Re: 2026 Downwind Circumnavigation Boat Choice: Amel 50 sloop or Amel 55 ketch?

Nick Newington

Hi Fred,

I have no experience of the Amel 50, but my biased opinion is that the ketches are more suitable for a circumnavigation.

This is not to do with the ketch rig as such but to the overall ethos of the vessels. Although I like the ketch rig. I can drop the genoa and fold it on deck alone (not very well) but it is already the maximum weight I can lift. The lower centre of effort is also great at sea….but this is not my point.

The Amel production has evolved from an ocean cruising boat, designed to withstand the rigours of long distance sailing to vessels that are more voluminous, wider with higher topsides.

In my opinion the older ketches offer better compromises  for ocean cruising including:

Sea berths V double bedrooms.

Moderate freeboard, allowing crew to climb up the topside from a dinghy or floating pontoon. Climbing up the back steps in a large sea is no fun…V the contrary

Moderate beam V very wide vessels

Extremely rugged skeg mounted rudder V twin rudders that have no skegs. 

C drive and protected location of the prop, that is deep in the water. My 54 can motor in very high seas. I suspect the new 50 would chop air in such conditions.

Tough rubbing strake that also helps climbing up from a dinghy V no rubbing strake.

The new 50 is more voluminous and certainly more lux but I suspect as with all things there has been a trade off, and for a circumnavigation I would go for an older ketch.

As I say I am a biased 54 owner and believe that the 54 is really a first class ocean cruiser


S/Y Amelia

AMl 54-019

On 16 Jan 2022, at 16:08, Fred Vitale <fredvitale@...> wrote:

I'm facing a pivotal decision on whether to purchase a new Amel 50 (contract delivery already Spring 2025) or a used Amel 55 (availability very limited and unknown in current market).  The big question I have is for any members of the Amel family who have owned an Amel ketch (53/54/55) AND have also spent time aboard the Amel 50 and could attest to the difference between the ketch versus sloop rig.  Are the ketch’s universally accepted advantages of sail balance/stability and comfort a "game changer" recognizing reefing an Amel is easily achieved by push button from the protected cockpit?  Should this be a critical decision factor for our planned circumnavigation?  I have sailed a Beneteau 473 offshore many years and understand the advantages of the sloop in terms of speed and upwind performance but those are not our priorities for this trip.  Any insights to this important decision are welcome.


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