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Old 10-12-2018, 13:07   #1
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Smile Amel 50 - Build Thread

I would like to share the building process experience of our next boat, Amel 50. I hope some of you find it informative.

As a background, I was a computer engineer. I've been boating for about 26 years. I love spending time on boats, cruising or just being on anchor. I am very hands-on and value function over fashion.

My wife and I started with powerboats (27ft Chris Craft, 42 Ocean Alexander and a 550 Ferretti). I really thought that the Ferretti would be our last boat as it was amazing (twin 900hp MAN engines, gyro stabilizer, 26kts cruise speed, great quality, etc.) but, as usual, things change. About 6 years ago, we decided to start exploring more distant locations, which necessitated a trawler or a sailboat. We looked at trawlers (Nordhavn, etc.) but we decided against them early on. We were more interested in wind power.

We had no sailboat experience... So, we took an on-boat sailing course on a Catalina 30. We really enjoyed it and could manage the boat with ease. We later purchased a Catalina 22, which I still thoroughly enjoy, to practice on. I am convinced that a small monohull sailboat is the best way to learn how to sail, as the boat lets you know about every mistake you make.

We started looking at monohulls but later focused on catamarans and purchased a Lagoon 450F, as it was available locally at the right time and price for us. In our opinion, the Lagoon 450 is a great buy. We found it very livable and quite forgiving, as long as we paid attention to the forces exerted on the boat. Catamarans do not heel. They just go faster and faster until something bad happens.

It tooks us over a year to learn and prepare the L450 for long distance cruising and we then crossed the Pacific and spent 3 seasons in the S. Pacific. It was an absolutely incredible, life changing experience. I cannot recommend it enough. We met a lot of amazing people and saw breathtaking remote locations. My, and hopefully my wife's, goal is to sail the S. Pacific again.

Here is the Lagoon 450 blog we did for our family: EtVoilaAdventures Blog
Unfortunately, we did not finish writing about our last year cruising, New Zealand to Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

Again, things changed and life forced us to stop cruising, sell the L450 and return home, with a plan to continue after 2 years in the Med. Selling our boat was a difficult decision, but cruising on the L450 helped us realize our requirements/desires for our next boat.

Our Requirements (in no particular order):

Safe boat of around 50ft and about 5-10 years old.
The majority of time I sail with my wife and this size monohull feels perfect to me. Almost all of our previous boats had two engines, which made them easy to control. Handling a single engine boat in tight quarters can be somewhat stressful.

3 stateroom, 2 heads.
Enough space for family and friends.

Better quality than the Lagoon.
No offense to Lagoon owners... For the price, the Lagoon is great. We wanted something more for our next boat.

Protected helm station.
We found it miserable to be in an unprotected helm during the frequent storms in the S. Pacific. I certainly did not want my wife out there. After we enclosed the L450 helm, we were much hap-pier.

All controls/lines at the cockpit.
During bad weather, we want to handle almost everything without leaving the cockpit. Of course, this might not be always possible.

Easy to maintain.
As I am hands-on, I like to be able to get to things without having to disassemble half the boat. Also, the easier it is to see things, the easier it is to locate or prevent problems. This desire eliminated several of the better quality boats.

Low exterior maintenance.
We like the look of exterior wood but we do not want to maintain it. This requirement eliminated many of the better quality boats as most have teak decks.

Master stateroom aft.
We wanted a large master stateroom. We spend 1/3 of the day there and we got spoiled from the L450 master (whole starboard hull). This eliminated few boats, including unfortunately the Amel 55.

Monohull, or maybe another Catamaran.
The L450 was amazing at anchor and we always felt safe in it even in bad weather. We did not care much for the loud bridge deck slapping noise and the jerky movement. We saw our share of bad weather around New Zealand.

With these requirements in mind, we looked at several higher quality brands, like Amel, Oyster, Hallberg Rassy, Discovery, Najad, Privilege, etc. and visited few factories. In the end, the Amel stood no top. We were particularly impressed with the built quality and attention to detail. We also liked the Amel philosophy. They build boats that are safe, easy to maintain, and easy for a couple to handle. I think my jaw dropped when I first entered the Amel 50 engine room. What a concept!

After I focused on Amel as a company, I really wanted to like the Amel 55 as I could find it used. I was actually looking forward to sailing a ketch. But, for us, the 50 seemed like a better fit. It felt better, bigger and brighter inside. It is hard to explain but we boarded the 50 and the 55, one after the other, and there was no doubt on our mind where we wanted to spend more time on.

Here are some links with Amel information:
Amel History
The Cult of the Amel

Lars Reisberg in his blog "No Frills Sailing" posted a great article about his visit of the Amel factory. He also gave me permission to use his great pictures for this thread. Thank you Lars!


Amel 50 videos:



We've visited the Amel factory 3 times and we've taken a lot of pictures and videos. In addition, our Amel contact person keeps sending us pictures of our boat getting built. I wish I were living closer to the factory… Anyway, I will post as many pictures as possible with comments.
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Old 10-12-2018, 13:55   #2
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Re: Amel 50 - Build Thread

When we first visited the Amel factory we did not know what to expect. When Henri Amel passed away in 2005, he donated his factory to the workers. I do not know if it was our imagination, but all the workers we saw, they seemed to care about their product. We got a very good feeling about the company and the shipyard.



The naval architect of the new Amel's is Olivier Racoupeau of Berret Racoupeau Yachts Design. We found him to be a great person and very down to earth considering how successful and busy his firm is.

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Old 10-12-2018, 14:02   #3
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Re: Amel 50 - Build Thread

Here is the Amel 55 hull mold.



Here is the Amel 50 hull mold with gelcoat on.



The mold from the outside. The shipyard has several buildings and they are all very clean and organized.

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Old 10-12-2018, 14:11   #4
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Re: Amel 50 - Build Thread

Deck molds.









Laying down the fiberglass before vacuum bagging the hull.
The Amel hulls and decks are foam cored down to the water line.

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Old 10-12-2018, 14:34   #5
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Re: Amel 50 - Build Thread

Amel inserts backing plates (wood and metal) in the mold for every part that is attached. The plate thickness and size depends on what is mounted. I had them install few extra pad eyes on my boat and they wanted the exact location so that they would install the required backing plates.



I am jumping ahead, but here is the backing plate for the stanchions. It is made of hardwood and a thick metal plate. The stanchion bolt goes through the overlapping hull lip, deck lip and backing plate. Unless the bolt breaks, the stanchion is not going anywhere... Not to mention that Amel uses solid railing, so all the stanchions on each side are welded together.



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Old 10-12-2018, 14:47   #6
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Re: Amel 50 - Build Thread

Here is the famous Amel fake teak deck mold. It looks almost like teak but it is colored fiberglass and requires no extra maintenance. For us, this is a great feature. It cuts down the deck glare and gives the boat a rich/warm look. I saw a worker doing the deck teak black lines by hand. It is not an easy or fast process.



Final product on the 50 deck.



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Old 10-12-2018, 14:50   #7
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Re: Amel 50 - Build Thread

Awesome boat!

Man, I should have become a computer engineer

Matt
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Old 10-12-2018, 14:53   #8
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Re: Amel 50 - Build Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by funjohnson View Post
Awesome boat!

Man, I should have become a computer engineer

Matt
Thank you Matt. And, thank you for sharing your travels in your Vlog!
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Old 10-12-2018, 15:14   #9
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Re: Amel 50 - Build Thread

Here is the underside of the deck being prepared. The framework is to support the removable ceiling panels. Amel uses the same method to attach anything removable. This means, no screws to remove to detach panels.



Here is the underside of our deck. The pipes, I believe, are for wire runs.

The Amel 50, like most Amel boats, has 5, or 6 watertight compartments, so there are no low lying open holes between these areas. The watertight areas are: two in the bow locker (anchor chain area and bow locker), forward cabin, engine room, master cabin, and lazarette. I am not sure about the forward stbd cabin and forward head. These areas can be isolated in case of an accident.









Amel 50 watertight areas.

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Old 10-12-2018, 15:30   #10
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Re: Amel 50 - Build Thread

Here is the bow locker anchor chain area. Notice that the chain area is fiberglassed on the hull. Amel fiberglasses anything that touches the hull. This way furniture become structural and there are no creaks. This is one of the things I noticed when I first sailed the 50. There was no creaking!





This is the bow thruster area in the bow locker.





Finishing touches in the bow locker area. All gelcoated.

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Old 10-12-2018, 15:33   #11
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Re: Amel 50 - Build Thread

Here is the bow thruster area. It has a removable cover.



The retractable bow thruster from below.



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Old 10-12-2018, 15:56   #12
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Re: Amel 50 - Build Thread

Here is our hull out of the mold. I can see that the bulkheads have been installed.





Here is the keel waiting to be installed.



The deck is ready also.



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Old 10-12-2018, 16:03   #13
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Re: Amel 50 - Build Thread

In the meanwhile, the wood shop has prepared most of the furniture/cabinets. We chose the light oak wood because we liked the open feeling it gave. The American walnut wood looked amazing though. Amel matches the wood grain on their cabinets.



Wood shop.



Here is the light oak interior.





Rudders are ready also.

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Old 10-12-2018, 16:14   #14
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Re: Amel 50 - Build Thread

The Amel masts are getting ready also. In my eyes, they are a piece of art. We had the opportunity to talk to the boom maker and he kept talking about how strict Amel is about quality and schedule. He said that it is very difficult to become an Amel supplier.







This is another 50's mast. We did not get the camera option. I did not think a mast top camera will be as useful as eyes at the bow. This was the only way to navigate bommie-full shallow atolls in the S. Pacific. The top of the mast moves too much.





Parts waiting to be installed on the mast or deck.



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Old 10-12-2018, 16:26   #15
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Re: Amel 50 - Build Thread

The Volvo D3-110 is waiting.



Second 24V 110A externally regulated mastervolt alternator with serpentine belt for the house batteries.



The 100 L/H Dessalator Duo watermaker



The bow thruster is getting assembled.

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