Re: Introduction

Brent Cameron

I’m in a similar situation to you and have definitely got myself tangled up in Courtney’s time to pivot issue!  I’m after a good 54 but I started out looking for SM’s so have been following the forum closely for years and have compiled a list of posts differentiating them.  I don’t have a lot of the original attributions but much of this is from Joel Potter (great resource if you are buying a boat in the US side of the world), Olivier Beauté (definitely the best surveyor and knows just about every Super Maramu ever built personally) and many trusted long time members who went through the same time (as well as my meagre experiences sailing on older (but beautiful) Super Maramu’s and Super Maramu 2000’s.  This wasn’t intended to be publicly posted and were my comments to myself so I apologize if I got anything wrong and take full responsibility for that.   In any case, here it is such as it is:

Super Maramu Notes
The Maramu (Mara' umu) is a south wind in Tahiti and Bora Bora that can reach up to 50 kts
Cruising World named it Boat of the Year along with Best Full Size Cruiser (over $400K) in 2000.
The SM 53 was a boat designed by Captain Henri Amel with the capable assistance of Jacques Carteau who was Amel’s right hand man for his entire working life. As you may know, Henri Amel was almost completely blind and Carteau was the one who took Amel’s ideas and put them on paper. The SM 53 was the culmination of everything Henri Amel, a very experienced offshore sailor, had learned. This was the last boat Amel and Carteau created together. The SM 53 is an exceptionally sea kindly boat, probably the best, by a small margin, compared to the Amel 54 and 55. I had several occasions to be at sea when I would have preferred to be anywhere else, and I mean anywhere, in all three boats and the SM 53 is the most predictable, linear and vice less of all three, again by a small but noticeable margin. While the boat has no pretense as a racer, if you have good sails and you know how to use them, the SM 53 performs well in any breeze above about 6 knots and absolutely flies in big breeze. I have been quite secure in wind of 40 knots plus very comfortably rolling off a 220 miles a day, in total control. In adverse seas the boat doesn’t pound much and, again, remains predictable and easy to manage at all times by a competent cruising couple. It is hard to come to grief in any Amel boat if you don’t do anything deliberately stupid. Moving boats to place them in boat shows means restricted schedules because to not show up on time is not an option. Neptune knows this and would usually punish me for past evils with really crappy weather. I never felt anything more than healthy levels of fear when at sea in an Amel.

A comfortable liveaboard and the easiest of all three to own and take care of, the only problem today is in finding a good SM 53 that has been well owned and competently cared for its entire life and not messed up by unwanted or ill-conceived ‘improvements’ .
The youngest one is 14 years old and one bad owner can quickly erase the efforts of several good ones. (Joel P)
There were 479 Super Maramu's. The French take August off so the MODEL year (usually) changes in September so a boat built in Sept of 2002 would generally be a 2003 Model. The SM 2000 started at 238 (Belavita formerly Ouled) but the first prototype one was 232 - without the blue floor. 233 was a regular SM (I've been on it - Mona Rae now Iteration). Ouled (now Bella Vita) was the last boat Henri owned and remained the demonstrator for the Y2K model until 2009. In late 2002, they also added double RACOR filters and Triple rollers at the bow. The Redlines started in 2003 and were denoted by a redline around the waterline. They had a few extras thrown in: 100-110HP Yanmar (vs 80), 13 Batteries instead of 9, More powerful alternator, Glossy Varnish inside, Special 3 lamp fixture above saloon table. 
The Serial Numbers up to the end of 1996 follow the format of 0030017SMxxx with leading zeros if necessary. The Serial Numbers after 1996 are fairly easy to decode. For instance, the HIN for hull number 387, BeBe, is AMLSM387I203. The digit between the 7 and 2 is the letter "I". This letter indicates the month that the hull was laid up. The 2 following the I means it was built in 2002 and the 03 following that means it is a 2003 model year. 
Comment on “totaled” Super Maramu’s that I won’t post publicly as some of them are still out there and were never properly repaired (two were completely rebuilt properly by Amel and as good as new).  Another is floating around the middle of the Atlantic)
The Super Maramus are evolutionary; The Amel trade mark dual headsails (genoa & balooner) is present on all boats. The early ones had a 2 throat foil on the forestay. Means hoisting both headsails on a single halyard. The later boats have a 3 throat foil on the forestay which allows a mouse to trip a second halyard dedicated to the balooner. It helps but given that most of my sailing will be done downwind and the twin sails can be furled together, I've not bothered upgrading to the 3 throat foil.
(From Olivier) Of course, the more recent an SM is, the more equipped with options she may be... The options of the first SMs were only concerning some electronics. Here are the main "options", more or less available on an SM, according to its hull number and first purchaser's choice:
- Water maker 60l/h 24V or 60l/h 24V/230V or 160l/h 230V
- Second autopilot drive
- Second full autopilot
- Seagull freshwater filter
- Holding tanks (1 or 2)
- Second deep freezer
- Diesel fuel heater (air)
- Fresh air ventilation pack (9 outlets, 6 blowers)
- Mosquito screens for all hatches and portholes
- Latches on all inside opening floor boards
- Spinnaker halyard
- SPURS rope-cutter
- Large automatic fire extinguisher for engine room
- Strobe light (in masthead nav tri-color light
- Companionway hatch securing stainless steel board
- Large 24V/230V inverter (2.5kVA)
- Set of cockpit cushions
- Set of aft deck cushions
- Cockpit sun awning
- Half cockpit winter awning
- Full cockpit winter awning
There has been many changes on electronics throughout the years:
The basic standards were:
- B&G nav computer with Sonic speed, wind and depth
- Furuno RADAR
- Autopilot

All the other electronics were optional (in fact upon purchaser's request). Our good friends from USA were sometimes keen on Raymarine products.
Main changes in the standard SM:
In 1993:
- Batteries in the passageway, 9 instead of 5 in engine room
- 1500 rpm 230V generator (ONAN)
- 3 groove head sail foil
- VOLVO engine (TMD22 or TAMD22)
- Bigger mizzen staysail
- Vinyl headliner with felt (backing) instead of foam
- BRUNTON Autoprop

In 1999 (SM 2K):
- New floor boards (GRP or Synthetic wood instead of teak veneer)
- Electric toilets
- Slightly different galley lay-out
- New upholstery (Suedine)
- YANMAR 4JH3-HTE engine (maybe from 2001 on)
- Most of these SM had the comfort package (optional): 
- 13 batteries, 
- Second battery charger, 
- Bigger 24V alternator, 
- Dual RACOR pre-filter for fuel
I missed some items for sure and Joel may remember more. Of course, throughout the years, some older SMs have installed newer options, so make sure to get a detailed list of equipments before having a pre-purchase visit. Have a good day. Olivier
Genset: early ones were 2 cyl of German manufacture and were unreliable. This was quickly changed to Onan 6.5 KW. Ultimately, a Onan 7.5 KW unit was fitted.
Watermaker: early boats had 25 liter per hour. Last boats were 100 l/hr some as high as 160 l/hr.
Main engine: started off with Perkins 80 HP then Volvo 80 HP (same engine... different color), then came 80 HP Yanmar then Yanmar 100 and last units are 110HP.
AC/Heating: early boats had 2 zone: main cabin & salon. Later boats added the forward cabin. All boats have 3 zone electrical heating.
Electronics: old boats had a GPS where the display was 30 cm X 15 cm (6 in X 12 Inches) and only displayed Lat/Long. The vast majority of boats had B&G instruments. The electronics evolved over time.
This "ground issue" gets very confusing to most people. Let me add to the confusion, or maybe add some be the judge:
- The Amel Bonding System is NOT a GROUND.
- Amel did not connect any electronic ground posts to the Amel Bonding system.
- Further confusing the issue, 
Pouchon (Amel's electronics subcontractor) on some Amels connected a yellow/green wire to 
the ground terminal on some instruments, but terminated the other end without connection to anything. I have known 
some owners and some "expert" technicians to connect this yellow/green wire to the Amel Bonding System.

- Raymarine has no idea what an Amel Bonding System is and really never defines "Ground" in any manual I have.
- As someone who at a very young age (vacuum tube) built electronic radios, stereos, etc., I would connect the cases 
("ground") of components together to reduce RFI.
- I have no idea what Raymarine wishes to accomplish, but I assume that since they have to write manuals that are universal, 
they don't want a customer service issue for RFI. I have seen some RFI Floating Platforms disguised as cruising boats and 
when anchored nearby have been affected by the RFI they broadcast. I assume Raymarine develops an installation manual 
that reduces customer service issues from even these RFI floating platforms.

I hope the above helps more than it hurts...if not, maybe it was entertaining.


CW Bill Rouse
The AC "Earth" is not part of the Amel Bonding system. The two systems were designed to stand alone. However, when Amel chose the Calpeda 220VAC Saltwater pump for Climma AC, an unintended connection between the two was created because AC Current safety necessitates that the steel pump case to be connected to Earth and electrolysis necessitates that the steel saltwater pump be connected to Bonding. Since the pump and motor are steel and connected to one another, there is a crossover between the two systems.

This situation is a good reason to install a March Mag-Drive Pump rather that a pump like the Capelda 220VAC pump. Choose that March pump wisely because of the normal unpainted steel on most of their pumps. If you buy one of these do something to mitigate rust/oxidation. Bill R
Very, very interesting that Amel built most of the saloon and forward cabin pass through/ducting even on those boats that neither have forced air nor heating from the factory! Since the hard part on any unheated sailboat is obviously finding the space for these thick air ducts, I guess Amel already did well over half of the job compared to many other sailboat makes.

This means that the decision to go Hydronic for non-heated/non-force-air-ventilated boats is not as self-evident as I had thought; those wanting to install an Airtronic would not be starting from zero at all. But people wanting to install Hydronic could also try and profit from the existing Amel buildout, so it's a benefit for them as well.

Now, as to the ducting to the aft cabin: SM's with the heating or the forced-air option have a nifty, thick stainless steel tube that runs fore to aft, across the aft head, above the toilet seat. This is the duct that connects the furnace in the cockpit locker to its exhaust in the aft cabin, immediately above the A/C exhaust. When the Airtronic gets turned on, this tube gets warm, providing a bit of warmth to the area. At some point after hull #350 was built, Amel installed a subsidiary sliding door/grilled exhaust longitudinally on the tube so that some warm air can issue inside the aft head, for even better heating, if so desired. 
The Super Maramus are built very strong. The boat can be set on it's winged keel without jackstands (although not recommended for obvious reasons) and the skeg rudder can also support the entire weight of the boat in case of grounding. The boat is also designed to be lifted out by attaching the crane to its chainplates as a picture of Bill Rouse's BeBe being loaded onto a transport ship in the middle of the Indian Ocean shows!
All AMELS, since 1967, have been built with AMEL designed biaxial fiberglass cloth. This is a flat woven fiberglass cloth that is much stronger in sheer and tension than conventional mat and woven roving laminates. It is lighter, stronger, and better. The hull is molded in one piece incorporating one piece/non-spliced lengths of biaxial cloth running from bulwark, down through the keel/centerline, and up to the opposite bulwark. In the same fashion, the next series of laminates run from the bow lengthwise to the stern, again, employing one piece/non spliced lengths of biaxial cloth. The deck assembly is built in a similar fashion. While the hull is a solid fiberglass laminate with no core, the deck assembly employs a core of Baltek vertical end grain balsa in strategic horizontal areas to enhance stiffness and is insulation from heat and noise. There are also substrates of “Iron Wood” in the deck assembly where cleats and the windlass are installed to easily accommodate the increased compression and shearing loads in the foredeck.

While the completed one-piece hull is still in the mold, ALL the furniture and structural bulkheads, less non-structural drawers and cabinet faces, are installed. After all the structural assemblies are completely installed, the separately completed deck assembly is joined to the hull (again, while it is still in the mold) with six layers of the same biaxial cloth used in the primary laminations, around the entire hull to deck interface. What this accomplishes, effectively, is the elimination of a conventional hull to deck joint. The hull and deck are married with a homogeneous fiberglass matrix, which insures a strong and leak free hull and deck join for the entire life of the vessel.


On Feb 2, 2022, 5:19 AM -0600, Martijn <martijnbolt@...>, wrote:
Thanks everybody for the great responses and warm welcome!

We're definitely in the market for an older SM as well, as long as most of the refitting has been done already. We sort of want to sail more and repair less. Who doesn't? HaHa.:-) As I've been an engineer all my life I'm used to solving problems, so I think I'll manage doing most of the repairs or finding the right people to do it for me. But doing a lot of refitting would rather be something I'll reserve for when I retire one day or something. :-) The difference regarding the engine/transmission is not a big deal for me but I do understand that a SM2000/redline is easier to sell. Is there maybe a list of the main differences between pre- and post-1999 Amels? I saw one years ago but can't figure out where that was.

The map I drew was not really a serious plan :-D I was just figuring out our sabbatical is "in theory" long enough to go on a long "nicely rounded" trip of some sort. I fully expect to end up in completely different situations. Even after these few interactions I'm already rethinking the starting point of our intended voyage. :-D

I'm in touch with Bill already and will definitely check it out! Thanks!


Brent Cameron

Future Amel Owner & Amel Owner Registry Moderator

Oro-Medonte, Ontario, Canada

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