The Azimut line of luxury yachts may not be well known in the Northwest, but the Italian Azimut-Benetti group lays claim to being the world’s leading private group in the luxury boating sector. With more than 40 years of experience, the group produces powerboats from 34 feet to 70-plus-metre megayachts and has sales offices in 68 countries.

The Azimut line—known for its elegant design and extensive use of fine leather furnishings—was introduced to Canada in 2014. It includes their Flybridge collection (from 42 to 100 feet); Atlantis sedan cruisers (34 to 58 feet); Grande megayachts (from 95 to 120 feet); the “S” series sport yachts (from 40 to 86 feet); and the Magellano collection consisting of three, twin-engine, V-drive models. First on the market was a 76-footer introduced in 2009, followed by a 50-footer in 2010 and a 43-footer in 2013.

The Magellano 43 reviewed here is the smallest in the line and is available in either a flybridge or sedan version. Despite its smaller size, it is beamy for most of its length, which allows for an impressive three staterooms, two heads and the same level of luxury as its larger siblings. Owners can cruise sedately for more than 500 miles at nine knots or speed along at more than 20 knots.

Design and Construction  The Magellanos are a distinct departure from their Azimut siblings—high speed planing yachts. The plumb bow, high freeboard, ample beam and vertical topsides of the Magellano give them a more sedate trawler look, yet one that is both ultra-modern in its exterior concept and styling (by the Dutch Cor D. Rover design studio) and innovative in its underwater profile.

The hull is described as a dual mode hull, which one might think is a fancy name for a semi-displacement hull, but there are distinct differences. Developed by the well-known English firm, Dixon Yacht Design, the deep forefoot and concave forward hull section is typical of a traditional full-displacement trawler and makes for a soft, comfortable ride at displacement speeds while the broad bow adds buoyancy forward, which helps reduce any pitching motion. The plumb bow means a longer waterline length, which makes it more efficient in terms of its resistance and propulsion. Aft, the hull flattens out to a shallow planing hull. A relatively deep hull and full-length keel allows for good directional stability. Additionally, the 43 is relatively heavy for its size, intentionally, which means it has a more solid, stable ride than lightweight yachts, though it requires a bit more horsepower. All this translates to a comfortable and sea-kindly ride at both displacement and planing speeds when compared to the compromises inherent in traditional semi-displacement hulls.

The hull is manufactured using vacuum/resin infusion in a closed mold process that maximizes resin saturation and therefore hull strength, among other advantages over standard hand layup. The hull is solid below the waterline while the topsides, deck and house are foam cored, which has pretty well become the industry standard.

On Deck  There’s multiple entry points to the cockpit via the fixed swim platform and a single transom door as well as bulwark doors to port and starboard.

Three quarters of the length of the cockpit is covered by the overhead, good for sun protection, but the L-shaped settee along the aft end of the cockpit is exposed. The settee is fronted by a highly-varnished fixed table with a folding leaf. The aft corners feature sturdy stainless bollards and post-type fairleads.

To starboard is a molded staircase to the flybridge. A nicely styled pedestal-type antenna mast is the central feature. The flybridge is open to the elements, but a Bimini top could be fabricated for those who want extra protection from sun and rain. Forward to starboard is the upper helm station, with a pedestal seat and the basic duplicate controls and instruments plus a single, sliding helm seat. Adjacent to port is a U-shaped settee with a table that can be dropped down and cushions added to form a large sunpad. The settee is close enough to the helm that the driver doesn’t have to miss out on any of the socializing. Next to the antenna mast is a module for a fridge and optional grill. Aft of the mast is an open area that can be used for additional sun tanning or seating. It isn’t large enough for dinghy storage, which most likely would have to be a hinge arrangement on the back of the swim platform.

Back down on deck, raised teak-capped bulwarks (about 14 inches) protect the wide side decks and extend to the bow. They are topped by beefy 1¼-inch stainless handrails. The anchor is mounted on a short sprit, which should protect the almost vertical bow from damage.

Interior  The interior designers at Azimut have done an impressive job in keeping to Azimut’s Italian heritage through high-quality leather furnishing, luxurious cabinetry and wall treatments and attention to detail. Customers can choose from a large range of colours and textures for carpets, settees, walls, headliner, bedspreads and so on. The test boat had a very tasteful mix of beige and dark brown wall coverings. At this point, the only wood trim choice is a light brown engineered-walnut veneer (Noce Canaletto). The wall treatments are a foam-backed cloth that do an excellent job of reducing engine and other ambient noise. There are thoughtfully-placed stainless handrails throughout.

The saloon’s primary socializing/dining area is a U-shaped settee and dining table forward and adjacent to the helm. This is a very comfy spot and a stool can be added for another place at the table. Low sills make for good visibility outside the smoked glass windows.

The helm station to starboard has a single helm seat and a clean instrument and switch layout. One smart feature is the location of the Xenta joystick on the portside of the helm console. This allows the operator to stand amidships while docking, which makes it easier to see aft and to both sides of the vessel. A sliding window at the helm provides ventilation and if necessary, enough room for the operator to stick his or her head outside to check the surroundings.

The L-shaped galley is well-placed aft, so the cook is always close to the action, whether it’s in the saloon or the cockpit. The galley, which features a three-burner induction cooktop and convection microwave, is compact, but its limited counter space is offset by additional countertop space to starboard, forward of the upright fridge/freezer.

There are three cabins below and two heads with separate shower compartments. As in the saloon, the area is very tastefully decorated and inviting. The master is impressive in that, due to the beamy bow, it is much wider than a traditional bow stateroom. The ensuite is generous, with large hull windows, a separate shower compartment and a raised vanity sink.

The guest stateroom has twin berths, a hull window and decent headroom. The second head is slightly smaller than the master ensuite, but certainly adequate. The third cabin, which is compact with room only for a single berth, can alternately be used as additional storage and fitted with a washer/dryer. It is very unusual for a yacht of this size to have three cabins and the designers have again, made very good use of the space.

Engine and Systems  Power is twin 355-horsepower Cummins QSB 5.9-litre diesels that drive the twin shafts via V-drives. A bow thruster is standard. The engine room is accessed via a hatch in the cockpit sole and while very compact, the layout is clean and well executed. A 13 kW Cummins Onan generator will provide plenty of electricity to run all systems. Shore power is via 220-volt, 50 amp cord, and the DC system is 24 volts stored in four 90 ah AGM house batteries and two 90 ah AGM starting batteries.

Underway  Due to the broker’s time constraints, we weren’t able to spend quite as much time on sea trials as we would have liked. However, in the 40 minutes we spent in English Bay, Dixon’s hull design performed as advertised and impressed us at both displacement and planing speeds. While we were used to joystick steering on yachts with pod drives, the Xenta joystick system on the Magellano, which integrates the twin props, rudders and bow thruster, appeared to perform equally well, which was a nice surprise and a real bonus for a shaft-driven vessel.

With full fuel tanks, half full water tanks and three passengers, we found nine knots (1,500 rpm) to be a very comfortable and fuel-efficient displacement speed, burning 6.7 U.S. gallons per hour, which translates to 1.3 miles per gallon. At about 12 knots, the bow rose slightly as we climbed up onto the step. Planing along at a comfortable fast cruise, 18 knots and 2,250 rpm, our fuel consumption was 23.7 gph. At wide-open throttle, 3,040 rpm, top speed was 24.2 knots while burning 37 gph. It should be noted that the fuel consumption numbers provided by Cummins, which are typically very accurate, show considerably better fuel consumption. Regardless, the engines sounded and performed very well. Interior noise was minimal: 62 dBL at idle and 74 dBL at top speed, thanks to excellent engine soundproofing and the sound-absorbing wall treatments.

The Magellano 43 stayed upright in turns and the turning radius was good. It tracked well (thanks to the keel), with little need for adjusting the helm. The light chop and wakes we crossed made little impact because the 43 is heavier than most vessels of its size (where manufacturers have opted for lighter boats that require less horsepower). The yacht had a rock solid and steady feel with no slamming.

Concluding Remarks  The things that impressed us most about the Magellano 43 were: its striking and creative styling—a trawler that doesn’t look like the typical trawler; the impressive use of interior space, most notably the three cabin, two head layout; the contemporary Italian interior design and the high quality furnishings; and, finally, the solid performance, fuel efficiency and handling at displacement and planing speeds. The Magellano would be a good choice for coastal cruising whether for short trips to the Gulf Islands or north to Alaska.

Before shipping from Italy, all Azimut’s are sea trialed by the manufacturer at their Savona facility. Customers have the option of picking up their boat there, then cruising the Mediterranean and once done, having their yacht packaged for shipping to their home port.

Special price for the test boat, as equipped, is $988,000.

Peter A. Robson

Peter A Robson has more than 25 years of experience in the fields of book and magazine writing, research, editing and production. He has edited numerous magazines including Pacific Yachting. His has authored or contributed to a number of award-winning books on diverse subjects such as commercial fishing, forestry and salmon farming. Though his home is in British Columbia, his assignments have taken him throughout North America, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Australia, China and South America.