Amels' Bel Abri
The latest LE 171 from Amels, Bel Abri, offers charter guests customised styling on the outer decks and indoors that offer fun and enjoyment in any clime
Dutch builders in superyachts have been at the forefront of what has become known as the semi-custom superyacht. The theory is simple: do the engineering and design work for a hull and basic structure, but leave as many other details and features open to client request as possible. Owners are relieved of making decisions about hull shape and engineering that come with a fully customised build, and can also save money on design work. However, owners can still enjoy a fairly high level of customisation that typically extends far beyond choosing colours and fabrics, as you would on a production yacht. And according to superyacht builder Amels, which specialises in semi-custom superyachts, owners can enjoy a higher degree of quality, as so much of the engineering work has been done.
Among the series of Limited Editions, semi-custom yachts produced by Amels, one of the most successful is the 171 series. The first 171 launch was the magnificent Deniki, profiled in the March-April 2008 issue of Asia-Pacific Boating. That yacht featured a very owner-centric design and layout, with furnishings and décor that could only be called Neo-African. The contrast with the latest 171 launch, the sixth in the series, couldn’t be greater. Bel Abri was built as an addition to the charter market, and offers potential buyers a brilliant opportunity to try out the workmanship of Amels Holland in person.
Outside Bel Abri
A basic outline of the exteriors, penned by celebrated superyacht designer Tim Heywood, features smooth lines which aim for timeless elegance. “I have always admired the sweeping curves of Italian sports car designs of the 1930s,” says Heywood. The initial aim of the 171 was to create something that could be described as “athletically feminine”, says Heywood. To that end, Heywood began by drawing a strong line from the bow to the stern, “a flowing line that runs from the bridge deck amidships down to the mid deck all the way aft.” According to Heywood, all the elements of the exterior appearance of each 171 extend from that
At the same time, the yard and the designer wanted to create a yacht that could incorporate features found on much larger yachts. The 171 measures in at 52 metres length overall, yet it comes with a 20-metre sundeck – something more commonly found on a 90-metre yacht, according to the designer.
The appearance of the 171 is not just geared towards looks – as with every good yacht design, there is a functional element as well. According to Amels, Bel Abri was meant to combine “the practicality and robustness of a 4X4 off-road vehicle with the sleek beauty and sex appeal of a coupe sports car.”