Azimut 55 - Italian Style

Andy Adams

The Azimut 55 S offers the discriminating buyer a unique combination of Italian style and design innovation.

The express cruiser style in this boat is refined in a number of interesting and unique ways. The distinctive bow styling serves an important purpose as does the attractive transom treatment while the rest of the yacht in between is an outstanding expression of the contemporary express cruiser style.

Our guide through the boat was Derek Mader, President of Executive Yacht in Toronto and our Azimut 55 S was, at that time, the only 2016 model available in Canada. Derek had ordered the boat in because he believed it had some unique features and indeed, it's unexpected to find a 55 foot express cruiser that includes both a private crew cabin and an enclosed dinghy garage.

At the stern, the Azimut 55 S has a curving transom with two side platforms to step on board. With the press of a button, the transom swings out and down to become both a large teak decked swim platform and to reveal the dinghy garage.

When a yacht in this size range does include a crew cabin, it's almost always in the transom. So, where could Azimut locate the crew cabin given the dinghy garage?

View Andy's Video Tour:

Azimut 55 - Front deckIn the bow! Just aft of the anchor locker is a lockable translucent hatch with a ladder down to the crew cabin with separate MSD and berth. Locating it in this area has two benefits; it frees up the stern for your dinghy and at the same time, moves the forward cabin aft by a few feet. 

Azimut calls the forward cabin the VIP stateroom and by moving the queen-size berth back, the designers were able to bring flat flooring right up by the head of the bed.

Often we've found the bed in the forward cabin difficult to get in and out of, so this strikes us as a smart design.

The smart thinking continues in the forward deck and cockpit areas. Where the forward deck is often not very user-friendly, wide side decks, big side rails and an abundance of seating make the bow a much more usable place. Running almost the full width of the cabin trunk, there was a forward-facing bench seat ahead of the windshield so you can sit there like you're on a couch at home. If you prefer to lie down and tan, the bow is also equipped with comfortable sun pads, drink holders and handrails making the forward deck a really important living area.

Azimut 55 - GalleyAll the yachts in this category give the cockpit a lot of attention and the Azimut 55 S is no exception. In the cockpit are a refreshment unit, electric grill, storage areas, big horn cleats with fairleads, electric dual capstan winches and also joystick docking controls for backing in. A retractable sun shade makes this even more useful.

Our test boat had real teak decking, a cockpit table that electrically adjusts for height and seating that wraps around from the transom all the way up the port side to the sliding glass bulkhead.

The salon door consists of polished stainless steel frames and big glass panels that glide to starboard, opening up a remarkable expanse of seating that (with the help of filler cushions), continues right up the salon past the dining table. This seat culminates in a very cool convertible seat by the dinette. At the touch of a button, the backrest changes position while the seat cushion simultaneously rises. The aft- facing dining room seat is suddenly a forward facing double companion seat. Very clever!

Another smart feature in the salon area is that the dining room table top flips out to double in size and a pair of folding yacht chairs adds two seats to make the best use of the interior dining area.

On the starboard side where the sliding glass door sections stow, there is a cabinet that encloses the flat screen television on an electric lift with electric rotate.

Azimut 55 - electronic featuresThat's just the start of the creative use of cabinetry. It's not just storage; it opens up to reveal a full galley unit in two countertop sections. These lift to become backsplash areas by the sink and stove top. Deep sliding drawers reveal ample storage space for dry goods while a fitted cutlery drawer keeps all of your custom Azimut cutlery.

Under the base of the helm seat, a custom fitted drawer carries your full set of dishes and the locker on the port side stores your set of nesting pots and pans. Having the galley up makes cooking and entertaining a more social activity and gets the chef up into the heart of the party. A few steps out to the cockpit and you can grill at the same time as you have pots going on the stove top.

It will be a very nice arrangement on a beautiful sunny summer evening and it's made even better by the large electrically operated sunroof. 

The helm is on the starboard side with the wheel near the centerline and features a pair of leather trimmed sports seats.  The captain gets electric adjustment for reach and height as you would in your car, plus there is a flip up seat bolster and a flip down foot rest to go with the tilt steering.  This offers a wide range of driving positions including the option of standing up with your head through the sunroof enjoying the breezes.

Azimut 55 - Master stateroomOur test boat had elegant wood flooring and matching horizontal grained cabinetry throughout, much of which would open out to reveal some feature or another. For example, the panel in the companionway leading to the master state room opens to reveal a built-in Splendide washer / dryer. In the master stateroom, what looked to be paneling swings open to reveal large cedar lined closets and storage areas. Elegant little bedside lights and convenient touches like power points make the spacious master state room particularly inviting and comfortable. Large hull side windows including screened opening sections provide considerable daylight as well as natural ventilation if you'd rather not run the air conditioning.

The master head is particularly attractive with elegant faucets, opening portholes, vessel sink, mirror and private enclosed shower stall with a glass door.

In the bow, as I mentioned at the beginning of the story, is the VIP stateroom with a conventionally sized and shaped queen. Again, elegant woodwork gives this stateroom a bright spacious feeling. The VIP head also serves as the day head and this includes a vessel sink, mirrored medicine cabinet, opening port hole, wall-mounted soap dispenser and a cool circular shower stall.

With all the other features, you might be surprised to learn that there is still a guest cabin on the starboard side with a substantial hanging locker, two single berths, bedside lamps, storage and a handy little locker for holding cell phones and other mobile devices.

Azimut 55 - dinetteIn terms of performance, I have to confess that we didn't go far on test day. I couldn't tell you how big the waves were rolling on Lake Ontario, but it had been high winds for several days and as we broke out past the point and into the open lake, the rolling waves literally had us pointing skyward at about 45° ready to go airborne if we didn't back off the throttles. 

‘Nasty conditions for sure and I'm glad we didn't have to go far, but I'm pleased to report that even in such big rolling seas, the Azimut impressed us with its very solid ride and construction. Even coming down hard from the crest of the big waves, none of the doors or cabinets were banging, everything was tight and secure. 

For such bad conditions, the boat was stable and comfortable and this may be partly because it was equipped with a Seakeeper gyro stabilizer – certainly a nice option to have! The triple Volvo Penta IPS600 drives let us bring the boat about smartly and head back into the more sheltered water where we were able to run wide open as well as trying out various cruising speeds, tight high-speed turns and more normal operating conditions. Maximum speed is 35 knots while cruising speed is 30 knots.

Azimut 55 - TransomOverall, the Azimut 55 S is an elegant and innovative big express yacht that should do well in Canada.

Specifications

Triple Volvo Penta D6 IPS600 engines, 435 hp each, joystick docking

Length overall (including pulpit): 56'9" / 17.29 m

Maximum beam: 15'7" / 4.75 m

Displacement at full load: 23.22 times

Fuel capacity: 423 gals / 1600 litres

Water capacity: 156 gals / 590 litres

Azimut 55 - HelmTest boat and price supplied by Executive Yacht, executiveyachtcanada.com

$1,999,999  US  MSRP

Photo Captions

Photo 1 - Italian Style Plus Design Innovation

Photo 2 - Azimut makes great use of the front deck on the 55 S.

Photo 3 - Here the galley unit is open but normally, everything is hidden in the elegant cabinetry.

Photo 4 - Even the table adjusts electrically.

Photo 5 - The master stateroom is remarkably bright and spacious.

Photo 6 - The dinette is set up for indoor dining tonight.

Photo 7 - The transom opens electrically to reveal the dinghy garage

Photo 8 - The helm features an electrically adjustable helm seat.

 

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