It is one thing to be told that all Aquila Power Catamarans are designed, engineered, and manufactured to the highest standards and fare well in almost any sea condition. It is another thing to put those factors to the test.
Just a week before Christmas, Captain Larry Braun, and David Ludwig, two seasoned MarineMax delivery captains were assigned to deliver a new Aquila 44 Power Catamaran to the MarineMax Vacations fleet on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). David left his home near Lake Lanier and flew from Atlanta to Tampa. He met up with Larry at the boat in St. Petersburg, FL.
To prepare for the journey ahead, Larry had brought 4 fifty-five-gallon fuel drums with him which they stowed aboard. These would be needed for extra fuel on some of the longer passages.
The route Larry had charted took them from St. Petersburg to Captiva Island. After refueling in Ft. Myers, the plan was to cross Florida via the Okeechobee Canal and Lake Okeechobee to Stuart, Florida. Following a stay in Stuart they would head to Nassau, Bahamas and from Nassau, they would head south to the Turks and Caicos, Bahamas. This leg is approximately 387 nautical miles (445 statute miles) and requires them to refuel along the way with the fuel drums. From Turks and Caicos, it is 415 nautical miles (477 statute miles) to the next stop at Puerto Real, on the southwestern shores of Puerto Rico. The last leg would be a short hop, at least in comparison, to the MarineMax Vacations Charter Base on Tortola, BVI.
Capt. Larry and David would perform daily checks while at sea on the engines, transmissions and check all fluids. They would also check WAY points as part of their daily navigation, refuel, resupply as necessary and top-off the freshwater tanks.
Leaving St. Petersburg and crossing the state of Florida went smoothly due to the Aquila 44’s ease of handling. With light southwest winds, Larry and David headed to Nassau, Bahamas approximately 190 nautical miles (222 statute miles) away. Averaging 8-10 knots it would take them 20-plus hours. Even in light sea conditions, David was impressed with how comfortable and stable the Aquila 44 proved to be. Having taken on the watch at 3:00 am, Larry pulled into Nassau at 7:30 a.m.
During this quick stop, David and Larry fueled up and headed back out into a beautiful, sunny, and calm day. Their next stop was Turks and Caicos Islands. This leg stretched nearly 387 nautical miles (445 statute miles). This would be a grueling leg taking over 30-hours to complete. They needed to transfer fuel along the way and the Aquila 44 proved to be a stable platform for the operation. Finally pulling into the port of entry at South Side Marina and Bob’s Bar, the captains took an eight-hour break.
The next leg to Puerto Real would prove to be the most challenging. Although a similar distance as the previous leg, as they left the lee of the Turks Caicos Islands they headed into six to eight-foot seas. The Aquila 44 proved up to the challenge, able to maintain cruising speed without pounding while remaining stable enough for David and Larry to transfer fuel when they needed. Arriving in Puerto Real, they refueled and made the final push to their final destination, the MarineMax Vacations Charter Base. The seas had not relented and once they cleared the lee of Puerto Rico they were once again battling unfavorable conditions. However, the Aquila 44 handled the in heavy sea conditions. The well-designed bow entry with bulbous bows and relative narrow hull form helped the Aquila 44 slice through waves while the wide nacelle offers a center V section that helps reduce pounding. In addition, the 21-foot 6-inch beam provided a very stable platform.
On day seven of the delivery Capt. Larry and David dropped anchor off Tortola. In the morning they waited to clear customs. After completing procedures, they made their way to the MarineMax Vacations Charter Base. The Aquila 44 proved to be an ideal long-distance, powerful open ocean, power catamaran with a solid performance. The MarineMax Vacations team at the base found virtually no maintenance needed to put the new Aquila 44 into charter service other than a little cleaning.
On Christmas day Capt. Larry and David parted ways and flew to their respective destinations. Larry went back to St. Petersburg and his family. David traveled to Puerto Rico to join his fiancé for a holiday vacation.
This is the story of just one Aquila 44. With a total of more than 40 deliveries made to the British Virgin Islands, these vessels have truly proven themselves to be strong, sea-faring power catamarans that are up to the challenge of any journey and will surely take you to the destinations of your dreams.