Boat Review: Aquila RP45

At first I couldn’t help asking myself whether the sailboat market really needs another high-strung IRC racer-cruiser like the Aquila RP45. But one look at this carefully engineered, well-built racer was all it took to answer that question with an emphatic yes.
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At first I couldn’t help asking myself whether the sailboat market really needs another high-strung IRC racer-cruiser like the Aquila RP45. But one look at this carefully engineered, well-built racer was all it took to answer that question with an emphatic yes.

[bc_video video_id="5460491449001" account_id="3791031131001" player_id="S1tihGFI"]dest beam make this IRC racer an efficient light-air performer. In 5-9 knot conditions during our test sail, the boat proved energetic upwind, ready to accelerate with any excuse of a puff, and efficiently brought its breeze forward on a reach.

Although the electronics had not yet been fully dialed in when I came on board, by lining up some shore-side ranges I was able to note the bearings on each tack, and it was clear that the Aquila RP45’s foils like to resist leeway. The boat carries its beam well aft, which adds a lot of form stability and sail-carrying capacity, while the crew on the rail has enough room to do some useful trim-shifting to cope with varied wind and sea states. The boat has sufficient buoyancy forward to help to decrease the drama when surfing on steep wave faces.

Calling the RP45 a racer-cruiser is a bit of a stretch. Yes, there are three double berths, two settees that can double as sea berths and a two-burner stove. But while a 45ft sailboat that weighs 14,000 pounds, draws 10ft 2in and carries 1,292 square feet of upwind sail area may be a family cruiser for those with three strong lads or lasses home from college, I suspect it will be a bit of a challenge for your typical gunkholer. Call it a racer-cruiser with a big “R” and a little “c.”

That said, the boat will excel as a serious ISO Cat A racer ready for IRC inshore action or an offshore sprint to Bermuda or Hawaii. Under sail she’s a user-friendly speedster with a fingertip-sensitive helm, and needs to be appreciated for the performance she can and does deliver.

Specifications

HEADROOM 6ft 4in

BERTHS 6ft 6in x 6ft x 2ft 10in (fwd); 6ft 6in x 4ft (aft)

LOA 43ft 8in // LWL 40ft 9in

BEAM 13ft 9in // DRAFT 10ft 2in

DISPLACEMENT 14,000lb // BALLAST 5,973lb

SAIL AREA 1,292ft2 (main and 106% blade jib)

FUEL/WATER/WASTE (GAL) 23/23/10

ENGINE 29hp Yanmar (saildrive)

DESIGNER Reichel-Pugh Yacht Design

BUILDER Sino Eagle Yacht, Hangzhou, China

U.S. DISTRIBUTOR Reichel-Pugh Yacht Design, San Diego, CA, 619-223-2299

PRICE $499,500 base

Photo courtesy of Reichiel-Pugh Yacht Design

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