251 NAUTICAL MILES
MAXIMUM CRUISING RANGE AT 23.5 KNOTS
everyone in the conversation. With seven people on board during my sea trial, I could see that the seating arrangement worked well. ¶ While sunshine was nonexistent, the main-deck interior was bright thanks to nearly 360 degrees of glass: two forward windows, eyebrow-shaped side windows that stretch the length of the superstructure, and a glass door that, when open, connects the covered aft deck and salon. All that glass, from the outside, enhances the 55’s relatively low profile too. (The yacht’s air draft is 17 feet 3 inches to the top of the radar arch.) ¶ The Azimut 55’s L-shaped galley aft is geared for serious meal prep with a four-burner Miele electric cooktop, Miele microwave/convection oven, Dometic standup refrigerator and freezer, and two sinks. When the cockpit glass doors are open, the galley becomes the social hub at cocktail hour. ¶ Out on the water, the wicked weather created a quick, short chop, but the 55 dispatched the sea with malice. She has a sabrelike bow for slicing through a seaway. Her planing hull form’s deadrise transitions to a moderate 21 degrees amidships and then to 12 degrees at the transom, creating a stable ride. ¶ It’s a ride made even more stable thanks to the standard Zipwake trim system, which uses interceptor tabs to adjust automatically for pitch and roll. The setup is plug-and-play, and the interceptors mount flat to the hull, adjusting up or down as needed. The system also minimizes performance-sapping drag. To make it all work, an owner plugs the boat’s specifications (length overall, beam, displacement) into the Zipwake system. The software does the rest. I’ve run several boats with Zipwake in a variety of sea conditions and found it intuitive and effective. ¶ Combine the 55’s steady ride with smooth handling from the standard SeaStar electric steering, and you get confidence-inspiring wheel time. It’s sporty wheel time too, with the 55’s 800 hp i6 MAN diesels. These diesels, the only engine option, gave my test yacht an average top hop of 30.5 knots at 2,350 rpm, which is within 50 rpm of the engines’ top-end rating. At a 2,000 rpm cruise, the 55 jogged along the brine at about 23.5 knots with 25 percent fuel and 75 percent water in the tanks. ¶ Running at cruise speed, the MANs burned 56.8 gph. Considering a 10 percent reserve on the yacht’s 673-gallon fuel tank, the yacht has an effective range of around 251 nautical miles. At wide-open throttle, fuel burn climbs to 81 gph and range drops to 228 nautical miles. ¶ The relentless rain prevented me from running the 55 from the flybridge, where there is a second helm station beneath a sunroof-equipped hardtop. I suspect it would be a fun place to be at speed on a sunny day. ¶ Six teak-covered steps provide access to the flybridge, which is also a party spot with C-shaped seating and a teak table to starboard, and a sun pad forward of it. Across is the single-seat helm. The flybridge overhang extends over the cockpit, increasing deck space aft for a table and a couple of settees for sundowners with friends. ¶ There would be no top-deck sundowners on this day, but the Azimut 55 performed solidly in the slop, always felt sturdy underfoot, boasted an impressive array of new technologies and had a next-generation aesthetic for the builder’s seven-model flybridge line. It’s a combination that should shine in any weather.
“Wicked weather created a quick, short chop, but the 55 dispatched the sea with malice. She has a sabrelike bow for slicing through a seaway.”