azimut 55

Azimut Yachts 55 Reviewed

Behind the Azimut 55’s modern exterior and chic interior is a yacht with brisk performance.

I

was in a trance gazing out the portside window of the Azimut 55’s full-beam master stateroom. As I stared at a turquoise sea off Savona, Italy, it was easy to understand why the builder had included the rectangular-shaped glass. Rain fell in earnest from an ominous sky, with an army of droplets landing on the yacht, but the gray-carpeted stateroom made the space feel cozy. Gray zebrawood veneers contrasted with dark oak, brass and steel accents, and fabric-covered walls, creating a contemporary ambience. Soft white LEDs instilled a warm feeling. The only thing missing was a cappuccino and a good book. That I felt so relaxed and happy on such a lousy weather day is a testament to Azimut’s skill in building boats with smart living spaces. The Azimut 55 is the latest example of the builder’s ability to use nuanced design decisions to great effect. The 55’s master is outfitted with a double berth offset at a 45-degree angle, increasing the sense of volume and floor space. There’s a four-drawer dresser under the portside window, but given the view and the fact that there are a couple of hanging lockers and underberth stowage, I would forgo the dresser for an optional settee here to take full advantage of the serene scene. The en suite head has a Tecma toilet, a stall shower, and a sink with a rosewood marble countertop.

Azimut 55
This is the view from the amidships full-beam master stateroom. The dresser is gray zebrawood. Note the brass accents.Azimut Yachts

Two more staterooms include a forepeak VIP with a double berth, also kept bright with hullside glass and an overhead hatch. The VIP has an en suite head that serves as the day-head via a companionway door. Abaft and to starboard of the VIP is the third stateroom, with twin berths. Should an owner have a captain, there’s an optional cabin with a single berth abaft the engine room. Owner-operators can use the crew space for stowage.

The contemporary feel of the belowdecks area carries into the salon, which has a dark oak sole contrasting dramatically with lighter-tone gray zebrawood on the cabinetry. Indirect lighting and brass strips accent the cabinetry and soften the look. Again, I felt welcomed on such a gray day.

Her salon is set up for social gatherings with a sofa for two directly abaft the starboard-side helm station, which itself has two seats. Across is C-shaped seating with a fixed table, keeping everyone in the conversation. With seven people on board during my sea trial, I could see that the seating arrangement worked well.

While sunshine was nonexistent, the main-deck interior was bright thanks to nearly 360 degrees of glass: two forward windows, eyebrow-shaped side windows that stretch the length of the superstructure, and a glass door that, when open, connects the covered aft deck and salon. All that glass, from the outside, enhances the 55’s relatively low profile too. (The yacht’s air draft is 17 feet 3 inches to the top of the radar arch.)

The Azimut 55’s L-shaped galley aft is geared for serious meal prep with a four-burner Miele electric cooktop, Miele microwave/convection oven, Dometic stand-up refrigerator and freezer, and two sinks. When the cockpit glass doors are open, the galley becomes the social hub at cocktail hour.

Out on the water, the wicked weather created a quick, short chop, but the 55 dispatched the sea with malice. She has a sabrelike bow for slicing through a seaway. Her planing hull form’s deadrise transitions to a moderate 21 degrees amidships and then to 12 degrees at the transom, creating a stable ride.

Azimut 55
Open the salon’s glass door and drop the galley window to create an indoor-outdoor entertaining space.Azimut Yachts

It’s a ride made even more stable thanks to the standard Zipwake trim system, which uses interceptor tabs to adjust automatically for pitch and roll. The setup is plug-and-play, and the interceptors mount flat to the hull, adjusting up or down as needed. The system also minimizes performance-sapping drag. To make it all work, an owner plugs the boat’s specifications (length overall, beam, displacement) into the Zipwake system. The software does the rest. I’ve run several boats with Zipwake in a variety of sea conditions and found it intuitive and effective.

Combine the 55’s steady ride with smooth handling from the standard SeaStar electric steering, and you get confidence-inspiring wheel time. It’s sporty wheel time too, with the 55’s 800 hp i6 MAN diesels. These diesels, the only engine option, gave my test yacht an average top hop of 30.5 knots at 2,350 rpm, which is within 50 rpm of the engines’ top-end rating. At a 2,000 rpm cruise, the 55 jogged along the brine at about 23.5 knots with 25 percent fuel and 75 percent water in the tanks.

Running at cruise speed, the MANs burned 56.8 gph. Considering a 10 percent reserve on the yacht’s 673-gallon fuel tank, the yacht has an effective range of around 251 nautical miles. At wide-open throttle, fuel burn climbs to 81 gph and range drops to 228 nautical miles.

The relentless rain prevented me from running the 55 from the flybridge, where there is a second helm station beneath a sunroof-equipped hardtop. I suspect it would be a fun place to be at speed on a sunny day.

azimut 55
The salon furniture’s low-profile design combines with nearly 360 degrees of glass to ensure that everyone has a great view underway.Azimut Yachts

Six teak-covered steps provide access to the flybridge, which is also a party spot with C-shaped seating and a teak table to starboard, and a sun pad forward of it. Across is the single-seat helm. The flybridge overhang extends over the cockpit, increasing deck space aft for a table and a couple of settees for sundowners with friends.

There would be no top-deck sundowners on this day, but the Azimut 55 performed solidly in the slop, always felt sturdy underfoot, boasted an impressive array of new technologies and had a next-generation aesthetic for the builder’s seven-model flybridge line. It’s a combination that should shine in any weather.

Azimut 55
The foredeck seating has an adjustable back to create a chaise lounge. The extended flybridge nearly doubles the available floor space up top.Azimut Yachts

Sea Side

The 55’s teak-covered, hydraulic swim platform measures about 49 square feet and accommodates a Williams 285 Turbojet tender. There’s a retractable swim ladder, and a passerelle is available for boarding when Med-moored.

Broad Range

Azimut’s flybridge fleet consists of seven models ranging from 42 to 80 feet length overall. The builder also has the three-model S collection from 60 to 77 feet. The S collection has a similar hull form to the Azimut 55, but in an express-cruiser layout. Azimut calls its smaller express-cruiser series the Atlantis collection, from 34 to 51 feet. For explorers, there’s the four-model, trawler-looking Magellano fleet from 43 to 76 feet. And then there’s the five-model Grande range from 87 feet to 144 feet for those looking to make the mega-yacht move.

Outdoor Matters

Azimut says the idea behind the 55’s foredeck sun-pad space was to create a cocoon feeling. It’s an idea that is best illustrated when the retractable Bimini top is up for some shade from the rays. The sun pad’s backrest is adjustable to form a chaise lounge too.