Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] Shopping for a Maramu


Mike and Rebecca,

Here are a few things to be aware of...

Firstly, whilst I would be more cautious of buying another brand of that vintage, with Amel you have a few crucial differences. One is that you really sense they were building boats to be as good as the existing knowledge allowed, not to cut corners to be more profitable. The second is they were very experienced and well ahead of the game with fibreglass even in the 1980s. The third is that they were very sensible with the design; there are many features such as the way the hull is bonded to the deck, the bulkheads all laminated to the hull, very few leak problems etc that mean they age well.

Having said that they are an older boat. If you're shopping you'll probably see a few tired and neglected ones with outdated gear and drooping headliner. Others (like mine!) have updated sail handling, electronics, engines headlining etc. The deck layout and hull shape is modern enough yet traditional enough to make a great cruiser. 

You probably already know all this to have got to this stage so.....

The early ones like mine have manual sails and no bow- thruster, the later boats (from about 1984 I think) have electric furling sails. Mine is 1981 with Harken deck gear (except the winches) and a fully battened mainsail. On a later one you would be more sticking to the Amel equipment.

The early ones have a single spreader rig, later ones double spreader.

All these boats (up until about 1997) have a problem with foam backed vinyl. The same applies to many other quality brands like Privilege, Westerly etc. I understand that about 1997 the Amel vinyl was changed to have a felt backing to reduce the problem. What happens is over time the foam breaks down to dust and the lining falls down. If the boat you choose hasn't been fixed properly prepare for a big job to fix it (but it can be fixed).

If have never heard of any problem with keel bolts or serious osmosis.

The original Isomat masts seem very good.

The fuel tanks are stainless steel and potentially may have corrosion inside just because of the age, but mine is fine so far and is 1981. Some owners have installed inspection/cleaning hatches in the top.

The deck is balsa cored. In my 1981 boat I can see the balsa from underneath where the hand rails bolt on the coach-roof. It looks perfect and is small blocks of end grain balsa, all made the proper way to avoid rot. Be wary of retrofitted deck gear that may not have been bedded properly.

As on any boat there is the potential for rot inside from rainwater water leaking in. I had rot in the marine ply core of the floor of the forward deck lockers. That is the roof of the anchor locker and I think was caused be 30 years of condensation. All fixed now without too much difficulty. There is a lot of very good quality mahogany inside and the timber work is excellent but if you see discoloured veneer from water leaks then investigate for any signs of rot. This shouldn't be a problem other than on a very neglected boat. On any boat an important area to check for rot is the mast compression post. There are clever design features on the Maramu to prevent water running down the mast into the boat, but always an important area to check.

This is not complete and a surveyor who knows Amels is good. Basically apart from the vinyl there aren't major problems, just hard to find a good example.

Good luck,

John, Maramu #91, 1981 Popeye, Port Douglas, Australia

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