Striking looks and a compelling blend of space, style and performance makes this a threat to the British 40-footers
Where do you go these days if you want a 45ft sportscruiser?
Sunseeker, Fairline and Princess will build you something of either 40ft or 48ft, Sealine’s substantial S450 isn’t to everyone’s taste and Sessa is no longer in the game with its pretty C43.
So, if you’re looking for a sportscruiser around this size – especially one with a high-quality finish to match – the new Azimut Atlantis 43 looks like a very serious contender.
Since Azimut decided to add the weight of its own brand name to Atlantis sportscruisers, the range’s credibility has rocketed. Atlantis has been building solid, stylish sportscruisers for many years now but the latest models bearing the Azimut name have hit new highs, posing a much bigger threat to the British yards’ dominance of the market than ever before.
Coinciding with the appointment of a new dedicated UK agent, Azimut Yachts London, and a weakening of the euro exchange rate, the Azimut Atlantis 43 has a real opprtunity to exploit this gap in the market.
If you’ve been turning a blind eye, now is the time to open it and have a good look at this latest offering.
Traditional layout of the Azimut Atlantis 43
The new look Atlantis range has been styled in conjunction with Italy’s Neo Design and together with the Azimut team it has created a seriously sweet-looking range of sportscruisers.
The 43 lands slap bang in the middle of the line-up and maintains the sleek, chiseled look as the rest of its siblings.
Our test boat had a lovely red hull but in its standard cream the 43 almost looks a little reserved for an Italian sportscruiser; although the orange upholstery that tends to find its way on to the cream boats does spice things up a touch.
The Azimut Atlantis 43 is a traditional sportscruiser in every sense – that means it has a totally open cockpit with no doors to shut you away from the elements, its saloon is below decks sandwiched between two ensuite cabins and thrusting the whole lot through the water is a pair of Volvo Penta D6 400hp diesels on sterndrives.
It’s a simple layout, one we see less and less with the advent of the posh upper saloon, and though it is likely to work best in places where the threat of rain isn’t a constant worry, when the sun is shining this configuration is unbeatable.
And, of course, it’s not totally open because an electric fabric sunroof can cover over the helm station in the blink of an eye.
The cockpit design doesn’t move the game on much but it doesn’t need to when it’s executed so well.
A broad sunpad occupies the aft end, beneath which is a tender garage large enough to house a 2.2m inflated tender and there’s a dedicated space to stow a small outboard motor.
There is also a hydraulic bathing platform (part of the €79,000 comfort pack), from which you can launch a larger tender, leaving the garage free for storing other bulky kit.
Hefty handholds seem to always be within a short grab; around the perimeter of the aft sunpad, on the edge of the tasty stainless steel and teak table and on the wet-bar.
The bar is split into two units, both with sumptuously smooth, closed-moulded lids – one covering the optional barbecue grill and the other granting access to a handy, top-loading cooler.
The feeling of quality is undeniable on this boat, it bears the Azimut name and therefore must live up to certain standards, and it does.
You can see it in everything, from the quality of the mouldings, the gauge of the stainless, the feel of the Stemar upholstery, the smart brown cladding on the dash, the soft-close drawers below decks, and the LED lighting throughout.
It’s also an astonishingly practical boat for something that is essentially designed to look good and go well.
There are, for example, deep moulded bins beneath the aft sunpad cushions for storing lines and fenders, beneath the dinette is a dedicated space for the liferaft plus an easy access void covered by a fabric screen for chucking regularly used items such as warps, and down below there is so much storage you’ll be buying stuff just to fill the various lockers, cupboards, drawers and underfloor voids.
We have seen many different treatments of the area adjacent to the helm on open sportcruisers like this.
Most fit a chaise longue and some, like Sunseeker, opt for a raised, forward-facing seating area for a couple of people to sit and keep the skipper company when the boat is on the move.
This area has to be slightly raised to create headroom in the midcabin below and Azimut has come up with a neat solution that offers the best of both worlds.
It’s a simple arrangement with a raised forward-facing bench seat similar to a Sunseeker San Remo but it’s fitted with a two-piece cushion base that flips over to create a full length chaise longue when needed.
But lying down next to the helm is not where you want to be, the place you want to be is behind it.
The helm station is an exercise in understated elegance and ergonomic prowess, its upright design making it very easy to see and reach all the major controls.
It looks superb in the chocolate-brown cladding that also does a fine job of cutting glare, and even the steering wheel looks the business with its chunky leather rim and delicate spokes.
The helm seat is just large enough to fit two people (as long as one of them isn’t Eric Pickles) and the base also flips up so that, with the aid of the teak footplate, you can stand and lean with your head above the edge of the windscreen.
There was very little chop to put the 43 through its paces on the day of our test but the calm weather did at least mean there was some real fun to be had with the throttles towards the top end of their travel.
The D6 400s provide effortless grunt and a meaty shove in the back from pretty much anywhere in the rev range, all the way up to a top speed a whisker shy of 37 knots.
Acceleration is brisk and smooth and, thanks to the excellent helm and good view out, there is no need to use the trim tabs at all, certainly not in calm weather.
The handling is responsive, light and perfectly weighted, that combined with the excellent helm position makes the Azimut Atlantis 43 a real joy to drive.
Grip from the DPH drives feels limitless, even during full throttle, full lock turns and, overall, the balance between fun and safe handling characteristics is spot on.
There was the opportunity to give the hull a few body shots when one of Azimut’s big flybridges came out for a sea trial, carving a deep groove in the inky Mediterranean.
The 43 took the lumps well, soaking them up confidently and landing softly with no squeaks or rattles to dent your confidence in the hull’s resilience.
We took one jarring slam but that was more to do with a poor angle of attack and awkward landing directly on the outermost chine.
For the typical leisure cruising this boat will be tasked with, the hull felt more than up to the job.
Below decks the dimensions are generous in all of the living areas; from the saloon to the bathrooms you feel like you have plenty of room on board.
It’s a big space anyway but the long windows and broad skylight in the saloon pump the area with natural light and make it feel all the more spacious.
It’s not the type of boat you’re going to cook a Sunday roast on but that hasn’t stopped Azimut including practical seagoing measures in the galley, such as saucepan clamps over the hob, fiddles on the edge of shelves and a full-height fridge-freezer.
The forward cabin is classed as the master, and it’s excellent, but the midships cabin is the star of this show.
It has very impressive headroom for a cabin that lies beneath the cockpit, even over the berths where you can easily sit up in bed, plus it has huge amounts of storage, an extra berth that can be used as a sofa and its own bathroom.
It’s also likely to be the quieter place to sleep.
One small snag is that the sockets in this cabin are installed on the opposite side of the berths from the central bedside table.
If you want to charge a phone overnight the cable will run across your pillow; it would be much better if they were moved above the bedside table.
As you may sense from that rather picky criticism there really isn’t much wrong with this boat, except for engineroom access.
Day-to-day access is through a hatch in the cockpit sole and once you’re in, it’s pretty tight.
It’s impossible to get over the top of the engines and there is no chance of squeezing yourself round to the outboard side of the starboard motor,
Daily checks aren’t too much of a hassle but they aren’t easy either.
At least Azimut eases the pain a little with nice touches such as the bright wandering light and thorough labelling of piping and cable.
If anything serious goes wrong, you can remove the entire tender garage floor to give much better access to both engines and the sterndrives.
A closer look at the Azimut Atlantis 43 with Jack Haines
The cushion on the navigator seat flips forward to make a sunpad (see main pic left) or back to create the raised perch shown here – a neat solution.
The aft sunpad is not only very wide but it also has an adjustable backrest and easy-access fender and line storage voids under the cushions.
The unit at the foot of the mid cabin berths can be used as a storage unit/dressing table, or you can install a mattress to make a quick ad-hoc berth.
A weak point on the 43 – day-to-day access is far from easy and getting to the starboard motor is especially difficult.
If necessary, though, you can remove the tender garage floor to get at the engines.
Verdict on the Azimut Atlantis 43
The Altantis range has really improved over the last few years but the latest models have been either quite large or a bit small.
With this 43, Azimut has placed the boat right in the sweet spot where the competition used to be very active but no longer are. In northern Europe and the UK in particular, where buyers are fiercely loyal to homegrown brands, the Atlantis needs to fill a gap where these brands don’t and the 43 does just that.
But this is not the only reason to look at the Azimut Atlantis 43, it may have plenty of room to breathe in this area of the market but it is also a very good boat in its own right.
It looks great, performance and handling are spot on, the cockpit is perfect for summer boating and the cabin spaces are wonderfully big, bright and stylish for this size of craft.
There is also a reassuring feeling of quality and engineering insight underpinning the entire package.
In response to the question where do you go these days to find a premium 45ft sportscruiser, the Azimut Atlantis 43 currently provides the most compelling answer.
First published in the August 2015 issue of MBY
Price from: €428,400 inc 20% VAT
Price as tested: €533,656 inc 20% VAT
Length overall: 45ft 5in (13.86m)
Beam: 13ft 9in (4.25m)
Fuel capacity: 198 imp gal (900 litres)
Water capacity: 90 imp gal (410 litres)
Draught: 3ft 6in (1.1m)
RCD category: B (for 12 people)
Designers: Neo Design and Azimut Yachts
Displacement: 13.3 tonnes (loaded)
Contact: Azimut Yachts London
Tel: +44 (0)207 952 6393