a fisherman.’ I said – No, I’ve never fished in my life – why would I do that? He said, ‘Well, you’re missing out big time and I’m going to buy you a fishing rod as a housewarming, welcome-to-New Zealand present.’ And so we went fishing – and the rest is history.”

Fishing became a passion, and it was soon apparent that something bigger was needed for chasing game fish – a quest that ended in a custom Dickey 45. “She was (and still is) a magnificent boat – we loved her and enjoyed many years of fishing and cruising. But we developed an interest in long-distance passage-making, and decided we needed a boat with a greater range.”
These thoughts gathered impetus after discussions with Dennis Harjamaa (Auckland’s Artnautica Yacht Design Ltd). While acknowledging that every boat is a compromise, the owner’s eventual design brief called for a vessel that would excel in multiple roles – a sophisticated, high-speed fishing platform, a comfy bach, a dive boat.

But the most demanding requirement was for an efficient passage-maker – a boat that could voyage from New Zealand to the islands on full tanks. “I was tasked with designing an 18m planing hull able to foot it at a decent clip, but which would also be efficient at displacement speeds,” says Harjamaa.
“And it had to be able to go far – very far – in bluewater conditions. That all boiled down to a slippery hull with smallish engines for the extended range. It also meant a light but very strong construction.
“I initially thought standard, foam-core fibreglass would work, but as the design progressed into structural engineering and costings, it soon became clear that carbon fibre was the only way we’d achieve the required strength and performance.”
Matuku’s hull and superstructure uses resin-infused Corecell sandwiched between layers of carbon fibre – all vacuum-bagged. She displaces 22 tonnes dry and considerably more with full tanks (6,000 litres of diesel and 1,000 litres of water).
Turning design-into-reality fell to Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders (LSB). “I liked their work, their approach and I liked the people,” says the owner. “And they accommodated me – I visited the factory for an hour or two most weeks over the entire build process.” LSB has an extensive track record in building high-end, full custom, carbon composite superyacht tenders.

Matuku. Lloyd Stephenson Boatbuilders. Copyright: Subzero Images

To help meet Matuku’s long-distance objective, Harjamaa opted for twin Volvo IPS 800 (625hp) engines, though securing them required some discussion. “Volvo is very particular about its IPS installations,” he says, “and that’s understandable – the IPS reputation is on the line. Because of the unusual carbon construction, they wanted to check the design. We submitted drawings and calculations – and ended up with three sets of data in the mix.
“I gave my initial calculations to a CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) specialist for checking and followed that with results from virtual tank testing. These were compared with Volvo’s calculations. Happily, we arrived at a consensus.”
The hull and IPS 800s make for a happy marriage. Matuku cruises at 23-24 knots, consuming about 155 litres per hour in total. Push the hammers to the stops and she’ll boogie to 32 knots in the twinkling of an eye. A more sedate 8-10 knot cruise speed will be employed for voyages to the islands.

Like Volvo’s assessment of the design, so too the entire project demanded a rigorous approach to weight. “Every component was weighed before installation,” says Harjamaa. “That way we could keep track of the vessel’s Centre of Gravity (COG), but more importantly, its overall weight. The IPS 800s are relatively small engines for an 18m vessel – if the boat ended up five tonnes heavier than planned, they’d struggle.”
Matuku’s hull design supports the fuel-efficiency/long-range ideal: her plumb bow creates a waterline length that’s pretty close to her LOA. And it sports a fine entry that slices cleanly through boisterous waves. To deflect spray and keep her expansive foredeck dry, chines run all the way forward, further aided by a pronounced, overhanging cap rail.

As a fishing-oriented hunter designed for long distances, you might imagine Matuku’s living arrangements would lean to utilitarian. Well, let’s just say I don’t think anyone invited aboard will be sniffing disdainfully about standards.
She sleeps eight (two in the master cabin up front, four more in two cabins and two in the saloon), with an ensuite for the master cabin and a second bathroom shared by everyone else. The three-cabin/two-bathroom configuration is versatile, equally suited to a bunch of unshaven anglers or a family on a Christmas cruise.

Harjamaa’s roomy design carries the interior volume all the way forward – evident in the size of the master cabin’s island bed. I like the suite’s near-surround windows – great views while sipping a coffee in bed. All interior cabinetry is pale oak veneer over a foam core (another weight-saving feature that anchors the COG deep within the hull) and the colour/texture enhances the sense of space.
All floors (including the cockpit) are Flexiteek – perhaps the only pragmatic nod to the boat’s main activity. Pelagic corpses are less likely to leave stains on this hardwearing, synthetic material.
Large windows and panoramic views dominate the saloon/galley/helm station areas. In another nod to Matuku’s over-the-horizon fishing agenda, the ceiling’s adorned with seriously-robust grab rails. And the induction hob’s fiddle rails are worthy of a Volvo Ocean Racer.

The chef will enjoy the expansive galley benches – especially the aft one: a large window behind the bench flips open, aiding the endless flow of blue banter/food requests issuing from those in the cockpit. Particularly because there’s a U-shaped mini-lounge immediately aft of the window. Never mind your gourmet creations – pass another three beers and make it snappy!
All-in-all, a supremely comfortable, well-thought-out interior with clean lines and rounded corners – they’re always kinder to ageing hips. Crisp LED lighting (Hella) throughout is part of the sophisticated infrastructure orchestrated by CZone.

On the prowl
But it’s in hunting mode that Matuku’s extensive inventory is most impressive – particularly for finding prey.
The vessel’s equipped with three transducers – all communicating seamlessly with six Furuno TZT3 MFDs (three 16” units at the helm, another two on the flybridge and a 19” unit in the cockpit (there’s also a small Garmin anchor-watch-monitor in the master cabin).
Heading up the transducer-trinity is a 3kW Airmar R509, supported by a Furuno 3D multi-beam unit (120o) and a 600-watt Airmar forward-looking unit (“so that you can see what’s ahead of you rather than what you’ve just hit”).
The Furuno transducer/MFD is set up for PBD (sensor photodiode) and maps/records the bottom, integrating the data with existing charts. The Furuno gear, says the owner, is particularly good at monitoring weather forecasts and sea temperatures – finesse considerations for serious anglers.

This surveying infrastructure extends to the 3.5m Williams jet tender on the fly bridge (launched/retrieved by davit). “It’s our exploration boat,” says the owner. “It’s fitted with the same Furuno sounder as the one on the mothership and wirelessly relays its seafloor soundings to the main MFDs. It’s useful when fishing shallow and poorly charted areas, or when entering remote bays and anchorages.” The Williams tender (350kg) is powered by a 900cc Rotax engine.
A 250-litre live bait tank dominates the transom. Its inhabitants will enjoy the blue walls and large window (albeit temporarily). It’s supported by four tuna tubes (two either side). And their construction/design is another example (far too many to list) of the attention-to-detail evident throughout this vessel.
Set below the gunwale they are hidden under Flexiteek hatches when not in use. In active mode any overflow water drains over the side rather than spilling into the cockpit – all very clever, neat and clean.
But for me one of the most innovative design features on the entire vessel is the 19” MFD that lives in a recess in the roof overhanging the cockpit’s mini-lounge. Mounted on electrically-actuated bracket, you wouldn’t know it was there until it’s deployed.
The screen provides two viewing modes: aft-facing anglers seated in the mini-lounge can monitor the bottom contours/aquatic life but swivel it 180o and the skipper can view it (using the nearby remote helm station) to position the vessel precisely over a sea mount.

Like the tuna tubes, the remote helm (joystick) is hidden under a hatch in the port gunwale. It emerges with the press of a button and is particularly useful when fighting feisty marlin. Rather than the typical invective-laden exchanges between angler and helmsman on a distant flybridge, instructions can be calm and civil. “Could sir kindly back up a little…?”
While the owner’s fishing ethos leans to catch-and-release, some catches are retained – and perfectly processed. Matuku’s equipped with a saltwater icemaker, a vacuum-packing machine – and a large freezer. This technology – along with much else – lives in a massive, midships storage locker (the den).

The Den
A major IPS advantage is that the engines are located well aft in the hull, leaving a spacious cavern in what would typically be a shaft-driven vessel’s engine room. Matuku uses this to good effect – the ‘den’ not only contains much of her systems but also leaves enough room for their maintenance.
Beautifully engineered, it contains a 400lph watermaker, a dive compressor (and eight tanks), the Webasto air-conditioning unit and a Post diesel heater for hot water. There are also two 20kW Fischer Panda gensets, the main engine fuel polishers and a 5,500-watt Mastervolt lithium-ion battery bank. And, of course, more rod storage space.

While the gensets take care of the high-load items (watermaker and dive compressor), a pair of Victron Quattro inverters tap the 24-volt system for other electrical accessories, allowing the vessel to run silent.
The vessel’s main (internal) helm is a wonderfully-designed station – all navigation and systems information instantly available on her three 16” Furuno MFDs. But in fishing mode I suspect most of the skipper’s time will be spent on the flybridge.

As you’d expect, the views here are glorious, aided in part by the structure’s minimalist, cantilever design which keeps those view unobstructed. The absence of glass or clears also helps. “I prefer clean, open aesthetics,” says the owner, “and anyway, in miserable weather we’ll go downstairs.”
The flybridge helm station is a mini version of the one below, though it sports only two 16” MFDs. Driving the vessel from here is a treat – she responds instantly to the tiniest tweak of the joystick, and the IPS technology is intuitive. She spins on her own axis – eliminating the need for bow or stern thrusters.

I was also struck by the vessel’s genteel ‘noise signature’ – even when down below. This is no doubt a result of engine location (well aft), superb insulation and efficient, vibration-absorbing engine mounts – all crucial advantages for stalking skittish game fish.
You’re bound to come across Matuku somewhere in the Hauraki Gulf (she’s very distinctive) – but I’d wager you’d have a better chance of spotting her around the Kermadecs, Norfolk Island, Lord Howe Island, the Wanganella Banks – or even further afield.
Most likely she’ll have a tail-walking marlin off her stern.


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