Nobody beats the Italians for innovative design, and the Azimut 88 epitomizes the Mediterranean yacht. There are ample sunning areas on deck, a hardtop with an opening hatch, a big swim platform and lots of windows to fill the cabins with natural light. Azimut designers like to include vertical hullside windows to illuminate belowdecks spaces – the Azimut 88 has seven in either side: four serve the full-beam master stateroom, the other three each of two side-by-side guest staterooms. Not to be left in the dark, a fourth cabin, all the way forward, benefits from large horizontal windows.
Each cabin benefits from clean, uncluttered interior design – almost Oriental in its simplicity. The same theme runs through all the yacht’s accommodations. The saloon could be mistaken for an ultra-modern hotel lobby, with lots of couches and easy chairs, light-colored soles and white-paneled overhead. Again, big windows in the deckhouse (they’re a little too swoopy for our tastes, though) let in huge amounts of light, ideally accompanied by views of the Mediterranean.
Where’s the Crew?
Even if the owner is a skilled boat handler, a yacht the size and complexity of the Azimut 88 requires a crew to keep in top shape both mechanically and cosmetically – and you’ll want a cook/steward to prepare and serve food, too. (In Europe, even yachts much smaller than this one generally carry at least one full-time hand.) Only thing is, you don’t want to see the crew when you don’t need them – don’t want them passing through the saloon, getting underfoot on the flying bridge, using the passageways belowdecks to get to their quarters.
No problem aboard the Azimut 88: The crew’s area, situated all the way aft, is completely separate from owner’s and guests’ quarters and living areas, on the other side of the engine room. Access is through a watertight door in the transom, and from a door on deck. There’s a single berth to port for the captain, opposite upper and lowers for two crew. The cabin includes a lounge area, head, crew dinette, refrigerator, washer/dryer and stowage. Engine room access is through the crew’s quarters. Both the owner’s party and the crew will be happier if they can stay apart as much as possible, and this layout makes it easy.
The Owner’s Domain
The Azimut 88’s owner has his own domain, too – a massive full-beam stateroom located right amidships where it’s most comfortable. Access is via a stairway from the saloon; a second stairway from the wheelhouse leads to the three guest cabins forward. After a long day having fun, it’s nice to be able to get away from your guests, and this arrangement puts the owner in a private area, separated from his guests by the master’s full-beam head (two sinks, toilet, shower and bidet) and a walk-in closet, from the crew by the engine room. The cabin has a two-seat vanity/dinette, a safe and lots of stowage.
Not just a pretty face, the Azimut 88 is built to live in the sea for years at a time: The underbody is laminated with vinylester resin in the outer layers to resist osmosis, a concern when a yacht stays overboard for years on end, especially in warm water. An annual haul-out and bottom repainting doesn’t allow enough time for drying out. Azimut warrants the hull against osmosis for five years.
The rest of the laminate is in isophthalic resin, with PVC coring in the decks and superstructure. Watertight bulkheads forward and aft are laid-up in glass with foam coring; the rest of the interior structure is built from a variety of composite materials. The hull structure is approved by RINA, the Italian classification authority.
The Powerplant is American
Power is twin Caterpillar C32 ACERT 1825-hp diesels with ZF 3000 V-drives. Interesting that Azimut doesn’t install expensive German engines; their choice of Cats says a lot about how those engines are regarded in Europe. We haven’t tested this boat, but Azimut says top speed is 30 knots at half-load, cruise 27 knots. Estimated range is 400 n.m. at cruising speed.
This is not a long-range vessel, at least not if you want to take advantage of the big Cats’ horsepower. For crossing oceans, think about a Nordhavn or other expedition-style vessel. Azimut builds yachts for near-shore adventures or trips to the islands, where most of us prefer to do our boating. Why own a yacht like this if nobody sees you aboard it, and you can’t pull into a classy marina and attract dock-gawkers? That’s half the fun, and why you spend $6 million. (Base price of the Azimut 88 Flybridge is 4,900,000 Euro, about $6.2 million at press time. We found a new 2009 boat on sale in Italy, well-equipped, for $5,575,000.)
If you’ve got the resources to buy and maintain a multi-million-dollar yacht, and you like the Med-inspired styling, go for it. We like the styling and we like Azimuts, so if we hit the lottery for something well into eight figures it’s off to Viareggio for us. But any yacht this size is a real financial commitment, so if you don’t live and breathe cruising, have lots of free time and a huge pile of discretionary funds, think carefully before signing the purchase contract. A yacht like this deserves the best of care, and that doesn’t come cheap. On the other hand, if you can swing it, it doesn’t get much better than the Azimut 88 Flybridge.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!