MIAMI 2014: MarineMax Vacations debuts new power cats

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MarineMax Vacations president Lex Raas.

MarineMax Vacations president Lex Raas.

MIAMI — MarineMax continues to grow its charter division with the introduction of two new power catamarans at the Yacht & Brokerage Show in Miami Beach.

MarineMax Vacations is being built on a new power catamaran design built by Chinese manufacturer Sino Eagle Group. To maximize revenue potential, the power cats are being built specifically for charter under the MarineMax moniker and for private ownership under the Aquila brand.

"Two years ago here in Miami we introduced sketches of the 48," MarineMax Vacations president Lex Raas told a press gathering on Friday. "Last year, the MarineMax 484 made its debut here and now we're really pleased to show the Aquila 48 in its private version and the new MarineMax 443."

The charter industry, once dominated by monohull sailboats, continues to evolve, he said.

"Thirty-seven percent of the Caribbean charter fleet are now catamarans," Raas said. Power cats are a small but growing portion of the Caribbean catamaran fleet, he said.

The new 44-foot boat was 16 months in development. MarineMax Vacations marketing director Jody Krebs said the new MarineMax 443 on display, built for charter, was purchased by a private customer the day before the boat show opened, so the new model will not debut for charter until hull No. 2 is built.

MarineMax Vacations vice president of sales and marketing Raul Bermudez said the company's charter fleet now consists of 21 power cats, along with monohull Dufour sailboats.

"We have committed to 20 of the MarineMax 48s (10 are now in the fleet) and a minimum of 10 of the 443s,” he said.

On the private-version side, Raas said the appeal of the stable platform and roomy design makes "Aquila a brand that is going to go places."