World Traveler

  • Michael Verdon

Expedition yachts, by definition, have always been about utility rather than style. They are designed to travel in rough seas, cross long distances, and shelter their owners for weeks at a time. In the last five years, there has been an explosion in mini-expedition yachts and trawlers smaller than 80 feet, as more boaters want to see the world on their own terms. Azimut recently launched a boat that promises to break the image of the salty-but-boring ocean explorer.

The Magellano 74, the first of the new Magellano series, has a deep-V hull in the forefoot, giving it a semi-displacement hull that reaches 24 knots. Most mini-expedition yachts have displacement hulls that typically top out at about half that speed. At 12 knots, the boat can cruise for 1,100 nautical miles.

The exterior is more like a luxury motoryacht, with a large sun pad in the bow area, open flybridge, and aft cockpit. But the boat also has expedition yacht features like deep bulwarks, second helm station inside the cabin, and stabilizers to minimize roll at anchor. Azimut designed the 74-footer so that a couple could handle it easily, without crew, though there is a small stateroom for a captain.

The interior was also designed with a simple elegance, with a wide-open salon for entertaining or relaxing during long trips, a large master stateroom with open windows to the sea, and three additional staterooms. The interior wood and materials are dark and muted, in contrast to the champagne-colored furniture, to create a more traditional nautical look. But the yacht’s many windows infuse it with natural light and prove a view of the sea, unlike most explorer yachts, which make you feel as though you’re sealed off from the world. (www.azimutyachts.com)

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