A Wild, Wild Ride
The Aspen 32 from Aspen Power Catamarans (www.aspenpowercatamarans.com) has got to be one of the coolest, most interesting watercraft I’ve sea trialed in years. She has a very monohull-like appearance despite the fact that she’s got two hulls, not one. And get this: The Aspen is not actually a cat, despite her builder’s catamaranish name. Rather, she’s what the Polynesians call a “proa,” meaning that one hull (or sponson) is considerably smaller than the other. Moreover, we’re talking some serious asymmetrical festivities here since the boat has only one engine, a cheeky little Volvo Penta diesel, in one of the hulls.
Think of it—the propulsion machinery on the 32 is offset from centerline by roughly four feet, one sponson is comparatively larger than the other, and yet! And yet! I’m tellin’ you folks, this thing holds a course like there’s no tomorrow. Yesterday while running in a rather smooth, mountain-surrounded Puget Sound, I picked a landmark miles away and put the boat on a heading to intercept and she maintained that heading, and maintained that heading, and maintained that heading…well, you get the idea. Amazing.
Moreover, she was a ball to drive, turning hard-over corners (whether to port or to starboard made little difference) with the verve of the Tilt-A-Whirl I loved to ride as a kid at the ol’ St. Lawrence County fair. Also, check out the helm station above and you’ll see such very practical niceties as a couple of Side-Power thruster (bow and stern) joysticks, a dash panel for the Solar Boost 2000E from Blue Sky Energy (a solar controller for the two integrated solar panels on the boat’s roof), a glove box (with the lid open), and last but not least (for fast and furious cornering)—a power knob, although I prefer a term that was colorfully extant during the days of my misspent youth: “suicide knob,”
Trust me. A wild, wild ride was had by all. Please standby for the full test report in an upcoming issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.