NEWS - Air Cat
With the last of the late-winter boat shows just about over
Lauderdale and Miami showings,
I spent most of the leisure time
catching up with other industry friends and a few local captains I know
readying their ample megayachts for the trip over to the Med’ for the upcoming charter season. And that’s when I spied the Axcell 650 banner.
Now, I’m a self-admitted eclectic type of person and I find myself often drawn to
anything that is
a bit more interesting and different from what is the usual and accepted. From the outside, the Axcell 650 Catamaran Sport Yacht
offers a sleek, eye-catching low-profile design with distinctive gill-slit intakes on each side, which, by the way, and as I would soon find out, have been specifically designed
an additional and important performance function. But what really began to interest me was something written on the banner that stretched across the transom: “With Patented HybridAir Technology.” Now that was something that pinged my radar and waiting my turn to get aboard, listened carefully from dockside
as I started to pick up some buzzwords from someone wearing an Axcell shirt.
Brian Barsumian, who along with his dad Bruce are the principals in the company responsible for this daring design and technology. They call it MACS Research Inc, the capital letters standing for Multi Air Cavity Ships and have been at it for some 13 years. The result of their research and work sitting right there in the dock.
The 650, designed by J.C. Espinosa
of Stuart, Florida-based Espinosa
Inc, in my opinion is a beautiful looking boat both inside and out. I found
this marine feline
a head-turner and mine was going back and forth, looking here and there as I got the cook’s tour with Brian. I hope to get back on with both Bruce and Brian at a later date for a comprehensive sea trial and walk-through, and perhaps a sit-down with Mr Espinosa
as well. For now, I noted how well
this prototype is
finished off in yacht-quality fashion with copious amounts of room enabling her owners and guests to be
away from the dock for long periods of time. And there’s a 16-foot, 90hp
RIB tender tucked into a garage in the stern.
With lots of folks queuing
up for a look-see, and realising, of course, that the Axcell folks were eager
to show the boat, I quickly slipped into the starboard sponson’s
engineroom with Brian for a quick tour. The boat has been designed to pump low-pressure air, much like a hovercraft does, via a pair of automated lift fans working off the twin 1150hp Caterpillar C18 turbo-diesels. And yes,
those gill-slit intakes are all part of the technology that gets this 26,762kg boat moving, according to the Axcell literature, at a 38-knot cruise speed.
This is a very cool boat and one
that I’m coming back for. Stand by, I’ll let you know when it’s happening. (For further information, log on www.axcellyachts.com). — Capt. Ken Kreisler