Established over five decades ago in 1969, Azimut’s heritage is all the more outstanding because this family company is still owned and run by founder Paolo Vitelli.
Initially, the business, headquartered in Viareggio, Italy, chartered out sailing boats. However, by 1970 Paolo had won the right to distribute a range of respected yachting brands in Italy. This led to designing new yachts and a joint venture with the Dutch boatyard Amerglass, which produced the successful AZ 43 Bali. Further expansion followed with production ranging from the AZ 32 Targa in 1977 up to the Azimut 105 Failaka in 1982, the largest fibreglass yacht in ‘volume’ production at that stage.
A few years later in 1985, Paolo acquired the long-established and highly regarded Benetti luxury motoryacht company. With a boatbuilding history going back to 1873 and a track record of marine achievements, Benetti had developed to virtually introduce the concept of the ‘megayacht’. The resulting blend of two iconic brands enabled Azimut to establish fresh standards for the industry with pioneering technologies and new construction techniques.
From around the turn of the century, Azimut has acquired new boatyards in Fano on the Adriatic coast in north-east Italy, restructured the Benetti boatyards at Viareggio in northern Tuscany, and established new facilities in Avigliana in the far north of Italy and later in Brazil. Astute management, quality products and market success have led to Azimut claiming to be the “foremost builder of yachts and megayachts”, a statement few could dispute.
Paolo’s philosophy has a lot to do with the way his company has thrived.
“Since I founded the company over 50 years ago, I have always sought to create value, first for clients, second for the company and third and last, for shareholders,” he said.
“This unique situation in the nautical sector means that we can invest every day in innovation and technology. We can develop new models and further refine the services we offer our clients.”
Which brings us to this particular Azimut 60 which is available through the Australian distributor d’Albora Marine. The 60-foot flybridge cruiser has been fitted with extensive options and is priced at $3,995,000. The exterior lines are by noted luxury yacht architect Stefano Righini, while the interior has been designed by Achille Salvagni, a celebrated Italian designer who has predominantly designed for even larger yachts.
IT’S GOT THE LOOK
Externally, the lines are rather avant-garde. Large windows flood the interior with light, giving a greater feeling of spaciousness through the saloon and staterooms. Achille Salvagni is noted for shaping his interiors with curves and dominating them with pastel colours, highlighted by contrasting timbers and other details, all of which applies here.
The engineering is top class too with performance to match. We had a slight technical glitch that limited our sea trials, but even so it was enjoyable to experience the way the Azimut handled. (The 60 had only just arrived from Italy and it was a Murphy’s Law thing that was soon overcome.)
The lower helm is forward to starboard in the saloon, with a pair of supportive seats incorporating an adjustable helm chair. The well formatted dash panel is quite high which affects forward visibility to some extent, but a powered height adjustment allows skippers to find an arrangement that suits. The dash panel features a pair of large-screen Raymarine navigation and system displays either side of a smaller Volvo Penta display which gives multiple pages of engine data and links to the autopilot. An impressive dual-quad-stainless-spoked wheel is in front of the helm seat with the throttles/shifts just to the right and then the control for the bow and stern thrusters. Other switches and controls are readily at hand.
The upper helm station, forward to port on the flybridge, is largely a duplicate of that below with the same impressive dash panel. This time though, the throttles/shifts and thruster controls are to the left, where, if anything, they are even more comfortably accessible. The thruster controls can be operated for the thrusters alone or can be switched to act as a joystick control, using the engines as well for precise manoeuvring. As with below, there are twin chairs with powered adjustment and the wheel is adjustable too. An L-shaped lounge is opposite so guests can keep the skipper company and enjoy the fresh sea air.
Given reasonable conditions on the open flybridge, this helm position would be the preferred. Visibility is superb and the controls a pleasure to use. Response to the wheel was quick and precise, and the throttle/shifts were smooth, progressive and tactile. The relationship of the controls and the full array of information on the dash panel displays, along with the excellent and adjustable seating, make skippering the Azimut a delight.
Power is delivered by twin shaft-drive Volvo D13-900 six-cylinder turbo-diesels producing 662kW (900hp) each from a displacement of 12.8 litres. They can comfortably cruise anywhere from 1200rpm for 11kt (40L/h) through 1800rpm for 20kt (186L/h) to a top speed of 2350rpm for 31kt (330L/h). These are factory figures but we test-checked them on our short sea trials and our readings were in close proximity. The Azimut 60 has Seakeeper gyro-stabilisers and an auto-trim system (manually operable as well) for lateral and fore-aft balance. Both, as well as the inherent hull design, enable the 60 Flybridge to cruise comfortably in offshore conditions.
To board the Azimut, you cross a large, teak, hydraulically lowered swim platform that gives access to the cockpit via sets of stairs either side. Between those stairs is entry to a twin-berth crew cabin with a small ensuite. The 60 is easily handled so a crew is far from essential, in which case this aft cabin could be used for storage, additional guests or for relaxing naps after aquatic activities from the platform.
The cockpit is beautifully teak-finished with a large U-shaped lounge and table positioned centrally aft. Entry to the pristine engine room is via a hatch in the cockpit floor. The attention to detail and thoughtful touches around the engines and ancillary equipment is excellent. Everything is properly labelled and secured, and with ready accessibility for daily checks and scheduled maintenance.
Wide sidedecks with good guardrails lead to the expansive foredeck where re-arrangeable lounges make superb use of the area for relaxed seating, sunbathing and entertaining. The lounges and a table can form a dinette for true al fresco dining. A demountable sunshade adds to comfort on sunnier days. Around the decks, the hardware is generously sized and intelligently located, including power winches aft to assist with berthing. As expected, there is substantial storage and air conditioning everywhere throughout the 60.
From the cockpit, wide sliding doors open into the saloon with lounges either side, those to port being U-shaped. Further forward to starboard is a dinette with a table adaptable in both size and height. The wonder of this dinette area is that the window reaches to the ceiling and is matched lower down with a cutaway gun’l for uninhibited views of the scenes and waters alongside. Opposite is a fully equipped galley whose central location makes the supply of meals, snacks or drinks convenient to anywhere in the saloon or cockpit as well.
To prevent the galley being intrusive, a small island bar intervenes between it and the dinette, keeping the ceramic glass four-burner cooktop, the microwave and grill, the 185L fridge and 44L freezer and the timber-topped work areas discrete. There is extensive storage which includes cupboards and drawers beautifully fitted with exclusive Azimut stainless steel cutlery, stainless pots and pans, glasses, and porcelain plates.
The flybridge is reached by steps from the starboard side of the cockpit. In its own right, the flybridge provides extensive seating, another dinette opposite a work area with fridge/freezer and grill/barbecue, and plenty of wide-open spaces for roaming around to admire the views. The hardtop has a powered sunroof whilst a powered sunshade extends further aft for additional shade when required. The flybridge and hardtop are made from lightweight but extra-strong carbon fibre to keep the boat’s centre of gravity as low as possible for better balance and handling offshore.
A central companionway of carpeted steps leads from the main deck down to the accommodations. A VIP stateroom right forward has an island double berth, twin wardrobes, large windows with portlights that can be opened, timber venetian blinds, provision for a TV and an overall welcoming and comfortable atmosphere. There is direct entry into the port-side VIP bathroom while just aft of that is the day bathroom which also serves a twin-berth guest cabin opposite to starboard.
Amidships is the full beam owner’s stateroom. A queen island berth is positioned laterally from under a large window in the hull side that inundates the interior with light and wonderful views outside. Across from the foot of the berth, beneath another big window, is a set of large drawers in an appealing oval cabinet. Seating or dressing surfaces can line that side of the stateroom. The ensuite is three-quarter beam
aft and provides all the expected amenities plus also acting as an extra sound barrier from the engine room behind. There’s provision for a TV, of course, and wooden venetians for privacy or shade.
As elsewhere in the 60, this master stateroom is worth studying to appreciate the unique, often subtle, details from Achille Salvagni. The decor, fabrics, timbers, carpets and finish through all the accommodations are such that it’s easy to believe that a master interior designer created the amalgam of materials, colours and shapes.
Each Azimut is brought to Australia fully fitted except for items such as the TVs and stereo systems — d’Albora Marine has found many owners prefer to choose their own brands and models.
The specifications and engineering of the Azimut 60 Flybridge are enough to warrant much attention, but it is really the innovative styling that makes it stand out. The exterior lines create a striking first impression which, if anything, is exceeded internally as the practicality of the layout, luxury and comforts become apparent. The performance and handling are to the same standards, so the overall appeal of the 60 will endure long into ownership experience.
FACTS & FIGURES
AZIMUT 60 Flybridge
MATERIAL Fibreglass and Carbon Fibre
TYPE Flybridge Cruiser
LENGTH 18.25m (59ft 11in)
BEAM 5.05m (16ft 7in)
DRAFT 1.46m (4ft 9in)
AIR DRAFT 5.69m (18ft 8in)
PEOPLE (night) 6 (plus 2 crew)
HOLDING TANK 2 x 175L
MAKE/MODEL Volvo D13-900
TYPE Inline 6-cylinder Turbo Diesel, 662kW (900hp)
Achille Salvagni Architetti
1B New Beach Road
Rushcutters Bay NSW 2027
Phone 0407 900 453