Azimut accommodates comfort, speed, and style in this new 50-foot cruiser.
What do we want in a 50-foot flying-bridge motoryacht? I don’t know about you, but I find that’s a pretty easy question to answer, because I want the same as I want in any other boat, whether it’s a 25-footer or a 75: a comfortable interior, respectable performance, and a certain sense of style. The question is always how much of each of these the designers and engineers can provide before the inevitable size-related compromises kick in.
This is why a 50-footer is such a challenge for boatbuilders. In theory, it’s big enough to have genuinely comfortable interior appointments, with no sense of being short-changed by limited length and beam. But it’s also small enough to benefit from favorable power-to-weight characteristics, and offer a lively turn of speed with handling to match. And crucially, a 50-footer is big enough to be noticed. At that size it’s not going to be able to hide in a corner of the marina—this is a yacht that makes a statement. It cost you a lot of money. It has to live up to expectations—not just yours, but everybody else’s. A 50 has to be able to do it all.
So, no pressure, then. Styled by Stefano Righini, Azimut’s new middleweight contender certainly looks like it means business, with its tinted mirror glass and huge flying bridge tipped with space-age fins. A hydraulic swim platform is standard, as is a luxury-oriented three-cabin layout, and the yacht has been designed around a pair of powerful 670-horsepower Volvo D11-670 diesels, promising hot handling and a nifty turn of speed. Resin-infused lamination saves weight and adds stiffness to an efficient and easily driven Pierluigi Ausonio hull with a 12-degree deadrise aft.
The 50’s three-cabin layout, with its lower-deck galley, places the emphasis on the master and VIP. Inevitably the third cabin is on the small side, but its bunk berths are full length, if not full width, and there is a plentiful 6 foot 7 inches of headroom in the entrance area. The open-plan galley, meanwhile, has an abundance of light and standing room, not to mention a useful opening porthole and a pretty good volume of stowage.
The master stateroom is an impressive full-beam suite set deep into the hull amidships, with generous windows, a roomy head compartment, and a full-size, low-level berth. While headroom down here is complicated by the multitude of shapes in the main deck molding above, there’s still 6 feet 4 inches in the areas where it matters. Azimut takes detailing and fit-out seriously, and the beautifully crafted slide-out vanity unit on the port side of the master suite is a prime example.
Up in the bow the VIP is less spacious than the master, but not uncomfortably so, and it is equally well endowed for stowage—both here and amidships the big double berths lift on gas struts to reveal veritable caverns beneath, while there are numerous additional lockers, drawers, and cubbyholes. Although headroom is an inch or so less in the VIP than in the master suite, it doesn’t feel restricted. The forward head, with its roomy shower compartment, has en suite access to the VIP, and also doubles as a dayhead.
Putting the galley on the lower deck creates space for a comfortable raised dinette opposite the helm, offering excellent views. Those main-deck windows are not quite as massive as they look from the outside. In fact they comprise several separate panels, with sturdy fiberglass supports in between. Yet the overall effect is spectacular, helping to create an unusually bright and comfortable deck saloon, with its discrete seating areas and the option of a sofa-bed conversion on the starboard side. The 50’s interior is the work of Carlo Galeazzi, Azimut’s usual interiors man and in my opinion one of the best in the business. The living spaces are beautifully realized with contrasting tones and textures, and lots of pleasing detail. A few more handholds would be useful, though, along with fiddles for the tables and galley surfaces, to help keep your food and drink where it belongs.
A spacious cockpit, protected by the long overhang of that enormous flying bridge—which covers some 200 square feet, according to Azimut—is complemented by an equally generous foredeck seating area, with a separate sofa and sunbed. An optional crew cabin, which might be short on headroom but makes up for it with an excellent berth, can be installed in the space beneath the cockpit sofa. There is consequently no tender garage, but the hydraulic platform can handle tenders up to 10 feet 6 inches long that weigh as much as 770 pounds.
With the generator aft, the engine room is tightly packed, but remarkably well organized and soundly outfitted. The motors are well spaced and mounted flat to ease servicing access, driving through V-drive gearboxes. There are no alternative engine options: The 50 is designed around the D11s, and they provide a superb match for the hull. Acceleration is effortless and, in the mid-rev range, remarkably rapid. Torque where it’s needed helps make this a brilliantly responsive driver’s boat, helped by taut, lively steering and an instant, enthusiastic helm response. It’s a much more enjoyable drive than any family flying-bridge boat has any right to be.
The minimum planing speed of 16 knots, with a little trim-tab assist, ensures a versatile and practical speed envelope for cruising, and from here on up to 28 knots the 50 returns pretty good fuel efficiency and useful range. A top speed of over 32 knots with a full load of water and a one-third load of fuel exceeded Azimut’s initial performance estimates, as well as my own. The 50 really proved to be great fun on the water.
So, what do we want from a 50-footer with a flying bridge? Everything, naturally, within reason—comfort, speed, and style—and Azimut’s latest contender does a terrific job of delivering on that impossible promise. It’s only in the third cabin where any sense of compromise creeps into the equation. In all other areas the 50 provides the complete package. To turn the question on its head, what 50-foot flying-bridge yacht do we want? I don’t know about you, but I find it a pretty easy question to answer: This one will do very nicely, thank you.
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Noteworthy Options: Crew cabin; hardtop; Miele appliances; Raymarine Gold package; hull paint; teak decks; Xenta joystick maneuvring system; flying-bridge furniture; 42" and 32" TVs in saloon and master; gangway (prices upon request).
Generator: 13-kW , Warranty: Structural/osmotic blistering 5 years; Limited 1-year “bumper-to-bumper.”
Conditions During Boat Test
Air temperature: 79°F; humidity: 57%; seas: 1-2'
Load During Boat Test
185 gal. fuel, 145 gal. water, 7 persons, safety gear only.
Test Boat Specifications
- Test Engine: 2/670-hp Volvo D11-670 diesels
- Transmission/Ratio: ZF 325-1 IV, 2.037:1 gear ratio
- Props: 29 x 55 4-blade Nibral
- Price as Tested: $1,445,000 approx.
This article originally appeared in the July 2015 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.