Bella figura. It is an Italian phrase for putting on an impressive display. This concept is part of the Italian culture. It is the reason that Italian products in nearly any field are the most beautiful, exciting, romantic and in many cases, sought after and copied. The Azimut 85 has it in spades. But what truly impresses us is the nautical approach Azimut engineers have taken to the seakeeping and reliability of systems, which in a boat of this size are complex to say the least.
It all starts with the Azimut 85’s standard engines: Caterpillar C-32 ACERTs producing 1825-hp. These engines have almost become the standard for large motoryachts from 65’ to 100’. It is noteworthy that Azimut has made this choice for standard power. With 100 sales offices in 60 countries and with the 85 cruising all over the globe, Azimut must install an engine that not only has the trust of customers from diverse cultures and nautical experiences, but also one which has service capabilities easily at hand world-wide. Azimut’s adoption of Caterpillar engines speaks for itself.A recent press release from Caterpillar said the following: “Caterpillar's marine engine sales were up for the three-month rolling period of May to July 2009, compared to the same period last year, according to a dealer statistics report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Sales were up 20 percent in May, 15 percent in June and 1 percent in July for the marine sector, compared to sales in those months for 2008. Sales were down in every other sector," Caterpillar reported.
The Azimut 85s twin C-32s drive through ZF 3000 1:2.75 reduction V-drives connected by 3.9” (100mm) shafts to 4-bladed NiBrAl props. Azimut says that their 85 with these engines can propel the motoryacht at half load to 30 knots max, with a cruising speed of 27 knots. This speed is noteworthy because the Azimut 85 is not a particularly light boat.
Fast But No Featherweight
We find it reassuring that the 85 has a displacement of 187,000 lbs. (85 metric tons). This places the Azimut 85 almost squarely in the middle between the Pacific Mariner 85 at 125,000 lbs. (56.7 MT) and the new Nordhavn 86 motoryacht at 400,000 lbs. (181.44 MT). Azimut motoryachts have been known for their speed, but speed at the expense of weight and beam is not desirable in our book, particularly in anything except mill pond-conditions, it is uncomfortable to be running most boats faster than 20 knots, and most yachtsmen travelling any distance will prefer 10 to 13 knots to increase range.
The Azimut 85’s beam is 21’6” which we think is appropriate for an 85-footer. She draws only 4’1” which means this is a boat that is made for some serious exploring in places like the Bahamas, Chesapeake Bay and the Baltic. Her deadrise at the transom is only 10 degrees and these relatively flat stern sections are a big reason why the Azimut can go so fast with the C-32s.
Important Standard Equipment
In addition to the engine selection, there are several other items of standard equipment that we think demonstrate Azimut’s determination to produce a well-found motoryacht. For example she comes equipped with a 27-hp. hydraulic bow thruster. Most yachts which have standard bow thrusters have electric ones. If you’ve ever used an electric bow thruster you know their limitations, which are considerable. When you need a bow thruster, you need it, and depending on the conditions, you may need to lean on it for several minutes.
Electric bow thrusters quickly overheat, can throw a breaker, or simply run out of juice from their auxiliary battery. Hydraulic bow thrusters use a power take off (PTO) from one of the engines or generator. They are more expensive than electrical thrusters because of the PTO unit and all of the hydraulic plumbing. But the added cost is the only way to go if you are going to seriously use the boat. Azimut has done it right.
Aids for Owner/Operators
In addition to a beefy 4000 w anchor windlass, the Azimut 85 comes with two 2200 w warping winches, one on each of the stern quarters. We like these winches as standard equipment because it makes docking easier if your crew is short-handed or you are an owner/operator. With the bow thruster to put the pointy end to the pier and the warping winch to bring in the stern, the Azimut 85 can be birthed nearly anywhere by a husband and wife team. It’s all standard equipment.
The addition of a remote helm such as the one Glendinning makes, allows the skipper to stand nearly anywhere on the boat for the best vantage point for docking. That’s about all the boat needs to truly be a husband and wife operation.
Standards Improve Reliability
One of the reasons that yachts have gone up in price the last decade more than the normal inflation rate and cost of raw materials, is the fact that European Union has adopted stringent rules about the manufacturing of almost anything sold to consumers (CE stands for European Conformity), and in the U.S. the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is insisting that boat builders follow ABYC Standards.
As a result boat builders all over the world must build to minimum standards and codes laid down for things such as electrical systems. The supporting documentation for the Azimut 85 points out in some detail the electrical grounding system on the 85 as well as affirming that the boat was built in accordance to all applicable CE guidelines and directives relative to the electrical system.
When it comes to the safety aspects of the Azimut 85, the builder has installed the right equipment as standard. For example, the Azimut 85’s dewatering system is as good as anything we’ve seen on this size motoryacht and better than what is on many. First, the 85 has the standard bilge pumps in each of the compartments. Second, it also has dewatering pick-ups in the major areas of the boat directed to a main pump in the engine room. This is for bilge water that is more than the normal trickles of condensation and pinhole leaks in the plumbing that sometimes occur. Thirdly, each of the vessels' compartments has a high water alarm, something that most yachts only have in the engine room. Finally, and most importantly, there is an emergency bilge pump that uses one of the engine’s water pumps to evacuate water faster than anything else that can be put on the boat. Azimut also knows that fire is a hazard on any boat and has located 9 portable fire extinguishers around the vessel. It also has two emergency fire hoses on the boat, one in the bow and another located in the stern. These two fire hoses, with nozzles just like firemen use, are fed by special saltwater pumps. In the engine room there is a large CO2 centralized fire extinguishing system. This is a must for any large boat. They should always be automatically deployable as well as manually and the system must also automatically close off all air coming into the engine room to insure that the diesel engine is stopped.
Most consumers pay little attention to the items and subjects we have mentioned above, but they are vitally important. The fact that Azimut’s engineers have taken the time to get these things right is one of the reasons why the Azimut 85 has been so popular over the years. The pictures seen on these pages tell a far more glamorous story about the Azimut 85 and it is here that the builder has really led the yachting world. If you have never been aboard the Azimut 85 then we invite you to do so. Once you have seen it, you’ll never be able to forget it.
It so happens that there is an Azimut 85 in the U.S. that is not called for at the MarineMax dealership in Huntington, Long Island, New York. It has an MSRP price of $7.7 million. If you are interested in stepping aboard, contact Andrew Schneider at 631-424-2710; andrew.schneider@Marinemax.com.Elsewhere, visit the Azimut website to find the dealer nearest you...
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!