Re: Amel 54 v Beneteau 55

Brent Cameron

I believe the reason they have twin rudders is solely because of the fat stern.  On the lean, a centre located rudder would have to be very long to stay in the water. On my last sailboat, when it went over about 25 degrees of lean the rudder would lose effectiveness and she’d round up (sort of guaranteed it would never capsize even when over canvased.). Two rudders at each corner keeps one rudder submerged always so it makes sense (which is the same reason the Amel 50 and Amel 60 have them) even though they nearly double the drag when the boat is upright such as when sailing downwind. The fat stern also makes some sense as you get a longer waterline (which increases hull speed) on the lean and they plane if driven fast enough. These boats are designed to do better at beam reaches than dead downwind so it is not a bad trade off for them. 

That said, putting the wheel(s) at the the very end of the stern is much more problematic on a cruising boat. I will admit it is fun and provides good visibility when under sail  but as a cruising boat, you aren't at the wheel much on long passages and a protected helm station like on the Amels makes all the difference in the world when conditions deteriorate - as Eric’s stories aptly illustrate!  I can’t imagine being out there in those conditions even with a lifeline on and being in a full immersion suit.   We doubled up on ever watch because you just couldn’t spend 4 hours back there in boisterous conditions even in Caribbean climates (and you couldn’t reef the sails by yourself anyway). The racing boats don’t have their helm stations exposed like that and are either optimized for single handed sailing or have scads of crew available to do the changes and keep things optimized. 

I think Matt’s point is that he doesn’t see the point of twin helms at the ends of the stern for cruising boats and I fully agree with him. Looks great, shows well on test sails but it’s definitely not one of those things like the near centre well protected helm station that you just don’t get until you get “out there” in nasty conditions and then you realize the subtle brilliance of Captain Henri. I notice that the Amel 50 hasn’t abandoned that enclosed helm station even with the twin rudders. 

My cousin loves their Beneteau  as they do fully crewed day charters with it and it has a huge cockpit to hold scads of paying customers and give them the thrill of open cockpit sailing in small chunks. It even allows all the customers to pretty much take over the entire cockpit area and the skipper can have their own little corner with good visibility. For that purpose, it’s a way better design than Amel’s system but that’s not the same use case as Amel’s.  Like all things on a sailboat, it’s a compromise and you need to understand the pros and cons of both and compare it against how you actually will use your boat to see if it makes sense for you. 

There were things I loved about that Beneteau - that huge cockpit would be a wonderful place for all of my 6 grandkids on the hook but it was completely suboptimal for my intentions (long term cruising in different optimal locations separated by inhospitable oceans away from marinas with small crews) so isn’t remotely the boat for me no matter how pretty she was at the dock. My cousin absolutely loves the Beneteau as it is perfect for their uses and it never leaves the Caymans even in hurricane season. It the weather is tough, they don’t have customers that want to be out in it anyway.  Good boats for both circumstances that would be lousy at doing each other’s missions. I wouldn’t slag the Beneteau for doing well what it was designed for. Neither would I want to cruise on a IMOCA 60. That’s sailing. 


On Oct 10, 2021, 7:33 AM -0400, Brent Cameron <brentcameron61@...>, wrote:


Brent Cameron

Future Amel Owner & Amel Owner Registry Moderator

Oro-Medonte, Ontario, Canada

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