Azimut 50 Flybridge — By George L. Petrie —
Part 2: Overall, I really liked the 50’s layout and with a top speed in excess of 32 knots, it was hard to fault her performance.
On top of all this, the 50 has a large lazarette that on my test boat was given over to crew quarters. Accessed through a hatchway under the cockpit settee with a single berth and its own head and shower, the space even has room for an optional washer/dryer. For American owners, this could be the perfect place for a child—especially if he or she misbehaves.
Beneath the stairway up to the flying bridge is another surprise compartment, this one holding a folding cockpit table that will seat up to four. Matching folding chairs can be neatly stowed in special racks built into the lazarette with plenty of room left for fenders, lines, and other gear.
Access to the engine room is through a hatch in the cockpit sole. Not surprising in a vessel this size, it proved to be the only nonspacious place aboard, with only about a three-foot-high alleyway along the centerline to access the big Caterpillars. Exhaust piping and structure made it all but unthinkable for someone my size (6'2") to access the outboard sides of the engines. In the event that serious engine work is required, hatches built into the saloon sole do provide overhead access to each engine.
Overall, I really liked the 50’s layout and with a top speed in excess of 32 knots, it was hard to fault her performance. But I wasn’t so enthusiastic about her handling. In a steep two- to four-foot chop, she rolled uncomfortably and had a marked propensity to take spray over the deck, necessitating frequent use of the wipers at the lower helm station. Roll motions were most pronounced at slow speeds and diminished to normal once we were up on plane; deck wetness, of course, exhibited just the opposite trend, becoming more pronounced at higher speeds.
To be fair, she was lightly loaded: Her fuel and water tanks were barely a quarter full and there were only two of us and minimal gear aboard, which made her sit higher in the water and ride a bit more tenderly than she might otherwise have. Nevertheless, she never once pounded or slammed, even at her 37-mph top speed with seas on the nose.
I found her steering a bit slow, and in following seas I had to frequently turn the wheel by as much as half a turn to maintain course. Fortunately, her hydraulic steering was as effortless as any I can recall, and at higher speeds she tracked well, responding nicely to the helm and banking comfortably in a series of tight, controlled turns. Heading back to the marina against the strong outgoing tide, she easily threaded her way between narrow bridge abutments along the Intracoastal, and with her bow thruster and a pair of high-torque Caterpillar C12 diesels, she backed into her pencil-thin slip with ease.
Despite my few criticisms, I found the Azimut 50 to be a roomy, well laid-out, and beautifully appointed yacht. Given her copious stowage and creative stowage solutions, she’s ideal for cruisers who enjoy their space with dashes of luxury and Italian style.
Azimut Yachts Phone: (39) 011-93161. www.azimutyachts.com.
This article originally appeared in the October 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.