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Old 25-02-2015, 11:38   #91
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Re: Good alternative to Amel?

Since we have talked about the unusual helm position of the Amel, here is another boat with a similar helm position. The Nicholson 48 (1978 model).
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Old 25-02-2015, 11:53   #92
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Re: Good alternative to Amel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
Believe me, I was also right at the helm when squalls hit for the first couple of years with the Sundeer.

The thing is that it is a non-event every time. After a minute or so I just put the AP back on and a little later go back into the pilothouse. Now I just check for other traffic before the squall hits and put on the radar.

Don't forget that these boats can handle so much more with an apparent ease than most smaller boats. We have experienced the difference many times and in extreme cases have met boats underway that are in survival mode while we're having cocktails in de cockpit. This was a 50 footer with clipper bow that was more below water than above.

Indeed. Once you go big, you never go back. Size has a huge effect on seaworthiness.

I have frightened nearly to death more than one sailor used to smaller boats, by sailing in heavy weather without being near the helm. It happens regular on Channel crossings that we have a nice beam reach or broach reach in gale conditions with big seas, and the boat is blasting along at 10+ knots. The pilot copes with this just fine -- better than I could. We can relax under the spray hood, out of the flying spindrift, and leave the helm to itself, and enjoy the ride.

I'm sure the Sundeer, with a 64' waterline, is even another level better.

On the previous boat, despite the long keel and heavy displacement, you would never trust the pilot in conditions like this -- the order of the day is active helming with white knuckles and intense concentration, and strapped into the cockpit with tethers and safety harness. Exhausting on a long passage.
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Old 25-02-2015, 12:29   #93
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Re: Good alternative to Amel?

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Indeed. Once you go big, you never go back. Size has a huge effect on seaworthiness.

I have frightened nearly to death more than one sailor used to smaller boats, by sailing in heavy weather without being near the helm. It happens regular on Channel crossings that we have a nice beam reach or broach reach in gale conditions with big seas, and the boat is blasting along at 10+ knots. The pilot copes with this just fine -- better than I could. We can relax under the spray hood, out of the flying spindrift, and leave the helm to itself, and enjoy the ride.

I'm sure the Sundeer, with a 64' waterline, is even another level better.

On the previous boat, despite the long keel and heavy displacement, you would never trust the pilot in conditions like this -- the order of the day is active helming with white knuckles and intense concentration, and strapped into the cockpit with tethers and safety harness.Exhausting on a long passage.
I agree with all above and enjoyed reading your comments.

On the points above (I bold for notice), I felt the same way when at the helm of a squirrelly 40 foot IOR racer (typical IOR shape) going downwind at night in strong winds and in large seas (very active helm required, white knuckles due to conditions, intense, exhausting).

So it is not just long keel heavy displacement boats that require the active helm at times under some conditions. By the way, on that race another boat (a large trimaran) capsized (wind and waves) and the crew was luckily rescued by USCG helicopter at night near us.

I would much prefer to have the Sundeer 64 under me, and if so, I would like "Otto" to steer as much as possible.
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Old 25-02-2015, 13:35   #94
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Re: Good alternative to Amel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by warrior 90 View Post
Have a look
2008 AMEL 54 - Blue Water ketch Sail Boat For Sale -

That feels like comfort and home

Thanks for the pacience
One of those days may be I should start writing a book

That a lot of money for such a small heavy boat.

Dimensions

LOA: 17 ft 2 in
LWL: 15 ft 4 in
Length on Deck: 16 ft 5 in
Displacement: 17500 kgs
Ballast: 5100 kgs
Headroom: 2 ft 0 in

Maybe something in the translation.

Nice boat
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Old 25-02-2015, 14:02   #95
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Re: Good alternative to Amel?

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Originally Posted by glenn.225 View Post
That a lot of money for such a small heavy boat.

Dimensions

LOA: 17 ft 2 in
LWL: 15 ft 4 in
Length on Deck: 16 ft 5 in
Displacement: 17500 kgs
Ballast: 5100 kgs
Headroom: 2 ft 0 in

Maybe something in the translation.

Nice boat


The LOA feet should be "meters" which would be 17.2m = 56.43045 feet

Headroom should be 2 meters = 6.56168 feet (6' 6")

___________

Simple mistake going from metric to "English" measurements. I have made a similar mistake yesterday when I was looking for a boat with at least 6 FEET of headroom (as I am 6' tall) and came across a boat with less than two meters headroom. At first I thought that was not enough, as I often think of meters as being roughly equivalent to yards, but that is obviously not the case. One is 36 inches and the other over 39 inches. So two meters is more than six feet and that boat had 6' 4" headroom, enough for me. Those centimeters do add up.
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Old 25-02-2015, 14:48   #96
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Re: Good alternative to Amel?

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Originally Posted by Eleuthera 2014 View Post
I know this boat.

Big additions with hard dodger extension aft to include the base of the mizzen mast, solar panels, dinghy rollers on aft cabin, full canvas cockpit enclosure. The owner does 99% of his own maintenance including 5 coats of Coppercoat last year. He is NOT atypical of a large segment of Amel owners.

Interior might be original... if I remember correctly. Nice boat!
I thought so too
Worth considering and true value
4 additional solar panels + 3 on the arch x 250 WP
That is some serious headache free power
That fact alone is worth the thought a part of all the other added benefits.
The quality of the space it creates below is fantastic.
I could imagen this also being great on a Super Maramu
You did a complete refit...what do You think on the tecnical side ?

Since that subject is may be not directly related may be the privat message is the proper channel

Further more I have not noticed any visable changes.
The 54 is very complete besides the very few factory options

PS: I spent many hours on the Amel forum to analize the issues
I liked that a lot.....thatīs a fantastic comunity and makes everything look a lot easier and managable + another important reason on my like and donīt list
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Old 25-02-2015, 16:40   #97
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Re: Good alternative to Amel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steady Hand View Post
To Further the Discussion I respectfully submit the following, with the understanding that we all see things differently. By sharing these different views, we may learn or modify our own views of things.
______________

The mention of the unusual position of the Amel helm (slightly offset to port, on the forward bulkhead of the cockpit) keeps getting mentioned as one of the "odd" features of an Amel boat.

To this issue, I must say I consider this a matter of one's Point of View (POV).

Obviously the helm position is different from most sailboats that have a centerline pedestal helm in either an aft cockpit or center cockpit.

To some sailors it is so different that it appears unlikeable.

Some have remarked on the visibility and questioned its position based on issues of visibility during docking or sailing.

I like that aproach. I started with asking myself what would be the difference and what would be the negatives.

Again, I see this as a matter of a difference of Point of View.

From my Point of View, (my opinion) the helm seems to be in an optimal position for several reasons (some I mentioned earlier, such as being in a center-cockpit allows one a better view of the forward half of the boat).

One of the criticisms is that it is forward in the cockpit (not in the aft section of a cockpit like seen on most center cockpit boats). Another is that it is "off to the side" in the cockpit, rather than on the center line as is seen in most boats.

When I look at the Amel helm, I see it differently.

I see the helm is about 12 inches or 30 Centimeters to the port side of the cockpit or just about a foot or so off the centerline of the boat. To me, that is very good placement because it allows the seated helmsman to have a more clear view directly ahead of him, past the mast.

In fact, that "offset" seems like a better place rather than on the centerline, as it gives the helmsman a more direct and more clear view forward to the bow. I like that.

Looking at the helm position, I don't see this as being too far off the centerline. It is not like the helm is on the edge of the boat, it is just a few inches (12 or so) from the centerline.

I see that as analogous to the difference of seeing a movie from two seats that are side-by-side but near the center of the theatre. The view of the scene/screen is not that different from the two seats. But, having the seat that is not directly behind a tall person (the mast) gives one a more clear and direct view of the screen without having to tilt one's head to the side all the time.

_________________________

What about the position on the bulkhead, closer to the windscreen?

As I see it, because it is on the bulkhead, the view from the helm is MUCH closer to the dodger glass, which should give a much better view (more panoramic) through the glass than if the viewpoint/helm/wheel is further back from the dodger glass windscreen.

Why?
I liken that to the difference that one sees when one looks through a car windshield/windscreen from the driver's position steering wheel (close to the glass) versus the view from the back seat through the same line of sight (further from the glass the view is more restricted).

When looking through any opening (or window) it is better to have your eyes closer to the lens/window/port/glass in order to have a better view of the scene and wider angle of view.

What about viewing the sails above?
The Amel boats I have viewed, appear to have a clear view of the sails above the helm too (through clear overhead portlights in the hard dodger).

NOTE: The Amel boats are very similar in styling but there have been some changes and difference in the hard dodger and the helm seats over the years. I will post a few photos to show the offset seen in the 1997 SuperMaramu 2000 and the helm of a Amel 54 year 2006. Similar but a little different. Looking at several years/models, the helm "offset" appears to vary a bit from about 12" to about 16" or so (my eyeball guestimate).

Anyway, that is how I see it.

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I like that aproach. I started with asking myself what would be the difference and what would be the negatives.
Amels have a long history. Found it hard to beleave that something important like sail trimming is not on their top priorty list.
Here a big THXs for Your precice observations. I was able to picture it in my mind and could follow Your description. Here I came to an important conclusion for myself.
Itīs not good or bad....itīs just different
Honestly...I did not observe in that much detail till now.
My thoughts were based on the history. The rest is instinct based on that I noticed on all the models the different designs of the dodger for up wards visability in regards combined with a different design of the seat and I took it for granted observing that they had the problem allways present and known the consequences towards design
I think the precice position of the seat and the seat design it self is very important to cover all the angles of visability.
This aproach is awesome

Answering to the Nicholson 48
Till now this is the closest I have seen to my interpretation of Amels and my DOs and DONīT lists. Did a quick check on the net and also in their forum. Seems there are some remarkable cruising qualities on board.Even so some mention the crew capacity below is not in harmony with the cockpit space wich to me would not be of importance. Donīt plan on huge crowd. But here again Iīm atracted by the helm being in the same position.
Strange... about the same epoque they showed up with that cockpit lay out. Did they sail or get drunk together....what were their thoughts at the time. More so Camper & Nicholson is associated with the most pure english racing yacht history.
Also worth while mentioning the unusual energy system on board...No generator. Design features are towards uncompromised pure cruising yacht and I like the general interpretation. She shure is good looking and I can imagen at the time she costs an arm and a leg....only 42 built with 1 modification. Unfortunatly the sail handling is not as advanced as the Amels. Also my engine etc service friendly issue is not covered...no info.
On the other side...a lot of boat for the money so there is room to moove to bring her up to date. With 48Feet she is a little smaller than my +50 feet idears put I think she is a go any place and comfortable.
I was lucky. In the 80s I happend to know a guy ...just hauled out and was looking for a cheeper dock solution. He did a complete conversion and refit of a Nicholson 45 racer sloop to cruising at my dock. He was absolutly nuts about this particular model. Took him more than a year and was a great experience for me.
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Old 25-02-2015, 17:00   #98
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Re: Good alternative to Amel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by glenn.225 View Post
That a lot of money for such a small heavy boat.

Dimensions

LOA: 17 ft 2 in
LWL: 15 ft 4 in
Length on Deck: 16 ft 5 in
Displacement: 17500 kgs
Ballast: 5100 kgs
Headroom: 2 ft 0 in

Maybe something in the translation.

Nice boat
With that foto I wanted to show my points of few towards cockpit not the model 54
Shure I like the 54 but I have allmost everything I need on my list covered with a Super Maramu.
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Old 25-02-2015, 18:16   #99
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Re: Good alternative to Amel?

"In fact, that "offset" seems like a better place rather than on the centerline, as it gives the helmsman a more direct and more clear view forward to the bow. I like that.


What about the position on the bulkhead, closer to the windscreen?


As I see it, because it is on the bulkhead, the view from the helm is MUCH closer to the dodger glass, which should give a much better view (more panoramic) through the glass than if the viewpoint/helm/wheel is further back from the dodger glass windscreen"


What you say would be true if most sailboats had little steering wheels like a car and sailors sat/stood directly behind them without moving their heads while steering, but that's not how it works. Most sailboat wheels have a larger diameter so when you need good visibility forward, you can sit on whichever cockpit coaming is appropriate, well off centerline, and still easily reach the wheel and steer the boat with an unimpeded view forward. With a centerline wheel, you can move to a position that allows you to see down EITHER side of the boat as required while still steering, but when the wheel is off center, you have the potential for a great view down one side, and NO view at all down the other side.

While sailing, as the sailboat heels, if you are standing/sitting behind the centerline wheel, your head will naturally be offset to the upwind side of the centerline of the boat. You may have noticed those helm seats that look like a big hump, so the helmsman can sit on a relatively level spot as the boat heels. That puts his head and line of sight forward offset from the alignment of the mast on its upwind side, thus improving his view. While sitting or standing on a tilted platform, we don't align ourselves perpendicular to the surface, we strive to align ourselves with the vertical. That means an Amel helmsman seated 12 inches to the left of centerline, in strong winds on starboard tack, will naturally tend to move his head to the right, so it is directly behind the mast, right where you seem to think is a bad place for it to be. I don't think that's a real big deal because if he's smart he won't accept that and will constantly move his head from right to left just as a helmsman with a centerline wheel will do to avoid a blind spot.

I just don't see any advantage for an offset wheel on a sailboat and I can see several disadvantages, the biggest being limited visibility down the starboard side of the boat while docking or while attempting to sail the boat well. But the advantages of a centerline wheel are numerous and that's why most sailboats, by a factor of about 1000 to 1, are designed and built that way.
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Old 25-02-2015, 18:25   #100
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Re: Good alternative to Amel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steady Hand View Post
I really like the Amels.

But here is another that is interesting for some similar style and length.

Outbound 52



See the photos on this linked page.

Outbound 52-gallery
How can a body stay in those beds?? LOL
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Old 25-02-2015, 18:31   #101
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Re: Good alternative to Amel?

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What percentage of the time under way do you suppose you will be sailing in weather so bad that the autopilot can't handle it? Probably less than 1%, so it doesn't make sense to me to justify an odd position for the helm just to be more comfortable for that relatively short amount of time. I've been exposed to rain, wind and spray too, and I once even went for a couple of short swims across my cockpit so I am not under the illusion that it's always comfortable while offshore. Also, you don't need to have a bulkhead mounted, off center wheel in order to have a sheltered, comfortable, position from which to steer. I think that a bulkhead mounted helm is a fine for a motorboat or large ship that you drive while mostly level, and that's why most motorboats are designed that way, but Mr. Amel isn't the only sailboat designer who had some good ideas and pretty much every other sailboat designer throughout the whole history of sailing ships and yachts put the helm on the centerline and I presume that they all had their reasons too.

I see all choices for helm positioning as compromises, from tiller steering in a completely exposed position, to an aft cockpit boat with no dodger or bimini and one big wheel or two wheels port and starboard, to a center cockpit boat with an enclosure and a traditional wheel on centerline, to the bulkhead mounted helm position of the Amel, to a completely enclosed wheelhouse or bridge, and we all get to decide which is the best "fit" for the way we like to enjoy boating. That bulkhead mounted position would be fine for "driving" the boat under power like you would a big truck or a trawler, but IMHO it's less than ideal for the enjoyment of sailing and I put that at a high enough priority so, despite all the other things I love about Amel's, for that reason alone I wouldn't want to own one. But I understand that others feel differently and do think they are very fine boats, but just not for the way I like to enjoy boating.
I read an article years ago by a famous naval architect really trashing the Amel design as a offshore seaboat.They look nice and float..but......
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Old 25-02-2015, 18:42   #102
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Re: Good alternative to Amel?

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A couple of Amel features I think are nuts include:

1 x 900 litre fuel tank
1 x 900 litre water tank
All the grey water drains into the bilge.
Whew stinko!
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Old 25-02-2015, 18:53   #103
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Re: Good alternative to Amel?

I recommend the "Little Harbor53CC" by Ted Hood--------now you have a sailboat!
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Old 25-02-2015, 20:49   #104
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Re: Good alternative to Amel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jtsailjt View Post
"In fact, that "offset" seems like a better place rather than on the centerline, as it gives the helmsman a more direct and more clear view forward to the bow. I like that.


What about the position on the bulkhead, closer to the windscreen?


As I see it, because it is on the bulkhead, the view from the helm is MUCH closer to the dodger glass, which should give a much better view (more panoramic) through the glass than if the viewpoint/helm/wheel is further back from the dodger glass windscreen"


What you say would be true if most sailboats had little steering wheels like a car and sailors sat/stood directly behind them without moving their heads while steering, but that's not how it works. Most sailboat wheels have a larger diameter so when you need good visibility forward, you can sit on whichever cockpit coaming is appropriate, well off centerline, and still easily reach the wheel and steer the boat with an unimpeded view forward. With a centerline wheel, you can move to a position that allows you to see down EITHER side of the boat as required while still steering, but when the wheel is off center, you have the potential for a great view down one side, and NO view at all down the other side.

While sailing, as the sailboat heels, if you are standing/sitting behind the centerline wheel, your head will naturally be offset to the upwind side of the centerline of the boat. You may have noticed those helm seats that look like a big hump, so the helmsman can sit on a relatively level spot as the boat heels. That puts his head and line of sight forward offset from the alignment of the mast on its upwind side, thus improving his view. While sitting or standing on a tilted platform, we don't align ourselves perpendicular to the surface, we strive to align ourselves with the vertical. That means an Amel helmsman seated 12 inches to the left of centerline, in strong winds on starboard tack, will naturally tend to move his head to the right, so it is directly behind the mast, right where you seem to think is a bad place for it to be. I don't think that's a real big deal because if he's smart he won't accept that and will constantly move his head from right to left just as a helmsman with a centerline wheel will do to avoid a blind spot.

I just don't see any advantage for an offset wheel on a sailboat and I can see several disadvantages, the biggest being limited visibility down the starboard side of the boat while docking or while attempting to sail the boat well.

But the advantages of a centerline wheel are numerous and that's why most sailboats, by a factor of about 1000 to 1, are designed and built that way.
Hmmm…..

With respect, and acknowledgment that we all have a right to our own opinion, I disagree.

Just because most boats are made with a certain design element, does not make them necessarily "better" in my view of things.

For one example, I think it is now common to see "centerline pedestal walk around queen berths" on boats over 40 feet long. That may be increasingly common now, even demanded by buyers, because they look like a bed in a home and they are easier for a couple to enter at night while in a marina. But, that does not make it "better" as a feature for a blue water cruising boat, in my opinion.

Would I own a boat with a centerline walk around queen berth/bed? Sure. But, I also see the disadvantage of it during a long voyage when the boat is heeled or in heavy weather, even if more people today see it as an advantage.

For another example, it is now very common to see a spade rudder on sailboats. That to me is one possible design, but NOT my first choice for a "go anywhere blue water boat." I would prefer a more protected rudder on a skeg or even two rudders on two skegs. In fact, I like the idea of two rudders with skegs that can also help support a boat that is drying out. Those may have some performance tradeoffs compared to a single long (unprotected/vulnerable) spade rudder, but there are advantages I value more.

As for the the other bolded points you made above?

I think you are considering the offset as an extreme placement, while I do not see it that way. The helm is just a few inches off set from the centerline. When one says "offset to the port side" I think too many think "far off to the side," when that is clearly demonstrated (by my photos) to NOT be the case. It is actually rather CLOSE to the centerline. To me it appears much closer to centerline than most critical remarks would make one believe. On a boat with a 15' 3" beam it is about 12-16 inches offset. You may see that as a big difference, I do not.

If the boat was an aft cockpit boat, with a very wide beam and two wheels, one to each side of the boat, I would think one wheel or the other would have difficulty that you speak of seeing down the boat's length or over a cabin or wide dodger.

BUT, the Amel is a center cockpit boat, with the helm forward in the cockpit with what appears to me to be a very good helm position with very good visibility toward the front of the boat, BOTH sides of the boat, something I do not see on many other boats where it is difficult to see over the cabin top or over or past a dodger. To me, the Amel wins this one easily.

And, as for "sitting on the cockpit coaming on one side (which is it to be, leeward or windward ?), I don't find those positions necessarily comfortable or preferable for cruising either or long turns at the helm. Coamings are seldom comfortable (on most boats I have seen), with most designed to keep water out of the cockpit or to hold winches, not designed as seating.

A proper "seat" on a helm position with a back support is my preference, as shown in the Amel designs.

Anyway, I don't expect to change your mind. I have enjoyed the discussion though, and thank you for keeping it civil, despite our disagreements.
_______________

Now for a little tongue in cheek humor:

Of course, there is another possibility why Mr. Amel might have designed it that way, with the helm offset a bit to the port side. Perhaps he intended the boat to circumnavigate while on a long port tack (or starboard tack if you like sitting to leeward).

If the boat had been built in the UK, I wonder if the wheel would have been on the starboard side (right hand drive) instead of port side of the centerline?

_______________

How to compare views?

To compare views, I think the boat in comparison should have a full width dodger and be of comparable length. So, 50-53 feet LOA. Some might be the traditional single wheel on centerline, while others might have dual wheels in an aft cockpit.

Here are a few photos to show that point of view. In these cases, the photo is taken from the helm position (looking forward over the aft cockpit) towards the bow. Notice how difficult it is to see past the dodger and the distance to the bow is much greater. In fact I don't think one can even see the bow or foredeck or the forward two quarters of the boat from this helm position. One boat is a Beneteau 51 and the other is a Jeanneau 53 LOA. In both cases the boats have relatively "sleek" and low cabins, unlike some other designs which have higher trunk cabins. In both cases, the helmsman would be exposed to the sun, spray, wind if that far back from the dodger.
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 06-04-2015, 19:49   #105
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Re: Good alternative to Amel?

We've had our Super Maramu for almost 3 years and have been cruising full time for the last year with our 15 year old son and 13 year old daughter. We've put about 6000 miles on her so far. We're currently in the Galápagos with really slow internet so this may have already been stated, but I'm not clear if the OP (or some of the other responses) have sailed on or even been on a Super Maramu. I find it fascinating how many people readily tell me about how 'wrong' many of the Amel features are (and alternatively even some how 'perfect' they are) yet they've never been aboard one much less sailed one.

I was skeptical of the helm position when we bought the boat, but now am quite happy with the end compromise. However, for those who look at it and assume they are going to hand steer for extended periods while sitting at the helm, I can't see doing it. Honestly the dodger is about 4-6 inches too low and you have to hunch over to see out the windshield....very hard on the neck and back. I hand steer occasionally while sailing for fun and of course for docking/anchoring, but virtually always hand steer with the front half of the top folded forward, standing just behind the dodger well protected from the shoulders down. It offers great visibility for all operations and is quite comfortable. But as most folks have stated, I think it's going to be pretty rare conditions REQUIRING hand steering. We've yet to find conditions (even steep short cycle following waves on the rear quarter in 30-45 knots coming down the Caribbean coast of Columbia) where 'Otto' even came close to struggling. It's a pretty easy boat to balance out reasonably well, and take a lot of load off the autopilot. Other boats at the same time we came down the Columbian coast later talked about it being the most uncomfortable or nervous they'd been on their boats and a few had autopilot failures, with a few accidental gibes. We were a bit surprised, as we had a ball in those conditions. The boat felt rock solid and the autopilot never even hiccuped once (actually I played with both autopilots, the linear drive on the rudder head and the rotary drive behind the wheel and both were rock solid). I hand steered a few times on that run just to feel how she handled it and try some different strategies, but more out of curiosity than any real need.

Frankly though, based on some of the other comments, I'm not sure helm position is the reason an Amel isn't the right boat for the OP. I think you're looking for a 'sportier' boat than the Amel. The Amel is a solid, easily maintained, short-handed (I regularly set and take down the poles and twin headsail setup solo without getting my wife out of bed) comfortqble bluewater cruiser. But honestly, Beneteau 471's and 50's and similar sized Jeanneau's, etc. regularly leave us behind in lighter winds. And, if you want to eke every degree beating to windward, the gunwale mounted chain plates and the resulting wide sheeting angle of the Amel will drive you bats$&t crazy. However we often found in the Caribbean, we were leaving for the next island looking forward to a fun sail, when many of those other boats were bunkering down waiting for a "better weather window". Then we'd finish off the crossing by anchoring and cleaning up the boat without stubbing toes on a myriad of fittings/tracks on the side decks, while celebrating with doing a load of laundry onboard as one of us went to clear into the new island! Finally, I'd leave for a long crossing solo on my boat with confidence tomorrow if I had to. Those seem to be the compromises that needs to be reconciled, not wheel location.

I'd seriously wonder what upgrades/updates the OP'ers Beneteau 50 needs to get offshore ready, buying and selling boats rarely makes you money, and the devil you know...... Other boats that I'd consider would be some of Hallberg Rassey's (HR46 - the one I sailed on was quite nice, but certainly more of a handful short handed than ours, particularly rigging downwind sails and poles), some of the French aluminum monohulls we've sailed with seemed fun to sail (Allure, Garcia's etc), Oysters & Jeanneau's (we've sailed in company with a number of them crewed by couples and the owners always seemed very happy with them, but I'm not sure the Jeanneau's would be much different than the current Beneteau 50?). Most of these (other than the Jeanneau's?) are certainly at a different price point than the Amel though.

No boats perfect, they're all somewhere on the spectrum of compromise of cost, performance, reliability, maintain ability, workload, comfort, etc, etc.

Just my opinion though.....YMMV
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