Azimut's 80 Flybridge offers significant interior volume in a fast, blue-water hull.
September 13, 2013
Many new yachts clean up nicely for photos. With flattering light, the right angle and attractive models, a good boating photographer can create images that evoke the yachting lifestyle with almost any vessel as the centerpiece. A floating bulldog can be transformed into a nautical greyhound from a helicopter. By contrast, the first photos I saw of the Azimut 80 were seemingly pedestrian, straight-on shots that showed a few innovative design cues and the expansive scale of the boat. Having now seen the 80 in person, I can say that those initial images didn’t truly capture her silky lines and proportional beauty. (The ones you see here, however, do.)Courtesy Azimut Yachts
Azimut designer Stefano Righini got the exterior just right, creating a flybridge and hardtop that enhance the aggressive, but not too racy, lines of the hull. In the profile view, the 80 is quite sleek and proportional. From the stern, she has even more attractive symmetry: The superstructure tapers in where it joins the hull, and then flares outward as the flybridge takes over from the salon. Righini thought through the geometry, using straight lines with subtle curves and sharp angles, including a large, blue-mirrored panel at the base of the radar arch that looks like one of the salon windows from a distance.
The 80 seemed right at home when I met her at Varazze, just south of Savona on the Italian Riviera. The marina here is filled with express cruisers, motoryachts and flybridges, mostly from European shipyards. Next to a 65-foot sport coupe, the Azimut 80 looks massive, but not unwieldy. She doesn’t have the go-fast look that some of Azimut’s Italian and U.K. competitors prefer, but the jagged angles of the windows, crisp lines, low-riding hull and sweep of the flybridge let you know that performance is part of her DNA. Proving that point, my test vessel reached almost 31 knots thanks, in part, to her twin 1,550 hp MAN V-12 diesels. Moreover, this speed was achieved in 5-foot seas on our way south toward Arenzano. The 80 does well in the chop, tracking true. Her planing-style hull tends to run over waves rather than shoulder through them, but there wasn’t much pounding. She banks moderately into turns, with a reasonable four-boat-length full circle and without much heeling. Given this yacht’s 70-ton displacement, she’s quite responsive to the wheel, even nimble.
I also got to use the optional Xenta joystick maneuvering system offshore when one of the cushions blew into the water. My test yacht behaved nicely in the chop, backing down against the waves. The optional CMC zero-speed stabilizers were definitely a smart add-on, halting the pendulum effect one gets on many flybridges. This 80, Hull No. 1, was also equipped with bow and stern thrusters.
Her flybridge measures 440 square feet, and it’s divided into five or six social areas. Righini did a nice job of keeping the spaces generous, but human-sized, so guests can congregate in separate, intimate groups. Next to the two helm seats is a large, U-shaped lounge with a teak table in the center. It can seat at least nine guests, and the table folds out to become a giant sun pad. Aft is the wet bar and entertainment center with fridge, sink, barbecue and 40-inch Samsung pop-up TV. A 4-inch-thick table of clear acrylic connects at a right angle to the grill, serving as a bar, with two high lounge chairs fixed into the teak deck. Athwartships is another long L-shaped lounge with a teak table in the center for alfresco dining. Abaft the table is the Jacuzzi tub, with a large sun pad between it and the side rails.
A hardtop covers the forward half of the flybridge. The opening portion, which measures 9 feet by 13 feet, folds back into the structure like an accordion. Lights and two weatherproof Bose speakers are built into the arch. Azimut left the aft deck, a full-beam area measuring 260 square feet, wide open, offering a choice between tender or PWC stowage or the option to fill it in with more furniture. If an owner doesn’t want to install a crane on the flybridge, the swim platform submerges and can handle jet tenders up to 13 feet 11 inches in length overall and 2,204 pounds.
Righini’s exterior includes a bow area with an integrated lounge and coffee table, with a separate and large sun pad forward. The area has a nifty electric shade-producing Bimini top that folds up and out of the hull. The forward rail is 20 inches high, offering good protection, while the side walkways range from 16 to 19 inches wide for easy movement fore and aft. Aft in the cockpit is a U-shaped lounge and teak table (6 feet 10 inches by 4 feet 4 inches) in the center. A three-panel door, which measures 6 feet across when wide open, connects to the salon.
Achille Salvagni Architetti did an exceptional job designing interior spaces. The salon measures 236 square feet, with average headroom of 6 feet 9 inches. Azimut incorporated a floor-to-ceiling window in the forward part of the salon opposite the dining room table, even carving out a piece of the bulwark for a full view of the water. The concept works on the starboard side, but to port there’s a cabinet blocking the lower half of the window.
This 80 is the closed-galley version, which means there’s a solid wall between the galley and salon. The open version, with a cutout in the bulkhead that looks into the galley, might do better on this side of the Atlantic, where there are more owner-operators and cooking and entertaining go hand in hand. Her galley offers excellent space for the chef, with a full-size GE side-by-side refrigerator/freezer, four-burner Miele stove, microwave, stainless-steel sink and 25-inch-wide counters. The wheelhouse forward includes a white leather helm seat with two 15.4-inch, touch-screen Raymarine E-Series monitors, Naviop monitor system, Xenta joystick and MAN engine displays. Visibility was excellent from the helm. On the port side is a dinette that can be used by the crew for meals.
Exterior doors are designed into both sides near the galley and wheelhouse, providing an alternative path so crew can avoid walking through the salon. Between the wheelhouse and salon is a day-head. Azimut is offering four interior choices, two in a “Classic” or more traditional look (Dolcevita and Firenze) and two in “Contemporary” styling (Riviera and Portofino). Our boat’s Riviera, with white carpet, black-and-white lounges, white-oak ceiling with inset lights, and windows on every side, looked more like an urban pied-à-terre than a yacht. A black composite band on the wall and ceiling divides the front dining space, with a dining table for eight, from the aft social area. This social area has separate black-and-white lounges, a 46-inch Samsung pop-up TV and a stereo system.
Achille Salvagni Architetti brought the same deft design touch to the accommodations areas that it displayed in the salon, creating four staterooms with en suite heads. The showers are all finished in teak, while the Carrara Statuario marble flooring and trim add extra elegance. There are two guest staterooms, including one with twin berths (a triple with a pullman is optional) and one with a double berth.
The forepeak VIP cabin is spacious, measuring 11 feet from the bow to the door. The berth occupies the lion’s share of the room, but there’s still an open feeling up front, especially with the sizable head. Azimut used quality stainless-steel fittings and thick, 2-inch doors throughout the interior. I did find a few small things, such as a rusty hinge in a bathroom drawer and mismatched Allen screws on the helm console, but overall, the fit and finish were at a high standard.
This yacht’s full-beam master suite, connected by a separate hallway, is the centerpiece of the yacht. The suite includes a queen-size berth with a two-chair lounge along one side and a sizable vanity on the other. Five large hull-side windows infuse the room with natural light. An adjoining walk-in closet offers excellent stowage. The 40-inch TV is behind mirror-type glass (as is the TV in the VIP stateroom), so one can see images when the TV’s on but live with a mirror when the tube is turned off.
Azimut 80 Flybridge Head
The head at the stern has entrance doors on either side, with a walk-through teak shower compartment in the center. A separate toilet compartment is on the port side, while a tub is fitted to starboard. The space has his-and-her sinks on either side for privacy. It’s an impressive arrangement, certainly at the head of its class. Azimut’s 80, the first boat longer than 72 feet designed at its Avigliana headquarters, sets a new benchmark for this builder. I’d expect to see more Azimuts incorporating the open-space look with sophisticated designer touches. And if a picture of this yacht is worth a thousand words, seeing her in person is priceless.
LOA: 82’8′ BEAM: 20’5″ DRAFT: 5’6″
DISPL.: 70,548 lb. FUEL: 1,585 gal.
WATER: 291 gal. DEADRISE: 16.6 degrees
ENGINES (tested): 2 x 1,550 hp MAN V-12 diesels
ENGINES (opt.): 2 x 1,800 hp MAN V-12 diesels
BASE PRICE: $5,125,000 TEST CONDITIONS:
Speeds were measured by GPS off Savona, Italy, in 3- to 5-foot seas with 15 knots of wind, and with 59 percent fuel, 55 percent water and six persons aboard. Fuel consumption was measured with the MAN electronic engine-monitoring system. Sound levels were measured at the lower helm with windows and doors closed. Azimut Yachts, 954-727-0584; azimutyachts.com