NOT FOR SALE TO US RESIDENTS WHILE IN US WATERS.
Azimut’s styling is unmistakable. And it is delivered with such confidence and panache, especially in the S-class range.
There is plenty going on behind the look-at-me exterior, though. The 55S is about as high-tech as production yachts get, with a superstructure made almost entirely of carbon fiber. She has Volvo Penta’s IPS pod drives, and all the computer wizardry that goes with them. And she has three engines.
Yes, three. This one fact tends to overshadow every other aspect of this beautifully appointed cruising yacht, with her zebrano veneers and lush leathers, immaculate finish and excellent interior design. Three engines—that’s all people want to talk about.
The VIP, has something of the feel of an amidships suite, with substantial hull windows, a full-size bed, 6 feet 7 inches of headroom, and two useful hanging lockers. The head is not especially large, but access is good. Across on the starboard side, and sharing the dayhead with the VIP, the twin-berth guest cabin has just the single hanging locker and additional stowage under the mattresses.
It is in the master cabin that the extra hull volume made available by the shorter engine compartment has really been put to work. It is an L-shaped suite, with a good-size head and shower compartment offset on the port side, which allows the sleeping area to span the full beam of the hull. A big berth is set on the diagonal, while there is an expanse of floor space and a genuinely useful two-seat dinette to port, by the window. What a great spot for a breakfast tête-à-tête. There is also plenty of stowage, including a large hanging locker and a vast space under the bed, which lifts up on gas struts. Headroom is a reasonable 6 feet 3 inches.
There is no step between cockpit and saloon, and the glass cockpit door is divided into four sections that slide away over to starboard. A drop-in seat can be positioned to cross the divide on the port side, joining up with the cockpit’s port-side seating and fostering a sense of continuity between the inside and outside. Meanwhile, a huge sunroof in the hardtop opens up to the sky. Very cleverly, the side deck to port continues straight down to the aft steps, without invading the cockpit.
The convertible saloon sofa on the port side is a typical Azimut touch. The seat back slides fore and aft and also goes up and down, creating either a raised, forward-facing sofa for use underway or a comfortable bench seat for the dining table. It’s both smart and space-saving. The galley is similarly deceptive, revealing itself from what looks like a sideboard along the starboard side, and seeming to disappear once the worktops are lowered again. With two separate seats and an adjustable wheel, the helm station is strictly business. Sightlines are excellent, and the Volvo Penta electronics package offers great control. The dash layout is busy but workable, and, in a forgivable outbreak of showboating, surmounted by the three tachometers. Look again: Three! However many engines you have, it generally takes at least 1,200-horsepower to make 20 tons of sports cruiser get up and go. The 55S’s 1,305-horsepower triple-IPS installation pushed her up onto plane from a standing start in less than 15 seconds, with peak velocity clocking in 20 seconds later. Azimut claims a 36-knot top speed for the 55S.