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Amel 60 review: This modern cruiser is a true benchmark for quality

amel yacht

The French yard has built 50+ years of knowledge into its new world cruising flagship the Amel 60, reports Matthew Sheahan

I’m guessing that rival manufacturers of bluewater cruisers know when their prospective clients have been to Amel. They realise when their prospects come to them to discuss the detail, and they’ll be holding a long list of questions about what is included in the standard specification.The list will be long. Very long. And if these potential customers then choose to reveal their budget based on this detailed list, the challenge for any of Amel’s rivals will be to suppress the inevitable sharp intake of breath when their sales staff hear the bottom line.Amel has long held a reputation for producing high quality, long distance cruisers that come equipped with everything. It’s a reputation that’s well deserved.

While other yards may lay claim to a similar goal, it has been Amel’s dogged determination to keep things simple that has contributed to the French company’s sustained success.

For starters, it has never produced more than two models at any one time. “In our firm, we don’t change models every year, but we keep perfecting the ones we make,” Henri is quoted as saying.

But restricting its new launches to one a decade for the first 34 years was a strategy at odds with others in the business. Surely anyone looking to buy a boat they call home rather than a weekend plaything would want to express themselves and put their mark on it?This is where Amel has been so clever because, while this is broadly true, the flip side of swapping life ashore for that of living the dream afloat is that many people are nervous about such a big step, no matter how boldly they started out.

To be shown a detailed standard specification where all the key thinking has been done goes a long way to calming any post-purchase, pre-delivery anxiety.

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The new style Amel involves more than just good looks. Modern lines, a plumb bow and wide aft sections make for a powerful boat. Her jib leads on the coachroof are a subtle indication of the new focus on performance. Photo: Rick Tomlinson

As an example, the list of options for its latest and largest Amel doesn’t even make two pages of A4. For most, the decisions that are required will need so little debate that the entire boat could be specified over a lunchtime pint at the pub.

So, when it comes to writing a boat test for the new Amel 60, there’s a temptation to start with the long list of standard equipment and build a story around that. Yet to start there would be to do little justice to a new model that marks the second chapter in a big step forward for this company.

Let’s be honest. For all their attributes, Amels have rarely been the prettiest of boats nor, I would argue, the most contemporary. But the Amel 60 changes all that. This new Berret-Racoupeau design doesn’t just look modern, she is clearly on trend, starting with her hull shape.

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The Amel 60 is a Berret-Racoupeau design. Photo: Rick Tomlinson

Plumb bows are all the rage, as are fixed bowsprits. So too are lines that open out into beamy, powerful sections aft that then benefit from twin rudders. And given that when these shapes are combined with the correct buoyancy distribution they can deliver a quicker hull form with few vices, it’s an obvious choice for cruising designs to adopt the secondary benefits that come with this fuller form.

Increased volume, both for the accommodation and the deck lockers, are among the key advantages. Twin rudders reduce drag when heeled and provide a more balanced, surefooted feel when under way, but they also provide a level of redundancy should one of them get damaged. Plus, for those who spend more time in areas like the Mediterranean, the shallower rudders help with mooring stern-to.

The Amel 60 has all of these advantages and, with its dark, rectangular hull portlights and tinted wraparound windscreen, it takes on the looks of the modern cruising generation.

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With a layout designed to be as versatile as possible, the Amel 60 can be operated by two, easily sleeps six and has the capacity for eight people in total

The smaller Amel 50 was the first to break the mould and set the new style when launched in 2017. A brave new look along with its quality of build and fit out was recognised straight away and it shot up the charts winning European Yacht of the Year in 2018. The company has since built just short of 50 boats. Apart from looks, one of the biggest departures from the original style was the move from ketch to sloop rig.

Previously, ketch rigs were incorporated to divide the sail plan into manageable chunks and make sail handling easier. Yet that was in an era where sail handling systems were not as efficient and reliable as they are today. Plus, with the modern trend for aft swept spreaders and full-width chainplate bases, taller rigs can be more secure and dispense with the need for running backstays.

Higher aspect ratio sail plans are more efficient as a result and are also easier to manage thanks to improvements in sail furling technology. Add twin independent fixed backstays into the equation and you have an extremely well supported mast.

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In short, times have changed and Amel has responded. But the 60 takes the concept even further by making a bold statement with a carbon mast fitted as standard. Interestingly, it’s the sail plan that provides some of the bigger decisions when it comes to ticking boxes on the options list.

Among the key choices is the option to have a self-tacking cutter rig. The test boat had this and it worked well, particularly as the staysail has decent proportions and is mounted sufficiently far forward to make it a good sail on its own in a breeze. Unfortunately we didn’t have such conditions for the test, but even though a staysail adds just short of €20,000 to the bill, for me it’s an obvious box to tick.

Another is the option for a free-flying, furling Code 0, which will nudge the bill up by another €18,000. But again this is money well spent in my mind to provide an extra gear for light airs upwind sailing (which we did get to experience), along with better performance in stronger breezes downwind.

Fixed bowsprit and electric furlers are standard,

the second windlass an option. Photo: Jérôme Ricoul

The move to sloop configuration has also freed up deck space as well and simplified the overall layout. The most obvious area is on the after deck which is now a wide, open space, perfect for sunbathing or stowing a dinghy on deck if you don’t want the optional davits.

Keeping the side decks clutter free has always been one of the key features of an Amel and nothing has changed aboard the 60, which has to be one of the easiest and most secure decks to move about on that you’ll find in this size and style. The solid rails running around the entire deck, higher than most conventional guardwires, are another common and popular feature of the marque.

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Solid deck rails add to the sense of security on board. Photo: Jérôme Ricoul

Security, both real and perceived, is an important feature of an Amel and nowhere is this more obvious than in the centre cockpit. This deep and largely enclosed area is more pilothouse than cockpit, albeit with a sliding solid sunroof that helps to open things up in the right conditions. Yet given how enclosed this area is, the all round visibility is generally very good.

When it comes to handling the boat alone under sail, it is pretty easy thanks to the well-sorted panel for the sail control systems. Indeed, although it is possible to wind everything by hand, you’d consider yourself pretty unlucky if you had to break out a winch handle.

But while I was impressed with the layout, comfort and security, a particular reservation I have with this configuration is the ability to drive electric sheet winches that are behind you. The ease with which you could activate a winch without seeing a hand placed on it or the accidental development of an override is worrying.

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Amel has stuck to its offset, forward helm station from which the entire boat can be managed with guest seating behind. Photo: Ilago

The answer would seem to be to be diligent about never operating a winch without looking aft, but then this does raise issues about looking ahead too. Having said that, what did get my vote in this department was the mainsheet winch mounted to starboard of the companionway hatch and within easy reach of the helmsman.

A far smaller issue was the angular and rather sharp feel to the grab handles mounted in the guest area of the cockpit. Stylish perhaps, but not a great feel.

But a big plus, especially for those with plenty of sea miles and real world experience, is the engine room access. Lifting the cockpit floor with the help of the permanently fitted gas struts provides access to the business end of the boat in seconds. It is, quite simply, the best engine access you can imagine.

And with such a large opening the engine room cools down quickly and provides plenty of light, air and space when you’re down there.

Comprehensive fit-out

When Isabelle Racoupeau set about creating the interior design for the Amel 60 she put a particular focus on lights and lighting that create, ‘warmth and refinement’ as well as a ‘chic, open and bright’ atmosphere. And from the minute you descend the companionway steps to enter the saloon you can’t miss what she’d set out to achieve.

Light streams into the accommodation and, aside from being very much on trend, the effect is a welcome one that is enhanced by the modern styling throughout the accommodation.

When it comes to the overall layout there’s nothing particularly surprising. The main saloon is amidships with the navigation station tucked away to port while the longitudinal galley is to starboard and the owner’s cabin set aft. Forward a pair of doubles is mirrored each side of the centreline, each with its own shower and heads.

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Engine access is the envy of the bluewater cruising world.

Photo: Rick Tomlinson

All are finished beautifully in a choice of either light oak or walnut. Mahogany is no longer an option aboard Amel yachts. Style and layout are, as always, subjective, but what is not up for debate is the level of detail and the comprehensive fit-out.

The galley is the best example. Here, from the microwave to the induction hob, the washer-drier to the dishwasher and plenty more, all are fitted as standard. And when the layout has been so expertly installed it would seem rude not to tick the boxes for an icemaker, a wine cooler and a second deep freeze.

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The comprehensively fitted out galley is set to port. Photo: Rick Tomlinson

Among the most expensive extras on a short list of options is the air-conditioning at €26,000, the heating system at €18,000 and the watermaker at €18,500. Given the variety of uses that owners may wish for their 60, it is easy to see why Amel has left these as options rather than adding them to the list of standard equipment.

Our light weather sea trials demonstrated how well the Amel 60 would slip along in light airs. In 6-7 knots true wind and flat water, we sat at 5.4 knots – impressive stuff for a 26 tonne boat. With its cutter configuration, the Amel sails well and is easy to manage while its electrically furled Code 0 is a doddle to operate.

Sadly we didn’t get to sail in a stronger breeze and bigger seas. Here, the key for me would be in whether it has the feel to make it a boat you would want to helm for the pleasure of it or whether the autopilot would go on.

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I say this because I have reservations about the long steering cable runs to her twin rudders and, based on colleagues’ comments about the Amel 50, I would take a guess that finger light feel is not her strongest card.

While twin rudders provide some real benefits when the breeze is up and the pace is on aboard any yacht, another drawback comes when it’s time to manoeuvre at close quarters under power. The Amel 60 is no different, and the lack of propwalk makes it difficult to turn tightly in a small space.

Fortunately, the option to fit a retractable stern thruster in addition to the standard bow thruster changes this and makes her a nimble and manageable boat under engine. In many ways the yacht’s construction is the easiest part to describe and assess. Built as a solid laminate below the waterline and a PVC foam sandwich above it, the hull and deck are resin infused, a technique introduced with the Amel 50.

Where it remains the same as its predecessors is that this is a solidly built boat throughout, has Amel’s well known maintenance-free, teak effect decks and adheres to the best practices of bluewater boat building. The conclusion is clear: this is a genuine go-anywhere cruiser for two from a company with a pedigree and popularity to back up such claims and a price tag to make others draw breath.

For those familiar with Amel it will come as no surprise at all that the 60 is a comprehensively fitted out boat, well built and reassuringly easy to handle short-handed. For those who are not, and who are looking to buy a boat of this size and type, you really should put this on your list in order to check out where the true benchmark for value for money versus practical and solid engineering lies. And, if you can, go to the yard in La Rochelle and see the operation for yourself. There are few others like it in the world.

Brett Lyall A lifelong, passionate boater, Brett brings 26 years of sailing and 18 years of powerboat knowledge to the McMichael team. His background includes Environmental engineering and consulting, along with 7 years of sales and marketing experience in the luxury market. In addition to being an avid fisherman, surfer, and scuba diver, he is a sailing coach and has crewed extensively offshore on a variety of boats from J109, J105, J99 and 112E to a Gunboat 57. His knowledge of all things boating related is second only to his reputation for exceptional customer service and professionalism.

Doug Conner Doug’s life-long love of all things nautical naturally led him to pursue a career in luxury yacht brokerage. His professional background in sales and marketing, combined with his overall experience in and passion for the yachting industry, makes him a valuable asset to his clients for sail and power boats. Doug is committed to providing his clients with honest, professional, knowledgeable, and personal service.

Myles McQuone Myles is a licensed captain from age 18. He is a third Generation Merchant Mariner, operating boats runs deep in his family. Myles has held multiple roles within the marine industry between Marine Towing and Salvage, Marine Technician and Marine Service Manager. Myles’ focus has always had the customers best interest in mind; expect the same attention while consulting with Myles.

Ethan Morawski Ethan grew up in Fairfield CT and has been sailing for 13 years and powerboating for 10 years all over Long Island Sound. He has worked in the marine industry since High School and has an excellent reputation for superb customer service, seamanship, and attention to details. He is a graduate of Bryant University in RI.

Position Title: Boat Yard Crew Member Position Type: Full-time Experience level:  2-3 years preferred

Reports to: Service Manager

Job Description and Summary: In this position you will work alongside a team of supportive and experienced marine industry professionals. Your primary role will be to support the efficient daily operations of the McMichael yacht yard and the satisfaction of our customers.

This will include a variety of functions and tasks including basic property maintenance, launch and recovery of boats, cleaning, crane and forklift operations, blocking boats, and winter storage and other relevant duties as assigned.

Core Skills:

  • Ability to clearly understand instructions and complete tasks accordingly
  • Mechanically inclined
  • Able to lift and reposition equipment, tools, and materials
  • Basic boat operations – power and sail (will train)
  • Strong communication skills, verbal and written
  • Focus on customer satisfaction
  • Proactive mindset
  • Able to work unsupervised
  • Ability to collaboratively work well with other team members

Responsibilities:

  • Support of daily operations
  • Support clients boating activities, prepping boats, fueling, etc.
  • Safe operation of company vehicles, forklifts, and equipment, including trailer handling
  • Haul, block and launch boats
  • Boat cleaning and detailing
  • Bottom paint and waxing boats
  • Dock and marina area maintenance
  • Shrink wrapping
  • Repositioning boats

The ideal candidate is someone who will enjoy the nautical environment of the boatyard, which includes being around boats and being on the water. They will have at least two to three years of experience at a previous boat yard or yacht club. Their background will include a familiarity with boats. They will be someone who enjoys the boating lifestyle and enjoys working outdoors. They value working in a team and being part of a family-owned organization an enhancing part of the local community. We encourage you to apply if you do not have the experience but are dedicated to building a career in the marine industry.

What does a typical workday look like? A typical morning could involve arriving and immediately removing covers, prepping several boats to be launched and readied for use by their clients. You could find yourself assisting with changing a large tire on a trailer or rigging and craning a boat onto a truck for transportation. Daily activities will also include basic maintenance of the boatyard facilities which includes painting, building repair, emptying garbage, and cleaning, as well as assisting technicians with boat maintenance.

Salary range: $15 – $30

Email: [email protected]

https://vimeo.com/758079548

Position Title: Fiberglass / GelCoat Technician Position Type: Full-time Experience level:  2-3 years preferred

Job Description and Summary: In this position you will work alongside a team of supportive and experienced marine industry professionals. Your primary role will be fiberglass and gel-coat repair work on sailboats and powerboats. The fiberglass work will include everything from small parts repair to structural repair and rebuilds. The gelcoat work will be similarly inclusive and will also involve spaying hull bottoms and topsides with boat bottom paint and gelcoat.

  • Working with vinylester, polyester, and epoxy resins
  • Experience working with various coring materials
  • Knowledge of gelcoat matching and application
  • Cutting, grinding and finish sanding
  • Visually spot imperfections in all parts
  • Use of buffers, DA’s, pencil grinders etc.
  • Finish buffing and polishing
  • Exceptional paint rolling and spraying finishing
  • Proactive mindset and able to work unsupervised
  • Complete fiberglass and composite repair work to the highest possible standards
  • Spray gelcoat, clear coat, and metal flake consistently and evenly to desired thickness
  • Getting the customer back on the water with a safe operating boat
  • Ensuring all repair work structurally and visually exceeds expectations
  • Lifting heaving objects
  • Assisting the entire service teams with various tasks

The ideal candidate is someone who will enjoy the nautical environment of the boatyard, which includes being around boats and being on the water. They will have at least two to three years of experience in fiberglass and composites fabrication or repair as well as experience with painting and gelcoat work or similar skill sets. Their background will include a familiarity with boats and enjoy delivering exceptional finish work. They will be someone who appreciates the boating lifestyle and working sail and powerboats. We are looking for a person who values working in a team and being part of a family-owned organization that is a respected part of the local community.

Salary and benefits: $50 – 70k, Medical, 401K

Position Title: Marine Service Mechanic Position Type: Full-time Experience level:  2-3 years preferred. Certifications Preferred. Equal skills and high motivation also accepted.

Job Description and Summary: In this position you will work alongside a team of supportive and experienced marine industry professionals. Your primary role will be engine maintenance and repairs for both gas and diesel engine systems as well as service and repair work on a variety of other boat system. A large part of this position will include troubleshooting, engine and drive preventative maintenance, emergency repairs at the yard or at the location of the boat needing service. You will be working on inboard and outboard systems and interacting and communicating with our boaters, so a focus on customer service is an important skill. Certification not initial required but is a plus.

  • Effective and knowledgeable mechanic
  • Problem solving – engines, drives, control systems and electrical
  • Mechanical and electrical troubleshooting
  • Engine rebuilds, 12v DC systems, machining work
  • Gas and diesel engine/generator operations
  • Wiring and soldering
  • Performing maintenance and repairs safely and quickly
  • Have your own set of tools
  • Performing functionality checks on engines and systems
  • Basic boat operations

The ideal candidate is someone who will enjoy the nautical environment of the boatyard, which includes being around boats and being on the water. They will have at least two to three years of experience as a marine service technician, automotive mechanic, Gen Tech, or similar skill sets. Their background will include a familiarity with boats and enjoy solving mechanical and systems issues. They will be someone who enjoys the boating lifestyle and working outdoors. They value working in a team and being part of a family-owned organization an enhancing part of the local community. We encourage you to apply if you do not have the experience but are dedicated to building a career in the marine service industry.

Salary and benefits: $60 – 80k, Medical, 401K

Position Title: Yacht Sales Consultant Position Type: Full-time Experience level:  2-3 years preferred

Reports to: Sales Manager

Job Description and Summary: In this position you will work alongside the McMichael Sales Team to consult with our client boaters, guiding them to find and purchase the best yacht for their modern boating needs. You will work with an experienced team that specializes in premium racing and sailing yachts, as well as high-performance inboard and outboard day and cruising power yachts. You will work with existing clients as well as being responsible for identifying, nurturing, and closing new clients. You will cultivate relationships with our clients and their families that demonstrate the highest degree of professionalism for the McMichael brand. You will be supported by the team to help you locate, acquire, and nurture prospective new client boaters. You will be a part of a sales and service team that caters to the all-encompassing boating needs of the McMichael community of boaters.

  • Active listening
  • Conveying key features and distinguishing selling points of a given boat model
  • Ability to close high-value sales from $500k – $3M
  • Prospect farming
  • Excellent negotiating skills
  • Influencing with content through digital and social media tools
  • Consulting with and guiding clients effectively
  • Proactive mindset that fosters successful unsupervised work
  • Ability to work collaboratively with other team members
  • Close deals on new yacht sales
  • Deliver world class service in the form of professionalism, knowledge, and customer service
  • Acquire and develop prospects into leads, then into new boat sales
  • Attend boat shows and events to meet with and engage boaters
  • Use digital and social media tools to engage with boaters
  • Secure used boat listings
  • Close used boat sales
  • Guide boaters through the research, selection, specification, closing, delivery, and commissioning process
  • Work with the Sales Team to constantly increase brand and model knowledge
  • Influence your client boaters to choose McMichael Yards for their boat servicing and storage needs

The ideal candidate is someone who will enjoy the nautical/boating lifestyle and has grown up around boats. They will have previous experience selling in the corporate environment, in addition to a strong boating background and several years of selling yachts over 30 feet and over $500K. They will be an excellent communicator who is able to convey information clearly and concisely. They will be motivated to constantly learn more and achieve more regarding new boats and sales goals. They will be a person who can collaborate with all the members of the sales team to find creative solutions to barriers and issues.

Experience Level Experienced as a sail or power boater or similar industry background 2-3 years preferred

Salary and benefits: Base of $50 – $70k, commissions, Medical, 401K

John Glynn John brings to McMichael more than three decades of sailing, boating and sales experience. In addition to his time at BEYC, Glynn’s resume includes years as an Associate Editor (and Contributing Editor) for Sailing World magazine, where he was part of the team that created both the “Boat of the Year” awards and the NOOD Regattas. Over the years he has raced aboard C&C 40s, New York 36s, J/35s, Express 37s and Farr 40s, as well as his own J/30 and Soverel 33 Grey Seal. He boats with his family out of Captain Harbor in Greenwich, CT.

“John brings a wealth of experience as a racer, boat owner and industry professional,” said Michael Beers, McMichael Sales Manager. “He will be a fantastic resource for his clients in buying and selling boats. We’re proud to have him on our team, and his background will help us continue to fulfill our motto, ‘Experience Counts!’”

“I’ve been fortunate enough to spend my career in and around the sailing and boating community, enabling me to love the various jobs I’ve held,” said Glynn. “In joining McMichael Yacht Brokers I’ve found another fresh, new outlet from which to apply my knowledge of and passion for yachting. Moreover, I’m able to do that while working in the company of some of the finest yacht brokers in the business. It is my hope to bring to my brokerage customers a sense of confidence and satisfaction as they make yacht transactions, both from the buyer’s and seller’s sides.”

Cameron Campbell Cameron has been boating his entire life, starting as a toddler on Great South Bay on Long Island. He grew up in Connecticut and spent every summer on Long Island Sound. In college he was a member of the University of Rhode Island Sailing Team and also ran operations at the URI Waterfront Center. After college he was an ASA Sailing Instructor at the New York Sailing School on City Island and then for Olympic Circle Sailing on San Francisco Bay. He participated in many regattas on both coasts in both small and large boats. He owned a Sabre for many years which he cruised from Annapolis to Maine. Cameron also has experience with power boats ranging from center consoles though larger cruisers.

Cameron has been working with clients preparing for Bermuda races, extensive blue water cruising, and many that are new to boating.

Rick Fleig Rick grew up on Long Island spending many years sailing on the Sound in everything from J/22′s to J/105′s, Custom C&C 41′s and many other boats, competing in all the major Northeast events. This experience and passion for sailing led him on a path to sail in the 1987 America’s Cup in Perth, Australia with both the Courageous and USA Syndicates. He has sailed in many major international regattas, including the Swan World Championships in Sardinia, the World 6 Meter Championships in Portofino, Italy, and several Newport Bermuda races.

Rick combines his extensive sailing background with both the marine and sports industry, having worked as a regional sales manager at SunfishLaser and Vanguard Sailboats, and prior to that as a regional sales representative with sporting goods giant Nike. He believes that building relationships and understanding the clients’ needs are essential in helping customers have a great experience with their boats. He works out of the McMichael Yacht Broker’s Newport office at the Newport Shipyard.

Rick resides in Portsmouth, RI, with his family, having fallen in love with the Newport area during his many sailing events there. He recently retired as the director/coach of the Portsmouth High School Sailing Team after many years, and along with his wife, Carline, now enjoys his time proudly following their youngest son, Tyler, who just finished his second year at the US Naval Academy. Tyler is a very accomplished sailor himself, and a member of the nationally ranked USNA dinghy sailing team. Rick is a member of Sail Newport and can be seen racing many weeknights and weekends in all the local events in a variety of boats.

Michael Beers Michael is a licensed captain and active racer who began his sailing career in Boston on the Charles River. As someone who did not grow up sailing, he especially enjoys introducing new boaters to the sport. Michael has a proven track record of working tirelessly for his clients, and enjoys working directly with buyers to identify the best possible “next boat” from the many options available. He is an active racer, recently racing in the J/70 fleet at Quantum Key West Race Week and aboard the J/130 Dragonly in the 2012 Newport Bermuda Race.

Prior to joining McMichael in 2007, he captained the 80′ schooner Adirondack II in Newport, RI and was an instructor at Offshore Sailing. In his free time, he enjoys cruising his Sabre.

Todd Williams Todd started sailing on his family’s cruising boat before his memory serves. His love of racing was cultivated through sailing Blue Jays and Lasers in Pequot Yacht Club’s junior program.  Since then he has actively raced in the J105 fleet, J109 fleet, and helped form the J122 class. He also developed and helped launch the LIS IRC 35 class.  Todd is an experienced distance sailor and was involved with winning the Vineyard race class and IRC overall aboard the J122 Partnership.  

Todd enjoys using his extensive knowledge of boating to find his clients the boat that best suits their needs.  He is dedicated to providing the best possible service to all his customers.  Todd can often be found racing with clients and helping them build their racing programs. Through the years, he has custom built many J/Boats, Alerions, and MJM power boats for clients, many of whom he now considers personal friends.

During the winter season you may spot the Williams family on the slopes at Okemo where they have a ski house.

Andy Kaplan Starting October 4, Andrew (Andy) Kaplan has joined the brokerage team at McMichael Yacht Yards & Brokers. The addition increases the McMichael roster to seven full-time yacht brokers serving customers up and down the east coast with a concentration on the Long Island Sound and Narragansett Bay. He will work primarily out of the McMichael Mamaroneck, NY, office as well as Martha’s Vineyard.

“Andy is bringing to McMichael a lifetime of experience in sail and power boating with a keen focus in the sailboat racing world,” said McMichael President Steve Leicht. “His broad familiarity with offshore and one-design sailboats combined with his powerboating experience makes him an ideal addition to our brokerage team.”

Kaplan spent the majority of his career in finance including helping create the Quattro Global Capital, LLC where he was a principal and head of operation and marketing. “I believe that my financial sales and management experience is a great asset as I transition to yacht brokerage,” noted Kaplan. “While they are different industries, to succeed in either you need similar disciplines when matching buyers with the right product. That’s what creates and maintains long term customer relationships.”

Kaplan grew-up in Mamaroneck and has been a member of the Larchmont Yacht Club for over 30 years where he has been active in the Club’s leadership. He lives in New Rochelle, NY, and on Martha’s Vineyard, MA.

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Amel 60 - the ultimate world cruiser

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Amel 50 review: An indoor sailing experience to excite even hardened sailors

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The Amel 50 is the French yard’s first sloop in over 20 years, Pip Hare takes a 48-hour test to see if the new format works

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Amel has a long established following for yachts designed and built to match the needs of liveaboard and bluewater cruisers. It is reputed for its singular way of doing things and is famed for its ketches , designed for ease of sailing by a couple.

So when the La Rochelle yard unveiled this Amel 50, its first sloop since 1997, one with a broad, modern hull shape and twin rudders, it was met with surprise. Had Amel abandoned its heritage in favour for what’s in vogue?

Fortunately not. Step aboard and you quickly understand why this is a brilliant new model, one true to the brand’s DNA but versatile enough to suit everything from coastal sailing to global cruising.

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Jib, staysail and main halyards are managed at the mast using a track and car system that locks the halyards in place. Photo: Jean-Sébastien Evrard

When I arrived in La Rochelle for my two-day liveaboard test, I wasn’t greeted with the sparkly weather I’d seen in Amel’s brochure. It was a dark, wet, windy and cold December morning. But, with its fully enclosed doghouse, the Amel 50 was made to take on weather like this. Would ‘indoors’ sailing leave me metaphorically cold, I wondered – surely the beauty of our sport is achieved through connection with the elements?

Setting out in a brisk westerly wind and lumpy seas that broke over the foredeck, the heat from below decks soon flowed up the companionway to fill the enclosed doghouse, bringing with it the aroma of fresh bread and coffee.

Within minutes we were punching our way confidently upwind, oblivious to the weather raging outside. I sat in the doghouse, feeling overdressed in salopettes and sea boots, and with every wave that crashed into the windscreen I felt my need to be out in the elements melting away.

Bold first impressions

The Amel’s lines follow modern trends including a blunt stem, full volume bow, high topsides, modest sheer and a beamy transom. But this latest model from the Berret-Racoupeau design team has rung some substantial changes. Amel’s first sloop in two decades, it is also the yard’s first model with twin rudders and the first built using resin infusion techniques.

Article continues below…

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The cult of Amel yachts – secrets of the evergreen appeal of the archetypal French bluewater cruiser

These French bluewater cruisers are like no others on the market. Here's why

For close to 30 years Amel has favoured ketch rigs in the belief that splitting the sail area across two masts should make large cruising yachts more manageable for couples to sail. Ironically this way of thinking may have put off some sailors who actually consider two masts to be double the work, not half.

With the new 50 being the smallest in the range, the sail area was considered small enough to be comfortably handled as a sloop. Losing the mizzenmast unlocks additional benefits of reduced build costs, a larger cockpit and more below-deck versatility, making the Amel 50 an attractive package.

Absorbed or alienated?

Taking the helm for the first time I was acutely aware of my position on the boat – at the front of a central cockpit and offset to port. Looking forward, with only half the boat ahead and a small wheel in my hands I had the impression of sailing something much smaller.

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The helmsman’s chair swivels and adjusts in height and there are reasonable views of the sails. Photo: Jean-Sébastien Evrard

The pillarless windscreen offers a panoramic view and the cockpit is high enough to give vision to windward, even on a starboard tack. The mainsail can be seen through hatches in the doghouse roof, while the view of the jib luff is great on a starboard tack – straight up the slot – but more difficult on port as the forestay sags to leeward. There’s a helmsman’s chair behind the steering position but I found standing more comfortable as, when seated, my arms were at full stretch.

The steering system uses push-pull cables onto the port rudder quadrant resulting in a helm that is sensitive to movement, but has little feeling. The rudders are a good size and the linkage direct, so small wheel movements have immediate impact, but as the cables do not load up no feedback can be felt through the wheel.

Once I’d acknowledged this I tuned into other performance indicators, using angle of heel particularly to guide me upwind. Immediately the helming experience came alive, I was watching for gusts, reading the waves, taking note of everything around me. Before I knew it, I was fully absorbed and unquestionably engaged with the sailing experience.

Joystick sail handling

The mainsail unfurls from the mast at an impressive speed using joystick controls in front of the wheel. The outhaul runs at the same pace on a continuous line system, which moves the clew in and out via a boom track. To avoid damage, both use a current-sensitive ‘time out’ feature – so if either is placed under heavy load they will momentarily stop, alerting crew to a potential sail jam or rope snag.

The jib sheets neatly through a wide shroud base, via coachroof tracks outside the doghouse and on to electric primary winches. Manual secondary winches allow jib cars to be trimmed while sailing. Powered-up under full main and genoa in 18 knots of wind we ploughed through waves at a decent 8.1 knots with a true wind angle of 50°, which is perfectly acceptable for offshore passagemaking.

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The Amel 50 is a Berret Racoupeau design. Photo: Jean-Sébastien Evrard

Our test boat had the optional cutter rig adding a 24m 2 self-tacking staysail to the 126m 2 sail plan. Setting the staysail while beating in 20 knots gained a further 0.3 knots of boat speed, with no adverse effects to balance. Personally, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t tick the staysail box; it adds a manageable sail area to the forward triangle, while providing a dedicated heavy weather sail.

Finally calling an end to our upwind slog, we put the bow down looking for a lunchtime anchorage in the lee of Isle de Rey. Off the breeze we waddled a little with jib alone. A furling gennaker soon saw us scooting across the waves reaching 9 knots of boat speed in 20 knots of wind. Helming required concentration, but once again it absorbed me and I unashamedly grinned at this ‘dry’ sailing experience.

In the blink of an eye, the sails were away and the anchor deployed using the remote windlass controls behind the wheel. With the cockpit table extended to full size and set with warm food on china plates the full transformation was complete and our rugged sailing experience of the morning was definitely a thing of the past.

The Amel philosophy

Over lunch I learned more of Amel’s ‘maximum enjoyment, minimum work’ philosophy, which not only covers sail plans but every aspect of design and construction. These boats are built to stand the ravages of time and the sea while incorporating details to reduce maintenance, make repairs uncomplicated and ensure life on board is simple and safe.

It seems that Amel has thought of everything, whether it is the specially extruded four-compartment mast section that keeps halyards, electrics and furler separate, the spyglass in the bottom of the hull giving direct sight of the propeller, or chafe protection at every point a locker lid might scratch the stainless-steel handrail.

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The saloon table folds out to seat eight – the small tables double as stools. Photo: Julien Girardot

With every new detail I became more impressed by the Amel 50. It’s as though the everyday inadequacies and compromises I’ve grown to accept as part of yacht ownership have been wiped away in this boat.

After lunch, with the sun breaking through, I put my hosts to work; first poling out the headsail with the huge, vertically mounted jib pole, then trying the Code 0.

The white sails downwind set-up is good. There is a welded tang mid-boom that allows a preventer to be attached from inside the footprint of the deck, and the substantial jib pole, though a bit of a handful to lower in a rolling sea, is utterly fit for the job once in place.

Downwind performance was comfortable and efficient, making close to 9 knots dead downwind in 22 knots true. As the breeze died we maintained our VMG by setting a Code 0 with the jib pole. Sailing like this in the sun felt heavenly and the whole crew naturally gravitated to the aft deck, leaving the autopilot to drive while we took in the stunning islands of the Charente.

As the light faded on our first day we found a mooring buoy on the shores of Isle d’Aix and I took the controls on approach. This didn’t prove easy in the gusty breeze as there’s a lot of windage on the hull and superstructure, which makes manoeuvring the Amel 50 at low speeds tricky.

The twin rudders provide little prop wash effect to counteract any last-minute gusts so on my second attempt I resorted to the bow thruster, leaving the wheel in the centre and driving using throttle for speed and thruster for direction – this proved equally efficient when reversing into the berth at the end of the test.

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From the bathing platform to the bowsprit the attention to detail on this Amel 50 is phenomenal. Photo: Jean-Sébastien Evrard

The cockpit sole lifts to reveal an impressively spacious and entirely watertight engine room, accessed via a small ladder. In line with the ‘trouble free maintenance’ approach, everything in this space is well set out with good access and room to work.

As well as the 110hp Volvo engine, the test boat housed a generator, watermaker, air conditioning unit and two inverters. Through-hull fittings have been kept to a minimum using a single inlet and seawater manifold.

All tankage is housed under the cockpit sole, including a grey water tank set in the bilge sump, which collects waste from all sinks and showers, serviced by a float switch for automatic emptying. This system ensures a dry, clean bilge elsewhere, creating extra room for storage.

Luxury for serious sailors

Below decks the Amel 50 is every bit as luxurious as you’d expect for its €790,000 price tag. The test boat finish was light oak with stainless steel details, which give a contemporary vibe, though may require endless wiping to remove finger marks.

There is a great feeling of space throughout, especially in the saloon, which, despite the raised cabin sole, has nearly two metres of standing headroom. Natural light floods from mid-height windows in the topsides and high-level coachroof hatches.

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The use of a passageway galley helps to open up the spacious living area. Photo: Jean-Sébastien Evrard

A snug chart table surrounded by switchboards and repeat navigation instruments is set into the aft corner on the port side, while to starboard there is a step down to the corridor galley.

Two large sofas flank the saloon, one wrapped around the dining table to port. A couple of occasional tables can double-up as stools and provide all-round seating when the dining table is extended. These are anchored away under the folded table while sailing.

The Amel 50’s master cabin is situated aft, accessed through the galley passageway. It has a large double island bed, writing desk, sofa and en-suite facilities. Another big double in the bow shares a heads and shower with the bunk-bedded cabin to starboard. This twin cabin is disproportionately small compared to the space everywhere else, but the top bunk folds away to create a little more room if required.

Living on board the Amel 50 would be no hardship. I spent the evening in perfect comfort, eventually retiring to a fantastic night’s sleep in the forward cabin, leaving the blinds open so I could watch the twinkling lights ashore, through the large hull portlight from my bunk.

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The aft island berth lifts up with stowage beneath and can be fitted with lee boards. Photo: Jean-Sébastien Evrard

Aside from the five-star hotel experience, the thing that really grabbed me below decks was how well this luxury combines with a set-up for serious sailing. All bunks come with well-fitting leeboards or cloths making even the island beds into usable sea berths.

The accommodation is separated from bow locker and lazarette by watertight bulkheads and internal bulkheads can be made watertight using clamps across the doorframes with their special seals.

The galley is large and well equipped with a proper sink, pull-out fridge and freezer drawers and plenty of worksurface. The passageway is wide enough for two people to pass, yet slim enough to brace while at sea.

The head-height storage lockers open to reveal a drawer front that slides out on tracks, keeping the contents retained when the locker is ‘uphill’ while still allowing access to the contents at the back.

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The galley is overflowing with sensible and user- friendly storage. Photo: Julien Girardot

The only area that doesn’t seem commensurate with a life offshore is the passage forward from companionway steps across the saloon. This open space has few grab handles and would be a challenge to cross while pressed up on port.

The Amel team has addressed this in more recent builds by lengthening the stainless steel grabrail on the folded dining table-top, while repositioning and adding other holds at the bottom of the companionway steps.

The full sailing experience

The sun rose on the second day of our test to reveal, flat water, light winds and a cloudless sky. The change in weather gave great opportunity to try all aspects of the Amel 50 sailing experience and we spent a fun morning, hoisting and dropping every sail in the inventory.

In a wind range from 8 to 12 knots true, with a Code 0, gennaker and downwind asymmetric, no matter which way I pointed the bow, the boat performed. Speeds were less spectacular under white sails alone, so for those who like to sail until the last I’d recommend some additional offwind sail area.

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The twin bunk cabin forward is a little cramped. Photo: Jean-Sébastien Evrard

Moving about the deck hoisting and dropping sails, I become more aware of the solid handrail and the security it offers. Not only is this feature higher than normal guardrails but it will take the weight of a person should they fall. The Amel teak – the company’s trademark gelcoat deck made to look like planked teak – offered good grip under foot.

The morning disappeared in sunshine and sails. Now it was warm I opened the central windscreen to get the feel of wind on my face while helming, though in these conditions it was a shame to stay ‘indoors’ and the best place on the boat became whichever pushpit seat had the sun.

With the rise in temperature the breeze died away and just when I thought we’d seen the limit of this boat’s sailing ability, it surprised me again. I have come to accept that poor lightwind performance is the trade-off to make for comfort in boats of this genre but, as the breeze died, the Amel 50 just kept going. With the jib set in just 5 knots of true wind speed we maintained a boat speed of 4.5 knots at a 60° true angle.

We were blessed with perfectly flat water and a stable wind direction, but this final flourish of performance confirmed my growing feelings of admiration for the boat and reminded me never to judge a book by its cover.

Our verdict

I can’t sit on the fence about the Amel 50; it is a brilliant boat. It’s neither revolutionary nor showy, and the unequivocal adherence to making everything maintenance light and easy-to-handle results in a boat that is not at all svelte.

I arrived with some heavy preconceptions perhaps as much about the kind of sailor I am as the kind of boat I would be sailing. I was treated to the full Amel 50 experience and my hosts did everything possible to show this boat in the best light.

But if you take away the fine food, endless espressos and crisp white bed linen, the Amel 50 still shines. It sails well, it is beautifully built and it made me smile. I left surprised and ever so slightly in love.

Specification

LOA: 16.50m (54ft 2in) LWL: 14.50m (47ft 7in) Beam: 4.79m (15ft 9in) Draught: 2.15m (7ft 1in) Displacement (light): 18,750kg (41,336lb) Ballast: 5,360kg (11,817lb) Sail Area (100% foretriangle): 126m 2 (1,360ft 2 ) Sail Area/displacement ratio: 19.9 Displacement/LWL ratio: 171 Berths: 6 Engine: 110hp shaftdrive Water capacity: 600lt (132gal) Fuel capacity: 675lt (148gal) Price from: €790,000 (ex VAT) Price as tested: €940,000 (ex VAT) Design: Berret Racoupeau Yacht Design

Amel 50

AMEL 50: A REVOLUTIONARY SLOOP-RIGGED SAILBOAT

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Amel Yachts is used to launch new models only occasionally. The Super Maramu range, for example, was produced from 1988 until 2006, establishing itself as the symbol of the “ globetrotting boat” par excellence. If we also consider that the last Amel sloop-rigged cruising yacht was the Santorin in 1989, then it is clear that this brand-new Amel 50 represents a real revolution for the French yacht builder.

AMEL 50

Consequently, the new Amel 50 seems to have been designed not only for the high seas and, for the first time, the shipyard has adopted less streamlined lines and a straight powerful bow  alongside a  midship beam which extends to the rear for better performance and great dimensional stability . As a natural result of the project, the stern houses two rudder blades , something completely new for Amel Yachts, that ensure greater manoeuvrability under sail.

AMEL 50 outdoor

Interiors, too, offer a further confirmation of Amel Yachts ‘s intention of penetrating new markets. On this yacht, space is proportionally the largest never seen on an Amel creation.

That’s probably for all these reasons that the new Amel 50 , although not officially presented yet, has already been nominated for the “ European yacht of the year ” in the “luxury cruiser” category.

The Amel 50 will be officially presented at the Cannes Yachting Festival next September. On that occasion, we will have the opportunity to enjoy a first sea trial and see if the French yacht builder has actually succeed in manufacturing a different boat without compromising the typical and unmistakable Amel spirit that has always made us love its beautiful creations.

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Amel 50 – Technical Specifications

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The generous volumes of this large sailboat have been designed to allow owners and their guests to enjoy life on board, while preserving the privacy: a large living space in the square, a high-end kitchen ultra-equipped, three cabins each with a bathroom, a protected cockpit, spacious and open on sunbathing inviting to relax…

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With both our Amels Limited Editions semi-custom range and our Amels Full Custom opportunities, we enable you to spend your precious time in the best way possible. 

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Elegant and conscious modern yachting forms the essence of our Amels portfolio. A sought-after range of new-build superyachts with both semi-custom Limited Editions and Full Custom projects, recognised for their quality, ocean-going performance and unrivalled onboard experience.

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This award-winning 60-metre (197ft) Amels Limited Editions design has been turning heads since her introduction in 2019. A next-generation semi-custom Amels that blends heritage with sophisticated technology, taking the superyacht industry’s greatest success story into the future. Just like the global fleet of close to 50 Limited Editions yachts at sea today, this sought-after Amels 60 is fast becoming become the collectors’ item for tomorrow’s generation of yacht owners, popular for both charter and private use.

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The Amels 80 is shaping the future of luxury yachting. With evolution in her DNA, she captures the evolution and elegance of modern yachting at its essence. Her sophisticated and sustainable design is guaranteed to stand the test of time. This 80-metre Amels Limited Editions combines exclusive know-how and proven innovation to create an even more enjoyable yachting experience. Introduced in 2022, this next-generation semi-custom Amels has firmly taken her place as a leader in the 80-metre superyacht sector.  

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We offer 25 years of non-stop, first-class refit experience at The Netherlands’ largest superyacht hub. For our own fleet and all other brands. A trusted refit, rebuild and service partner to maintain, manage and upgrade each client’s dream for an enjoyable and trouble-free ownership experience. The gateway to the world beyond new build delivery.

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  1. Home

    AMEL is a shipyard that builds robust, comfortable and easy-to-handle sailing yachts for long-distance adventures. Explore the latest 50-foot and 60-foot models, download the brochure, watch the movie and book a test at the Palma International Boat Show.

  2. Amel 50

    In 2018, Amel 50 was awarded « European Yacht of the Year ». This title rewards the best yachts in 5 different categories : Family-Cruiser, Performance-Cruiser, Luxury-Cruiser, Multihulls and Special Yachts. « We are very honoured and grateful that the Amel 50 won the award of European Yacht of the Year in the Luxury Cruiser category.

  3. Amel Yachts for sale

    Browse 59 Amel yachts for sale on YachtWorld, the world's largest yacht marketplace. Find new and used Amel boats of various sizes, types and prices, from France, Italy, French Polynesia and more.

  4. Amel 60 review: This modern cruiser is a true benchmark for quality

    The Amel 60 is a world cruising flagship from the French yard that combines performance, safety and luxury. Read the full review of this 60ft sailing yacht with photos, specs and features.

  5. Amel Yachts

    Amel's first boat, the Super Mistral Sport, was built in Marseille after he took over a failing shipyard. The boat itself was a success, but the business failed. [3] In 1963, Amel began building boats in the shipyard of another builder at La Rochelle. He split off on his own, founding Chantiers Amel in 1965.

  6. Amel 60 review: This modern cruiser is a true benchmark for quality

    Mahogany is no longer an option aboard Amel yachts. Style and layout are, as always, subjective, but what is not up for debate is the level of detail and the comprehensive fit-out. The galley is the best example. Here, from the microwave to the induction hob, the washer-drier to the dishwasher and plenty more, all are fitted as standard.

  7. Amel Yachts for sale in United States

    1987 Amel Maramu. US$149,000. Boatshed Seattle | Blaine WA USA - Shown by Appointment, Washington. Request Info. <. 1. >. * Price displayed is based on today's currency conversion rate of the listed sales price. Boats Group does not guarantee the accuracy of conversion rates and rates may differ than those provided by financial institutions at ...

  8. Amel 60

    The Amel 60, since its world premiere in 2020 continues to be the choice of yachtsmen seeking adventures on the high seas in the highest level of luxury, safety and ease of use. ... Building only four Amel 60 yachts each year, Amel ensure the best quality from hand craftsmanship, rigorous in-water testing and commissioning before handover to ...

  9. Amel 50 review: An indoor sailing experience to excite even hardened

    The Amel 50 is a Berret Racoupeau design. Photo: Jean-Sébastien Evrard. Our test boat had the optional cutter rig adding a 24m 2 self-tacking staysail to the 126m 2 sail plan. Setting the ...

  10. Amel Yachts for sale

    Amel. Amel is a builder that currently has 62 yachts for sale on YachtWorld, including 6 new vessels and 56 used yachts, listed by experienced boat and yacht brokers mainly in the following countries: France, Italy, French Polynesia, United States and Grenada. The selection of models featured on YachtWorld spans a spectrum of sizes and lengths ...

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    1998 Amel Super Maramu. US$275,000. Bluenose Yacht Sales & Quality Brokerage | Brunswick, Georgia

  12. Boat Review: Amel 50

    The Amel 50's hull is vacuum-bagged with solid glass below the waterline and a foam core above. Close inspection of hidden areas reveals neatly finished work throughout. The system installations are meticulous. Wiring is conventional, not distributed, for reliability and easy maintenance.

  13. Amel 50: a Revolutionary Sloop-rigged Sailboat

    shipyard Amel Yachts has always been a whole other story. Unconventional and designed to sail all around the world, Amel boats have always stood out for their great seaworthiness and the ability of their designers to combine advanced technical solutions, completely different from those adopted by the other boat builders.. Amel Yachts is used to launch new models only occasionally.

  14. Amels

    COME TOGETHER. Limited Editions. 60 metres. Delivered in 2022. The first Amels 60 with hybrid power and propulsion technology has an Espen Øino exterior design. The yacht was delivered in the spring of 2022. It is not only the Espen Øino exterior that is shaping up. Winch Design was appointed to create the bespoke interiors. Managing director.

  15. Amel boats for sale

    Seller JFA Yacht & Ship 37. 1. Contact. 814-646-7813. ... Amel 64: A Bluewater Cruiser With Choices, Choices, Choices. More Amel Reviews Amel By Model. Amel Super Maramu 24 Listings. Amel 54 10 Listings. Amel Maramu 8 Listings. Amel 55 6 Listings. Amel Santorin 5 Listings. Amel 50 3 Listings. Amel 64 3 Listings.

  16. Amels

    Explore our yachts delivered to date and our future fleet of yachts on order. Interested in our new build yachts for sale? Check out availability in our portfolio. ... Amels 8004. Limited Editions. 80 metres. 2027. In build. Amels 8003. Limited Editions. 80 metres. 2026. In build. Amels 8002. Limited Editions. 80 metres. 2026. In build. Amels 8001.

  17. Our story

    AMEL is a family-owned company that designs and builds ocean-going sailing yachts in La Rochelle, France. Learn about its history, models, equipment, service and the AMEL spirit of quality and comfort.

  18. Amel 60

    The AMEL 60 offers many more advantages than just the extra 10 feet that differentiate her from the AMEL 50: more volume and fittings, more details and modern technology to increase comfort at sea and at anchor. "All of the AMEL spirit" has been enhanced to share even more precious moments with family or friends. With its new yacht, AMEL ...

  19. Amels

    Amels superyachts are built on the solid foundation of craftsmanship and Dutch yacht-building excellence. Sophisticated, timeless classics that combine generations of experience and elegance with evolution and innovation. Aimed at raising the bar and setting a new standard in superyacht ownership. With both our Amels Limited Editions semi ...

  20. VILLAGE LIFE IN RUSSIA

    Perm Krai is really under rated on the tourist map for interesting things to do in Russia. Not only does it offer amazing artistic attractions, but its natur...

  21. THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Perm Krai

    By pope86. This sign as written is located on the river bank and is a great place for photos and going for a stroll with friends... 7. Perm Academic Theatre-Theatre. 67. Architectural Buildings. Perm Academic Theatre-Theatre is one of the oldest theatres of Perm region, as it was founded on the 14th of March 1927.

  22. Lysva

    57726000001. Website. www .molgp .ru. Lysva ( Russian: Лысьва) is a town in Perm Krai, Russia, located in the eastern part of the krai on the river Lysva, 86 kilometers (53 mi) from Perm. Population: 65,918 ( 2010 Census); [2] 71,148 ( 2002 Census); [7] 76,614 ( 1989 Census).

  23. Orda Cave

    Cave diving. Orda Cave (Ординская, Ordinskaya) is a gypsum crystal cave found underneath the western Ural Mountains. The mouth is near the shore of the Kungur River just outside Orda, Perm Krai in Russia. The cave system stretches over 5.1 kilometres (3.2 mi) with around 4.8 kilometres (3.0 mi) over the overall length being under water ...