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June 29, 2010

Amel Maramu 46 Review: Elegant World Cruiser

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , — Richard Jordan @ 2:40 pm

Amel Maramu 48 Brochure (Click To Download)

The Amel Maramu 46 is Henri Amel and Jacques Carteau designed, Chantiers Amel built. While company literature designates her as the Maramu 48, she is better known as the Maramu 46. Amel introduced the Maramu design in 1976 based on “our experiences with the Euros 41′ and Meltem 53′.” By 1985, they had produced 200 hulls and made a switch, adding in-mast furling and articulating whisker poles. As always when Amel made a change, they never looked back. All future Amels would come with in-mast furling units. They make clean breaks and limit options to a minimal set. If you are looking for a custom design to outfit your desire, Amels are not it. Amels are focused, oceangoing machines not dock queens to be tucked ashore at the slightest breeze. The 46 Maramu is truly a classic ready to circumnavigate shorthanded or singlehanded. Amel stopped production of the 46 in 1989. The design lineage continued on with the Maramu name and in the 1990’s introduced the 52/53 Super Maramu. These days Amel is introducing a new 64-footer.

Amel 48 Sail Plan

First Impressions
Amel designs are very distinctive in appearance as well as function. Starting forward, the Maramu 46’s bow has a longer than usual overhang, increased freeboard, and nice bow chock. She has a distinctive white gel coat color. The foredeck leads to a low profile, sloping cabintrunk with long rectangular portholes. The center cockpit has a hard dodger. Aft of the center cockpit is a high profile, symetrical, trunk cabin with long rectangular portholes. This aft cabin trunk is the most distinctive trait and allows for nice headroom below. The Maramu has a counter stern with a slightly reverse transom and two handle like steps. The freeboard slopes upward steadily from stern to stem. Underneath, Amels have a long fin keel and skeg hung rudder. In fact, Mr. Amel is credited as responsible for the popularity of this underbody. Aloft is the traditional ketch rig of Amels. The decks come covered with faux teak, more on this feature later.

Amel 48 Aft Stateroom

Construction
All Amels, since 1967, have been built with Amel designed biaxial fiberglass cloth. This is a flat woven fiberglass cloth that is much stronger in sheer and tension than conventional mat and woven roving laminates. The hull is molded in one piece incorporating one piece/non-spliced lengths of biaxial cloth running from bulwark, down through the keel/centerline, and up to the opposite bulwark. In the same fashion the next series of laminates run from the bow lengthwise to the stern, again, employing one piece/non-spliced length of biaxial cloth. The deck assembly is built in a similar fashion. While the hull is a solid fiberglass laminate with no core, the deck assembly employs a core of vertical end grain balsa in strategic horizontal areas to enhance stiffness and is insulation from heat and noise. There are also substrates of “Iron Wood” in the deck assembly where cleats and the windlass are installed to easily accommodate the increased compression and shearing loads in the foredeck.

Amel 48 Profile

After all the structural assemblies are completely install, the separately completed deck assembly is joined to the hull, (again, while it is still in the mold) with six layers of the same biaxial cloth used in the primary lamination, around the entire hull to deck interface. What is accomplished, effectively, is the elimination of a conventional hull to deck joint. The hull and deck are married with a homogeneous fiberglass matrix, which insures a strong and lee free hull and deck join for the entire life of the vessel. All 1000 liters/264 gallons of fresh water are carried in the stub keel, not only providing a double bottom but keeping the weight of the water quite low in the boat and not in tanks under settees. The propeller extends from a secondary fin aft of the keel and was originally a fixed 3 blade prop and tapered nut is stored in the space under the steering hydraulic motors. The rudder is hung from a massive full-length skeg assembly that can support the entire stern laden weight of the vessel in case of grounding. As in all elements of the entire vessel’s design, the hull and deck were conceived to do their job properly and efficiently and not to have a certain look or to make a fashion statement. In cruising yacht design, as in nature, the most satisfactory results are achieved when form follows function.

Amel 48 Line Drawing

What To Look For
In 1985, Amel switched to in-mast furling standard on the Maramu 46. With time Amel perfected this change, but initially there were issues with the externally manufactured mainsail furling unit. Amel would go on to design and manufacturer their current in-house furling units which are far superior. It can be gently argued that the earlier Maramu 46’s with standard rigs are preferred over the post-1985 units until the very last Maramus which had the Super Maramu, in-house designed furling units that are so exceptional and maintenance free. Post 1985 yachts added other features such as articulating whisker poles. Amel is well known to limit the available options. Amel has a focused audience that integrates design, manufacturing, and purpose. Amel builds one design for one purpose in one way. They build serious ocean going passagemakers with the exact equipment needed. Amel does not offer many options, and those offered are of lesser importance. They manufacture all equipment in-house. And they endlessly offer support. Even back to their earliest models, you can contact Amel and purchase replacement parts.

Amel 48 Saloon

On Deck
Amel uses a polyester material in the form of teaklatting to cover their decks. In some ways, the faux teak hurts my safe, traditionalist view of sailing, the love of wooden boats and tiller steering. But more to the point, the faux teak has maintenance issues that I am not totally comfortable with. While the polyester lasts virtually forever, the glue that holds it down does not. Voids can develop, and you must roll up and re-orientate the teak. Of course, the cost of installation and maintenance is much less expensive than real teak which is an overwhelming attraction. It may prove that I am just not forward thinking enough on this idea; Henri Amel was really a visionary in so many ways.

On the foredeck of the Maramu, the lockers rise up for a lip. These chain lockers drain to the sump and stay bone dry. The coach roof has a forward facing hatch which provides excellent ventilation. By opening this hatch, two others, and closing the companionway, a welcome ventilation flows through the whole interior. The key is closing the companionway hatch. Along the stanchions are clever circular cleats port and starboard. These are useful for securing whisker poles or tying up to a pier. Along the side decks the plastic portholes are encased in a stainless framing that illustrates the high quality and attention to detail of Amel construction. Many builders directly bolt plastic portholes to the trunk leading to leaks. Past the cockpit the cabin trunk again rises up. Excellent cleats provide ease of line handling. A nice center line winch is handy for tender stowage. An electric winch would be a possible upgrade. The last three Amel Maramu’s have a very large aft locker like the one on the Super Maramu.

The true center cockpit is nestled deep between the mizzen and main, the fore and aft coach roofs. It is a very safe, ocean going cockpit that is designed for shorthanded sailing. With the autopilot going, one person can safely maneuver a Maramu 46 through the trickiest of channels and sail offshore with perfect balance. Hard dodgers are standard on all Amels along with the captains chair and companionway mounted controls. The companionway sill is a good foot high with a guillotine style door that slides below.

Amel 48 Layout

Down Below
The interior joinery work is beautiful dark mahogany, mostly solid, with a real teak and holly floor. As you walk down the modest stairway to down below, you notice that unlike the Super Maramu, the galley on 46 Maramu opens up to the saloon. It is not a long U-shaped enclosure but an L-shaped layout. This was a fundamental change Amel later made. Just to starboard of the companionway is a water tank meter. This consists of simply a buoyant stick and scale which will never fail. All the way forward is a V-berth that provides two sea berths with lee boards. The master head is to port with the traditional hanging closet starboard side. The forward head and V-berth close off behind a watertight bulkhead. The saloon has an L-shaped dinette arrangement to starboard and settee port side. The Super Maramu has two cute love seats instead with frilly French upholstery. The afore mentioned galley is starboard with the nav station to port abreast of the companionway. To get to the master stateroom, you walk through starboard side. This walkthrough steps down and up beneath the low set cockpit. The suite aft consists of a characteristic U-shaped berth, excellent storage, and headroom. An en suite head and shower are port side.

German PDF Brochure (Click to Download)

Engine and Underway
The engine room is beneath the cockpit sole. Unlike on the newer versions, the Maramu 46 lacks the hydraulic supports which ease lifting of this heavy hatch. The standard 63HP Perkins 4-154 is a venerable engine which is still in many. When property maintained, the 4-154 will last virtually forever and 10,000 hours should not necessarily rule one out. The real problem is that replacement parts are getting harder to find. To aerate the enclosed space, there are two fans. One to port blows in fresh air while another to starboard vacates hot air. The airflow is of great importance for an enclosed engine such as on Amels. The steering system on the original Maramu 46’s was a gear type. An amazingly easy upgrade is to a hydraulic system. Because of the fore thought of Chantiers Amel, the installation is a simple drop-in replacement. The mizzen and main sail plan on the Maramu 46 is simple to sail for two and, with an autopilot and experience, singlehandable. The main and jib balance each other when sailing wing on wing. A Maramu flying both mizzen and main gennakers is truly a beautiful sight.

Conclusion
The Amel Maramu 46 is a yacht ready to sail the seven seas in comfort and safety. The most important difference between individuals is the in-mast furling. Mark I version have standard rigs while post 1985 Amel switched to in-mast furling. The value depends heavily on condition and equipment. Current Yachtworld prices range from 160,000 to 99,000 euros.

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  • Robert van der Valk

    Interesting, but not all is true, and some is not complete :
    1. our maramu is number AMEL265.89 wich means built or delivered in 89, and is the last one delivered to the family of Henri Amel the owner
    2. there is never on Amel Yachts (also Amel 54 and Amel 64) faux teak glued to decks. There is a polyester deck in the form of teaklatting and with gelcoat in the color of teak: so the appearance is teak, but the maintenance is polyester. Mind: in the tropics after many years the gelcoat teakcolor wil fade.
    3. the last 3 Amel Maramu’s have a very large aft locker like the one on the Super Maramu (as with our Maramu)
    4. some later Maramu’s come with large 130 liter freeze/fridge as an extra to the regular fridge in the galley
    5. the in mast electric roller furling of Amel (mainsail) and the Amel rollerfurling for the genny are superb, practically maintenance free.
    6. do mention the very beautifull mahogany in the Maramu, most of it solid and the beautifull (real) teak floor
    7. some as ours have a 48 mile color radar. after 20 years we just renewed ours
    and good luck to you !

    Robert

  • Thanks so much! I really appreciate your feedback and will make updates. Have a great day.

  • Max

    I have seen in some Amel 46 schematics a berth in the passageway. If there is not already one there, can a child’s berth or bunks be retro-fitted ?

    Thanks,

  • That sounds odd to me. I have not seen an Amel 48 with a berth in the passageway. I would like to see the schematic you mention. The passageway is sandwiched between the outboard fuel tank and centerline engine room – not a whole lot of room to work with and low headroom too. Next time I am aboard I will take measurements and post back here. The best third berth option is the starboard side settee in the main salon with lee board.

    I have a good story for you. I had a friend tell me about her first charter experience. She is French and was to be chef aboard an Amel 48 Maramu; I forget where. It turned out the charter was for nine people. This is normal, and they all got along great like a big party. It turns out Europeans are much less squeamish than Americans about sharing close spaces – funny cultural difference.

  • Richard Jordan

    The headroom along the passageway is five feet; the width is two and a half feet. Maybe Max you are thinking of the Super? All my best.

  • Ketch_scooter

    Richard,

    Great to see the attention to the AMEL brand.

    I just viewed the new 64,   wow!   If C. Amel keeps introducing newer yachts with the same base of quality and manufacturing standards that are in my 48′ then the value of

    the seasoned Amels will remain high.   

    ” See “SCOOTER”  on Youtube; “Light Trades to the Kingdom of Tonga”,  “Indian Ocean Storm Sailing”,  “Sailing the Great Barrier Reef” and “Sailingflorida.com.” where you can find me.

    Grins from the wheelhouse of  “SCOOTER” now in St. Pete., Fl.

    Cheers

    Captain Bob,

    S/Y Scooter.
     

  • I have been kayaking around the new river the last few months and been surprised that the most common brand is Amel. Says something about how special Amels are. I haven’t seen the 64 yet. Hope this article helps builds awareness and respect for the brand. Great videos. I have been trying to find the right HD videocamera to record my sailing adventures. Looking at the Go Pro because of all the attachment accessories and waterproof case. RJ

  • Anonymous

    Well written article with one notable error. The articulating spinnaker poles were available early on. Our Maramu is hull #29 and has the articulating poles. 
    Lots of details here – http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1979/AMEL-Maramu—extensively-refit%2C-all-systems-updated-2403967/San-Rafael/CA/United-States

  • Anonymous

    There was never a berth in the passageway on the Maramu because the fuel tank is located there. 

  • Thanks for the correction Dave.

    Sent from my iPad

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  • Giovanni

    Hello Robert,
    I agrre with your comments but the aft locker. My Maramu is hull # 266 / 89 but has the standard small aft locker.  The radar is monocrome but still working after 23 years, like the rest of the equipment.  My wife and I spent a lot of time evaluating many cruising boats and in the end selected the Maramu (we also considered a Sharki) and are very happy of our Maramu. If you look for comfort, sea-worthiness and practically no maintenanc, nothing compares to a (old) Amel.

    Regards,
    Giovanni

  • Gioi

    Hello Giovanni, I own a 1984 Maramu as well (#354) and we are more than satisfied like you. I’m looking for owners to change opinions and tips with. By your name I suppose you are italian too.  This is my email yusufATtin.it (AT means @). Please send us an email to keep in touch easily if you like. Best regards, gioi

  • Gioi

    Hello friends, 

    First of all congratulations for the Maramu review above reported. Very interesting.
    I’m a new  Maramu (#354, 1984)  owner and we just had our first travel experience from Italy to Malta. In total we sailed about 600 nmiles.
    The boat is equipped with traditional musts and with the 63 hp Perkins. I have some questions regarding the performances by engine and under sails. 
    Questions:
    1- what is the typical Maramu dead angle in the  up-wind going?  (considering a wind speed of 12 kn and good conditions sails)
    2- what is the cruising speed the 63 hp Perkins can provide continuously for a long trip?

    Many thanks for your comments.
    Greetings and fair wind.
    Gioi

  • Anonymous

    The steering is a push-pull type system. There is a sprocket of sorts behind the wheel to which a rotary drive autopilot motor attaches with a chain. It’s a very reliable system. Many owners add a second drive unit on the quadrant. Steering failures are practically unheard of. The description of it being a geared system is a bit confusing as there’s no gears that I’ve noted. 

  • Dave Benjamin

    Richard,
    Just thought I’d mention that the boat used in the exterior photos for the German brochure is our boat (hull #29). It was Henri Amel’s personal boat that he acquired about the same time he turned the company over to his employees around his 65th birthday.

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