A special report by Brent Vaughan on the latest boats, innovations, features, in the Multihull Central stable of leading catamaran manufacturers.
I really love attending the Miami boat show. Not only does Miami have one of the largest displays of catamarans in the world, and certainly the USA with 50 catamarans boat sail and power from 20 to 80 feet in length, but it is a melting pot of cultures with Cuban, Caribbean and South American influence everywhere. It is also the launching point for many setting sail to the Bahamas, Caribbean or even through to the Panama and South Pacific and so naturally people from all over America and the world amass at this show to decide on how their own journey will be shaped with possibly the most important decision of all…choosing a boat.
With the largest every Miami boat show display for Seawind, the 52ft Seawind 1600 made its north American debut amongst incredible publicity leading up to the how being voted the ‘Best Catamaran’ as voted by the popular YouTube series ‘Searching for the Perfect Catamaran’ by Sailing Ruby Rose. And it certainly didn’t disappoint. A beautiful light-coloured flexiteak invited you onto the large flat one-level decks and into the interior featuring a very tastefully styled fitout.
The new cockpit table now can now transform from a coffee table, doubles in size into a larger dining table, or can lower and convert into an outdoor daybed.
Up on the front deck and there are set of comfy deck lounges that attach onto the trampolines, but can be removed and stowed.
Located between these lounges and trampolines is a newly designed catwalk that neatly houses the anchor, chain and bridle. This is probably one of the tidiest arrangements I have seen that is easy to access and use without being a trip hazard.
The anchor is located midway between the front beam and the anchor locker with a neat hatch that opens and allows the bridle to be attached when needed, with no awkward stretching required. When not in use the bridle neatly clips onto a dedicated holding point recessed into the catwalk. Forward of the front beam extrudes a retractable carbon bowsprit for the asymmetric spinnaker, while a Code 0 (pictured) if attached also with a furling self-tacking jib at the beam (pictured).
Also on the front deck was the normal access to the generator with a diesel polisher system installed. These systems are designed to remove impurities from diesel that can cause fungus to grow in diesel tanks and damage the motors.
The generator however is in less demand as this boat featured 720 amps of lithium batteries powered by more than 200W of alternators on the motors and over 1000 watts of walk on solar panels located on the cockpit hardtop. It’s amazing just how little room these lithium batteries take up for what they provide.
Internally one of the latest design enhancements included larger windows through the lower levels of the boat, bathing the cabins and companionways with natural light, complimented by very stylish led mood lighting hidden behind headliners. Also hidden are the blinds that can completely shut out the light when deployed or retract out of view when not in use.
Aquila had a strong 5 boat display including two Aquila 44s, two Aquila 36’s including the traditional sports version plus the Fishing / Diving version, and the very clever Aquila 32.
The Aquila 44s featured the new white coloured gelcoat moving from the classic cream colour, giving it an extra vibrant appearance.
The cockpit lounge new features a cooler and more robust fabric in a range of new colours. This was combined with the newly offered Infinity flooring system, comprising of a high quality textured vinyl that is padded and soft under foot. The cockpits also had davit cranes attached allowing for larger dinghies up to 450kgs in weight, but with a much cleaner aft end of the boat.
Internally and the 44 featured the optional internal helm position, seen more on boats in cooler climates. This featured a comfortable helm seat, secondary wheel, electronic throttle controls and full repeated navigation.
I also had fun unpacking the compact Aquila 32 that seriously punches above its weight with what it packs into its waterline length, thanks partly to the innovative hydraulic duckboard platform that lowers and steps down to the water when swimming and includes a built in swim ladder.
The port lounge not only has room for eskies and coolers to be slide in, but there is a drop down drinks holder and the lounge converts into a day bed.
On the starboard side a compact dinette also has a drop down table that converts into another day bed.
The forward bow riding area features two comfy lounges surrounded by drink holders for those cocktails in the sun.
At the helm there is a joystick control, Mercury throttles with active trim and a large chart plotter that integrates with anything from Spotify for your sound selection to drones for viewing your anchor or latest catch. The galley is cleverly located opposite the helm on the port site offering a BBQ grill, bridge and sink.
It was also exciting to get some updates on the new Aquila 54 and Aquila 70 (scale model pictured) that are due to be launched later this year. These will be truly magnificent boats and breaking new ground bringing production power cats to the mainstream motor yacht market.
Privilege continue to consistently provide beautiful, well build, super robust and arguably overengineer blue water cruising catamarans providing an uncompromising package of comfort, luxury and safety. The saloon combines an enormous galley featuring a dishwasher, microwave, oven, stove, fridge and Corian benchtops. Adjacent is a large comfortable saloon with leather upholstery.
Forward you discover probably the biggest, most generous master stateroom on any catamaran with the cabin stretching the entire beam of the boat with an ensuite and office and storage in the same room.
The cockpit combines a fold out cockpit table with surrounding lounge, deck chairs and teak flooring. The helm adjoins the cockpit with all controls for the boat from one station and at your fingertips.
The bollards and cleats used on this boat are huge, giving an insight into the approach to engineering and hardware. No compromises, safety first. Equally the electric furler for the genoa provides uncompromising power to run the boat for the short handed.
I also had the pleasure of meeting Keith from the YouTube series ‘Sailing Zatara’ documenting his family’s adventures cruising from the USA to the South Pacific onboard their very own Privilege 500. Sailing Zatara also featured at a special Catamaran Showcase and Multihull boat show hosted by fellow Outremer disturbers, Just Catamarans at their offsite location in Fort Lauderdale half an hour north of the Miami boat show. This event had a packed out crowds flocking to the seminars by experts and another YouTube sensation, Gone with the Wynnes.
The Just Catamarans show had the full range of Outremer catamarans on display including a late model Outremer 5X (soon to come on the market – ask us for details), Outremer 51 and Outremer 45.
On display in this Multihull Show was the 2006 Outremer 5X Wasibi which has been the local agent’s demo boat for the last few years including several boat shows such as Annapolis and Miami. It’s striking interior featuring greys and blues that remains in superb condition. Full details for this boat can be found at www.multihullcentral.com
For further information on any of the boats described above, contact me at or visit www.multihullcentral.com or phone our team on 1300 852 620.