A spectacular main deck master suite makes the sporty new Azimut Grande 27 Metri feel far bigger than its 87ft length would suggest
Azimut’s new, raised-pilothouse Grande range kicked off in spectacular style last year with the 35 Metri, a true game-changer among motor yachts with its efficient, wave-piercing hull design, which was widely admired on its launch and showered with awards, not least from MBY, who considered it the best yacht in its class at the 2018 Motor Boat Awards.
Subsequent Grande designs have proved more evolutionary than revolutionary, but their highly distinctive styling bespeaks a confidence of purpose that Azimut has seldom lacked even in its most innovative periods. There is certainly no mistaking the new Grande 27 Metri, with its cacophony of window shapes, uncompromising angles and bold curves.
You know at a glance not only that it’s a Stefano Righini design, but also that it’s not going to be boring – and like its bigger, wave-piercing sister, it has ideas that help move the game on.
Stepping aboard, the herds of free-roaming sofas and armchairs in the saloon impart the faint air of a furniture showroom, but with its 6ft 7in (2.01m) of headroom and wide, bright vistas on three sides, it’s as comfortable an environment for lounging around and socialising as it might be for shopping.
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The Achille Salvagni interior design comes in three ‘moods’ for customers to choose from. Our test boat’s, with its pale upholstery, glossy mahogany, walnut panels, bronze detailing and light oak floors, was called ‘Riviera’.
Extensive use of lightweight materials in the Grande 27 Metri’s construction – carbon reinforcement throughout the superstructure, with an all-carbon radar arch, transom and hardtop – is not so much to make the yacht lighter, but to make it bigger without the weight penalty.
You can see this in its profile: the coachroof carries right to the bow while the saloon extends almost as far aft, with a long flybridge overhang protecting the cockpit. The essential benefit of this rugby-ball shape is, of course, internal volume.
And nowhere is this better demonstrated than on the main deck, forward, where the master suite luxuriates in a spacious and light compartment with, again, 6ft 7in of headroom, an excellent full-beam layout (there are no side decks at this point) and a bathroom with two sinks, a separate head and a big shower compartment.
The artificial teak floor will undoubtedly be more practical than the real thing, although I was told it was selected not for environmental reasons, as you might imagine, but because some owners object to the smell of wet teak.
This luxurious owner’s area is not just the best in its class, but the only one – no other mainstream builder of fast flybridge yachts, whether in the UK, Europe or the US, currently offers anything at this hull length that quite compares.
It’s not, technically, on the main deck, being down a few steps on its own level, but it’s nevertheless well above the waterline and – along with the Grande 27 Metri’s raised pilothouse, with the galley and day head beneath – this helps impart the feeling of being aboard a significantly bigger motor yacht.
The master suite is quite a feature, made all the more telling because as a cabin it betrays no sense of having been squeezed in to make a point, or to provide the sales team with a story. It works. It’s comfortable. It’s even got a dressing room. And those windows are huge.
Rooms with a view
Lifting the owner’s suite out of the lower deck leaves plenty of space for everyone else down there, and in the standard five-cabin layout, as seen on our test boat, the lower accommodation is arranged in two quite reasonable double VIP suites amidships, and a pair of symmetrical twin-berth cabins forward.
All the berths are at least 6ft 4in (1.93m) long and of generous width. Stowage volumes look adequate – there is a very useful locker hidden in that curvy companionway – and nowhere does headroom dip below 6ft 6in. Needless to say (because it’s 2019) every cabin has its own good-sized hull window.
There is also an optional four-cabin version of the Grande 27 Metri, where the VIP on the port side becomes a twin, while a section of the central lobby and the two forward cabins are given over to a full-beam VIP, which looks like it might be truly worthy of that description.
The huge, full-beam, full-length flybridge, on the other hand, seems to deserve slightly more hyperbolic nomenclature, while the cockpit, luxuriating under that long, sheltering overhang and buttressed against the breeze by swooping superstructure mouldings, would be hard to beat as a place to enjoy breakfast. Extra open-air seating on the foredeck – or more accurately, the coachroof – is complemented by a large sunbathing area down forward.
There might be two lower-deck layouts to choose from and three interior design options, but when it comes to power plants, the Grande 27 Metri offers just the one. Cramped slightly by the tender garage over the centreline but otherwise reasonably accessible, the twin 1,900hp MAN V12s dwell in a nicely organised space well aft, hooked up to V-drive transmissions and separated from the lower-deck accommodation by the roomy two-cabin, two heads crew quarters.
No lightweight, in spite of all the carbon fibre in its construction – I blame all that heavy glass – the Grande 27 Metri nevertheless accelerated well, and we were soon barrelling along over a light, two-foot chop at better than 28 knots.
Effective fin stabilisers kept us dead level even in high-speed turns, and proved equally capable at displacement speeds, even when coursing along our own wake. The adjustable Seastar electronic power steering – beloved by boatbuilders because it’s far simpler to run cables from the helm to the rudders than hydraulic pipes – proved to have just the right amount of artificial ‘feel’, and with a willing throttle response from the torquey V12s, the driving experience was excellent.
The Grande 27 Metri was also fitted with Humphree’s interceptors on the transom, rather than conventional tabs, which in their fully automatic mode, once properly set up, look after both longitudinal and lateral trim throughout the speed range, not only reducing the workload for the helmsman but also optimising cruising fuel efficiency.
Azimut’s Grande yachts are designed to be noticed – there’s no chance you’ll mistake one for anything else. The Grande 35 Metri deserved all the attention and plaudits it received, particularly for its pioneering hull design.
But while built on more conventional naval architecture, the Grande 27 Metri can hold its head up in any company, for an innovative superstructure design that provides such excellent potential for the interior. Raised pilothouse layouts and forward master suites used to be the preserve of 90-plus footers and beyond. Not any more.
LOA: 87ft 10in (26.78m)
LWL: 74ft 3in (22.62m)
Beam: 21ft 7in (6.59m)
Draught: 6ft 3in (1.90m)
Fuel capacity: 2,090 gal (9,500 litres)
Water capacity: 440 gal (2,000 litres)
Displacement (loaded): 89 tonnes
Test engines: Twin 1,900hp MAN V12
Top speed: 28.1 knots
Cruising speed: 21.8 knots
Range: 331 miles