Azimut 62SBy Alan Harper
Azimut has been working hard filling the gaps in its red range. The famous Azimut 68S, which seemed such a radical departure for a builder of safe, sensible, white flying-bridge cruisers and motoryachts, was followed pretty quickly by the surface-drive-equipped Azimut 86S which was, if anything, even more off the wall.
A short breathing space followed (while the company got busy reinventing crucial areas of its flying-bridge range), and then at the Genoa boat show last autumn not one but two new red ones were launched: a great-looking little 43S with IPS drives, and this one, the best of the lot.
Radical red sports machines were never what Azimut was about, but having made the decision to jump into this new sector, it's done it with great gusto and enthusiasm. It helps of course that the builder had the good sense to stay with its regular design team of Carlo Galeazzi and Stefano Righini, who bring a wealth of experience to the job as well as some of the most high-octane talent to be found anywhere in the world. Because while a white, family flying-bridge cruiser can look like a Volvo and still sell, a sportboat has a duty to look great.
A difference in hull length of just seven feet between this new model and the 68S might seem marginal, but the 62S is not just a scaled-down version of her bigger sister: She's a two-cabin boat. That's right—62 feet LOA, and no tiny third cabin that fills up as soon as you stand in the doorway and your kids refuse to sleep in, which therefore ends up full of cockpit cushions and spare fenders because it doesn't seem to be any good for anything else. It's a risky strategy.
No, instead of the joke third cabin, this boat has a second saloon, a home cinema, a secluded study for navigation planning, and a comfortable lounging area, where you can sprawl on a sofa and enjoy a pre-dinner glass of Sancerre while offering unhelpful suggestions to the cook in the galley opposite.
Not all of these additional features are available at the same time, of course, because they're all in the same area. And for want of a generic term to describe what is effectively a unique feature, we'll call this area the lower saloon, which you discover as you go forward down the companionway from the cockpit. There on the port side, facing the galley, which can be closed off behind a sliding door, sit a sofa and an armchair, with a coffee table. (That's for the Sancerre.) There is also a large screen, onto which the boat's entertainment system can project the TV or any DVD you might have onboard. (That's your home cinema.) And since the boat's entertainment system is driven by a powerful integrated PC, you can also sit down here with your optional Raymarine remote keyboard and call up the plotter and radar displays as well as any of the other data displayed on the instruments at the helm.
So this lower saloon is a tremendously versatile area, but above all it's comfortable. You want to sit there. And it's right at the center of things: A few steps from the helm, it is the interface between the 62S' upper and lower decks. Just forward lies the en suite VIP cabin, with a clever pair of hinged V-berths that slide together and substantial side windows, which combine with the overhead hatch to flood the space with light.
Venture aft down three steps, and you are in the superb owner's cabin, which is almost as large as the 68S' and features the same excellent dinette on the starboard side, where you can relax in comfort for breakfast and admire the seascape through those large and distinctive hull windows.
Obviously this is also a great place to sit while underway—though if you're the owner you'll want to be at the helm as well, because the 62S is a great driver's boat. With 24 degrees of deadrise amidships easing back to 19 degrees aft, this hull can claim far more deep-V credibility than the heavier 68S. And although 2,030 hp courtesy of twin Caterpillar C18s, matched to V-drives and straight shafts, gives the boat a marginally less favorable power-to-weight ratio, she does have rudders and props that seem to be a perfect match for hull and machinery, and underway she has the feel of a real thoroughbred. Acceleration is exceptionally rapid up to 25 knots. The steering is unusually powerful and geared for rapid response, and the hull reciprocates with dramatic angles of heel and a gratifyingly tight turning circle. You need that big sunroof open just to see into the turns—out of the windows there's nothing but sea.
The sporty feel of a driver's boat is accentuated by the single helm seat, but there is also a twin alongside for a navigator or two. Just aft is a sizeable dinette with a large, adjustable table—this is the main dining area, after all—and with the glass doors slid open, the main saloon and cockpit more or less merge into one sociable entertaining area, with a sunbed right aft. The stern garage can accommodate either a low-profile RIB or a PWC, but starting with Hull No. 3 there will be a hydraulic swim platform option, which will be the best place to put the main tender.
The whole main-deck layout works well. It's close to the galley without having the galley take up valuable living space, and with the giant sunroof you can bring as much sky into the picture as you need. But the heart of this boat is below, in that anteroom between the outside the world and the cozy accommodations below decks. It's what makes the difference between this sport yacht and all the others.
But one intriguing fact about the 62S is this: She's also available as a three-cabin boat. And guess where the third cabin would go? That's right, in the space now so elegantly occupied by that wonderful lower saloon. Just say no. If you want a third cabin, buy something bigger. The 62S is pretty near perfect just like she is.
Allied Richard Bertram
This article originally appeared in the June 2006 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.