Common Issues With Amel Yacht Sailboats

Common Issues With Amel Yacht Sailboats | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

May 30, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • Older Amel yachts require more physical effort to sail due to their size
  • An Amel yacht can be complicated and have less interior volume than other boats
  • Plenty of electrical components you have to keep maintained like an electric furling
  • These are quite expensive in comparison to other boats on the market
  • Too many creature comforts can be over the top for first time Amel owners

Amel yachts are some of the most popular sailboats of all time. But what are the common issues with Amel yachts?

Issues that are most common among Amel yachts include it being a complicated boat, it is not cheap, and the layout is not as big as it seems. There are also issues with the amount of electric motors onboard and too many creature comforts like multiple refrigerators and air conditioning units.

Based on my analysis an Amel yacht has plenty to offer for anyone wanting to sail throughout the world. But there are pros and cons to any boat brand based on your situation.


Table of contents

Issues with Amel Yachts

Amel yachts have a handful of issues that are not going to be the end of the world for Amel owners. If you are comparing these to other boats or modern yachts then you will likely find similar problems.

Complicated to Sail

New Amel owners that have very little experience sailing will likely feel a little overwhelmed to sailing one. Most Amel models are quite large like the Amel 55 and will need at least another person on board to help sail. Even with plenty of experience by yourself you will be tested to sail single handedly.

Not a Cheap Option to Cruise

Amel yachts are expensive to say the least. According to yachtworld an Amel yacht will average between $35,000 to over $2 million. Two boats stand out among the crowd for Amel.

The Amel Super Maramu for example averages $200,000 for used models. An Amel 64 costs around $2.45 million. These boats are some of the higher priced models but you can spend much less on older or different ones.

There are more options of course that you could be interested in for your search. You will likely need to come up with the funds or take a loan to purchase one unless this fits within your budget.

Lots of Maintenance with Big Costs

An Amel yacht that you have your eyes on will likely be over 50 feet in length which means there is a lot of room for potential maintenance. You would likely want a rugged sailboat that you can conduct repairs as needed but an Amel yacht might be a different story. The first big ticket item is the generator and it has to be powerful enough to power the large boat.

They also have a lot of electrical features onboard such as winches and an electric furling. These use electric motors to help power them and these motors do not hold up well in salt water over long periods of time.

You will need to have extensive knowledge of these electrical systems and be up for the task of making big repairs yourself. If not then you will need to hire someone to make any repairs. This will cost a lot of money and you will likely need to stay near countries that offer repairs on such electrical components.

Too Reliant on Electrical

During a storm or harsh winds anything could happen. Sometimes this cause electrical systems to kick out under load and might be a dangerous situation. If you are using line drum furlers then you know exactly what it should look and feel like in those situations.

Layout Not as Big

Amel owners have reported that the layout is not as big as it seems. A lot of pictures or videos have wide lenses that make the view more appealing but this causes the image to be larger than it appears.

Too Many Creature Comforts

A lot of sailboats might have added comfort features over the years to make sailing more appealing to different audiences. Amel yachts might be overkill to some sailors that want to keep the basics intact.

A lot of Amel yachts have multiple refrigerators and AC units that draw a lot of power and might be unnecessary to have. Many Amel owners have also reported that the aft AC unit had gone out over time. With the amount of creature comforts on board it can add up the maintenance costs.

Not Very Fast

All Amel boats are quite heavy and roughly 50 feet long. They were not designed to go very fast on the water or for racing events.

These boats are essentially floating houses that are capable of withstanding tough blue water conditions. If you are wanting a boat that is fast and bluewater capable you might have to look elsewhere.

Different Keel Materials

Modern yachts will use a variety of different keels with specific types of metal. Some Amel yachts use iron instead of lead based on the year they were manufactured.

Iron is great but lead can help with righting the ship and sailing upwind better in comparison. This also affects maintenance long term. If you want to see the differences up close you could always check out a boat show and have someone explain the differences in detail.

Age of Amel Boat

The first Amel boats were being built in the 1960’s. That is a long time for a boat to be alive and in sailing condition today. During your search for an Amel you will need to find one that has excellent repair history to know if it is worth your time.

Multiple Owners

Since Amel yachts are an older boat it has already had a long life sailed on it. This also means it has likely gone through multiple owners along the way.

If a previous owner did not care much for their Amel it could greatly impact the life of the boat. If the boat is in poor shape you will need to have it repaired to refit and that might be worth more trouble in the long run than trying to find another Amel.

Difficult to Add New Electrical Wires

In most all of Amel yachts the bulkheads are used for a hull breach and are watertight. In different boats you can drill holes in the bulkheads to install and run electrical wiring. This makes it a mess when trying to hide wires or create a path.

Amel Surveyors

Before you think about buying a used Amel boat you need to have it surveyed. The problem is that there are not as many Amel boats in comparison to others on the market and they are older.

You will need to have someone with extensive knowledge of these yachts in order to give you the best point of view. This could cost you a little more than other surveyors.

Avoid Cheap

As with any boat purchase you should never buy one solely based on the price but to have your budget as a guideline. Amel boats are not going to be cheap but if you happen to find one there might be good reason for it being that way. Make sure you do your research beforehand to know a good deal from a bad one.

Should You Purchase an Amel Yacht?

An Amel yacht has plenty of pros and cons just like any other yacht would. The key here is to balance that out based on your needs and sailing goals.

For most first time sailors they will likely choose a boat based on their budget and see what options that brings. Without a doubt Amel has some of the best sailing yachts you could ask for and they still make quality ones today. Most Amel boat owners are in love with their’s because these boats are meant to last.

Amel was also unique in that they never really made many versions of a certain boat. So the quantities were limited on a certain model and you either had to get one then or wait for another owner to sell theirs. If your budget and sailing goals line up with an Amel yacht you should go for it.

History of Amel Sailboats

Henri Amel founded Amel yachts in La Rochelle in 1965 during World War II. He noticed naval forces were using watertight structures made out of polyester resin to float in the water and it gave him the idea to start producing boats with the same materials.

Amel’s first boat was the Super Mistral Sport back in 1961 when he took over a shipyard. The company was split off and he began Amel yachts shortly after that paved the way for his success.

There have been numerous types of sailboats made by Amel over the years but only a handful of the designs used a ketch rig since sloop was more popular. Upon Amel’s death in 2005 he donated roughly 92% of his shares of his company back to the employees.

Common Issues With Amel Yacht Sailboats
Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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