I was lucky enough to have a Paris trip rostered this week so I decided to visit the Amel team and see where my amazing yacht was born.
I had sent an email which was replied to immediately by Antoine Roiton sales manager. He suggested a tour of the factory at La Rochelle followed by lunch and a sea trial of the new 55. He also gave me an extensive list of near by hotels and B&B's.
It was one of the most fun days I've had for a long time. Looking at the manufacturing of the hull and woodwork was incredible each yacht taking 5months to hand craft. The boat is then put in the pool for a month with 40hrs run on the engine and gen and all systems extensively tested. The same team that made the Super Maramu are still working hard; some have been there for 30+yrs.
The sea trial with Boris was conducted in 20kts of wind and choppy seas conducted in a light shirt eating oysters and sipping white wine behind the hard enclosed dodger. The 55 still feels like a Super Maramu but there is a lot more space, light and headroom. The systems are still simple with improvements such as placing the sail drive motors within the mast to keep them out of the weather, moving the fuel tank to increase living space, a higher guard rail etc to name a few. She can now sail 30-35deg to the wind instead of 55deg of the S.Maramu. The mizzen can be set by remote control as well as the huge dive platform!
At the end of an enjoyable day I met Maud and bought a bunch of spares such as a 4ltr can of black gel coat for re caulking my lines on the deck, a new fuel stick, curtain runners, blocks and of course a couple of hats.
It's great to see the company in a very healthy state producing a very high end and practical yacht true to the Amel tradition. The 55 is a bigger more modern and easier to live in Super Maramu which is exactly the perfect evolution of an already brilliant yacht. The only difference without Henry Amel is that if you want things slightly differently they will accommodate you with a choice of options for cabin arrangements and colours.
I'd recommend a visit if you can. Just sailing with Boris gave me some useful tips for operating my S. Maramu.
SV Jovic SM #310