Azimut 116 — By Alan Harper
— December 2004
Part 2: Looking at the first two Azimut 116s, it is extraordinary to consider that they are different versions of the same semicustom model.
While many of the interior peculiarities can be explained away as one man’s unique vision, the designer’s uncompromising devotion to hard edges and sharp corners inside this first 116 is less easy to excuse. No allowance seems to have been made for the inescapable fact that this is a boat, not an apartment. Boats move, sometimes unexpectedly—especially shallow-draft planing boats—so all edges ought to be rounded. The consequences of an unintentional collision with the sharp metal corners of the dining table, for example, could be very painful.
Carlo Galeazzi’s layouts and designs for boat number two are a complete contrast, with the emphasis on warmth and curves. This owner—also Mexican, by coincidence—has opted for what is essentially the European layout, with three separate three-seat sofas in the saloon arranged in an arc, facing an oval island bar with stools. A passageway to port leads forward, past a semicircular dinette to the galley. On the other side, another passageway takes you past the wheelhouse and lower-deck companionways and on towards the comfortable utility room with its desk and big, L-shape sofa.
Down below, the owner has treated himself to a luxurious, full-beam suite, with double and twin guest staterooms laid out forward. Cream-colored carpets and upholstery contrast with matte-finish cherrywood and rigatino. The overall look is tactile, comfortable, and effortlessly stylish. A greater contrast between boats one and two could hardly be imagined.
One area where there is no divergence, however, is in the engine room. The engines are mounted low in the machinery space, with gensets outboard, making the area seem particularly roomy. A dry-exhaust system with water injection also saves space. The engineer’s control station is in a lobby area between the engine room and garage, separated from the engines by a fireproof glass-panel door. The garage itself can hold a jet RIB and either one or two PWCs—depending on whether the optional engineer’s cabin is installed—and the door mechanism is a simple fold-down type seen in Azimut’s 100 Jumbo.
The standard power package of twin 2,000-hp MTU Series 2000s driving through V-drive gearboxes reportedly pushed the first 116 to a maximum speed of 25.5 knots on her sea trials, according to Azimut. That’s a respectable figure and slightly higher than Azimut had anticipated. Dropping down to 2100 rpm, a cruising speed of 21 knots is said to give an impressive range of more than 700 NM.
Externally, too, the first two 116s are identical. The styling is pure Stefano Righini, with vertical ports in the topsides, sweeping curves to the windows, and a dramatically raked stem, this yacht is recognizably the latest and largest member of a well-known family. The flying bridge is laid out on two levels, with multiple seating areas and a double hardtop. On the second 116, this is a continuation of the interior themes; on the first, the curves and spatial variety on the flying bridge provide a friendly respite from the cool angularity that predominates below.
Looking at the first two Azimut 116s, it is extraordinary to consider that they are different versions of the same semicustom model. It is hard enough to believe they are from the same shipyard. Azimut admits to finding the first 116 a difficult project and points to the second one as the true expression of its ideas. But the first boat’s designer forced the yard to show what it could do, and the result is an undeniably impressive piece of work.
Next time a customer arrives with his own designer, though, Azimut might tactfully steer him towards the Benetti yard next door.
Azimut ( (39) 011-93161. www.azimutyachts.com.
This article originally appeared in the November 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.