Stacey Collins reviews the Amel 54 for the 2007 Cruising World Sailboat Show
Like its predecessor, the Super Maramu, the Amel 54 has a conservative sail plan and hull shape designed for comfortable sailing. On a CW test sail last year, in 16 knots on the beam with choppy cross seas off Florida, the 54 logged an effortless 9 knots. Old-school cruisers will appreciate the full-skeg rudder and twin reaching poles for downwind work. Because safety is Amel's paramount concern, the boat has four watertight bulkheads. The 54's solid hull is laminated to the deck, which has high bulwarks and full-length stainless-steel railings for added security.
Many Amel customers are older cruising couples, so easy operation is key. "If you can lift 50 pounds, you can do everything on this boat yourself," says U.S. agent Joel Potter. The electric furling main and genoa, electric winches, a bow thruster, and hydraulic pistons to help lift berths to access storage all support his claim.
Amel's characteristic steering station, behind the hard windshield/dodger, has push-button controls and readouts for almost all systems, although visibility from the chair is limited.
Built-in lee cloths and ample tankage indicate a boat designed for passagemaking. In port, the sumptuous leather-and-mahogany interior makes the 54 a queen on any quay that the built-in passerelle touches. The seaworthy galley has a dishwasher and a deep freeze; a washer/dryer is standard. Ample storage for cruising gear includes a cavernous lazarette fit for an RIB.
The late Captain Henri Amel's vision of the ideal cruising boat incorporated elegance, safety, comfort, and shorthanded-sailing ease. The new Amel 54 is a distinctive, luxurious, long-legged passagemaker of which the Captain would certainly approve.
Amel 54 Specs
LOA: 53' 10"
LWL: 50' 4"
Beam: 15' 9"
Draft: 6' 9"
Sail Area: 1,507 sq. ft.
Displacement: 35,000 lb.
Water: 237 gal.
Fuel: 237 gal.
Designer: Amel Design Group
Chantiers Amel, (954) 462-5869, www.amel.fr