There is nothing else out there quite like Azimut’s new 77S, but it’s not just the snubbed stem which is new to Azimut, or those radical window shapes and its muscular, almost military profile. It’s the power plant: three 900-horsepower, six-cylinder diesels on Volvo’s low-drag, computerized IPS drives. This is not a boat for the faint-hearted. And yet it cossets and comforts with a cool and beautifully executed interior that not only offers the highest levels of luxury, but impressive space and volume.
Let’s start with the machinery. Why three engines? Azimut’s engineers argue that in terms of fuel consumption, three can be more economical than two for the same power output. But the real reason for such a complex installation is not to do with the engines but with the space they take up: IPS drives can be set well aft in the hull, leaving more space for accommodations—and the only way to get 2,700 horsepower from Volvo’s IPS system is to fit three 900s. In both handling and performance the 77S sparkled, topping out at 32 knots and providing the kind of rewarding drive that puts a broad smile on the face of the helmsman, and you can cruise all day long at 30 knots. It heeled dramatically and turned on a dime, while the steering was light and helm response instant. To get the best out of this sporting hull and its powerful machinery it seems you need to run it light. We also found that turning off the stabilizers helps it handle like a real thoroughbred.
The 77S might have a sporty, slender hull with a 20-degree deadrise amidships, but it’s a four-cabin, four-head yacht, plus crew accommodations, and the midships master suite feels as roomy as that of a broad-beam flying-bridge cruiser. Two twin-berth guest cabins and a VIP are less spacious, but well proportioned. There is also 6 feet 6 inches of headroom all through the lower deck. There’s pretty good stowage volume too, particularly in the two larger suites, where the big berths hinge upwards on gas struts.
The galley is down too, which leaves the main deck clear for an impressive saloon and dining area, with just a single helm seat to maximize the space for guests. The windows are huge, and with the sunroof and cockpit doors open the overall effect is superb. There is also a comfortable seating area on the foredeck, complete with bimini, while the flying bridge, though short, offers extra outdoor relaxation space as well as the hands-down winner of the best place from which to drive this spectacular machine.
Perhaps there is nothing else out there quite like the 77S because Azimut set itself such a tough challenge: to produce a luxurious, well-appointed and spacious cruising yacht with the look and feel of a sportsboat. It’s a brief that doesn’t so much involve compromises as tearing up all previous preconceptions, and starting on a clean sheet. But it works: it might not be especially fast, but the 77S handles like a driver’s boat, and has a smooth-riding deep-vee hull. And it’s big and beautiful both inside and out.
MarineMax, 631-424-2710; www.azimutyachts.com
: 58 tons
: 1,057 gal.
: 291 gal.
: 3/900-hp Volvo Penta IPS1200s
: $4.5 million (duties paid – CIF Miami)
: 2/Kohler, 28-kW
*Range based on 90% of advertised fuel capacity.