Captain's Call

A Place to Call Home

Interview with Captain Olly Lewis

In April, the Amels 180 PAPA returned to our Damen Yachting shipyard in Vlissingen. A brief 2-month stay for a combination of refit and warranty works ahead of her busy Mediterranean charter season. We caught up with repeat Amels fleet Captain Olly Lewis to find out why they chose to take on a gruelling 8500 nautical mile voyage from Phuket to return to the yard where she was originally built in 2019.

As far as Ocean Passages go, this was not an easy one. We experienced very challenging weather for almost all of the 8500 nautical miles it took to get here, and it was certainly an eye-opener for a lot of the crew. That said, PAPA handled herself brilliantly and it was worth everything the elements threw at us to be able to bring her back to the yard where she was originally built. It’s great to be  back here and working with the Amels team at the yard.”

– Olly Lewis

Experience Counts

Olly joined PAPA at the beginning of 2022 in Thailand as a rotational Captain. Whilst his time on board this 55-metre Amels 180 may be relatively short, Olly is no stranger to Amels Limited Editions and the shipyard. Experience he feels were certainly an advantage when joining a yacht.

“As a Captain, joining a platform that you’re familiar with gives you a huge advantage. Firstly you know the capabilities of the vessel, and equally as important, any limitations. And then knowing the sort of personality of the vessel and the hull also gives you a considerable advantage. Especially when you have a big trip to start with!

Adventure and Reward

Undertaking such a substantial passage from Asia to the Netherlands was not without its challenges. First and foremost due to the unseasonably tough weather conditions, particularly in the Red Sea and Mediterranean which meant it took almost 16 days to cross from the Suez Canal to Gibraltar and the elements didn’t let up when PAPA reached the North Atlantic either. So was the 6 weeks at sea worth it?

“It wasn’t an easy trip, but it certainly had its rewards. The passage itself meant transiting through some pretty high-risk areas so there were a lot of extra considerations to make, for example having armed security on board. But in the end, it was a great experience and adventure for all the crew, and we made it into Vlissingen in good time, ahead of schedule with a warm welcome when we arrived! Yes, it is a long way to travel but there was a common goal from the outset. We all wanted to bring the boat back to Amels where we know the quality of workmanship is going to be first class.”


“With regards to my experience here at Amels, it’s been an absolute pleasure to be back at the shipyard, and I very much look forward to the next time, hopefully on something a little bigger!”

– Olly Lewis

Second Home

Selecting PAPA was not the only one returning back to the Damen Yachting yard. The arrival in Vlissingen marked Olly’s third time as part of an Amels build / refit crew.  

“For me, to be back at Amels, it’s almost like coming to a second home. This is the third yacht from this Amels 180 Limited Editions design that I’ve served on. Being back and bumping into the same old familiar faces is a real treat to be honest. I know the area relatively well, so I’ve sort of got around to my favourite haunts for the crew that haven’t been here. Feedback has generally been excellent. Vlissingen is a lovely town and we’ve been blessed with a couple of good sunny days, which is always an added bonus!”

Planned to Perfection

With just 8 weeks to get PAPA back up and ready to welcome charter guests on board and get all planned works complete, staying on schedule required precision planning. The aim was to get the most amount of work done in the smallest time frame we available.

“Primarily the scope of works was to complete some outstanding warranty items that the vessel was unable to complete due to the pandemic. We also have our statutory surveys to complete as well as some technical upgrades for example in the Bridge upgrade, Engine room and for the main engines and generators. We’ve also anti-fouled the hull and serviced parts such as the stabilisers and thrusters. The same people that built the yacht three years ago are still here. The same people that have built the other 24 Amels 180s are still here. And they know the boats inside out.”

“We were all very proud to welcome PAPA back to Damen Yachting, especially knowing that she was willing to head back here all the way from Thailand. All of the preparations ahead of her arrival meant we could get started as soon as she arrived. In fact, we were even already working closely with the team – both at BURGESS and on board – whilst she was underway! We are delighted that another of our Amels 180 Limited Editions has found her way back to Damen Yachting!”
– Juul Back, Refit Sales Manager

PAPA at a glance

  • Amels 180 (55 metres / 180ft)
  • Delivered 2019
  • 671 GT
  • 12 guests, 12 Crew + Captain
  • Exterior design by Tim Heywood
  • Interior design by Laura Sessa
  • Naval Architecture by Damen Yachting

Did you enjoy this article from our Finest Moments Summer 2022 edition? Make sure you don’t miss our next Finest Moments edition!