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Lex Raas - The success story of a visionary

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He is one of those rare people who have a perfect understanding - both intuitive and analytical - of the use we make of our boats. With Lex, there are no taboos. He’s ready to break codes or invent a new concept, and we’ll never know if he anticipated or created the demand. If Lex had worked in telephony, he would have invented the iPhone. He likes nothing less than the bottom-up approach. A lot of shipyards build boats in which they put all their know-how, then look for distributors to sell them. Lex does the opposite. He’s the driving force between the largest powerboat distributor in the United States - Marine Max and its thousands of end customers - and the Aquila Boats shipyard.

But why would Aquila succeed where so many others have failed? For Lex Raas, it boils down to three words: design, speed and service. In the concept, he has turned logic on its head. Where most people used to talk about motor multihulls, he prefers to talk about a motorboat that just happens to be a multihull. An illustration? Viewed in profile, it’d be hard to say that the latest Aquila 70 was a catamaran. On the other hand, it is definitely a motor yacht. The Aquila 44, the first model of the range, was different, with an owner’s cabin worthy of a... monohull! It could soon become the world’s best-selling powercat by dethroning (perhaps a sign of things to come), the Leopard 43PC.

With models specifically designed for engines (therefore relatively narrow), the Aquilas are capable of high speeds: 25 to 30 knots, or at least no less than 20. These high values are popular with the traditional market. What about the service? While sailboat owners are relatively autonomous, motorboat users need a level of service closer to other areas, such as the automobile industry. For Lex, the golden rule is that on board, a powercat must offer more than a monohull motorboat. Not just habitable, an Aquila offers air conditioning, a generator and a large cooling capacity... A positioning that is out of step with the traditionally more frugal European approach.

As a highly rational person, does this analysis seem way too rigid to you? Don’t worry, the rest is more fun. There are foils that reduce the required onboard power, lowering consumption by up to 35% for the same speed. We also come across catamaran RIBs, originally developed to be used as tenders on the 70, which are part of a specific range, Pro Coach, which could be attractive to coastal fishermen - the biggest market – and to sailing schools. All sizes combined, in a year’s time, nine new models will have emerged from Lex’s fertile mind, including one signed by a French designer. We don’t know too much about it, except that due to the time ...

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