Azimut’s dynamic new “compact superyacht”
Designed by Alberto Mancini and Achille Salvagni, the five-cabin 26M is the new entry model for Azimut’s Grande range of superyachts, with highlights including a first use of ZF’s Pod 4600 propulsion system, a 50sqm flybridge and the aft Deck2Deck™ Terrace.
Alberto Mancini designed the exterior of Azimut’s new Grande 26M
Azimut has started 2023 on a roll, with parent company Azimut-Benetti celebrating a 23rd year atop the builder rankings in the Global Order Book for 24m-plus superyachts. Azimut’s new Grande superyachts are playing their part in the builder’s colossal order book, with well over 20 units sold of the 26M alone, including an order for Hong Kong that’s scheduled to arrive this year.
The Grande 26M and the Grande 36M were world premieres at the Cannes Yachting Festival in the south of France last September before the former headed the builder’s collection at the Genoa International Boat Show in Italy.
Both models feature exterior styling by Alberto Mancini and interiors by Achille Salvagni, who both worked on the shipyard’s 38m flagship Grande Trideck that debuted in 2021.
Mancini also designed the Grande 36M and flagship 38m Trideck
And both the 26M and 36M are additions to Azimut’s Low Emission Yacht collection, which the builder defines by using at least 20 per cent less fuel than comparable yachts of a similar size, including shaft-line models with hard-chine hulls.
The designation now applies to over half the models in the brand’s portfolio and over the next three years, Azimut-Benetti plans to invest €130 million in R&D in the development of new products, cutting-edge technologies and sustainability.
Included is a growing focus on reducing fuel consumption and emissions by combining innovative propulsion systems including hybrid and electric, increasingly efficient hulls, and extensive use of carbon-fibre to reduce weight. All three all evident on the Grande 26M.
CARBON TECH, LARGE POD
On the 26.1m superyacht, carbon-fibre was focused on the transom and aft platform, and upper parts of the yacht including the superstructure, flybridge, rollbar and hard top. The use of carbon reduced the weight of the laminated components by up to 30 per cent and lessened the natural ‘roll’ momentum by up to 15 per cent, according to Azimut.
The foredeck is forward of the semi-raised wheelhouse
Like all Azimut’s Grande, Magellano and S models, plus its 60ft-plus Fly models, the 26M features hull design by Pierluigi Ausonio Naval Architecture and Azimut’s R&D department. However, the 26M stands out as Azimut’s first model to feature the new POD 4600 propulsion system developed with ZF.
Compared with the pod systems already available on the market, ZF’s new POD 4600 system was developed to increase efficiency on larger boats for the first time. The pods pivot, so eliminating the need for a rudder and the associated drag to achieve excellent manoeuvrability and high speeds.
On the Grande 26M, the pods are paired with two 1,550hp or 1,650hp MAN V12 engines, with the yacht reaching 28 knots. It’s the same top speed as the Grande 26M launched in 2018, which uses two 1,900hp MAN V12s to power a model 2ft longer, 1ft wider and almost nine tonnes heavier.
The foredeck has facing sofas plus a large sunbathing area
An additional benefit of the POD 4600 system is higher torque at low speeds for easier manoeuvring, while the system is also ‘hybrid ready’, as Azimut continues its quest for lower consumption and emissions.
MANCINI’S GRANDE ERA
The 26M is also part of an ongoing update of Azimut’s Grande series incorporating exterior designs by Mancini. Still in his early 40s, the in-demand Italian first worked for Azimut on its new Fly and S models before stepping up to design Azimut’s biggest-ever yacht, the Trideck.
He has since followed that with designs for the Grande 26M and 36M, with the 27M and 32M in the portfolio drawn by the late Stefano Righini.
Mancini incorporates aspects of car design into his yacht design, which has been moulded by working with some of the industry’s leading lights including Riva designer Mauro Micheli of Officina Italiana, Ken Freivokh, Carlo Nuvolari and Dan Lenard.
The Deck2Deck™ Terrace is created by raising the garage door to main-deck height
Mancini’s work on the 125ft Grande Trideck featured the lauded ‘Sea View Terrace’, an open deck positioned aft of and a little higher than the cockpit, so it sits atop the beach club below. The designer has continued the concept on the 86ft Grande 26M with the Deck2Deck™ Terrace, created when the teak-clad garage door is raised to main-deck height, expanding the cockpit to over 18sqm.
When extended aft, the walkaround table seats up to eight guests in an alfresco dining area with an uninterrupted 270-degree view over the water. Otherwise, the typical cockpit layout features two facing sofas, enabling clear views aft through the clear balustrade and down to the swim platform below, which offers access to the garage.
Mancini said: “The project was driven by the enthusiasm to create a compact superyacht, with five cabins, an enormous flybridge and a larger cockpit than usual for the category, which we wanted to extend to give the yacht a fully-fledged dining area overlooking the water.”
Azimut says the 50sqm same-level flybridge has “never been seen before on a yacht this size”
The outdoor areas continue forward, where both side decks lead to a large foredeck. The bow area is split into two social areas, with a sofa in front of the wheelhouse facing another sofa with an adjustable backrest, while forward is a large triple sunpad.
The oversized flybridge is another winning outdoor area and stretches aft almost as far as the main deck, with Azimut stating that the top deck’s 50sqm (540sqft) of space on the same level has “never been seen before on a yacht this size”.
Forward view of the flybridge, dressed in loose furniture
The fixtures include a dining table to port and a long sofa that continues all the way forward to create an L-shaped lounge around a coffee table, beside the twin-seat helm station. There’s also a bar area starboard of the dining table, but otherwise almost the aft half of the deck is clear for loose furniture.
SOFT AND WARM
The interiors are classic Salvagni, whose work is seen on the entire Grande collection and most of the Fly models from the Azimut 60 upwards. The shapes and hues are soft and warm, with the saloon welcoming guests with oak flooring and full-height windows.
Achille Salvagni has designed the soft, warm interior of the Grande 26M
The saloon features three sofas to port around a coffee table, plus two chairs to starboard, while forward is a dining table for eight under an artistic, blue ceiling lighting system. To starboard, the hallway leads to the galley, a day head, lower-deck stairs and wheelhouse before continuing forward to the gorgeous owner’s suite.
Forward of the saloon, the dining area is flanked by full-height windows
The full-beam, three-level suite starts with cupboards either side of the entrance. It’s then two steps down to the main bedroom, which features full-height glazing on both sides, a freestanding desk to starboard with an expansive view, and a large forward-facing bed set to port and accompanied by rounded bedside tables and lamps.
Forward of the bed is a mirrored bulwark with a hidden TV screen, while to starboard, a couple of steps lead down to an open dressing area that leads into the bathroom. There are a further four en-suite guest cabins on the lower deck, which benefits in size from the smaller engine room required due to the POD 4600 propulsion system.
The master suite is forward on the main deck
Two mirrored VIP suites are set just aft of midships, each with an inward-facing double bed and an aft bathroom that also acts a sound buffer from the engine room. Forward is a double cabin to starboard opposite a twin cabin to starboard.
On the main deck, just aft of the stairs to the lower deck, is the entrance to the galley, which has a light, clean design. The port side of the galley leads forward to a staircase to the lower-deck crew quarters, which includes a single and a double cabin, shared bathroom and an L-shaped dinette.
The master suite has full-height windows on both sides
The galley’s port stairway also offers crew access to the semi-raised wheelhouse, where two helm seats face three Raymarine screens and technology includes Active Trim Control, in which Humphree interceptors automatically help the yacht plane and reach optimum trim. Onboard technology also includes an AHU air-extraction system, which continuously exchanges and purifies the air on board.
Ticking most boxes, the 26M offers a fresh entry model for Azimut’s acclaimed Grande range, which continues to benefit from Mancini’s innovative exterior design, a cutting-edge hull, forward-thinking technology, and light, airy interiors that are as warmly welcoming as they are stylishly outfitted.