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AZIMUT 68 S
The Avigliana yard, the world leader in the construction of megayachts and of planing yachts - the largest measuring 116 ft long with flying bridge - presented its first open yacht at the last Genoa Boat show. The AZIMUT 68S, designed by the architect Stefano Righini, attracted the attention for her nice slender hull painted an unusual dark red.
Even though several design particulars, such as the small appendixes of the roll bar and the inverted shark fin-like windows, recall the "family feeling" of the most recent Azimut line, others are distinctly hers. The special square windows that suddenly interrupt the slender surface of the sides, the proportional opening for air intake, the hideaway hard top, are just an example of her special design. On deck and inside, the innovations are dedicated to increasing the comfort of her future owners and users and suggest that the yacht shall be mainly used in the warm summer days during daytime cruising.
The salon is ample and very bright and is on the main deck in order to "live" the sea and the sun from a 360° angle, nevertheless in case of bad weather it is protected by a hard sliding top, ample windows and the tempered glass bulkhead astern. Because of this arrangement, the yacht is not a real open yacht but rather a "coupé" of the sea. Belowdecks, the staterooms are far from the galley and have separate access to the salon - a special feature hardly found on yachts of this size and which offers total privacy.
By choosing to use a V-Drive transmission and to fit the engine room astern, the architect could design very ample and comfortable staterooms. The master stateroom, located amidships and covering the full beam of the yacht, was created for an intimate feeling of the sea, as a matter of fact the waves seem to break on the bed. The architect Carlo Galeazzi created the area belowdecks with a somber décor and highly contrasting hues: clear fabrics and dark wengé wood create an almost severe minimalism in the salon, brightened up by colored silk bed covers and settees in the staterooms.
The design of the hull, the quite sleek bow and the balanced distribution of weights allow a good seakeeping ability and, if one does not consider the impacts with the bigger waves, the foam produced is minimal and the rooster tail astern is low and clean. The success and interest obtained by the 68S - nine units sold from mid October till the end of November - certainly show that it is one of the most coveted yachts and it will soon be joined by another new open megayacht, the Azimut 86S, to be presented at the next Düsseldorf Boatshow.
Designer: Azimut Yachts
CONSTRUCTION CHARACTERISTICSHull: planing hull with trim tabs along two-thirds of the hull length; 15°35' deadrise aft, 19° deadrise amidships
Hull construction materials: hand stratified fiberglass with cross-laid fibers and resin, monolithic hull, sides in sandwich with expanded PVC; for greater resistance to osmosis vinyl ester resins were used for the outer layers of the hull; neopentylic isophtalic gelcoat, ortophtalic resins for the inner layers and the superstructures. The structural bulkheads of the engine room and the collision bulkheads in the bow are in sandwich of wood and Divinycell expanded foams
Deck materials and characteristics: expanded PVC sandwich with teak on the side decks and the cockpit, stainless steel grabrails
Bow area: stainless steel anchor arrangement, 66-pound Bruce anchor, anchor chain locker with chain washer and drainage, 1,400 W - 24 V winch, stainless steel pulpit, sunning area with grabrails and glass holder
Cockpit arrangements and fittings: on the same deck as the salon; ample settee with sunning area aft, extensible table in teak with settee to port and opposite a small galley with sink, grill, ice-maker, refrigerator, waste bin and stainless steel sliding drawer for spices. The floor is in teak, the settees are decorated with fabrics with the same hues and colors as in the interiors. Under the settee, on the side of the aft garage, an extra cabin for the deckhand may be requested
Characteristics of the aft platform: access by way of a small door and two steps to starboard of the cockpit; the platform may be hydraulically lowered with a system of submerged levers, for easy launching of the tender and of the PWC (personal watercraft) stored in the aft garage and accessible through the transom door. The platform is also fitted with an hydraulic stainless steel swimming ladder, two underwater torches, warm and cold water shower and the 11-foot extensible gangway.
INTERIORSLayout and characteristics: the salon, with access door to the cockpit in tempered glass, is fitted to port with a sofa on the bulkhead, an armchair and several settees that may turn into low tables: one of them may be directed toward the cockpit and when the door is open may be used as settee for the outside table. Opposite, to starboard, there is a sofa for three persons and a wengé wood and crystal glass dining table at the foot of which is housed the 30" LCD TV screen. Flooring is in wengé wood and carpet. The salon especially features a hard, transparent top that may be electrically opened to ventilate the bright salon. Forward, the stairway to port leads to the staterooms and the adjacent stairway to starboard leads to the galley. Belowdecks, forward, there is a VIP stateroom with double bed and en suite bathroom. Astern, on portside there is a stateroom with twin beds; the bathroom may be accessed from the stateroom as well as along the corridor. Opposite is the service area with washing and drying machine. Amidships is the ample owner stateroom with double bed fitted along the diagonal. Astern is the dinette with six nice square windows. The bathroom includes an elegant shower stall in tempered glass with a stainless steel grabrail and hot and cold water faucets
Helm station: practical and sporty, to port of the salon, with adjustable moka leather armchairs; the wheel is in wood and steel, the analog instruments have chrome rings. The helm station is fitted with: rpm counter, speed counter and log and all pressure and temperature counters for engines and reduction gears, water and fuel level indicators, circuit alarms, rudder angle indicator and, of course, all navigation instruments such as compass, GPS chart plotter, VHF, radar, Tridata, auto-pilot, Cruise Commander electronic gear levers
Galley: separated access, very aseptic and minimalist. It is fitted with a ceramic stove with four hobs, two sinks in the corner, microwave oven and grill, 71-gallon refrigerator, extractor, pantry under the access stairway and the typical Azimut cabinet with drawers for Alessi plates and crockery.
IMPRESSIONSSEA AND WEATHER CONDITIONS DURING BOAT TESTING
Wind: NW 35 knots
Sea: SE swells
EVALUATION OF PERFORMANCESeakeeping ability: good, the boat followed the heading and sailed without bumping on the SE swells (the photograph was not taken during sea trials!); corrections with flaps were minimal and at 35 knots one hardly felt to be sailing at this high speed. The yacht had little leeway and a clean rooster tail
Wheel response: excellent; hydraulic type steering wheel, the complete rudder angle is done by turning a few times the wheel thus allowing small precise turns
Helm station: excellent visibility from a standing position (the armchair has an adjustable seatback)
Docking maneuverability: very good. With a simple rotation of the pushbutton of the optional joystick the pilot may control the bow and stern propellers as well as the engines. The maneuver is further facilitated by docking sensors.
EVALUATION OF COMFORT AND FUNCTIONALITYMain deck: the most important areas are located on the main deck of this radiant yacht, as well as the two sunning areas forward and astern that welcome the guests with clear fabrics and ergonomic details (glass holders, grab rails, etc.). The side decks are protected and easily accessible; the settees and teak dining table in the cockpit offer comfortable seating for 6-7 persons
Interiors: the salon is bright and cozy and the settees are ideally designed for 6 persons around the refined crystal glass table
Passengers' comfort: good with refined interiors. When the hard top is open one has the feeling of having the sky just above one's own head
Galley: the idea of keeping the galley separate from the staterooms and salon is excellent; the rational design, the pan holders and the efficient extractor are an indication that the galley is really meant cooking. Bathrooms: comfortable, with ample shower stalls, cabinet and sinks in tempered glass. The drainage system of sewage and wastewater with relative tanks is accurately designed and fitted.
Engine room access and operation: access door and ladder on the cockpit floor; soundproofing is good and all controls are easily accessible
Electrical switchboard and plants: low voltage 24V plant with independent generating set for 12V; battery switchboard and fire-fighting control in the cockpit locker; main switchboard with magnetic switches in the engine room for appliances needing both 220V and 24V, the switchboards for each area are in the galley and the individual switches for services are in the helm station dashboard.
ACCESSORIESStandard fittings: 6 kW Kohler generating set, dockside electric connection, two battery chargers (24 V - 80 A and 12 V - 10 A per generating set). Batteries: 24 V - 150 Ah for engines, 24 V - 300 Ah for services e 12 V - 10 Ah for generating set. Three electric bilge pumps (59 gall./min.) and two manual ones, radio and CD player, VHF, radar, auto-pilot, Tridata, GPS
Optional: air conditioning, master staterooms bathroom bidet, generating sets (from 9 to 17,5 kW), 16 gall/hr water-maker plant, video surveillance system, cockpit teak table, grill-refrigerator-icemaker in the cockpit cabinet, anchor windlass in the cockpit, dishwashing machine, hydro-electrically operated awning for the cockpit, 30" TV set in the salon table and in the master stateroom, 17" TV set in the other staterooms, dimmer switches, multi-voltage transformer for refrigerator.