In the summer of 2014, Bruce and Cydne Cooley wanted to take their family on a vacation of a lifetime. After extensive research, they landed on MarineMax Vacations, a bareboat or captained yacht charter group out of the British Virgin Islands (BVI). They choose to self captain an Aquila 48 Power Catamaran, one of the Aquila models that MarineMax Vacations offers for charter. The Aquila 48 offers four individual cabins with en-suite heads; their two adult children could each have a private cabin.
"When we arrived in Tortola we had already discussed our expectations with a MarineMax Vacations consultant who planned an itinerary based on our family's interests and wishes. After an orientation we discovered that the boat was perfectly clean, fully provisioned and ready to go," expressed Bruce Cooley. "We found the Aquila 48 remarkably stable and easy to operate. Another thing we liked is there was so much space that we never felt crowded or in each other's way."
While wandering around the sixty islands that make up the BVI, the Cooley family found that there wasn't enough time to see it all on one trip and started planning their next trip. They eventually made two more vacations with MarineMax before deciding to purchase a brand new Aquila 44.
"With the great experiences with MarineMax Vacations and researching other power catamaran brands it was obvious to us that the new Aquila 44 was our family's best choice," Bruce Cooley offered. "The full-width master with centerline king-size bed and large port and starboard guest staterooms all with en-suite heads, we can have the kids or adult friends stay onboard with total privacy."
Their experience with the charter boats allowed the Cooleys to know just how they wanted their yacht outfitted. A unique aspect of Aquila is that we will customize the build to the owners' lifestyle and tastes. The Cooleys picked all of their interior finishes and cabinets as well as making some design changes and additions as part of the build. Raul Bermudez, General Manager MarineMax Vacations and Aquila Brand Manager, Harry Mountain, personally made sure they got everything that they wanted. They took delivery in June of 2016 in Clearwater, Florida.
"Harry and Raul could not have been more helpful spending countless hours making our Aquila 44 the boat for our family vacations. They were fantastic." continued Bruce Cooley. "During the customization we came up with the perfect name, Cool Change, like the song that the Little River Band made famous."
About five days after taking delivery in Clearwater, Florida, Cydne and Bruce moved Cool Change to Pensacola, Florida, where they enjoyed almost every weekend aboard it last summer and fall. At the end of December, the whole family began a 10-day adventure on Cool Change. Crossing the Gulf of Mexico from Pensacola, where the boat was outfitted, to Fort Lauderdale where the boat will be staged for their next adventure. Bruce and Cydne with the help of their son Austin and daughter Camille along with her boyfriend, Kyle, found the boat roomy, and exceptionally smooth and stable. When asked what the team found to be the Aquila 44's best features, Bruce responded that it was the simplicity of operation and the exceptional amount of comfortable living space.
Living outside New Orleans, in Mandeville, Louisiana, the Cooley's planned to leave the boat in a marina in Fort Lauderdale for a couple of months and then, in stages, explore the Florida Keys, the Tortugas, the Bahamas and beyond.
"Some say 'the fun is in the planning.' I would say, 'part of the fun is in the planning.' And during the time between sailings, we will be dreaming and planning the next adventure. I would also say that the most fun is in the doing, getting out there and experiencing all that there is for fun on the water. Our family started out on a dream vacation and ended up with a lifetime of future adventures of discovery, quite a cool change." concluded Bruce Cooley.