From Concept to Construction: The first Amels 80 superyacht

For 100 years the family-owned Dutch shipyard Amels has been at the forefront of superyacht construction, and for 17 years it has pioneered in the sector of semi-custom with its Limited Editions series. Designed on speculation and engineered in-house, the Amels 80 is the shipyard's new flagship and breaks new ground in her size category for a speculation series. We travelled to the facility in Vlissingen to find out how the project evolved from first concept to final design.

Family owned and operated, Amels, part of Damen Yachting, has held a unique position in the yachting industry for more than 100 years. The Amels Limited Editions concept first took root in 2005 with the aim of creating a series of vessels that not only appealed to a broad scope of owners, but also applied a thoroughly tested platform and an abundance of feedback to create a commercially successful yacht series.

But when designing a new model, who spearheads the project and acts as the 'owner' and how does that party bring an impartial view to the project?

"When you're designing a Limited Editions it's not like a custom yacht design where you have a very specific and actual client in front of you," says Rose Damen, Managing Director of the shipyard. "You have to create that client; they are integral to the design. For the Amels 80 we used my sister Annelies, and in fact the whole Damen family. All of them playing the client, asking the critical questions and then actually challenging everyone involved all the time."

The Brief

The 65 and 74-metre Limited Editions yachts were constructed on versions of the same platform, extending the life of the original engineering to nearly 12 years, but clients and brokers were also pushing the shipyard to come up with something new. Initially the team considered employing the same tried-and-tested platform, but the Damen family recognised that the market has changed since the platform was conceived. Today, the impetus for yacht owners is about exterior living and the relationship between interior and exterior spaces, something that the previous platform was not designed to do.

"The Amels 80, much like the Amels 60, was born out of a drive and desire to push forward a new generation of Amels Limited Editions," explains Rose Damen. "The designs evolve as do client needs, and this in turn pushes us to create the platform that we believe will best meet the demands of today and tomorrow."

While the Damen family may play the owner, client and captain feedback was pivotal during the pre-design stage, particularly those of the Amels 242 series. Eight Amels 242s have now been built, and each owner offers unique feedback, which is collected and analysed as part of the research process.

"The Limited Editions models are designed without one client in mind and when we succeed with a series we have a spread of clients from different walks of life, who use their yachts in different ways," says Adriaan Roose, Project Manager of the Limited Editions range since its conception.

Utilising the experience gained over four generations, both as yacht and shipyard owners, the Damen family distilled the feedback and aligned their own expectations with it, refining the brief to 10 key points.

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