What was the process that helped Amels to get to the point it is now?
Amels was established in 1918 by the late Mr Amels in Makkum north of Holland in the north of Holland as a family business. Amels began building fishing vessels and commercial vessels but as shipbuilding decreased throughout the 70s Europe Amels needed to diversify and so they moved to yacht construction. The first yacht built was KATALINA that was 48m , which was at the time it was a huge boat. Naturally, Amels had a history of construct large commercial vessels, so right from the beginning, they entered the market with a higher degree. Damen acquired Amels in 1991 , recognizing an opportunity to get into the market of superyachts. Damen typically rebrands companies they acquire, however Amels was already an established brand name in the world of yachting that it was unwise to dispose of it and put Amels to the Damen brand. Therefore, Amels was preserved and developed from there.
We’d love to hear about the first yachts of the yard.
LADY GEORGINA (ex. KATALINA) has been launched since 1984, and it is sailing to this day. It was an interesting venture that was our first collaboration together with Tim Heywood, at the time of the Bannenberg design. KARIMA (1993) is the very first truly purpose-built Explorer yacht anywhere around the globe. The MONTKAJ (1995) was an original Terence Disdale design was the largest vessel constructed in the Netherlands in the early 1990s – it’s still a gorgeous vessel and is aging well. The TIGRE DOOR (1999) is the very first MCA certified vessel anywhere in the world. ILONA (2004 picture left) is still one of the most technologically advanced vessels on the sea, just 15 years since her arrival.
What was the origin of the famous yard’s limited editions get their name?
In the past, we’ve completed all of our custom-built yachts. After 9/11, fewer orders were made. Mr Damen had achieved his mark by introducing the idea of standardisation in 1969. creating tugs and the standardisation of them. He realized that the fundamentals of shipbuilding are the same and he knew what was required prior to a contract being signed. He could construct these vessels and have them in place for the owner to choose the color and name, as well as the engine size and the boat could be ready in just two months. And he was a businessman and he was doing business! Every boat made improvements, and doing the same thing repeatedly meant that he required less time and less money to construct them. This gave him an advantage over his competitors in that he could offer more quickly, at an affordable price, and better quality. Many people would appreciate this!
He wondered, why don’t we apply this to the market for yachts? The concept is applicable to any market, why is it not the same for yachting? Naturally, it’s an established concept for smaller vessels, such as for instance, a Sunseeker or 43m Benetti however, with vessels that were larger than 500GT, it was uncommon. For every model, our team comes together, we draft an GA, we create every technical specification, locate an exterior designer who is always Tim Heywood, we find an interior designer, then we create. We don’t have a client yet , but to know the market, to identify the right spot to design an appropriate boat: that’s the experience of Amels. Today, we have a fleet of six vessels. We have just delivered number 23 of those designs and we have 12 projects in construction at present! Customers can buy a vessel currently under construction, pick for an interior architect and then get their boat (depending on when they enter) within about one and a half years. This is a strong idea.
What has changed for owners of yachts since Amels was launched?
We have had a full-customized client predominantly west European for Amels but then we began to see a shift toward the eastern European market, and I believe we are a market leaders. We are also witnessing an increase in younger owners, however our owners are family-oriented Not flashy men who love speedboats!
When searching for Amels yachts for sale make sure you contact the experts at Romeo United Yachts.
Are owners today exploring more adventurous options?
Absolutely. It is also the case the case that our vessels are suitable for adventures! We are accustomed to creating strong and heavy-duty things since at the end of the day, we are a shipbuilding company that is commercial within our DNA. We aren’t on the edge of our tacks looking to construct a larger vessel. Amels boats are too built. We saw people taking yachts to Antarctica that were not originally designed to travel there, but then returned! The sea is gorgeous and it is possible to look out over the ocean in luxurious, safe and comfortable.
We strive to motivate our Owners to be more creative, as the boat is capable of doing it. In 2009, we launched our Damen Yacht Support vessels for an individual who required help with logistical requirements for the fleet. This is a massive platform for storage of toys crew, beach landing craft tenders, fishing boats, helicopters, garbage, supplies… Then we realized that there’s a chance in the market for yachts for the offshore vessels. In 2009, “shadow boats were only operating 8-9 knots, and they could not compete with the larger yachts. Ours are running at 22 knots. They’re purpose-built and premium rather than old offshore vessels that are designed and engineered according to the superyacht standard.
What was the process that led to the SeaXplorer idea come to fruition?
The crowd was awestruck with those Yacht Support vessels – they received more attention that the main ship! There were however no guest spaces available onboard. Damen is an extremely innovative company, and they decided to develop a unique concept that did not just provide the service of support but could also accommodate customers onboard. The initial SeaXplorer was 90m longand it could hold parties onboard with 300 people , and guests could put their shoes off. The idea perfectly merged Damen’s expertise in the construction of efficient ice-going boats and Amels their expertise in luxurious guest rooms.
Also, we introduced Eos the most renowned outdoor adventure company. They have taken more than 100 superyachts across the Arctic. This allowed us to design the ultimate expedition boat with every aspect thought of including a mud room to changing into equipment for expeditions as well as an observation gear on the bow, where the dolphins and whales are there, plenty of storage for waste and a double-acting hull that has an ice-breaking stern that has never been seen before in yachting it has the capacity to carry 2 helicopters and submarines, and snowmobiles. It is not common to have 17 crew on a 55m boat, however, a SeaXplorer is equipped with guides, ice pilots, doctors. They will also travel not just the Arctic but, more crucially is they will travel the Amazon River and other remote tropical regions which are far from any infrastructure. The boat is fully autonomous for 40 days and no requirement to go back to the port to replenish. The way we think is that the technical areas in SeaXplorers are not at superyacht quality, but rather the owners and guest areas are at Amels levels. This can save a significant amount of cost.