Photos By Marc Paris And Klaus Stemier
Amels’ Limited Editions combine the delivery time of semicustom yachts with custom-yacht individuality.
Puerto Andratx, on Mallorca’s southwest coast, is a quiet haven with a yacht marina, a cluster of small-craft moorings, and a few restaurants and bars lining a low-rise waterfront. Set between two steep limestone bluffs, the entrance is straightforward for the navigator, but once inside, the harbor gets shallow and rocky in places. It is one of the better-kept secrets on the largest of Spain’s Balearic Islands—handy for Palma and the airport but sufficiently off the beaten track to provide a discreet island base for those in the know.
One morning last spring, this sleepy Balearic bolthole awoke to find a new visitor lying at anchor just beyond the place where sandy turquoise sinks into a deeper blue. Drawing nearly 13 feet and measuring more than 200 feet in length, Imagine is not the sort of yacht that often pokes her nose inside the breakwater, and she wasn’t stopping for long. From a side door in her hull side, James Bond-style, a RIB was launched onto the swell, her guests were collected with quiet efficiency from the harbor’s concrete quay, and the anchor chain began clicking back up the hawse.
Her four decks towering above the water, with seven guest cabins and accommodations for 19 crew, the brand-new yacht made an imposing sight. This was her first public appearance—her owners had yet to take formal possession—and Capt. Grahame Shorrocks, an Englishman with more than 25 years’ experience in high-end yachting, welcomed his guests aboard.
Built by Amels in Holland and recently arrived in the Med for the summer season, Imagine is the latest in the shipyard’s Limited Editions series. She may have all the presence of a one-off superyacht, with her quietly muscular Tim Heywood styling and coolly opulent Andrew Winch interior, but to a surprising extent she’s an off-the-peg creation—a floating paradigm of palatial prêt-à-porter.
Amels launched its Limited Editions (LE) concept with a 171-foot design in 2004. Against all reason, the shipyard begins construction of each new yacht before the buyer is found, and in the case of a new model, will even commission designers and publish brochures showing suggested interior schemes. It seems incredible, but so far the shipyard has launched ten LE yachts and has another eight under construction. The 171 evolved into a 177, and Imagine is the first of the 212s to hit the water. There are also 194- and 242-foot designs in the series.
So far, each yacht has found its customer well before completion. “It can save the buyer up to two years,” says Amels’ Victor Caminada. “Our philosophy is to have a standardized platform using many of the same components. Ducting and pipework are centralized as much as possible to ensure we have layout flexibility when the owner arrives. And compared with a full custom build at a yard of comparable pedigree, the buyer will pay roughly 30 percent less.” It’s not just plumbing and air conditioning that is centralized: Imagine’s entertainment system is installed in a discrete compartment on her tank deck.
Her keel was laid in 2008, and the yacht’s two joint owners came in pretty soon afterward, according to Caminada. At this stage Am- els would have been perfectly willing to make major changes to the suggested designs, both inside and out, but the customers were clearly impressed by the work of Winch and Heywood.
“Very few changes were requested,” Caminada explains. “If you look at the Winch designs in the original 212 brochure and compare that interior with Imagine, you can see they are broadly the same.”
The décor is a cleverly understated mix of surfaces and finishes, which range from brushed copper and chiseled limestone to satin-varnished jatoba hardwood, eucalyptus veneer, teak, onyx, and mother-of-pearl. The yacht’s layout is centered on a spiral staircase dead amidships and its attendant glass-walled elevator, which both link all five decks. Look at the aerial photos and you’ll see the circular glass panel over the stairwell, which transmits daylight through the yacht all the way down to the tank deck. There is a separate crew staircase forward.
Imagine’s substantial beam is seen to excellent effect in the guest entertaining areas, on both the main and bridge decks. A baby grand piano in the saloon is a pretty ocean-liner touch, and the expanding round dining table sits just inside a spectacular set of semicircular glass cockpit doors. There are two alternative dining venues: the rectangular table on the upper deck, sheltered by the long overhang of the touch-and-go helipad and the alfresco oval table on the sundeck.
But it is the owner’s suite on the main deck where Imagine’s beam is best appreciated. It is reached down the starboard side via the “collector’s corridor” and a circular lobby, and it has a separate office and dressing room, twin matching bathrooms, and a superb sleeping area, with windows on each side, that measures more than 30 feet across.
Two lucky couples among the guests can claim the prize VIP suites on the upper deck, which are rather long and thin but offer fantastic views from their elevated vantage points and have full-height opening windows. The remaining four guest cabins are down below: two doubles and two twins, each roomy and well appointed and also benefitting from big, bright windows. There shouldn’t be any complaints.
Designed for the charter market and available through Fraser, Imagine’s owners have provided plenty of active entertainment for guests, from the swimming pool up top (with a bar, for those whose holidays must involve rest as well as recreation) to the fully equipped watersports garage aft, with its RIB, limo tender, and PWCs. Just forward sits the engine room, two decks high: a polished white temple dedicated to quality engineering. The huge pair of 69-liter Caterpillar diesels would look pretty big just about anywhere else, but here they look just right.
And up to now they have earned their keep. In fact her captain characterized Imagine so far as pretty flawless, with a remarkably small “snag list” of just five minor items to be sorted out by the shipyard prior to handover and a trouble-free trip south from Holland to the Mediterranean.
“We had a few days of bad weather, including 40-knot winds and 2 1/2 meter [8-foot] seas off Cape Finisterre,” says Shorrocks. He was full of praise for Imagine’s abilities as a sea boat and singled out the automatic four-fin Quantum stabilizers in particular: “There’s no more trying to tune the stabilizers for following seas and different conditions,” he said. “You can’t tune it better than it tunes itself.”
Watched over by the old icon of St. Nicholas on the wheelhouse bulkhead, they repaired to La Corunna to let the gale blow itself out before continuing to Gibraltar, arriving after 6 1/2 days at sea. Her captain was in no doubt about his yacht’s performance: “She was fantastic,” he said.
And with that, it was back to business. The chain was up, the anchor stowed, and Imagine’s bow swung gently to face the sea. Big props churned a straight white wake and she began to gather speed. Behind, the island receded and the entrance to Puerto Andratx hid itself again among the hills. Ahead was the horizon, the season, and the whole new life of a beautiful yacht. Imagine that.
(+31) 118 485002.