Some boats look like there’s no space to make them better, but the new Azimut 50 Fly shows us that there’s no limit to improvement, still remaining into the traditional guidelines
How can you better a 16 meter yacht, not just by adding some features and a couple of feet in the name? Azimut took their old 48, and decided to reinvent her completely. Not only the result is very good, but it seems to be the starting point for a whole redesign of the range, with the same process initiated some months ago with Azimut 80, now in a much wider segment of the market. For these reasons and a genuine interest I went to Varazze, close to Savona, for a preview and a first test of the new 50.
The first impression, from outside, is that the designers have put at the center of the project the comfort and the space for the owner. And frankly, the extension of the flybridge to the aft and the large rollbar hinder the look of the boat, but the result is a 19 square meter sundeck, a 6 sqm cockpit and a 5 sqm foredeck (172, 65 and 54 square feet respectively).
The hull is a new design, made to maximize the inner space, while the “trade mark” six-square window is still there, both on port and starboard. The blue glass stripe on the back of the flybridge has gone, while the superstructure is characterized by a singular, large window per side.
The deck of Azimut 50 Fly
Despite the wide passageways, cockpit and foredeck are two different worlds. The back area is normally used as a “hallway” rather than a proper dinette (despite well protected), especially in port when it’s too close to shore. The choice has therefore gone for a large staircase to the upper deck. Two side gates lead to the swim platform, a lowering one in our case, useful for hauling and launching the dinghy.
The front of the deck, on the other hand, features a large sun bed with cup holders and cushions, and a wide bench facing forward, to create a perfect social area. The typical square bow from Azimut improves the space, but not enough to hide the anchor winch which is a bit in the way.
But the real treat is the fly bridge. It’s a beautiful sunny day in Liguria, and this enhances the feeling of a cozy and comfortable space. The deck is as long as possible, covering the cockpit to the aft, and the layout offers everything you may ask for. The helm station is to port, with enough space for a complete set of electronics. Forward of that, a cabinet is useful for storage of different gear, while the rest of the space is dedicated to the solarium. Move back, and there’s a three-side dinette, with a fixed table (easy to change it with a lowering one for enlarging the tanning space…). The back part is free, with enough room for a complete wet bar and grill if desired. The quickest solution is to place some free standing chaise-longues. Should the owners really dislike the sun, there’s a choice between the retractable bimini (hinged to the roll bar) and a rigid top with a soft, sliding opening.
The interiors of Azimut 50 Fly
A simple and rational layout uses in the best way the 13 square meters (140 sq ft) offered by the main deck salon. On the starboard side, the living area consists of an L-shaped couch and a tea table. Before them, a low cabinet occupies all the port side and hosts TV, glassware, potteries, etc. Smart enough, the living doesn’t turn into dining area (there’s a dedicated one), but can become a queen sized bed if required. Two steps up, the port is for the real dinette: seats on three sides, and a center table large enough for six but folding when not in use. Last but not least, to the starboard the piloting station features an all-digital instrumentation, a tilting wheel, and a seat good for two.
In general, the touch and the finishing follow the (high) Azimut standard, with noble materials and sober design that comply both to the European flair and to the different taste of the emerging markets.
A four step companionway leads to the galley and the cabins. I personally don’t like when the galley is located belowdecks, but in this case the headroom is enough for light to come in and fumes to get out.
The owner’s stateroom is amidships and takes the full beam, with the square windows mentioned before to give brightness to the center bed. This is just the other side of the engine bay bulkhead, but noise insulation is very well done. There’s plenty of drawers, but maybe not enough space to hang clothes. On the port side, a desk and vanity corner will please both the owner and the partner. The master ensuite is located on starboard and features a separate shower box. The bow is dedicated to the VIP cabin, with queen bed and access to the second head, which is shared with the third, two-bunk cabin.
At the far aft of this Azimut 50 there’s even space for the crew cabin with head: not exactly what I would want on a 15 meter boat, but seems like many emerging markets can’t really give that up.
The test of Azimut 50 Fly
We finally hit the water. The sea outside Savona is calm, and that’s a pity because as we cross some boats’ waves we immediately feel a soft and sturdy reaction: no splashes, no bangs, no squeaks. Despite the relatively modest deadrise (12 degrees), I am pretty confident that the excellent design of the hull would prove to behave good in much rougher conditions. The powertrain consists of two Volvo Penta D11, 670 HP each, with straight shafts and joystick for docking. It’s time to push the throttle levers, flat out: progression is fast and smooth except for a short time before planing when the nose raises up a bit. One at cruising speed, around 25 knots, everything gets normal even without touching the trim tabs. We reach the top speed of 32 knots at 2500 rpm, burning over 260 liters per hour. So it’s better to slow down to cruise (26 knots, 200 lph) or to minimum planing pace (13,4 knots, less than 100 lph). Finally, a sharp turn: we’re sailing at 26 knots and as soon as I turn the wheel our 50 quickly responds, heels just a little and starts turning in a very tight circle. For a shaft-driven boat, it’s just the last of many surprises.
Length overall 15,88 mt (52 ft 1 in)
Length hull LH 15,54 mt (51 ft)
Beam 4,63 mt (15 ft 2 in)
Draft 1,08 mt (3 ft 6 in)
Full load displacement 24850 Kg
Engines 2×670 HP
Fuel tanks 2200 lt (581 US gal)
Fresh water tank 590 lt (155 US gal)
600 rpm 5,9 knots 6,8 gph 10 l/h 2,6 gph 59 db
800 rpm 7,8 knots 9,0 gph 19 l/h 5,0 gph 63 db
1000 rpm 9,3 knots 10,7 gph 33 l/h 8,7 gph 68 db
1200 rpm 10,5 knots 12,1 gph 58 l/h 15,3 gph 70 db
1400 rpm 11,7 knots 13,5 gph 88 l/h 23,2 gph 72 db
1600 rpm 15,1 knots 17,4 gph 116 l/h 30,6 gph 75 db
1800 rpm 19,2 knots 22,1 gph 143 l/h 37,8 gph 76 db
2000 rpm 23,7 knots 27,3 gph 170 l/h 44,9 gph 76 db
2200 rpm23,8 knots27,4 gph204 l/h53,9 gph78 db
2400 rpm31,8 knots36,6 gph253 l/h66,8 gph79 db
2500 rpm32,3 knots37,2 gph260 l/h68,7 gph80 db
Theoretical range (10% reserve)
1600 rpm 17h 15m
2000 rpm 11h 40m
2400 rpm 7h 50m
Calm sea, temperature 20° C (68° F), fuel 1000 lt (264 US gal), fresh water 500 lt (132 US gal), passengers 6, clean hull
with 2×670 HP Volvo Penta D11€ 800.000, transportation and VAT non included
Mìele appliances – Raymarine C125 – Crew cabin – Air conditioning – Flybridge furniture: couch, grill, refrigerator, ice maker – Teak-covered deck – Swim platform – Generator 13 Kw
ShipyardAzimut Yachts (IT), tel. +39 011 93161 Visit Azimut Yachts website