Born on 16th April 1913 Henri Amel, who was Henri Tonet, was fascinated by sailing even from a very young age. As he came to the end of his teenage years, he started sailing alone on small yachts. He was to build boats in his bodywork business in Paris. Unfortunatly war came along, and so Henry was called up. After the war years, he continued boat-building in Lyon. During the war, he was wounded in one eye entirely losing his sight. But Henri Amel didn't give up on his dream to build yachts that would be very strong, comfortable and simple to manoeuvre.
Amel Yachts were first built in La Rochelle, at this time Henri Amel, had until then been allowing construction of his yachts to external yards. Ateliers Rochelais de Polyester Industriel et Naval took over the company called Arpin were based in the Ville en Bois district. At that time had over forty employees, including an excellent designer Jacques Carteau, the future technical director then the right-hand man of Mr Amel, then CEO of Chantiers AMEL.
Since 1962 AMEL has also had a base in the Mediterranean, in the new port at Hyères. The La Rochelle workshops produced the Copain, the Pampero, the Super Mistral Sport and the Euros 39. As a pioneer in polyester construction, AMEL manufactures its boats using a GRP, assembling via stratification of internal bulkheads, deck and hull a single piece structure, forming an entirely waterproof and highly resistant composition.
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Disaster at the factory It was 5th February 1968 a fire destroyed Aprins workshops. Henri Amel built new boatyards in Périgny, a brand new business park in La Rochelle. These new facilities were opened in January 1969 and would produce every one of AMEL's yachts up to the current models.
Taking just under a year during Oct 1975 to June 1976: La Route des Cocotiers: Mr Amel crossed the Atlantic making for the West Indies. Going on then to pass through the Panama Canal en route to Polynesia. On board the Meltem "Capitoune II", which Henry had promised to deliver personally to a customer and friend in Tahiti. On that voyage, Henry takes three other crew-mates. During this journey working with Jacques Carte at a distance, Henry Amel designed the Maramu.
12th April 2005: Henri Amel died. From 2005, it was decided that boats produced by the yard would no longer be named after winds or islands but simply bear the name "AMEL". The French La Rochelle-Périgny factory expands, and a new 4000m² building is opened. It was expected at that time soon the yard would be producing larger units. This turned out to be correct, and the yard made the AMEL 64. January 2014: Jean-Jacques Lemonnier leaves his position as chief executive, he is replaced by Emmanuel Poujeade, Chantiers AMEL's financial director. Mr Lemonnier joined the company in March 2000 and is now Chairman of the Board.
Amel History researched and updated in 2018 by Network Yacht Brokers Barcelona