Azimut 47 Verve
Azimut racked up impressive sales for its Verve 47 at the Miami Yacht Show, with nine deposits from buyers who had barely seen the boat. One was a businessman from Puerto Rico who had come to look at the Azimut S6 but fell in love with the Verve. It will be his first boat.
The 47 is the sibling of the Azimut Verve 40, launched in 2016. Federico Ferrante, president of Azimut/Benetti USA, describes the Verve series as an alternative to U.S. center consoles. “They tend to be based on fishing-boat designs,” says Ferrante. “Nobody builds a better fishing boat than the U.S. builders, but we wanted a different type of dayboat, one that blends American performance with Italian styling.”
The 47 is certainly another alternative to the large center consoles from Scout, HCB, Midnight Express and Boston Whaler, ranging from 42 to 65 feet LOA. The 47 is a significant upgrade from the Verve 40. Those boats are clearly functional and fast, but the Verve 47’s large interior and unusual cockpit make it more of an offshore cruising—pardon the oxymoron—dayboat than its competitors. There was clearly a lot of creativity and thought from Francesco Struglia, an Italian designer who works with Azimut but also has a string of forward-looking yacht designs in the 40- and 50-foot range.
Gallery: Azimut 47 Verve
The hull by Michael Peters also gave the new 47 serious offshore running abilities, as I found out during a test in Miami after the yacht show. Powered by four 450-hp Mercury Racing outboards mated to a double-stepped hull, it reached a top end of 52 knots.
“There are products that can only happen at certain times,” said Peters. “If Azimut had come to us five years ago, this boat couldn’t have happened. We wouldn’t have had the outboard power for it. Ten years ago, we wouldn’t have had the hull. As I looked around the [Miami Yacht] Show, I didn’t see any other outboard-powered boats with stepped hulls. It’s an incredible marriage of design and technology.”
Peters said the myth about stepped hulls is that they are seaworthy and reliable. “What we discovered was that they are designed to go fast but not much else,” he said. “They never ran like they were on rails. It took us 30 years of development to tame down the stepped hull.” The Verve 47 has a tunnel in the running surface that provides “tremendous stability,” according to Peters. “We applied this from many years of designing catamaran raceboats,” he added. “The tunnel ventilates the hull for control of the boat. We consider it a breakthrough in design.”
Offshore, the boat handled well in the 1- to 2-foot chop, staying dry and remaining on track while cruising. Solid is probably the best word to describe the handling. There were eight of us on board, so there were too many people in the cockpit to let the Mercs run at top end out in the ocean. We did that about an hour later in Biscayne Bay. The 47 hit a top end of 53 knots at 6100 rpm. Again, the sense of control, even at top end, was a high mark. No chine-walking or skittish behavior. One of the drivers aboard made a few hard-over turns at speed. Since he didn’t warn anyone ahead of time, the litmus test for the hull was whether the people in the cockpit would get tossed around. They were fine: a few annoyed looks, but no lost footing.
Struglia did an excellent job with the cockpit, designing several features I’d legitimately call innovations. The first is a center section of the cockpit sole that lifts up with the push of a button to become a large dining table or, in the lower position, a sunbed. The floor has sensors so that if anyone puts a hand or foot underneath while it’s moving, it stops. The table also has a foldout cover so owner and guests won’t have to eat where they’ve been walking. The faux-teak surface looked good, with a special pattern that coordinated the Verve’s look. A large section of the port gunwale tilts down electrically to connect the cockpit directly to the water. In the down position, the cockpit is huge.
This Verve 47 had two Seabobs with battery chargers in the transom compartment. With a standard price of $1.3 million, this first model was closer to $1.88 million. Azimut decided to equip the hull with just about every possible option so owners could get a sense of possibilities: a SureShade retractable awning, Seakeeper 6, 14-kW Kohler generator and tanks for 79 gallons of water and 660 gallons of fuel. Access to the Seakeeper and generator was good through the large electric hatch beneath the table.
Since the boat is aimed at a North American buyer, Azimut included a sizable outside galley/entertainment area in an athwartships console, with a 58-inch pop-up television, Kenyon grill and Kenyon two-burner stove, as well as a refrigerator and freezer.
Like the cockpit, it was clear the Azimut team spent a lot of time considering smaller details in the helm area. The three seats were designed for ergonomics, with a comfortable shape that matched the high-end tweedy fabric. Three Raymarine consoles on the helm station allowed for control of most onboard systems. Digital switching is standard on this boat, as is Mercury’s Vessel View, so the helm has a seamless, integrated feel. The 47 also had Mercury’s joystick control for outboards, bow thruster and SkyHook position holding. Visibility was good through the windshield and—another true innovation—through the glass panels designed into the gunwales on both sides of the helm. The large panels not only provided an incredible view of the water underway, they also added visibility when docking the boat.
The bow has an “asymmetrical” design (i.e., a clear portside passage and a starboardside passage that ends near the front). That allowed Azimut to create a nook, with a U-shaped lounge, for a semi-enclosed social area that is more private than the typical bow. Three large sunbeds are adjacent.
Belowdecks, the interior is what distinguishes the Verve 47 from other super consoles on the market. It has two staterooms, bow and aft, with a roomy galley/salon in the center.
“We designed it more like a Manhattan loft,” says Ferrante, noting the white, pickled-oak joinery, tweed fabrics on the furniture, and metallic gray counters. “We were able to put a premium on space below,” he adds.
The bow stateroom has a double berth, good lighting from the side windows and overhead hatch, and good storage. The aft stateroom, with twin berths, is a bit cramped in terms of headroom, but it’d be a good place for kids to sleep or hang out on rainy days. The separate head has a full shower, sink and toilet. The center social area is great for dining, but given my druthers, I’d rather be out on the cockpit, enjoying the view.
Azimut 47 Verve Specifications:
Displ.: 38,600 lbs.
Fuel: 660 gal.
Water: 79 gal.
Standard power: 4/450-hp Mercury outboards
Cruise speed: 37 knots
Top speed: 53 knots
Base price: Approx. $1.3 million