An elegantly-shaped sports yacht with a fly bridge, that delivers brilliant performance. Exterior lines are by Alberto Mancini, and interiors by Francesco Guida. Three IPS Volvo Penta 1350s in the engine room
by Luca Sordelli
THE EXTERIOR LINES OF THE AZIMUT S8 IMMEDIATELY SUGGEST AN ALBERTO MANCINI DESIGN. Young, clean, but at the same time doubly linked to a deep understanding of travelling on the sea. When I interviewed him not long ago, he told me how “… the sea can satisfy the desire to really go fast. Without the limits there are on the road, or without having to turn round and round like hamsters on a wheel. Free”. That is not a standard way of seeing things. Nowadays everybody is talking about going slowly, enjoying the trip, and exploring. «The world of the explorers is an interesting one, and I too am working on that», Alberto Mancini told me. «You have to be careful not to create shoeboxes, however. You have to put a limit on how much you raise it upwards». So it is certainly no coincidence that he was the one that was called upon to design the external lines of Azimut’s new S range, the sports selection from the Avigliana-based firm.
The Azimut Yachts S8, which I had the chance to try, is set to take its place in the very crowded market segment of up to 24 metres, and it is doing so in an unmistakeable fashion. There is no hint of a shoebox, but rather the lines are low on the water, with a fly bridge that is there but is hardly noticed, a significant bow, like a muscle car, with “a lot of bonnet, and a lot of engine”. That promises a lot of horsepower.
But if at first sight it looks set to be quick, the S8 doesn’t forget that it is a cruising boat. And that is why I like it, because enjoying life on board is very easy. Passenger circulation, for example, has been well thought out from bow to stern, with wide gangways, the door that comes in addition to the three-panel one that looks onto the cockpit; the galley is intelligently hidden away in a kind of half deck, halfway up the stairs that lead from the main deck to the cabin area; all the cabins have their own bathroom; the crew area has its own, separate, entrance; the transom hides a space that is not just for the tender, but also holds a jet ski, which is fairly unusual for a boat of this size; the independent kitchen on the lower floor is accompanied by two well-equipped bar areas, one on the fly deck and one in the stern. So getting around on board is extremely easy, and even if we only spent a morning trying out the S8, I can perfectly see how everything is in just the right place for a proper cruise.
In the interior areas, the atmosphere created by Francesco Guida is friendly, informal and welcoming. That is completely in line with the S8’s sporty approach. The large central saloon runs straight through to the cockpit, and also connects with lounge and dining areas. It is very light thanks to the tall lateral windows and the front windscreen that extends across the whole of the first glass part of the ceiling. Once we left Cannes harbour, with a perfectly flat sea ahead of me, I wondered whether the S8 would be able to match up to the promise of brilliance that it gives off when you first see it. The groundwork to it is a building technique that shows attention to weight, with extensive use of carbon fibre both for the fly bridge and the deck, combined with a sophisticated engine system; in the engine room there are no less than three IPS 1350s. But in any case, it doesn’t take very long for me to get my answer. The top speed is definitely very respectable for a 24-metre boat that displaces 58 tonnes: 34.1 knots. The fast cruising speed, is also good, at 28 knots, done using 90% of the available revs.
The Azimut Yachts S8 has a unique configuration, with four cabins and a separate kitchen, which is located on an intermediate deck. The large master suite is set amidships, and makes full use of the entire 5.55 metre maximum beam.
What most struck me about the boat was how pleasant it was to handle. When you are at the helm it is responsive and fluid, and never agitated. The large amount of horsepower available makes itself felt, but there are never any gaps in the delivery, or excessive yaw angles. That comes from the perfect balance found from the triple IPS engines by Volvo Penta, a firm that Azimut has been working alongside for a long time, and the intelligent use of electronics. The Active Trim Control, for example, automatically regulates longitudinal trim, which makes steering much easier, and also makes the boat more efficient and thus reduces fuel consumption; Joystick Driving is another good accessory used on the Azimut S8. So you get control of the boat at your fingertips, not just during mooring, but also in the open sea. That is a nice feeling, and a very fun game to play. That is the best way to enjoy speed: free and unrestricted.
The propulsion unit of the Azimut S8 is extremely sophisticated, with three IPS Volvo Penta 1350s. Despite having the three powerful, six-cylinder 1,000 hp engines in the engine room, there is no lack of room. Inspection and maintenance are extremely easy, and there are two doors, one from the cockpit, and the other from the crew cabin.
PROJECT: Guida Design (interiors) • Alberto Mancini (exteriors) • Azimut Yachts (naval architecture)
HULL: Loa 24.63m • Length 22.98m • Maximum beam 5.55m • Draft 1.75m • Full mass displacement 58 t • Fuel tank volumes 4,000 l • Water tank volume 1,100 l
MAIN PROPULSION: 3 Volvo Penta D13-IPS 1350 • Outlet mechanical power 735 kW (1,000 hp) • Number of cylinders 6 • Bore & Stroke 131mm x 158mm • Total swept volume 12.8 l • Maximal rotational speed 2400/min • Weight 2,458 kg
EC CERTIFICATION: CAT A
PRICE: 3,350,000 € EX Works, Excl. VAT powered with 3 Volvo D13 IPS 1350 engines
(Azimut Yachts S8, muscular, but graceful – Barchemagazine.com – April 2020)