68 Plus — By Capt. Ken Kreisler
|Azimut goes the extra nautical mile by supplying its 68 Plus with all the necessities of a superior cruising yacht.|
One of the more important things I discovered while aboard the Azimut 68 Plus was not as evident as Stefano Righini's sleek exterior lines, the yacht's elliptical (a Righini/Azimut signature), double-curved and mirrored windows, or the extraordinary interior by Marty A. Lowe.
I discovered that this Italian boatbuilding company, founded in 1969 by Paolo Vitelli, has a brand-new facility in Avigliana, Italy, designed expressly for the production of its motorcruiser line of boats, of which the 68 Plus is the flagship. That commitment shows nearly everywhere you look on this yacht in both solid construction and attention to detail.
Getting aboard couldn't be easier, no matter how you moor. The swim platform leads to a transom door hung on massive stainless steel hinges directly into the cockpit, but there are also port and starboard boarding doors. Abaft each is a standard Lofrans warping winch, heavy-duty cleat, and line-stowage locker. Access to the generous (13'10" wide by 6'2" long, with 6'8" headroom) lazarette is just as easy: via a large hatch in the cockpit sole that also leads to the engine room.
The teak-soled cockpit is a perfect al fresco dining area as well as a great place from which to enjoy the passing sights or a venue for entertaining. The oval teak dining table, protected by a generous bridge overhang, seats six. At night a dozen flush-mounted halogen lights above can be adjusted to provide anything from a full deck wash to a mood-setting glow.
While it could have used a less substantial sliding door as an access portal to the interior, Azimut supplies the 68 with an impressive six-foot-wide stainless steel-framed, smoked-glass work of art whose convex shape fits in beautifully with the overall design of the boat.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.