Azimut 50

By Andy Adams

Only days before our editorial deadline we traveled to St. Jean south of Montreal to review the very first Azimut 50 motor yacht ever brought into Canada.

It was worth the drive to Montreal! Azimut is new to our shores, but the company was founded in 1969 in Italy and in the '80s, purchased Benetti Yachts to become one of the largest builders in Europe, with dealers around the world.

As you first approach the Azimut 50, you are struck by the glass areas; shaped like breaking the waves, the tinted glass is glued on flush rather than in a metal framework. This looks sleek and contributes to strength.

At dockside, we noticed the teak trimmed side decks and swim platform. The side decks are comfortably wide and have an outside edge to prevent your foot from slipping off in rough water. Large diameter side rails with lifelines lead to the pulpit where we noted foot-mounted controls for the windless. We were impressed to see a large galvanized bin for the chain rode rather than just fiberglass in the anchor well.

Azimut 50 - Boarding PlankThere are small opening doors on both sides leading to the cockpit and we liked the massive inboard-mounted horn cleats with deck hawse and steel chafe guards. The swim platform has a stainless steel boarding ladder, handheld shower, fresh water wash-down and concealed storage for the electrically retracting shore power cables.

The aft cockpit will be a very favourite spot for most owners. An exceptional feature and one that adds to the distinctive exterior styling is that the flybridge extends all the way aft to cover the cockpit providing a shady, protected spot. The aft bench seats five or six, a clever folding table and chairs stow in a fitted locker and for the evenings, five overhead lights are recessed into the overhang.

We were surprised to find a funny little steel framed transom door rather than a full door but maybe this little door is more convenient.

Azimut 50 - SalonThe flybridge on this boat is remarkable. Eight teak steps lead through a hatch. Ahead is an entertainment center with electric grill, sink and optional refrigerator. Ahead again, is the upper helm with full controls and an adjustable seat for two. Opposite to starboard is a massive curving lazarette that could manage anywhere from six to 10 people including a sun lounge positioned to face the helmsman.

A clever three-section table adds to the ease of ingress and egress. Our test boat had a bimini top and of course the massive radar arch is there to carry your electronics and communications equipment. An amazing feature is that in the area overhanging the aft cockpit, the Azimut 50 has another pair of padded sun beds like those on the foredeck.

 

Interior

Up the starboard side are two armchairs and a three-seater couch, (all in rich, soft leather) around a very clever table. Looking like a small coffee table, the top flips open to dining table size and rises electrically. The table also slides on runners making seating easier.

On port and starboard sides are very distinctive half-moon shaped frames on the side glass. Curious at first, it turns out that these are electrically operated from switches at the helm. They swing open for fresh air or to allow the helmsman to communicate with those outside. The glass also has a special non-reflective coating to improve night vision when the halogen cabin lights are on.

Azimut 50 - GalleyAzimut has dressed the 50 with extensive joinery work, finished in high-gloss. Among the many features is a portside cabinet with four hidden drawers that reveal the standard set of Azimut logo dishes and flatware, secured in custom racks. To port is another three-seater couch which could be a single berth.

 

The Galley

The galley was our favourite feature. Down a few steps from the salon, the test boat featured a 13-foot length of formed Corian countertop with molded double sinks, dish rack and cutting board. A near-home size built-in fridge and freezer, three-burner stove (with pot holders to prevent spills in rough water) and with a high-capacity range hood to exhaust cooking grease and odours and more makes this a best in class galley. The convection microwave is behind a sliding cover. There are five overhead storage bins, wine rack, six different lockers, trash compactor, a slide out rack for bottles and cans and more!

 

Azimut 50 - StorageSleeping Accommodation

Our test boat was fitted with a forward master's stateroom and the starboard VIP stateroom. An option gives a smaller galley but adds a third stateroom with double bunks. The VIP option has a shaped queen size berth, generous storage with hanging locker and private entrance to the main head. This has stainless steel sink in vanity with varnished trim, curved shower door and a Tecma MSD. In this layout the guests will be almost as comfortable as the owners.

In the bow, the master's quarters has a shaped queen berth surrounded by built-in cabinetry and with drawers underneath, substantial cedar lined hanging lockers, three more drawers and a large overhead porthole. Adjoining is the master's head and again it has this innovative curved glass shower. A semicircle glass door on runners completely encloses the shower stall with its handsome teak great flooring, and then slides completely away providing a more spacious head when the shower is not in use. We were quite impressed with the design.

 

Performance and Handling

After all the impressive features, you almost wouldn't expect much in the way of performance. After all, this is a 42,000-pound boat but the Caterpillar Cl 2 compact 6 cylinder diesel engines deliver a remarkable turn of speed. Running in restricted waters, we couldn't perform our usual full measurements but the boat was impressive. The twin "Cats" get on the boost and the speed rises quickly, yet the bow doesn't rise.

The hull has a variation of pocket drives placing the four-blade Nibral propellers at a shaft angle that is flatter than usual. This way, more of the thrust is used to push the boat ahead rather than up. The ride remained remarkably level without the use of trim tabs and in only a few seconds we were traveling at  30 knots.

Azimut 50 - Cockpit LazaretteThe vee hull has 13 degrees of dead rise at the transom. The factory claims a 32 knot top speed and an impressive cruising speed at half load of 29 knots. The C12 Caterpillar diesels are happiest and most efficient running nearly full out.

In low speed handling, we found the Azimut 50 can make quite a sharp turn at idle speeds using only the rudder. In docking manoeuvers, most helmsmen will use a combination of forward and reverse thrust that we found would turn the boat in about its own length. Adding to that, Azimut has a joystick control for the thruster that enables the helmsman to literally walk the boat sideways into the slip. Another innovation is a sensor to tell you how close you are getting to the pier.

Overall, buyers in this size range should check out the Azimut. It offers a compelling combination of high style with welcoming accommodation. 

 

Originally published in Canadian Yachting's September 2005 issue.

 

Specifications

Length Overall (including pulpit) 52'6' 16m

Hull Length (including platform) 50'11" 15.5m

Beam Overall15'5" 4.7m

Draft          3'11" 1.2m

Dry Weight 42,328 lbs. 19,199kg.

Fuel Capacity: 488 Imp gal. 2,220 l.

Water Capacity: 110 Imp gal. 500 l.

 

Maximum Speed at half load: 32 knots*

Cruising Speed at half load: 29 knots*

*Speeds supplied by Azimut factory

 

Transmissions Drive 2.037 : 1

Propellers: 4-blade Nibral

Engines: Twin Caterpillar C12,6-cylinder diesel,492 kW at 2,300 rpm. ZF

Base Price (2005): $1,000,000 FOB Miami

Price As Tested (2005): $1,090,000 US Dollars, FOB Montreal

Price quoted by: Nautique International

Telephone: (514) 335-0100

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Photo Captions

Photo 1 – The Azimut 50; Euro-style with traditional virtues.

Photo 2 - This is a European-style boarding plank, operated by a remote. It raises, lowers and extends a beautiful teak grate walk with built-in fiber-optic guide lights. This is great for mooring in tidal areas and this clever apparatus also replaces the davits for your dinghy.

Photo 3 - The salon is entered through a wonderful three section sliding door which gives the space an open and airy feel and also allows, (with the removal of furnishings and floor section), an engine to be pulled out on a boom. The engine room is under the sole and is fairly low for major service work.

Photo 4 - This may be the best-in-class galley with great features and a 13-foot counter. The floor is done in Doussie wood that feels nice and is easy to clean - you'll really enjoy using this galley!

Photo 5 - Special storage compartment for the cockpit table under the staircase.

Photo 6 - Large cockpit lazarette with special compartments to store fenders and chairs.

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