The Shape Of Things To Come

Azimut's new S7 rewrites the rules of style.
Say the words “sport yacht” and the first things that typically come to mind are style and speed. So, when Azimut’s S7 sport yacht backed into a slip at the Cannes Boat Show for its world debut in September 2017, those who were been anticipating its arrival were eager to lay their eyes on its sexy lines and put their hands on the leather-wrapped steering wheel. Yet while this latest addition to the Italian builder’s S Collection promises to deliver both forward-thinking design and a sweet ride, it’s true allure lies in another feature.

Comfort,” says Federico Ferrante, president of Azimut-Benetti USA. “Sport yachts are very cool-looking and great performers, but they’re not always comfortable. It can be difficult to combine those things into one boat, but that’s what we’ve done on the S7.”
To achieve this, Azimut went the high-tech route, starting with the robust use of carbon fiber. On this 70-footer, the entire superstructure is constructed with carbon fiber, a material that’s highly appealing to builders because it’s lighter and stronger than fiberglass. With so much carbon fiber above the waterline, the center of gravity on the S7 is low, and that translates to a comfortable ride with less roll. “Even the most salted seamen don’t want their boats to rock, regardless of what they say at the bar,” says Ferrante. “Carbon fiber lets us improve the ride and increase interior volume at the same time, which means roomier living areas.

Other sport yacht builders use carbon fiber, but Azimut put its weight behind the technology, having made significant investments over the past few years. According to Ferrante, as much as 35 to 40 percent of the S7 is built with the material; by comparison, models from some competitors feature just a few components. “At Azimut, we like to get away from the crowd and go our own way,” says Ferrante. 
  • open flybridge of a yacht with lots of seating areas and a helm
  • a dining table on the deck of a yacht
  • A large yacht in deep blue water
The S7 is powered by three 800-hp Volvo IPS 1050s, which offer superior maneuverability and fuel efficiency. And because IPS is positioned farther aft than conventional inboards, it frees up space for features like the transom garage sized for both a dinghy and PWC. Yet IPS offers something of equal value that’s sometimes overlooked. “There’s no doubt IPS with joystick makes it easier to dock, but over time a boat owner can learn that skill. The real benefit, in my mind, is the way IPS reduces noise and vibration. Human beings are just not designed to enjoy those things. If there’s less of it, passengers will be more comfortable.” 

Propulsion and carbon fiber help to drive the identity of the S7, but its charisma is in the design. The exterior lines are by Stefan Rhighini, the marine industry icon whose expert eye has helped to make Azimut boats recognizable in ports the world over. As for the interior, Azimut flexed its creative muscle by partnering with a new designer, Francesco Guida. “We’re always looking to bring new energy and content to our clientele,” says Ferrante. “Francesco has created something completely unexpected. The S7 interior is unlike any other Azimut.
  • the bow of a large yacht with a sunpad
  • wide open sunpad with pillows
  • The aft deck of a large yacht in deep blue water
Andrew Schneider, U.S. brand manager for Azimut Yachts at MarineMax, agrees. “With Rhigini and Guida, it’s a one-two punch" MarineMax will debut the Sport-fly version of the S7 at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show. The S7 is also available in a Coupe, although both iterations feature similar arrangements in the cabin. With four staterooms and three heads (excluding crew’s quarters) the S7 can sleep eight overnight, and those passengers will be blown away by the interior design. Schneider says Guida uses fabrics, woods, glass, mirrors, finishes and light in all new ways. “He’s taken Azimut’s reputation for clean, contemporary Italian design to a whole new level.

On the main deck, the salon is a bright, open space with settees and cocktail tables that convert to a dining surface for eight, but meals can also be served in the cockpit, where another large table is located under the protection of the overhang. Because the cockpit and salon are on one level, they function as a single, seamless living space when the sliding glass doors are open.
  • wide sun pad on the flybridge of a yacht overlook the open ocean
  • helm station with large comfortable seats
  • a large yacht turning creating a large wake during sunset
One dynamic feature on the Sport-fly is a sleek cabinet that at first glance appears to be stowage for barware; get closer and you realize it’s a slick architectural element that conceals stairs leading up to the bridge. It’s one example of the innovative engineering found throughout the boat.

The galley is on the main deck, forward of the salon and opposite the lower helm. Forward of the helm are stairs to the accommodations level, where guest cabins are forward. The amidships en suite master is the showstopper here. “The S7 is a big boat, but it’s still a boat and space is what it is,” says Ferrante. “And yet we were able to carve out separate areas for privacy.” One feature used to artful effect is a thin, curved console for the TV; it doubles as a divider separating the berth from a section with basin and counter for washing up. The head compartment is nearby. Don’t overlook the oversized windows here. They underscore the builder’s philosophy that a boat should keep passengers connected to the sea. “There’s nothing more beautiful than the ocean,” says Ferrante. “So we try to use as much glass as possible, without compromising the high-end luxury amenities and features our clients expect.”
  • a yacht reflecting the sun set in open water
  • a large yacht turning creating a large wake during sunset
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