The decor is also familiar from earlier S boats: The wenge on the floors is also used on doors and bulkheads, providing a dark, dramatic contrast with the creams and beiges of the carpets, linings, and upholstery. And if the slinky leather bedspread in the master cabin doesn't quite ring your bell, then the impossibly soft fur counterpane in the VIP cabin probably will.
Details like the discreet stair lights, designed to echo the shape of those iconic square topsides windows, might only be appreciated by guests with an eye for such things. But everyone will enjoy the more overt touches like the expensive Hansa Murano taps in the master heads, which manage in equal measure to be both silly and rather marvelous.
Money has been spent under the skin, too. The whole accommodation structure is built on a rubber-insulated aluminum frame to reduce sound and vibration. And behind the the bulkheads' linings and veneers are a 2.5-inch-thick foam-plywood sandwich.
Although the 103S's centerpiece, the master cabin, stands as a supremely successful design, the main-deck layout, running through those giant cockpit doors from transom to helm in one uninterrupted sweep, with a massive sunroof that invites the sky into the dining room, comes a close second.
Second only because of one conceptual shortcoming that I felt needed a bit more thought. The 103S has two galleys: a small one hidden down aft in the crew's quarters, and a larger, better appointed, stainless steel affair down some steps just forward of the helm. This is described by Azimut as the "owner's galley," perhaps because there is no way for the crew to work in it without passing through the dining area. If the crew is really expected to use the aft galley for guests' meals, it needs better access than a steep companionway out onto the side deck.
Interestingly, one reason why the main-deck layout works so well and feels so spacious is the absence, at the request of the owner, of the standard layout's bar on the starboard side. With a bar already installed in the cockpit, another one a few feet away hardly seems necessary.
In addition to the spacious cockpit, there is more external seating up on the small flying bridge, with its upper helm station, sofa, and sun lounges—and another bar—while the foredeck dinette, with a built-in bimini top, is both a comfortable entertaining area at anchor and an exciting if breezy vantage point when underway.
There is no shortage of places to sit with a gin and tonic on the 103S. In fact there is no shortage of anything: space, headroom, horsepower, luxury, or speed. If I hadn't seen it for myself, I'm not sure I'd believe it.
For more information on Azimut Yachts, including contact information, click here.
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This article originally appeared in the November 2007 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.