The first Amels 199 Limited Editions Event paves the way for larger yachts in the range.
By Justin Ratcliffe
Before the arrival of Amels Limited Editions, ‘semi-custom’ was something of a dirty descriptor in superyacht circles. Not anymore. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the concept has seen 21 Limited Editions yachts launched with more on the way. In a fleet that tops out at 272 feet (83 meters), 196-foot (60-meter) Event was the first 199 Limited Editions and epitomizes how a superbly engineered technical platform and wide scope for personalization can create a vessel as bespoke as many custom yachts.
“The Limited Editions concept comes from a long history of yachtbuilding within Amels,” says CEO Rob Luijendijk. “We started as pure custom builders, and we decided in 2005 to bridge the gap between semi-custom and custom. And for that reason we developed five platforms that you can fully customize or personalize according to your own wishes.”
Event’s curvaceous exterior styling by designer Tim Heywood is her most distinguishing feature, especially the signature “scimitar bow”—named for its similarity to the curved sword—and round portlights set into the hull and transom. Together with the interplay of curved and hard edges, the bow and portholes create a harmonious profile that is daringly modern and subtly traditional, fiercely masculine and gracefully feminine. It’s a tricky combination for a yacht designer to achieve, but one that usually ensures longevity.
Heywood originally presented Amels with two concepts: one with a conventional flared bow like the Limited Editions 180, and one with the scimitar bow. The shipyard presciently chose the latter option, and a sistership, Madame Kate, quickly followed Event. A third 199 is in build.
“I didn’t want just a straight vertical bow,” says the British designer. “I wanted to give it shape and flair and interesting details, and so I came up with what I call the scimitar bow. Everything flows from that. All the lines flowing back along the sides of the hull come from that bow feature.”
One advantage of the bow shape is that the hull is slightly faster than the 16.5 knots predicted by the computational fluid dynamics software. The lack of flare—a stylish spray rail keeps the foredeck dry underway—also results in more usable volume, which means tenders and toys can be housed in a forward garage with gull-wing doors, unusual for a yacht this size (Heywood also styled the custom limo tender to mirror the mother ship). Moving tender operations forward keeps them clear of the guest areas and frees stern space for the beach club with gym, dayhead, sauna, steam room and a platform with an integrated hydraulic swim ladder. Whereas the foredeck on Madame Kate sports a hot tub, the owner of Event opted for a touch-and-go helipad forward of the Portuguese bridge.
“From an operational point of view, I prefer the helipad option,” says Event Capt. Ross Haerle. “As much as I like to see guests using all of the boat, the foredeck is principally a working area, and I feel it’s better to keep it free of people when we’re underway or during windlass operations.”
Although seemingly simple, the exterior design required considerable skill for the shipyard to weld, fair and paint. Many of Heywood’s aesthetic solutions also serve a practical function. The bridge deck wing stations, for example, are tucked into “blisters” that blend into the superstructure contours and provide excellent visibility fore and aft without the need for complicated folding mechanisms in the bulwarks. The radar domes are positioned wide apart on the sundeck roof to create a less-cumbersome mast profile and minimize reception blind spots. The hefty stainless steel handrails on the open aft decks lean outboard to mirror the exterior styling and create a feeling of boundless deck space.
The bespoke interior design of Event is by Italian designer Laura Sessa, who was given the honor of christening the yacht. Bright, bold and contemporary, the décor perfectly marries the exterior styling. Light veneers of anigré and lime tree, bleached and lacquered to a satin or gloss finish, combine with brushed and limed Oregon pine and an exotic dark wood called louro faia for the detailing. A more casual brushed oak with an aluminium grain finish appears in the beach club. Bright linen and cotton textiles from Jim Thompson Fabrics, Nobilis, Pierre Frey and Loro Piana, with silk rugs by Tai Ping, provide a fresh and welcoming ambience on a yacht conceived for family use.
“We went for a look that could be described as modern classic, elegant with a lot of research into detailing, comfort and the practicality of every room,” Sessa says. “The owner was looking for a feeling of warmth, and so I proposed certain details in the embroidery, colors and particular materials. Everything was custom made for Event.”
The light and airy décor accentuates the yacht’s interior volume. At 1,119 gross tons, Event gives a first impression of having space to spare, with generous gangways and wide corridors. The owner’s suite and study on the main deck take full advantage of the nearly 34-foot (10.3-meter) beam that is carried far forward thanks to the scimitar bow, and there is space for a full-size changing room as opposed to a walk-in wardrobe. The guest accommodations include two VIP cabins on the upper deck and three cabins on the lower deck, all with large porthole-style windows. Together with the main salon, sky lounge and dining room with fold-down balconies on both sides, these guest spaces make Event feel like a much larger yacht.
The owner and his family spend much of their time on the sundeck. The central chill-out lounge looks onto a circular lounge aft for viewing movies on a projector screen that drops from the ceiling when the folding glass doors are open. Through another sliding glass door forward is a teak-clad hot tub, sunbed and buffet area served by a dumbwaiter from the main-deck galley. Designed for both indoor and outdoor living, this versatile and user-friendly space can be closed for inclement weather—ideal for northern cruising and the Norwegian fjords, where Event made her maiden voyage. By adding the enclosed lounge and internal staircase, Amels showed how it can customize the layout of the 199 Limited Editions to suit owners’ requests.
In fact, in consultation with Imperial Yachts in Monaco (acting as owner’s representative, build supervisor and yacht manager, and exclusive broker for sale), the shipyard revised the layout to allow for variations in space planning while keeping the platform intact. One example is the air conditioning: Most 60-meter yachts would have at least four a/c units spread around the boat, but the centralized system on Event means fewer technical spaces and easier maintenance for the crew.
Dutch boatbuilders take great pride in their engineering excellence, and the yacht’s engine room pays tribute to this expertise. The control room has forward-leaning windows so the Caterpillar engines and other machinery can be taken in at a glance. Generators are housed in a separate room rather than individual soundproof boxes to facilitate access for maintenance. There is even a dedicated filter cleaning station, so the chief engineer needn’t scrub the filters on the dock—a common enough sight in most marinas.
The Limited Editions concept took the industry by storm 10 years ago and other shipyards have attempted to follow suit, but none have achieved the same level of success as Amels. In addition to the recent order for a 180-footer (55-meter), a 190-footer (58-meter) is due to be announced at the Monaco Yacht Show. The builder also has announced it is now offering full-custom projects from 262 feet (80 meters) to about 361 feet (110 meters).
Clearly the Limited Editions concept offers unlimited possibilities.
For more information: +31 118 485 002, amels-holland; Imperial Yachts, +377 97 98 38 80, imperial-yachts.com