When it comes to power catamarans, comfortable deck spaces, stability, massive volume and efficient cruising are all part of the package. The 70 is the flagship of the Aquila range so expectations are high and the signs are promising.
It has three or four very good cabins, a stylish and (naturally) spacious salon and well-balanced deck spaces. Its pair of Volvo Penta D13 1,000hp engines also make it good for a top speed of close to 30 knots and cruising speed anywhere between 8 and 25 knots. It certainly got a lot going for it but is it as good in the flesh as it appears on paper? Keep reading to find out.
Aquila 70 Luxury Key Facts
- LOA 21.26m
- Model Year 2022
- Cabins 3
- Crew 2
- Max Speed 27 knots
- Status In Production
- Yacht Type Catamaran
- Use Type Cruising
Test & Review Video
Catamarans tend to be at an aesthetic disadvantage to their monohull counterparts but in the flesh, the 70 is a handsome and imposing machine. It's not too tall, nor too square and the wheelhouse is neatly incorporated into the overall design. In this sector, it's about as handsome as it gets and any compromise on style quickly drifts away as you step onto the vast deck areas. We're talking side decks the size of bowling alleys and a foredeck that you could host a badminton competition on.
Its obvious vastness aside, there is some really good design such as the tender platform, which drops down between the hulls at the aft end to create a ramp for launching and recovering the tender and it just so happens that Aquila produces a 14ft (4.3m) tender that fits perfectly in this space. At the other end of the boat, a staircase that leads up the centre of the windscreen to the Portuguese bridge gives a useful additional access point to the top deck aside from the staircase in the main salon.
The quality of construction and fit-out appears to be very good but there's only so much you can garner from the shelter of a Fort Lauderdale Boat Show berth. There have been no corners cut on components though and there are pleasing touches like the chunky pop-up cleats and the high-end Gaggeneau appliances in the bar and kitchen.
Access is very good to the engine room(s), which feels very spacious because the engines have one to themselves in each hull so there is plenty of space to work on the blocks and access the various ancillaries.
In this big power cat sector there a differing approaches to accommodation, some go for sheer cabin space to maximise the number of people who can sleep on board whereas others use the luxury of space available to create larger, more comfortable cabins. The Aquila is in the latter camp and it has a maximum of four guest cabins (some rivals have six) but they are all spacious, well-finished and connected to attractive ensuite bathrooms.
The owner's cabin is on the main deck and it stretches greedily across the 27ft (8.2m) beam to deliver a fantastic living space. The large double bed is mounted centrally and flanked by bedside tables with a neat vanity to port on the same level. Drop down into the starboard hull and it's all about storage with a full-height double wardrobe and an array of drawers and eye-level lockers. Head over to the port hull and you find the bathroom, with its twin sinks open to the cabin and separate cubicles for the shower and toilet compartments. It's a stunning cabin and one that would require a much bigger monohull boat to try and equal.
Guests To Impress
Guests don't do too badly, either. One guest cabin is in the port hull just aft of the master and with the berth running across the hull the views out of the window can be enjoyed from the comfort of the bed. Other nice touches include a TV that swings down from a panel in the ceiling, electric blinds (as is the same throughout the boat) and a spacious ensuite with a separate shower cubicle. There is a similar guest suite in the starboard hull that backs onto either a utility space with a washer/dryer and extra storage or, as an option, another cabin with twin bunks. The extra sleeping space will be welcome for many but many liveaboards will appreciate having a dedicated utility space and laundry area.
Aft of this area is the day head, sensibly placed at the bottom of the starboard companionway so guests don't have far to go from the main deck to use the toilet during the day.
Home From Home
The main salon is a flexible space with a variety of options regarding layout and furniture style. The boat I got on board in Fort Lauderdale had hand furniture by Italian brand Natuzzi, giving this Chinese-built, American-owned cat an unexpected slice of European flair. It's a lovely space that has an easy home-from-home flow to it and seriously bolsters the boat's liveaboard credentials. The split bar and galley to port work particularly well with a small bar area complete with three attractive stools on its inboard edge that backs onto a domestic fridge/freezer, microwave and built-in coffee machine. As mentioned above, the appliances on this boat are top quality and the size you would expect in a domestic kitchen.
Forward, the galley is split across a central island and sideboard. With such an open-plan arrangement the smoked glass partition which fires up from the galley island at the touch of a button to provide some privacy if crew are in the kitchen is a good addition.
Talking of crew, their accommodation is accessed via the cockpit so they can come and go without interrupting those in the saloon. It's not huge but it's well-designed with twin bunks, a chart table and a separate bathroom, which leads to a watertight door with access to the port engine room. Access to the starboard engine room is via the day head in the starboard hull.
A staircase just inside the cockpit doors leads up to the sky lounge. This area can either be fully enclosed or, as was the case with the boat at the show, partially enclosed with panels that zip in and out. The fully enclosed version is less fiddly to open and close but the zip panels offer greater flexibility and open the sky lounge up to the sun deck more effectively. The area is air-conditioned and has hatches overhead for natural ventilation. The aft deck isn't huge but it's got enough space for some free-standing furniture and a decent wet bar with BBQ grill, sink and some cooling space.
The main helm station is on the top deck but, as an option, you can have a simple lower driving position in the salon with a set of throttles and either thruster controls or the joystick, which combines both. Having no steering wheel or even a seat hints that this isn't supposed to be anything other than an occasional driving position. Another set of MFDs on the salon deck is useful either way, as is a repeater for the C Zone control, which handles all the boat's onboard systems.
Most of the time the driving will be done from up top and that's no bad thing because the helm station is superb. Three Garmin MFDs sprout out from the top of the dash with minor controls arranged on the lower dash. Three gorgeous Stidd seats provide a comfortable vantage point and more adjustment than you will ever need. Smartly, because the dash is quite a long way from them, Aquila has added a control panel for the three MFDs and a joystick to the arms of the central seat so the skipper can sit back and control everything from afar. It's a great setup made all the better by the wing station adjacent to the side door, which delivers an unobstructed view down the starboard side when mooring.
In opting for the enclosed top deck arrangement Aquila has knowingly sacrificed some outdoor living space. Although the sun deck is perfectly spacious it can't compete with the vast top decks of the Sunreef 70 or Fountaine Pajot 67 Power. The balance on the main deck is very good, however. The cockpit breathes with ease that, at this LOA, only a cat can and, as mentioned above, the side decks are laughably wide. Up front, the foredeck is a great entertaining space with a pair of sunken benches in the forward well and a couple of broad sun pads with pop-up back backrests further up the coachroof.
The practicality of this area stands out. In the forepeaks there is a pair of storage voids so big you can store a paddleboard in them on its end - a liveaboard power cat is only as good as its deck storage and the Aquila's is excellent. And that staircase that leads up to the forward of the top deck is a brilliant bit of design that transforms the accessibility of the deck spaces.
The split aft platform can be a compromise on some cats but that clever tender launch system solves an issue here, too. Bridging the two decks creates another living space at the boat's tail end and means guests can easily cross from one side to the other and enjoy the space as a whole, rather than being perched on two separate islands.
Even at a price of around USD$4.9 million (ex VAT) or £5.5 million (ex VAT)* the 70 still feels as though it is delivering plenty of bang for the buck. Given the number of guests you can sleep in comfort, the generosity of the deck and interior spaces, its range and its liveaboard potential it delivers pretty well on value for money, especially when you consider what you might have to spend on a monohull that offers the same amount of real estate.
Naturally, there are plenty of cost options that need to be added to create the most complete package but one worth highlighting would include the Volvo Penta joystick, because anything that helps to manoeuvre something this wide is going to be useful. The tender platform is a good option both for storage and as another living area at the water's edge and the semi-enclosed sky lounge has the best balance between protection and openness. There's a long list of options and some like air-conditioning and navigation packages will depend on where the boat is kept and what cruising it will do but those above are some of the key considerations.
The layout is a personal choice but the galley on the main deck with either the utility space or a fourth cabin down below makes the most of the boat's interior beam.
The final consideration with catamarans is berthing costs. It's very dependent on where the boat is kept and what type of mooring it's on but, due to the extra width for the given length, some marinas will charge more for a catamaran than a monohull of the same LOA.
*Prices correct at the time of publication
Big power catamarans are going to be growing in popularity and the Aquila 70 is a great example of the genre. One of the most impressive aspects of the 70's design is that it looks and feels like a monohull on the inside. It doesn't feel like a wipe-clean paired back charter spec, it has all the luxurious touch points that you would expect of a classy monohull with a price tag like this. The benefits in terms of space are clear to see both on deck and inside the boat with that added catamaran bonus of built-in stability and slow-speed cruising comfort that makes more relaxed, efficient cruising genuinely appealing. If a big cat is on your shopping list then the 70 should be towards the top of it.
Reasons to Buy
- Generous living space
- Vast owner's cabin
- Flexbile layout
- Stylish interior
- Efficient cruising
Things to Consider
- The flybridge isn't as big as some rivals
- The looks won't suit all tastes
- Its width could mean higher berthing costs
Rivals to Consider
There aren't masses of boats that rival the big Aquila but there is strong direct competition from experienced catamaran builders. Let's have a look at them.
The Horizon PC68 is actually slightly shorter and narrower than the Aquila but it doesn't feel like it. As with most Horizon products, the use of space is very impressive, both on deck and inside the PC68 feels much larger than it actually is. This is a serious amount of living space for a sub-20m motor yacht. On board, there is the option to have three or four cabins on the lower decks while on the main deck, a forward salon is standard with a main deck master cabin an alternative layout that we imagine will prove pretty popular. Horizon is well-known for its liberal attitude to customisation, though, so more specific requests are likely to be catered for within reason. With a pair of MAN i6 850hp engines expect similar performance to the Aquila and a top speed in the low to mid-20s.
There aren't many shipyards with more experience building catamarans than the La Rochelle-based outfit Fountaine-Pajot but the Power 67 is the largest power catamaran that it has ever built. It doesn't have the main deck master option of the Horizon and Aquila, the master instead occupies the forward end of the starboard hull, but there is a five-cabin option that will no doubt appeal to those who wish to run the boat for charter. There is also the option to have the galley in the port side hull, leaving a truly enormous lounge in the main salon. Another neat feature is the door from the salon to the foredeck where, as an option, you can have a hot tub. With engine options of twin 300hp or 480hp and a fuel capacity of 4,000 litres, the 67 has a cruising range of nearly 2,000nm.
If it's sheer living space you're after then say hello to the Sunreef Power 70. It's marginally longer than the Aquila but, amazingly, it's over 3m wider. All of that beam delivers spectacularly large deck spaces and an interior that, as an option, can fit six guest cabins and still have sleeping space for three crew. The Polish outfit has - true to form - created something that looks and feels very different to other boats in this sector with its gleaming colour scheme and contemporary interior finishes. The top deck may not have the option to be fully enclosed like the Aquila and Horizon but it's an enormous space with the option to have a hot tub at its centre. Like the Fountaine-Pajot, there's an option to have the galley on the lower deck, which leaves a sprawling main deck salon with masses of seating and direct access to the foredeck via the forward door. It's not just a floating home though, with an 8,000-litre standard fuel capacity and the option to have 12,000 litres it can cover some serious ground, too.