Ask Tim Heywood where he found his inspiration for the striking lines of the Limited Editions Amels 199, and the British designer says, ‘From locking myself in my studio, just being focused totally on this design, purely from delving into my own mind.’
Heywood has certainly struck out in a new direction, starting with the scimitar bow and working backwards through every part of the boat.
‘I had been playing around with this idea for a while and was waiting for the right time to introduce it. Now the time is right,’ says Heywood. ‘The market is less conservative, people have adjusted to more innovative designs, and there are more adventurous owners out there now. They want something that will definitely stand out.’
Heywood also applauds Dutch shipyard Amels for ‘having the vision to build this’. He explains, ‘I offered them two options for the 199, a clipper bow or a scimitar bow, and I’m delighted they chose the latter.’
Look more closely and you find that the Limited Editions Amels 199 surprises from all angles.
‘I’ve played with reverse tumblehomes and winding panels of the superstructure. From any perspective, you are always seeing curves, making it a far more interesting and unique shape,’ Heywood explains. ‘It dresses the functionality of the boat by taking a bulwark and actually doing something unique and interesting with it, while still performing its function of keeping the passengers safe and secure on the deck.’
Proud as he is of the aesthetic innovations on the 199, Heywood says he has done nothing to compromise the practical function and efficiency of the yacht.
‘That would be bad design,’ he says. ‘There’s no point in drawing something just because it looks nice but doesn’t actually serve its purpose very well.’
For Heywood, the open brief for the Amels 199 has been the perfect canvas on which to paint his unique blend of form and function.
The scimitar bow, for example, is not just about making a statement. According to Amels’ designer Jaap van der Velde, the longer waterline means the Amels 199 performs more like a conventional 65m yacht, and will be up to 15 per cent more fuel efficient than an equivalent clipper-bowed vessel.
Amel’s Jaap Van der Velde says the Amels 199 also benefits from the extensive research and development already carried out for the other yachts in Amels’ Limited Editions range, which now stretches from the Amels 171 to the Amels 242.
‘We have centralised the technical areas in the Amels 199,’ he says, ‘which makes it much simpler to customise and configure the interior to the owner’s particular requirements.’
The first Limited Editions Amels 199 was sold at the end of 2010 through Monaco-based management company Imperial.
‘We had already worked with Amels on other Limited Editions projects, but I never cease to be impressed with the company’s ability to meet every promise,’ comments Imperial’s Evgeniy Kochman. ‘They are always open to new ideas and do their best to fulfil every request.’
In the case of the Amels 199, the client has taken full advantage of the ability to customise the yacht extensively, with Heywood and the Amels design and engineering team having reconfigured elements of the package to incorporate the owner’s requests. Customisations include the upper saloon, with access from the central staircase; the touch-and-go helipad on the foredeck; an additional folding bulwark with integrated boarding ladder; and a fully customised interior by Laura Sessa.
The appeal of the Limited Editions concept is that owners are buying a customisable yacht that has been designed and engineered on a proven Amels platform, according to Amels’ managing director Rob Luijendijk.
‘Building and owning a superyacht shouldn’t be stressful, it should be fun,’ he says. ‘Because we’ve done all the hard work up front, the engineering, the design work and so forth, the decisions about personalising and individualising the yacht are generally the ones that the owner enjoys the most.’
Luijendijk says the Limited Editions concept has struck a chord that has continued to chime even through the hard economic times of recent years. Amels claims to be the leader in the premium semi-custom market, which Luijendijk says yields all the benefits of custom construction without any of the headaches or nasty surprises.
‘Compared with a full custom build of comparable size and premium quality, we can produce a Limited Editions yacht in about two years rather than four, and at a substantially better price.’
Indeed, the first Amels 199 sold in 2010 was launched in February 2013.
Big talk, but with 10 projects delivered in the past four years, on time or ahead of schedule, plus 11 projects under construction, Amels has the track record to justify its claims.
This feature was originally published in the July 2011 edition of Boat International.
Photography courtesy of Amels.