A new Azimut 103s goes to India, and its new owner takes full advantage of open spaces
The Azimut/Bennetti group is the largest motor yacht builder in the world and they continue to surprise with their new designs. Designer Fulvio di Simoni has a knack for developing new ways to provide the improved facilities that owners demand and interior designer Carlo Galeazzi helps by adding the finishing touches that make it stand out. Azimut was late into the sports yacht market, but they have made up lost ground very rapidly with an ever-extending range. The 103s is their latest and largest sports yacht, and it is a market leader in both concept and style.
The version tested was different in many ways from the standard 103s, and demonstrates how the 103s can be customised to reflect an owner's requirements. When you move up into the 100-foot plus size of motor yacht, you expect a more personalised design and this owner’s requirement was to maximise the design for open air living. This particular 103s is destined for Mumbai, India, where it will become the largest sport yacht in a country where warm temperatures and sunshine are guaranteed for much of the boating season. However, when temperatures get too extreme or the weather turns sour, the yacht can be closed up with full air-conditioning available.
I don't think I have come across a yacht with so many open-air facilities. The cockpit is a huge, open space that’s dotted with settees and tables allowing both intimate and open seating.
A bar counter just inside the saloon doors serves both the saloon and cockpit, and there is a large table outside al fresco dining. On the flybridge, there are similar facilities supplemented by a bar and barbecue, which makes this open area nearly self-contained. Then, there is further seating and a sun bed that leads to a protected well created in the foredeck coachroof. So there is a wide choice of locations to suit your mood. A very large, opening sun roof over the deck saloon opens this area to the sky, and the rear saloon doors fully retract to connect saloon and cockpit. Bimini protection is available on the flybridge. A blind across the sunroof opening reduces glare in the saloon.
But what is this talk about a flybridge on a sports yacht? I suppose it was inevitable that sleek sports yachts would expand upwards and this has been done well on the 103s. The added alternative control station and seating don’t compromise good looks. I like the way that five forward facing seats have been fitted at the helm here, so that guests can enjoy the 'wind in the hair' experience of high performance in a safe environment.
There are three good seats at the lower helm with the adjustable center one being the control station. In front of this is a vast array of electronic screens, creating one of the most impressive looking dash layouts I have seen. But I am a bit concerned that priority has been given to the engine and monitoring screens rather than the navigation screens, which have been relegated to side locations. I am also concerned about the very wide windscreen pillars that obstruct the view.
This 103s is one of the very few yachts fitted with water jet propulsion. Each of these Rolls Royce-built units come with its own dedicated control system, with a combined throttle lever and steering control that can operate independently. Maneuvering this yacht is very much a two-handed job. At the lower helm, the controls are located on each side of the helm seat, although at speed both engines can be controlled from one lever. There is a conventional wheel, although the steering is very sensitive with little more than half a turn lock to lock. For adjusting the trim, this 103s is fitted with quadruple interceptors, although these are slow-acting. It is an unconventional arrangement, but it works well once you get used to it.
There is considerable power available in those throttle levers from the twin V16 MTU diesels. The 2434 horsepower from each engine, coupled to the KaMeWa water jets via a clutch system, can take this yacht up to 34 knots in light conditions. The range of auxiliary systems in the engine compartment are fitted around the main engines. Particularly impressive are the stainless steel pipe works of the bilge pumping and fuel transfer systems.
The tender garage aft is exceptionally large, with space for an 18-foot tender plus a jet ski. Launch and recovery are simple operations, and the large swim platform is a great water sports base. A stairway leads up from the swim platform to the large open spaces of the cockpit and then on to the triple doors of the saloon. Like the cockpit, the saloon is mainly used for seating in this version, but a dining area is included on the standard layout. This area has almost direct access to the galley, which is down a stairway on the starboard side of the helm. Equipped to restaurant standards, the galley, in stainless steel and white, includes a complete range of equipment.
Galeazzi has done a great job on the interiors, which follow the style on earlier Azimut yachts, with dark wenge wood matched to oatmeal-colored fabrics and off-white window blinds. This produces a comfortable, modern look. In this design of the 103s, there is a greater use of glass in the furniture and bathrooms.
The standard layout for the accommodation is a master suite and three double or twin cabins but on this version, one of the twin cabins has been omitted and replaced by a lower saloon that also acts as a foyer for the cabin access. A large crew area is located forward of the engine compartment.
The master suite comprises a wonderful, full-width bedroom complete with a small lounge area to port and a desk to starboard. These features are located below the large side windows and benefit from maximum natural light.
Aft of the bedroom is a large bathroom and a dressing area that help isolate the bedroom from the engine compartment and minimise the already low noise levels.
The remaining twin cabin is on the starboard side and the unique VIP cabin is forward. Here, an angled bed makes the cabin appear almost square and very inviting.
The 103s offers excellent performance at sea. There seems to be a total lack of vibration from the propulsion, a dramatic contrast to normal propeller systems. The full bow shape lifts at speed and presents a fine entry that cuts cleanly through the waves. The trim is fully controllable with the interceptors. The sensitive steering takes getting used to, but it does make this large yacht very responsive, creating a definite sports boat feel. From the lower helm, there is little feeling of speed because of the quiet performance, but up on the flybridge, the excitement level rises.
The 103S is an impressive yacht. You can’t miss the good-looking design in harbor and out at sea, its performance is enthralling. At this size, there are many possibilities to customise the design and the version tested was like a large day boat with private facilities below. Whatever options you choose, you will get a very impressive and exciting sport yacht.
In Asia: www.simpsonmarine.com
Length overall 101 ft 05 ins
Length waterline 80 ft 00 ins
Beam 24 ft 10 ins
Draft 4 ft 05 ins
Full load displacement 100 tns
Fuel capacity 3262 gals
Water capacity 661 gals
Hull deadrise 18.8°
Exterior design Fulvio di Simoni and Azimut
Interior design Carlo Galeazzi
Builder Azimut Yachts