Toine — By Capt. Bill Pike
— September 2001
The Next Level
|With the introduction of another MCA yacht, Amels ups the ante on safety.|
Ready for a bit of controversy? In my opinion, some of the most sophisticated developments in megayachting these days are trickling down from the gritty realm of commercial shipbuilding, not percolating up from the megayacht milieu itself. Why make such a provocatively shippy statement in a magazine that often features a couple of megayachts a month?
First off, I'm a troublemaker. Most of my sorry youth was spent in trouble, and I guess I'd be in trouble today if I wasn't languishing in middle age, too tired to do what it takes to get honorably thrown in jail. And then, I come from a commercial shipping background, a hotbed of pride and prejudice. Every time I hear a modern-day yachty tout the virtues of Dynamic Positioning or some other "advanced" concept that debuted on workboats 20 years ago, I wanna yell, "Duh!"
And then, too, I recently had the distinct pleasure of seatrialing the newly launched 52-meter (170'7") Amels motoryacht Toinie, as shippy a piece of naval architecture as ever bashed a North Sea roller. In fact, at one point during the stately peregrinations of this big, rakish creation, which took place on a lowery day in Holland, with the wind blowing Force 8 and seas running to about nine feet on the vast Iysselmeer, I actually forgot I was on a yacht.
There was an excellent reason for this lapse. I was standing smack-dab in the midst of an intensely shippy environment when it occurred--the wheelhouse of Toinie, replete with commercial-grade electronics, world-class navigation equipment, and a wraparound panorama of tempered-glass more evocative of supertankers than superyachts. The ambiance was one of purposeful quiet, the same quiet that prevails on the bridges of well-found ships. Time and again I was constrained to reflect that, although we were muscling through the dark Iysselmeer at close to 12 knots, all I could hear was the faint whine of the radars, the occasional crackle of the Sailor VHF, and the murmuring of the captain and chief engineer. Toinie's 1,200-hp Cummins KTA 38 M2 diesels, a couple of decks down, were virtually silent, their power more discernable from the tach readings at the helm than from anything else. No wonder I felt like I was onboard a ship, at least for a moment or two.
Indeed, Amels got its start in ships and other commercial and military watercraft during World War I. Today the company continues its shipbuilding heritage via a subsidiary relationship with Damen Shipyards Group, a Holland-based international consortium that, besides yachts, builds utility vessels, high-performance tugs, LPG tankers, bulk carriers, and container ships. Undoubtedly the Damen connection plays a big part in the success Amels is having building MCA-certified yachts like Toinie, yachts that cleverly camouflage commercial-type safety devices and systems with unsurpassed stylishness. Toinie's predecessor and sistership, Tigre D'Or, was not only one of the first yachts to win MCA certification, but also garnered the Superyacht Society's 1999 award for Best Power Interior.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.