It was a case of love at first sight when Jon and Katie Perrins saw an ILIAD 50 power catamaran. Caroline Strainig reports on how the romance is going a year on.
When Brisbane couple Jon and Katie Perrins decided to sell their sailing catamaran because they wanted a more relaxed on-water lifestyle without the hard work of sailing, they had a pretty good idea of what they wanted: a smaller power catamaran with stunning design, lots of space, offshore seaworthiness and fuel economy.
After researching, they ordered a Fountaine Pajot MY 44 from Multihull Solutions, which ticked all their boxes. However, the couple decided to visit the 2019 Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show while awaiting delivery of their new yacht. It was a decision that was to change everything.
The reason was a power catamaran called an ILIAD 50, one of the first in an innovative new line of luxury catamarans designed by renowned naval architect Riccardo Bulgarelli, who has designed and project-managed the build of many luxury superyachts.
The couple had seen a model of an ILIAD 50 Mark Elkington from Multihull Solutions had shown them, but being able to view one in the flesh for the first time was even more impressive.
When he showed them the model, Mark had offered them the opportunity to buy the demonstration model instead of the Fountaine Pajot and he reminded them of this option at the show.
“We just fell in love with it,” Jon said. “Katie just looked around and went ‘This is really, really nice.’ In fact, it took about 20 minutes to make up our mind.
“Other people couldn’t believe how quickly we made up our mind, but it was just such a good boat.”
Jon said the ILIAD was equally, if not more, impressive in terms of design and build quality than other luxury yachts they saw at the show, but had the added bonus of being a catamaran, which was their preferred design because of the extra space compared to a monohull.
Features to love
Features which caught their eye included the inviting and spacious entertainment area on the flybridge level – which the manufacturer calls an ‘entertainment precinct’ – with seating for eight people.
“It has in total three dining areas and five different living or lounging areas if you want to chill out by yourself, which is amazing for a 50-foot boat, and you wouldn’t have anywhere near that space if it was a monohull,” Jon said.
“The dining table in the stern is quite generous and we had 12 people one night.
“The dinghy lives on the back deck on a crane and when in the water the back-deck area can be covered with a removable cover and turned into an entertainment area, which is great when you are anchored.
“The entire port hull is devoted to a spacious master cabin and ensuite, with two guest cabins in the starboard hull, with another two ensuites, one accessible from outside, so anyone on board can use it. The saloon lounge upstairs also folds down into a large bed to accommodate even more people.
“It has a really big galley with lots of counter space – not one of those little L-shaped affairs – and excellent refrigeration and lots of storage throughout.”
Jon and Katie also liked the modern design with lighter colours and wipeable fabric upholstery and the bi-fold doors leading from the cockpit to the living area and bi-fold windows over the galley, ensuring a lovely light and airy feeling and wonderful inside-out living in good weather.
The catamaran also had excellent fuel efficiency and a 20-knot cruising speed, which they thought excellent for a power catamaran. Another plus was that the ILIAD’s hull was also designed to be beached in an emergency, which was an invaluable feature when the yacht’s home cruising ground would be the sometimes-shallow waters of Moreton Bay off Brisbane, with running aground occasionally almost inevitable.
The proof of the pudding
And the must-ask question one year on: Are Jon and Katie happy with their purchase after using the boat extensively, including a lengthy sojourn in the Whitsundays?
“Yes,” Jon says, without hesitation. “We are very happy with her.
“The boat is great offshore because of its design and excellent bridge-deck clearance, fuel economy is great, the living space and layout design are excellent and importantly, we are finding it easy to operate for two people.
“Follow-up and warranty work with Multihull Solutions has also been excellent. It is always a risk buying the first boat from a production line, but we are very happy with our purchase.”
Long-term, Jon and Katie have their sights set on cruising New Caledonia and further afield. With long-distance cruising ability and a boat easily handled by the two of them, the world really is their oyster.