by Dom Wiseman

Azimut Yachts began in 1969 when a young university student founded Azimut Srl and began chartering sailing boats. That young student, Paolo Vitelli was then appointed in 1970 to distribute boats in Italy and Azimut quickly expanded their operations. Soon enough they began to design new yachts and in a joint venture with Amerglass, designed the AZ43 Bali which was an immediate success. They went on to produce a range of models until 1985 when they acquired Bennetti and began constructing their own impressive yachts and thus defining a new style and standard that would revolutionise the entire boat building industry. They also established the iconic look of the range with large frameless side windows, a tradition that continues today.

WHAT YOU GET
Flybridge yachts are perfectly suited to our outdoor lifestyle with mild weather allowing almost year round use of the rooftop space. They also compliment our love of entertaining providing a large space with expansive water views and The Azimut 50 Flybridge doesn’t disappoint there. It also appears much larger than the measurements suggest and clever design and a wide beam have delivered the space of a much larger craft.

The flybridge is accessed via a set of stairs to port in the cockpit. The stairs provide wide and comfortable access with the front starboard side of the flybridge dedicated to a large lounge that wraps around with a fixed table in the middle. A large welcoming sun pad almost begs to have you lay on it to soak up the sun. The aft area is open and also contains a wet bar on the rear surface of the wrap around seating. The space here behind the wet bar could accommodate either passengers or a tender provided you have a davit fitted. The test boat had a sturdy handrail around the trailing edge for the latter.

azimut50flycockpit

On the port side the helm station has a single seat for the skipper that sits ahead of a neat layout with twin screens mounted on a panel that doubles as a wind shield. The steering wheel  is adjustable and bound in leather to  deliver a look that is all class. There is also an autopilot and radio here as well as a joystick for docking.

Azimut50flybowNo space has been wasted onboard and the bow, a clever design incorporating a six person bench style seat running across the boat directly ahead of the windscreen allows guests to sit upright while on the bow. Should a more relaxed approach be required there is also a large sun pad complete with moulded headrest. There is a walkway between the couch and sun pad offering quick and easy movement side to side. The anchor is located ahead of the sun pad and includes foot operation should it be needed.

Movement down to the cockpit is comfortable via the wide and protected walkway up either side of the cabin. Outside the large floor to ceiling single panel sliding door offering access to the salon a ‘U’ shaped seating with access to the crew quarters beneath the starboard side cushion surrounds a beautiful timber table. The door slides to the right which offers excellent access from anywhere on the boat.  Above the flybridge extends well back providing shade for this important area of the boat. At the transom, two walkways offer access to the hydraulic swim platform.

The salon has been designed exceptionally well and carries forward the large expansive feel offered all around the craft. the large sliding door combines with the large frameless windows to literally allow light to stream through to every corner. Immediately to port as you venture inside is a low boy housing a retractable television screen and storage while opposite a large settee provides a natural place to view it from. If you don’t want the  television, the view out the window is exquisite. This excellent design allows unimpeded access down the centre of the salon to the helm located on the starboard and raised dinette with expansive views out the windows to port.

The helm position is bordered at the rear by a bench seat for two. It is a cosy design and works well. The electronics and general layout is all class as you would expect with an excellent use of materials delivering a clean and distinctive look. Visibility is excellent although in all but the most trying conditions would I be inclined to drive from here. I’d be on the flybridge. Twin electronics are well placed and everything just seems well placed and falls easy to hand.

Azimut50flysaloon

Between the lower helm station and dinette are stairs that lead down to the galley to port. By positioning the galley here, Azimut have ensured a large open saloon and while it is located downstairs the area is bathed in light entering through the windshield. Here are all the items you would need including fridge/freezer, oven/microwave, ceramic cook top and sink. It has everything you need although again I would be more likely to use the facilities upstairs when entertaining. I don’t want to be stuck down here on my own preparing food despite the relaxed feeling.

Down here the standard layout with regards to accommodation also is expansive with three rooms, each with ensuite. The guest cabin consists of bunks with storage and hanging space and is certainly plush enough for guest and/or children while the VIP cabin is located in the bow. With a deck hatch overhead airflow is great and windows allow light to bounce off the water and straight into the room. I found this to be the only place that was a bit tight to get to.

The full beam master is located amidships and the bed centred. The headroom is excellent and the space here expansive. The ensuite is exceptional and better than some home set ups. There is a separate shower and plenty of storage and again the combination of materials works well and has clearly been well thought out. Like the rest of the craft the designers have used the light well to accentuate the space. The independent air conditioning for each cabin is beautiful and also extends to the crew quarters.

azimut50flymastersuite2

POWER
This boat is powered with twin 650hp Caterpillar engines offering a spritely 30 knots plus top speed. For a 50 foot boat that is quite a clip indeed. The engines power up smoothly and feels  perfectly suited to the hull. They run to shaft drives providing excellent maintenance credentials and efficiency.

ON THE WATER
azimut50flymoored2The sheer size of this boat enables it to run without being affected greatly by the chop experienced on Sydney Harbour and it’s a beauty to be behind the wheel of. The hull has sharp entry and enables it to cut through the water efficiently. The Azimut boat handling always impresses and the 50 Fybridge is no exception. Precise steering feeds into the hull and it really beds into corners and tracks predictably as you turn but it is the power delivery that impressed most although flat out would be reserved for emergencies such is the opulent interior and will to simply cruise about.
Cruising speeds are also a pleasure with sure performance at all times. The visibility from any driving position is excellent too. When it comes time to park the bow thruster, should you need it, and the joystick control make easy work of berthing, even for the relative novice although Azimut’s Australian dealer will provide all the help you need short of being your personal chauffeur.

OVERVIEW

With a stunning design and exceptional appointments onboard, the Azimut 50 Flybridge is a beauty perfectly suited to our outdoorsy nature. There are a host of outdoor entertaining areas including the bow space which is in itself a clever use of space. The boat is a class above when it comes to refinement with plush fittings everywhere. The use of natural light is also well executed and allows the internals to breathe naturally.

This boat definitely has the feel of a craft larger and more expensive and delivers usability in droves. I could imagine cruising any number of ports on this without having to hit land.
POSITIVES
Innovative design
Space
Exceptional finishes

NEGATIVES
Galley down below

NUMBERS THAT MATTER
Price: $1,690,000 (as tested)
Construction: GRP Fiberglass
Length Overall: 15.88m
Beam: 4.67m
Draft: 1.4m
Dry Weight: 24,850kgs
Engines: Twin Caterpillar 650hp
Fuel Capacity: 2200 litres
Water: 590 litres