Boat of the Week: Aquila 36 Power Catamaran
My bias towards sexy power catamarans is beginning to show.
While half-paying-attention-auto pilot-scrolling through Facebook recently, as one does, I came across a photo of the Aquila Catamarans stand at the most recent Miami Boat Show. I was instantly intrigued.
Now, let me admit that I consider myself a connoisseur of fine catamarans. Having grown up around them (my dad built some of South Africa’s first, biggest and best power catamarans during the 80s and 90s), it was a natural thing for me.
As I’ve previously written, power catamarans are extremely popular here in South Africa. They offer a stable, smooth ride across some of the wildest sea conditions in the world. And they typically offer ample deck space for our nation’s third favourite thing (after rugby and braaing, which is bbq’ing in freedom speak). And that is: Fishing.
But much to my shame, I’d never heard of Aquila before. The random Facebook photo I’ve posted right below here, was my first glance at a company whose product range I was immediately impressed by.
From what I can tell, Aquila Cats are manufactured in Florida, USA. The company sells a range of boats starting at 32 feet and going up to a glorious 70 foot model with two decks and a flybridge.
The model I’m focussing on today is their 36 Power Cat, mostly because I can and also because I just love the way it looks.
According to Aquila’s website, the 36 is about the middle of their range of spectacular cats and it comes packed with features you’d have a hard time finding in monohulls of similar size.
To kick things off, the 36 by default includes two large cabins. Both have en-suite heads that include a shower. On the main deck, Aquila offers two main layout options. One is designed for fishing and diving purposes, and the other is geared more towards leisure and entertainment. Whichever you choose, Aquila says it’s possible for a 5th person to sleep in this area. [Presumably the main seating area converts into a bunk]. So that means sleeping space for five people and in fact there is seating for much more. According to its website, the Aquila 36 is designed to hold up to 12 adults at a time. Which again, for its size, is quite an achievement.
Out of the two layout options, the fishing option is slightly more spartan and utilitarian versus the leisure layout. It includes things like rod holders and a live bait well and evidently may include slightly less luxurious surface treatments.
The leisure layout gets the five star treatment and emphasises entertainment, with all the facilities you’d expect to find for that. Fridge/freezer, grill, prep bowl and loads of seating space. The picture above gives a great idea of what that means.
The 36 is powered by twin outboards, in your choice of a pair of either 300hp or 400hp Mercury engines, and that’s no surprise either. That’s because Mercury outboards have gained a serious reputation for themselves lately. All of the major boat manufacturers, particularly those in the US, are fitting Mercury outboards. But so are the European manufacturers. A great example of that is the Axopar Brabus Shadow 900 series boats, which recently won a Red Dot Design award. On the subject of design, the Aquila 36 has oodles of great design.
The fantastic design starts at the bow, where a gorgeous seating area for several people is located. Access to that area is through a central walkway next to the helm station. The bow seating includes Fusion speakers and drinks holders.
When you’re ready to get out of the sun, the main saloon has a huge solid cover to give you all the shade you need. A massive windscreen wraps all around the saloon, so visibility shouldn’t be an issue.
I find that it’s always the small design details on boats that leave a lasting impact on me. For example, on this boat you have side access doors on both sides of the main deck. That is something you won’t find on many boats especially not at this size.
Additionally, the swim platform wraps around the outboards and cleverly hides an access ladder. Right at the stern and facing out, is a fantastic upholstered seat for watching anyone in the water or just watching the world go by. Those are all details that originally drew me to this boat and which I just absolutely love.
American boaters have a strange relationship with catamarans. While there is an enthusiastic band of dedicated cat hull lovers on social media, these boats just don’t seem to attract the mainstream appeal that cat hulls get elsewhere in the world. And I’m not really sure why that is.
Catamaran hulls offer things that monohulls simply don’t. For one, they are a more stable, softer ride than a monohull. Secondly, they’re often more economical. And third, they regularly offer far more deck space than monohulls. But despite all of this, monohull centre consoles seem to dominate US waters.
Nonetheless, Aquila appears to be successfully attracting customers from outside of US waters. Ironically, those customers are mainly from nations who traditionally do prefer catamaran hulled boats. According to their website, Aquila has found customers for their 36 from all kinds of mainstream as well as exotic locations. Go check that page out, they have some great photography.
The Aquila 36 Power Cat unreservedly gets my boat of the week award this week. I absolutely love its design, its layout, and the brilliant design features it offers on board. It really is a boat for all occasions, something that many boats cannot lay claim to.
If you enjoyed what you saw here, do go and check out the listing over on Boats.com where I obtained the images for this article. Simply click this link and you’ll go straight there.
See you next week for my next boat of the week award!