How Aquila made powercats mainstream: Yvan Eymieu
A decade since its launch by MarineMax and Sino Eagle, Aquila has become a truly global brand, with its entire range of power catamarans selling across Asia, as Yvan Eymieu explains in a Column for Yacht Style.
Aquila 44 Yacht; Photo: Nicolas Claris
Following the recent presentation of the upcoming Aquila 41 Yacht, it’s a nice time to look back at how the brand has grown around the world including in Asia, especially with the company celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
When Aquila was launched as a cooperation between MarineMax and Sino Eagle, it was initially perceived as a ‘challenger’ with innovative ideas and designs. Yet in only 10 years, it has become the leading brand in the fast-growing power catamaran sector.
Early models included the Aquila 48 and the 44, both inboard flybridge models, and the latter is still in great demand. In total, about, 180 units of the 44 Yacht have been ordered, making it the world’s best-selling inboard power catamaran.
However, the brand started to really escalate from 2017 due to the introduction of its first outboard model, the Aquila 36 Sport, and the start of a global distribution policy.
Aquila 36 in Hong Kong; Photo: Simpson Marine
Aquila President Lex Raas appointed J&J Design to design the 36 Sport, an outboard engine crossover bowrider with two en-suite cabins. This unique, innovative design started a new trend and quickly became a reference in the industry, with nearly 200 orders for the model received in only five years.
The range then expanded with the Aquila 32 Sport, a smaller model with a similar design. Next up was the Aquila 54 Yacht, a flybridge model offering between three to five guest cabins and crew quarters, and which confirmed the brand’s leading position in the power catamaran segment.
This was followed by the flagship Aquila 70 Luxury, a fast cruising yacht produced in an adjacent yard from the other production models. The 70ft hull is vinylester infused in a single piece, while the interior features high-end finishes and Italian furniture.
The Aquila 41 Yacht will launch in 2022
The brand’s newest model in the water is the Aquila 28 Molokai, a bluewater fishing boat available with a centre console or in a Cuddy version. And at this year’s Miami International Boat Show, the company announced the 41 Yacht, which will launch later this year.
During the brand’s first five years, sales were nearly exclusively in the USA and the decision was made to grow the network of dealers. Aquila now has representation, stock availabilities and after-sales service in over 20 countries.
The most important aspect of the global expansion was selecting trustworthy partners that are service and customer-oriented, as internationalisation started from Australia, then focused on Asia and Europe.
The first Aquila 28 Molokai in Asia; Photo: Simpson Marine
Today, the brand has a solid, stable presence in Asia-Pacific. In Australasia, there are dealers in Australia and New Zealand, while Asia includes representatives covering South Korea, Hong Kong, China, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.
In Europe, coverage is still developing but already includes Spain, Italy, UK, Greece, Turkey, Austria, Germany and Croatia, while international growth also included appointing dealers in Canada and Mexico, USA’s neighbours.
In Asia, Aquila’s leading representative is Simpson Marine, which provides excellent sales, after-sales support and brokerage across much of East Asia and Southeast Asia.
Simpson Marine even sold the first Aquila 70 Luxury outside of the USA and the yacht is scheduled to be delivered to Singapore in the coming months before it cruises to Bali. The client added some nice customisations such as solar panels and lithium batteries that can run the air-conditioning silently.
A customised Aquila 70 Luxury has been sold to Indonesia
At the other end of the size scale, the first Aquila 28 Molokai in Asia was delivered to Malaysia at the end of last year and it sold within a week of successive showings in Penang and Port Dickson. Further units have been ordered for Hong Kong and Singapore.
To cater to Aquila’s growing demand, the factory is now almost 100,000sqm (10 hectares) in size and features three large production centres along with a brand-new three-storey office building. The shipyard has also invested in a private marina that facilitates testing and control quality.
Twenty years ago, power catamarans were a novelty. Even just 10 years ago, they were a niche market. Today, power catamarans have become mainstream, with catamaran builders producing more models and even ‘monohull’ brands beginning to produce twin-hulled motor yachts.
In fact, power catamarans have become the fastest-growing segment of the yachting industry, with many different sizes and styles that appeal to owners of monohull motor yachts, monohull sailing boats and of course catamaran lovers. Considering all this, Aquila’s second decade looks set to be as exciting as its first.
A keen sailor who has lived in Asia since 2005, Eymieu has been Aquila’s International Sales and Distribution Manager since 2017, overseeing the global expansion of the brand’s dealer network.
Note: The original Column appeared in Yacht Style Issue 64
Aquila is displaying its full line-up of six powercat models at this year’s Miami International Boat Show.