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Text and photographs by Roberto Moneda
AMEL YARD - SUPER MARAMUThe sea trials of the Super Maramu took place in a 30/35-knot wind and a very rough sea. This yacht is a GRP ketch, built by the notorious and widely appreciated French yard Amel. We went to Hyères, on the southern coast of France, where the yard has its own servicing pier and where it moors its queens of the sailing world.
This was a special occasion for verifying the seaworthiness and maneuverability of a boat that maintains her promises and that might offer even more. Traditionalist sailors dislike of technological interpretations of sailing boats is more a matter of prejudice than of mental disposition. Innovations such as mainsail and jib roller-reefing systems, bow thruster, electrical winches, power assisted blocks, automatic pilots and whatever is technologically new and is applied to a sailing boat worry them.
Yet, I suggest them to jump onboard the Super Maramu where they will certainly change their minds and overcome old prejudices that should not apply to these technological solutions. If we had to summarize in a few words our opinion of this 52'6" footer Amel, we could say that we tested a fast close-hauling boat. She is very performing (maximum speed of 11 knots with 30- knot gusts with an angle with the wind of not more than 20-22 degrees) and is very maneuverable. Actually, the Super Maramu (average annual production of 40 units) concentrates technological innovations and patents tested and tuned by the engineering staff of the yard and surveyed by the aged, yet dynamic, Monsieur Amel. Let us not be too lengthy, data and photographs speak better than words. Let me just give an advice: whoever has a little less than a billion liras to spend for a big cabin cruiser should go to Hyères!
TECHNICAL DATADesigner: Naval Architects H. Amel and J. Carteau
Yard: Amel Yards, La Rochelle, 17185 Périgny Cedex, France; tel. +33-46-551731, fax +33-46-454303 (France)
Gross tonnage: 29.55 tons
Light displacement: 13.78 tons
Power: 80 hp Volvo Penta Turbo Diesel
Maximum speed under power: 8 knots
Maximum theoretical sailing speed: 10/12 knots
Freshwater tank: 264 gallons
Berths: 6/8 in 3/4 cabins
Main mast: 65'7"
Mizzen mast: 45'11"
Sail area: 1280 sqft
Jib: 699 sqft
Mizzen: 204 sqft
Mizzen jib: 333 sqft
Spinnaker: 731 sqft
Price: FF 2,800,000 ex VAT.
CONSTRUCTION CHARACTERISTICSKeel: lead with small fins and Amel propelling system
Hull and deck: special Amel stratified GRP, composite materials, wood; After peak and forward peak with two watertight bulkheads
Rudder: stainless steel blade
Hardware: Amel and other excellent trademarks
Running rigging: all halyards and lines are led to the cockpit, in the central part of the boat
Inflatable raft: stowed on portside of cockpit, with line and fitting for quick lifting
Swimming ladder: teak and stainless steel swimming ladder to be used on the side of the boat and convertible in gangway.
IMPRESSIONSSEA AND WEATHER CONDITIONS DURING BOAT TESTING
Wind: 25/30 knots
STEERING PERFORMANCEVisibility: excellent in all conditions
close-hauled and abeam: excellent upwind performance, due to her sail surface used during sea trials. When sailing cross wind she is very light
Running and broad reaching: due to the strong wind, we could not hoist the spinnaker, nevertheless, the boat showed excellent lift with four sails set
Course steadiness: precise maneuvers are possible with the steering wheel, even on waves.
Wave impact: the hull crosses the waves in a comfortable and decisive manner
Under power: excellent performing capabilities thanks to the quality of the propelling unit and its leg. The choice of a variable pitch propeller was excellent. The yard paid special attention to the propelling unit and because of this the cruising speed under power is of 7 knots. She could be compared to a motor- sailer with limited noise of engine even at high speed.
Engine vibration: irrelevant, thanks to the excellent noise insulation
Docking maneuverability: excellent. The recessed 10-hp bow thruster is controlled by a joystick. Docking in a 30-knot stern wind is possible without using the steering wheel!
OVERALL IMPRESSIONSHull Design: Naval Architects Amel and Carteau, who designed the boat, succeeded in meeting two main requirements: fun and comfort. For this aim, they designed a hull that is very sensitive to stresses and has excellent performing capabilities. The winged-shaped keel with bulb, designed by Amel, better counteracts the pressure generated by the sails
Sail plan: standard sails include the mainsail, mizzen, jib, mizzen jib and spinnaker. During sea trials we could not test the spinnaker but we set the other four sails at all points of sail. The standard sail area is definitely sufficient for sailing in all conditions
Deck: the roller-reefing mainsail and headsail together with the steering wheel make the central cockpit the main operative position. The cockpit is very comfortable. Deck fittings are of very good quality and all lines are neatly led through the blocks. The standard dodger that may be folded in the cockpit is an interesting solution and it integrates very well in the outside line of the boat.
EVALUATION OF CONSTRUCTIONBuilding materials: high-quality composite materials.
Finishing: very good both on deck as well as belowdeck, mainly due to the 50-year experience of the yard in boatbuilding.
Interior layout: the drawings include three separated areas: forward, amidships and aft, two bathrooms near the forward and the aft cabins, an ample dinette with a fully equipped worktop. The chart table is separated and large, opposite the storeroom. Interior decor is elegant because of the large use of wooden doors, bulkheads and linings (African mahogany). There are several lockers, drawers and open storing spaces that are very useful on cruisers of this type. In addition, innovations such as the refrigerator/ice box under the dinette settee, the cable locker-cover stops and the movable footrest in the toilet compartment to be used when sailing close-hauled are very useful and practical.
Deck: fore-and-aft passage: very good. The shrouds do not hinder fore-and-aft passage. Anti-slipping material: excellent. The brown anti-slipping material on deck has a greater gripping effect than teak. The cockpit floor and the deck throughout are made of this special material that could be erroneously called "false teak". Actually, it has a better gripping effect than teak and no maintenance requirements
Stanchions: strong and safe stainless steel molded-in stanchions
Grabrails: all shrouds are sheathed in running nylon protection sleeves of different diameter
Foredeck arrangement: clean and practical. Chain roller, electrical windlass with support, stainless steel anchor chain and anchor are fitted. The anchor chain is automatically washed. Safety: excellent in the tested boat, especially due to the toe-rail molded in the GRP which serves as a firm foot brace on deck.
Anchor locker: not contemplated because the anchor is blocked in place in a stainless steel fitting
Fairleads: practically located, outside the railings, on the upper edge of the toe-rail
Mooring bitts and cleats: 6, 2 forward and 4 aft. Rigging and fittings
Mast: mast and mizzen mast with roller-reefing systems
Boom: Amel regulation of the mainsail sheet. No vang
Shrouds: first-quality and well positioned.
Sails: tri-radial; 2 fully rigged spinnaker poles and two smaller integrated Amel poles. Headsail protection.
Steering: wheel steering
Headsail reefing: standard electrical roller-furling system with remote control in the cockpit
Mainsail reefing: standard electrical roller-furling system
Winches: 7 Amel/other excellent trademarks
Headsail lead blocks: 2, suitably positioned.
Mainsheet traveler: of small size, on the coachroof
Engine controls: one throttle lever with on/off key and one fuel closing switch to port of the wheel in the forward part of the cockpit
Sailing instruments: instruments panel belowdeck with instrument indicators on deck for boat speed, wind speed, wind angle, and B&G echo-sounder; Autohelm automatic pilot (double upon request); day vision radar; GPS, VHF, Sonic Speed log with video, watch, barometer, compass
Engine instruments: electrical fuel level gauge and full data instruments.
Aft master stateroom