NEWS — Air Cat

NEWS - Air Cat

With the last of the late-winter boat shows just about over

on this side of the world, and our regional spring and summer season just getting going, I had one last opportunity to walk the docks at the Palm Beach Boat Show, Florida. With the usual suspects in town, most of whom I already connected with during the Ft.

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

to be

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 — Capt. Ken Kreisler