Yes, it has great lines and bold Italian styling, but the feature that makes Azimut’s new S7 most intriguing is the one you can’t see at a glance: carbon fiber.
Modern. It’s become a popular buzzword around the boat show circuit. There are modern fold-up windows. Modern fold-down gunwales. Modern televisions paired with modern sound systems. “This boat comes standard with a set of modern silverware in perfectly allocated drawers,” was an eye-rolling line I recently overheard. We’re talking about forks and knives here, right?
This race to build the most modern motoryacht to ever sit atop salt water has led to some models that feel as sterile as an emergency room. But that’s not the ambience aboard the middle sibling in Azimut’s S-line, which includes a 55 and 77. The new S7 is modern in the best sense. Sleek lines flowing from the pen of Stefano Righini into a windswept windshield and sportbridge are a testament to that. Even if you’ve been living under a rock and have never heard of Azimut before, one look at the S7 dockside and you know this boat was born to perform. And she can … but more on that later.
What makes the S7 special is not the lines and Italian style you notice at a glance; it’s what lies just beneath the surface: carbon fiber. The strong, lightweight material is used generously above the waterline from the transom garage door and the superstructure up to the radar arch. Carbon fiber is such an integral part of this model’s DNA that the designers chose to incorporate the material liberally in design elements like artwork. Inlaid in counters and tabletops and clearly visible in the superstructure, it’s everywhere. And it’s not just for decoration, either. This much carbon fiber reduces the boat’s weight (it’s 89,000 pounds fully loaded, while, for comparison, the Ferretti 70 weighs in at 109,000 pounds) and lowers the center of gravity, resulting in the performance mentioned earlier.
Gallery: Azimut S7
Carbon fiber also lends this 70-footer enhanced interior volume, which is also aided by the triple IPS 1050 propulsion package, tucked far aft in the hull. That space allows for a generous-sized salon and a four-cabin (plus crew’s quarters) layout below. The layout, courtesy of designer Francesca Guida, is conventional-ish in nature in that it has a VIP forward and two double cabins (one with bunks, another with side-by-side berths) aft of the VIP.
The amidships master is where things get interesting. The space uses the full 17-foot 5-inch beam—par for the course with Azimut—but when you walk in, you see that the berth is cantilevered in the forward port quarter. Across from the berth is a partition that houses a curved television. Behind that partition is a sink. And behind that is a door to the head.
Unique is one way to describe it. I’ll confess, I was scratching my head when I first walked in. I thought curved TVs were a trend that fizzled out, and having the sink in the stateroom felt out of place. The idea of brushing your teeth in the stateroom while your companion sleeps in was something I couldn’t quite wrap my head around.
“It’s very common in modern hotels,” I was told by an Italian journalist who was aboard. “Women really like these arrangements; they like having a space where they can get ready for the day and not be in the [enclosed] head.”
I wasn’t going to argue the point. Modern hotels aren’t my cup of tea and I’ve been told more than a few times by my wife that I don’t know what women want. I digress.
The master is spacious, and that spaciousness can be found not just in the living spaces but again in spots you don’t notice right away, like the engine room. With three 800-horsepower engines lying side-by-side-by-side I began the process of limbering up before stepping down into what I was sure was going to be a sardine can of an engine room. I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was an entirely civilized amount of space to move around in, and access to all the important service points was good.
Smart use of space also allows Azimut to get creative with design on the aft end of the S7. The swim platform opens up to become a true beach patio—in itself not an entirely new feature—that is expansive enough for a 70-footer. Inside the cavernous tender garage owners can fit a 10½-foot tender and a PWC—again, side-by-side. Both the tender and PWC have their own sliders, which should make launching and retrieving them a breeze.
It’s features like this that remind you you’re not in a luxury hotel suite; you’re on a boater’s boat. The toys are easy to launch. The fabrics on the cockpit furniture look nice, sure, but they also feel durable; I wouldn’t hesitate to sit with a wet bathing suit. The polished stainless everywhere looks like it belongs in a museum of modern art, but the cockpit grill and fridge are in the perfect spot; you can cook up hotdogs while within reach of a cold beverage. The boat is modern, yet it remains functional. It’s adept at entertaining guests before heading to the yacht club, or blasting across the Med with a cockpit full of sandy-toed kids.
Ah, yes, blasting around the Med: Let’s talk performance. The morning of my test felt like something out of a movie. It was a warm September day; the streets of Cannes, France, were still and quiet, save for a fleet of street sweepers. The Bay of Cannes was mirror-flat. The S7 leapt onto plane and was in full sprint right out of the blocks. She was quick (35.1 knots at WOT) and quiet (69 decibels); what you would expect from a boat with lines as sporty as the S7’s. But what really stood out for me was its responsiveness. Carving turns in this boat was, for lack of a more dramatic word, thrilling. It felt as if the wheel and joystick became an extension of my arm as I turned the boat in tighter and tighter circles.
Faster than you can ask, “O.K., are you ever going to give the other journalists a turn?” we were back at the dock and I was staring down a full dance card of events at the Cannes show.
I would spend the next few days at the Cannes Yachting Festival climbing through about two dozen other new boats. Some were too outdated (think orange veneer and sleeper sofas). Some, indeed, were so modern I felt the urge to stuff my hands in my pockets and whisper to my colleagues as if in a museum. The Azimut S7 left a real impression because it was just right.
Azimut S7 layout diagrams
Test Conditions: Air temperature: 70°F; seas: 1-foot; wind: 10-15 knots.
Load: 500-gal. fuel, 100-gal. water, 11 crew.
Azimut S7 — Final Boat Test Numbers:
Speeds are two-way averages measured w/GPS. GPH taken via Volvo Penta display. Range is 90% of advertised fuel capacity. 65 dB(A) is the level of normal conversation.
DISPL: 89,000 lb.
FUEL: 1,003 gal.
WATER: 264 gal.
TEST POWER: 3/800-hp Volvo Penta D13 IPS1050
PRICE AS TESTED: Upon Request