1970, Genoa Boat Show. Vitelli purchased a small space and, to cut costs, towed the boats all the way behind his car. There was such a commotion around his stand that Franz Felix, number two at Amerglass, Europe' s most modern boatyard, could hardly fail to notice it. Felix offered Azimut the Amerglass dealership for Italy. The first great step forward had been made.
The market challenge continued and Azimut signed agency agreements with other important boatyards, including Powless and Westerly. With low office expenses, a small staff, and great efficiency, at the age of 24 Vitelli was ready to set his sights on a new objective: expanding his activity to include production.
A joint venture with Amerglass combined Dutch experience and Italian craftsmanship in the creation of the first AZ 43' Bali, which was then one of the largest fiberglass yachts to be mass-produced. In 1977 came the smallest yacht, offering risk-free cruising on a very reasonable budget: the AZ 32' Targa took the seas by storm, and indeed is still remembered as the " Model T" of the nautical world.
From 1977 to 1985, the company never stopped expanding. Every success led to new challenges, but the underlying commitment was to designing yachts that would satisfy both the needs and tastes of a highly demanding market. Like the time when, after spending hours vainly trying to give a Kuwaiti prince what he wanted, Vitelli made a quick sketch on a paper napkin while they were having dinner. This was the Failaka, the first 30-metre in the history of yachting to be built entirely of fiberglass materials.
And it was with this highly acclaimed megayacht that Azimut entered the American market: in 1982 the company took part in the Miami boat show for the first time and, with just a model of the Failaka, managed to secure Winthrop Rockefeller's USA Allied Marine as its dealer.