Global launch for Amels 80 by Espen Øino
Damen Yachting staged an unusual virtual launch in Amsterdam to introduce its Espen Øino-styled Amels 80, the latest flagship of the Limited Editions fleet. By Bruce Maxwell.
Rose Damen, Managing Director of Damen Yachting
Rose Damen, Managing Director of Damen Yachting, presided over an elaborate launch event for the Amels 80 that featured an 8m model of the yacht and combined a beautifully choreographed modern dance performance with state-of-the-art video mapping and technology, so that the Sinot-designed interior nooks and crannies could be explored by viewers as well.
The vessel’s hull is now taking shape, and she will be outfitted in historic Vlissingen, formerly known as Flushing in English, which was the 17th century headquarters harbour of the Dutch East India Company. Delivery is expected in the spring of 2025.
The Amels 80’s online launch featured a dance performance
Ms Damen described the launch as “a very special moment in the history or our Amels Limited Editions legacy” and “an incredibly proud milestone”. The event itself “was remarkable and very fitting for such a special yacht, which represents a shift in how we interact and grow with nature”.
The format, presented at an Amsterdam theatre but in which all principals including exterior designer Espen Øino gave high-tech presentations and were available for online questions, brought in a much wider spectrum of people than would otherwise have been possible, and seems destined to become normal practice in future.
Exterior designer Espen Øino with the model of the Amels 80
The Amels 80, two years in the making and including new tank testing and Computational Fluid Dynamics analysis, will use sustainable materials and latest innovative hybrid technology.
Other key features are an enormous 200sqm sun deck, a waterside beach club open on three sides with lounge and wellness spa, a dedicated 517sqm owners deck, extra-large limousine tenders to 11.5m, and a helicopter landing pad.
Fourteen guests are accommodated in seven suites, six of which are on the principal deck with panoramic views of the ocean or whatever else is en passant. LOA is 80m or 261ft, beam 12.5m or 41 ft, so she has relatively high volume at 2,175GT.
This is the first time Amels, which marked its 100th anniversary in 2018, has worked with Sinot Yacht Architecture and Design, a fellow Dutch company.
Sinot handled the interiors; main-deck saloon shown
Sander Sinot and his team point out that, in line with the Amels Limited Edition concept, “the interior has been designed to host a personalised layer of loose furniture and decorative elements. The owners can create an individual design signature, using their own individual artworks and treasured objects to form the basis of a personal home at sea”.
Sinot talks of using stained oak and walnut veneers, and natural stones and leathers. Splashes of colour and special finishings made from bronzed metals and glass are infused to make the yacht stand out from the crowd.
Beach club on the lower deck
Øino, who is both an exterior designer and naval architect, working in this case with Amels’ own naval architects, describes “modern, strong lines that will look as good in 10 years as the day she departs the yard” and says that “she is a big ship, full of features, with an impressive interior volume”.
Damen Shipyards Group, which has 35 facilities around the world, bought Amels in 1991 just as the modern superyacht era was taking off. The yard was located at Makkum for 14 years before moving to Vlissingen.
The Amels 80 features expansive outdoor areas
The Group’s financial strength enabled it to build thoroughly tried and tested and beautifully engineered hulls on spec, so that an owner could step in for the final two years fit-out, when the vessel was being customised. This effectively halved waiting time for a virtual custom new-build, and became wildly popular.
I remember attending a breakfast press conference, just before the 2005 Monaco Yacht Show began, at a hotel in the Principality’s Larvotto or beachside suburb, at which exterior designer Tim Heywood and interior designer Laura Sessa introduced the Limited Editions concept for the first time, with a 52m (171ft) vessel that was called Deniki,to be delivered amazingly in 2007.
Online presentation of the Amels 80
Asia-Pacific readers may have seen her relatively recently, as she has spent two years cruising in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, although she is now back in the Med. Heywood thinks the same owner has had her all this time, which speaks well for the Amels pedigree.
Many other Amels Limited Editions followed, but principal LOAs included the Amels 55m (180ft), Amels 62.5m (206ft), Amels 65.5m (220ft) and Amels 74m (242ft). Every one was a Tim Heywood design, and he took to making slight adjustments here and there for assorted owners, so that one Limited Editions would look somewhat different to another, albeit both may be the same LOA.
Laura Sessa did a lot of the interior designs too, but as owners had a choice, and some had prior superyachts and experience with different designers, that aspect saw a whole spectrum of interior decorators trying their hand at these Limited Editions.
Øino during the Amels 80 presentation
Then in 2019, the famed Norwegian designer Espen Øino came aboard. Heywood had been a partner of the late great London-based Australian stylist Jon Bannenberg, and they were both highly regarded in the industry, but Øino was the new wonderkid on the block, with a seemingly inexhaustible flow of interesting designs being built at shipyards around the world, among them in Australia and China.
For Amels he drew a completely new concept Limited Editions 60, which has a very distinctive profile. This vessel has now been delivered to its owner, paving the way for the Amels 80. By this time, more than 40 Tim Heywood Limited Editions had been built, and that range remains available too.
A corporate restructure, also in 2019, saw a new entity called Damen Yachting created, which would handle Amels Limited Editions and Amels Custom Yachts, of which there continue to be many ordered individually, as well as quite sophisticated SeaXplorer Expedition Vessels and upgraded Yacht Support Vessels, and Refits.
The first Amels 60 has been moved out of the Damen Yachting dry dock in Vlissingen, launching “a new era” for the Limited Editions series.