Azimut Yachts is one of the foremost Italian boatbuilders, based at a state-of-the-art 100,000 square metre facility in Avigliana, less than 20 miles west of Turin, which can produce up to 300 boats per year and has built more than 10,000 hulls to date.
Founded in Italy in 1969 by Paolo Vitelli, originally as a charter company for sailboats, Azimut Yachts quickly expanded in the 1970s with the launch of its first fibreglass boat design, the AZ 43 Bali, which was built as part of a joint venture with Dutch yard Ameriglass. This was followed up in 1977 by the AZ 32 Targa, which Azimut describes as ‘the Ford Model T of the boat world’.
The next decade saw the company launch the world’s largest mass-produced fiberglass yacht, the 30 metre Azimut 105 Failaka in 1982. Built for a Kuwaiti prince, this yacht also made waves on the other side of the Atlantic and paved the way for Azimut to break into the lucrative US market with its first appearance at the Miami Yacht Show.
A major milestone came in 1985, when Azimut acquired the historic Benetti shipyard and created the Azimut-Benetti Group, which went on to take the title of the world’s largest superyacht builder in the early 21st century. This came on the back of significant expansion in the 1990s, with new sites in Fano and Avigliana, as well as the restructuring of Benetti’s Viareggio headquarters. New models to splash in the 1990s included the AZ54, with its distinctive eye-shaped side windows – a motif that endured for more than a decade after its launch. More recently, the Gobbi yard was acquired in 2001 and its Atlantis sister brand was merged into the core Azimut portfolio in 2013.
Design and innovation
Azimut has pioneered several key yachting trends over the years, such as large frameless windows, electric seats and walnut wood interiors. As well as using the latest manufacturing techniques to ensure high-quality results, Azimut also prides itself on incorporating the finest hand craftsmanship in its interior detailing, to ensure that exclusive ‘Made in Italy’ feel.
Over the years, the yard has worked with several designers from all across the world, from the British naval architect Michael Peters to the Dutch supremo Cor D Rover, but the classic Azimut combination sees sporty Stefano Righini exterior lines offset by a sumptuous Carlo Galeazzi interior design. The company’s slogan ‘Fino all’ultimo dettaglio’ means ‘To the last detail’, while its yachts aim to evoke the timeless Italian tradition of living La Dolce Vita.
The Azimut range
The current Azimut collection includes the entry-level Verve dayboats, the semi-planing Magellano trawler models (launched in 2008) and the signature flybridge range, all the way up to the Grande superyacht line. The Azimut Yachts flagship, the Grande 35, measures in at an imposing 35 metres and is notable for its extensive use of structural carbon fibre as well as a displacement to planing hull with a wave-piercing bow for added efficiency.
Keen to minimise its yachts’ impact on the delicate marine ecosystem, Azimut has pioneered a wide range of environmental initiatives. These include research into eco-friendly paints and resins, hybrid propulsion systems and even the possibility of harnessing nanotechnologies for antifouling.
Today, Azimut has a truly global presence, with 138 sites in more than 60 countries around the world, including Japan, Canada and Saudia Arabia. Paolo Vitelli remains on the board of Azimut, where he is joined by his daughter, Giovanna. You can read all the latest Azimut Yachts news, reviews and features on MBY.com