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Text and photographs by Antonio Bignami
The Azimut 55 features which first impressed us were the imposing shape of the stern and the new lateral fin-shaped windows with external mirrored glass - it is possible to see from inside but not from outside. The Azimut 55 may be classified as a luxury yacht not only because of the size of the flying bridge with its fittings, layout and details - such as the mast aft - but also for the inner salon with its original and innovative solutions, e.g. the access door from the cockpit, with the space-saving convex- shaped shading panels. And there is more. Thanks to a simple rotational movement the dinette table may double its surface.
The beautiful open-air galley has an elegant cabinet that may be used as a worktop and whose bottom part may be opened both from the galley as well as from the salon and may be used to store the Azimut tableware. In the salon, there is a large bar cabinet with bottle-holder, color TV set with VCR and ice-maker. The refrigerator on the flying bridge, the one in the cockpit plus the refrigerator/freezer in the galley and the salon icemaker offer an enviable quantity of cool storage space.
The helm station is elegant and functional with clever solutions such as the possibility of using part of the forward settee as chart table settee. What strikes the attentive eye are the interiors particulars and the details of the ceilings which become artistic features to be admired. It is quite difficult to describe all aspects of an Azimut yacht, nevertheless one must mention the elegance and the size of the master stateroom which is very comfortable for a 55 footer especially because it occupies the total width of the boat and because thanks to the six lateral oval portholes (three on each side and located above the settee and the dressing table) the natural lighting is permeating.
TECHNICAL DATADesigner: Design and style by Stefano Righini, Interiors by Carlo Galeazzi
Yard: Azimut; via M. Luther King 9-11; 10051 Avigliana (Turin, Italy); tel. +39-011-9316600; fax +39-011-9316611; website: www.azimutyacht.net
EC Category type: "B"
LOA: m. 17.48
Beam: m 4.74
Draft from lower tip of propellers: m. 1.25
Light displacement: kg 21,000
Full boat displacement: approx. kg 24,000
Maximum passengers capacity: 14
Berths: 6+1 in 4 cabins
Test boat power: 2x660 HP TD 3196 TA inboard Caterpillar-total installed power: HP 1,320
Total engines and reduction gears weight: kg. 2,350
Light displacement/installed power ratio: kg/HP 15.91
Type of transmission: in line shaft with 4 blade-propellers in NAB alloy nozzles 28"1/3, diameter, 42"1/3 pitch
Maximum declared speed: 30.5 knots
Cruising speed: 28 knots
Declared fuel consumption at cruising speed: 58 gall/hr
Range at cruising speed: 280 miles
Fuel capacity: 580 gallons
Freshwater capacity: 185 gallons
Price with standard equipment and test boat power: Euro 748,862.50 + 20% Vat.
In order to calculate the approximate range in miles with a given number of rpm's, one should divide the fuel tank capacity 581 gallons for the gallon/mile corresponding to that number of rpm's. Consumption values indicated in the graph were submitted by the yard on the basis of the tests carried out on the vessel, but the actual consumption at sea may differ from the published data as a function of the vessel's condition and tuning, of the engines condition and of the characteristics of the propellers used.
CONSTRUCTION CHARACTERISTICSHull: deep V-hull with 17° deadrise aft and 23° deadrise amidships, trim tabs, 2 spray rails along 2/3 of the hull length at waterline level
Hull construction material: laminate with multi-directional fiber cloth and adequate resin, manual application. Sprayed neopentilic-isophtalic gelcoat. Sandwich structures of sides and superstructures are in expanded PVC
Bow area: bow rail, 1200-W anchor windlass, 66-lbs Bruce anchor, locker for anchor and anchor-chain, mooring fittings, sunning area with cushioning, manhole, tempered glass windows with glass-like finishing
Cockpit arrangements and fittings: teak deck, stainless steel rounded door with tempered glass and two sliding panels for saloon access, aft settee with locker, cold and hot water shower, 10-ft hydro-electrical gangway, mooring fittings concealed when not in use
Characteristics of the aft platform: hull-integrated teak platform, teak and stainless steel swimming ladder concealed when not in use
Superstructures and windows materials: deck fittings are in stainless steel and windows are in tempered glass
Flying bridge: access from the cockpit by means of a fiberglass and teak ladder, pilot settee for two persons, cabinet with barbecue, sink, refrigerator, 5-person C-shaped settee, sunning area, fiberglass roll-bar, stainless steel rails, manually operated light, waterproof car stereo with waterproof loudspeakers. Helm station with wheel steering, Microcommander electronic lever control, Caterpillar engine instruments, VHF radiotelephone, compass, electronic instruments interfaced with Autohelm ST 60 Multi, ST 6000 Plus (automatic pilot, rudder angle, log, echo-sounder & functions interfaced with Seatalk), sound alarm controls, winch, flap control, anchor chain washing pump.
INTERIORSLayout and characteristics: master stateroom with queen- size bed amidships, large two-door wardrobe, dressing table, en suite bathroom with separated shower stall. Forward VIP cabin with queen-size bed with wardrobe on both sides of the bed. Guest cabin with twin beds, wardrobe on the side. Bathroom with shower and access from VIP and guest cabins. Salon to starboard with cherry wood and walnut root cabinet, icemaker, storing cabinet, color TV set with VCR and bar cabinet with Plexiglas bottle-holder, C- shaped settee to port with pivoting table, stereo. Dinette on the second level, forward and to starboard, includes settee and dining cherry-wood table with removable central section. Galley to port, opposite the dinette. Crew cabin with one bed and optional toilet
Helm station: adjustable pilot seat, desktop computer, vertically-adjustable stainless steel-and-wood hydraulic wheel steering with controls and switches (for windlass, flaps, window wipers, window opening, navigational lights and searchlight, anchor-chain washer, horn, extracting fan and engine room fans). Interfaced electronic instruments: multi- Autohelm Tridata multifunctional display, VHF radio-telephone, RC 520 (GPS, chart plotter), ST 6000 Plus (automatic pilot, rudder angle, magnetic compass, log, echo sounder), synoptic instrument and engine indicator panel, Microcommander electronic level remote controls, VDO instruments, radar (optional)
Chart table: included in helm station with desktop computer, reading light and chart storing area
Galley: ceramic hobs, microwave oven, grill, Granulon worktop with two sinks and water mixer, vacuum cleaner, 58-gallon refrigerator, dish-washer, cabinet under worktop and storing cabinet including cutlery, dishes and cooking pots for 8 persons (customized by Azimut for Azimut vessels).
FITTINGSStandard fittings: in addition to the above-mentioned ones, EMI 5 kW generator, flaps, 7 batteries, Dolphin 24 and 12 V battery-chargers, 16-gallon water-heater, fire-fighting plant, Crusair Direct Expansion-type air conditioning plant
Optional fittings: tender on flying-bridge, water-maker, bow-prop.
IMPRESSIONSSEA AND WEATHER CONDITIONS DURING BOAT TESTING
Wind: 30-40 knots with south-westerly gusts
Sea: rough with breaking waves
EVALUATION OF PERFORMANCESeakeeping ability, turning and behavior on waves: during the sea trials we flew with the helicopter in front of the yacht's bow during planing at maximum speed in rough seas and breaking waves. Photographs are more explicit than words. Boat trim, maneuverability and a perfect combination of the two showed the excellent shape of the Azimut 55 hull
Wheel and flap response: excellent and smooth
visibility in different weather conditions: excellent both from the lower as well as from the flying bridge helm station
Docking maneuverability: excellent.
EVALUATION OF COMFORT AND FUNCTIONALITYDeck: very comfortable and easily accessible
Flying bridge: ergonomic, comfortable and with excellent fittings; very nice helm station
Interiors: elegant and modern, with vanguard, functional, fascinating finishing and solutions
Passengers' comfort: excellent
Helm station: as for the helm station in the flying bridge see above, as for the lower one, it is extremely functional, elegant and includes high-quality instruments and fittings
Chart table: comfortable and fully fitted, with desktop computer (this shows how charts keep up with modern times!)
Galley: one of the most innovative and original areas of the yacht, with very functional and practical accessories and household appliances
Bathrooms: large, with excellent fittings and suitably located
Engine room: excellent access and spacious
Electrical switchboard and plants: top quality
with Bosch battery main switch, two separated battery chargers for different plants, two electric switchboards (one in the waterproof in the engine room and one in the main helm station), high- reliability switches.