Aquila 54 first look: Successful powercat design proves that size does matter

You may not have heard of Aquila powercats yet but they have been hugely successful in the US and are now on their way here courtesy of UK importer Approved Boats.

Built in China with design input from the US, the Aquila line-up includes three outboard-powered models – the Aquila 28, Aquila 32 and Aquila 36 – and three shaft-drive models – the Aquila 44, Aquila 54 and Aquila 70.

We caught up with the Aquila 54 Yacht at the Palm Beach Boat Show in March, fighting with weekend crowds to see why it has proved so successful – 75 orders since it was launched last year.

Size matters in this market and the Aquila 54 is huge, even by powercat standards. Much of that is due to the tri-deck design, which allows the helm and skylounge to be located in the enclosed part of the upper deck while still leaving space behind it for an open aft deck with a wet bar and free-standing furniture.

The main-deck accommodation is equally impressive. The aft galley and saloon are predictably large and drenched in natural light from the picture windows along both sides.

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Two sets of stairs descend from here to a pair of ensuite guest doubles, the starboard side one is slightly bigger than the port.

Less predictable is the full-beam owners’ suite in front of the saloon, complete with aft-facing bed, 270-degree views and steps down to an ensuite shower-room to starboard and a dressing room to port.

There’s also a twin-bunk cabin with its own entrance from the cockpit, bringing the total capacity to eight people in four ensuite cabins.

Various engine options are available from twin 360hp Volvo D6s up to 550hp Cummins QSB6.7s. The mid-spec 480hp Volvo D8s give a claimed top speed of 22 knots and a useful 400nm-plus range at 17-knots or as much as 2,000nm at 6 knots.

Small bow-bulbs help reduce pitching and improve economy but there’s also an option of a foil to add more lift and further improve the vessel’s speed and economy.

The Aquila 54 is due to make its European debut at the 2022 Cannes Yachting Festival in September.