Hard not to praise this new yacht, both refined and efficient, that joins the plethoric flybridge range of the shipyard Azimut. The overall design displays a perfect balance between indoors and outdoors. The charm of her upper deck is noteworthy.
Leaving aside Benetti (custom super yachts), the other brand of the group, the sole Azimut signature displays one of the most exhaustive ranges of the motor-yacht sector with no less than eight product lines. In total, thirty-five models leave the Italian shipyard's warehouses: from the 34-foot open (10.25m) to the 120-foot semi-custom (35.5 m)! Our test model belongs to the "Flybridge Collection", which alone features eleven yachts with dual helm stations. After her debut at the Boot Düsseldorf 2016, this new 66' Fly has come to fit between the 60' and the 70'. Significantly surpassing the 60' in all areas, including with her two additional metres, the 66' also challenges the 70', despite being shorter (1m). If the 70-foot has the upper hand in terms of space and interior comfort, she is outdone by the outdoors of this new 66-foot. Allow us to guide you in the heart of her accommodation…
Moored in the old port of Cannes during the boat show, the 66' Fly looks good. Massive because of her size, flowing thanks to her lines, she displays the "square" bow that has become Azimut's trademark. This original architecture may not seduce everybody, but it certainly distances Azimut from the competition. As do the flybridge and its upper lines ending like wings, penned by Stefano Righini, a regular designer of the Viareggio shipyard. From the pontoon of Cannes, we embark on the large swim platform (hydraulically-operated to launch the tender or the jet-ski). It communicates with the cockpit via two small staircases on each side of the transom, which opens onto the crew area where are fitted two perpendicular berths and a shower room. Naturally, the aft deck features a relaxation area, ideal to enjoy an aperitif around the table for six (C-shaped sofa), and the adjacent fridge. The ascending staircase is an invitation to discover the fly without delay. This is definitely a highlight of this visit, considering how impressive it is for a 66-foot. The dual helm seat on starboard leaves a large surface for the sunpad on portside, while a kitchenette faces a spacious saloon (six to eight) and its beautiful teak table. The rear of the flybridge hosts a real lounge, with three two-seater sofas around a coffee table… perfect for a cocktail hidden from the prying eyes of strolling onlookers! The hardtop protecting the salon and the helm station also has an electrically retractable fabric sunroof for when the sun is gentle. Another asset is the foredeck, which offers, in addition to the sunbed, a large sofa facing the sea. This is quite unusual on a yacht of this length.
As for the interiors, the decoration was entrusted to Carlo Galeazzi, also a regular contributor to the Azimut style. Naturally, emphasis was placed on natural light thanks to the large lateral window, and this, both in the upper deck gathering the saloon-kitchen plus the wheelhouse and in the hull and its four cabins. There, the master and the VIP both enjoy large rectangular windows, while the two double guest cabins have classic portholes. Below deck, the crew cabin is located on the stern side, next to the engine room separating it from the passengers' area, accessible via the staircase from the salon. This unit hosts three bathrooms with independent showers, including the master and VIP en-suites we expect on this type of units. Lastly, the reception area, which also hosts the wheelhouse, is built on two-levels and offers a perspective going from the windshield to the exterior dining room on the cockpit. After a stop on the comfortable sofas facing each other in the salon, we walk up a couple of steps to reach the galley (six guests plus two booster seats) with its sea view. On the opposite is located a well-equipped but small kitchen/bar, with a marble working surface. The wheelhouse features two comfortable leather bucket seats, with half of the bottom seat flipping-up to manœuvre standing, helped by two large Raymarine Hybrid Touch screens, as in the flybridge helm station. In this large habitable volume, characterized by a perfect finish and a headroom between 1.9m and 2.03m, the ambiance is meant to be "Zen", with a decoration perfectly playing with the contrast between wenge, lining and cream-colored fabrics.
Despite a few wakes during our trial, the bay of Cannes was too calm to truly assess the marine comfort of this new Azimut. Nonetheless, we have noticed that the hull smoothly wiped out the crossed wakes here and there, no matter their orientation and our course. Good sign... The V-shape, with angle of deadrise 17° aft, easily lifts off under the power of the two Caterpillar 1150 hp (unique configuration), after the usual delay required for the turbochargers to kick in. In a few seconds, the Azimut comfortably plans (from 1 400 rpm and 15 knots) and displays a large panel of cruising speeds. From 1 600 rpm and 18.7 knots, where the American diesels give their best performance (almost 0.1 mile per litre) up to 2 200 rpm and 30 knots, the Italian yacht displays a large operating range to respond to sea conditions or schedule constraints. In case of emergency, she can push up to 33 knots (2 360 rpm), a speed we reached, with flaps up, eight persons on board, 75% of gas and 15% of water. This is one knot above the figure announced by Azimut in their press releases! Note also that the sound level and vibrations remain very reasonable at all speeds. On a calm sea, at half-throttle, we can even work in a calm atmosphere in the main cabin. Undoubtedly, the soundproofing work has been efficient. Before heading back to the port, we conducted a series of sharp turns at full throttle to evaluate her reactivity. Once again, the Viareggio shipyard proved its expertise, with a compact radius of gyration and a boat that keeps high-speed levels even during dephasing. At the time of docking, no stress. Truthfully the lack of wind makes it easier. The 66 Fly is easy to manoeuvre, thanks to the reverse gear, and if needed to the bow thruster or even better the joystick. The electric commands are precise and the keel doesn't drift. Whether sitting or standing, the pilot has a perfect visibility during manoeuvre, except when the boat docks astern, because of the flybridge extending above the stern.
We leave the boat with the prevailing feeling that the Viareggio shipyard has left nothing to chance to offer a very successful yacht, both in terms of arrangements and dynamism. Thus, regarding the two main aspects of yachting, the comfort and the pleasure of piloting, this new 66-foot is quite convincing.
- Overall length : 20,80 m
- Max beam : 5,23 m
- Draft : 1,60 m
- Displacement : 41 t
- Fuel : 3 900 l
- Water : 1 000 l
- Material : polyester
- Engine : 2 x 1 150 ch Caterpillar
- Max speed : 33 knots
- Cruising range : 318 milles at 22,5 knots
- Price : 2 100 000 € TTC
- Naval architect : Studio Plana
- Exterior designer : Stefano Righini
- Interior designer : Carlo Galeazzi
- Builder : Azimut Yachts (Viareggio – Italie)
- Importer : Azimut Yachts France