Just imagine: You’re headed for your favorite fishing grounds some 60 miles off the coast, and you get there in less than an hour at an easy 65 mph.
Once there, you troll on a boat as rock-solid as Times Square. You nail several good ones, and they are quickly iced down in the underdeck fish boxes. A bit longer and you head for home, which is just an hour away. You’re back to brag over lunch at the marina cafe.
Sound like magic? Let me introduce the Aquila 47 Molokai. This cat comes standard with twin Merc 600s, but can be ordered upon custom request with up to quad Merc 500Rs. We ran the optional quad Merc 400s and found at around 55 mph, this engine package offers nearly 11 hours of cruising time, which gets you out to the Bahamas easily.
Yeah, yeah, I know—some skippers harbor the myth that catamarans don’t raise fish, so they stick with monohulls. Too bad, folks, because this cat fishes. The day before my test, 15 anglers from MarineMax, importer of the Aquila cats, successfully chased mahi and wahoo in the Gulf Stream.
And they weren’t crowded because the nearly 15-foot beam on this 49-footer is dedicated to fishing, with everything from the 53-inch-wide forward casting platform to the twin 42.5-gallon transom livewells. Assuming you’ll be successful, the Aquila is ready with 4-foot-long fish boxes on each side of the console and a nearly 8-foot-long box forward.
Even better, you can chase a fish around and around the boat, with uncluttered decks and 35-inch-tall padded coamings for security.
During my day on the water, we not only ran fast, but we also stood still, engines at idle, aiming in all directions to the lumpy Gulf Stream. And it was like fishing from a concrete pier. Aquila raised the tunnel clearance between the hulls, which had two results: almost no hull slap or noise at trolling speed, and no “sneezing” of spray blown forward (and then back) when running at cruising speed.
Tucked under the carbon-fiber hardtop (which is braced for an optional Pipewelders tower) are no fewer than seven Stidd seats, with three in front at the helm and four in the second row. The dash, with twin (or triple) Garmin monitors, is laid out for crew that have better things to chase than buttons and controls. It’s all user-friendly, including CZone switching, the custom Fusion audio and the Mercury joystick. For a secret thrill, flip open a small panel to reveal four ignition switches.
But there’s more to the 47 Molokai than meets the eye, including a comfortably outfitted cabin with a queen berth and ample space on each side (no graceless crawling over the foot of the berth), two skylights and big windows, 6 feet, 7 inches of headroom, and an enclosed head with a shower. Powered by lithium batteries, the air conditioning will keep you cool for eight solid hours.
Underway, the 47 was just pure fun. It seemed to levitate onto plane with the hammers down—flat, with no lost forward vision. A spin of the wheel made doughnuts and slaloms a responsive giggle. And at a comfy cruise of 35 mph, we barely touched 78 decibels on my sound meter, which, according to Yale, is less than a dishwasher.
Of note, Aquila says the 47 is CE-certified for up to 20 passengers on inland waters and has provided for that with forward-facing seating for 14 and aft-facing for three people. That’s room for an entire English 18-person soccer team. One will have to stretch out on the berth below.
Construction of the 47 Molokai is simply impeccable. The watertight fore and aft bulkheads are carbon fiber, and the hull is vinylester resin (no blistering) infused for strength. But it’s in the details where this big cat really shows off. Just take a peek at the massive hinges on the three boarding doors in the cockpit (port, starboard and aft), which provide easy diving and dock access.
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Service techs will kiss you, with every system accessible, labeled and tidy. All the bait wells are fed from Hooker sea chest pumps, the wiring is carefully loomed, and the two heavy-gauge aluminum fuel tanks have a transfer system allowing the engines to run off both or just one. A charcoal fuel filter is standard because, well, you know what kind of fuel you find in faraway places. To keep things tidy, there are two freshwater washdowns (not counting the shower), plus a raw-water washdown system.
I lost count of the rod holders somewhere north of 20 but kept track of the spring-mounted cleats (10), which is a handful by any standard. Another feature I liked is that all the deck lockers, hatches and fish boxes had deep gutters for Biblical rain or overenthusiastic washdowns. Our test boat was fitted with a Release Marine leaning post with a syrupy varnish, Gemlux riggers, and Release Marine ladder-back seats in place of the standard Stidds.
All added up, the Aquila checks all the boxes for anglers, weekending aboard, and fun runs with the entire neighborhood. Beautifully built and impeccably outfitted, the Aquila 47 Molokai is the cat’s meow.
Length:49’4″Beam:14’7″Draft:3’8″ (motors down)Fuel Cap:1,048 gal.Weight:22,818 lb. (dry with twin Merc 600s)Max HP:2,000Price:$1,912,679
Aquila Power Catamarans – Saint Petersburg, Florida; aquilaboats.com