A Cabin We Could Live In
Designers Stefano Righini (concept and exterior styling) and Carlo Galeazzi (interior design) managed to fit both the midships master suite and a conventional engine room into the 16.7 m LOA hull, with room left over for two more staterooms.
The Azimut Flybridge 53's palatial master cabin is amidships, where the hull is widest and deepest. Her 15' 6" (4.74 m) of beam means there's room here not only for a queen-sized berth, mounted catty-corner to leave walk-around space, but also a booth-style dinette for two and a large head with stall shower. Headroom is a regal 6' 4" (1.93 m), surprising when you realize the main salon is right overhead. Triple hullside windows port and starboard pour in natural light.
Where's the rub? The VIP cabin forward and the twin-berth third stateroom aren't as oversized as the master – how could they be? They are typical for a boat this size, and more than adequate. And they share a head; frequently the VIP cabin on a yacht like the Flybridge 53 has en suite facilities. But do we really care? No. The man, or woman, who foots the bill should have a roomy, comfortable cabin, even if it means taking a bit away from guests. Guests, after all, are just temporary; the owner is full-time.
Azimut designers put the galley and a formal dining area on the same level as the lower helm, making it easy for the skipper to drive the boat while the cook cooks and the guests kibitz around the table. No one is banished belowdecks. The salon proper is a couple of steps down, and leads smoothly onto the aft deck through a wide sliding door.
If you read BoatTEST.com regularly, you know that most yachts this size with midships master staterooms are pod-powered; one advantage of pod drives is the opening up of a boat's midsection for accommodations, thanks to the engines' aft placement. But the Azimut Flybridge 53 runs twin 715-hp Caterpillar C12 ACERT diesels bolted to conventional prop shafts. We haven't tested the boat ourselves, but the builder claims a top speed of 31 knots, cruising speed of 28 knots, half-load, with this power. The advantage to this power is ease of maintenance and repair: You can find a Caterpillar mechanic almost anywhere.
So how do you maneuver a yacht like this one without pods? Pods have been so heavily promoted recently you might have forgotten captains handled boats without them for decades, and expertly, too. Azimut makes it easier with their computer-controlled Easy Docking system. It manipulates the engines, steering and bow and stern thrusters to make close-quarters maneuvering as angst-free as it can be. Like pod drives, it’s joystick controlled, and intuitive to use, but works with conventional props.
Price and Advice
Figure on spending around $1,750,000 for a new Azimut Flybridge 53; we found several 2011 boats for sale at that price in the U.S. That's on the high end of the price range for this size yacht, but if you want Azimut design, engineering, style and panache, it'll cost you. Whether you enjoy your boat in the Med, southern Florida or any of the other world yachting centers, you'll stand out at the helm of an Azimut. We say, if you don't mind spending the extra Euros, go for it: You can't beat an Azimut, in our opinion. If you're just shopping, check one out, too – it'll give you a standard to measure other boats against. Or a yacht to aspire to.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!