The ILIAD 53F, a Distance-Voyaging Powercat


Australian boatbuilder ILIAD Catamarans brought us its 53S Sedan last year, and now it has added a new 53 Fly that made her debut at this past Miami boat show. This is a posh distance cruiser designed for living aboard while globe-trotting and will appeal to those who take voyaging seriously. This ILIAD 53F flybridge review shares the experience you can expect when boarding this vessel.

I stepped aboard Hull No. 3 and immediately fell in love. She’s the kind of cruiser you’d be happy to talk about endlessly, boasting about both her luxurious appeal as well as her mind-boggling range.

ILIAD 53F catamarans

On Deck

The work of designer Riccardo Bulgarelli, the ILIAD 53F has the highest bridge deck clearance in her class with nearly 3 feet of height which translates to less pounding even in uncooperative head seas. The hydraulic swim platform lowers and moves out from the hulls so you can load a tender weighing up to 1,000 pounds. The platform is operated via buttons on the starboard bulkhead or with a key fob remote.

Up a few steps and through the gate, I found myself in the aft cockpit. Huge bollards both port and starboard are at hand for tying up lines during a Med mooring. A center seat spans the transom with a table and loose chairs that create the outdoor dinette. To port are two storage cabinets and to starboard is a stairwell which leads to the flybridge above. These stairs are a great use of space with an integrated locker below that is large enough to swallow snorkels, fenders, extra line, and whatnot. If that’s not enough garage stowage, there are two 3-foot-deep lockers below the cockpit sole as well. Full protection from the elements is provided by the flybridge above which extends all the way back over the dinette.

Moving forward, I noticed the 31-inch-high rails and the 12-inch bulwarks, both of which provide a feeling of security when moving to the bow. On the foredeck, I was met with a C-shaped lounge made up of two sunbeds with a wide seat in between which lifts to reveal yet another stowage locker. The 1,500-watt vertical windlass and 200 feet of stainless steel chain are tucked below the foredeck sole. The starboard bow holds the thruster which comes standard.


The flybridge is the main outdoor entertaining area, and it also has an upper helm on the centerline. Although a center helm provides great visibility forward, there is a challenge for the captain when docking or in tight quarters. This layout has a wide lounge to port and a full galley module including a large stainless steel grill (electric or gas) to starboard of the helm station. Captains will need to lean over to sight down each side. However, the upper deck is a great place to hang with guests and have a spectacular view whether underway or at anchor.

The helm has a single bench seat with twin backrests. The thruster, chain counter, VHF radio, twin 16-inch MFDs, and throttles are within easy reach of this seat which was also exceptionally comfortable for long hauls.


The glass doors as well as the large port window behind the galley slide open so you’re left with a space that is at once inside the salon and outside in the cockpit. The galley, with its top-notch European appliances and acres of countertops, is to port and U-shaped so it’s secure in a seaway. A nice touch on a powercat are fiddles integrated into the solid-surface counters. These will keep dishes from doing a walkabout when it’s lumpy out. Under the aft counter is a drinks fridge with the full double-door refrigerator in the port corner. Our model also had a Fisher & Paykel induction stove, a dishwasher, and plenty of cupboards high up near the headliner where they were out of the way of the views to the outside.


Across from the galley is a dinette for six. Here, two clever stools wrap around the table’s round base to stay out of the way when not in use. A stylish L-shaped lounge is in the opposite forward corner. The lower helm is offset to starboard and well-equipped with the wheel, two more MFDs, thruster control, and throttles. The windshield has an opening center window for ventilation, but it’s also a convenient communications path between the driver and anyone on the bow picking up a mooring or working with the windlass. I would love to see a side door added leading directly to the starboard deck so the driver could step out quickly to assist with dock lines.

The interior struck me. Clean lines, lots of bright wood and upholstery finishes, white galley surfaces, indirect lighting at the floor and the overhead, and of course, the large surrounding windows made an immediate impression.

Innovative Use of Space: Accommodations and Storage Solutions
The ILIAD 53F is all about luxury apartment living and that’s obvious in the master stateroom which occupies the entire starboard hull. The whole aft bulkhead is dedicated to a wardrobe large enough to stow four seasons worth of clothing. A queen berth sits athwartships and is flanked by two side tables with integrated drawers.

Moving forward, there’s another large wardrobe, a vanity desk, and a love seat. This boat has copious storage so it’s not necessary, but I’d opt for another dresser instead of the sofa which tends to attract discarded clothing and clutter. The master head with a large shower stall and twin sinks is in the bow. Indirect lighting and upmarket finishes make this “bedroom” worthy of just about any lux condo on land. Nobody will feel like they’re camping no matter the length of the voyage.

ILIAD 53F catamarans

The port hull has two cabins and two heads. Our boat had twin berths aft and a double forward with a small additional berth inboard that will work for a child. You can spec four cabins with four heads, but for my money, that owner’s suite is a must.

Powered by twin 440-hp Yanmar diesels (Cummins 550-hp optional), the Iliad 53F delivers a top speed of 21 knots, but at a slow cruise of 6-7 knots she can cover more than 2,500 nautical miles with 924 gallons of onboard fuel. You can cross much of the Caribbean before needing to refuel.

The ILIAD has a 24V 600aH Victron lithium battery house bank with another 12V bank for electronics and other small equipment. Both banks can be charged via engine alternators, the 17kW Onan genset, or the solar panels on the flybridge hardtop.


This distance cruiser comes standard with all kinds of amenities including air conditioning, generator, bow thruster, full-size freezer, washer/dryer, lithium batteries with a 5,000-watt inverter, and a hardtop loaded with solar panels. Still, you can personalize her aesthetics so no two boats will feel the same.

Inviting Interior

The ILIAD 53F is fairly customizable from galley appliances and additional refrigerators to the color of the synthetic teak and caulking that cover the cockpit and flybridge soles and the swim platform. Extra solar panels may be added for extended energy autonomy at anchor.

ILIAD 53F catamarans

Overview: The ILIAD 53F Flybridge
ILIAD Catamarans was founded in 2019 and already has models ranging from 50 to 75 feet. If you’re looking for fast delivery of the 53F, you’re in luck as more hulls are slated to arrive by the end of the year. As equipped with the larger engines, the ILIAD 53F will command a price of USD$2.5 million.

If you prefer something with less windage and a sleeker profile, remember that this model comes in a sedan version too. And for early adopters of alternative propulsion systems, a hybrid electric version with 8,000 watts of solar panels is in the works.

There are lots of luxury powercats in the 50-foot range but few with the stylish appeal of the 53F and fewer still that can reach really remote anchorages.

Any way you look at the ILIAD 53F, you’ve got a swanky distance cruiser that anyone would love to brag about.

ILIAD 53F | More information

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