— By Capt. Bill Pike
— July 2003
|With a Stefano Righini exterior and a Carlo Galeazzi interior, could this Italian import be anything but a super-styler?|
The quay at Santa Margherita Ligure is a beautiful place, and on this particular morning it seemed just a little more beautiful than usual. In addition to the warmth of the Italian sunlight on my back, the verdancy of the hills all around me, and the freshness of the morning air coming in off the Golfo di Genova, there was a profusion of motoryachts on hand, each lined up with her stern towards the stone walkway I was happily strolling along.
What a sight: so many new vessels, each brought here by her builder so that a bunch of magazine types like me—folks from all over the world, really—could do test drives and take pictures. The Italian Trade Commission was promoting the event, along with UCINA (Italy’s equivalent of America’s National Marine Manufacturers Association) and the builders themselves.
Something cool happened when I took a long look ahead. Because a few late arrivals had left some intervening slips empty, I was treated to a full, panoramic view of a vessel that stopped me dead in my tracks: the Azimut 62. To say she was stylish in the extreme would be an understatement. She was the most eye-catching vessel I’d seen in months.
I surveyed her sleek profile, the unmistakable work of famed Italian designer Stefano Righini: wild, shark-fin-shape windows in the superstructure, Bannenberg-style windows in the hull sides, and an array of vestigial fins, some trailing off the radar arch, some off the boat deck, and a couple of whoppers off the stern. “Whoa!” I chortled, getting a move on—this European version of the 62 was my test boat for the day.
I went onboard via an optional Opacmare passerelle—a solid, finely crafted piece of work—and, after strolling forward through the saloon, introduced myself to the 62’s captain, who was seated at the lower helm station. With characteristic Italian flair, he fired up the mains immediately—two 900-hp MTU 8V2000s—and, after taking an appraising look over his shoulder at the bunch of journalists he had standing pensively around, most of whom were going along for the ride, he began easing slowly out of the harbor toward the slick-calm Mediterranean.
The helm was set up pleasingly enough. Straight ahead were VDO gauges in a nicely upholstered, rounded instrument pod. To my right: MicroCommander electronic engine controls by Mathers. To my left: a string of toggles and a Shipmate RS 8300 VHF, flanked by a broad chart flat. The polyurethane varnish that Azimut used to adorn the cherry veneers and burl panels in this area was special stuff, formulated to resist glare both at night when the overhead halogen spots were on and during the day when driving into the sun. It seemed to work well.
I noted a couple of glitches, though. Visibility straight ahead was good, but it was poor on either side, primarily because of the thick mullions on the outboard edges of the windshield. And once I got the 62 up and running, with her bow pointed south towards distant Corsica, I began hearing the creak of cabinetry from the galley behind me. The source of the noise was tough to precisely locate, although it was more or less continuous. I called Azimut about the problem after the test. Our test boat had been a much-in-demand prototype, a company rep explained, and there hadn’t been enough time prior to the press event to fully bond the galley cabinetry into the interior FRP structure with fiberglass. He assured me the situation was anomalous—a proper job would be done later.
This article originally appeared in the June 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.