Streaking down the Côte d’Azur off Cannes, France, at an average top-end speed of 36.3 knots, I found myself lost in the fun. The 71-foot Azimut Yachts S7 handled more like a sports car than a vessel displacing more than 100,000 pounds.
We carved S-turns and figure eights into the relatively calm Mediterranean blue this early morning, and I pondered the combination of factors that give this sizable sport yacht its smile-inducing, confidence-inspiring performance and handling.
First is an efficient planing hull form by Azimut and P.L. Ausonio Naval Architecture, penned to reduce hydrodynamic drag and aided by strakes placed for optimized lift. Transom deadrise is a stability-enhancing 13.8 degrees, with about 18 degrees of deadrise amidships. A near-plumb bow—something of an Azimut trademark these days—helps carry overall volume forward while creating a cleaver to cut through a tempestuous sea state. I used it to try to write my name in the Med.
Second is Azimut’s liberal use of carbon fiber to reduce weight on the S7. Its superstructure, flybridge, mast, transom and platform, and the after section of its deck, are made of the material. The carbon fiber reduces top weight by about 30 percent and helps lower the center of gravity, which, in turn, helps with that lively driving experience. Azimut says the use of carbon fiber also helps reduce roll momentum by up to 15 percent. See how this is all coming together?
The third and final piece of the S7’s performance puzzle is triple 800 hp Volvo Penta D13 IPS1050 diesels that are Tier III-compliant and coupled to pod drives. Azimut says the S7 is “eco-sporty,” adding that this propulsion setup reduces fuel consumption and carbon-dioxide emissions by 20 to 30 percent compared with similar-size craft with straight shafts.
During my time on board, the S7’s engines consumed 86.1 gallons per hour at 2,000 rpm and a 28.9-knot average cruise speed, almost 2 knots above Azimut’s 27-knot published cruise speed. At cruise, the S7 has about a 304-nautical-mile range with a 10 percent fuel reserve on the yacht’s 1,004-gallon tank. At the yacht’s 36.3-knot top hop, fuel burn jumps to 123.1 gph and range drops to 266 nm. Slide the throttles back to 1,800 rpm and a 24.8-knot cruise speed, and consumption drops to 64.7 gph while range climbs to around 347 nm.
This sport fly is speedy, and it looks the part too. Designer Alberto Mancini drew the S7’s lines. At first blush you might think this vessel is an express cruiser, but on closer inspection the sleekly integrated flybridge comes into view. Sweeping is a descriptor that comes to mind when looking at the S7 in profile. From the squarish stem moving aft, there is a flow to the yacht that’s almost sharklike in form: narrower forward, rounded and wider in the midsection and then just enough taper aft to accentuate the lines. Hullside windows stretch from amidships forward, elongating the profile, while glass in the superstructure aids in visually lowering it. The superstructure’s raked design helps as well. Extensive hullside glass ensures water views from all four staterooms.
Yes, this yacht has four staterooms, in a size range where many other yachts have only three. The full-beam master is amidships with an athwartships berth. There’s also a true walk-in closet, a vanity and a pop-up TV. The en suite head has a rain shower, and all the drawers are of the soft-close variety. I spent time here during my time on board, and the stateroom was whisper quiet, aside from water running across the hull. The view out the hullside windows here is tough to beat.
Up three steps and off the companionway are the guest accommodations, with one stateroom each to port and starboard. The one to port has side-by-side berths and an en suite head, which is also the day head. Across from here is a stateroom with bunks; let’s call it the kids room. The VIP stateroom is forward with an en suite head. There is also a crew cabin, although I expect most US owners to be owner-operators.
There’s a subtle elegance to the S7’s interior design, which comes from a company called Yachtique. This is a new collaboration with Azimut Yachts, but not with the builder as a whole. Yachtique is known for its work on superyachts, including with Azimut’s sister company, Benetti. Expanding the relationship enables Azimut to bring large-yacht interior sensibilities to relatively smaller builds. Interior woods include a dove-tone tay wood and Canaletto walnut on the furniture. Leather and neutral-tone fabrics work in concert, creating a relaxed and sophisticated feel that the builder calls “residential chic.”
This ambience is particularly evident in the salon. Surrounded by glass—and with natural light coming in at all points—the salon’s sense of space is palpable, helped by the fact that the low-back, cream-tone, U-shaped settee to port doesn’t obstruct the glass. In fact, because the bulwark is open here, there are clear water views. There are also two fold-out high-low tables. Just forward is a U-shaped, Miele-equipped galley, which is a slight departure from the current trend of aft galleys on a lot of yachts. The layout works because there is also a Kenyon grill in the cockpit, and because the cockpit has an L-shaped settee to port, directly abaft the salon’s sofa. When the sliding door is open, the cockpit and salon are an integrated entertaining space.
That kind of continuity is also evident from the aft-deck sun pad to the foredeck lounge to the ground-tackle setup. The yacht is a lesson in feng shui: Everything has its place for optimal flow.
Sometimes a yacht’s mission can be nebulous, but the Azimut Yachts S7 has a clear purpose: This is a luxury performance yacht with superyacht-level interior design and a smart, functional layout that keeps everyone connected with the environment, while simultaneously limiting the yacht’s environmental impact. As far as I’m concerned, this yacht is a win-win.
The Full Range
The Azimut Yachts S7 is the latest in the Italian builder’s S-class series. The lineup also includes an S6, S8 and S10. This line is intended to appeal to yachtsmen who like the style of a sport-fly yacht, but who are also looking for a length overall closer to 60 to about 95 feet.
The Azimut S7 has three alfresco zones for guests to spread out and chill: A four-person sun pad over the tender garage is accessed via the hydraulic swim platform, the flybridge has U-shaped seating aft and a lounge next to the helm, and the foredeck has a lounge and a sun pad.
Helm It Your Way
The Azimut S7 has two helm stations: one on the main deck forward and to starboard, and one on the flybridge. Each station has Volvo Penta controls, a joystick and Garmin multifunction displays. The S7 heels moderately inboard on hard-over turns, but views at both stations are clear.
Take the next step: azimutyachts.com