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A Fresh Take on a Powercat

A Fresh Take on a Powercat

It is all you want in a boat and more. As the Aquila 44 pulled into the Runaway Bay Marina, I initially noticed her stocky proportions: short, wide and high on the water (for a power cat, that is). Her seamless ultra-modern lines tie it all together in such a way that I doubt her style would ever age. Standing close next to her, I then noticed her sheer volume; and, as most of us do, immediately associated with a certain price tag. (Check out the Quick Facts below and be surprised at the price).

Andrew McLeod from Multihull Central was kind enough to stop in on his travels – from Brisbane to Sydney for the Boat Show – to allow our team to test drive the Aquila 44. Once on board, we went straight up to the flybridge and noticed the excellent all-round visibility. We made our way into the Broadwater, and headed for the Seaway. With great ease and in no time, she pounced up on to the plane at around 17 knots. Taking her size, weight and volume into consideration, I could not believe my eyes, and actually leaned over to check for myself on the helm station.

Her bulbous bows allow the Aquila to easily get up onto her skirts very quickly. These bows deliver a lot of lift and certainly eliminate a lot of pitching and rolling, assisting the Aquila achieve great fuel economy, which is almost unbeatable for any boat her size. On our way out, a wake boat crossed our path 40 meters ahead, leaving behind a 1.2 metre wake. At 19 knots, Andrew did not even consider backing off on the throttle. To our amazement, she hardly pitched or rolled much at all.

Once we were about a click out of the Seaway, I took the helm at about 17 knots. It was very empowering! Without any warning, I threw the wheel port side as hard as I could, and she responded with great ease and stability. Somewhat like a sports car with a lowered suspension, she dug in and came about crossing over our own wake with hardly any pitching. At first, I had my doubts about these bulbs on any non-commercial vessel, but I was pleasantly surprised at how effective they were.

Now, down to the details.

Engine power and vessel features

The Aquila 44 is powered by two Volvo Penta 300hp diesel engines with V drive gearboxes, each producing 220kw of torque. The vessel’s close corner maneuvering is excellent, as the diesel engines are widely spaced.

With the standard 1100-litre fuel tank, the Aquila 44 is set up for long range cruising at 6.5 knots. Both engines will burn just 9.5 litres total, giving a fuel range of 718 nautical miles leaving a 5% reserve. The engine design incorporates underwater engine exhaust to reduce engine emissions noise, while the well-lit engine room offers excellent all-round engine and systems access for ease of maintenance.

 

As part of the US Coast Guard regulation compliance, each of the Aquila 44 hulls are fitted with a glass front escape hatch and a hammer in the rare occurrence of a capsizing.

 

Another great feature of the Aquila is that she is entirely constructed by means of the resin-infusion method, making it tough as nails. Between the two skins is a perforated balsa core that then ties it all together with the infusion of the resin; hence, delamination will not occur.

 

The helm station console is moulded in dark grey non-glare UV protect finish, and houses a complete systems control at the touch of a finger, including a Raymarine ES127 high performance navigation computer with sonar charts, and a Volvo electronic vessel control (EVC) 4″ display. A dedicated display panel offers easy access and visibility to electronic systems and instruments. There is a compass, a multi zone entertainment system master unit offering multi zone control, and a bilge pump warning lights all fitted at the helm.

 

All of the batteries, fuses and chargers are neatly tucked away and easily accessible under the bridge floor, keeping them high and dry, out of the hulls, and makes monitoring them a breeze. Monitoring navigation and engine status, as well as operating external cameras and mood lighting, is all done from the helm on the flybridge.

 

With easy access to vessel controls and system monitoring along with a marvelous view from the fly bridge helm station, taking the wheel is such a pleasure. The fly bridge can be completely enclosed with clears or kept opened, and features lounges, a wet bar, a barbeque and great views!

 

 

Ease and comfort come first

 

Getting down from the fly bridge onto the bow is a piece of cake through the distinctly featured forward steps. The access to the stern via the aft stairway makes handling of this vessel by a husband-and-wife crew very easy.

 

The vessel features an open plan bridge deck layout with a saloon dining area, and a gourmet galley. An aft cockpit table and lounge with the collapsible galley splashbacks serving as a bar counter, creates a great “man cave” most other vessels do not offer.

 

The centrally located galley features high quality finishes and top-of-the-line equipment, three sinks, a two-burner stovetop, a microwave oven, a refrigerator-freezer unit, ample underfloor storage for groceries, as well as 360-degree visibility. No need to compromise the comforts of home while on board the Aquila 44.

 

The three spacious en-suite guest cabins maximize the performance hull shape. The larger main cabin/stateroom located towards the bow is the reason for the bulkhead not being flush with the rest of the bow, as it allows for ample headroom down below. Thanks to utilizing the full 21.5’ beam, you do not just get the big berth, but also a reading nook, ample storage space, and the full stand up en-suite bathroom with shower.

 

The two other cabins that are far enough away to ensure absolute privacy for the main cabin, are both equipped with queen-size beds, ample storage, and fully equipped en-suite bathrooms. What really stood out to me was the attention to detail and the amount of windows allowing great views as well as natural light inside the cabins.

 

The Aquila 44 is indeed a fresh take on a classic power catamaran. The efficiency in performance is complemented by the luxurious living features.

 

If you spend a day aboard this boat, you are not going to want to get off it either.

 

 

 

SPECS:

Length: 13.30m
Beam: 6.50m
Draft: 82cm
Height Off Water: 5.70m
Power: 2 x Volvo D4 300hp

Displacement: 16,000kg (light); 18,000 (loaded)
Fuel Tank: 1100lt
Water Tank: 680lt
Though owned by JMJ Designs, a Slovenian Company, the Aquila factory (Sino Eagle Yacht Group) is based in Hangzhou, China. With such a short lead time (4-6 months) and only setting one back AU$ 1,325,000, it is no wonder they have already sold 51 in Australia and 55 in New Zealand.

 

By Michael Von Backstrom and Andrew Kancachian

 

To book your sea trial, contact Andrew McLeod at Multihull Central-Queensland.

amcleod@multhullcentral.com

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*A bulbous bow is a protruding bulb at the bow of a ship just below the waterline. The bulb modifies the way the water flows around the hull, reducing drag and thus increasing speed, range, fuel efficiency, and stability. Large boats with bulbous bows generally have approximately 15 percent better fuel efficiency than similar vessels without them. A bulbous bow also increases the buoyancy of the forward part, and hence, reduces the pitching of the ship to a small degree.

 

 

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