Choosing a boat is sometimes a matter of broader or narrower horizons. With an Amel, one can take on coastal sailing with all the comforts or think big. And L’Amel 50 in this sense has a long, long look toward big offshore sailing. The Amel 50 is a boat designed to take its owners around the world with all the ease of handling that has always characterized the production of this historic French shipyard.
A boat that has caused discussion because it is the first sloop after a long tradition made up of ketches. The reason for this choice lies in at least two reasons: the first is a purely marketing reason, to come up with a novelty that can also attract a new audience, younger or prevenient even from powerboats. The second motivation is purely practical: a single mast is still easier to manage than two, and for a boat whose goal is to take its guests around the world, this is no small feat.
Then one of Amel’s trademarks, the central cockpit sheltered by the hard top and equipped with continuous fenestration under which the wheelhouse finds shelter, could not be missed. Basically in any wind and sea conditions you will be able to drive the boat totally dry and keeping all maneuvers under control. In fact, everything is deferred to the cockpit, apart from the fine adjustment of the headsail halyards, which is done from the mast with dedicated winches.
In the model we tested there is room for maximum automation, with harken electric winches that allow for smooth maneuvering even in a stiff breeze.
The day that Hyères offered us was particularly perturbed, with the wind rising from a base of 15 knots to over 25 under a swell, allowing us to test the Amel 50 in its preferred conditions. We tried upwind with mainsail and genoa, upwind wide with mainsail, genoa and foresail, and again upwind only with mainsail and foresail when the wind strengthened around and above 20 knots.
A precaution the latter is almost excessive, since the boat has an easy time holding all the canvas even in winds around or above 20 knots, but with the self-steering foresail you have the added convenience of not having to maneuver anything when tacking, and when the wind rises, in the view of long sailing, it is something to take into account.
ALL THE ISSUES AND DETAILS OF THE AMEL 50 IN UPCOMING ISSUES OF THE SAILING JOURNAL PRINT VERSION