The Amel 54 Sailboat
Specs & Key Performance Indicators

The Amel 54 is a French-built cruising sailboat, designed by Henri Amel and further developed by his company Chantiers Amel. Henri Amel, a French national, focused on creating ocean-going yachts with a distinctive design ethos centered on safety and ease of handling.

The boat was constructed at Chantiers Amel’s facility located in La Rochelle, a historic seaport on the Atlantic coast of France. The Amel 54 is part of a lineage of yachts known for their robust construction and innovative features, aimed at long-distance sailors who seek self-sufficient and comfortable sea travel.

An Amel 54 ketch at anchorAn Amel 54

The Amel 54 was designed to be a successor to the popular Amel Super Maramu model, incorporating many of the features that made the Super Maramu successful while also introducing new design elements and technologies. The largest and most obvious difference on casual examination is that the 54 was designed with an inner forestay that carries a staysail.

Despite being replaced by the Amel 55 in 2011, the Amel 54 continues to be a popular choice among cruising sailors due to its quality construction, comfortable accommodations, and excellent sailing performance.

Amel 54 accommodation planAmel 54 accommodation plan

Published Specification for the Amel 54
Underwater Configuration: Fin keel
Hull Material: Fiberglass
Length Overall: 17.2 meters (56.4 feet)
Waterline Length: 13.9 meters (45.6 feet)
Beam: 4.8 meters (15.7 feet)
Draft: 2.1 meters (6.9 feet)
Rig Type: Ketch
Displacement: 17,500 kilograms (38,580 pounds)
Designer: Amel Design Team
Builder: Chantiers Amel
Year First Built: 2005
Year Last Built: 2011
Number Built: Approximately 50 units

Published Design Ratios for the Amel 54

  • Sail Area/Displacement Ratio (21.2): This ratio indicates a relatively high performance level. Given that this ratio is above 20, the Amel 54 should exhibit good sailing power per unit of displacement, suggesting it can maintain speed in lighter winds and handle moderate to strenuous conditions efficiently. This speaks to a boat capable of brisk acceleration and agility, reflecting a more performance-oriented design over purely leisure or heavy-duty cruising.
  • Ballast/Displacement Ratio (29.1): While this value is below the threshold of 40 typically associated with quite stiff and powerful boats, it's still considerable. This ratio suggests a reasonable degree of stability and the boat's ability to stand upright against wind pressure but might not be as stiff as heavier ballasted boats. This may affect its performance in extremely heavy weather where maximum stability is required. The importance of knowing the distribution of ballast is crucial as it impacts the actual stability offered by the boat under varying conditions - but see below...*
  • Displacement/Length Ratio (134.9): Falling within the light displacement range (100-200), the Amel 54 is designed to be easier to drive to its hull speed, requiring less sail area relative to its length compared to heavier boats. This attribute enhances its handling and speed capabilities in a range of wind conditions, making it suitable for faster cruising and responsive sailing.
  • Comfort Ratio (29.1): Positioned in the bracket typical for coastal cruisers, this indicates that the Amel 54 should provide a comfortable experience for near-shore journeys, balancing ease of handling and livability. It suggests moderate motion at sea, reducing the fatigue and discomfort associated with more pronounced movements, but it might not be as comfortable in the more challenging conditions of long ocean passages as a boat with a higher comfort ratio would be - but see below...**
  • Capsize Screening Formula (1.9): This value being less than 2.0 implies the Amel 54 is well-suited for ocean passages, offering a good level of safety against capsizing when compared to wider or heavier boats. This makes the Amel 54 a viable option for more adventurous sailing, venturing beyond protected coastal waters.

Theoretical Nature of the Ratios:
It's imperative to understand that these ratios, although insightful, provide a theoretical outlook:

  • *The Ballast/Displacement Ratio, as discussed, doesn't consider the specific placement of ballast, which can dramatically affect stability characteristics. Thus, real-world performance can differ based on design specifics not captured solely by these ratios.
  • **Similarly, the Comfort Ratio, which favors traditional heavy displacement designs, might not fully represent the comfort experienced aboard modern, lighter, or beamier vessels with different hull designs and weight distributions. These boats could be surprisingly capable and comfortable despite not fitting into the traditional metrics.

Read more about Design Ratios...

In summary, the Amel 54 sailboat emerges as a performance-oriented, light displacement cruiser with reasonable comfort for coastal navigation and sufficient stability and safety features for occasional ocean passages. Its suitability for various sailing ventures would depend significantly on the specific conditions and the sailor's experience and preferences.

The above text was drafted by using GPT-4 (OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model) as a research assistant to develop source material; we believe it to be accurate to the best of our knowledge.

Press Reviews for the Amel 54

Cruising World says "Like its predecessor, the Super Maramu, the Amel 54 has a conservative sail plan and hull shape designed for comfortable sailing. On a CW test sail last year, in 16 knots on the beam with choppy cross seas off Florida, the 54 logged an effortless 9 knots. Old-school cruisers will appreciate the full-skeg rudder and twin reaching poles for downwind work. Because safety is Amel’s paramount concern, the boat has four watertight bulkheads. The 54’s solid hull is laminated to the deck, which has high bulwarks and full-length stainless-steel railings for added security." Read more...

Other sailboats in the Amel range include:

An Amel Santorini 46 sailboat at anchorThe Amel Santorini 46
An Amel Super Maramu 2000 sailboat at anchorThe Amel Super Maramu 2000

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