Azimut's latest flybridge cruiser claims to be as good at going slow as it is going fast. Could this be the hybrid of the future?
There is an experienced boatowner in my local marina who takes his 50ft flybridge 30-knot cruiser to the Channel Islands quite regularly. The loss of red diesel and fuel rises haven’t dampened his enthusiasm, but what has changed is his style of cruising.
Whereas once he’d have left early, blasted across the Channel at 25 knots and be tied up in St Helier in time for lunch, now they set off at the same time, but set the throttles at a steady 10 knots, sit back and relax. The reduction in fuel burn is enormous apparently, but more than that, he reports that it’s rather a pleasant way to travel. There’s less stress on the boat and crew, they can cook lunch en route, move around the boat more comfortably, and enjoy being out at sea.
Of course displacement boatowners have been doing this for years with craft specifically designed for low speed work, but our flybridge owner isn’t about to give up his planing boat, he still wants that ability to outrun bad weather or failing daylight, or simply get home faster if he wishes. And he’s not alone. Lots of people are cruising their planing boats at low speeds on longer trips now for much the same reasons.
Figuring there’s a market for a vessel designed specifically for this type of use, Azimut launched what it describes as a ‘hybrid’ boat. But instead of the hybrid element being about super-expensive and heavy duty battery banks, this one is simply a hull designed to be more comfortable than a full planing craft at low speeds while retaining a higher top end than a traditional displacement or even semi-displacement hull would achieve.
If your idea of fun is burning up the coast at 30 knots in a haze of spent hydrocarbons then this new Magellano is not for you. However, there is a new wave of boater more aligned with saving fuel for cost or conscience reasons who are taking their days afloat at a more relaxed gait, and it's this wave that the Magellano 43 is designed to ride.