The galley...uh, what galley? Oh, right, there’s one hidden off the lower deck corridor, and as in all good Euro galleys, it can be closed off so no one sees the chef drop the pasta. It’s long and skinny, but I give Azimut high points for the white Boffi cabinets, a full set of Miele appliances and stainless-steel counters. I liked the induction cooktop, not just because of safety (you can put your hand on a burner when turned to high), but also because Azimut rigged it with fully adjustable sea rails to keep pots in place. The downsides of induction cooking are that it limits the cookware, it uses a ton of power (up to 8 kW!), and many chefs prefer gas. I liked the two opening ports in the galley, and the separate air-circulation system should keep the chef cool and happy.
Pop your head through the upper deck hatch after climbing the perfectly proportioned teak steps, and all you can see on the flying bridge are acres of sumptuous cushions from hither to yon. The entire port side is one big dinette that morphs into a sun pad that fills up everything to the forward-raked venturi windscreen. A small cocktail table is by the dinette, and Azimut sensibly put high sides on it to keep that bottle of vino bianco from tipping over. In case you’ve had enough sun, a Bimini top extends forward from the electronics arch to shade the dinette and helm.
The helm. Wow. Straight from the Enterprise on Star Trek — the command seat seems to bulge with pods for headrest and armrests, the base is the foot of a large robot, and the instrument panel sprouts from the sun pad like a computer screen — which, in fact, it is. Isn’t something missing here, though? Oh, yes — there’s no steering wheel. The Azimut 72S has a high-tech fly-by-wire system (see “Sticking to the Future” on page 5) cleverly called the Unique Control System (UCS), which it certainly is.
Our test 72S had the standard pair of MAN V12 common-rail diesels that punch out a combined 3,600 horsepower, which is enough to rip open the ocean at 45-plus knots. That is, by the way, a whacking great speed when you’re shoving 46 tons of fiberglass and leather and gold sinks along. You will find yourself pulling in to Portofino or Martha’s Vineyard before everyone else, but at 178 gph, you may need to stop by the fuel dock.
We also had a Seakeeper gyro stabilizer aboard, and this system never fails to amaze me. Using a flywheel rotating at extremely high speed in a vacuum case, it has enough momentum to reduce roll by as much as 80 percent. We had a lumpy and random sea for our trial, and the Seakeeper turned it into a millpond.
The 72S has a deadrise of 16.9 degrees and, like all moderate-V hulls, is sensitive to trim tabs. I found that the automatic tab system allowed the boat to run at a slight heel, which is easily corrected with the manual override.
Azimuts brought into the United States have extensive customization, from the twin 20 kW (60 hertz) gensets to power electrical needs to connections and systems suitable for North American use. You can choose the Azimut Master Peace program, which provides full warranty and scheduled maintenance for three years, and you can extend the structural warranty to five years. Azimut also has a program to put your yacht into charter service. It maintains a worldwide crew database for Azimut owners. Should your Azimut need service while cruising the Med, well, the company has a “loaner program” with Azimuts for your use.
Beautifully built, luxuriously finished, comfortable to the point of decadence, and with just enough Italian quirks to keep you smiling, the Azimut 72S is all about la dolce vita.
Displ.: 92,000 lb.
Fuel: 1,268 gal.
Water: 291 gal.
Deadrise: 16.9 degrees
Engines Tested: 2 x 1,800 hp MAN V12 common-rail diesels
Price as Tested: $5,003,110
Azimut Yachts, MarineMax, 954-941-0524, + 39 011 93161; www.azimutyachts.com