Azimut Magellano 74
Dag Pike takes the stunning 74-foot prototype of Azimut’s new Magellano series on a 2000-mile journey around a very rough, storm-riddled Mediterranean, and comes away impressed
Perhaps it’s fitting that a yacht bearing a name that recalls one of the world’s most celebrated explorers should be given one of the longest sea trials ever. Indeed, 2000 miles is probably more than the average yacht owner covers in a year. On this cruise, we covered that distance in just 3 ½ weeks, and there is no doubt that you get to know a yacht well over that distance, and that makes this boat report unique. After such a distance, you certainly find out the good and bad points of a new design. When Azimut Yachts developed the Magellano concept, they decided that it must be put to a serious test, otherwise prospective owners wouldn’t be convinced.
So the concept of a winter cruise was born and with years of experience at sea, I was offered the job of captain. It sounded wonderful: cruise the Mediterranean for three-and-a-half weeks in a 74-foot motoryacht. The problem was that the Mediterranean was not in a cooperative mood. Instead of pleasant cruising, we faced a Mediterranean that was in a foul mood, with gale following gale. This provided a great challenge to the seaworthiness of Magellano and its crew. This 2000-mile sea trial must rank as one of the toughest tests of any motoryacht and it is a tribute to the design that Magellano and her crew came out smiling at the end.
Magellano is different from anything else on the market today – it has a new hull shape, new superstructure concept and performance. With its vertical bow, rounded lines and startling orange-brown hull, Magellano stands out in any marina. She is also higher than the average yacht, with what looks like a towering superstructure, though it is the high, fixed bimini that does this. Take away the bimini and the proportions look a lot sleeker – Azimut may offer it as an option rather than a standard piece of equipment.
The hull shape, designed by Bill Dixon, is unique. From the vertical bow, the chine drops down and runs aft, where it widens out into what are virtually planing surfaces. From these surfaces, a centre hull drops down to form a long thin underwater hull shape with a ten-degree deadrise at the transom. Below this centre hull, there is a skeg that gets deeper as it runs aft, but the skeg is not quite deep enough to offer full propeller protection. The hull shape has been fully tank-tested and the aim of the design was to produce a hull that could operate effectively at speeds ranging from five to 25 knots. This would enable an owner to select a speed to match his cruising requirements and desired rate of fuel consumption.
The first feature you notice when entering the saloon is the all-round visibility. Large windows give a great view from the helm and make the open plan saloon seem much larger than it is. The galley is fitted in the port aft corner where it is conveniently placed to serve both the saloon dining table and the teak table in the cockpit, with a sliding door allowing food and drinks to be served directly from the galley. This is a full feature galley complete with dishwasher, fridge, freezer and oven plus a four ring induction hob. There is a second fridge and freezer located in the lazerette to give plenty of food storage for long voyages and a wine cooler completes the equipment list.
Down below there was the usual layout of a master suite amidships, the VIP cabin forward and a twin cabin off to port. Each of these had its own bathroom although the size of the shower in the master bathroom was a bit of a disappointment. Both the saloon and the cabins are finished to a high standard with a warm wood panelling, though there were a few too many sharp edges.
On the cruise we spent most of our time in the saloon because the weather did not make the flybridge a good place to be, but in warmer weather there is everything you need up here, with a large bar and BBQ counter, plus teak table and settees. Aft, there was a wide open space for lounging in steamer chairs. The cockpit was equally large with the table and settee against the transom leaving generous open space.
One of the nice features about Magellano is the wide side decks. These are well protected to make movement about the yacht safe and easy. At the bow, the designers have developed a unique anchor stowing system that keeps everything below deck until needed. Aft, there is a garage for the Williams tender and a wide swim platform for water sports.
Power comes from two, 1065-horsepower Caterpillar diesels, coupled to a conventional propeller and shaft system. The engine room is crowded with the generators and air-conditioning system plus various pumps so access is not as good as it might be.
The Magellano voyage started from Viareggio with a run up to the Azimut base at Varezze. The weather was moderate, with the wind coming off the land and the only testing time was when we passed Genoa where the wind running down the valleys whipped up a nasty sea. Magellano coped well, though the waves were not fully developed, but the hull did generate a lot of spray.
My first real test of driving this yacht came at Varezze, when I had to take Magellano stern-first into the marina. I would have liked to do this without a crowd watching but this was not an option. The joystick control proved very precise. With its high profile, I had expected Magellano to be difficult to handle in strong winds, but she responded well, and had a good feel in tight corners.
After a send-off party, we headed along the coasts of Italy and France to our first destination, the Spanish port of Cambrils. This was to be a run of over 400 miles and in the early stages the weather was quite beautiful, with calm seas and blue skies – exactly what you expect from the Mediterranean. We stopped briefly in Cannes to check on a leak that had developed, and set off again in good weather.