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Photo credit: Major Marine Tours

Spirit of Matushka – a Quad V8 catamaran for best whale cruises in Alaska

14 JULY 2021

The Spirit of Matushka, a brand-new, custom-built 87-foot high-speed catamaran, can comfortably bring 150 nature loving tourist out to sea at 28 knots cruising speed, and with excellent view of Alaskan glaciers and maritime wildlife. With four Scania V8s it is the fastest and yet the most fuel efficient vessel in Major Marine Tours’ fleet. 

Scania USA’s Sales Manager, Al Alcala about the Scania Quad Power solution:


“We’ve developed this idea with boat builders and customers needing much power for their vessels. Scania’s compact design allows four staggered engines in catamarans instead of two larger and heavier ones. This quad configuration saves fuel by using only two engines when idling and gives greater redundancy in case of a single engine failure.” 

Getting the name right

Matushka is Russian for mother; the boat’s name celebrates a beloved 45-year old orca matriarch that frequents Kenai Fjords National Park throughout the season. It is also the name of an island in the Alaskan Maritime National Wildlife Refuge.


Captain Nicole at Major Marine Tours was involved in the naming process:


“Coming up with the name of a new boat is a daunting task. We wanted to find a way to honour the area that this boat would call home, so we felt that the name Spirit of Matushka brought everything full circle”.

 Photo Credit: Major Marine Tours

Better than expected

Building the boat, fuel economy was a top priority, and thanks to the holistic design and construction, consumption is almost the same per nautical mile through the cruising speed range of 20 to 30 knots.


Besides the fuel economy, the boat offers all passengers a smooth ride and comfort as the hull provides a cushioned effect when meeting waves.


“All American Marine helped us define our goals, design a vessel that met these, and then delivered,” says Colby Lawrence, Major Marine Tours vice president. “In fact, they under-promised and over-delivered. This new vessel is going to be a game-changer for Major Marine Tours’ and our customers.”

Innovative technology in partnership

Putting this modern sea vessel together relies on trusted partnerships. It makes up a truly cross-continental collaboration, connecting state of the art maritime technology with USA based shipbuilder, All American Marine for the semi-displacement catamaran hull; the innovative hydrofoil system, from Teknicraft Design, originates from New Zealand, just like the advanced Hamilton waterjet system. The efficient 16.4-litre V8 engines, are designed and built by Scania in Sweden. This combination is optimised for the flexible manoeuvrability and control needed to safely bring passengers into this wildlife environment. 

Photo credit: All American Marine

Outstanding accessibility and view

The vessel was designed to give passengers the best viewing experience possible. The bow of the vessel is built with stadium-style standing areas. Third deck has unobstructed 360° visibility and wind blockers for outdoor seating. On first deck there is also ample viewing space outside and a fully wrap-around wheelchair accessible deck.


Tim Sandeman, Sales Manager at Cascade Engines Centre delivered the engines to All American Marine:


“The vessel was built in Bellingham, Washington, and it took a week to run the 1300 nautical miles to deliver the ship. I’ve just come back from a visit to the happy customer. Now they want a second boat just like the Spirit of Matushka, so I will have to order another four V8s from Scania right away.”


  • Year of launch: 2021
  • Shipyard: All American Marine
  • Vessel measures: 87 x 32 feet
  • Type: Aluminium semi-displacement catamaran, with bow and hydrofoil by Nic de Waal, Teknicraft Design
  • Engines: 4 x Scania DI16 082, 800 mhp / 588 kW each at 2100 RPM
  • Water jets: 4 x Hamilton Jet HM422
  • Cruising Speed: 28 knots / 32 MPH
  • Seating Capacity: 150 passengers
  • Interior Cabin Spaces: 2 levels
  • Exterior Deck Spaces: 3 levels
  • Wheelchair Accessible: main deck outside and cabin.