Under the Boat

Some businesses are reliable and understand good communication with their customers, and some don’t.  It might not surprise you that the last bits of material we are waiting for are from those who just don’t get it.  As an example, consider this conversation:

“We are really in a rush, do you have it in stock and can you ship that with a Next Day delivery?”
“Yes, we have it in stock and yes we can ship it ‘Next Day’.”

Now you might expect after that conversation that you would have the item in question in one day or two at the most.  WRONG!  To be fair, they did exactly what they said they would do, they shipped it “Next Day Air”. The problem is it took them three days to actually get the shipment out the door.  Our fault, we should have been sure to ask, “Can you ship today?”

The other vendor kind of doesn’t understand that we won’t bother them with phone calls and emails if they would just TELL us what to expect.  But that is too much trouble.  Sigh.

On the bright side of things, Amel has been a delight with their shipments to us.  I am sure that their current production of new boats has to take priority, but their customer service department has really done everything they can to get us what we need when we need it, all from another continent and in a foreign (to them!) language.

Oh well, while we wait, I thought at least some of my loyal readers might be interested to see what Harmonie looks like under the water.  So, here is a guided tour to her neither regions…


Here we are looking from bow to stern (front to back for you landlubbers). The shape of the hull is deep and round.  A traditional and conservative style for a cruising boat.  It gives her a very comfortable and predictable motion when at sea.  The modern style of boat tends to a very flat bottom.  A flat bottom maximizes interior volume given a fixed width and length, and it is arguably a bit faster in some conditions, but it results in a very uncomfortable ride when that flat expanse of hull hits a wave and then the next wave, and the next, and so on…  I have sailed boats like that, and I wouldn’t have one.

A prominent feature in this photo is the keel.  The weighted part of the keel is over 12,000 pounds of cast iron. Much of the keel is actually hollow, and holds the 264 gallons of freshwater that we carry.  It is always a good thing to keep that extra 2000 lbs of weight as low as possible.img_0578

Unusually positioned on the back of the keel is the propeller.  No traditional propeller shaft, the drive train consists of a Amel built unit that puts the propeller deep in the water, and gives it maximum protection from debris by putting it right behind the keel.

The propeller itself has blades that rotate to align themselves with the water flow while we are sailing to minimize drag.

Under the stern is the rudder.  Every other sailboat rudder I have seen goes to great img_0577lengths to seal water out to avoid corrosion of the metal parts inside.  Amel built the rudder of metal that doesn’t corrode in seawater, so the rudder is hollow and water is free to enter and leave as it wishes.

It is not a huge rudder for the size of the boat, but it does a fine job controlling the boat while sailing.  At slow speeds and in close quarters, I find the boat a bit sluggish and slow to come about. Fortunately, we have a bow thruster to handle close-quarter maneuvers.  Not just any bow thruster, but an Amel specially designed and manufactured bow thruster.

More powerful than most, it also fully retracts to eliminate drag while sailing. It is a cleaver and robust system that really lets us spin the boat around in circles when we need to.

One last thing about the underside of our boat that I can’t show you a picture of because it is something that is NOT there.  Compared to other similar boats, there are very, very few holes in the boat.

Wait a minute… a hole in the boat?  Isn’t that a really bad idea? Who takes a perfectly good boat hull and puts holes in it?

In the modern boat building world, every time you need to get water into the boat or drain water out of it, you put another hole in the boat. For example, for the typical bathroom, you might have one hole for the toilet’s saltwater intake.  Another for the toilet’s discharge.  Another for the sink drain, and yet another for the shower drain.  You get the idea.  Holes add up quickly!  On a boat of similar size and design to ours here in the yard, I counted 19 holes below the water line. Harmonie has… three.

How did they do that?  Careful planning and design. Putting what holes they can above the waterline, and using a central sump to collect drain water, and a sea chest to distribute saltwater to multiple places from a single source.

There are any number of stories about boats that were lost when water was coming into the hull quickly, and filled the boat before the source could be identified. Not at all likely to happen on an Amel design!


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1 Response to Under the Boat

  1. biohead36 says:

    Hi Bill,
    I just bought an SM and have a couple of questions about your solar arch project. Can you PM me at biohead@rocketmail.com? Regards, John


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