The Azimut 80 was actually launched in 2014, and won the ‘Flybridge, over 55feet’ title at that year’s Motor Boat Awards. Since then no fewer than nine of these 25-metre beauties have been sold in Asia, and there are plenty of good reasons why.
The plain vanilla version of this yacht is a four-cabin, eight-berth design with all the hallmarks that you expect stamped on an Azimut. That’s to say, there’s nothing ‘plain vanilla’ at all about the quality of design, engineering, décor or general air of Italian stylishness. The interiors by Achille Salvagni set the proper tone for a fast cruising motor yacht and can be adapted to personal tastes with ease. To start with, Azimut offers four distinct interior schemes that ring the changes through furnishings, finishes and fabrics, and allow for alternative specifications of door furniture, bathroom fittings and so on. There’s little to no chance that one Azimut 80 is going to come out of the yard looking like another — at least not on the inside. It’s not complete customisation, which is very expensive for the builder, but it goes a long way towards the individual reflection of an owner’s taste, which is what is needed.
All cabins have en-suite heads, and the master suite has a magnificent full beam his-and-hers bathroom that involves two showers and a full sized bath, and a walk-in closet to store all that smart resort wear. This really is somewhere properly big enough to live in, and we have been told about one Azimut 80 owner in Hong Kong who has souped up the internet and comms systems on board, takes off with the family for very long weekends, all the while staying happily in touch with his business.
The main saloon is big and bright, benefiting from full height windows that afford grand views of the surroundings (and if you are cruising in Hong Kong, there’s some very grand scenery to enjoy!) while at the same time letting in light, light, and more light. A well-equipped galley is more than big enough to cater for a maximum complement of overnight guests. The helm station is forward of the galley and therefore an entirely separate area, except for an alongside seating area that affords panoramic views forward as well as the opportunity to be sociable with the helmsman.
Exterior appointments include a truly expansive flybridge with seating and lounging areas, a grill and wet bar, a Jacuzzi and of course another helm station. What at first appears to be a hardtop is actually a sunroof. The foredeck has taken a line or two out of the Chinese nautical design book, with a squared-off profile very reminiscent of a junk bow which provides a substantial amount of extra acreage — seating and sun pads fill up the area admirably, and the anchor windlass is artfully tucked away beneath a grating making this space even more of a guest area than is usual.
So far, very nice, very Azimut. But the yacht we are looking at is substantially different. Outside, it has the same profile and the same distinctive deep metallic blue hull and blue smoked glazing. But go indoors and down the companionway to the lower deck, and voilà! it’s a whole new world.
With an absolute minimum of structural redesign, this Azimut 80 really has been customised. Paul Grange, Director of Marine Italia Ltd, Azimut agents in Hong Kong, is on hand to explain. “We received a request from a client to make some very specific alterations to this boat, in build. Azimut agreed, and the result is quite spectacular.”
The master suite has been entirely replaced with an ‘entertainment suite’. Even the bulkheads separating the cabin from the bathroom have been done away with, leaving a huge space containing a large, central, low level table. There are sofas all round the walls, with a more than impressive 80” tv on the forward bulkhead. All the Salvagni structural detailing has been preserved, and the walk-in closet is now a walk-in bar. And it’s full of colour — a crisp and very classy antidote to the classic décor on the main deck. This is where you need to be to watch some serious big screen action! Sit back, watch the show, and I’ll have another glass of crisp white, thank you.
“The owner wanted an upstairs that was all grown up and refined, and a downstairs that would appeal to the younger members of the family,” says Grange, but we suspect that the adults sneak down here quite often. It’s fabulous, but it’s not all. What was the port side double cabin has been reimagined as a video games room, with a 55” monitor on the interior wall and more seriously comfortable sofa seating all round. Playing games, you’ll be inside the cockpit of your Tornado fighter with the head-up display right in your face. Magnificent.
“These alterations were made after very careful consultation with Azimut, and the owners are absolutely delighted with the result,” says Grange. The ‘amendments’ are a perfect example of what can be done with a little imagination and a willing builder, and made this Azimut 80 entirely unique both in looks and in purpose. In short, just what the owner wanted. Yacht builders looking to further their appeal to the Asian market, take note.
This story was published in YACHT STYLE Magazine.