The newest generation of Azimut Grande yachts melds edge and elegance, muscle and mellow. Longtime Azimut stylist Stefano Righini’s exteriors are getting sharper and more aggressive with each new season. At the same time, interiors are getting softer and gentler, thanks to Achille Salvagni’s delicate touch. The builder’s 27 Metri is a perfect example. She’s an 87-foot-10-inch raised pilothouse model with a full-beam, main-deck owner’s stateroom — replacing the Azimut 88, a conventional flybridge design. The 27 Metri’s look and layout are proving popular: The first 10 hulls sold prior to her debut at the Cannes Yachting Festival in September.
It seems that every conceivable square inch of outside space is utilized on the 27 Metri. Take the flares of her snub-nose bow and squared-off stems, for example. These spaces do more than create distinctive personality; they deliver functionality. The yacht’s forward seating and sun pad are actually tiered, almost terraced, a layout that is not possible unless the space is properly proportioned.
The other end of the 27 Metri has a similarly smart design. The aft deck connects with the main salon through clean-frame, aft-deck doors, and a few steps down, the garage door opens to create a teak beach.
Ashore, I love a good bar. And to be honest, on the right (or wrong) occasions, I don’t mind a bad bar. But bars on yachts? Normally, I don’t like them. Never have.
And yet, the spot I found I wanted to linger in aboard the 27 Metri was the flybridge bar. The view was great, and because an optional opening hardtop protected the bar area from the full scorch of the early morning Côte d’Azur sun, the place proved perfect for scribbling my notes while pondering just how pleasant the world could be on such mornings afloat.
Salvagni is known for fluid lines and large radii. His interior design style manages to be both now and then, and that’s a good thing. The 27 Metri’s interior, just like that of Azimut’s new 35 Metri, is the best of clichés: timeless and elegant, but still front-cover, Fashion Week trendy.
Probably most extraordinary is the balance created among light, dark and midtones. If I were forced to choose one overarching adjective, it would be “calm.” Our test boat fused light, matte walnuts; dark, high-gloss mahogany; and whitened oak soles, along with mirrors, contrasting lacquers, leathers and brushed bronzes.
Probably most extraordinary is the balance created among light, dark and midtones. If I were forced to choose one overarching adjective, it would be “calm.”
Beyond the color palette, Salvagni’s studio drew much of the free-standing furniture and assorted fittings throughout the yacht, including several standard lamps. The pieces are exclusive to Azimut yacht owners — which should make plenty of landlubbers jealous considering Salvagni is already well-known beyond yachting circles. He has branded atelier collections and opened high-end stores in New York, London and his home city of Rome.
Forward of the open-plan salon and dining area are two mirrored doors. The one to port conceals a long, slender pantry and galley, while the one to starboard connects with the main-deck lobby, day-head, staircases and the door to the owner’s stateroom. Both the pantry and lobby have doors to the side decks too.
The main-deck owner’s stateroom is down three steps from the main-deck lobby. Picture windows dominate the stateroom on both sides, and though a horizontal framing breaks the windows where a rubbing strake would normally be, the glass extends from sole to almost ceiling height. Look at the photo at left, and you can see just how big the windows are. Waking up in bed with those views, I thought, would make me never want to get up.
Stairs to the lower deck spiral down and to the right, then to the left, in a design reminiscent of a double helix. It’s quite art deco, actually, which is probably why I particularly like it.
Owners can opt for three or four staterooms belowdecks. Our test boat, Hull No. 2, had four. The two doubles amidships had inboard-facing berths, and the two twin-berth staterooms forward had aft-facing berths. All were en suite. I liked the twins because the berths were presented asymmetrically, with the outer one splayed by 15 to 20 degrees. The layout made the stateroom feel more welcoming than traditional twin-berth setups.
Owners who choose three staterooms instead of four lose one of the twins to create a VIP suite.
As is traditional with European culture and yacht design, the crew quarters are minimalistic compared with the guest areas. Access to the crew space is via a side door on the port quarter side deck, a location that is convenient to the galley, straight down a ladder.
Owners can select from multiple crew-space layouts that have cabins for three or four crew, one or two head/shower compartments, and mess areas.
Crew have access from here to the engine room through a door. Headroom in the machinery spaces is reduced, allowing extra room for the garage sole above.
The raised-pilothouse layout is conventional. Stairs lead here from the starboard-side main lobby, as well as from the flybridge via a sliding hatch. A pilot-berth sofa is to port, and there is a standing helm backrest, as opposed to a helm seat, abaft the wheel.
In keeping with the rest of the yacht, the pilothouse décor creates a “guests are welcome” feeling. The space also feels large, when so many RPHs feel just the opposite, and the visibility is terrific
The Azimut Grande 27 Metri comes with twin 1,900 mhp MAN V-12s, 3-to-1 V-boxes and five-blade props. At half-load, and with those diesels spinning at their maximum 2,355 rpm, my test boat made an average top speed of 28 knots across several reciprocal runs — impressive achievement for 90-plus tons of yacht, and more than enough for our photographer, who asked us to slow down because we were leaving his drone behind.
Pierluigi Ausonio’s deep-V hull form delivers the competence we have all come to expect from a big Azimut. Beyond that, the design engineers can take a great deal of credit for getting more and more volume and functionality out of what sits above the waterline — all without compromising performance or stability. The secret is resin infusion (which makes for efficient laminates) and plenty of carbon-fiber reinforcement. Azimut uses more and more of the black stuff these days. You can’t see it, but it’s there, buried beneath the gelcoat in the bow area, superstructure, flybridge, garage door, arch and hardtop. It saves a lot of weight in all the right places.
With the 1,900 hp MANs, and excluding a 10 percent fuel reserve, the 27 Metri’s legs are relatively long. She’s good for at least 1,000 nautical miles at around 10 knots, which has always been my favorite chug-along speed anyway, not only for comfort but also to simplify passage planning during the pre-GPS days. Owners who want more speed will be good on fuel for at least 700 nautical miles at 12 knots. And for those who want to run fast for fun, this Azimut will manage almost half that range at twice the speed, meaning around 340 nautical miles at a maximum continuous cruise of about 24 knots.