Maxi Dolphin MD51-4, an amazing day open (15m) – From the Archives


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Maxi Dolphin MD51-4
Maxi Dolphin MD51-4

Continuing our exclusive series of iconic evidence from the past, the series on the youngtimer outstanding that have populated the pages of our journal, here is another iconic boat, a cult boat from the early 2010s–the Maxi Dolphin MD51-4. The fourth example churned out of the MD51 segment, this specific hull is well representative of the entire line: sporty, eye-catching and super-custom, because each hull fully reflects its owner, resulting in its own unique way.

Maxi Dolphin MD51

The Maxi Dolphin MD51 project was an interesting challenge: to make the brand’s first motor boat. A boat that would make use of the shipyard’s experience in building sailing hulls, but would also be able to stand out from everything that already existed on the market. Model No. 4, the one in question, takes this initiative further, developing an open hull in the fullest sense of the word, open outside and open inside, for daytime cruising immersed in the sea and technology.

Don’t miss previous articles:

Maxi Dolphin MD51 (#4) – Exterior

Clean deck, massive bow. The MD51 has retro charm combined with ultramodern technologies. But the MD51-4 is a boat all its own and therefore deserves a detailed description. For those who want to enjoy a daytime cruise, there is nothing better than the large, all-open cockpit with the sofas running along both sides of the ship (below are two Seabob), while the walking surface, which is of course made of teak, can be raised if necessary to first create a shelf for A full-width sundeck and, then, a table.

The locker underneath houses diving equipment for four perso- ne. Instead, a carbon totem has been provided for the antennas, which characterizes the dashboard area, along with the driver’s seat, which consists of a mixed steel-carbon structure with a decidedly futuristic design. More conventional is the dashboard that alternates between digital and analog instrumentation.

Maxi Dolphin MD51-4

Very nice hi-fi system and also color-changing lighting. Everything is managed from the iPad, and in this regard it is worth mentioning the specific program developed by Maxi Dolphin with Varesequadri, a company specializing in technological innovation in naval plant engineering, which, thanks to the Apple tablet, allows for the management of the electrical and playful part of the boat, remarkable for being over 12 years old. In fact, the iPad was set up to become a sought-after remote control, connected to the boat via a wireless network and, upon entering a password, allowing access to all on-board utilities through customized screens.

Maxi Dolphin MD51-4

To accentuate the sporty appearance of the hull, some details have been modified, for example, the use of exposed carbon fiber inserts on the bulwarks, contrasting with the metallic blue hull paint. The windshield, then, is elongated toward the stern, accompanying the lines of the hull. The ventilation grilles located on the transom, on the other hand, are enlarged compared to the previous 51, while the bow stern features built-in LED way lights. Pleasing is the windshield-integrated pass-through, which also hides the retractable bimini.

Maxi Dolphin MD51-4

Maxi Dolphin MD51 (#4) – Interior

The construction system of the MD51, whereby the hull comes out of the mold without the bulkheads (which are added later) allows for even substantial changes from the basic model, including, for example, its lengthening. This is not the case with the MD51-4 where, on the other hand, the opportunity for customization was used to set up a genuine open space below deck. The possibility of spending a night on board is not even considered, unless you want to end up on one of the two couches that run along the bow V. Large is the one bathroom, obviously with separate shower stall.

Maxi Dolphin MD51-4 Bow Salon

Ahead of this room is an aluminum top, which in the owner’s intentions should serve for cocktail distribution; in fact, refrigerators and galley are well sized. Opposite is the long kitchen cabinet with a stainless steel top, which is the most commonly used material, combined with a few carbon inserts and lots of white leather. To emphasize that maintenance is not a problem that nags the owner, the dunnage is leather, a light leather color. In the square, the hi-fi system is the best offered on the market, and Tv screens abound, even the lights change shades, always controlled by the iPad.

Maxi Dolphin MD51-4 interior
Maxi Dolphin MD51-4 Open Space Interior

Maxi Dolphin MD51 – Motorization

To curb fuel consumption and thus emissions, the project focuses on lightness, with a hull that weighs only 10,500 kg due to its special construction, allowing the use of less powerful engines but with high-efficiency transmissions, the Volvo Penta IPS 600 trailing propeller drives. In fact, the MD 51 was born for them, the IPS 600s, which, in addition to significantly reducing the installed power, allow for precise maneuvering even in tight spaces and guarantee excellent speed performance, as the collaborator who had the opportunity to try them out tells us in the next few lines.


“The sea outside the Gulf of La Spezia is not exactly calm and has a long wave, which could put the MD51-4 in trouble. The conditional is a must because this is not the case, and the metallic blue hull whizzes and tackles the waves like a thoroughbred offshore. The completely cleared deck (even the fenders are tied with a clip that leaves no protuberances on the deck once removed) provides a truly exciting view, and I can’t help but imagine the spectacle for those who seethe boat whizzing by-thevisual impact is sure to be impressive.

I don’t like the Star Trek seat provided for the driver, as well as the monitor tilt, which is not conducive to reading because of refraction. Two moles, however, that in no way lower my abundantly positive assessment of the boat. The data I record are excellent, with a peak of 33.4 knots, which is very close to the 35 claimed by the shipyard.

The particular set-up, with little furniture in the forward area and thus less weight, recommends resorting to a couple of notches of flaps above 3 thousand rpm, while no correction is needed for glide and the minimum is held at only 1880 rpm and about 13 knots of speed. For the record, consumption at this gait is about 50 liters/hour although I don’t think that is a sensitive figure for its owner. But it certainly is absolutely, confirming that it is possible to build a 50-foot boat that is mighty, beautiful, fast and economical as well.”

Maxi Dolphin MD51-4 bow
Maxi Dolphin MD51
RPM Nodes L/H + Autonomy
600 4.5 kn
1000 6.9 kn
1500 9.7 kn
2000 14.2 kn
2500 20.7 kn 90 (17 hours 40′)
3000 29.3 kn 124 (12 hours 55′)
3300 33.4 kn 158 (10 hours 15′)

Test conducted in 2 with 3 knots of wind, slightly rough sea, 800 liters of fuel taken on board and 150 of water.


Length Over All 15.42 m
Baglio Massimo 4.26 m
Fishing 0.98 m
Vacuum Displacement 10.5 t
Motorization 2x 450 hp
Maximum Speed (under test) 33.4 kn at 3300 rpm
Fuel Tank 1800 L
Water Tank 300 L
People Scope 12


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