Hubert Burda Media


Azimut's new Magellano 53 gives motor-yacht enthusiasts the freedom to venture further than the normal weekend away


ASIAN WATERS ARE replete with islands and bays that have few visitors, yet where adventure and privacy are in plentiful supply. Azimut's Magellano 53 is designed to explore those waters, bringing long-distance cruising capability to a motor yacht that sports all the conventional style and comforts of a luxury cruiser.

The Magellano 53 is the second generation of the builder's longrange series, suitably named after the roving Portuguese seafarer and explorer. The first Magellano, a 50-footer, made her debut in 2010. Now Azimut has refined and expanded that model, and the three feet of additional space result in more spacious decks, a bigger and better swim platform and the incorporation of a captain's cabin. The extension gives the Magellano 53 considerably more elegant lines than its predecessor, while the high bulwarks and nearly plumb bow remind you that this semidisplacement yacht is meant for the open seas.

The bigger aft deck space has made more room for the settee and table, as well as for a small outdoor grill and galley, all perfect for outdoor entertaining. Below deck, the new captain's cabin is a key feature for owners who choose to hire a crew rather than sail the yacht on their own; it also makes the yacht more charter-friendly. While the crew quarters will be a welcome addition, the access, which requires raising the cushions on the aft-deck settee, leaves something to be desired. One of the most visually noticeable differences in the upgrade is the larger stern swim platform, which can be raised and lowered by hydraulics and makes the yacht that much more fun once you're at anchor.

Those are the changes; what has remained the same is Magellano's unique semi-displacement hull shape that steams along comfortably in heavy seas or can rise onto its unusually broad chine flats to plane when more speed is required. Designed by British naval architect Bill Dixon, it also comes in 43- and 76-foot versions, creating a versatility that makes this a great cross-over between the world of trawler-style expedition vessels and the sleeker, faster fly-bridge yachts that are so popular in tropical waters.

What's also remained the same is the interior design, which maximises living space and makes it a comfortable floating home for up to six people for extended periods of time. It has a remarkable amount of room in which to stretch out your legs, toss your bags down and walk about for a boat of its size. Many yachts touring the waters around Hong Kong, Singapore or Thailand are designed for day trips, with a few cabins thrown in just in case you want to make a weekend of it. When you step aboard the Magellano 53, you'll start thinking of week-long journeys instead of just weekend getaways.

When boarding the yacht from the swim platform, the stairs lead seamlessly up to the fly bridge, a spacious area that quickly becomes the focal point of the yacht. Benches, a foldaway canvas awning and an interestingly placed outdoor shower make this a tempting place to hang out, enjoy the sunshine and keep the driver company.

The forward deck is dominated by a large outdoor lounge area that can be converted into a proper seating area with a table. The side decks giving access to the bow area are narrower than you'd find on a trawler-style yacht purpose built for expedition-style cruising, but the high stainless-steel railings still make them feel sufficiently safe.

The aft deck has a large and easily accessible seating area that offers great views. The small outdoor grill and galley area, new to the 53, combines nicely with the indoor galley when the sliding saloon doors are open. The main galley is at the very aft of the main saloon and the sliding door can open fully to create a seamless space between the saloon and aft deck. Saloon seating offers exceptional visibility, and is well integrated with the helm station, so the driver can remain in contact with his guests.

The Magellano comes in either a two- or three-cabin configuration, with all cabins located below deck, where maximum headroom reaches almost 2.1 metres. Directly ahead of the stairs that descend from the main deck is the day head and shower, which doubles as a semi-private en suite for the forward VIP cabin. The master suite, located amidships and aft of the companionway stairs, is luxuriously appointed with private head and shower, interesting circular hull windows and opening portholes. The bed itself is positioned diagonally in the cabin to create more space.

An optional third cabin is located on the port side between the VIP and master suites, with two single bunks fitted into a fairly tight space. However, this is a great room for children or additional last-minute guests. The other option available is to use this space as a seating area, with a very clever open-ceiling design that links it to the main saloon.

The Magellano interior is understated and simple, as this yacht is meant more for journeys than for flash. Azimut has made good use of the increasingly popular combination of veneer and fabric linings to make the spaces feel homey and warm. Sturdy stainless-steel handrails cleverly placed throughout the interior provide discreet support for when the going gets rough.

Storage space aboard a yacht always comes at a premium, and with the 53's voyaging aspirations, finding room to stow your bags and provisions becomes even more important. Fortunately this boat delivers and offers a purpose-built locker for a washing machine and a well-placed linen cupboard just outside the master cabin. There's also a utility room on the starboard side, which is fitted out with valuable shelf and locker space.

There's no shortage of elegant design and finish on the Magellano 53, but the hull design remains the key factor that elevates this yacht above the competition. The Magellano 53 is no speed demon, and that may be part of the reason why Azimut markets her as a long-range vessel. The twin 500hp engines give the yacht considerably less power than many other boats this size and her fuel efficiency is unremarkable. However, the smaller engines and considerable fuel storage mean that you can go much further than you can on other yachts, putting more far-flung island chains and coastlines within cruising reach. That means you'd better remember to take your passport when you leave the dock.

+Prestige Hong Kong