Forty-eight years ago, Azimut Yachts’ founder Paolo Vitelli had a vision for a line of Italian-built luxury yachts. The now-iconic Azimut name has consistently been at the forefront of boat building with innovative yachts that push the design envelope while integrating the latest available technology.
Today, Azimut has positioned itself as one of the major builders of luxury yachts that delivers an enhanced experience both on and off the water. In order to do that, the company has made sure the proper market partners, including a detailed dealer distribution network, are communicating the needs of each and every prospective owner, no matter where in the world they are situated, to the Italian-based shipyards.
“I always want to be honest and say that it is never difficult to get someone to travel to Italy to tour our yards and see our yachts being built,” said Federico Ferrante, the dynamic and forward-thinking President of Azimut USA. “I will accompany clients myself and know of at least 25 to 30 trips every year set up by our sales force to see the shipyards in action.”
The experience is so successful that Ferrante noted nine out of ten visits results in a signed contract. “Then of course, there are those follow ups which occur during the build process, this to experience the high level of expertise and quality level of the infrastructure performed on their own yacht, and finally to partake in the launch party, where the new owner’s family and the Azimut family get together for this very special occasion.”
With Azimut, that’s where things begin. “Once an Azimut hits the water, we offer its new owners several options: Of course we spend time with them and their captain if so equipped, in a detailed orientation process going over all the sophisticated systems and operations of their yacht,” Ferrante said. “However, and if they choose, we can delay transport as they can spend time in Italy, with our local and professional crew aboard, visiting the many magnificent Mediterranean ports of call, eating the wonderful food, seeing the sights, and getting comfortably acquainted with their new Azimut. This is something we encourage especially when taking delivery during the optimum seasonal months of May through October.”
This part of the Azimut experience is crucial to the company’s continued success in its owner loyalty program. “Because we are a worldwide company, we can offer our orientation for up to three months after delivery, this to assure the new owner they have the full and continuing attention of the company with them,” Ferrante noted.
Well after the owner takes possession of their Azimut, there is constant communication. One of the more important avenues the company follows is the lifestyle component. To that end, there are events scheduled all over the world where owners can meet and share experiences. “For example, our latest rendezvous at Ocean Reef here in Key Largo, Florida, saw Azimut take over half of the marina with 40 of our yachts, 220 guests, with food and entertainment for this weekend event. The takeaway? Everyone felt as if they were part of a very exclusive family club,” Ferrante said.
There is also a yearly Azimut/Benetti gala in Italy, this year’s to be held in Sardinia, at one of the most exciting yachting destinations in the world, the harbor of Porto Cervo. “Both locally, as well as worldwide, we do a lot of these lifestyle events, this to continue our initiative to provide our owners with these types of experiences. We have people from Chile, Peru, the Near East, the Far East, the Americas, from Europe, all getting together to share their Azimut ownership.”
“With that in mind, there are four pillars on which the Azimut brand sits,” continued Ferrante. First and foremost, there is the Azimut design. In their exterior presentations, all of the builder’s yachts are distinctive. And whether it is the Flybridge, S, Magellano, Atlantis, or Grande Collections, the Brazilian Range, or Dragon Series, and the exciting new Special Series featuring the 40-foot, four-stroke outboard-powered Verve, every Azimut presents a bespoke design to suit any prospective owner’s desires. “Now, more than ever, it is very important to be set apart from the competition,” he said.
“Our founder, Paolo Vitelli, along with designer Stefano Righini made sure we are recognizable without looking at the logo, to stand out from the rest. I mean, for example, look at our hull windows, first introduced by Azimut, as a dramatic departure from the usual round portholes. Today, you are hard pressed to find a luxury yacht that does not have them,” Ferrante explained.
The second pillar is interior design. “Comfort is paramount and to that end, we look to provide owners with exactly what they need no matter what size Azimut they choose,” Ferrante said. “We have always been able to use the space to the maximum while providing a beautiful motif, special materials, and of course, style as well. After all we are Italian, yes?” he said, smiling.
The third piece of the Azimut success story, and the one that keeps propelling the product line forward, is found in its innovative approach to every part of the build and design process. “To begin with, there are a lot of structural considerations to deal with even before any design can be incorporated, including adherence to the strict regulations of RINA Services S.p.A. and ABYC for example,” Ferrante noted. “And beyond? Well, I let the products speak for themselves; joystick maneuvering, extremely large and wide flybridge areas, lounging decks, sliding opening overheads, hydraulic swim platforms, maximum and resourceful layouts, and components such as Seakeeper gyrostablizing units, now suitable for smaller boats, are just a few of the many inventive inclusions brought forth by Azimut.”
And to bring his innovation point full circle, Ferrante credits Vitelli with all of the far-reaching advances the company has achieved and will continue to achieve.
“When you are part of the Azimut family, you become part of a privately owned company that not only reflects the owner’s entrepreneurial spirit and drive, but his dedication to everybody involved. In my opinion this ensures, from all the layers of management to all the facets of the organization, everyone is there for the same purpose.”
The fourth pillar is the aforementioned distribution network. “Rather than sell direct, and as we are a worldwide company, in 82 countries by the way, Azimut wanted to make sure our customers are always taken care of in the best possible way before, during and especially after the purchase of one of our yachts,” Ferrante said. Selling and servicing on this kind of stage requires a dealer network in every country, and one that shares the passion and vision set by Vitelli and Azimut. To that end, Azimut, as with its boat building, demands the best. “For me especially, there is always the importance of service. And in fact, we have a 5,000-square-foot warehouse right here in Fort Lauderdale dedicated to the American market and carrying a $1.3 million inventory of spare parts.”
“They are the very reasons for our continuing success in a highly competitive market, and we are dedicated to providing our owners with the most unique experience possible both on and off the water.”