Azimut 72 Fly Yacht Review

Azimut 72 Fly Yacht Review

Every time I step aboard a proper yacht for a review—in this case, the new Azimut 72 Fly—I always ask myself a counterintuitive question: How practical is this yacht? Now by their nature, most yachts aren’t what folks would typically call practical—after all, they’re yachts. What the question means more broadly is this: Someone is going to spend millions on this vessel. It’s one thing to design a beautiful yacht. It’s another to make that beautiful yacht, well, practical. Will a mechanic be able to comfortably and safely wrench on her primary systems in an emergency? Are systems intuitively and clearly laid out? When she encounters heavy seas, can crew and guests get around without falling down—or falling overboard? And do her hull and windows appear capable of handling the occasional force 8 gale off Sardinia

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These were the sorts of questions I had in mind as I beheld the Azimut 72 Fly at the Miami Boat show. Standing alongside Azimut’s US Sales Manager Giorgio Sarti at the dock, I beheld what is certainly a beautiful update to a model Azimut first unveiled in 2016. With a deep vee hull and nearly 19 feet of beam, the Alberto Mancini designed yacht clearly bears the DNA of her predecessor. The combination of alternately forward raked bow rails, a steeply rear-raked windshield, and a forward-raked flybridge windscreen beneath a carbon fiber roof, create a gorgeously sleek yet purposeful look. Vast expanses of tapering curved glass surround her cockpit and a huge flybridge (hence her name) covers nearly half the boat’s length.

Stepping aboard, the first thing Sarti was excited to show off was not the 72’s lounging areas, but her engine room—and here is where practical comes to the fore. Housing a pair of 1,400 horsepower MAN V-12’s (capable of pushing the 117,000 pound yacht to 31 knots), that engine room is a cavernous, mechanic’s dream with plenty of headroom, excellent access to engines, twin 22kW generators and all the filters, seacocks and again, and an imminently practical ElectroSea strainer system. Further enhancing that practicality and utility? A pre-threaded port for an optional watermaker and a substantial, centrally located, multi-level tool shelf.

Just astern of the 72’s engine room, there’s more practicality in the form of easy hatch access to the Seakeeper 18, a pair of small but comfortable crew berths (one with a door, one with just a privacy curtain), a washer/dryer and a massive wall bank that houses all the primary electrical junctions in one spot. The crew head also doubles as a fully equipped wet dayhead.

Azimut 72 Fly

Stepping up from the wide stern beach platform along the passerelle-equipped stairs and onto the main deck, I’d be remiss in not mentioning more utility in the form of a diminutive joystick-equipped docking station perfectly hidden beneath a small door in the stern flybridge pillar. Beneath that flybridge, the work of the 72’s new designer, Fabio Fantolini comes to the fore. A gently curved, sweeping settee anchors a dining area with a rounded-edge faux-marble table. The color scheme throughout the boat is soothing beiges, light grays, teals and teak. The single-level walkthrough cockpit is accessed by an again, practical and burly three-panel sliding glass door which can bring the outside in or seal it off entirely. Just off that door, a huge floor-to-ceiling bar sets opposite a vast settee that runs clear to a Miele-equipped portside galley that can be had in an open to the cockpit or walled off configuration for charters. Any chef—professional or amateur—should be happy with a full-height fridge/freezer, deep sink, four burner cooktop and a nifty power window that can instantly ventilate the cooking area.

Forward of the galley and just opposite the helm is a wonderful breakfast nook that offers magnificent ocean views forward and to port. Across from the galley, added beauty and practicality come in the form of a fixed marble table whose combination of chair and settee seating could comfortably hold six and maybe as many as eight.

The 72 has a pair of well-equipped helms at cockpit level and on the flybridge. The MAN shaft drives are controlled by Azimut’s Raymarine twin-screen-based Platinum package. As you’d expect, all the controls—joystick, bow thrusters and adjustable steering wheel, are intuitively laid out. But there was also an impressive—and again practical—level of genius coding used in a mightily intuitive screen interface. It’s comfortable too—with an adjustable steering wheel and power adjustable leanpost seats (both above and below). Multiple climate zones (there are three in the cockpit alone), including the crew quarters, can all be easily adjusted from the helm. All the switches and power systems are easy to navigate, but for convenience and redundancy, vital elements like the windshield wipers, windlass and lights, can still be immediately activated via old-school buttons.

Belowdecks, the 72 Fly holds a three-stateroom layout. The master suite is amply windowed, soothingly lit and located amidships where roll and yaw (especially with the Seakeeper) will be minimized. The master’s decor is beautifully matched to the upper deck areas and holds thoughtful touches like USB ports on either side of a bed that can be hydraulically raised for mammoth storage. The two-sink head offers a giant rainfall style shower that could (for water-saving purposes, of course) easily accommodate two bathers at once.

Azimut 72 Fly

The bow VIP suite’s head is smaller and it lacks the master’s square footage, but it’s still well-lit, bears plenty of storage and a nicely equipped single sink head. You might, in fact, be tempted to stay there instead. Rounding out the accommodations are a twin berth guest suite whose ensuite head is accessible from the passageway to double as a day head. All around, doors bear magnetic latches so they can’t swing around—practicality and safety.

The flybridge on the 72 is just spectacular. It’s halfway covered by a carbon-fiber roof that can be opened wide with the help of a mammoth Webasto-built sunroof. Its rails are high enough to be functional, its furniture is custom shaped to the curves of those rails and it can be optioned with items that include a grill that would allow you to cook and look out over the vast world unfolding at the stern. Other neat touches include a glass balustrade at the stern for unobstructed views from the settees, and a U-shaped settee perched alongside the helm.

Out at the bow, the 72 just continues to impress. Beneath an easy-to-deploy carbon fiber-supported shade, lies a party-sized sofa that looks forward towards a stern-facing sofa. Fold that stern sofa forward and it becomes an extension of an already mammoth deck lounge. Popup lights illuminate the space, edged tables are strategically situated so your drinks won’t slide, and substantial handrails run clear to the bow to keep you onboard. And speaking of safety, I’ll leave you with this. In the past couple of years, we’ve seen several instances of yachts foundering because the crew simply couldn’t get the anchor deployed. Well, on the 72 Fly, a mate could reach the forward anchor in SS Minnow-sinking weather thanks to the railings. Once there, he or she could either manually drop the anchor, or use foot-operated switches to the same effect. Those switches could also permit that bow-perched crewperson to make a very precise anchor drop amidst, say an area where corals might be damaged by a misplaced drop.

Speed, safety, beauty and yes, practicality. The Azimut 72 Fly has it all.

Azimut 72 Fly Specifications:

LOA: 74’1”
Beam: 18’6”
Draft: 6’
Displ: 117,593 lb. (loaded)
Fuel: 1373 gal.
Water: 290 gal.

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This article originally appeared in the June/July 2024 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.