Cool, calm and…. disruptive
What would happen if you applied modern shipbuilding processes to high-end superyachts? The Amels’ limited editions approach raised eyebrows when it was unveiled at the Monaco Yacht Show in 2005. But a decade later, Amels has now begun its 30th limited editions yacht – topping the success story of a ‘disruptive innovation’ that has rewritten the playbook.
By 2005, Damen’s shipbuilding philosophy was already well proven in other maritime industries, but not in high-end yacht building. Yet Kommer Damen was convinced that superyacht owners would also see the benefit of proven technical platforms of the absolute highest quality, delivered faster while providing extensive customization possibilities.
As Amels Managing Director Rob Luijendijk recalls, it was an entirely new approach for an industry dominated by fully custom built projects lasting 4 to 5 years. Instead, Amels invested in a comprehensive up-front engineering programme, benefitting from Damen’s Research and Innovation expertise in CFD analysis and tank testing, to create a high performance, stable and comfortable hull. But for this new approach to work, Amels realised they also needed an absolutely stunning and timeless exterior design.
“Legendary British designer Tim Heywood is the undisputed master behind many of the world’s most prestigious yachts over 100 metres,” Rob continues. “So we weren’t sure what he would think when we approached him to work on this unusual concept for the first Limited Editions, the 52-metre AMELS 171. Nobody had done anything like it before, and certainly not with a designer of Tim’s stature. But he understood immediately the scale of what we’re trying to do and he came up with an incredible design.”
The Limited Editions concept arrived and owners responded. The industry looked on in wonder as sale after sale confirmed how the Limited Editions approach was shaking up high-end yacht building. What’s more, with every build on time and on budget with impeccable quality, very satisfied owners returned to Amels for their next, larger yacht. As a result, the range has evolved into six Tim Heywood designs up to 83 metres.
“I think the Limited Editions range has had a very large impact on the industry,” Tim Heywood comments. “The fast delivery and the total package without starting from scratch has made very high quality superyacht ownership more attractive for more people.
I think other shipyards have seen the success and that’s also changed the industry. The idea of building with modern production processes has definitely become more widely thought of at the highest level of yacht ownership because of Amels’ success. Amels took an incredible step to do this.”
The Amels yard in Vlissingen has grown into the largest superyacht facility in the Netherlands and currently has 10 Limited Editions projects underway. Last year Amels began its 30th project, the first build of the all-new Amels 188 design.
“We’re immensely proud of the Limited Editions range,” Rob continues, “but we also know that we must continue breaking new ground as the market adapts. Our innovations must drive new solutions so that our clients can continue to enjoy the yachting experience at the very highest level.”
Other shipyards have seen the success and that’s also changed the industry.
British superyacht designer Tim Heywood
LEADING A NEW GENERATION OF ENGINEERING BEST PRACTICE
Amels was ahead of the game as the first Dutch yacht builder to meet IMO Tier III emission limits in early 2016. The new 57.70-metre AMELS 188 (pictured) currently under construction is also the first in the Limited Editions range with:
■ Hybrid Power switchboard with peak shaving (battery bank)
■ Generator set confi guration with Amels Smart Power Management (SPM)
■ Amels Heat Recovery system.
The yacht also hosts many other sustainable features such as LED lighting and thoroughly calculated insulation.
“We looked at how our clients intend to operate their yacht in the real world to determine real efficiency gains,” says Amels Design Manager Hans Konings. “We’ve built up a very good picture of operating profiles through fleet voyage monitoring and used that data to model different technology solutions. Our approach demonstrates not only a reduced ecological footprint, but also potential operating cost savings of €100,000 or more a year. It’s faster return on investment and lower Total Cost of Ownership. The numbers stack up and that’s what our clients want to hear.”