It’s not clear at first why Aquila added a new 42 to its Yacht line, with no plans to discontinue its best-selling 44 Yacht. That is, until you step on board the new vessel.
“They attract two different buyers,” says Alain Raas, Brand Manager at Aquila Power Catamarans. “But this will be the start of a new generation of our Yacht line. And what’s special about this one is its cabin configuration — it’s unique for a 42ft boat.”
Hull number one had an interesting stateroom configuration, with the master suite portside, the smaller VIP starboard, plus up front, in the centre of the 21ft-wide powercat, a ‘utility’ cabin for the captain. But first, let’s talk about the performance of hull one, which I ran in the Gulf of Mexico near Aquila’s Clearwater headquarters in Florida.
The Gulf of Mexico that day was calm, with a minor chop, and few other boats on the water. We passed the local ‘Pirate’ ship, a tourist attraction shaped like a barque but using diesel power. There was also a go-fast party boat, also carrying tourists, that attracted a pod of dolphins wake surfing at the bow. In short, it was a gorgeous Florida day.
Standard diesel engines for the 42 Yacht are twin 230hp Volvo Penta D4s, but our boat featured the upgraded 300hp versions, while there’s a further upgrade option of two 370hp Yanmar 8LV engines.
As we piloted from the flybridge, the boat came on plane in eight seconds. At 1,500rpm, speed was 9.3 knots; at 2,500, 12.4 knots; at 3,000, 18.1 knots. Ultimately, the 300hp Volvo Penta D4s were able to push our boat to a top end of over 21 knots at 3,450rpm.
The hull shape by French naval architecture firm VPLP includes a sharp entry and planing surfaces running the length of the sponsons. Exterior space is 610sqft, nearly the same as the interior, with particularly generous areas being the flybridge (192sqft), aft cockpit (137sqft) and sides/foredeck (218sqft).
An innovative feature worth pointing out is the stern crane system for the tender, which, on our boat, was a Highfield Classic 340 GT.
A winch extends and retracts the crane from the flybridge, while an electronic winch lowers and raises the tender. And when the boat is out, it can serve to hold up a hammock! It’s a clever system adapted from the sailing world.
The swim platform is also broad, allowing easy access across the transom to the side passages to the foredeck. The cockpit features an aft sofa and a large table, while forward is the brand’s signature bar area.
The side passages felt safe, with sturdy handrails for easy passage from stern to the bow. The foredeck has two double sun loungers and small seats tucked into the forward edges of the sponsors.
The wide stairs up to the flybridge — a standard feature on all Aquila’s Yacht flybridge models — are a major differentiator in what Aquila bills as an oceangoing boat. There’s nothing like fast, easy access from the helm to the anchor rode to enhance the onboard experience.
Up top, the flybridge is huge, boasting not only the square footage but enormous headroom. “We had 15 people seated here the other day,” Raas says.
The layout includes an L-shaped lounge that runs along the port side and rear, an alfresco dining table, and centre island galley that includes a grill and fridge. There are also seats on both sides of the two-seat helm in the centre.
Of the interior’s total liveable space of 621sqft, the saloon and galley occupy 240sqft, while the three (or four) cabins and heads total 381sqft. My initial impression was that of a boat where open space is the priority, rather than rooms being jig-sawed into tight quarters.
As per the 44 Yacht, the cockpit connects to the galley via an opening window and counter, with two bar-style seats. That kind of arrangement connects inside and out on fair-weather days, while when it’s raining, everything buttons down nicely.
The main saloon is on a slightly raised platform to starboard, while hull one featured the standard layout, without a lower helm. Instead, there’s a portside console with instruments for monitoring engine stats, performance and GPS coordinates. Aquila offers the inclusion of a lower helm as an upgrade and Raas said the option has been selected on about half of the current orders.
I wasn’t crazy about the wall material, a faux-wood-grained Formica surrounded by hardwood frames. It made the boat look cheaper than a yacht-calibre vessel should. Raas countered that the material doesn’t age like real wood, adding to resale value several years down the road.
I liked the rest of the 42 Yacht’s interior — very much. The windows are large, so natural light is plentiful, and headroom is generous, even in the staterooms.
The full-length master suite to port features a queen-sized berth, desk space, exceptional storage and a forward en-suite bathroom with a large glass shower (including rainforest showerhead).
The VIP to starboard is shorter in length but not cramped and features an aft-facing bed and, again, a large en-suite bathroom, this time aft.
In the three-cabin option, the forward utility cabin becomes a larger third stateroom by having a double berth athwartships, cutting out the starboard bulkhead and using the space for the large storage box forward in the starboard hull as an en-suite, accessed by steps.
In the four-cabin layout, the starboard cabin becomes the master, and the port hull features two cabins, fore and aft of a shared bathroom.
Fit and finish was exceptional across both interior and exterior, from the glass work to the double stitching in the exterior seating to the big beefy stainless cleats that have become an Aquila signature.
Like all Aquila powercats, the boat is built at the Sino Eagle Group factory, but this time the facility used single-piece moulds for both hulls and the superstructure.
“That was a challenge for production because everything is vacuum-bagged and these include very big moulds,” Raas says. “But doing it this way speeds up production and makes it a much stronger boat.”
The 42 Yacht is rated for 12 passengers offshore and 21 at the dock. With the hard top, the height above the waterline is 18ft, which could be an issue with low bridges, although the yacht can be ordered without the hard top.
All in all, a great cruising cat, with lots of space and thoughtful cabin options, and a welcome addition to Aquila’s growing flybridge family.
This article first appeared on Yacht Style.
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