Re: Amel 54 v Beneteau 55

Danny and Yvonne SIMMS

Hi Brent,

I was in Vuda Point Fiji a couple of years ago and a new Bene Oceanis 55 was alongside me. The professional skipper was delivering her. He had just completed an ocean passage to Fiji. He referred to the boat as a "Bendyto" He was so concerned at the degree of hull flex they had experienced that he was going throughout the boat to check for delamination of stringers before he was prepared to  continue the delivery.

I agree the Beneteau is a superb charter and inshore vessel, that's what they are designed for. This applies to many of the other charter designed production boats. They are not designed for ocean crossings, particularly not short handed. I know there are many doing ocean passages but in extreme weather and massive seas I believe they would be dangerous. Not least because of the wide open spaces in the cockpit and below. Serious injuries from falling are a big risk. Likewise, the hulls are not constructed to withstand extreme conditions. Two years ago a Bavaria that had circumnavigated was overwhelmed in a storm just out from Cape Brett at the entrance to the Bay of Islands NZ. A wave broke over her, the cabin windows blew out and she sank in about 20 minutes. Through incredible skill of the rescue services all the crew were rescued but sadly the skipper succumbed to hypothermia.

Horses for courses



SM 299

Ocean Pearl

On 09 October 2021 at 01:13 "Brent Cameron via" <brentcameron61@...> wrote:

I’ve had the opportunity to do long passages on both Amel Super Maramu’s and a Beneteau Sense 55 back to back and I agree that there isn’t much of a comparison.  While the 55 had a lot more room both below and above deck and would be a much better charter boat (the reason my cousin bought it), at sea they are completely different animals.   That wide open rear deck and seats at the aft corners looks marvellous at the dock but out in big seas or even motoring downwind it’s not a very fun place to be (the exhaust gets you). No way you can really sail it singlehanded as even racking the boat things are way too far away from the helm stations. The winches are used for furling the massive Genoa and that can only be done from one side so again, it’s at least a two person job. It was fast downhill as we saw 10 knots fairly consistently but the motion wasn’t great with a lot of banging of that big flat stern. The cockpit was extremely wide with no proper handholds (same in the galley) so the boat on the lean was actually dangerous as if you fell off the top side to the bottom you’d fly across 10-12’ of space before intercepting something hard to stop (hopefully) you. 

The electrical systems on the Beneteau were bare minimum and sprinkled all throughout the boat making diagnostics much tougher. We had to get into some really tight locations and empty out entire lockers to get at key things which seemed really poor planning. The inverters were really cheap and small (and lasted about as long as you’d expect).  It had three separate battery banks, including one up front for the bow thruster, none in easy spots to get at so I suspect regular inspections would suffer. Engine and generator access was poor and I can’t imagine having to work on the generator at sea. Both were undersized in my humble opinion. Same goes for the winches and brakes. The sail control lines were a mess running all over (and under the deck) and not a lot made sense as you couldn’t trace a line to what it did. With time, you’d of course learn but for new crew (and owners) it wasn’t intuitive like the Amels. You also NEED to be on deck to furl which was disappointing to say the least. 

That said, the boats are designed and intended for completely different missions. If I was doing a charter in the BVI’s or sitting at the dock or anchor for months in end, I’d pick the Beneteau as it’s a heck of a lot of boat (real estate wise) for the money.  That front owners cabin as humongous and the two private cabins are a nice touch with lots of privacy but not a proper sea bunk on the boat.  If I had to sail it out of there to get away from anything stronger than 30!knots, I’d trade two of them for an Amel in a heartbeat. For cruising around the world, for me there is no comparison. I think that a cruising couple should be able to single hand sail and that’s just not possible on the big Beneteau. You’d be sailing around with the sails furled up as a precaution and then wouldn’t be able to get at the extra speed it can carry because of the long waterline. To each their own but I know which I’d pick. 

On Oct 8, 2021, 4:16 AM -0400, ngtnewington Newington via <ngtnewington@...>, wrote:
Fellow Amel owners

I am so happy I bought an Amel 54… I am doing a delivery of a Beneteau 55. You would think that she would out-sail my 54….. No way….She just does not go without lots of wind. It must be that wide stern twin rudder arrangement. It is sticky.
It does not have a pole! So down wind is painful.
Then the twin helms are so exposed I fear falling overboard, no wonder life jackets and harnesses are de-rigeur…do not get me started on the engineering, the finish, the motion at sea….
“Love knows not it’s own depth until the hour of separation” is as true with lovers as with boats….
Temporarily separated from Amelia
AML 54-019


Brent Cameron

Future Amel Owner & Amel Owner Registry Moderator

Oro-Medonte, Ontario, Canada


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