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Technological Ecstasy, at Sea…

More than 50 years ago, the move from heavily-framed, handcrafted wooden boatbuilding to mold-based, production fiberglass craft represented a sea of change in yacht design. Less material was required to get a vessel of equal strength. The use of hull molds meant a more exacting product. It also resulted in more interior volume, faster build times, stronger structures and more.

Enter carbon fiber. Perhaps representing the next evolution in yacht design. Already used in race cars and on spacecraft, it truly is an out-of-this-world material. Hey, if it works on Mars…

And just as fiberglass reduced the scantling schedules for yachts, so to may carbon fiber. Once again, it reduces the amount of material needed to build a yacht while creating a stronger overall structure with a lower center of gravity and more interior volume.

One builder who is embracing this new science is Azimut Yachts.

Azimut, with a range of vessels from 42 to 120 feet, has consistently embraced and implemented technology. It was among the first boat builders of its size to use vacuum, resin-infusion, cutting weight and guaranteeing an optimum fiberglass-to-resin ratio. Today, it’s taking this a step further by incorporating carbon fiber on several of its models.

“We started in 2006 to make the first test of carbon lamination on small components. Testing phase lasted until 2015, the birth date of the Carbon Tech generation, with the launch of the Azimut 72,” explained Federico Lantero, Azimut Brand Manager.

With entire superstructures and hardtops composed of the material, the new top of the range Azimut Fly and S models have larger flying bridges and more expansive deckhouses than their predecessors. That equals increased exterior and interior living space without sacrificing sturdy construction.

“For our superstructure, the framing must be sound, and using carbon fiber material not only gets us more interior volume in the salon, but provides the same mechanical strength provided by traditional fiberglass construction,” said Federico Ferrante, President of Azimut-Benetti USA.

At press time, carbon fiber hardtops and superstructures have been introduced across the varied Azimut Collection: the 66- and 72-foot Flybridge models, the sporty 77S and the long-range Magellano 66.

While these existing models have now incorporated carbon fiber technology, the in-build S7 looks to make a big splash at this fall’s Cannes Yachting Festival. The newest model in Azimut’s S range, the 70-footer will have exteriors designed by Stefano Righini. Like previous carbon fiber builds, she’ll have a carbon fiber radar arch and superstructure, with the latter resulting in greater interior volume above decks. Her hydraulic swim platform will be carbon fiber as well. Triple 800 hp Volvo IPS diesels should allow the S7 to hit 35 knots on the pins.

Azimut has also made a substantial investment in a post-curing oven that can accommodate carbon fiber elements up to 85 feet long.

In the coming months, two new Grande line megayachts will be launched on the market, a 27- and 35-meter yacht, and both will use carbon fiber components.

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