Atlantis 55 - runningAndy Adams

The Italian yacht builders Azimut and Bennetti are a very large organization, well known for their Italian styling and modern designs. The Atlantis line is a “brand belonging to the Azimut and Benetti” organization. Atlantis models are express cruisers distinguished by more performance and radical design features. Our test boat was the top-of-the-line Atlantis 55.

While Caterpillar diesels are the standard power, Manon and Patrick McGrail–a retired racing driver–who owned our test yacht chose the Mann 800 diesel engines for even greater performance. Able to achieve a top speed of close to 50 mph under ideal conditions, this yacht is as fast as it is striking. Heads certainly turn when you pull in with the Atlantis 55.

For a yacht of this length, it has a very low profile and exceptional glass areas. The two windshield sections are enormous and swept by articulated wipers with bonded automotive style to their framework, making a very smooth line all the way to the windshield header. This, in turn, becomes a massive glass sunroof on a polished metal frame. This section of cockpit roof slides silently back on a chain drive at the touch of a button. For even more breeze through the cockpit, the cabin side glass is top hinged and swings out electrically to the side.

The living space displays more ultramodern thinking. From the aft swim platform to the helm and companionway, the Atlantis 55 is one vast living room. Starting at the stern, the swim platform was equipped with real teak, full width. Two steps on either side lead up past an enormous semi-circular structure that appears to be the transom. In fact, that whole section of the boat lifts up, revealing a garage for an inflatable yacht tender.

Ahead of the “garage” is a huge wraparound bench seat to starboard; forward is a refreshment center with refrigerator, icemaker, sink and an electric grill for those times when you want to cook under way and can't use the propane barbecue. A large fiberglass lid covers the area when it's not in use.

Atlantis 55 - CockpitAhead is the helm at the main bulkhead with the companionway in the center. It has a curved, sliding door. To port is another wraparound seating area with a table. It seems to us that as many as three or four couples could be enjoying themselves on this yacht, even under way at high speeds. The accommodations really are exceptional. 

When you first step on board, one of the interior features that is most striking is the raised lounge or sun bed on the port side. Under this is the master stateroom. ..more on that in a minute.

The Atlantis 55 design seems especially well-suited to all day entertaining. There was a soft top extending back from the cabin roof for shade over the stern and it was remarkably lightweight to make storage easier. Other exterior features include a large sun pad on the forward deck, high railings and wide side decks, impressively large stainless steel cleats and hardware including the huge polished anchor and Quick windlass at the bow. There is a big locker, lots of chain and a very aggressive pattern on the nonskid surfaces. That helped us feel extra secure walking forward.

You would normally board at the stern though; our test boat had been fitted with the optional Opacmare electrically articulated teak boarding plank that is as convenient as it is handsome. It stores under the decking and when needed, is summonsed by your remote control, extending out and up, so you can step on board from a high pier.

The helm and performance also deserve special mention. Even with full fuel and water tanks, completely equipped and in the middle of an extended cruise, our test boat hit a maximum of 2350 rpm at 42.7 mph on the GPS. Patrick McGrail pointed out with great pride how smooth and responsive the MAN 800 diesels had proven to be. Two very small electronic controls handle the throttle and gears. With the 30” four blade-props, the Atlantis really takes off as soon as you put the boat in gear. For low-speed handling, it's often best to use only one engine and the boat’s Yacht Controller system for maneuvering and docking.

Atlantis 55 - GarageFor a fully loaded 55-foot yacht, the Atlantis accelerated strongly, reaching planing speed in only 10.68 seconds. More impressive is the helm that is laid out like an offshore ocean racer. The small diameter sport wheel can be tilted to a comfortable position, the sturdy pedestal mount allows you to adjust the helm seat for the most comfortable position, sit higher on the flip-up bolster or lean back and drive in a standing position. 

Whatever position you choose, get ready to hang on. The Atlantis handles like a sport boat. The power hydraulic steering was light and precise allowing us to palm the wheel over hard while the big yacht carved a tight highspeed turn, losing very little momentum in the process. Even crisscrossing our own wake out on the St. Lawrence River, no waves that we encountered on test day caused any discomfort to the Atlantis 55. The ride was very smooth and controlled, even though normal cruising speeds are in the 30 to 35 mph range.

That's a fast cruising speed and before you cast off, it's best to go below and secure any loose items. Our test boat was elegantly decorated from stem to stern with sculptures and various personal effects. Even so, and considering that we are accustomed to rich interior appointments in yachts of this size, the Atlantis was impressive.

Through the companionway door and down a few steps is the galley with highly polished cabinet doors, many swing out trays and fitted areas for dishes and stemware. The separate fridge and freezer are under-counter models and there is a two burner ceramic stove top, convection micro, large sink with drainage rack and far more: a very usable galley, especially considering there is the cockpit refreshment center.

Opposite is a couch/dining area with very handsome table details, a filler tabletop and a flat screen TV opposite. We suspect this will be rarely used though considering the accommodations above.

Atlantis 55 - GalleyThe cabin is a night area, with a cozy feel and elegant lighting. Forward is the guest stateroom in the bow with shaped queen berth, two drawers under, a large hanging locker and seven side panel bins. There is a deck hatch and port holes for ventilation although the whole interior is individual zone climate controlled.

The main head is here with a glass bowl sink, vanity and shower stall. Also in the main cabin is a port side companionway where cabinetry conceals the washer/dryer; opposite is the quarter berth. Using the Atlantis’ 17’6” beam, the berths run side to side rather than fore and aft.

Under the cockpit sole, with standing headroom on the port side, is the master stateroom. It is very nicely appointed with a desk/dressing table daylight lit by a large overhead hatch, a head with enclosed shower stall featuring a circular rolling door and generous storage space.

Large portholes in the hull sides bring in daylight to the queen berth and the cabin is very comfortable and intimate. The only thing is that there is only sitting height over the berth. That will require a personal decision. If it feels too low, use the forward stateroom as the master.

In any case, the Atlantis 55 is plainly a yacht for making fast passages, entertaining groups and with performance to delight even a retired racing driver!

Originally published in Canadian Yachting’s November 2006 issue.

Atlantis 55 - Master SuitePerformance

Test Boat Engines 

Twin MAN R6 - 800 diesel, 781 ci / 12.8 L, inline 6 cylinder with common rail fuel injection.

Engine RPMSpeed MPH

Idle -600 5.7

1000         14.9

1250  19

1500  25

1750  36

2000  40.4

2350 MAX 42.7

Cruising Speed 1900-2000 rpm @ 30-36 mph

Specifications

Length 54’8”/16.70 M

Beam 15’4” / 4.65 M

Weight N/A

Fuel Capacity 2000 L

Water Capacity 650 L

Price (as tested in 2006): $1,300,000 Cdn.*

* Excluding duty

Test boat provided by and price quoted by:

www.nautiqueinternational.com

Speed testing by Garmin GPS

Photo Captions:

Photo 1 – The Atlantis 55 running.

Photo 2 - It is difficult to describe the wonderful feeling you get in the Atlantis 55 whether the immense sliding glass roof is open or closed; either way it feels great like being in a green house. In the foreground is the cockpit “playpen” lounge area which facilitates the standing headroom space in the master aft cabin.

Photo 3 - An interesting feature is the “garage” under the aft sun lounge. A large section is hinged to lift electrically, picking up half the sun pad and a width of teak swim platform. Inside is an area suitable to stow an inflatable dinghy, small outboard motor and related pieces – no more towing a “dink” or scraping the bird stuff off one!

Photo 4 - Handy to the cockpit and the helm is the galley with elegant varnished wood cabinetry, under-counter ‘fridge and freezer and counter top ice maker along with custom fitted racking in drawers for dishes and stemware. Filler sections make a full counter length for serving.

Photo 5 - The master suite is the full width of the beam and has large port holes on both sides that bring in a surprising amount of light. The only standing headroom is on the port side under the cockpit “playpen” lounge but that leads to the private head and shower past the dressing table. The berth has sitting height but is still spacious feeling and cozy at the same time.

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