Having considered a shortlist of potential designers for their new Azuree model, Sirena Marine tasked us with the challenge of designing a new flagship for the range. The current models are exciting, twin-ruddered Open-style boats and share some philosophy with a development line we have pursued for a number of years, one that in our case derives from our work in the Open 60, Volvo 70 and Class 40 theatres.
We love this style of boat; it delivers a heady mix of excitement and excellent traction. If it was a car it would be one which could be thrown it into the corners at high speed in the knowledge that it would respond to the driver's most delicate touch - adrenaline and reassurance mixing in a rare infusion.
But... fast, exciting yet forgiving: these are qualities one can find in a dedicated, custom raceboat, and in themselves are not enough to enthuse the wider sailing sector. We needed to focus not just on performance per se, but on performance versus handicapping, under both IRC and ORC rules. We wanted to design a boat that could thrill in its sailing qualities but also have a chance of delivering some silverware, and with the Azuree 46 we believe we have a boat with well-rounded capability. Of course she will be fast and exhilarating downwind in a breeze, but at the same time powerful upwind in the same conditions, with her long waterline and easy lines giving her the feel and power of a larger yacht. And in the same, ambidextrous way we had to make sure she was no slouch in the light; her hull may be wide and powerful, but the upright immersed sections represent a surprisingly low wetted area form in order to minimise viscous drag and make the most of the Azuree 46's generous sail plan.
If it was a case of ticking boxes, that's a few of them addressed. But for many boat owners, performance and race-winning potential is only part of their lifestyle. For an immense number, sailing is also about the simple joys of just enjoying life on board, to have home-comforts at anchor as much as to have long-distance passagemaking as part of their potential itinerary. The Azuree 46 can hold its hand up as a very capable cruising yacht, as able to slog it round Ushant in the teeth of a South Westerly as to provide exuberant comfort at anchor in Göcek, where the enormous cockpit transforms itself into an enveloping reclining area.
The Azuree 46 is a thoughtfully blended cocktail, sensitively composed and definitely shaken, not stirred.