The 236' Azteca—one the largest yachts launched in Italy in the last 30 years—is also the largest CRN-built yacht to date, making her the reigning queen of the Ferretti fleet. This member of the exclusive “top 100 club” owes her classic profile to Nuvolari-Lenard.
Azteca was launched as Clarena 2, but her original Spanish owner sold his alluring vessel to a Mexican businessman shortly after her launch in 2010. Reportedly, the current owner fell in love with this elegant yacht at first glance and only made a few minor changes to selected interior details.
The distinctively stylish motoryacht, with a prominent sculptural and permanent mast feature, is the product of an all-Italian team. CRN’s naval architects worked closely with AYT (Ferretti Group’s Advanced Yacht Technology department) and Nuvolari-Lenard, whose head office is in Venice.
Thanks to her streamlined gray-painted steel hull and aluminum superstructure in a light cream color (Awlgrip coating system), Azteca looks sleek and powerful. Slender lines and an appropriate color match are the key features that make this full-displacement yacht appear dynamic despite her imposing dimensions: 236' in length, a 44' beam and five decks, including the tank deck.
Nuvolari-Lenard, whose firm designed the yacht inside and out, has been behind a number of highly recognizable projects, from the Oceanco Alfa Nero to the edgy and colorful sport series built by Palmer Johnson. In many respects, this yacht is a significant departure from many of these well-known projects.
With all highly custom projects, the owner’s vision is usually the driving force behind the concept. Central to this particular owner’s vision was the desire to maximize deck spaces for an enjoyable onboard experience in an informal, comfortable, yet elegant environment. Azteca fully displays this philosophy with large entertainment areas, both inside and outside, plush staterooms, tenders, toys, scuba gear and a sophisticated Kaleidescape entertainment equipment, which, through a user-friendly touch panel connected via Wi-Fi, provides instant access to any movie, episode, scene or song.
One of the yacht’s outstanding outdoor features is the imposing beach club. This area (spanning more than 1,000 square feet) unfolds with a massive transom door that reveals an indoor/outdoor living area with bar and a salon with sofas and armchairs, all very close to the water. A pair of external stairways connects the beach club to the main deck, but guests can also access the main deck from the beach club through a portside door or walk into two tender garages. One garage holds a 31' Riva Shuttle (a low-profile tender with a maximum speed in excess of more than 30 knots) and the other a 23' Castoldi RIB, plus two Jet Skis (two more are on the foredeck). Hinged hull doors facilitate the launching of tenders and toys.
This yacht is meant for entertaining. Both main and bridge decks feature sizable alfresco dining areas with ample shade. An imposing custom round dining table aft on the bridge deck can host up to 20 guests, and a large, fully equipped pantry (a secondary galley, really) helps the crew cater to even the largest of parties.
At the upper level, a huge sun deck offers both shaded and open-air areas furnished with comfortable seats, a table, sun beds, a bar, a panoramic Jacuzzi and, of course, the most advanced sound and entertainment systems currently available. At the heart of the sun deck is a huge bar area with many comfortable stools, located under the expanded radar arch, which doubles as a hard top. Side built-in windows open up the view. This sun deck is large enough to comfortably accommodate large groups of people. At the 2010 Monaco Yacht Show, CRN presented the yacht to the press, and more than 35 people easily milled about, espresso in hand, without getting in each other’s way. The aft part of the sun deck can be left open to full sun or shaded with a large Bimini. In addition, this deck accommodates an array of cardio and strength-training equipment by Tecnogym, plus the deck’s fore section doubles as a touch-and-go helipad for a helicopter weighing up to three tons.
Moving inside after a few hours in the sun, guests find a soothing and highly soundproofed interior. The décor by Nuvolari-Lenard’s Valentina Zannier, working in close consultation with the yacht’s owners, is surprisingly sober with a palette that spreads from cream to dark brown, featuring walnut, glossy rosewood and mahogany. A few oversized pieces—such as two extra-large sofas, upholstered with chocolate brown leather—and a grand piano, define a comfortable salon area, which leads into a formal dining room with an imposing oval table. Custom Italian furniture-maker Promemoria provided almost all the freestanding pieces. Amidships to port, close to the dining room, is the entrance to the main galley. It is particularly large and well equipped with nearly all stainless-steel appliances and prep surfaces, a central design feature requested by the original owner, reputedly a gourmet. There is even an area reserved for the curing of a traditional Spanish ham.
A grand lobby with spiral staircase and panoramic elevator leads to forward accommodations. Two guest cabins on the starboard side precede the owner’s suite. The full-beam bedroom features a large terrace (formed by an opening door inside the bulwark). CRN premiered this appealing feature on the custom yacht Ability and uses it in its 43m series. The sprawling suite also includes twin bathrooms and dressing rooms, a massage room and media room with a 65" TV screen. Private stairs connect the master stateroom to two lower-deck cabins with twin beds and Pullman beds (labeled as children and staff cabins). The lower deck accommodates two additional staterooms and comfortable crew cabins for up to 28 (with crew mess and dedicated crew gym on the tank deck). The captain has a cabin on the bridge deck where there is a further VIP cabin and an informal salon.
It’s a lot of boat, accommodating a full complement of guests and crew, so it needs to carry a full load of supplies. Accordingly, the builder planned for and provided plenty of space for service and storage on both lower and tank decks, including dedicated laundry rooms and large freezers. A hatch in the starboard hull side facilitates loading supplies from dock or tender.
Well worth a mention is the split-level engine room, intelligently planned around two Caterpillar 3516B 16 cylinders producing 2,500 hp for a top speed of 16.5 knots and a 15-knot cruising speed. A separate room houses two main generators (Caterpillar C18, 275kW each). A soundproof control room allows the engineer to monitor all systems. A sea trial held in the Adriatic Sea on a windy day gave us the opportunity to verify Azteca’s excellent navigation qualities: The yacht plied the waves with great ease, and everyone on board enjoyed the sailing despite the adverse weather conditions. Great expanses of decks for Mediterranean sunshine, a comfortable interior with top-notch entertainment and a sturdy, seaworthy hull—indeed, Azteca really is a yacht for all seasons. ■
LOA: 236'2" (72m)
BEAM (MOLDED): 44'2" (13.5m)
DRAFT: 11'5" (3.5m)
HULL CONSTRUCTION: Steel
DISPLACEMENT: 1,600 tons
ENGINES: 2 x Caterpillar 3516B
GENERATORS: 2 x Caterpillar C18 @ 275 kW + 1 x Caterpillar C4 @ 84 kW
MAXIMUM SPEED: 16.5 knots
CRUISING SPEED: 15 knots (@ 85%)
RANGE AT 12 KNOTS: 6,000 nm
FUEL CAPACITY: 264,172 gal. (250,000 L)
FRESHWATER CAPACITY: 42,268 gal. (40,000)
CLASSIFICATION: Lloyd’s Register of Shipping A1 – Maltese Cross, MCA LY2 compliant
GUESTS: 12 in five double cabins + owner’s suite
CREW: up to 28
EXTERIOR DESIGN: Nuvolari-Lenard
INTERIOR DESIGN: Nuvolari-Lenard
NAVAL ARCHITECT: CRN
Nuvolari-Lenard: Redefining luxury
YI: Is Azteca the first yacht you designed for CRN?
N&L: Some years ago we designed three yachts for CRN: three 46m in the so-called “Magnifica” series. We were very happy when one of their owners asked CRN to build a 72m designed by Nuvolari-Lenard.
YI: What was the central theme for this project?
N&L: Azteca was designed around outdoor social life and watersports. You will notice that each area of the yacht has a feature that connects it to the sea. The layout is classic for a yacht of such size, with the possible exception of the galley. It was located on the main deck by express request of the owner, who likes good food and wants to entertain lots of guests and be able to walk into the galley to see the chef at work.
The interior design by Valentina Zannier, interior designer and junior partner in our firm, is classic enough with a few modern shapes and pieces, to achieve a relaxed feel that is still formal, a sort of contemporary neoclassic style.
YI: What does luxury mean on board Azteca?
N&L: Luxury on Azteca is not represented by exotic or futuristic exterior design or lavish interior decoration. On the contrary, it expresses itself through the absence of excess, which is today’s real luxury. Luxury here also means being brave enough to give up conventional features, such as the enclosed skylounge on the top deck, to gain an immense Mediterranean-style flybridge and a sleeker and lower-profile yacht. Luxury is the sleek, simple, “tight” exterior superstructure, typical of real good Italian design, painted in the simplest and most noble color scheme, in lieu of elaborate shapes and colorful metallic palettes, so common today.