Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] Opinionated remarks

ianjenkins1946 <>

Dear John,

Loved your tip of fitting an anode to the anchor chain. How obvious, though I have never seen it done. I have a Spade, stainless, 30 kg, at whose altar I worship.50% of the weight in the tip as against 16% for the Bugel and a concave shape for ( I think) better resistance. I have yet to see an anchor test where the Spade hasnt come out ahead of all others in the test, though I have not seen anyone test the Spade and Bugel against each other.Has anyone ? The Spade is the only product to have featured in consecutive years in Practical Sailors top ten products. Damned expensive, but it is developing a following. Antyhing has to better than the slippery plough!
Gateff v. North....I beg to disagree! It sounds as though you had better luck with your Gateff genny than we did. Half furled, ours does a very passable imitation of my grandmothers bloomers on a washing line. Improved considerably with the addition of a foam luff, and not affected adversely when we , too, dumped the sock in favour of a UV strip. However, the switch to a North genny, 61 sqm against 64 for Gateff, cut higher, has proved really worthwhile--sets furled much better, greater visibility, less likelihood of catching a wave in the foot, and , not anticipated by me, it needs far less adjustment of the car than the Gateff. All now probably academic as Amel have a new sail maker( and have been talking to ...North.) At the end of the day, I would be interested to hear if anyone can better 120 degrees between tacks with a fully laden boat and last weeks swell competing with yesterdays waves and todays windshift.I also wonder what other cruising boats do any better than 105 between tacks?
Ian. Pen Azen. SM 302

From: Anne and John Hollamby <hollamby@...>
Reply-To: amelyachtowners@...
To: amelyachtowners <amelyachtowners@...>
Subject: [Amel Yacht Owners] Opinionated remarks
Date: Thu, 15 Jan 2004 13:33:49 -0500

A future owner asked me for my comments on a few aspects. I set out my
comments below in case anyone wishes to comment.

Have a go! John Bali Hai, SM 319

"Instruments, I am inclined to agree with you about the mix of units. My
only complaint with the mix is that Amel does not make them all talk to
each other. This may be because Amel have a number of "funny" ideas about
safety possibly because some of their customers have no previous sailing
experience. For example they do not enable the tracking function on the
autopilot because they consider it dangerous. We had Pochon enable it which
was only a matter of a few button pushes. I am told that it is quite simple
to interface the B&G to enable the pilot to sail at a set angle to the
apparent wind and to get true wind speed and direction on the B&G using the
Raymarine Fluxgate compass but I have not yet done this.
The window in the bimini is essential if you have any interest in the set
of the sails! Our window is about 40cms wide centred over the wheel but it
should have been carried across to the same distance from the other side of
the cockpit. It is in the panel of vynil next to the hard top. We tried to
put a fabric sun shade on the underside using adhesive Velcro but this was
not a good solution as the adhesive melts in the strong sun and the
expansion rates are different. I think the solution is to make up a strip
of fabric to go on top being held at the front with fastenings to go on the
clips which hold the bimini cover in place when the bimini is closed and
with some other way of securing it to the back of the open
bimini....probably elastics with hooks to catch on the frame. (Han som gor
biminin gor ocksa ett solslydd men vi ville inte ha det da!)
The motor which moves the car securing the clew of the sail is very
powerful and I damaged the stop fitting on the front of the track on the
boom and also destroyed the line that moves the car by not releasing the
button before the car hits the stop. I then put two strips of adhesive tape
on the side of the boom so that I can see when to stop looking either
through the screen / window or over the top of the closed bimini. This
furling line incidentally is kevlar cored and not easily obtainable. We
tried prestretched halyard but it stretched a lot and slipped on the
driving sheave.
I eventually got some kevlar line in Turkey which does the job although it
is 2 mm thicker than the original. I intend to try Spectra of the right
size next summer. Getting the right length/tension was not easy and
involves using one of the halyard winches on the mast.
Our boat was supplied with a zip up canvas U/V screen cover for the genoa.
It was a real pain in the ass and we had U/V protection strips sewn on the
genoa so we could dump the zip up one (which was bulky,heavy and extremely
difficult to get down).
We bought a Southern Pacific 3.1mtr aluminium RIB in Auckland and shipped
it over.It is very light at 37 kilos and lies inverted across the top of
the aft cabin deflated on long passages without getting in the way of
anything and is not too bad when still inflated on short passages lashed
down with the fuel tank and spare cans underneath it. It cost less than
1000 and is very sea worthy and fast with our 15 HP motor.
There is a halyard through a sheave on the spreaders of the mizzen and
this has several uses. It is for the passuerelle and when placed through
the open ended sheave on the side of the mizzen boom it falls exactly above
the outboard mount on the rail, I wish that I had asked Amel to fit a
second dinghy mounting on the port side. We also use it to hoist the dinghy
by tying the end onto the painter and lowering the end of the dinghy on to
the cabin top. We have the davits suggested by Amel and we put this halyard
onto the davit taking the weight of the 15HP outboard to lift the fully
equipped dinghy for security at night. When doing this we put the halyard
on to the electric main sheet winch. The davits are good and bad as fitted
by the suppliers. They are hinged off two plates bolted on to the transom
and I took them off to fit reinforcing pieces of ply glassed in in the
lazarette. I should also have made the suppliers fit better fitting hinge
pins as there is too much play thus allowing the davits to swing too much
when carrying the dinghy.
Bali Hai was supplied with a stainless CQR anchor but I believe they now
fit a Bugel type anchor also in stainless. We are fans of the latter type
and purchased a 36 kg galvanised one last year in Turkey. If you have this
type you should paint the semi circular bow white so that in clearish water
you can see how well it has set. Either way if you have a stainless anchor
and galvanised chain you should fit a 28 or 30 mm shaft anode at the end of
the chain to prevent electrolysis rusting the chain. We did this after our
first season as the end 30 cms of the chain were rusting so we cut them off
and with the anode have had no further problems. We met another Amel owner
last summer who had gone the expensive route of replacing the chain with
stainless....he looked a bit surprised when I suggested that this might
perhaps move the electrolysis up to the winch.
We have an SSB connected to the whip aerial and a Ham set connected to the
port hand mizzen backstay. I think Amels use of the whip stems from the
belief that the backstays are too close together or more probably because
of the proximity of the wire topping lift on the mizzen boom. We only have
the SSB because we took it off our last boat. I prefer the ham radio
because our experience in the South Pacific was that contacts switch to
alternative frequencies when there is interference and by the time I had
retuned the SSB they had gone elsewhere. There seems to be no noticeable
difference in range etc. despite the difference in output. When I installed
the hamset in Malta I had a professional test it and in no time at all he
had made contact with a ham in Poland. Since then I have replaced the
topping lift with a rope one. I have no info on the actual virtues of
either set as I have not been able to find anyone to talk to in the Med(I
have not tried much). The advice of the US firm that makes the Aerial Tuner
for my ham set and also whip aerials is that the longer backstay is better
! Personally I dislike having the whip.
I was concerned about the diesel capacity but it is not a problem in the
Med. If I was doing a long passage I would probably put a lot of 30 ltr
cans in the huge locker outboard of the port side of the cockpit and
anticipate that this would be well placed for the long port tacks across
the oceans.
Our sails are by Gateff but I think Amel have switched to another loft. We
are perfectly happy with ours but there has been some comment on the
website from owners who have new ones made by North etc. I think it is all
bullshit as I think they are trying to make the boat sail closer to the
wind, something for which it is not designed. If it were then there would
be shorter spreaders and chainplates passing through the deck. Our Oyster
had those and they leaked whatever we tried. I suppose if it was an issue
for me I would look into getting a blade Jib to fit in the foretriangle
with new tracks to suit. Our experience on the often windward passage
between NZ and the islands was that we were better off with a smaller
flatter furling high cut genoa so that it did not turn into a bag when well
furled to cope with the strong winds.
We opted for the 160 ltr watermaker so that we could make enough water
easily whilst charging the batteries and have not taken on shore water for
over two years.
I wish I had specified the big Heart Interface American charger/inverter
as, although we have the 30 and the 50 amp French chargers fitted they have
no provision for putting in an equalisation charge to enhance battery life.
I also wish that I had asked for a spinnaker halyard to be fitted with the
fall inside the mast because the halyard for the balooner does not over
inspire me as a method of being taken up the mast.
I like to have a Windex at the masthead but the standard is to put two
antennae up there for the VHF and the FM radio. The aft one of these is the
FM one and is where I would have liked to have had a combined VHF and
Windex aerial.
We changed the arrangement for pulling down the main boom as original with
block and tackle as it involves going out on deck for sail adjustments and
gybing. We have a block which clips onto the same spot on the rail and the
original block on the boom. However it has only a 2 part line which is two
metres longer than the original so that it comes back to the aft cockpit
winch via a small block to improve the lead. This enables us to shape the
sail from the cockpit without having to move the main traveller so far and
most importantly permits a totally controlled gybe in any conditions.
I hope this all gives you something to think about ! If you need any
addresses in NZ for the dinghy or cockpit seat pedestal please let me

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