The Cannes Yachting Festival is Europe’s leading in-water boat show. Every September, 500 yachts vie for attention in Le Vieux Port, making it the most hotly contested marine event on the planet. With the industry’s biggest shipyards sharing the Jette Albert Edouard, only the most eye catching yachts stand out, and for the YACHTS team, the Azimut S6 was up there with the best of the sportsters.
With the festival awash with luxury motor yachts, it makes a refreshing change to come across a yacht that is unashamedly sporty. The Azimut S6 is a hardtop sports yacht, that thanks to some neat Stefano Righini touches, brings the shipyard’s S-line bang up to date. The second model in the S generation, the 18 metre coupé really turns heads. The style-show starts at the bow, where car enthusiasts will notice a similarity in the S6’s grille to that of an early Alfa Romeo. From the grille’s edges, the hull’s bold lines shoot out aggressively, with every curve making its way eventually to the transom. The mix of a champagne hull, with white superstructure (and waterline flash) as well as the dark panels hiding the tinted glazing, finish off the coupé’s purposeful look. Up top, Righini didn’t have to worry about integrating a flybridge into the S6’s outline, with the radar instillations being the only items breaking the superstructure arc that flows back to create the cockpit overhang.
From inside the cabin, they have a retro feel, like the windows you would find in a farmhouse.
We hopped up to the S6’s cockpit from the swim platform, but there is a port side passerelle that can be utilised in any stern-to marina. Up here, the first thing you notice is the amount of space available, courtesy of the asymmetric layout. It’s quite normal for a yacht’s cockpit to have an aft sofa with a table and a pair of loose chairs; it’s comfy, but not ideal for entertaining, as the layout doesn’t leave much leg room. On the S6 however, the sofa and foldable table are relocated to starboard, freeing up the port side for hanging at the mini bar. Simple, clever and functional.
Designed by Francesco Guida, the interior of the S6 has a more traditional sport-yacht layout, with a huge C-shape sofa and table to starboard with the lounge’s amenities all to port. These include the ‘hidden’ 49-inch flat screen TV and the fully Miele- equipped galley – a brand that has been preferred by Azimut for many years. We’re not saying Italians like their cooking, but…
Adjacent to the galley is the helm, which features a pair of beautifully finished bucket seats. These are supportive while sitting or standing, and offer commanding views both out and over the Raymarine touch screens and the vast areas of glazing. One of Azimut’s trademarks is its quarter moon glazing, which has an added cockpit ‘flick’ that keeps the wind off the aft deck guests. Up above, the sunroof can be opened fully, which lets in all the natural light you could possibly need. It has to be said, for our sea trial, we had the S6’s sunroof open for the entire time and what an experience it is. Sitting, or standing in the lounge, the sense of speed appears to be heightened when you’re surrounded by the superstructure – more so than you would feel while up on a flybridge.
To port of the helm is the staircase that leads down to the S6’s lower deck lobby. It’s a three-cabin/two bathroom layout down here and the finishing is just as impressive as the main deck. Forward is the spacious VIP cabin. Here, natural light flows in through the sun hatch, as well as the hull windows, creating a bright and open place to rest. Many VIPs feel a little claustrophobic, but the S6’s, with its predominantly white colourway, feels like sleeping on a cloud. It’s quiet in here too, with the Azimut’s engines located aft.
Heading back, there’s a head to port that can be accessed from the VIP and lobby. This is also the bathroom for the starboard twin cabin, itself light and airy courtesy of the large strip of glazing along with an opening porthole.
Aft is the master cabin, which, thanks to an asymmetric layout, has far more space than similar size sports yachts. The bed is positioned starboard at a 45 degree angle. This creates a decent amount of space on the port side, giving the owner the option of fitting a vanity table, or even loose armchairs.
From the outside, the six windows in the hull may appear to be stylistic, but they are in fact the master cabin’s main source of light. From the inside of the cabin, they have a retro feel, like the windows you would find in a farmhouse. It’s a much more personable feel, and with the light reflecting off the large, full-length mirror, it becomes more of a home than a boat cabin.
We’ve mentioned space quite a lot in the description of the lower deck, and the reason is obvious when you see the S6’s engine set-up. In place of the usual pair of screws, there are three Volvo IPS pod drives. Not only are these super compact, but they can also be mounted aft, and in the case of the S6, the pods themselves are directly below the swim platform. That gave Azimut’s design teams a fair chunk of space to play with. Hundreds of boat models across the industry have now been fitted with the individually steerable pods and these forward-facing, twin counter-rotating propeller systems have a number of benefits, including reduced fuel consumption, lower perceived noise levels and a higher top speed, compared to inboard shafts. The performance table can be seen on the second spread, but to summarise the important numbers, the S6 can hit 35 knots and can cruise at 31 knots.
The use of carbon fibre in the Azimut’s construction helps keep the weight down while boosting performance. On the S6, the superstructure, the stern platform, the garage, the sunroof and part of the deck are made from the strong and
Despite the obvious luxury of the Francesco Guida interior spaces, the 18 metre Azimut is a sports yacht at heart. The triple IPS700 pods are powered by 7.7-litre Volvo Penta D8s giving the S6 ample performance with the added benefits of joystick control. Stefano Righini’s classic Azimut lines complete the package. The S6 is a yacht at the forefront of design and technology and certainly holds her own in the bustling 60 foot motor yacht segment.