An interesting new addition to production boats on offer is Azuree from Sirena Marine in Turkey. Roger McMillan reports.
Just what we don’t need. Yet another brand of imported cruiser/racer... and made in Turkey!
That might be your first reaction when you hear about Azuree yachts. But how about if I pitched it this way instead...
Would you be interested in a new yacht from the drawing board of an experienced and award-winning America’s Cup designer, which was a finalist in the 2010/11 European Yacht of the Year awards and is built in a purpose-designed factory that also produces award-winning luxury power boats for the discerning European market?
Sounds a bit better that way, doesn’t it. And according to the Australian importer, Michael Bell of Allboat Brokerage, even though there is currently only one Azuree yacht in Australia, he is fielding some serious enquiries. After the boat goes on display at SIBS in July, I expect the level of enquiry to climb, because these look like seriously good boats.
Giovanni Ceccarelli was the head designer for Mascalzone Latino in the America’s Cup in 2003, and for +39 Challenge in 2007. He is a past chairman of the Italian Yacht Designers Association and has won Italian and international yacht design awards.
The two Azuree yachts are a collaboration between Ceccarelli and another Italian, Paolo Ballerini. Bellerini did an Iain Murray - designing small boats so that he could sail the fastest boat in the class - before progressing to the design of keels, including fixed, retractable and canting versions.
In 2003 he went into partnership with an Italian company named Persico, which until then had exclusively manufactured parts for the automotive industry, to create a company that manufactured CNC-made models and moulds for the yachting industry.
This knowledge of automotive manufacturing processes allowed Ballerini to also develop the assembly lines at the yacht plant, making the infusion process state-of-the-art and micro-millimetre perfect.
So we know the yachts are well-designed and very well manufactured. But what specifically do they offer?
The most obvious design effect you notice when viewing an Azurree 33 or 40 for the first time is the chine, which runs the full length of the hull. We have seen chines appearing on Jeanneaus and Beneteaus, in particular, in recent times, but in most cases they run from around mid-ships to the stern.
Time will tell whether chines on cruiser-racers and performance cruisers become standard or are just a fad, but there are plenty of good reasons for including them in a modern design.
From a sailing perspective, chines have been used for many years on skiffs and other high-performance craft and were adopted for round-the-world racers. As well as speed, they provide controlled incline when going to windward - the boat sits comfortably on its chine, which gives better directional stability. When combined with dual rudders, another carry-over from the Volvo and Velux boats, steering is light and responsive and the boat “tracks” beautifully when the sailplan is properly balanced.
From a cruising perspective, as well as making the boat less “tippy” the chines add a lot of interior volume, making the below-decks areas on both boats look as though they belong to a much longer vessel. This is helped by carrying the full beam all the way to the transom, creating spacious aft cabins, a generous cockpit area and a stiff, powerful hull form.
On-deck the 7/8 rig is controlled by well-planned and placed blocks and jammers that are led back to the cockpit. The genoa is sheeted well in-board on tracks on the coachroof rather than the side-decks. This, combined with inboard lowers and outboard uppers, means access to the bow along the side-decks is totally free of obstructions.
Both the 33 and 40 are available in fast cruiser and cruiser versions. The cruiser is GRP on a carbon-reinforced frame structure while the fast cruiser has carbon-hybrid hull and decks and a carbon mast. This reduces displacement slightly on the fast cruiser version
The sail plan is also slightly different, with the total sail area being 73m2 (fast cruiser) against 66m2 (cruiser) on the 33, and 97m2 against 90m2 on the 40. The main on the fast cruiser is a flat top, and the genoa, asymmetric spinnaker and Code Zeros are all slightly bigger. The fast cruiser also features running backstays to accommodate the square-top, and the carbon mast is slightly longer than the standard aluminium version on the cruiser.
The Azuree 33 Cruiser is currently quoted at around $213,000 (basic boat, landed price in Australia including GST) while the Fast Cruiser upgrade adds around 25% to that. Prices for the Azuree 40 Cruiser start at around $296,000.
The layout below deck is offered in two versions for both boats and as I said, it is very generous for yachts of these sizes. The 33 features two cabins, five berths and a single head while the 40 features three cabins and either one or two heads.
Grab rails run the full length of both sides of the cabins for safety reasons (the boats are designed to European Category A standard) and the light colours and generous window and hatch openings make an already large cabin look even bigger.
Remember, the people who designed these yachts are Italian - these interiors have style and grace.
While nearly every imported yacht these days seems to have won some sort of award, the European Yacht of the Year awards are quite prestigious. The editors of 11 leading yachting magazines put hundreds of boats through their paces in fairly tough sailing conditions and as one of the five finalists in the performance cruiser category, the Azuree 40 is the only brand ever to reach the finals with its first model.
It is fair to say that production boat buyers in Australia are spoilt for choice these days. Every manufacturer is producing good-looking and well-performing yachts and the strong Aussie dollar has brought the price way down compared with only a few years ago.
Because there are so many excellent boats on the market, choosing the right one for you is not easy. It comes down to so many things, including the sea conditions you will sail in, the number of people you will have on board, the percentage of time you will spend cruising compared with racing, and the level you aspire to in any racing that you undertake. Oh, and how much you want to spend.
As I said at the outset, I didn’t think we really needed any more choices. But when an importer finds a brand like the Azuree that really does offer unique features and a lot of boat for a relatively modest cost, I believe it is worth putting that boat on your “to be considered” list.
Azuree 40 Azuree 33
Fast Cruiser Cruiser Fast Cruiser Cruiser
LOA 11.99m 11.99m 9.99m 9.99m
Beam 4.22m 4.22m 3.66m 3.66m
Draft 2.6m 2.16m 2.1m 1.9m
Displacement 7.1 tonnes 7.3 tonnes 4.98 tonnes 5.25 tonnes
Ballast 2 tonnes 2.05 tonnes 1.48 tonnes 1.55 tonnes
Fuel Tank 120 litre 120 litre 96 litre 96 litre
Water tank 320 litres 320 litre 170 litre 170 litre
Engine Power 40hp 40hp 20hp 20hp
Main 53m2 248m2 242m2 238m2
Genoa 44m2 242m2 231m2 228m2
Asymmetric 147m2 2130m2 2102m2 297m2
Code O 74m2 271m2 256m2 249m2
Australian agent: Allboat Brokerage, (02) 9997 7133, email@example.com