In keeping with the growing popularity of power cats, Aquila Power Catamarans continues to add models, suiting buyers from solo cruisers to intrepid families.
By Diane M. Byrne
“I was always a cat guy, ever since I was a little kid,” says Lex Raas, president of Aquila Power Catamarans. With 50 years of experience in the marine industry, Raas is thrilled with the success of Aquila, which he established in 2011 after discussions with Bill McGill, executive chairman of MarineMax, and Frank Xiong, CEO and director of the shipyard Sino Eagle Yacht Company. “Right now, it’s just amazing how power cats are rising in popularity,” he continues, citing the space, ride in heavy seas, and other advantages of the overall design. “It’s come of age.”
Despite hundreds of Aquila catamarans having sold, and despite marking milestones like the completion of hull number 100 of the Aquila 36 Sport, Raas isn’t resting on his laurels. Witness the arrival of three new models. They range from a power cat ideally sized for a couple to cruise and fish on to a far larger, more luxuriously appointed yacht for full families.
For starters, there’s the Aquila 28 Molokai, a center-console catamaran. Well-suited for offshore fishing yet appealing to couples or small families who like all-around deck access, the first hull is finishing up at the factory. The design draws largely on Raas’ experience and that of the renowned catamaran designer Kirk Clark. The two are based in Hawaii, where the waters get rough, so they know first-hand how important stability is. They also know how important it is to ensure a soft landing when out in less-than-ideal conditions. The Aquila 28 Molokai therefore has a wider tunnel between its hulls than other catamaran brands do.
Equally noteworthy, “It accelerates like crazy,” Raas adds. For proof, he pulls out a few sea-trial results. The 9’9”-beam boat hits 44 mph at wide-open throttle. Additionally, even in rough conditions, the Aquila 28 Molokai hit 22 mph.
If you’re a fishing fanatic, you’ll appreciate those performance figures, as well as the greater deck space and the center console. That’s why the Aquila 28 Molokai comes outfitted for fishing (and is more utilitarian) in the Pro version. If you’re a cruiser, meanwhile, you’ll want the Pro Comfort version, with underwater lights and more creature comforts like cushions—still removable should you want to wet a line.
Boaters eager to have the horizon shrink behind them can check out the Aquila 54 Yacht Power Catamaran. It offers a 480-nautical-mile range and cruising speeds from 18 to 20 knots with the standard engines. With hull number one launching two months ago, the model additionally offers attractive features like a captain’s cabin, a handful of stateroom choices, plus “galley up” versus “galley down” versions.
Start by selecting the stateroom total that suits you. In the three-cabin arrangement, you get a full-beam (25’2”) master forward, with one guest cabin in each hull. The four-stateroom arrangement adds a guest cabin to one hull, then changes the stateroom in the opposite hull to a bigger VIP. Finally, in the five-cabin configuration, four same-size staterooms complement a smaller master stateroom, though you gain a reading corner.
As for the cooking arrangements, “galley up” sees a main-deck galley, with a sociable twist. It’s positioned at the aft-deck entry, with an opening window for serving friends and family at an alfresco bar. Buyers of the three- and five-stateroom Aquila 54 get this option. The four-stateroom Aquila 54 has the “galley down” layout, placing the cooking area in a hull, with its own access. This layout opens up the main-deck interior, though, for more saloon seating and a formal dining area.
Finally, even more avid cruisers will appreciate the Aquila 70 Luxury Power Catamaran. Like the Aquila 54 Yacht, this flagship recently celebrated the launch of hull number one. From the profile—styled to look more yacht-y than many power cats do—to the amenities inside, a lot of the ideas came straight from Aquila customers.
Because good use of space is always a must, the Aquila 70 Luxury has an open-plan main deck, along with a choice of three to six staterooms, including your own. Panoramic windows bring in plenty of sunlight to accentuate the interior area, adorned with the rich woods and soft fabrics you’d expect of a luxury yacht. Exterior space is well-laid-out, too. The aft main deck offers a large settee for sitting with friends or keeping an eye on your kids as they swim nearby. Up top, the flying bridge can be enclosed and climate-controlled, or left open to natural breezes.
Further similar to her smaller sisters, the Aquila 70 Luxury prioritizes performance. A joystick lets you maneuver the power cat to a 27-knot maximum speed with the optional engine package, then throttle back to extend range for long coastal cruising, island hopping, and more.
Raas says it’s been “magic” collaborating with MarineMax and the Sino Eagle Yacht Company to create a variety of models in just nine years. He likens what Aquila is doing to his own personal philosophy. It comes from a famous quote by hockey great Wayne Gretzky, whose father told him, “Skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.”
Sounds like the years ahead are poised for more cool cats.