Going Grande

Soccer legend Cristiano Ronaldo bought one. Golfing legend Justin Rose did too. And now an Azimut Grande 27 Metri has arrived Down Under. Clare Mahon speaks with d’Albora Marine’s Matt Walford about what gives this 87-foot yacht its star appeal.

18 August 2022


Unsurprisingly, it’s not just one feature that sets the Azimut Grande 27 Metri apart, it’s a combination of factors. Some are visible, but many are not.

Starting with the feature that first captures your attention when you step on board, Matt Walford mentions the yacht’s distinctive look.

“A key selling point for this yacht and many others in the Azimut Grande range is the interiors by the Italian architect Achille Salvagni. Here, Azimut gives you the services of a world-class designer as a standard part of the offering,” says Walford.

Salvagni’s style for yacht interiors is unmistakable. “I’m an architect, not a decorator; that’s why the interiors I design stand out,” he says.

“I want to sculpt the space I’m working with and give it character, dignity and strength. It’s not a question of pretty things placed here and there – the materials and the lines I work with have to have tension. I don’t want corners because they break the line; I want curves that join and flow.”


The 27 Metri’s interior spaces aren’t just furnished, the walls seem to be carved and moulded, and the look is clean yet out of the ordinary. The saloon’s rounded seating and tables make conversation easy. Salvagni calibrated seating height carefully so that taking in the views is effortless.

“I don’t use production pieces in my interiors because I’m not filling a furniture showroom. Every interior I design is exclusive and unique; that’s why I use my own designs,” he stresses.

“I like to play with the senses and create environments that are an all-round experience, so even fabrics and finishes are important – an interior should give a rich, tactile experience as well as being visually beautiful.”

Salvagni used a cream palette, consistent colours and luxurious materials throughout, so guests and owners are pampered equally.

“I’m obsessed with harmony – it’s soothing, beautiful and never boring. It comes from a repetition of certain themes, like colours or shapes, combined with certain variations on those themes.

“For the Grande 27 Metri, I created a base colour palette that I accented with splashes of contrasting colour and texture because, without variation, you can’t have harmony.”

With all the talent and attention Salvagni dedicated to this model’s interiors, it’s no surprise that Australia’s first Grande 27 strays little from the brochure: “It’s not unusual for our clients to proceed as-is with the standard Azimut interior given the designer and superyacht quality,” affirms Walford.

While practically every shipyard makes that compact superyacht claim, the 27 Metri delivers in many ways. “The value to length overall (LOA) ratio is exceptional – five cabins and a main deck master with full-height windows set it apart,” says Walford.

The yacht is semi wide-body and, by placing the owner’s cabin fore on the main deck, Azimut has created a full-beam, fully private space with drop-down side windows so large you feel you could step through them and directly into the water.

Even the owner’s bathroom is full-beam, with double sinks in marble and separate shower and toilet compartments.

But what makes the owner’s cabin so private is it is literally set apart from the rest – the raised pilothouse is on a different level, and the other guest cabins are on the lower deck. On this boat, the owner is king of the hill, or the bow, as the case may be.

The yacht can have three or four additional guest cabins, and there are crew quarters for three to four. “This yacht is in a size range that gives you flexibility,” Walford confirms.

“You have a lot more berthing options when your yacht is under 90 feet, so in the 27 Metri’s 87-foot size range, you have fewer limitations.

“You could easily take off for a few weeks with family or friends and enjoy some excellent coastal cruising, or you can use it for shorter periods as you like.”

Yacht management is also easier when you stay under 90 feet: “You could run the yacht through a yacht management company, or you could have a full-time captain, hiring crew as needed, but you’re still in a size range where you have options. There are real benefits to running a yacht this length, which offers this much,” says Walford.

The Grande 27 Metri has incredible outdoor spaces that Italian exteriors designer Stefano Righini imbued with his Mediterranean outlook on sun and fun. The foredeck is set up with a table surrounded by built-in banquettes and large sun pads – perfect for soaking up the rays.

The aft cockpit is shaded by the overhang and has a dining area that connects easily to the saloon via large sliding glass doors.

The transom folds down to become a private beach and, when the tender is launched from the aft garage, there’s easy access to a beach club with storage space.

But the crowning feature in every sense is the large flybridge. Sun pads, banquettes, tables, a lovely bar and a helm station all confirm this is an ideal space for all-day entertaining and enjoying the yacht to the full.

While the Grande 27 Metri’s deep-V hull is fibreglass, Azimut has used carbon-fibre laminates extensively for the superstructure. Structures like the hardtop can even be made in full carbon.

Walford explains some of the advantages that come with using this costly yet lightweight and durable material: “The carbon reduces top weight, so the yacht rolls less and is more comfortable.

“Less roll and weight also mean better fuel economy, which means fewer emissions. It’s rare to have such widespread use of an expensive material, but Azimut uses this very superior carbon construction technology across their range.”

Lightness is an underlying theme. Salvagni’s interiors are light and bright, the construction materials are light in weight and, thanks to Azimut’s EPS (Electronic Power Steering) technology, the yacht is light and responsive to helm.

Humphree’s Active Trim Control system keeps the yacht on an ideal plane easily, even when it’s running at its top speed of over 25 knots.

So how did Azimut accomplish all of this? Walford feels a large part of the 27 Metri’s success is down to Azimut’s management: “With the shipyard gradually passing from Paolo Vitelli to his daughter Giovanna, there’s a continuity of ownership that also brings continuity of personnel.

“Management changes are very disruptive in shipbuilding, more so than many people realise,” he adds.

“This is a shipyard that hasn’t experienced adverse change like some others, and this continuity has been a major contributor to their leading position in the market and the success of their products.”

It’s this value that is the real selling point for the Azimut Grande 27 Metri. A yacht that is attracting the attention of sports stars, but also owners looking for an advantageous LOA to AUD ratio.

Cristiano and Justin can confirm: Grande is the way to go.



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