ILIAD 53F catamarans

ILIAD 53F – To Keep Long Crossings Comfortable


With only a few models in its catalog and less than 10 years in business, the shipyard has already built up an excellent reputation. A success that owes nothing to chance, as demonstrated by the new ILIAD 53F, just elected Multihull of the Year in the Multipower category.

Test location: Miami (Florida – USA)
Conditions: Calm sea, 4 to 5 knots of wind

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ILIAD Catamarans is an Australian brand which has been around since 2016. The shipyard was founded by Mark Elkington, Riccardo Bulgarelli, a former Azimut design specialist, and catamaran expert Michael Crook. After the 50, unveiled in 2019 and the 70 in 2020, the brand has gradually expanded its range, which now includes five models from 53 to 75 feet, with the latter currently in production.

From the beginning, the idea was to offer ocean-going powercats that are comfortable and easy to maintain. ILIAD also offers semi-custom units, meaning that the owner can request a number of modifications to the deck layout, interior decorations or even the

Welcome to the world of long-range cruising!

The 53 Sport Sedan was presented about a year ago, and the styling was immediately appealing. However, the aim from the outset was to offer a flybridge version, a feature that gives the powercat a completely different stature. The 53 is also an evolution of the successful 50. From the outside, the ILIAD 53S already flattered the eye. We liked the straight, slender bows and the good headroom. The low-slung coachroof gives the catamaran a sporty, feline look, reminiscent of a sports car coupé. The F version is virtually identical to the lower section. However, the flybridge gives the ILIAD 53F the status of a 100% cruising catamaran, while considerably increasing living space on board.

This starts with the sugarscoops, which are quite large, and the optional central hydraulic platform that supports the tender. This appendage can be lowered into the water to make it easier to put back the dinghy, and also serves as a private beach while at anchor. Hulls are pretty tall, so to reach the cockpit, four steps are required. By the way, note that each access is closed by a gate, a plus for the safety of kids or pets. Without being huge, this cockpit offers enough room to relax on the rear bench seat or to enjoy a meal with eight people around the table. What’s more, the space is totally protected by the flybridge, perfect for staying out of the rain or tropical sun. A cabinet with a countertop is installed just below the window separating the cockpit from the interior saloon. A little tip: this sliding window opens directly onto the galley, so the countertop can quickly be turned into a bar. This is also where you’ll find the battery switches and two power outlets, which are very useful. From the cockpit, two small steps and wide sidedecks
provide easy access to the foredeck. The 2.2 ft wide side-decks, high pulpits and long handrail ensure a safe passage.

This decent-sized foredeck offers a configuration that can be used as a sun lounging or picnic area, with the possible addition of a table to admire the sunset while sipping a cocktail – mojito for me. Finally, there are numerous lockers to store fenders or conceal the electric windlass with its large chain locker.

Generous space and clever layout on the flybridge

The other option from the cockpit is to use the staircase on the port side to reach the flybridge. Perfectly integrated into the catamaran’s lines, this staircase is equally comfortable. From here, you’ll discover a beautiful space that’s sure to become the crew’s favorite spot. The flybridge features a complete helm station with unobstructed view, and seating including a leaning-post position. There’s also a huge L-shaped bench seat occupying a good part of the starboard side. Thanks to a sloping backrest, this seat can be used as a lounge chair in the area next to the helmsman, while the aft section becomes a dining area for five or six people.

On the starboard side, the shipyard has installed a large outdoor galley with grill, sink, refrigerator, and plenty of storage space for grilling al fresco. Of course, this layout can be modified to suit the customer’s wishes – all you have to do is move the furniture around! The last part of the flybridge, the stern, features a large terrace that can be furnished, once again, according to individual taste. This part of the flybridge can be fitted with lounge chairs, a large sunlounger, and even a rack for kayaks or jet-skis, since a
crane can be installed here. Last but not least, the forward part of the flybridge can be completely enclosed by a transparent canvas, ideal for sailing in bad weather or for keeping the boat clean when not in use.

From the cockpit to the foredeck to the flybridge, there’s plenty of choice for enjoying the great outdoors, and every time, with a high level of comfort.


A cozy, almost entirely customizable interior

This sense of hospitality also extends to the interior. Once through the glass door, the main deck offers an open space, with a dining area to starboard and a very modern U-shaped galley to port. As you can see by sliding the window, this galley is directly
connected to the cockpit, making it both practical and convivial. It’s also highly functional, with a full range of top-of-the-range appliances, starting with a double door fridge well-suited to long range crossings.

A small step leads to the forward part of this deck and a large saloon that can easily seat seven people. The coffee table is perfect
for aperitifs, but the sofa is not convertible. The 65-inch retractable TV screen is a welcome consolation… Adjacent to this saloon, the interior helm station offers a good view, while allowing you to stay with your guests. Here again, the layout is truly customizable,
with some customers requesting that the dining area be located forward.

Almost completely surrounded by windows, this main deck is unsurprisingly very bright during the day, offering a panoramic view of everything around the catamaran. Good point too for the central front window, which opens to improve ventilation. For the night, the 53F is available in three or four cabin versions. For our test, we had a three-cabin layout with the owner’s suite on starboard and
two cabins on port. Benefiting from fairly wide hulls, these spaces are not lacking in volume.

ILIAD 53F catamarans

The Owner enjoys a double berth set athwartships, with a direct view of the sea. The aft bulkhead hosts a large wardrobe, while the hallway offers plenty of storage space, as well as a desk/dressing table and a small sofa for quiet reading. Finally, the forward end of the hull features a very large heads compartment with a toilet, a double sink vanity and a separate shower – all of which, like the rest of the cabin, benefits from soft, natural light.

On the port side, the layout is a little different, but very interesting. The aft section features a cabin with two single beds, but you can of course opt for one double bed. Towards the front, there’s a queen-size bed and, a little surprise, an extra berth on the high side, ideal for a child. Each of these cabins has its own head and a door for a little privacy.

ILIAD 53S catamaran

Although this is one of the first examples, the seriousness of the manufacturing quality is impressive, and the quality of the finishes seductive. Of course, the layout of each hull can be modified, and decoration, woodwork and wall color are entirely up to the
future owner. The equipment is in perfect harmony, with conventional or USB outlets throughout, wireless chargers and attractive indirect lighting.

Transoceanic range

Configurable as required, the ILIAD 53F can, for example, be equipped with a power supply system backed up by solar panels and a 24-volt lithium battery bank. Built on a semi-displacement hull, the powercat is offered as standard with two 440 HP Volvo engines or two Yanmar engines. These engines enable the Powercat to reach speeds of up to 21 knots and, when cruising, a range of up to
3,000 nautical miles! The shipyard also offers a more powerful version with two 550 HP Cummins QSB 6.7 L engines, and it’s in this configuration that we tried it out.

Once you’re at the helm, the first thing you notice is how smooth the whole thing is. The catamaran accelerates smoothly, without excessive noise or vibration. In fact, whether at the interior helm station or on the flybridge, you’ll find yourself far from the engine rooms. However, you can also stay in the cockpit without too much discomfort.

With Cummins, cruising speed is around 17 knots at 2,700 rpm, with a top speed of 22 knots reached at 3,400 rpm. While the Cummins engine doesn’t provide much more speed than other, more modest engines, it does offer a fair amount of torque, which is always useful, especially when the catamaran has an unladen weight of 60,627 pounds (27.5 tons).

To finish with the technical side of things, it’s time to go down to the engine rooms, which are very clean and well-organized. Here you’ll find an Onan generator, the entire solar panel management system, and a Parker watermaker – in short, everything
you need for a long passage.


Head turner, well organized, well equipped and with a remarkable finish, the ILIAD 53F already checks a lot of boxes. Add to this its good seaworthiness and interesting range, and there aren’t many complaints to be made about this powercat, except perhaps its
price – but it’s hard to get a top-of-the-range motor catamaran for the price of an entry-level powercat, of course… In short, this unit is seductive, and perhaps that’s why the 53F was so popular with our readers who elected it Multihull of the Year!

ILIAD 53F | More information

Multihulls World website