Aquila launches new family friendly power cat.
When it comes to power cats, good things come in smaller packages.
On a bright Wednesday morning in Miami, while the subtropical city was still stretching its arms, I was dashing across the enduring docks of the Venetian Marina, racing the clock to get to the global debut of the Aquila 42. I hadn’t intended to rush, but my colleague Jeff Moser, who suggested we go together, (being the high-maintenance New Yorker that he is) demanded that we get coffee beforehand.
“I’m not a coffee drinker,” I told him as we walked out of our rental house that morning. Moser stared at me, blinking. “I don’t want to be late,” I added. More blinks.
Within ten minutes we were at the local café, coffees and croissants in hand.
We were soon beelining to B Dock. Just getting in at the buzzer, we got our bearings as Aquila’s storied Raas family ushered journalists to the stern of the boat, mic in hand. They ran through their informative formalities and eventually we were welcomed aboard. As I stepped into the cockpit and got a look around the Aquila 42, one thing was sure, she was made with purpose. The designer of this catamaran knew his market and made distinctive choices as to what this boat would be used for—long ocean voyages where both live-aboard lifestyle and performance are key—not to mention offering these features in a smaller package than previous models.
“People don’t get shorter as the boats get smaller,” said VPLP Design’s Naval Architect Mathias Maurios—who met and began collaborating with Aquila back in 2019. “So, it was all about getting the proportions right.”
Reducing drag as much as possible and creating comfort at sea were the priority, Maurios explained. In addition, extensive FEA (finite element analysis) and CFD (computational fluid dynamics) analysis allowed for the team to reduce the weight of the boat—which comes in at 41,895 pounds fully loaded—and adjust balance and buoyancy to handle turbulent waters. The 42 can reach a purported 21.6 knots at wide open, but Aquila’s testing estimates a normal high-speed cruise of 16.6 knots and fuel burn of 1.15 miles per gallon.
Adding to the performance quality of the 42 are her unusually bulbous bow, which should allows for the boat to run more efficiently and track exceptionally well.
“We differ [from the competition] in our offshore capability,” Aquila President Lex Raas noted as he spoke to me from the flybridge helm. “We’ve got good bridge deck clearance, and the bulbous bow is a big thing. Catamarans have the tendency to dip into the water and the bulbs help stop the pitching of the boat and pop it back out of the water quickly.”
As far as comfort is concerned, Aquila accomplished this in a definitive way as well. While we toured the interior of the boat, it definitely had a more spacious feel than I expected for a 21-foot beam boat. Something was different. That’s when Moser noted there was no lower helm station. The 42, at least hull number one, was built without the optional lower helm and boy did it open the space up. Smart conservation of space was evident, especially as I entered the forward cabin, where to the right of the berth, a washer and dryer were built into the wall. As if that wasn’t functional enough, just to the bottom right of these amenities, I found a wine fridge. That’s right, folks, you can do your laundry while pouring a glass of your favorite vintage, all from the careful observation of your bed.
Depending on the layout you desire, the 42 can go from having two cabins to three oror four, and with two or three heads with separate showers to boot.
To further cap things off, Raas dropped the hint that development of a hydrofoiling version of the 42, called the AHG (Aquila Hydro Glide) was underway and would be ready sooner than you’d think.
“It will be semi-foiling,” Raas noted, “picking up about 40 percent of the weight of the boat. We’ll have it available on the 42 by the end of the year.”
Aquila 42 Specifications:
Displ.: 41,895 lbs.
Fuel: 290 gal.
Water: 132 gal.
Cruise speed: 16.6 knots
Top speed: 21.6 knots
Standard Power: 2/230-hp Volvo Penta D4
Optional Power: 2/300-hp Volvo Penta D4