THERE’S NO DOUBT that Azimut | Benetti is one of the world’s best producers of recreational yachts. What is less known is that Azimut owes much of its success to flybridge yachts – at first smaller, then up to 60 feet, with 300 units sold between 62ft and 64ft over the last 10 years.
So the starting point was these comfortable boats ideal for family cruises, later followed by S-line and some aggressive-but-elegant models like the Leonardo 100, one of the most beautiful big boats ever built.
Testing the new Azimut 66 Flybridge consequently has a particular value, since it means getting on board one of the best of the best. Of course, Azimut has stepped forward in technological terms over the last few years and this latest creation marks a further step forward.
First of all, there’s a smart use of carbon in the upper parts of the boat – the hard top, the fore part of the flybridge and the radar arch – where weight has a greater effect on stability. This means better performance, but not exaggerated costs.
The carbon on the flybridge has also meant obtaining an important living space: this material, in fact, encumbers structures less than normal fiberglass but with the same strength. So, the floor space “upstairs” is 28 square metres, the biggest in the category.
The technological soul of Azimut 66 Flybridge is also evident in many other elements and some solutions coming from home automation and automotive fields, such as the innovative electronic wheelhouse that can be set up according to the Owner’s/ Captain’s driving style and speed.
The panel that divides the kitchen from the living zone can be matted electrically for more privacy and the intensity of all lights can be regulated. The boat has Raymarine software that can communicate with most on-board systems: engines, bilge pumps, engine room ventilation, audio systems and air conditioners. Everything is accessible from a tablet device.
The interiors designed by Carlo Galeazzi are extremely modern, flooded with light and welcoming. On the main deck, the saloon has two opposing sofas, large lateral windows and very elegant details – a storable 55-inch TV, a back-lit glass showcase, an illuminated wine cooler in the bar zone, and a lunch area next to the pilothouse.
The cabins are on the lower deck – the huge Owner’s suite has a large private bathroom, and the others are a V-shaped VIP cabin and two twin-bed cabins with large portholes. The three bathrooms have separate showers.
Sea Trial In Cannes
One of the advantages of being a journalist is that you can drive a 2-million-euro yacht and you’re free to do what you want. Next to you, the Captain pretends to be calm and stays quiet (but it’s clear that he’s trying to understand if the journalist is a fool or an expert).
Behind him is an equally quiet manager of the shipyard. He’s caught between the devil and the deep blue sea: he wants to satisfy the journalist (who, in turn, wants to understand and exaggerate at the same time) without forgetting the Owner, who is there to take the boat and crew home safe and sound.
The tables at the end represent the basic numbers of the Azimut 66’s performance. Essential numbers. But if you want to understand a boat, you have to exaggerate – drive in zig-zags, quickly speed up and slow down, figure eights, crossing wakes, etc. And this is the hardest moment for both the Captain and the manager, but the most fun one for the journalist.
This is a long introduction to say that, this time, we have really exaggerated. Do you remember the beginning of the article? Flybridge boats are ideal for family cruises: but there are certain moments when it’s easy to forget. This is one of them.
Partly because of the electric wheel, partly because of the excellent bottom design or the perfect interaction with the two CAT 1150 HP engines, the Azimut 66 sails extremely well with her 41 tonnes and length of 20 metres completely undisturbed. The stability is always excellent. This is a fast, fun, and comfortable yacht.
Passengers will surely appreciate the comfort and the views that can be enjoyed from the sofas, sun pads and the pilot’s seats, as well as the total absence of vibrations even in the most exciting moments. On this early morning sea trial during the Cannes Yachting Festival, the top speed is even greater than what the shipyard promises as we reach a little more than 33 knots. The cruising speed is 28-29 knots, with a consumption of 350 litres/hour.
The Azimut 66 Flybridge is a great step forward for yachts that are meant for family cruises, or a refreshing zip on the water in the early morning.