Azimut 47 Fly

All day, all night, all right.

Most times when I step into the captain's quarters of a 47' boat, I find the usual single or stacked berth, cramped head, and fold-down sink. On the Azimut 47 Fly, however, what I discovered instead was wide open stowage area, a beautiful cave of gel coated fiberglass that measured a whopping 12'-by-4'7"-by-3'3", perfect for golf bags, folding bikes, or what have you.

The extra-large lockers aren't limited to the 47 Fly's lazarette. In the cockpit, I found a box in the lounge base that measured a cubic foot. In the salon, there was a drawer in the base of the lounge that measured 4'2"-by-2'-by-8½". In each aft stateroom is a full-size hanging locker, and a drawer in the base of the master berth tapes out to 2'4"-by-1'11"-by-5". Even the flying bridge has a big, deep glovebox.

What's more, the 47 Fly can handle a large group of friends for a few hours. On the flying bridge, the aft lounge has seating for at least eight people around a smartly laid out wetbar/barbecue. There's stowage in the base of the lounge seats, plus a great aft-facing lounge with elevated backrests adjacent to the helm seat. In addition to the glovebox, there's a stowage drawer for charts. Ahead of the single bucket seat, the upper helm is laid out intelligently -- gauges and Bennett trim tab switches have built-in indicators and are within sight lines and reach.

The 47 Fly delivers a comfortable ride. It tops out at 29.6 mph on twin 575-bhp CAT C9s and has an agile feel in maneuvers. I turned the boat at wide open in each direction and it came around inside its own wake. However, you'll want to use the upper helm station for docking because the lower level has some noticeable blind spots.

It's Grr-Eight

If you like the 47 Fly's stowage capacity, you'll love the accommodations. The starboard salon lounge converts to an extra berth if your guests plan to spend the weekend aboard. It's one of the few boats in this size range that can sleep eight people.

Although the Fairline 48 Phantom ($1,272,680 with twin 575-bhp Volvo Penta D9-575s) has a larger midship master stateroom, to get close to the same sleeping capacity as the 47 Fly you would need to have the crew quarters at the stern installed. If you added the optional third stateroom ($19,083) and a convertible sofa in the salon ($625) aboard the Sea Ray 47 Sedan Bridge ($982,260 with twin 575-bhp Cummins QSC 600s), you'd eventually have accommodations for eight.

Of the 47 Fly's staterooms, the highlight was the aft starboard cabin, which had two twin bunks (for the kids) that you can slide together to form one queen berth (for the in-laws). The portside cabin has twin forward facing lounges, but make sure you move to the foot of the berth before climbing in. There's only 5'1" of headroom.

Each head on the boat has a circular shower stall. But as you enter the day head from the salon, you must walk through the shower, a setup I've never liked. In keeping with the 47 Fly's great stowage, the medicine chest has two big shelves.

Lookin' Good. Cookin' Good.

What struck me belowdecks on the 47 Fly was the open, airy feel in the portside galley. The windshield acts like a skylight, illuminating the space and eliminating the dark, isolated feeling you normally get in a boat of this size with a galley-down layout. If the galley were on the same level as the helm and cockpit, the boat would feel crowded. This way, the 47 Fly is spacious on all levels.

The latch for the refrigerator/freezer is extra-heavy-duty to ensure that the hatch stays closed. There's also a stove and microwave/convection oven. However, I didn't like that the plates, cups, and saucers were all the way aft in the upper salon near the sliding doors that lead to the cockpit.

Up and out of the galley, you can run the boat in inclement conditions from the 47 Fly's lower helm. Just once I'd like someone to explain to me why boatbuilders provide a doublewide seat, then place the steering wheel in the middle. To be comfortable, the captain needs to sit in the center of the seat, which eliminates the companion spot.

Adult friends who want to keep the skipper company will enjoy the portside dinette. This would be a perfect spot for enjoying a bagel and a cup of coffee in the morning. Aft, the starboard salon lounge can lower to form an extra berth. The pullout sofa to starboard rests on top of the table to provide better support for sleeping. To port is a single lounge with another mammoth locker in the base as well as a flat-screen TV.

Out in the cockpit, you can enjoy the sun on the aft lounges. A full gate closes off the transom passage. A single hatch opens to reveal the engine compartment, which provides good overall access to the motors and accessories including the fuel/water separators and sea strainers. There is one exception to this accessibility, however. The batteries are in plastic boxes forward and outboard of the engines and will be a pain to lug out. Maybe Azimut should move them to the 47 Fly's lazarette. Lord knows there's plenty of room.