When charged with creating the Aquila 70, J&J Design was faced with an unusual challenge: design a new 70ft powercat that looked fresh, unlike anything on the water. It had to lose the usual boxy look of most big cats and instead have a sleek, contemporary profile that would match the yacht’s top speed of 27 knots.
The Slovenian firm, which has created new designs for more than 50 builders around the world, also had to make sure the new boat had a luxurious interior and smartly designed exterior.
J&J has been designing for Aquila since the latter was founded in 2012, with the brand’s other models including the 32, 36, 44 and the new 54, which was unveiled in February along with the 70. But the flagship had to be a special design, aimed at a much more exclusive client.
“The aesthetics and handling had to be the main drivers of this boat,” says Lex Raas, President of Aquila and co-founder of the brand with Bill McGill and Sino Eagle’s Frank Xiong.
“But we also needed to focus on a yacht-quality finish. At this upper end, you’re talking semi-custom rather than production, so you need to give the clients quality and choices.”
Owners do have the option of customising the 70, including choosing interior amenities and number of staterooms. Other choices include at least two completely different layouts for the main-deck interior, the galley up, down or both, and an open or enclosed flybridge.
Aquila has strong competitors in the 65-75ft power cat segment including Sunreef, Lagoon and Fountaine Pajot, but Raas was really aiming at motor yacht builders like Azimut, Sunseeker and Princess.
“A lot of these powercats may only do 15 knots and have boxy shapes,” he says. “We surveyed the owners of those yachts and they told us that’s what they don’t like about big cats. We understood we needed performance and looks. They have to have a reason to change.”
In profile, the 70 could almost be mistaken for a monohull, with the sleek shape, trendy window patterns and sharp forefoot. “Everyone is blown away by the lines,” Raas says.
With the twin 1000hp Volvo D13 inboards, the boat not only has a stated top speed of 27 knots but also proved it on a recent test off Clearwater, home to the MarineMax headquarters in Florida.
On our short run into the Gulf of Mexico, which involved running a gauntlet of crab traps, the boat handled well, hitting 27.4 knots without hesitation. The friendly cruise is 21-22 knots at 2,000 rpm. Running a cat feels different than a monohull, especially when it comes to sharp course corrections, but the Aquila felt solid in the minor chop.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Wong Tet Choong - Singapore's Most Famous Sailor
TC Wong made global headlines last year when the rapid spread of Covid left him stranded at sea in his Leopard 50 for months until he was eventually allowed into Fiji, where he has remained since. Now, the adventurous 60-year-old is waiting for borders to open so he can continue his journey around the South Pacific on his beloved Ximula III.
Burgess Marks New Milestone In Asia With 20th Superyacht Transaction
Confirming its position as the regional leader in selling large yachts, Burgess’ recent sale of the 52m Amels Lind marked the 20th transaction by the brokerage house’s Asia team since it was formed in 2015.
Premieres & Newcomers
Yacht Style provides an overview of this year’s exciting new models, with most on display at this year’s Cannes Yachting Festival and/or Monaco Yacht Show, some having shown earlier in the year and a couple making their debuts in other autumn shows around Europe.
Déjà Vu In Denmark
Halfway into SailGP’s second season, a familiar pattern begins to emerge. Australia, runaway winners of the first series, again top the table, despite having to sit out one of the four events held so far with gear failure.
Galeon Spreads Its Wings
With Hong Kong welcoming its first Galeon 640 Fly and 325 GTO this year and Asia’s latest 500 Fly arriving in Singapore, Yacht Style looks at the builder’s 20-year relationship with Tony Castro that has resulted in some of the world’s most innovative production motor yachts.
How To Build A ‘Scent Wardrobe'!
Johanna Monange founded Maison 21G in Singapore to offer customised scents for all clients and all occasions. The personal approach is proving popular, with growing understanding of how to build a ‘scent wardrobe’ and more boutiques opening around the city.
Rolex Fastnet's “Coup De Cherbourg”
Fierce sou’west winds gusting 30 knots greeted 337 yachts starting the Rolex Fastnet Race, as the 49th edition of this famous offshore classic set off not for Plymouth as usual, but for Cherbourg in France, via Ireland’s Fastnet Rock.
Stepping Out Of The Shadows
As founder and Director of VP Yachts, Vivian Chan is quickly making a name for herself as the Hong Kong dealer for Italian builder Sessa, even if it appears a world away from her other role as General Manager of her family’s Sun Hing Shipyard.
From Pollution To Purpose
Former Singapore Idol finalist and TV producer Mathilda D’silva explains how the Ocean Purpose Project evolved from what she saw on and around her hometown beach in Pasir Ris.
Camper & Nicholsons’ recent achievements include selling the 105m Lady Moura and adding the 126m Octopus to its charter and management fleets, but CEO Paolo Casani is most excited about the company’s focus on proprietary technology to engage clients in the new era.
Yachting – 5 Expert Tips
How to put together a winning team
The Yacht Guide
The yacht space is getting bigger and better with time and with waterways being a safer way of commute amidst the pandemic, here’s a list of what is new for you or what has been updated or what a totally new segment has to offer.
Mike Simpson's Growing Passion For Yachting And The Sea
If one man could claim responsibility for affluent Asians’ growing passion for yachting and the sea, that might well be Mike Simpson. He tells his story to Jon Wall.
How Do You Offset Making Too Much Leeway?
A question of seamanship
Technical Check For Water In Your Petrol
Petrol in tanks, whether for your yacht or tender, can go off. Ken Endean suggests an annual precaution
Success For The Spirits
Sailing And Sunshine Topped With Silverware
Embracing The Curves
Azimut’s new 38m Grande Trideck flagship brings the outdoors in with four terraces.
The Cat Meows
The era of the multi-hulled motor yacht has arrived.
The Theory Of Everything
Encompassing art, culture, science, and technology, CEO Aaron Olivera’s Earth 300 mega yacht could potentially herald humanity’s second renaissance
Sail For Science
Earth 300, an explorer gigayacht, is on a mission to discover new solutions from the oceans to fight climate change and hopefully, save the world.