Azimut’s new flagship pushes the builder into the domain of superyachts with style and grace
Frisson is the scientific term for a psychophysiological response to an aesthetic stimulus, otherwise known as “chills”. For some, it happens when listening to Andrea Bocelli leave a part of his soul in a verse of Con Te Partiró. For designer Alberto Mancini, that frisson came unexpectedly, as it does, while he sat in the beach club of the Azimut Grande Trideck in Monaco harbour.
“I was invited on board by one of the owners,” the Italian yacht designer says, “and I was looking around at other similar-sized yachts and they were 20 or 30 years behind the Azimut with their design. Honestly, it gave me chills.”
The latest boat to derive from the builder’s constant innovation is the 38-metre flagship of Azimut’s Grande line, and the brand’s first tri-deck yacht. It’s a superyacht, yes, but still a fast boat as Azimuts are meant to be. Naval architect Pierluigi Ausonio designed the yacht’s D2P (displacement-to-planing) hull. The bottom has three major features that make it special: a double chine that increases stability at slow speeds and reduces drag at higher ones; a wavepiercer bow that extends the length at waterline to increase fuel efficiency and minimise pitch; and a central skeg for course integrity, particularly in aft quartering seas. Even with the skeg, the Azimut Trideck draws just over two metres, making her able to navigate all but the skinniest waters.
With the hammer down, this Azimut can get up and go to the tune of 24 knots, more than fast enough to outrun any unexpected foul weather. It can hit these speeds thanks to two 2,600hp straight-shaft MTUs. The much-sought-after wind-in-your-hair feeling that these speeds engender can be enjoyed on multiple exterior decks. The crux of the Trideck’s design and appeal is in these areas, so much so that Azimut describes the yacht as “three decks plus one”.
“We worked with Alberto Mancini to make an additional deck on the aft end of the main deck,” explains Marco Valle, CEO of the Azimut Benetti Group, which creates a cascading effect from the sundeck down to the beach club. This yacht has more spaces from which to enjoy the sea, he says, from the more traditional foredeck, sundeck, upper deck and the beach club, to a split-level main deck aft.
Mancini, who applied similar thinking to his previous collaborations with Azimut, says the cascading exterior was the product of a deliberate goal to come up with a distinctive characteristic. “We created a proper raised aft deck. We call it a ‘sea view aft terrace’, and it’s a lovely place to enjoy the water and the breeze with your guests, and it complements that beach club so well.”
This “terrace” has about 30 square metres of space, outfitted with a sweeping, U-shaped sofa that should be a hotspot whether underway or standing still. It leaves plenty of room below for a full-height beach club.
Azimut also wanted the beach club to be as closely connected to the marine environment as possible. “The biggest problem with a beach club is that the deck is closed off on all sides, and the owners are stuck in the shadows,” says Mancini. “No one wants that. We created openings on either side of the boat, so you never feel oppressed like you’re in a cave. Instead, you can feel the wind and the water on your skin. We think it’s a great achievement. It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced before on a yacht this size.”
The owner of the first Azimut Trideck, a repeat client who splits his onboard time between South Florida and the Med, buttresses Mancini’s take. “The beach club is well furnished and open to the sea air,” he says. “You don’t feel like you’re in something enclosed. It’s just an open look and feel and it’s almost flush with the water. So my wife can lie on the bed and watch everyone in the water. It’s like having another saloon, except it’s open to the environment. We love it.”
The foredeck lounge also makes for an excellent place to relax on massive sunpads and in the spa pool. Another space on the aft section of the upper deck offers impressive views and serves as the setting for al fresco meals, thanks to a dining table that can easily sit eight guests. A “skydeck” with chaises longues sits above all, bringing sun worshippers closer to their god.Read More/Inside the 16.7 metre Azimut 53 Flybridge yacht
Of course, with all these outdoor spaces, it would have been easy for the yacht’s lines to become somewhat askew and top-heavy. But Azimut and Mancini understand that with any beautiful thing, proportion is key. They took great pains to ensure that the vessel’s aesthetic elements work in harmony.
For his part in this endeavour, Mancini points to his automotive design pedigree. “When one works with automobiles, the main goal is always to get the proportion right, and so that is always my goal with the yachts as well,” he says. “I’m inspired by sports cars and that industry. Even a car that’s only maybe five metres long directly informs what I will do with a yacht like this one, that is 38 metres.”
The Azimut Trideck has an undeniable je ne sais quois to its outward appearance. Perhaps it’s the way the upper deck parallels the relatively straight sheer line, or the proportion of the bow to the superstructure, which seems to mimic the mix of gravitas and extravagance seen in a Bentley or Rolls-Royce.
Mancini points out that not a drop of seaworthiness was sacrificed for aesthetics. “I have a good partnership with Azimut’s technical department,” he says. “We have daily emails and meetings on the construction and design process. They let me draw what I want to start. You can call this part ‘the romantic step’. I sketch what I feel and they don’t tell me ‘Oh you can’t do this, you can’t do that.’ They allow me to brainstorm, and then the design team works with my vision step by step to approach the technical and practical things and make sure that everything works perfectly.”
A technical decision that paid dividends for Azimut was to use as much carbon fibre as possible, particularly in the superstructure, which is entirely laminated in the material. A driving factor of the yacht’s design was to keep her as light as possible without sacrificing structural integrity, and the carbon fibre helped achieve that. She tips the scales at a relatively feathery 190 tonnes at full displacement. And the decision to use carbon fibre paid off in spades in her interior volume, another key area of the Trideck’s development. There’s so much space that Azimut offers an option for a sixth guest cabin on the upper deck. Valle says that five of the six hulls the company has sold have taken advantage of the six-cabin layout, which is the only major layout customisation available.Read More/Azimut S10: Inside Azimut Yachts' S Line Flagship Superyacht
The yacht’s interior designer, Achille Salvagni, who pens the interiors for all the models in the Grande series, entered the project with a simple yet ambitious concept in his mind. “The true disruptive force behind this project is its desire to define an alternative use for the settings, by opening them up, and in doing so, presenting new ways to experience the boat,” he says. “When the function of a given space is not strictly defined, it becomes more fluid and changeable, shaped around the need for conviviality and socialisation.” In other words, an open mind leads to open space.
This fluidity shows in the absence of a formal dining area on the main deck. Instead, meals can be hosted at tables on the upper deck, sundeck or the al fresco section of the main deck. This choice opens up the saloon for more casual entertaining and makes it a voluminous party space as well. The goal is to embody a loose and flexible atmosphere.
The interior lines – perhaps best exemplified by the furniture that eschews corners – were designed by Salvagni to be “smooth and sinuous”. Light creams and greys play gently off one another on the fabrics by the Milanese brand Dedar, the veneers, and in the marbles and other stones found throughout.
Salvagni’s work has Azimut’s clients abuzz. “If you look at the ceiling, the floor, everywhere, there is a lot of Italian style, which I like,” the owner says. “The fit and finish has a real megayacht feel to it. And the quality as well. It starts in the railings, and it goes into the hallways and the interior spaces. And another, slightly different aspect I love about it is the isolation you can feel in the boat. They did a wonderful job with the sound insulation. For me, it’s important that when you walk in one section of the boat, you can’t hear it in another section. And this Azimut is almost totally silent inside. It’s amazing.”
The lush and thoughtful interior combines with a heavy emphasis on outdoor living to create a yacht that can do it all. As the owner puts it, “When I’m in the Med, I like to go to Monaco and the fancier places and go out to the parties and restaurants, and the [Trideck’s] lines and high style make her perfect for that,” he says. “But I also travel with my family and want to go to the more isolated islands and really get a chance to enjoy the natural environment in peace and quiet, and she can do that as well. I really don’t know of any other boat that can go to either kind of place quite as expertly as this one. My family and I expect to create many good memories on board.” It’s enough to give anyone the chills.
First published in the October 2021 edition of BOAT International.