After Refit, Aquila Keeps Records Coming

The largest megayacht built in the USA is also now the largest megayacht refitted in the UK. The ex-Cakewalk, now Aquila, saw upwards of 1,000 people contributing to her refit at one point, all coordinated by four project managers at Pendennis Shipyard and with significant support by the owners’ team at Burgess.


All 281 feet (85.6 meters) of Aquila arrived a year ago at Pendennis for a planned top-to-bottom makeover. Since delivery was in 2010 (by Derecktor Shipyards), it was time for a five-year survey. Technical equipment ranging from navigation gear to gensets and to IT systems got upgraded. These, plus the decor and arrangement changes wanted, meant Aquila and her five decks essentially needed gutting. In fact, a total of 8,073 square feet (750 square meters) of space was redesigned or upgraded. Adrian Tinkler, Burgess’ fleet technical manager, calls it “unprecedented by any of the suppliers in such a short time period.” The above-mentioned 1,000 craftspeople were spread among the shipyard itself and the myriad contractors and suppliers tapped around the world.

That unprecedented work included adding 646 square feet (60 square meters) of alfresco space to the master suite. The saloon reserved for the owners on their private deck has parquet soles patterned to match the overhead’s design. The main saloon aboard Aquila now has a cinema (below). Overall, rooms for the 12-person owners’ party feature light-tone leather wall panels, some dark woods, nickel accents, and more varied tones and textures. Redman Whiteley Dixon collaborated with the owners on all of these, plus moving the hot tub forward on the sundeck.


If you saw Cakewalk, you may remember her elaborate staircase. Aquila has a conversation piece of her own: a four-deck chandelier (at top). Susan Young Interiors designed it, incorporating more than 850 hand-blown glass pieces. The same company created much of the custom furnishing found throughout the megayacht.

Aquila, with a 28-person crew, is currently cruising the Mediterranean.  She’ll be available for charter via Burgess’ central agency in the future, too.

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