Aquila 42 Yacht expands flybridge offerings
Having expanded its offerings with the 54 Yacht and flagship 70 Luxury, Aquila has added a fourth flybridge model with the new 42 Yacht, which retains brand signatures like the large outdoor areas, cockpit bar and foredeck steps, while introducing new cabin options – and a swinging hammock!
Words: Michael Verdon; Photos: Aquila
The 42 Yacht joins Aquila’s 44, 54 and 70 flybridge models
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.”
The 42 Yacht features Aquila’s iconic forward flybridge steps
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 wakesurfing at the bow. In short, it was a gorgeous Florida day.
The 42 Yacht retains Aquila signatures including large aft platforms
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).
The crane system for the tender can hold up a hammock
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 foredeck has two flexible sunpads, each able to host a couple
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 sponsons.
Accessible from the cockpit and foredeck, the flybridge has a central wet bar
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 flybridge has L-shaped seating aft and along the port side
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.
Aquila features cockpit bar stools by the galley countertop
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.
The raised saloon enjoys plenty of natural light from wraparound windows
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.
To port is the option of a cabinet (pictured) and console or a lower helm
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 shower head).
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.
The master suite in the port hull has a desk by the window
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.
This unit features the forward utility cabin
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.
The first 42 Yacht in Asia is expected in 2024
“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.
Other units are set for Dubai and and Australia
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.