Azimut Magellano 43By Capt. Richard Thiel
At just 43 feet long, the newest Magellano can accommodate you and four of your friends—or even better, just the two of you.
It’s a fairly common marketing strategy in the boating business: Introduce a new model, and then leverage its success by adding smaller versions that bear a familial resemblance and retain many, but not always all, of the original’s best features. That’s the path Azimut Yachts took with the Magellano. After kicking off its new line of cruising-oriented motoryachts at the Genoa Boat Show in 2009 with a 74 (now a 76), it followed up with a 50 in 2010 and then last fall, also at Genoa, a 43.
Although the company replaced the 74’s exterior designer, Ken Freivokh, with Cor D. Rover, the profiles of the trio are nearly identical and other similarities—both inside and out—are obvious at first glance. But as similar as all the versions appear, you cannot reasonably expect the smaller one to exhibit all of the comfort and amenities of the larger vessels. Or can you? It turns out that the 43 has precisely the same high-level interior furnishings, right down to the handsome matte-finish canaletto (a walnut-like wood) bulkheads, doors, and sole, and nearly all of the features that made the first two Magellanos so successful. Indeed, though smaller, to my mind the 43 is actually truest to the original concept: an efficient, seaworthy cruiser that puts to maximum use every bit of interior space.
Azimut claims, and delivers, accommodations for five on the 43, and that means not only berths but dining and lounging areas. Thanks to a bit of design magic, it has managed to fit in three roomy cabins—a forward master with en suite head, a portside double, and a starboard stowage space that can be ordered as a single—plus a dayhead, a large interior dinette, and a compact but eminently workable galley. Another dinette on the flying bridge can convert to a sun lounge—maybe not for five but certainly for three adults. But it is to those who are inclined towards a smaller crew—say, a couple or a couple with a child—that this boat may prove most enticing, especially if that third cabin is ordered outfitted for stowage. A length of 42 feet 6 inches (not including pulpit) means the 43 is nimble and maneuverable enough for two to handle, especially when equipped with the optional Xenta joystick (learn more about the aftermarket Xenta joystick upgrade here), which integrates control of both marine gears and the optional bow thruster.
Regardless of the crew complement, the 43 has the kind of room you’d expect in a boat three or four feet longer. Her common spaces allow everyone not only plenty of elbow room but even privacy, and the designers did this using conventional propulsion, without resorting to pods or stern drives. Part of the reason Azimut was able to get so much into this envelope is the 43’s bluff bow, a Magellano trademark, and comparatively generous beam of 14 feet 5 inches, which is carried well forward. But honestly, after three hours on this boat, I’m still not exactly sure how they pulled it off.
Of course there’s more to the Magellano equation than just room and comfort. From the beginning, Azimut promoted this line as a solution for boaters who want increased efficiency and range without being constrained by the “leisurely” top speed of the average trawler. On top of that, it aims to provide boaters with a level of seakindliness equivalent to that of the typical round-bilge displacement cruiser—a tall order, for sure.
The principal means to accomplish this is what Azimut calls its Dual Mode hull. Designed by Bill Dixon and employed in each of the three models, it is an interpretation of the traditional semidisplacement form, with full foresections that continue to about midship, a plumb bow that increases waterline length and thereby displacement speed, and enough flatness in the aftersections to produce the lift necessary to exceed displacement speed.
Together they yield a boat that in our test managed 1.5 nmpg at 9.3 knots—not bad for a 17-tonner (full load)—yet with the throttles down, topped out at 22.3 knots. Equally impressive, her fuel-consumption curve was relatively constant—that is, there’s no precipitous drop-off at any point, but rather a fairly constant decline, offering the helmsman great flexibility in deciding which combination of cruising speed and fuel consumption he prefers. And with a 444-gallon fuel capacity, you’ll get decent range wherever you set the throttles, from 248 nm at full throttle to 1,137 nm if you can somehow manage to keep the motors lazing along at 1000 rpm (7.4 knots).
These calculations are based on the optional 355-horsepower Cummins QSB 5.9s in our test boat; standard power is the 305-horsepower version of this engine, which Azimut says will drop top speed by about 4 knots. I’d opt for the 355s, however, because I doubt you’d see any significant improvement in fuel efficiency with the smaller engines working harder, and you never know when you might need those 4 knots to outrun a blow.
The other part of the Dual Mode hull pitch is the seakeeping of “a real semidisplacement hull,” particularly in head seas. Alas, test conditions were too benign to allow evaluation of that claim. The 2-foot chop offered no challenge, but the 15-knot breeze did prove a surprise: I’d expect a boat with almost no flare forward and nearly vertical sides to require the wipers in even a modest zephyr but that was not the case, regardless of what direction I took the seas.
Furthermore, the sightlines from both the lower and upper stations were excellent forward and good aft. (A hardtop version without the flying bridge is available.) Combined with wide side decks, plenty of handholds, a tall bowrail that extends nearly to the cockpit, and a virtually flat foredeck, the general deck arrangement bodes well for short-handed operation. Of course, with a crew of four, running should be even more hassle-free.
But that’s the thing about the 43: She offers you many more choices than most boats—including, in my opinion, her sisterships.
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This article originally appeared in the August 2013 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.