Source: Bob Pearson – Sea Magazine
Azimut’s 52 features powerful engines and more room for entertaining
What’s new about the Azimut 52? A tad more than 37 inches of swim, or as Azimut prefers, “diving” platform. This boat, which is an extended version of the Azimut 50, is being introduced as a new model in the United States to meet the growing demand for larger swim platforms cantilevered off the transom.
The 52 has the same specifications as the Azimut 50 with one exception: Instead of an overall length of 49.9 feet, it measures 53 feet. The extra space allows more room to accommodate guests who are socializing, swimming and diving, or to store a personal watercraft or dinghy.
I recently ran a sea trial on the first Azimut 52 on Lake St. Clair. Provided by McMachen Marine in Harrison Township, Michigan, our test boat was powered by twin electronically controlled 600 hp 3176B Caterpillar diesels.
This vessel was shipped from Italy to Montreal, Canada and then onto Detroit for the first of the Midwest fall boat shows at Cedar Point, Ohio. Our test interrupted frantic preparations for the show, so none of the electronics had been installed yet.
Our test took place in Anchor Bay on Lake St. Clair. When Randy Kluge and Bob Lennox, sales representatives at McMachen, ran the boat, the 52 went over wakes at speed, and the boat barely shrugged.
The 52 tracks dead straight. And you don’t get that deep-V steep bank in turns. The cleverly designed double chines, with a reverse on the lowest one, neutralize toll and bank. And twin spray knockers at the bow are quite effective.
Our test boat got up on plane quickly — within five seconds. There was only a slight increase of less than two degrees in bow-up running angle as the boat came on plane.
“Azimuts ride so well because of their bottom design and a conscious effort to keep the center of gravity low,” Lennox said. I agreed, as our ride was serene and calm through all of our acrobatics attempting to run wakes.
Sleek and Serene
I was pleasantly surprised by the quietness of the saloon as the Caterpillars ran just below it. Decibel readings hovered amazingly at just higher than 80 — even at top speed. This is due to excellent sound insulation, an underwater exhaust system (with a bypass for efficiency at slow speeds) and hull and component rigidity.
Azimut calls the 50 and 52 models “Europas” in their “Cinguanta” series. Europa models sold in the United States come with three cabins and two heads, while those sold in other countries have three cabins and three heads.
The sleek boat has an Italian appearance, with an extended flybridge and radar arch located way aft. One of two big sidelights on either side of the deck house has an eye shape also found in some U.S. boats. The shape of that window though fits nicely with the rest of the look of the Azimut 52. In addition, it helps bring exceptional light into the saloon and also provides a panoramic view.
The master stateroom has a double berth and is in the bow. It’s flanked aft by port and starboard guest cabins with twin single berths. The port guest cabin and master staterooms share access to a large head.
The starboard guest cabin has its own head, which is also readily accessible from the companionway leading down and forward from the saloon. Both heads are completely equipped, including bidets.
Volume equals mass, which subtracts from performance. This is a performance oriented sportcruiser, so room in the forward cabins is tight — but not uncomfortable.
What it may lack in room compared to motoryachts and some other sportcruisers, the Azimut 52 more than makes up for with style — especially in the saloon. While accents of burled cherry are found throughout the living spaces, they are rife in the saloon.
The bar, galley, entertainment center, high/low expandable settee table and even the lighting valance are done in this beautifully finished wood. It even graces the instrument panel and wheel of the stylish lower helm station.
The galley has a two-burner electric cook top, a sink and a refrigerator. Mounted low, the microwave oven is tucked out of the way. That’s visually pleasing, which is perfect because this boat is great for socializing.
Although the galley does not have an oven, I know a couple with a 25 foot sailboat who whip up multi-course gourmet meals on a portable two burner propane stove. So I’m sure you can achieve the same culinary marvels in the Azimut 52’s galley.
A Standard of Excellence
Azimut knows how to equip a boat and yet eliminate sticker shock. To demonstrate this, notice that the standard items on the 52 take up several pages in the brochure.
Upper and lower helm stations (the lower two seat pilot bench has plush upholstery and is power adjustable) are completely equipped. Autohelm multi-view displays include compass and rudder angle, autopilot, log, depth sounder and GPS. Shipmate VHS radios are also standard. The electrical systems include a standard Kohler generator, galvanic protection, 30 and 50 amp cords, a grounding system, a main panel at the lower helm station and subsidiary panels in the cabins and a central incoming control panel in the cockpit.
There are a number of unique things to like about the Azimut 52. Here are three examples: beautifully crafted stainless steel stern mooring bitts integrated into the cockpit coaming on either side; power vent windows that disappear down into the deck house on either side of the saloon and are controlled from the lower helm station; and the three panel stainless steel and safety glass sliding door between the cockpit and saloon that has heft but slides easily and can be held open or shut by sturdy, quick operating latches.
One area that could use a little work is the tight engine room that makes servicing the large Caterpillars a challenge. This problem is difficult to correct because Azimut has tried to keep the center of gravity low and the interior volume down.
I liked the tight-sealing hatch that covers access to the engine room from the cockpit, the sturdy ladder and the stainless steel surface machined to offer sure footing.
Founded in 1969 to build fiberglass pleasure boats, Azimut has gotten its formula right. The fiberglass work is flawless. The hull and superstructure are hand-laid fiberglass with Divinycell coring used above the waterline to save weight. The gelcoat is an isophthalic formula that resists blistering and damage from ultraviolet rays.
Azimut is proud enough of its fiberglass work to feature a photograph of the mirror finished mold in its catalog. More importantly, it assures owners of fiberglass quality with a five year anti-osmosis warranty on every hull.
Available at a price that is equal to the value you will get, the Azimut 52 will give you hours of pleasure on the water as you cruise and entertain your family and friends. This boat has the power to get you to your destination and offers the room to enjoy yourself once you arrive there.
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