Azimut 50 Flybridge used boat review

Rather than an expanded small boat it's better to think of the Azimut 50 Flybridge as a compact big yacht

Azimut’s 50 Flybridge is one of those boats that really ought to come with a health warning. After all, should one of these ‘eleganti yacht a motore’ sashay by in a blur of sensuous Italian chic, there’s a fair chance you’ll end up with a cricked neck.

Of course, there’s nothing new about the Italians and head-turning style – they go together like macaroni and cheese – but where Azimut really scores is in adding a hefty dollop of substance to its innate stylistic appeal.

Launched in 2014, the Azimut 50 Flybridge carved out its niche in the luxury flybridge sector before being treated to a major facelift in 2017. That resulted in the model we have here – a 2021 example, offered by Swanwick-based Solent Motor Yachts for £1,049,950 including VAT.

Externally, there’s very little difference between the old and new designs. The main visual change is the disappearance in newer vessels of the GRP ‘spear’ moulding, which jutted up amidships and served no purpose other than to disturb the saloon’s window line. Now, with its appearance streamlined, the boat cuts an even sleeker profile in the water.

Though it’s only a single station, the upper helm is very sociably arranged

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Below decks, the changes were more significant. The original galley-down configuration was superseded by – you’ve guessed it – a galley-up arrangement. In order to facilitate that, Azimut had to do away with the dinette adjacent to the helm but the vacated space has been well used for a generously proportioned galley, which is much more in touch with the rear of the saloon.

There are two settees back here, facing each other across an electrically operated table which moves up and down. And another benefit of the newer boat’s main deck galley is better access to the aft cockpit, where you get another large table with a U-shaped six-seat settee for relaxed alfresco dining.

Owner-focused fit-out

As we tour the boat, the word ‘option’ is one that crops up over and over again. This is because the Azimut build philosophy is to begin with a relatively base-spec boat and add to it all those things that owners would rather not do without.

Consequently, many of the vessel’s more desirable features – ranging from a Seakeeper 6 gyro stabiliser and variable thrusters to an ice maker and a dishwasher in the case of our review boat – come as options rather than as standard, so if you’re considering one, you should always check the specs list with great care.

Few 50-footers can match the sheer scale and style of the Azimut’s flybridge

For Dave Clark, the owner of our review boat, the stabiliser option was particularly important. “Nathalie, my wife, loves the outdoors, loves the water, but gets seasick,” explains Dave.

“So for her it’s always been about day boating – and a 50 footer for a day boat would just be completely over the top. Trouble is I love boats I can sleep on. I wanted something that was as big as I could get and something my wife might be happy to overnight on – and with its Seakeeper, our Azimut has been a game changer because Natalie can now stay on board.

“We slept on it plenty of times last year. In bad weather we leave the stabiliser plugged into the shore power and it’s been fantastic. But how it’s really changed our world is that we can now take our time and go places at idle, or at eight or ten knots.

The cockpit’s six-seat dining zone is well sheltered by the full-length flybridge

“Previously, we needed to be on the plane to make our boat stable and keep everyone from feeling ill. Now we take two hours to go from our base in Hythe to Yarmouth and it’s a lovely trip. And if we’ve got a north-easterly, which we’ve had a lot of over the past 12 months, we literally increase our pace until we match the speed and the flag drops.

“It’s as if we’re hot air ballooning! And I’ve never done it before. We used to go everywhere at 26 knots but now, once I’ve matched the speed, I put the auto helm on and we just potter. It’s great!”

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Providing the motive power for Dave and Nathalie to potter around the Solent is a pair of Volvo Penta D11s, each rated at 725hp. These units were also part of the 2017 facelift, as 675hp Volvo Penta engines were previously fitted.

Today, late model Azimut 50 Flybridges (from hull 796 onwards) are equipped with Caterpillar C8.7s, rated at 650hp. Dave’s boat also features Volvo’s joystick for easy manoeuvring. That said, he tells us that the combination of twin D11s and variable thrusters makes berthing so simple that he rarely finds himself reaching for the joystick.

A big, sociable seating area dominates the internal main deck space

Internal considerations

Returning to the internal accommodation, the luxurious appointment of the saloon continues all the way to the starboard helm, where two bolstered leather seats with drop-down footrests provide an excellent view forward.

The instrumentation is also well laid out, with an array of multi-function displays mounted in an anti-glare panel ahead of the throttles, joysticks and switchgear – and every bit of that equipment falls very neatly to hand.

Newer models feature a main deck galley, adjacent to the raised helm station

Four steps down from the helm lead to a vestibule, with easy access to a storage space where the lower galley on earlier models would have been. On our review boat, this zone also provides access to a neat little space for the optional freezer and washer/drier.

From here, a short corridor takes you forward to the starboard bunk cabin and to the double guest cabin in the forepeak. Also located off the corridor is the boat’s day heads, which has a Jack-and-Jill door arrangement to allow the washroom to be used as an ensuite by guests in the forward cabin.

Turning aft, two further steps drop down to the full-beam master cabin. With its king-size double bed, integrated range of dark wood bedroom furniture and fully equipped ensuite, this is where the sumptuous feel of this boat reaches its zenith.

The final area to inspect is where guests are likely to want to spend most of their time. Sitting atop the saloon, stretching all the way back to the bathing platform and covered with a T-top with a manual sliding sunroof, the flybridge offers a vast amount of seating and entertaining space, as well as a handy set of sunpads.

The owner gets a king-size bed, big storage cabinets and plunging windows

It is undoubtedly the Azimut 50’s happy place. As Dave Clark reports, it’s also a great space for driving the boat, as its port helm station gives an excellent view not only to port but also to the rear of the boat by virtue of the flybridge’s stairway access point.

Big boat in miniature

Combining good looks with super-luxurious fittings and a top speed of 32 knots makes the Azimut 50 Flybridge a force to be reckoned with. As for grumbles, there are very few to be had with this boat. The size of the third cabin, which only allows for bunks, is one contender and the crew cabin is another.

The forward VIP is far and away the more generous of the two guest cabins

Accessed from the aft cockpit, it’s somewhat on the snug side, but in practice it’s likely to be used for storing toys and equipment rather than human beings. Other than that, there are virtually no nits to pick – and with 120 examples delivered to date, that’s clearly a widely shared view.

Used examples are sure to carry a premium price but that’s only to be expected from such an attractive vessel. And as the broker of our review boat explained to us, a major part of that appeal consists in the fact that it draws much of its inspiration from larger boats in the Azimut range. Rather than being an amplified version of a smaller boat, he said, this is a compacted version of something much larger. We reckon he might well be onto something there…

Azimut 50 Flybridge specifications

DESIGNERS: Stefano Righini and Carlo Galeazzi
HULL TYPE: Planing
RCD: B12
LOA: 52ft 8in (16.05m)
BEAM: 15ft 3in (4.65m)
DRAFT: 5ft 0in (1.52m)
DISPLACEMENT: 21 tonnes (empty)
FUEL CAPACITY: 2,220 litres
WATER CAPACITY: 590 litres
TOP SPEED: 32 knots
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 6.96l/nm @ 26 knots
RANGE: 255nm at 26 knots with 20% reserve

Azimut 50 Flybridge running costs

Annual fuel burn: 4,767 litres (based on 25 hours at 26 knots and 25 hours at 6 knots)
Berting: £11,395 (based on £710/metre for a Hamble River marina downstream of Bursledon bridge)

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