The Azimut 88 had already proved a success worthy of note, but the boat yard wished to upgrade the existing model to give it a stronger more decisive personality. Here’s how and why the 88 2011 model came to be.
Externally the characterizing lengthened window panels along much of the coachroof as well as the square shaped ones set into the sides of the hull have remained pretty much as they were in the preceding model. Stefano Righini who penned his name to the project design for the exteriors, successfully managed to conjugate modern sporty lines with a classic more rounded appealing look right from the beginning and also to better exploit space and volume in finding room for three separate areas in which to relax, play games, and to enjoy greater comfort and enhanced privacy.
The bow now houses a large sun deck with a large sofa facing forward, a dining table and a Bimini top with stainless fold-away rotating frame that can shade the whole saloon from direct sunlight. The bow area where the crew gathers to manoeuvre the hefty anchor windlass installed on the deck is large and sports a spacious locker into which all the yacht’s fenders, mooring lines and other bits of gear can be readily stowed clearly out of sight or taken out as requested. The cockpit area is made up of 10 square metres which make it an ideal place for entertaining, wining and dining thanks to a large wooden table and a C shaped divan which takes up most of the stern transom.
Nevertheless the most astonishing area outside is the fly deck for its layout and sheer size measuring nothing less than 55 square metres which makes it simply huge in comparison to the overall length of the yacht. The fly deck is in teak throughout, has space enough for a tender and davit/crane in the stern area, a square shaped Jacuzzi tub encased in a fibreglass frame with sun pads, to be deployed over a teak covering board when the Jacuzzi tub/pool is not in use plus three sun beds with adjustable positions to best soak in the sun.
Further forward there’s a fine dining area equipped with a table, sofa and a bar cabinet opposite. More toward the bow a second helm/ controls station as well as a large sunbathing area for the tan fans’ delight. Let’s now go into the interiors for what has been changed from the former model is quickly said. The night zone has been redesigned to make it more welcoming and with better sound proofing throughout.
The saloon too has been object of upgrading, the newly designed stairway has made it possible to change the day toilet’s layout and to make more room in the dining area. Naturally the layout is not the only thing that’s been modified, but the style and interior design as well, where a cheerful play between ebony and ivory wood essences whether polished or in other cases satin finished set at equidistant intervals from leather lined cream coloured panels and stainless steel decorative elements, contribute in purposely re-creating the 70’s dècor with soft lines and rounded curves so typical of that period. Centro Stile Azimut has worked closely with Studio Salvagni and together they came up with a new concept of soft elegance which is set to last over time and has been thought up for those discerning, more refined and demanding owners.
The owner can choose any quantity and or mix of materials, essences, cloth, upholstery and decorative objects directly from the show room at Azimut so as to create “his” boat with guided assistance, and when required, assistance directly from the yard’s own project designers. Azimut is aiming to offer four basic styles on which buyers can begin to expand upon in terms of outlining their tastes and aesthetical sense of proportion. The four basic styles are the following: Riviera, Dolcevita, Firenze, and Portofino.
Owners are thus easily stimulated to start piecing together their own ideas and surroundings, then move onto choosing all the ingredients that go into shaping up individual coherent trends and functional aesthetical patterns. We cared to mention curved lines, refined touches of this and that which might go unnoticed but when seen will add accrued lustre to the end product: like the joinery between bulkheads and ceilings, rounded off expertly, or diamond shaped wood etchings on the wardrobes which unexpectedly fulfil the role of handles.
The yacht proudly sports a series of mirrors that have been strategically placed to offer the illusion of accrued space where it matters. All the cabins’ flooring is in very dark wengè planks. Striking details are found in the walnut panelling on the bulkheads in each cabin where the planks however differ in width conveying the idea of hand tooled craftsmanship and tradition par excellence, and more catches the eye as one looks at the spot lights built into the ceilings and encased in hand crafted wood frames, while other panels seem to have come out of an eighteenth century workshop for their special boiserie. Niche products are not scarce like the brightly lacquered furniture and certain details that are indicative of the technological might put into them like the TV mirror cabinet situated in the owner’s stateroom and the audio visual entertainment gizmos found in each cabin.
The 88 from its “lofty height” which doesn’t go unnoticed offers an owner’s suite which is clearly detached from the rest with its exclusive private access. The stateroom is full beam with large full-bright vertical window panelling and portholes along the topsides. The double bed is placed at centre with mirrored bed side tables, with a small private lounge area to one side while opposite a dressing table embellishes the environment and two large wardrobes complete the picture. Next comes the owner’s bathroom which is set across with two washbasins, bidet, WC and shower stall. The VIP cabin is made up in a very particular way in the sense that it is compact with a centrally placed bed set across facing the widow panels.
The furniture is all in walnut with “hidden” wardrobes behind mirrored panelling which lines other furniture as well. It is comfortable, and both discreet and elegant at the same time. The TV set is mounted on a state of the art stainless steel structure which runs from ceiling to floor. The bed’s headboard is in thick grained material which recalls silk cloth. The bathroom looks very much like the others, it has a separate shower stall lined by teak and white Carrara marble walls that were set with slabs of varying thicknesses to create a play of different graphic designs.
The ensuing cabin is dedicated for the ship’s guests. It is made up of twin beds with leather upholstery at their bases and are set side by side. The other cabins are styled in the same way. Every cabin is bright thanks to ample well distributed window panels. But that ‘s not all: the 88 boasts a second VIP cabin in the bow which naturally is full beam too and is considerably wide even if situated in the bow because the crash box and bow lockers shift usable space aft away from the bow.
The double bed is placed at centre and faces aft, a small office/study area occupies a corner space. The bathroom copies the same design and very similar layout of the others. The crew mess is in the stern area, and is separated from the night zone by the engine room. There are two crew cabins and one bathroom. The main deck is the ideal place for relaxation, entertainment and socialising.
It offers plenty of different solutions for lunches and dinners; the dining area for example is aft of the bow sliding doors with a magnificent round ebony and steel table, a true gem of a table. Eight immaculate classic chairs take their place around it. The sliding doors in ebony and glass have a dual purpose, to separate and divide the dining area from the saloon and more so to split off the dining room from the bridge with its command and controls station, as well as from the bow table used by the crew. A watertight door allows access if need be to the aft section from the deck.
A couple of rounded ebony cabinets create a feeling of separation between the dining and saloon areas. The saloon proper starts just beyond the sliding steel and glazed doors separating it from the cockpit with two large white leather sofas. The general feeling I got is one of wellbeing and welcoming discreet elegance, and a pleasing feeling of life aboard. As for safety a lot of work was put into this factor foreseeing every possible situation so as to ensure the yacht is safe in all weather conditions.
The tour of the boat was completed with time enough to spare so we went on to examine the one missing area we often regretfully miss out on: the engine room. A technical area is situated just past the entrance with the nearby crew cabins. From a technical view point the engine room’s layout is certainly very rational and easy to inspect and to carry out regular maintenance work on the two 1,825 HP Caterpillar engines and plants installed therein. A large electric switch board and display stands at centre and allows to monitor all installations pertaining to it.
Every switch is easy to use and understand also thanks to multi function gauges and repeaters. Every care was taken from design to implementation for all the electronics and hydraulics. Control systems were studied to prevent and avoid accidental activation by the non entitled such as guests through a system of double command switches situated on the bridge and also in the engine room.
Computer controlled hydraulic pumps are made to start and stop accordingly so as not to overload some of them in any given moment as a measure of added safety and reliability. Stabilizing fins that can be deployed also at “zero speed” are part of the on board equipment. Two panels monitoring stop and go with emergency controls are mounted directly above each of the two engines. In a nutshell nothing is left to chance, and all that can be spotted on the 88 is fruit of research and development and years of study and of working closely with those captains that sail extensively the world over. A further point of note is that all crates have allotted spaces in the keel which translates into a lower centre of gravity which entails better stability, and penetration through waves with less pitching motion.
For further information: Azimut
Martino Martino Motti -- Photos M. Motti e Azimut