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Old 10-02-2016, 19:24   #16
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Re: Talk Me Out of an Amel

Amel is a well-designed and well-built boat. With quirks.

These quirks are not incidental -- Henri Amel was a quirky guy, and this shows in his designs. Specifically:

Strange center-cockpit layout with the helm up inside the dodger and not centered. Insufficient storage for offshore passagemaking.

Headroom problems. Henri was a short guy, so he didn't worry about hitting his head. When you look at an Amel with an eye to buying, do yourself a favor and walk quickly forward and down the companionway. If you find yourself lying on your back at the bottom of the ladder and seeing stars, you may want to consider a different boat.

The artificial teak decks are an eyesore. You might want to build into the purchase price the cost of redoing them in white textured fibreglass.

The underbody is good enough, in a conservative way. The boat won't perform as well as most of her colleagues in the well-built, offshore, fin-keeled category (e.g., Swan, Stevens, Baltic, Oyster). This would be a deal-breaker for me, as it was for a good friend who sold his Super Marimu because it didn't sail all that well. Part of the problem is that mast-furling mainsail, which almost might as well not be there, for all the power it supplies. Consider refitting with a full-battened, slab-reefing mainsail.

As has been pointed out, the boat is designed specifically for short-handed sailing, which is great if your wife and you intend to sail without crew. But if you were to buy the boat in France, say, and sail it to America, it's really not set up for the 5 or 6 member crew that would make that trip comfortable. And even if you you were in a peaceful anchorage and wanted to invite a few couples over for a sun-downer, the cockpit is really not that comfortable for entertaining (this, from somebody who has been to a few such parties aboard Amels).

On the other hand, if you decide to buy an Amel, I think going to France and buying one there would be a great idea! The dollar is really strong right now, so you'd get a relatively good deal (compared to in the US/Canada), plus you'd get to be in France, which (except maybe for Paris) is a fantastic place to be. Suppose you go to La Rochelle and decide not to buy the boat; so you're out a plane ticket, but you're in La Rochelle! This is not a bad thing.

You suggest you might want to sail around the world, and the passage from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean is one of the easiest parts of that trip, downwind in the tropics for most of the way. And the Eastern Caribbean is not a bad place to end up! From there to the East Coast of the US is downwind through some of the best cruising grounds in the world (budget some time for the Turks and Caicos and the Out Islands).

If you buy the boat in France, you pay no VAT (it's already been paid), and the US import duty is only about 1.5%, which you don't pay until you get the boat back to the US. That's 1.5% of the value at the time of entry, which is way less than 1.5% of the value when you bought it (wear and tear, you know). We actually did this once, though with a Rival, not an Amel. We entered the US at Charleston, where they don't do this, much. Had to teach the revenuer how to give us a good deal.
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Old 10-02-2016, 21:17   #17
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Re: Talk Me Out of an Amel

TScott8201,

The best argument I can give you against the Amel is your avatar photo, which you had a reason for choosing. If that is what you like, you will find the Amel's performance stodgy. You may find its styling extremely old fashioned, as well.

If the bloody thing makes both of your hearts go pitty-pat, buy one. I think getting one that is already US wired and tax paid is a good concept, but you should run the numbers anyway, if the USD stays strong relative to the Euro. If you would have it delivered, then query some of the delivery skippers who advertise on CF what they would charge to deliver it to the east coast. It will be a considerable chunk of change. Another reason to buy locally.

Unsolicited advice: if you are even thinking of buying new, boy start getting bids on everything you'll be buying to commission her, as buying a new boat really adds to the cost. Imo, mo' bettah let someone else stand the first couple of years' depreciation.

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Old 10-02-2016, 22:20   #18
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Re: Talk Me Out of an Amel

I wonder how many that have contributed have actually been on an Amel, sailed or sailed with an Amel? Over the last several years I've sailed in company with 4 or 5. I have good friends that own one. Originally I was not a fan of the look but over the years I have grown to respect them quite alot. Not much storage? I actually think that is one of their strong points, notice you don't see crap strapped all over the deck on Amels. In regards to sailing, they may not be race oriented but they definitely aren't slow in the real world of passage making.
We left the Philippines last year in the company of approx 10 boats. The weather was on the nose with short high and sharp seas. I can tell you out of all the boats including the cats the Amel was handling the conditions the best, that well enclosed center cockpit combined with 53 feet made their passage the most comfortable ( dryest) and the fastest of all the boats, the surprise to me was the heavier more traditional boats in those seas seemed to suffer the most, punching through waves.
I believe their sail plan to be very good for their design breif ( ocean passage making for a couple) and their furling systems seen to work very well. There water tight bulk head is very reassuring and engine room access is great.
From a functional perspective the Amel is a good choice for world cruising. Are Amels as good as their owns believe? I'm not sure, the owners are most loyal biat owners I've ever met. They know ( believe) they have the best boat on the seven seas.
Its hard to argue that they are not a very good boat for the purpose they were designed for.

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Old 11-02-2016, 02:56   #19
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Re: Talk Me Out of an Amel

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Sailing an Amel is not truly sailing as it is nearly like driving a car - not only the wheel is offset but you are also sealed from the elements (in a cadillac convertible way) by how deep you sit, facing fore (sic!), behind the windscreen, under the roof ...

Having friends on an Amel is not such a great idea - the boat is not truly meant for charter nor for big parties. It is a mom and pop comfortable nest for two. Neither can you call 'all hands on deck' as they are easily driven by one person, from the ultimate safety of that am deep cockpit.

You will not kick your foot against anything - the deck is clean and flat and secured with extra high, fixed handrails. Errrrrr, wait, wait! I meant to say that false teak looks disgusting!!!! And needs no maintenance!

You buy very little bragging rights as compared to buying an Oyster or Hallberg, unless you are French, which reverses the whole game.

You are unlikely to end up famous: do not expect your keel to fall off, your rig to end up overboard nor your rudder to hit the quadrant, rip itself off the boat and go fishing.

You will over time start to stop understand why cockpit engine access seemed to you such a great idea once.

You will roll more than others in rolly anchorages. You will look at cats anchored nearby and sigh.

You will sail only slightly faster than we do in our double ended 26'er.

Some CF members will label your boat ugly others will claim that French boats are made of papermache.

You will have problem making up a signaling fire out of interior wood when you crash on a deserted island.

Hehehe. As you can see, I am running out of ammo by now.

My advice? GET ONE.

Love,
b.
Good points. :-)
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Old 11-02-2016, 03:20   #20
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Re: Talk Me Out of an Amel

Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Sailing an Amel is not truly sailing as it is nearly like driving a car - not only the wheel is offset but you are also sealed from the elements (in a cadillac convertible way) by how deep you sit, facing fore (sic!), behind the windscreen, under the roof ...

Having friends on an Amel is not such a great idea - the boat is not truly meant for charter nor for big parties. It is a mom and pop comfortable nest for two. Neither can you call 'all hands on deck' as they are easily driven by one person, from the ultimate safety of that am deep cockpit.

You will not kick your foot against anything - the deck is clean and flat and secured with extra high, fixed handrails. Errrrrr, wait, wait! I meant to say that false teak looks disgusting!!!! And needs no maintenance!

You buy very little bragging rights as compared to buying an Oyster or Hallberg, unless you are French, which reverses the whole game.

You are unlikely to end up famous: do not expect your keel to fall off, your rig to end up overboard nor your rudder to hit the quadrant, rip itself off the boat and go fishing.

You will over time start to stop understand why cockpit engine access seemed to you such a great idea once.

You will roll more than others in rolly anchorages. You will look at cats anchored nearby and sigh.

You will sail only slightly faster than we do in our double ended 26'er.

Some CF members will label your boat ugly others will claim that French boats are made of papermache.

You will have problem making up a signaling fire out of interior wood when you crash on a deserted island.

Hehehe. As you can see, I am running out of ammo by now.

My advice? GET ONE.

Love,
b.
Hello Tscott8201,

I agree with most of Barnakiel's comments. ... with the following objections :-)

Our SM is great for 4 people on a long run; but again few crew meet our standard of cleanliness and tidiness. Usually, on day 2 I start identifying the first of the many human sacrifices.. by day 4, I chuck them overboard. However, we can seat 8 for dinner in the cockpit. PLUS, the off duty crew can sleep in the cockpit if they wish, the length being in excess of 2 meters... or on the sun bed over the aft cabin.

False teak is like false teeth.. some look better than others. On our boat, we painted the "caulking lines" off white. Looks great if I say so myself.

Signaling fire? Fully agree... you will not be able to remove any wood unless you have a chain saw... our boat is 27 YO and the wood work is still pristine.

I have a few good pointers is you send me a PM... including the entire refit of ours and where to find a good one. :-)

GL with your search.
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Old 11-02-2016, 03:33   #21
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Re: Talk Me Out of an Amel

A good friend of ours had an Amel 40 (46?) in Portugal and has had it for quite some time. Bought in Europe, sailed it to Trinidad, spent 7 years living aboard then sailed it back to Europe. Sure, the boat has quirks (what boat doesn't?) but having watched SV Delos, I'd be included to go for a SM for our next boat. Or a Bavaria Open 40 cat.

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Old 11-02-2016, 03:53   #22
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Re: Talk Me Out of an Amel

Greetings,

I own an Amel Sharki 41. Most people like the boats they own. I would never criticize another man's choice of boat. I feel my Amel is a good off shore boat. Last season I solo sailed from Panama to the Marshall Islands, 9,000 miles. In May I will depart here bound for South Africa, about 10,000 miles.
After 13 years of full time cruising I sold a smaller boat, 3 years ago, and bought the Amel specifically for long distance down wind passage making. This is what I like to do.
My Sharki is much smaller than the boats you are looking at. I have a friend with a 55. That is a fabulous boat.
Cheers.
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Old 11-02-2016, 04:07   #23
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Re: Talk Me Out of an Amel

The looks are not every ones cup of tea and that fake teak is really dreadful.

But they are very well designed and built for their purpose - which is to take a couple, possibly with a two kids or two guests around the world in safety and comfort. They are also designed to be reliable and easy to maintain. They do all of this very well without any compromises.

For comfort in a rolly anchorage you just need to deploy the flopper stoppers from the end of the boom and the spinnaker pole.

As for buying from new, it works out cheaper than it looks as they are compared to almost any other new boat on the market already very well equipped. The list of stuff you need to add on is much smaller. Also the new price included, last time I saw their stand at a boat show, one or two weeks of hand over during which the new owner will learn everything about how his boat works and the maintenance required.

Amel have essentially been building just the one design forever - improving it a little bit by little bit for the one purpose described above.

If your objective is to sail around the world in safety and comfort, then the Amel is probably one of the best boats you can get.

They were basically designed and refined by one guy with one obsession who knew what he was doing over a long period of time.
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Old 11-02-2016, 04:42   #24
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Re: Talk Me Out of an Amel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Akka View Post
Amel is a well-designed and well-built boat. With quirks.

These quirks are not incidental -- Henri Amel was a quirky guy, and this shows in his designs. Specifically:

Strange center-cockpit layout with the helm up inside the dodger and not centered. Insufficient storage for offshore passagemaking.

Headroom problems. Henri was a short guy, so he didn't worry about hitting his head. When you look at an Amel with an eye to buying, do yourself a favor and walk quickly forward and down the companionway. If you find yourself lying on your back at the bottom of the ladder and seeing stars, you may want to consider a different boat.

The artificial teak decks are an eyesore. You might want to build into the purchase price the cost of redoing them in white textured fibreglass.

The underbody is good enough, in a conservative way. The boat won't perform as well as most of her colleagues in the well-built, offshore, fin-keeled category (e.g., Swan, Stevens, Baltic, Oyster). This would be a deal-breaker for me, as it was for a good friend who sold his Super Marimu because it didn't sail all that well. Part of the problem is that mast-furling mainsail, which almost might as well not be there, for all the power it supplies. Consider refitting with a full-battened, slab-reefing mainsail.

As has been pointed out, the boat is designed specifically for short-handed sailing, which is great if your wife and you intend to sail without crew. But if you were to buy the boat in France, say, and sail it to America, it's really not set up for the 5 or 6 member crew that would make that trip comfortable. And even if you you were in a peaceful anchorage and wanted to invite a few couples over for a sun-downer, the cockpit is really not that comfortable for entertaining (this, from somebody who has been to a few such parties aboard Amels).

On the other hand, if you decide to buy an Amel, I think going to France and buying one there would be a great idea! The dollar is really strong right now, so you'd get a relatively good deal (compared to in the US/Canada), plus you'd get to be in France, which (except maybe for Paris) is a fantastic place to be. Suppose you go to La Rochelle and decide not to buy the boat; so you're out a plane ticket, but you're in La Rochelle! This is not a bad thing.

You suggest you might want to sail around the world, and the passage from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean is one of the easiest parts of that trip, downwind in the tropics for most of the way. And the Eastern Caribbean is not a bad place to end up! From there to the East Coast of the US is downwind through some of the best cruising grounds in the world (budget some time for the Turks and Caicos and the Out Islands).

If you buy the boat in France, you pay no VAT (it's already been paid), and the US import duty is only about 1.5%, which you don't pay until you get the boat back to the US. That's 1.5% of the value at the time of entry, which is way less than 1.5% of the value when you bought it (wear and tear, you know). We actually did this once, though with a Rival, not an Amel. We entered the US at Charleston, where they don't do this, much. Had to teach the revenuer how to give us a good deal.
Very good advice. I don't think these boats have any serious downsides other than these quirks, and the aesthetics of them. In my opinion, you would have to try really hard to design a more ugly boat, but beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, so if you are not turned off -- then go for it. I doubt if there is any boat in this class in the world, which is better sorted out for world cruising. On top of that, the cost is very reasonable -- actually, cheap, for a boat of this class and so well equipped.


Concerning the power system --

Most of the world uses 230v, 1-phase domestic power, and it is a superior system using half the amps and so that much less risk of fire and other problems. I would leave it like that, personally, unless you plan to never leave the U.S. and Caribbean.

Most battery chargers will accept 110v as well as 230v shore power, and you just power on board AC systems through an inverter.

Obviously your AC appliances will all need to be European standard, but you can equip the boat when you guy it, and order anything you need in the future from Amazon.

If you MUST have some 110v power on board, I would just add a small parallel system with a couple of outlets.

Conversion of an existing 230v system is not really feasible because the amperage required for 110v is double. So it's replacement, not conversion. You will rip out and replace all the wiring, breakers, etc., plus ALL the existing installed AC gear, only to regret it bitterly the moment you make landfall in a country with normal 230v power.


Depending on the vintage of the Amel you eventually choose, it may or may not have a modern charger/inverter on board.

If it doesn't, then it's a fairly straightforward upgrade -- just one item of gear to replace. You'll want a charger inverter with inverter section large enough to power everything on board. The standard size is 3000 watts, and most large cruising boats will want to have about double that, so you can gang two of them (which is better than buying one big one, because of redundancy in case of failure).

THEN, install a separate 110v charger. Most European shore power ports are 50 amp Alinco or similar so will be ok for 110v, but you should check. European shore power is typically 16 amps, so you might find some shore power ports are unsuitable for the higher amperage needed for 110v.

Most Amels are cruised world wide -- I guess a large percentage of them circumnavigate. So I guess most of the boats you will find will already be set up to deal with all kinds of power.
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Old 11-02-2016, 04:56   #25
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The French do know how to make a good fit for purpose boat.. and That is what the Amel is.. not for racers and tweakers..
Functionality over form..
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Old 11-02-2016, 05:06   #26
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Re: Talk Me Out of an Amel

Not sure which model Amel you're asking about but if it's post 2000 then they are a great cruising system.
Well thought out, well designed and well built. Remember, it's a cruising system not an AC72.
Anyone who complains about its sailing performance isn't a cruiser. The ugly truth about cruising to windward, is just how much motor sailing you'll really do. Unless you enjoy tacking back and forth for days on end all the while getting bashed, you'll start the engine, wind in the headsail, sheet the main in and drive the boat to your destination in the minimum time.
And then there's the light air days when the engine is used to keep you moving.
Sailing performance on an overloaded, live aboard cruising sailboat? Self delusion.
The engine and machinery access is to die for. If you're taller than 6ft, try contorting yourself into any of the competitors engine compartments.

If sail performance is really your thing, get a J boat and cut your toothbrushes in half. You'll sail fast and high but long hot showers will be a distant memory.

In short, get the Amel.
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Old 11-02-2016, 07:33   #27
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Re: Talk Me Out of an Amel

Thanks for all the responses, lots of good info here. A few things confuse me, firstly, the discussion about lack of storage. Every article I've read concerning Amel makes a point right off the bat of describing just how much storage the boat really has. Additionally, watching the S/V Delos videos seems to confirm that these boats have tons of storage space. The last video I watched showed them provisioning for 7 people for 6 months and they managed to get it all on board with room to spare. We will be a crew of 4 so the storage doesn't seem to be an issue but I'll keep it in mind.

As for sailing performance, this does not bother me all that much. I'm more interested in traveling than traveling fast. My second choice in boats would be a big Lagoon cat so speed is obviously not a priority for me. I live in a rush now, I see no reason to carry that lifestyle over to my cruising.

The headroom comment does give me a bit of pause as I am 6'2" and my boys will be just as tall as I am in short order. I'll definitely keep this in mind when looking at boats.

I also don't mind the fake teak. I am a function over form kind of guy so as long as it holds up and is low maintenance then I am fine with it. I also think that the Amels are a very pretty boat but I do understand that's a totally subjective thing.

On the electrical issue, I should clarify that I am an electrical engineer by trade so I'm not real concerned with it, it just seems like something that will need to be worked out and not really a big deal.

Finally, I am open to changing my mind. That's why I started this thread. I'm honestly still considering other boat makes and model, I am just very impressed with what I have seen from Amel.

Tom
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Old 11-02-2016, 07:47   #28
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Re: Talk Me Out of an Amel

I think things like storage, interior height, etc. - you must consider your reference point!!!!

Objectively, Amels have heaps of storage and all newish ones (Mango onwards) have full standing height throughout. Subjectively, this all depends on how much dirt you will drag onboard and how tall (or fat) you are. Definitely, some seriously obese sailors will not get thru those watertight doors ... ;-)

I am at times employed on bigger boats and will not tell you how many times I have hit my head when walking in and out of Oyster's cabins - and I am only 6 ft tall while the Oysters tend to be 65ft long and upwards ...

There are objective and subjective measure to everything. Measure YOUR boat against YOUR own yardstick.

Even if you find at a point that an Amel is not what suits you best, at this level of budget/quality you have still countless fantastic choices. Rejoice.

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Old 11-02-2016, 08:02   #29
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Re: Talk Me Out of an Amel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tscott8201 View Post
Thanks for all the responses, lots of good info here. A few things confuse me, firstly, the discussion about lack of storage. Every article I've read concerning Amel makes a point right off the bat of describing just how much storage the boat really has. Additionally, watching the S/V Delos videos seems to confirm that these boats have tons of storage space. The last video I watched showed them provisioning for 7 people for 6 months and they managed to get it all on board with room to spare. We will be a crew of 4 so the storage doesn't seem to be an issue but I'll keep it in mind.

As for sailing performance, this does not bother me all that much. I'm more interested in traveling than traveling fast. My second choice in boats would be a big Lagoon cat so speed is obviously not a priority for me. I live in a rush now, I see no reason to carry that lifestyle over to my cruising.

The headroom comment does give me a bit of pause as I am 6'2" and my boys will be just as tall as I am in short order. I'll definitely keep this in mind when looking at boats.

I also don't mind the fake teak. I am a function over form kind of guy so as long as it holds up and is low maintenance then I am fine with it. I also think that the Amels are a very pretty boat but I do understand that's a totally subjective thing.

On the electrical issue, I should clarify that I am an electrical engineer by trade so I'm not real concerned with it, it just seems like something that will need to be worked out and not really a big deal.

Finally, I am open to changing my mind. That's why I started this thread. I'm honestly still considering other boat makes and model, I am just very impressed with what I have seen from Amel.

Tom

Concerning storage (and engine rooms) -- no series produced cruising boat I've ever seen has nearly enough of this. Particularly deck storage. Dashew's Sundeers have almost decent engine rooms, but that's the only exception I've ever seen. The Amel has more than average storage, and it's a 52' boat, after all, so you will be ok with that.

Concerning sailing performance:

That's a complicated issue. A sloop rig boat with a lot of SA/D will be much faster in certain conditions. But offshore conditions are something different, with different priorities. In stronger weather, a boat with less SA/D and a lower rig will often be faster, not to mention far easier to handle, and safer. Ketch rigs have more windage and will not point as well, but have a number of huge advantages for world cruising.

In my opinion, the Amel rig is just about perfect for that kind of sailing. You might not win any races around the cans in light weather, but Amels do absolutely decent passage times on ocean crossings. Not "stodgy" at all.


Since you are ok with the aesthetics and fake teak and other quirks, it sounds to me like the Amel is the perfect boat for you

When I was in the market last time to buy a boat, seven years ago, the final choice was down to Oyster, Moody, or Amel. The Amels I looked at were far better equipped, and far cheaper than the others. I would have gone that route, except for two issues --

* I was not ok with the aesthetics (or layout below), unlike you.
* the boat didn't have enough berths, for my expected use (Oyster and Moody have one additional cabin).

Since these things are not a problem for you, I would say go for it.
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Old 11-02-2016, 08:23   #30
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Re: Talk Me Out of an Amel

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french piece of crap. support your local organic boat builders!
The OP stated he was buying used. So what's your point?

The OP was looking for constructive advice.

SV Delos on youtube have demonstrated the toughness of their Amel. It gets used hard and only has corrective maintenance. Ie when something breaks.

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