Aquila 36 Pow­er­cat

The new Aquila 36 made its Dow­nun­der de­but at the Syd­ney Boat Show and it won’t be long be­fore we see this ver­sa­tile power cat in New Zealand too.

Boating NZ - - Contents - BY JOHN CURNOW

The small­est pow­er­cat in Aquila’s range is find­ing sales suc­cess all over the world. There are lots of rea­sons.

It would be way too easy to call the Aquila 36 a trans­former. Note that this is not the elec­tri­cal kind. More like the ro­botic, su­per­hero va­ri­ety. The rea­son is sim­ply that as a plat­form, both lit­er­ally and metaphor­i­cally, it can be con­fig­ured to meet a va­ri­ety of uses, and then per­form each and ev­ery one of them with ter­rific aplomb.

Suf­fice to say that the level of adapt­abil­ity and tai­lor­ing to meet your needs is quite as­tound­ing. These are af­forded by con­fig­u­ra­tion in terms of seat­ing, ac­com­mo­da­tion and amenity, but also a wide and var­ied choice of pow­er­plants, and then ul­ti­mately even the kind of own­er­ship you want to en­joy. The craft has very much be­come a bit of a dar­ling, not only with pri­vate own­ers, but also syn­di­ca­tion and char­ter fleet op­er­a­tors, as they too eye its many ben­e­fits, sim­plic­ity and over­all use­abil­ity.

Re­mem­ber too, that this is a ves­sel that lands in the $655k to $737k bracket, with the Ex­cur­sion ver­sion that I will talk about in a mo­ment hav­ing a slightly sharper en­try point. Again, it is based on ex­actly how you spec­ify it, but ex­pect it to be in the $638k to $715k zone, and that is all set up, ready to go into sur­vey. I men­tion it now, be­cause it is im­por­tant not to lock in on price, but rather on what the Aquila 36 can do, and just how much award-win­ning craft you get for your hard-earned dol­lar.

Jake Wynne of Mul­ti­hull Cen­tral and I were sit­ting on Hull #34 of Aquila’s 36 Pow­er­cat. In­ter­est­ingly, dur­ing the time it took to write these words, Hull #35 ar­rived for its de­lighted own­ers and cur­rent or­ders for first quar­ter 2019 de­liv­ery will be for hulls with mid-50 num­bers. All of which re­ally does un­der­score the run­away suc­cess of the Sino-amer­i­can op­er­a­tion’s lat­est model, which has be­gun to al­most eclipse her big­ger sis­ters, the pop­u­lar Aquila 44, and spa­cious 48.

A gen­uine global suc­cess from what is only an 18-month life­span so far has seen the 36 land­ing in Asia, Europe, the Pa­cific Rim and the USA. There are now seven Aquila 36s in Aus­tralia alone, just 12 months after the first one ar­rived.

Clearly it is time for Kiwi boaters to take Aquila’s lat­est model on too and it looks as though there are al­ready a cou­ple of keen buy­ers wait­ing in the wings.

As Wynne ex­plained, “The whole craft is de­signed around a mix and match sort of men­tal­ity. Whether you’re into fish­ing, day char­ter, week­ends away or favourite day spots for a swim, there are lit­er­ally a plethora of things we can add in for you, from seat­ing ar­range­ments to BBQS, gensets and air­con­di­tion­ing, to mi­crowaves, waste bot­tle chutes, lazy su­sans, plush and durable fab­rics, LPG, lithium bat­ter­ies, so­lar power, sun awnings, and clear cov­ers – ba­si­cally, just ask us!”

IT’S ALL IN THE LAY­OUT

Some spots on the globe are sun ob­sessed, whereas here in the South­ern Hemi­sphere we kind of run from it. It is prob­a­bly one of the rea­sons we are yet to see an Aquila 36 de­liv­ered Dow­nun­der with the op­tional re­tractable sun­roof over the main deck. There is also an op­tional for’ard sun awning to cover the huge lounge area that can be ei­ther seat­ing or huge beds. The cock­pit can be fit­ted with a fixed awning that can also take clears, should you want to close it all in.

So if one calls this ver­sion the ‘Great En­ter­tainer,’ op­tions in­clude a full row of seat­ing across the tran­som – or leave out a seat and fit a BBQ. Ei­ther way you will still be able to ac­cess the large swim plat­form with its in­te­grated lad­der.

You can make long dis­tances too, as 1350 litres will give you a 300nm range at a re­spectable mid-teens kind of pace.

Once at your favourite is­lands, you can sim­ply wan­der around, or set the boat up for char­ter – two cou­ples could eas­ily en­joy its am­ple space. You can opt for a third bunk in the port cabin and the din­ing ta­ble low­ers to form an­other smaller, child-sized bed as well.

En­joyed as a har­bour-style day-boat, you and a whole crew of friends can blast off to your favourite an­chor­age at up to 36 knots, then dial up the Fu­sion stereo and have a wow of a time.

Be­ing a cata­ma­ran, you don’t get much spray on deck. In the early days, it was al­most 50/50 with the split-screen ver­sion ver­sus the full screen. To­day it is more like 90/10 in favour of the full-screen ver­sion, which to my mind looks bet­ter and also of­fers a more ro­bust off­shore pack­age. The choice is yours.

An­other way to adapt your Aquila 36 is to opt for the fish­ing pack­age. Here the whole of the aft deck is trans­formed with a live bait well with a clear lid, a huge chilly bin un­der the fil­let­ing board to store your haul, a BBQ to cook your catch, as well as

Whether you’re into fish­ing, day char­ter, week­ends away or favourite day spots for a swim, there are lit­er­ally a plethora of things we can add in for you...

rocket launch­ers and rod hold­ers. Once you see this set up for real, you will un­der­stand why keen an­glers opt for it, as there is loads of space to walk your catch around and gun­wale doors to land the big ones. And there is still plenty of seat­ing back un­der the hard­top…

The fi­nal ver­sion, called Ex­cur­sion, is the most dif­fer­ent to look at. It has an en­tirely new, large deck­house above the same hulls, start­ing right up in the fore­deck with ac­cess for’ard and also from the sides at the rear of the cabin.

The Ex­cur­sion can be open for SCUBA-TYPE roles, or en­closed for busi­ness class trans­port. Seat­ing num­bers range from five for a pa­trol-type role to 40 for a wa­ter taxi. Any num­ber in be­tween is pos­si­ble, depend­ing on your re­quire­ments and the level of lux­ury you want to de­liver.

Six craft of this ver­sion have been de­liv­ered thus far, with two of them go­ing into our re­gion al­ready.

Note that this vari­ant can be or­dered with op­tional foils, of­fer­ing a 25% im­prove­ment in the ves­sel’s ef­fi­ciency, which is bound to de­light com­mer­cial op­er­a­tors. Foils cost an ad­di­tional $37, 250, so you would want to be rack­ing up some miles to off­set the ini­tial cost.

By the by, each Aquila 36 vari­ant weighs in at just un­der nine met­ric tonnes wet.

FEEL THE POWER

You cer­tainly do have power at your fin­ger­tips. The ves­sel can take a pair of 250 to 350hp out­boards. Ini­tially, Mer­cury was the only choice, but now you can opt for Suzuki’s con­tra-ro­tat­ing 350hp units, or Yamaha’s tried and tested donks. If you stick with Mer­cury you can also up­grade to joy­stick con­trol.

Sup­ply of Mer­cury’s new, game-chang­ing 250hp and 300hp V8s is chal­leng­ing all over the globe. The lightweight, fuel ef­fi­cient, high torque units are in de­mand ev­ery­where, but given the builder’s re­la­tion­ship with Mer­cury Marine, hull num­bers from the mid 50s on­wards will have the new V8 units.

If you want Mer­cury 350hp units, they will be the old L6 Ver­a­dos for the mo­ment, and for some time to come, which might be enough to swing some buy­ers to­wards other brands.

It is all dol­lars in the end, so just like or­der­ing ev­ery­thing off the menu only to find that your eyes are ac­tu­ally big­ger than your stom­ach, re­mem­ber that ev­ery op­tion and up­grade adds up in the end. With Mer­curys, the choice of white or black legs and cowl­ings is very cool and may well be an over­ar­ch­ing con­sid­er­a­tion.

In terms of num­bers, the 250s will top out at 26 knots and you’ll be in for 200l/hr com­bined at that speed. 20 knots will give more like 90l/hr, but your best range will be achieved at ei­ther 16 knots, which is on the plane, or at eight knots. These speeds equate to 66 and 35l/hr, re­spec­tively.

The big­ger 300s will take you on to 31 knots and add about 20% to your fuel con­sump­tion, but your range is ef­fec­tively the same – it even im­proves slightly with the ham­mers down.

It is a very sim­i­lar story with the 350s, but fuel burn is 30% higher than the base en­gines. The range is sim­i­lar, but slightly bet­ter at both ends of the speed spec­trum.

One can­not fin­ish this sec­tion with­out talk­ing oil burn­ers. Oxe Diesel’s tremen­dous 200hp pow­er­plants could well give you an 800-900nm range and hav­ing a one-fuel boat with a genset is handy. The Cox 300s are bound to be some­thing else again, but both do have hefty price tags.

FIT AND FIN­ISH

Sino Ea­gle, the builder, puts a lot of at­ten­tion into its craft, most no­tably in the moulds, and you see this in the fit and fin­ish. The lines are straight and the pan­els true. All struc­tures and com­po­nents are en­tirely vinylester resin-in­fused for max­i­mum strength, dura­bil­ity and min­i­mal weight.

I par­tic­u­larly like the 36’s mir­rored hulls and twin heads, its space, sta­bil­ity and be­ing able to sit up for’ard while un­der­way. Helm­ing is a de­light and vis­i­bil­ity is un­com­pro­mised. No doubt all these at­tributes in­fuenced The In­ter­na­tional Mul­ti­hull Show, along with Mul­ti­hulls World and Mul­ti­co­ques mag­a­zines, when in 2018 they awarded the Aquila 36 the power ‘Mul­ti­hull of the Year’. The boat also re­ceived the Christofle Yacht Style Award.

As a boat, the Aquila 36 an­swers a lot of ques­tions, some of which you may not have even known you were go­ing to ask. It is sta­ble, does not tram­line, gets up on the plane early, is fun, easy and en­joy­able. You can have it go quickly, or spec it to make sure you have a gen­uine ex­press craft. We said early on that find­ing su­perla­tives was all too easy, but the global sales re­ally do back them up. For an on-wa­ter video re­view of the Aquila 36, just scan the QR code on this page. So far there are no Aquila 36 Pow­er­cats in New Zealand, but that is bound to change, based on this very ver­sa­tile and ca­pa­ble craft’s up­take around the world. At the Auck­land On Wa­ter Boat Show Mul­ti­hull Cen­tral NZ will have an Aquila 44 on dis­play. Steve Thomas would love to dis­cuss the Aquila range of three – soon to be four – pow­er­cats with Kiwi boaters at the show.

ABOVE The Aquila 36 is put through its paces on Syd­ney Har­bour.

The Ex­cur­sion ver­sion of­fers a range of seat­ing con­fig­u­ra­tions, in­clud­ing a wa­ter taxi lay­out for 40 pas­sen­gers. BE­LOW

BE­LOWWith twin 250hp out­boards, per­for­mance tops out at 26 knots. Spec­ify 300hp out­boards and the Aquila be­comes a 30-knot-plus ves­sel, but range is much the same. Choose 350hp per side and the 36 is quicker still.

ABOVE John Curnow, right, en­joys a chat with Jake Wynne from Mul­ti­hull Cen­tral. LEFT The ver­sion of the Aquila 36 pic­tured here is prov­ing pop­u­lar right around the globe, but the model is also avail­able in other vari­ants.

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