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Oyster News 62

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OYSTER NEWS

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NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF OYSTER • DOUBLE QUEEN'S AWARD YACHT BUILDERS

OYSTER - WORLD LEADERS IN DECK SALOON CRUISING YACHTS

OYSTERS IN ANTIGUA • THE NEW OYSTER 525 • SUPER OYSTERS • ARC REPORT

ISSUE 62 SUMMER 2007


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Contents Issue 62

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FROM THE CHAIRMAN Richard Matthews

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NEWS ROUNDUP

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LONDON OWNERS DINNER

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VALENCIA HERE WE COME!

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SUPER OYSTERS The new range of Oyster Superyachts

EDITOR Liz Whitman

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MONTPELIER OYSTER REGATTA - ANTIGUA

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WILDCARD’S MAIDEN VOYAGE Peter Healey

PRODUCTION EDITOR Rebecca Twiss

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OYSTER IN THE MOVIES Britta Flack

FROM THE EDITOR We publish Oyster News three times a year and we know from our readers that the articles they most enjoy reading about are the contributions from Oyster owners. If you have a story to tell or information about cruising in your Oyster please let us know. Photographs are always welcome with or without a story. email: liz.whitman@oystermarine.com or rebecca.twiss@oystermarine.com

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INTRODUCING THE NEW OYSTER 525

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CRUISING NUSA TENGGARA IN ADESSO Gerald Goetgeluck

FRONT COVER PICTURE: Regatta fleet at dusk off Ffryes Beach, Montpelier Oyster Regatta, Antigua Photo: Tim Wright BACK COVER PICTURE: Oyster’s Private View 2007, St Katharine’s Haven, London Photo: Kevin Edwards

Oyster News is published by Oyster Marine Ltd. Oyster News is for promotional purposes only, privately circulated, and cannot form part of any contract or offer. Views, details and information herein are not necessarily endorsed by the publisher who will not be held responsible for the consequences of any error or omission. Pictures and illustrations are liable to show non standard equipment.

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BILLY BUDD IN THE ARCTIC Mariacristina Rapisardi


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Welcome 54

CRUISING THE GRENADINES

Welcome to the latest Oyster News in which we bring reports of no less than three new Oyster yachts, the 525, 100 and, surely the ultimate flagship, the Oyster 125.

Richard Matthew

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ARC 2006 - ON BOARD OM SHANTI Rachel Miller

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ARC2006 - ON BOARD KEALOHA 8

With news of our Dubois designed superyachts, some readers might ask if this means a change from our lead designer Rob Humphreys. The answer is an emphatic ‘no’ since, as our range develops, Humphreys' creativity will continue. Indeed if we include the 42 R&D racer drawn by Rob’s son Tom, his first commission, we currently have three Humphreys’ designs under development.

Elaine Taylor

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40TH ANTIGUA SAILING WEEK Richard Matthews

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PARALYMPIC SAILING UPDATE Hannah Stodel

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JUST LAUNCHED

With another successful Antigua Regatta behind us, we are looking forward to Valencia where around forty Oysters will enjoy their own event and the action at the Louis Vuitton and America’s Cup races. For the first time in 24 years there will be no US yacht in either final. We are delighted with the news that former Oyster owner, Sir Keith Mills, will be leading a British challenge next time with Andy Green, who as a youth sailor was one of our sponsored protégées. As we head towards our 35th anniversary year, Oyster yachts are being enjoyed in just about every corner of the world’s cruising grounds. We are especially proud of the achievements of Michèle Colenso, winning her class in the Sydney-Hobart; Mariacristina Rapisardi being awarded the Royal Cruising Club’s Tilman Medal, and of course Brian and Frankie Hall and Gerald and Anne-Marie Goetgeluck who both completed recent circumnavigations in their Oysters and join a growing roll of honour. You don’t have to sail around the world or win races to enjoy owning an Oyster. For many owners a lazy summer sail and the pride of ownership that comes as standard with all our yachts is pleasure enough – but it’s nice to know you can. As usual we wish all our readers fair winds and good sailing.

Richard Matthews Founder and Chairman Oyster Marine www.oystermarine.com 3


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Newsroundup

McDell Marine, who build the Oyster 53 and LD43 Motor Yacht, had the privilege of receiving the Prince at their yard and the opportunity of showing him some Oyster yachts under construction.

Oyster’s Southampton Yacht Services yard, (SYS) has just taken delivery of a Homag CNC router to increase the efficiency of panel production from the joiners’ shop. The computer-controlled router has a direct fibre optic network link to the drawing office to enable fast and accurate drawing transfer. Training has been carried out for the operators and programmers and the new machine is already saving time carrying out jobs that previously were produced manually. Installation of the machine has meant a complete layout change of the sawmill and joiners’ shop with all of the timber storage moving into a new storage area within the sawmill, and new forklift access to reduce the time taken to man-handle the timber being machined.

ROYAL VISIT There are a lot of yacht builders in Auckland, but when HRH Prince Andrew visited the area on 20th March 2007 one builder in particular caught the Prince’s eye and was chosen for a royal visit.

CNC Machine for SYS

Prince Andrew was very interested in the whole process and got keenly involved with various members of the McDell team in several aspects of the build process before taking a spin around Auckland Harbour aboard an Oyster LD43. Kim McDell asked the Prince if he would be available to launch the new McDell built Oyster 525, due to have her world première at the London Boat Show in January 2008.

25 Years of Service

Two of Landamores key employees, Team Leader Ray Smith and Painter, Philip Dennis reached the 25 year milestone this year. Philip was presented with a lap top and Ray received a digital camera.

Steve Strange has been with Southampton Yacht Services as Joiner Foreman for the last 25 years. Over that time he has been involved in a multitude of custom yachts and new Oysters.

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OYSTER CHARTER Both the UK and US offices report a high level of activity from customers interested in chartering an Oyster. The OYC fleet has grown to 16 Oyster yachts in just three years with more of the larger Oyster models joining the fleet soon. Watch out for a special charter feature in an upcoming edition. Visit www.oysteryachtcharter.com for further details on the Oyster Yacht Charter Fleet.

ABOVE: Oyster Charter were actively represented at the Antigua Charter show in December

HOW QUICK IS NICK? Oyster is sponsoring aspiring 16-year-old Nick Yelloly, son of Oyster owner David, in this year’s UK ICA 100cc, 30 HP, fixed gear cart championship. His talent was quickly spotted by the JKH race team, who have provided him with ex National Champion, Chris Lemare, as his racing mechanic. Whilst still a relative novice, Nick has already posted lap times in the Top 5 in the UK. The achievements of Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, and Fernando Alonso at Formula 1 level have all been based on successful karting careers. Lewis Hamilton’s meteoric rise through the ranks to F1 this year has raised interest still further, particularly amongst the "Young Bucks" as just five years ago he was competing in the same class in which Nick is now competing. Watch this space!

Running for Charity James Burman, from Oyster’s accounts department, ran in the 2007 London Marathon and with support from Oyster, family and friends raised over £3,000 for the Macmillan charity. A record 36,396 people started the 2007 race, the biggest field since 2005 and one of the hottest on record. James finished in 4:52:57. "It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, in a crazy sort of way. There is a saying ‘no pain, no gain’ and that is true. If I had given up and not finished then Macmillan would not benefit from the £3,000 sponsorship that I have raised to date. Thank you once again for your support and encouragement."

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Newsroundup Play Misty for me Not the Clint Eastwood Movie but good news from Peter Fitch and Misty McIntosh of the Oyster 435 Tamoure, currently in New Zealand. "Delighted to report that the Skipper can at last tick ‘Get Married’ off the ‘Jobs To Do List’. Yet another successful upgrade! It did take rather a long time from intention to execution, as bride and groom needed an unexpected upgrade themselves last year. We planned a wedding for early March, but had back-to-back surgery instead.

Royal Cruising Club Tilman Medal for Mariacristina Rapisardi The presentation of the Tilman Medal this year is another fascinating story, involving an Italian lady, Mariacristina Rapisardi. Mariacristina is a highly successful international patent lawyer but also an accomplished climber. Last season she and her husband Giovanni, who is a distinguished anaesthetist, engaged the services of experienced mountaineer and yacht skipper, Richard Haworth, and cruised their 72ft Oyster, Billy Budd, up the west coast of Greenland and across to Arctic Canada. Bob Shepton was aboard as Arctic adviser for the early part of the cruise, as was an Alpine guide Gianni Predan. Together with Gianni and Bob, Mariacristina climbed a classic line up the face of the Tommelfinger at latitude 74º33N on Greenland’s west coast, probably the first ascent of the Tommelfinger by a woman. Later, Mariacristina made several difficult new climbs of a high technical standard, including 1,000ft ascents in North-East Baffin, an extremely remote and uninhabited area which, as far as we know, has not previously been visited by a sailing yacht. Richard Haworth’s seamanship in both reaching and then holding station on this harsh, inhospitable Baffin coast was exceptional, as both Willie Kerr and Bob Shepton have confirmed. "Commodore, ladies and gentlemen, this year’s Tilman Medal is awarded jointly to Mariacristina Rapisardi and Billy Budd’s skipper Richard Haworth".

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Our modern wedding, Kiwi style, was a far cry from our previous experiences in the 60’s and 70’s, when the script was written for you, and your only contribution was two critical words towards the end. In New Zealand, provided you include the legal requirements, you can write the whole ceremony yourself, and be as humorous as you like. So we did! The groom promised a life of love, laughter, and mending things, while his bride promised, along with her love and support, to be diligent with her navigation!"


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PEOPLE SKILLS Landamores trainee wins ABA Award The long extablished relationship between Landamores in Wroxham, Norfolk and Oyster needs no introduction. Director Ronnie Yaxley is Chairman of the Anglia Boatbuilders’ Association. In an attempt to raise the profile of the industry in the East, and training in general, the ABA introduced Training Awards. An annual event, which has been running for the past five years, Landamore’s have had several finalists but this year one of their trainees, Tom Lazarus, won the trophy and £200 worth of tools.

SYDNEY HOBART CLASS WIN Michèle Colenso’s Oyster 55 Capriccio of Rhu conquers the 2006 Rolex Sydney Hobart, winning Cruising Division overall. Michèle Colenso and the crew of Capriccio of Rhu successfully completed the 2006 Rolex Sydney Hobart race in a bid to raise the awareness of the importance of early detection of breast cancer. Michele arrived at Constitution Dock at 6.18am, Sunday 31st December, having completed the 628 nautical mile, blue water classic with her crew of four as part of a world circumnavigation. After arriving in Australia, having sailed from the UK, the 44 year old was diagnosed with breast cancer and immediately underwent surgery. Since then, Michele has been undergoing chemotherapy, delaying her final treatment in order to take part in this year’s race. Before the end of 2006, Michele wanted to tick three items off her ‘to do’ list; to arrive in Hobart before the New Year; to increase awareness, particularly amongst young women, of the importance of early detection of breast cancer; and to contribute to the development of better early detection methods for the disease. "Sitting here this morning on New Year’s Eve in Hobart I can happily say that I have completed one of my tasks for 2006." "The second and third tasks, I now realise we must keep pressing on with. We must keep raising the awareness of early detection and to carry on with the search for better early detection methods." Michèle, her skipper Andy Poole and crewmen Colin Hay and John Cassidy won the Cruising Division, coasting up the Derwent in a light breeze to complete the race in a time of 4 days, 17 hours, 18 minutes and 41 seconds. "I have to say this race is not something I would recommend anyone undergoing chemotherapy should undertake," admitted Michèle. "I did find it extremely hard, both physically and mentally, I would not consider attempting this kind of sailing for quite a while. We did have some ups and downs across the course of the trip with the first and third days being extremely hairy. We were slight appeased with good sailing on day two, however this quickly dissipated on day three as we entered Bass Strait. We did have a cracking run as we crossed Bass Strait and headed down the east coast of Tasmania".

Tom has just completed two years training as a marine engineer on a day release scheme, which is run in conjunction with Great Yarmouth College. We say well done to Ronnie for his Chairmanship of ABA and to Tom Lazarus for winning this year’s trophy.

High Mileage Oysters Oyster 56, Spellbound, covered 18,000nm in her first 18 months. 90% or more of that was with owner Paul Armson on board! In 2000, the Oyster 55, Escapade, did 11,073nm in nine months. The trip started on 2 February 2000 in Savannah Georgia, USA and finished on 26 October 2000 in Auckland, New Zealand. So it included the whole Pacific Ocean as well as some of the Atlantic Ocean. The total mileage on Escapade is now 59,092nm. Is this a record?

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Newsroundup HAPPY CLUB A few lines from recent owners of new Oysters… "Thought you might like to know that we left Southampton on Friday at 1800 hrs and we have already covered 502 miles in 72 hours on passage to the Med. She (the boat that is) handled and behaved beautifully in up to force 6 and was dry, fun and impeccably mannered, often touching 10 to 11 knots. Just b… marvellous! Great boat, great design, great build.” John Maxwell Oyster 46, Solway Mist

Gerald and Anne-Marie Goetgeluck We were pleased to receive this recent email from the owners of the Oyster 49, Adesso, Gerald and Marie Goetgeluck sent to After Sales Manager, David Hayward: "Adesso is halfway between Egypt and Crete. She crossed the 30°E meridian this morning at 08:30. It is the same line she crossed upon arriving in St Petersburg in June 2004 at the beginning of our circumnavigation, albeit a few more degrees north! The loop is therefore closed even though our journey has not ended yet. You were one of the most crucial persons who made this possible, and Anne-Marie and myself want to thank you for that. Later in the day, we will have a glass of champagne (a very small one, we are still at sea!), and certainly raise our glass to Oyster After Sales, to Windboats as well as to Neptune. We consider ourselves very fortunate to have been able to do this marvellous trip on a safe and comfortable boat, with the peace of mind of knowing there was always a knowledgeable team ready to swiftly answer our most technical questions and doing whatever possible to ship us any spare part necessary. Many thanks to your team." Read more about Adessos travels on pages 38-45.

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“It is a few weeks since I took delivery of Skat, and I cannot tell you how much we enjoy sailing her. She really is a most beautiful (and much admired) yacht and her performance is quite stunning. Our delivery trip to Beaulieu took 24 hours - 175 miles. The whole ‘Oyster experience’ has been a great pleasure from the start of our negotiations through the building stage to the delivery. How correct you were when you said I should come back into the Oyster family again. Everyone we have met has been so courteous and helpful, but particularly Matthew Morgan who soon came to terms with my little foibles! During the commissioning Pete Thomas was most meticulous. What a change compared with 22 years ago - commissioning trials over two days and extremely thorough. Last time it was a few hours! Yesterday I had a visit from Eddie Scougall and again he was extremely thorough and I learnt a lot. We are off early next month for a six-week cruise to Southern Ireland. I do congratulate you on running such a fine company.” Sir Nigel Southward KCVO Oyster 46, Skat


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Oyster Events 2007 Oyster Regatta - Valencia 18 - 22 June Amsterdam Seaport Boat Show 4 - 9 September Cannes Boat Show 12 - 17 September Newport Boat Show 13 - 16 September Southampton Boat Show 14 - 23 September Southampton Owners Dinner National Motor Museum, Beaulieu 15 September Annapolis Owners Party 4 October

Latest Oyster Circumnavigators We were delighted to be able to make a special "The World’s your Oyster" presentation to Brian and Frankie during Oyster’s recent regatta in Antigua. Brian Hall OBE and his wife Frankie, completed their circumnavigation in their Oyster 66, Forever Young, when they arrived back at their home port in Bermuda in May 2006. Brian and Frankie, who have four children and eight grandchildren, spend their time between a home in Bermuda, Forever Young, and their daughter Susan’s farm in Virginia. Brian was awarded an OBE for services to the insurance industry.

Annapolis Sailboat Show 4 - 8 October Genoa Boat Show 6 - 14 October Annapolis Powerboat Show 11 - 14 October Fort Lauderdale Boat Show 25 - 29 October Hamburg Boat Show 27 October - 4 November

ON YOUR BIKE Sue Death completes Cycle India Oyster owner Sue Death, Oyster 56 Sarabi, cycled a total of 250 miles in five days to cross the ‘Women for Women Cycle India’ finish line in Jaipur. The two Cycle India challenges this year have raised over a quarter of a million pounds, with the money going directly to fund research into issues affecting women and their babies.

Barcelona Boat Show 3 - 11 November ARC Owners Party Las Palmas 22 November ARC - Start - Las Palmas 25 November

2008 London Boat Show 11 - 20 January

Oyster Fleet Review wins print award At a prize giving at the private Century Club in London, printers Taylor Bloxham won the Howard Smith Paper Award for their work on the current Oyster Fleet Review Brochure.

London Owners Dinner Oyster’s 35th Anniversary Dinner The Painted Hall, Greenwich 12 January Düsseldorf Boat Show 19 - 27 January

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RTYC DINNER

A night out in London town The annual London Oyster Owners Dinner took place on 6th January, the first Saturday of the London Boat Show. Kindly hosted by the Royal Thames Yacht Club, their beautiful Knightsbridge clubhouse was as accommodating as ever for the 150 assembled owners and guests. The Royal Thames has a wonderful collection of marine paintings and nautical memorabilia going back to the very beginnings of the sport of yachting. Many of the club’s trophies were placed amongst the dinner tables and served as a reminder of the glory days. Engraved on the trophies names like Sopwith, Lipton, Dunraven, vie with famous yachts like Endeavour, Britannia, Shamrock, Cambria and others, reminding guests that the Royal Thames was a very active club then as it is now. The guest speaker was the well known American broadcaster, author and professional sailor, Gary Jobson, who gave a highly entertaining talk accompanied by a series of short films on a variety of sailing topics from America’s Cup and the Olympics to speed sailing. Gary’s love of our sport is infectious and his movies went down really well with much cheering and general merriment. Gary is no stranger to Oyster having sailed with Richard Matthews aboard the Oyster 62 Oystercatcher XXIV to the Arctic and 80º North. NEXT UP In the run up to Oyster’s 35th anniversary, the South Coast owners dinner will take place on Saturday 15th September 2007, coinciding with the first weekend of the Southampton Show. An unusual venue this time, since the party and dinner will be held at the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, home of Lord Montague, amongst the museum’s world-renowned collection of vintage cars.

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VALENCIA REGATTA

Valencia... Here we Come! OYSTER REGATTA 18 – 22 JUNE 2007 The excitement is growing in Valencia, with only days to go before the start of the Oyster Regatta. Based out of the Port America’s Cup Marina, a fleet of over 35 Oysters, ranging from the Oyster 45 to the Oyster 82, will grace the waters off Valencia and are sure to attract plenty of attention from the crowds lining the Malverosa beachfront. With a packed programme of racing and events, Oyster owners and their guests will enjoy a taste of all that the sunshine city of Valencia has to offer, including an excursion to the Albufera National Park, golf match, wine tasting and parties and dinners in stunning locations. No visit to the city, that gave the world Paella and fireworks, would be complete without sampling both, so participants can expect plenty of good food and fun.

Programme Day 1 Skipper’s Briefing, welcome party and dinner at Club Goleta, Port America’s Cup Marina Day 2 Race 1 and Race 2 Wine tasting and Dinner at La Vallesa Manador, a beautiful manor house in the Valencian countryside Day 3 - Lay Day Excursion to the Albufera National Park Regatta Golf Tournament at El Bosque Golf Club Evening party and dinner at the BMW Oracle Team base Day 4 Race 3 and Race 4 Dinner at La Pepica Day 5 Race 5 - pursuit race Prize giving dinner and party at L’Hemisfèric, one of Valencia’s most stunning locations in the City of the Arts and Sciences. A full report will appear in the next edition of Oyster News due out in August. For details about berthing in Valencia see: www.portamericascup.com

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Super Oysters Oyster enters the Superyacht market with two new designs - the 100 and 125 Oyster aficionados will know that we have been ‘offering’ an Oyster 100 for some time, but in truth this has been little more than a concept project that for one reason or another failed to crystallise. One issue was the choice of build material, since we know and love composite but a ‘one off’ project favoured alloy. Another issue was MCA compliance, initially thought of as a ‘maybe’ and now pretty much accepted as a ‘must’ from an investment if not an operational viewpoint. The Superyacht market is growing worldwide and like every mature market a few companies are emerging as leaders. It’s time for Oyster to think seriously about this market; we know several of our larger yacht owners have already gone bigger and others are thinking of moving up. Do we wave them goodbye or grow with them? After 34 years and 1,100 launchings we have no excuse not to take up the challenge. But how to get it right, that’s the $64,000 question. Why an Oyster when there is no shortage of 100ft plus yachts already in the marketplace?

The cumulative experience of the fleet of Dubois designs has an immediate positive benefit to Oyster’s Superyachts. Full MCA classification will be embedded into the standard specification enabling these yachts to charter and/or be able to do so in the future as owner’s requirements evolve. The engineering and equipment, both mechanical and electrical, will be starting from proven experience with similar yachts, as well as the deck gear, rig and sail handling systems. To quote Ed Dubois: “It’s a unique opportunity to combine a real depth of experience from Oyster, who we consider to be the world’s best series composite producer, and Dubois Naval Architects’ breadth of design knowledge. Further, the decision to plan and develop two designs simultaneously demonstrates the commitment behind this really exciting project.” The new Dubois Oyster 100 and 125 are expected to be built by RMK Marine in Turkey, a member of the Koç Group, which is currently number 200 in the Fortune 500 list of companies worldwide and who already represent 10% of Turkey’s GNP. RMK are currently building a 170 footer, which will serve as a useful benchmark for buyers of the new Dubois Oyster Superyacht Range.

We have commissioned Dubois Naval Architects to produce two new Oyster designs at 100 and 125 feet. Starting with the 100ft, both yachts will be built from female tooling in modern, composite materials. This investment in tooling will allow the Dubois Oyster 100 and 125 to be marketed competitively by Oyster in a growing international market in which Dubois designs are already world leaders. By the end of 2007, no less than 40 Dubois designs of over 100 feet LOA will have been launched, the largest at 188 feet, with several others in build. Dubois has created a niche market in large cruising yachts; their designs are fast and pretty and, like current Oysters, have real owner appeal, with several owners returning for a second or even a third Dubois design. PICTURED ABOVE AND RIGHT: Janice of Wyoming, illustrated, is an example of Dubois design built in New Zealand. Photo courtesy of Dubois Naval Architects.

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Turkish craftsmen are emerging as a serious alternative for top quality workmanship at competitive prices. Perini Navi is building in Turkey and Tom Perkins recently launched the 220ft Maltese Falcon, which has been universally admired not just for her innovative rig, but also for exquisite Turkish build quality. Tooling on the 100 is planned to start this summer and the first yacht should be afloat by the end of 2009. Tooling for the 125 will follow on immediately and it’s hoped that the first Oyster 125 could be afloat by the end of 2010. RMK has the capacity to build several of these large Oysters each year. Each yacht will be built on a semi custom basis to best match her owner’s taste and priorities. An interior designer will be appointed to ensure that, even by current Superyacht standards, the new Oyster Superyachts will be innovative, with design flair and exquisite quality in equal measure.


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SUPER OYSTERS

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MONTPELIER OYSTER REGATTA ANTIGUA 2007

MAIN: The Oyster fleet at Nelsons Dockyard, English Harbour RIGHT: Jim and Marina Siepiela’s Oyster 66, Avolare and Philip Goymours Oyster 56, Pearl Fisher

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Antigua... fun in the sun Montpelier Oyster Regatta 16 – 21 April 2007

By Lee Helm

This was the 17th regatta in the Oyster series and the 4th to be based in Antigua, the sunshine island with a beach for every day of the year. Previous Oyster regattas have been held in Palma, Auckland, Newport, Cowes, Cadiz, and the BVI. Movie superstar Will Smith was in town but the real stars of the show were the fleet of 25 Oysters, from most corners of the sailing world, berthed stern-to at Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbour. The first order of business was the Concours d’Elegance, a beauty contest of sorts where yachts were judged by Oyster Brokerage, Robert Mulcahy and Oyster’s Denette Wilkinson. What started as a bit of light-hearted fun in the early days of the regattas has become more serious, particularly amongst the yachts with professional crews whose owners all expected their Oyster to be judged the best-kept. An added challenge to this years contest was a massive and prolonged rain squall, which whipped through English Harbour for about 30 minutes around lunchtime, just before concours judging started. One crew had gone over their stainless screws and fastenings with a cotton bud, while there was much evidence of chamois leathers and polishing throughout the fleet. The whole spectacle was a credit to every owner, since the overall effect was of a fleet of beautifully maintained, almost sparkling yachts, ensigns and event flags flying and ready for any adventure. In Nelson’s time, aboard his ship Boreas, this dockyard was the scene of furious activity but surely nothing ever looked this good. >

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Antigua... fun in the sun...

The Oyster house flag is now flown by hundreds of Oysters across the world’s cruising grounds and has led to many friendships being made in far away places.

Aligned to preparation for Concours judging was ‘Open House’. Flying an Oyster house flag at the spreaders indicated that all owners and crews were welcome aboard to take a look at ‘the other man’s yacht’. Of course open house encourages camaraderie and friendships between owners and crews at an early stage in the event. The Oyster house flag is now flown by hundreds of Oysters across the world’s cruising grounds and has led to many friendships being made in far away places. The skippers’ briefing took place at the Copper and Lumber Hotel, so named because of its role in the early years of Nelson’s Dockyard. Oyster’s founder Richard Matthews called for a show of hands from owners who had participated in previous events and about two thirds of the fleet had taken part in one or more previous regattas. Richard went through his now traditional hints on safety issues such as the need for a good leeward lookout and lots of anticipation when yachts come together. He also stressed the core values of the Oyster Regattas as friendship and fun racing, with aggressive and ‘full-on’ competition being discouraged. The first of several parties was a drinks reception on the lawn in front of the Copper and Lumber, alongside the Oyster fleet stern-to and with a steel band playing. Mid way through the evening the taking of a rum tot under the command of Mike Rose took place (optional but 120 people joined in). Mike, an ex Oyster owner, is Chairman of the now famous (or should that be infamous?) Royal Naval Tot Club of Antigua and Barbuda. The toast “To the wind that blows, the ship that goes, the lass that loves a sailor, and the Queen God bless her”. Altogether a great day and perfect start to the regatta.

DAY 2 AND WE WERE OFF TO GREEN ISLAND Tuesday morning and the fleet were ready to put out to sea. Not as easy as it sounded for some yachts with fouled anchors, but by 1000 hrs when the signal sounded for the start of Class 2 the fleet were ready to go and enjoying a beautiful sunny day. Unusually the wind gave the fleet a close fetch from the line just outside Falmouth Harbour where race officer Alan Brook had set an 18 mile course, with three up and down reaching legs finishing off Green Island. Both classes got away cleanly and the camera crew buzzing around the fleet by helicopter were seeing Oyster yachts enjoying some great sailing.

ABOVE LEFT: A rum tot outside the Copper and Lumber ABOVE RIGHT: Terry Naumann’s Oyster 485, Firefly RIGHT: Richard Smith’s Oyster 56, Hawk Wing

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The race was incident free until the second ‘sausage’ when Simon, one of the younger crew members aboard the Oyster 53 Magic, lost his balance and fell overboard from his dad’s foredeck. It was a little early for a pre lunch swim and thankfully there was no harm done in the benign conditions. The crew of Richard Smith’s nearby Oyster 56 Hawk Wing did good work and had Simon safely back on board in a minute or two, a little shaken perhaps but otherwise unharmed. No doubt he will remember one of sailings golden rules “one hand for the ship, one hand for yourself”. >


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MONTPELIER OYSTER REGATTA ANTIGUA 2007

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MONTPELIER OYSTER REGATTA ANTIGUA 2007

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Antigua... fun in the sun...

Race officer, Alan Brook, had issued an amendment the day before putting another lap into the reaching sausage off Green Island. The wind gods had other plans and, with not so much as a hint of those promised NE Trades, Alan wisely decided on a shortened course giving the fleet time to get to the idyllic anchorage close to the golden sand beach at the tip of Green Island. Racing under Oyster handicap, yachts are rated for white sails, cruising chute or spinnaker, which are chosen each day at a pre-start radio roll call. The system seems to work well and has produced some very close results. Race 1 should have been the kind of day where yachts opting to carry off-wind sails would be faster than their handicap whereas in practice the winners opted for white sails only. It was generally agreed that Nick Weare’s 53 Magic was looking like a potential fleet winner. However, as in every race, you have to finish to win and she expired on the final leg of the course with her MOB incident. This gave Class 2 to Richard Watson’s well-sailed 485 Sobriyah with Jonathan Baker’s 55, Arabella in 2nd. In Class 1 Martin Dent’s unusually named 66, Elvis the Gecko, pipped Richard Matthews sailing the 70 Ravenous by just 40 seconds.

One of the highlights of every Oyster Regatta in Antigua to date has been the night ashore at Harmony Hall and this night was to be no exception.

One of the highlights of every Oyster Regatta in Antigua to date has been the night ashore at Harmony Hall and this night was to be no exception. Acknowledged to be one of the best restaurants on the island, the previous owners Ricardo and Marilissa had sold Harmony Hall since the last Oyster regatta to fellow Italian Carlo Falconi. We need not have worried since the Hall was as welcoming as ever with rows of carefully placed candles magically lighting the path up from the dinghy dock. Everyone agreed that Harmony Hall did the fleet proud with the combination of a magical atmosphere and wonderful food, maybe even better than before. The spit roasted suckling pig and the lobsters were especially good. A cool Caribbean band completed the package and after dinner those crews with any energy left hit the dance floor. Great music under the stars - another great day.

DAY 3 CANDLELIGHT BARBECUE ON FFRYES BEACH As dawn broke with the fleet anchored, Browns Bay looked like a sheet of glass without so much as a cat’s-paw of breeze. By 0930 a decent 10 knots had sprung up and the puffy clouds were moving in the same direction as the wind indicators - a good sign in these parts.

LEFT: Colin Hall’s Oyster 53, Boysterous and Jonathan Baker’s Oyster 55, Arabella

Our Race Officer set a course to the seaward of Green Island and, unusually, the fleet had a beat to make way towards the finish near Jolly Harbour, 23 miles distant. Some yachts tacked offshore hoping for a left hand shift or just more breeze. In the event payday came for those that could sail closest into the wind and were prepared to sneak along the coast close in on port tack. >

TOP FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Paul and Diane May, owners of Oyster 45, Taboo, and crew Nicholas Weare’s Oyster 53, Magic Barbecue on Ffryes Beach Oyster 70, Ravenous

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Antigua... fun in the sun...

The choice of lay day activities included a helicopter trip to the volcano on Montserrat, the Rainforest Experience at Fig Tree Drive, a trip into St Johns, golf or a day on the beach.

One by one most yachts were forced to tack to seaward with a horrible heading on starboard that felt as if they were sailing backwards, not helped by being bow-on to the swell. Thomas and Stephanie Poynter’s 62, Blue Beach set the standard for being close winded and although she slowed at times Blue Beach crept along the coast and cleared English Harbour without a single tack, the only yacht to do so. Contrary to the forecast, during the morning the wind faded to less that 5 knots, not enough for Oysters or any other live aboard cruiser. The course was wisely shortened to a finish off Falmouth Harbour so at least everyone had a race, albeit a frustrating one for some who struggled to make headway in a left over swell and fading breeze. As expected the 62 Blue Beach was a clear winner in Class 1 while Jonathan Baker’s 55, Arabella did well to win Class 2. Ffryes Beach was the chosen venue for that afternoon’s anchorage and one by one the fleet anchored in close formation after motoring up from the Falmouth Harbour race finish. That evening 160 people came ashore for what is best described as ‘five star Robinson Crusoe’. In this case the sandy beach had been converted into a fine Oyster party venue with a drinks bar and table seating under a marquee for everyone to enjoy an amazing barbeque. This was no ordinary barbeque, with not a sausage or burger in sight, instead steaks, tuna and an amazing array of side dishes. A steel orchestra (that’s orchestra not band) played classical music against the sound of breaking water and candlelight flickering on the golden sand beach.

DAY 4 LAY DAY IN JOLLY HARBOUR While some yachts elected to stay anchored off Ffryes Beach, most of the fleet berthed at the Superyacht dock at Jolly Harbour. The choice of lay day activities included a helicopter trip to the volcano on Montserrat, the Rainforest Experience at Fig Tree Drive, a trip into St Johns, golf or a day on the beach. It would be fair to say there was a little bit of everything but the main event of the day was the Oyster golf match on the adjacent 18-hole Jolly Harbour course. There are very few places where a yacht can berth within 100 yards of a course and the match attracted 29 players. The winning team came from the Oyster 66 Avolare. While golf isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, 120 regatta participants met at the golf cub for an evening drinks party to discuss the day’s varied activities.

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11:18 AM

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MONTPELIER OYSTER REGATTA ANTIGUA 2007

GOLF MATCH RESULTS 1st 2nd 3rd 4th

Andy Burridge and Bob Reynolds Jim Siepela and Richard Matthews Nigel Benjamin and Stan Pearson John and Barbara Podbury

1st Lady Player Nearest the Pin Longest Drive

Barbara Podbury Peter Mantle David Fleet

DAY 5 THE SANDY ISLAND RACE After light and fluky winds for the first two races, Friday brought more typical Antiguan weather with a steady 15 knots of breeze out of the west. In near perfect condition the fleet enjoyed true champagne sailing in smooth water in almost unbelievable azure blue water. The course had a downwind start from a line close to Five Islands by Jolly Harbour. A few yachts set spinnakers; the rest quickly poling out headsails for the 2-mile flat run to Sandy Island, a small sandy ‘mini island’ being used as a rounding mark. Sandy has been highly conspicuous for the last 18 years when a small coaster literally mounted the beach and came to rest about 50 feet from the Sandy Island light, never to escape. Since then the hulk has been a highly visible landmark, although after years of corrosion and storms only the bow section now remains. The course required Sandy Island to be rounded three times and the pin end mark twice before a short final reach into Deep Bay. The three roundings of Sandy provided a good test of judgement for crews, since the water around the island shoaled steeply and around the base of the island a 4-8 foot swell required increasing caution. In Class 1 the 70 Ravenous established an early lead which she extended throughout the race. In close pursuit there followed a fascinating dual between old and new, the old being Jonathan Baker’s 20 year old, beautifully refitted Holman & Pye Oyster 55 Arabella and Colin Hall’s Rob Humphreys designed Oyster 53 Boysterous. The two yachts were never more than a few seconds apart, upwind and down through the course. In the end Boysterous managed to get her bow ahead on the line to win Class 2. >

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: The Rainforest Experience Martin Dent’s Oyster 66 Elvis the Gecko Barbara Podbury - 1st Lady Player Oyster LW48 Chant Pagan, Oyster 53 Nutcracker and Oyster 485 Sobriyah round Sandy Island

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t yachts opted to tack as close inshore as their depth sounders allowed and everyone enjoyed skimming along on 10-15 feet of water clear enough to see the bottom roll by.

Entering Deep Bay, the fleet could clearly see the wreck of the Andes in the middle of the bay with two or three feet of her hulk above the water indicating an unusually low tide. Many years ago the Andes was carrying coal to the island, caught fire and was taken to Deep Bay to burn herself out, which she did over a period of weeks. The Royal Antiguan Hotel in Deep Bay has seen changing fortunes in recent years and is to be refurbished and become a Crown Plaza Hotel in the near future. Meanwhile crews enjoyed pre-dinner drinks on the beach followed by dinner at the adjacent Andes Restaurant complete with Caribbean steel band. Another fine day, with only the challenge of getting off the beach without getting wet remaining.

DAY 6 FIVE ISLANDS TO MAMORA BAY A little more wind than forecast, and contrary to the goings on in Valencia where America’s Cup racing was cancelled for the fifth day, the Oyster fleet was at least getting a race every day even though the NE trades were not in evidence. An easy day for the Race Officer, since the only way was up. Up in this case being to get the fleet back from Deep Bay to the Mamora Bay anchorage by the St James’s Club, past Falmouth and English Harbour entrances. There was some relevance, since the Antigua Classic Yacht regatta fleet were also in action that day and the Oyster fleet would pass through their race. Upwind all the way, Class 2 had a crisp start but for James Blazeby’s 45, Apparition who was over early. Special rules in Oyster Regattas require the offending yacht to slow down until they are at the back of their Class and are then ‘released’ by the Race Officer before rejoining the race. This penalty is much safer than having these large powerful yachts trying to turn around into the oncoming fleet to re-cross the line with the inevitable risk of a collision. Another day of champagne sailing in 10-12 knots of breeze upwind, at least it was for the first two hours with the 55 Arabella once more locked into a boat for boat battle with Boysterous the 53. Most yachts opted to tack as close inshore as their depth sounders allowed and everyone enjoyed skimming along on 10-15 feet of water clear enough to see the bottom roll by.

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Relaxing on Green Island beach James Blazeby’s Oyster 45, Apparition Oyster fleet anchored off Ffryes Beach Colin Hall’s Oyster 53, Boysterous and Nicholas Weare’s Oyster 53, Magic

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The only mark of the course was the Pantaenius mark, named after the sponsor of the day’s race. Barrie Sullivan, boss of Pantaenius UK, moored his ketch off the seaward corner of Cades Reef to ensure the fleet kept clear of the reef and his claim forms! From the Pantaenius mark the fleet had a close fetch first along the seaward side of the reef and then on to pass the Curtain Bluff and Carlisle Bay hotels and then on towards Falmouth Harbour. >


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MONTPELIER OYSTER REGATTA ANTIGUA 2007

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MONTPELIER OYSTER REGATTA ANTIGUA 2007

Antigua... fun in the sun...

Colin Hall, owner of the 53 Boysterous, summed up this Antigua Regatta for everyone taking part when he said, “this is the friendliest regatta I’ve ever attended”.

At this point the wind went light and everyone found the going tricky into a left over swell. Not as tricky perhaps as the Classic fleet who by this time were in the same area and some at least finding it very difficult to make headway. One option for the Oyster fleet was to hike up to windward and build some apparent wind. Easy to do and effective, but sooner or later requiring a big bear away into even less wind. Generally the yachts that stayed on or close to the rhumb line fared best. With a fading breeze, the course was shortened yet again but this time only by a mile or two, although in terms of results as so often happens in yacht racing, fortunes were made and lost in the last 30 minutes. Many skippers thought the race was an hour too long delaying the service of luncheon - standards and all that! By the time the handicapper had his day Class 2 went to James Blazeby’s fast little 45, Apparition with Class 1 honours to Philip Goymour’s 56, Pearl Fisher. Actually a rather frustrating last race but then again in six racing days in Valencia over the same period in the Louis Vuitton series they only managed one race. Most yachts came into the Mamora Bay anchorage after finishing where 15 of the larger Oysters berthed stern-to with some later arrivals anchored off. The St James’s Club provided a perfect venue for the end of regatta prize-giving party and dinner attended by a number of local guests including the Right Honourable Harold Lovell, Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation, who very kindly presented the Yachting World Trophy. Prizes for each day’s racing were presented by that day’s sponsor with the major prizes for the week being presented by David Yelloly CEO of Montpelier, the title sponsor. Richard Matthews wrapped up proceedings by presenting a special award to Brian and Frankie Hall from Bermuda to mark the completion of a circumnavigation in their Oyster 66 Forever Young. They set out from Bermuda in November 2003 returning after encircling the world in May 2006. The Hall’s join a growing list of owners who have literally made ‘the world their Oyster’. Colin Hall, owner of the 53 Boysterous, summed up this Antigua Regatta for everyone taking part when he said, “this is the friendliest regatta I’ve ever attended”. A stunning fleet of Oyster yachts, slightly disappointing weather but nevertheless some great sailing and five nights of quality entertainment ashore. Everyone agreed that this was a fun regatta and a great opportunity to meet other owners and crews. Next years Oyster Caribbean regatta will be held in the BVI (7-12 April 2008) - please come and join the party!

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RESULTS CONCOURS D'ELEGANCE PRESENTED BY OYSTER BROKERAGE CLASS 1 Avolare 66 CLASS 1 Ixion 62

Jim and Marina Siepiela Peter Maxwell-Brown

PRESENTED BY ANTIGUA YACHT RIGGING CLASS 2 Magic 53 CLASS 2 Moonbeam 55

Nick and Susan Weare Colin and Sarah Seaman

DAY RACES RACE 1 SPONSORED BY LEWMAR CLASS 1 1st Elvis the Gecko 66 2nd Pearl Fisher 56 3rd Hawk Wing 56 4th Mistress Mallika 62

Martin Dent Philip Goymour Richard Smith Robert and Mallika De Haven

CLASS 2 1st 2nd 3rd 4th

Richard and Diane Watson Jonathan Baker Steve Woodruff Colin Hall

Sobriyah Arabella Chant Pagan Boysterous

485 55 LW48 53

RACE 2 SPONSORED BY RAYMARINE CLASS 1 1st Blue Beach 62 2nd Ixion 62 3rd Forever Young 66 4th Marlene F 66

Thomas and Stephanie Poynter Peter Maxwell-Brown Brian and Frankie Hall Salomon Finvarb

CLASS 2 1st 2nd 3rd 4th

Jonathan Baker Colin Hall Nick and Susan Weare Steve Woodruff

Arabella Boysterous Magic Chant Pagan

55 53 53 LW48

RACE 3 SPONSORED BY DOLPHIN SAILS CLASS 1 1st Hawk Wing 56 2nd Pearl Fisher 56 3rd Blue Beach 62 4th Sundowner 66

Richard Smith Philip Goymour Thomas and Stephanie Poynter Midge Verplank

CLASS 2 1st 2nd 3rd 4th

Colin Hall Richard and Diane Watson Jonathan Baker Simon Timm

Boysterous Sobriyah Arabella Nutcracker

53 485 55 53

RACE 4 SPONSORED BY PANTAENIUS CLASS 1 1st Pearl Fisher 56 2nd Blue Beach 62 3rd Avolare 66 4th Crazy Daisy 56

Philip Goymour Thomas and Stephanie Poynter Jim and Marina Siepiela Robert Morgan

CLASS 2 1st 2nd 3rd 4th

James Blazeby Richard and Diane Watson Colin Hall Steve Woodruff

Apparition Sobriyah Boysterous Chant Pagan

45 485 53 LW48

THE YACHTING WORLD TROPHY Boysterous 53

Colin Hall

THE MONTPELIER OYSTER REGATTA TROPHY CLASS 1 1st Pearl Fisher 56 2nd Blue Beach 62 3rd Hawk Wing 56 4th Ixion 62

Philip Goymour Thomas and Stephanie Poynter Richard Smith Peter Maxwell-Brown

CLASS 2 1st 2nd 3rd 4th

Richard and Diane Watson Colin Hall Jonathan Baker Steve Woodruff

Sobriyah Boysterous Arabella Chant Pagan

485 53 55 LW48

TOP: Right Honourable Harold Lovell presents Colin Hall, Boysterous, with the Yachting World Trophy MIDDLE: Richard and Diane Watson and crew, Sobriyah, overall winner of Class 2 BOTTOM: Philip Goymour with David Yelloly, CEO of Montpelier, Pearl Fisher, overall winner of Class 1

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Wildcard’s Maiden Voyage by Peter Healey, Oyster 56 Wildcard

ABOVE: Family Healey aboard Wildcard in Ibiza FAR RIGHT: Daniel and Chris keep watch MIDDLE: Peter at the helm RIGHT: The journey’s start at Fox’s

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OWNER REPORT ED IT UN OM GD KIN

Ipswich

Camaret

FRANCE

Bay of Biscay Port Grimaud

Finally, after two years of negotiating, planning, choosing options, checking progress, and paying bills Wildcard was finally ready to be handed over! Our dream was about to become reality… and the first bite of reality was to be a 2500 mile cruise from Ipswich to Port Grimaud in France. What better way to learn about our new Oyster yacht. Let the adventures begin...!

First, a bit about our choice of name. A wildcard in a pack of cards or computer string means that the character is worth what you make of it - it depends how you use it and in what context. So the value of Wildcard to us goes beyond the monetary value - if we leave her languishing in the marina her value, in terms of the impact on our lives, will be negligible. On the other hand she could take us to new places all over the world, be a haven of fun for our family and friends and give us lots of great life experiences to look back on - real life value! With such a big trip, and taking into account the Biscay crossing, I decided to break the journey into two halves. The first part was intended to be from Ipswich to Gibraltar - the potentially tough bit - which would be completed with two professional crew from Oyster, two good friends and

PORTUG AL

Finistere

Cadiz

SPAIN Ibiza Porto Banus

Gibraltar

myself. The second part of the journey was planned to be with my family from Gibraltar to Port Grimaud, by which time the challenging sailing would be behind us and I would be familiar with Wildcard. All good and sensible on paper at least… I arrived at Fox’s Marina on a beautiful sunny day to be met by Julian Weatherill (my Project Manager) who introduced me to Duncan on the commissioning team. Wildcard was immaculately presented and was a joy to see sitting proudly in the water for the first time. Then followed, what first appeared to be, an intense few days of completely dismantling every moving board or part in an attempt to completely confuse me and overload my head with information! In actual fact, it was a very professional and comprehensive introduction to my new yacht and by the time we went for our first commissioning >

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Wildcard’s Maiden Voyage continued sail it was all beginning to fall into place. The first sail, on the River Orwell, was very straightforward in a nice breeze. So with the commissioning done and Wildcard officially in Healey ownership we were ready for the off. Complete with crew arranged by Oyster - Skipper Mike McBrinn, First Mate (and chief mechanic) Ross Collingwood, from Vortec Marine, my friends Dan Smith and Chris Court and myself. The day had been a long time coming and it was a great feeling to cast off following a final handshake and thanks to Julian for all his help and support.

spray coming over the bow. This was to be the theme all through the day and night. We enjoyed a good sail across the channel with a nice sunset over Cornwall to bid us farewell from British waters. We made good progress en route to Biscay but studying the weather forecasts from various sources it was clear that there was a risk of bad weather in Biscay, so despite being behind schedule, Mike made the right call to bear off to Camaret. Clearly others had made the same decision so by the time we had arrived in the early evening the harbour staff had gone and there was rafting room only. Shortly after securing our lines we had

We were FLYING! What an amazing white knuckle ride it was to be. With either Mike or Ross on duty the three of us ‘rookies’ took turns to take the helm and watch. There was only one thing to watch though the speed!

” Julian had done a fantastic job as Project Manager, especially considering that I was many miles away in Switzerland during the build and had to rely on him totally to manage the project. His advice and professionalism was absolutely top notch and truly appreciated. We enjoyed good progress around Kent and into the channel running the tides nicely to give us good progress on the first stretch of our journey. Then the wind dropped and it was on with the engine to cruise through the night which was fine as it gave us a chance to charge the systems, cook dinner and to fine tune our plans for shifts and targets over the next few days. The following morning saw fog envelope us, which brought the radar and AIS into its own. For anyone who has not got AIS I cannot recommend it enough as a vital piece of safety gear. To know what large boats are out there, how fast they are going and whether or not they are on a collision course is a massive help! The fog gradually cleared, the wind freshened and then turned onto our nose and we found ourselves punching through choppy seas under power with plenty of

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company alongside too - a Challenge boat Adventure owned by the British Army. The yacht was just starting a round the world voyage with a crew made up of high flying young soldiers from the Royal Corps of Signals. The ensuing evening was to be fun to say the least, we found ourselves in the local Irish bar where we were made to feel very welcome for our first serious crew bonding session! This session went from bad to worse when the Army rolled up and a round of shots was ordered (did I really do that?!) After the bar closed we were invited onboard Adventure where we learned about their world sailing tour and enjoyed some Army style rum punch. As this was to be our only meeting I felt duty bound to reciprocate and so invited the Army onboard Wildcard. Without going into too much detail here, you can imagine that after copious amounts of beer, wine and rum, lots of stories and many challenges it was very late by the time we ‘retired’ to our cabins to awake with raging hangovers! The good news was that the storm warning had gone and it looked all clear for what we expected to be the major


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OWNER REPORT

challenge of the trip - Biscay! We duly headed off wondering what was in store for us. Well Biscay was like a pond. No wind, no waves - just a huge expanse of sea gently lifting/falling with our bow making the only ripples! What an anti climax! It was a surreal experience as we motored across with the odd dolphin to keep us company. I will never forget Biscay that’s for sure - but for different reasons than most stories you will read! Once across Biscay, Finistere was quick to let us know that Biscay is not the only challenge of this route! The wind quickly picked up to

30 knots along with the sea. Fortunately the wind was right behind us so Mike was quick to rig up a goose wing set-up with poled out genoa. We were FLYING! What an amazing white-knuckle ride it was to be. With either Mike or Ross on duty, the three of us ‘rookies’ took turns to take the helm and watch. There was only one thing to watch though - the speed! We were cruising at 12 knots generally with rushes of speed as we surfed down the ever-increasing waves. At 17.4 knots we (well me) were beginning to feel that we were over powered so reduced sail! We were still bombing along though at healthy double-digit speeds and really covering ground fast. These conditions continued but after rounding Lagos the wind turned on to our nose again and steadily increased with new storm warnings coming in for the area around Tarifa. Mike made his second correct call to head for refuge, this time in Cadiz. Arriving here we soon realized that this stop would not be a simple few hours until the wind blew through. Apparently, the Sirocco wind had been blowing a week already and was forecast to do so for another few days at least. On this news we decided to head for town and enjoyed another exciting night out in

Cadiz. The following day it was clear that the wind was here to stay for a few days. We decided to accelerate the crew change and hired a car and drove to Almeria where my wife Alison and children (Cara, Naomi and Nelson) were staying. Ross also departed, as planned at this point, so we were down to just Mike as crew from Oyster plus the five of us Healey’s. Waiting for the wind to die is so frustrating. Day after day it blew. On day four the forecast was for it to subside as the day went on and veer round to the North again. We made the call to head out, banking on

the wind subsiding by nightfall. This was a real mistake. We should have waited until it had subsided. An important lesson learned. We left Cadiz in 25-30 knots of wind and actually enjoyed a nice sail for a few hours. As we neared Tarifa the wind steadily increased remaining in the mid 30’s and staying on the nose making progress laborious and uncomfortable. We considered heading back to Cadiz but the forecast maintained that the winds would subside so we carried on into nightfall. The winds steadily increased peaking at 45-50 knots and remaining firmly on the nose with the sea picking up to match. It was exhausting, slow progress and not the first passage you would wish on anyone let alone your family on their first voyage on their new boat. I felt like a first class idiot being out there in these conditions. This was the longest night ever. The closer we got to the Straits the stronger the wind blew. I really feared what would meet us as we rounded the lighthouse into the Straits. Unbelievably, the wind started to subside - 30 knots, 25 knots, 20 knots, 10 knots. The storm was over. Wildcard was fine and my family were all asleep >

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Duck when you see a wave! Chris, Mike, Peter, Daniel and Ross ready to leave port Wildcard infront of the Healey’s home in Port Grimaud

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Wildcard’s Maiden Voyage continued below decks with Mike and myself exhausted but also happily relieved to be in friendly waters. We cruised in to Gibraltar at around 5am, dropped the anchor and slept until mid morning before checking in to the Marina for a days rest and provisioning. My children had actually enjoyed the storm I think mainly because they had a good laugh at me getting soaked - and I had learned a lot about the strength of the boat and a key lesson of the risks of hasty decision-making. In sailing, time must be placed as a second priority over safety.

We have a home with a mooring in Port Grimaud (or ‘PG’ as we call it). PG is situated in the bay of St Tropez, which is a great sailing area and our ‘home’ waters from a sailing point of view. Finally, the mammoth journey was coming to its end. Four weeks is a long time on a boat. But Wildcard had looked after us really well. Aircon, unlimited water, surround sound movies - it wasn’t at all hard by any means and we were fresh and happy - what a great adventure. I was a bit apprehensive as this was to be my first docking procedure stern to in PG. But with the bowthruster and the natural ‘controllability’

Easily said and read - but absolutely crucial to observe, no matter what time priorities you have.

of the 56 at close quarters it was a doddle and we were in first time with lines secured. A stress-free finish to over 2500 miles.

In Gibraltar the ‘holiday cruise’ really began. The Mediterranean was beautiful, the winds variable from very weak to a nice force 4-5. We had great sailing, lots of dolphins, beautiful sunshine and real quality family time as we sailed onwards.

I have to thank Mike for being a great skipper and Ross for being generally invaluable on board. Like all maiden voyages we had our share of minor niggles. Ross was the man who immediately diagnosed the problem and got it fixed. His extensive knowledge was invaluable and contributed immensely to the smoothness of the trip. Ross is a seasoned Oyster professional having been full time skipper of another 56 and frequently skippering other Oyster deliveries worldwide.

It is easy to understand the reputation Oyster has for customer satisfaction. The product is superb and the entire staff I have dealt with at Oyster have all been fantastic.

Our next stop was Porto Banus before we made our way to Ibiza - a stop requested by my 16 year old daughter. That’s my excuse anyway. This was our first ever visit to Ibiza and being a club owner I was keen to sample the legendary island entertainment, but in a child friendly way! It’s amazing how the hours slip by when the sun is shining, the music is good and conversation with the family is fun.

ABOVE LEFT: Wildcard in Gibraltar Marina ABOVE RIGHT: Sailing through the storm

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Midday the next day we left Ibiza. We were now on the final run to Port Grimaud, which would take us two and a half days crossing the Bay of Marseille (Golfe du Lion) in the process. This was another fabulous trip with nice winds, lots of dolphin visits and great sunsets.

I also cannot emphasise enough how good Oyster was during the trip and also since then. They have always responded immediately to any kind of query and whenever there has been a problem the discussion has been very straightforward. With this level of after sales care it is easy to understand the reputation Oyster has for customer satisfaction. The product is superb and the entire staff I have dealt with at Oyster have all been fantastic.


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Oyster in the Movies by Britta Flack, Oyster HP46 Britho

Before this story starts, I have to point out that I am truly aware of the English saying ‘beauty lies in the eye of the beholder’. Our Oyster Britho turned 20 years old in January. To others she might just be a well maintained, but now somewhat dated deck-saloon designed ketch, but to us, she is so much more. She was built as a family boat and having sailed over 39,000 miles together, Britho has become a family member and we truly believe she has a soul. When our father passed away three years ago it was never a question for Britho to be sold. But our mother had always stated, that she would never ever sail under a different skipper and true to her word, since then, she has not come out sailing with us. In order to help with running costs and to be able to do what my brother Thorsten and I like best, we have started to offer corporate day-charter, especially at sail events like Kiel Week, and team building days on board Britho.

When the caller identified himself as location scout for the German Television 2nd Channel, ZDF, looking for a true ocean going, blue water sailing yacht, we were overwhelmed.

So when our telephone rang and the caller enquired, whether the very unique looking yacht in Neustadt Harbour belonged to us, we were very pleased - someone also recognises her beauty! When the caller identified himself as location scout for the German Television 2nd Channel, ZDF, looking for a true ocean going, blue water sailing yacht, we were overwhelmed. This is why we moored Britho alongside a supply and support vessel in June 2006 in the Baltic Sea for the filming of a 45 minute episode for the series ‘The Coast Guard’. This series follows the work, life, worries and relationships of the crew of a German coast guard vessel called ‘Albatros’. In the episode Britho appears in, a woman called Nadja tries to escape her aggressive husband by escaping onboard a sailing yacht... yes, that is Britho!, the yacht belongs to an environmentalist who sails the oceans, fighting pollution and earning his way by producing sound CDs of the waves and underwater noise. Okay, okay, this is not exactly what springs to mind when thinking of Oscar nominations, but as long as there were plenty of sailing scenes in it, we didn’t feel the need for criticism. We spent four days with the film crew, had stunt scenes on the foredeck, a shoot-out on the aft deck, blind passengers in the washing machine locker, sound and film crew in every cabin, a moving camera in the forward passageway, the worst catering we ever experienced and loads of fun. We don’t know when our episode will be shown. But if you want to see a well maintained, but now somewhat dated deck-saloon designed ketch, check our website www.britho.de for the announcement and for all you German readers tune into ZDF, Wednesdays, at 7.30 pm.

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Tax Mitigation Investment Management Yacht Registration Commercial Insurance Accountancy and Audit Personal Financial Planning Property Management Legal Services Employee Benefits

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Financial Services

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email: oyster@montpeliergroup.com www.montpeliergroup.com

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525 A new member of the family...

...introducing the Oyster 525

Over the last decade, Oyster’s progress in developing new designs has been relentless. The mission with the new Oyster 525 was simple - to produce a worthy successor to the Oyster 53. This would be easy ‘if’ the 53 had obvious shortcomings but she doesn’t and in practice, with perhaps a little more traditional appeal, she will remain in the range alongside the new 525. With hull lines, foils and sail plan designed by Rob Humphreys and a lot of input from Oyster’s specialist design team, the 525 promises to set a new benchmark for her combination of style, accommodation and potential performance. From any angle, a glance at her outboard profile confirms the yacht’s stunning appearance. Careful, thoughtful design development by a team of talented, artistic designers empowered by state-of-the-art CAD has created what we think is one of the best looking Deck Saloon designs ever... she’s gorgeous! Beauty is only skin deep so let’s be clear - the 525 is an OYSTER in every sense of the word. Her design parameters and construction, like all Oysters, have a huge safety margin. The yacht exudes the practical seamanlike features that Oyster owners expect, benefiting from 34 years of unbroken experience, 1,100 fine yachts and hundreds of thousands of sea miles covered across the world’s oceans in just about every imaginable condition. The first Oyster 525 was sold off plan to Sir Peter Davis who said: “I’m really excited about Oysters new 525. Choosing the new 525 as my fifth Oyster was easy. She is an ideal size for me to sail with friends and I see the design as offering subtle improvements over previous Oysters in this size range. Already aesthetically pleasing, I’m looking forward to my first sail.” The subtle improvements are where the design team have really delivered. For example, with her clean undistorted hull lines, the 525 has a full foot more waterline length than the 53, carries 4" more beam, has 60 sq ft more sail, but weighs almost a ton less.

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THE NEW OYSTER 525

I see the design as offering subtle improvements over previous Oysters in this size range.

Although performance is important, it’s not the only area where the 525 measures up. For example, her cockpit is longer and wider than the 53 with a footwell only 3” narrower and shorter than her larger sister the Oyster 56.

Sir Peter Davis

The ‘numbers’ are only part of the story because the 525 also benefits from modern, computer generated tooling so accurate that the construction features a clean, fully tooled ‘backbone’ or membrane that provides neatness and strength to the hull while saving weight. Another feature is a computer-generated system of overhead lining panels that contributes to a feeling of space and light below deck as well as saving weight and reducing build time by value engineering. The standard keel, draft of 8ft, is a developed low-centre-of-gravity bulb, but a shoal draft variant may be chosen for Hull 04 onwards and from Hull 06 a supershoal centreboard variant with twin rudders may also be specified with a board up draft of less than 5ft. The first Oyster 525 is in build now at McDell Marine in Auckland. McDell has already built over 30 Oyster yachts to an exquisite standard and we are confident that the quality of the 525 will fulfil even the most demanding owner’s requirement for a yacht that encourages real pride of ownership. The jury is still out as to whether the first 525 will be completed in time to première at the London Boat Show in January 2008, but we are confident that she will be sailing by Spring 2008 with a series of build slots available thereafter. We are putting together a preliminary information pack on the new 525 and we invite your enquiries for what we really believe will be the next generation of fast cruising Oysters with winning ways.

SPECIFICATION DETAILS Length Overall - (including Pulpit) Length of Hull Length Waterline Beam Draft - (Standard) Displacement - (Standard) Draft - (Shoal) Displacement - (Shoal) Sail Area (150% Foretriangle)

16.09m 15.85m 14.21m 4.75m 2.43m 22,356kg 1.83m 23,156kg 154.22sqm

(52’10”) (52’0”) (46’8”) (15’7”) (8’0”) (49,286lbs) (6’0”) (51,049lbs) (1,660 sqft)

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Cruising Nusa Tenggara By Gerald Goetgeluck Oyster 49 Adesso

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OWNER REPORT

D O N E S I I N A West Nusa Tenggara

East Nusa Tenggara Watupagung

LO M

BALI Benoa

K BO

Brenti

Labuah Seringgit A S U M B AW

Kilo Nae Banta

Bari Labuanbajo

Bima Doko Rinca

Riung FLORES

Lewoleba Nagarujong

LE

Moyo Kombal

M

TA BA

EAST TIMOR

Maumere

SUMBA

Kupang

TIMOR SEA BATHURST ISLAND

Be

a gle

G u lf Darwin

“

We frequently stay out for several weeks without doing any provisioning other than fruit and vegetables. This is one of the major advantages of living on a true blue water yacht.

�

Oyster 49/09 Adesso is in her third year of a circumnavigation that started in early April of 2004 from Nieuwpoort in Belgium. After her maiden voyage up the Baltic to St Petersburg, we took her across the Atlantic and the Pacific, and arrived in Australia in late October 2005 to seek shelter for the cyclone season. In early May 2006 we resumed sailing. After stocking up to full capacity in Darwin, we left for Kupang, Indonesia, on August 16th. Each year around mid-July, about 100 yachts of various nationalities leave Darwin for Kupang with the Darwin-Kupang Rally, also known as Sail Indonesia, travelling

together through Indonesia. We chose not to join the rally, preferring to sail at our own pace, lingering or leaving anchorages as we wished and having almost all of them to ourselves. Coming from Australia, the two main entry ports in Indonesia are Kupang (West Timor) and Benoa (Bali). Entering via Kupang gives easy access to the islands that form the two provinces of East and West Nusa Tenggara, which means Southeast Islands. These islands are out of the tourist circuit, and in many coastal villages the only foreigners who ever visit are yachties. The easternmost islands are almost as dry as Australia and most of them are very poor. >

LEFT: Adesso at anchor in Watupagung, Flores ABOVE LEFT: Houses amongst rice paddies in Kelimutu ABOVE RIGHT: A typical Indonesian market

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At night the fishermen in their little sampan sing softly …it is marvellous to lie in our comfy bed listening to their melody

” We had collected quite a bit of documentation and knew pretty much what we wanted to see. We did not want to yield to the fear of terrorism and pirates. We wanted to enjoy Indonesia and the people and do as little motoring as possible, taking advantage of the daily sea breeze if the trade winds were not blowing. Our schedule was therefore based on 30 to 40 miles a day hops, leaving flexibility to take advantage of any sailing opportunity. We did not need to worry about the lack of marinas. Adesso is well equipped for long term independent cruising: 7 KW generator, 1500 W inverter, high output watermaker, 450Ah 24V batteries, Inmarsat Fleet 33 for satellite phone and internet access, washing machine, lots of nooks and crannies to store provisions, including 200 bottles of wine! We frequently stay out for several weeks without doing any provisioning other than fruit and vegetables. One of the major advantages of living on a true blue water yacht. We obtained our ‘CAIT’ or ‘Clearance Approval for the Indonesian Territory’, the Indonesian cruising permit, beforehand from an agent in Jakarta, Kus Projalito, who has been doing this for foreign yachts for many years. He handled everything efficiently. This is not at all as complicated as it is often reported. It just requires allowing four weeks between the time the agent receives the funds for the application and the time he emails you a copy of the CAIT. Kus Prodjolalito also sponsored our ‘Social Visa’. This visa, obtained in Darwin, allows for a three-month stay in Indonesia (as opposed to a regular visa of one month obtained upon arrival).

ABOVE LEFT: Welcoming committee on the island of Flores ABOVE RIGHT: Gerald sitting in a ‘Ben Hur’ FAR RIGHT: Adesso at anchor off the island of Gili Air

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Kupang The crossing to Kupang, the capital of the Indonesian province of Eastern Nusa Tenggara, holds the doubtful reputation of being an exercise in motoring. Most people report having to motor all the way for the 500 miles trip. We must have been lucky, the trade winds did not blow hard, but we were able to sail most of the five-day journey. Adesso did not break her speed record, but then, we were not in a hurry. We took advantage of the relaxed sailing to learn the basic phrases in ‘bahasa Indonesia’, the uniting language of this country of 231 million people. The language is quite easy: no gender, no conjugation, no plural. The few words we learned undoubtedly enriched our experience of the country. Upon arrival in Kupang, the customs and immigration formalities went smoothly with the help of Napa Rachman, Kus Projalito’s local representative. The pleasant and polite officer complimented us on Adesso. The quarantine official was less amiable, but he eventually delivered his certificate stating that Adesso was rat-free(!) and her crew did not have the plague… He mainly wanted some whisky, but he didn’t get it! Kupang is a noisy and filthy town: loud, deafening music almost everywhere, especially in the ‘bemos’. These are converted vans built to carry about eight people, with two bench seats oriented fore and aft. Usually 15 people are crammed inside and on the roof, together with coconuts and shopping baskets. Under the benches powerful speakers play to full volume, the deep bass sounds resonating deeply in your stomach. The streets are saturated with bemos and motorcycles, all of which are honking almost permanently. Add to this the loud calls for prayer from the mosque… Kupang is definitely not our favourite place, so we left as soon as we could.


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At anchor between two volcanoes After a nice sail with the wind abeam, we arrived at Lewoleba, on the island of Lembata, about 120 miles north of Kupang. The view is spectacular: a smoking volcano to the east and another one to the west; to the south, a picturesque village nested among coconut trees. The sunset on the nearby volcano is gorgeous. The sunsets in Nusa Tenggara in general are fabulous: the horizon is often cloud free and the dramatic mountain contours enhances their beauty. We spent four peaceful days, resting and enjoying the scenery. Every now and then, the mosque called for prayers. It adds an exotic touch. We ended up enjoying it, except at four o’clock in the morning! Lewoleba is a typical Indonesian fishing village. The only tourists it ever sees are the crew of lost yachts like ours. As always in Indonesia, there is no quay, not even the smallest pontoon, the beach is full of rubbish and it is difficult to find a decent place to land. We nevertheless

manage to make it to the village main street. The unpaved streets are swept, but every ditch is used as a rubbish dump. Chickens run everywhere. The small fishermen houses on stilts are ornate and picturesque. Everybody is welcoming and smiling. We enjoyed shopping for food at the open air market, using our hard learned Indonesian to discuss prices and learn about fruits, vegetables and foods that we had never seen before. Chicken is available, but it is sold alive - no, thanks! Instead, we bought a beautiful fish of about 3 kg for 1.50 euros (£1.00). Everyone helped when we couldn’t make ourselves understood and it ends up in a collective laugh and lots of fun. When the evening falls, fishermen in their small boats come to chat. Indonesians are immensely curious and they love to converse: what is our name, where do we come from, where are we going, how many children do we have, what’s their name, their age… One of them told us that Adesso looks like a ‘kapal bagus’, or ‘a good boat’.

Flores Next we hopped along the north coast of Flores. Flores is a long island, twice the length of Corsica, offering many protected anchorages. However, before reaching Flores we had to sail through the strait between the islands of Adonara and Lembata, our first channel experience in Indonesia. We had heard and read that the channels between the islands in Indonesia can be the most treacherous waters in the world. The currents are said to be swift and impossible to predict, the tides north and south of the islands being out of sync. Tidal rips, whirlpools and massive overfalls are common. A bad confirmation of our readings awaited us in the three mile long strait: a 6 knot current was flowing south, and brought our speed down to a single knot for about an hour, with the sails up and our 100HP Yanmar engine running at 2700 revs, the sea around us was boiling! Although there is tidal information on our C-Map charts, we were unable to make sense out of what we experienced here. Finally we got out of the current and turned west. >

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For the next week we moved west by short legs along the north coast of the island. The weather was beautiful; the sea breeze from the north east gets up around 11am and dies around 5pm in the afternoon. The large south-east swell from the Indian Ocean is cut off by the island so that sailing in light winds is quite pleasant. One of the most memorable stops on Flores is Maumere, where we dropped the hook in front of the ‘Seaworld Club’, a dive resort. The people at the resort welcome yachts and are happy to organize a tour to visit the three coloured lakes of Kelimutu, an extinct volcano some 100km away. It is a three-hour trip along a winding road, going up to 1600m. The small villages along the road are picturesque but very poor. The lake colours are stunning: black, bright light green and brown. The colours change over the years, apparently on the basis of the minerals dissolving in the water: the green lake was blue a couple of years ago; it is now a bright green.

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A few anchorages to the west, we entered Riung Bay. Access to the anchorage is not difficult, however it is through reefs. As is almost always the case in Indonesia, we experienced a big offset between the chart and the GPS position. Ever since we arrived in the country, I had overlapped the chart display with the radar image when nearing an anchorage and usually they didn’t match! It seems that the last chart updates date from the time of the Dutch, and in the meantime earthquakes have somewhat redrawn the bottom as well. Another useful plotter option in these waters is the Track option, allowing us to trace our way back out of an anchorage. Of course, in addition to all this technical stuff, nothing beats the ‘Admiral’s’ eyes. She always stands watch at the pulpit, spotting any change in the colour of the water. Riung Bay is a delightful anchorage. It is huge, calm and beautiful, superbly protected, being completely land locked. It is the best anchorage on Flores. We had the place to ourselves. At dinnertime, there wasn’t a light to be seen anywhere,

other than the half moon and the stars. We had a couple of visitors from the village - they were just curious. They didn’t ask for anything, neither did they try to sell us something. It seemed they just wanted to practice their English and, like all Indonesians, they loved to chat.

Hello misteeeeer! At our next anchorage, Linggeh Bay, we were overwhelmed by some twenty children on outriggers. Our arrival was a big event for the nearby village that is far away from any paved road. The children surrounded Adesso, laughing and shouting “hello, Misteeeeer!” They are proud to put into practice the English most of them learn at school. They tested the strength of almost every feature close to the toe rail. We can assure Oyster they are child proof. Adesso was under siege until the sun set… In most villages, some ‘sampan’ will come along after you dropped the anchor. After some small talk, the villagers will often ask for t-shirts, pencils, caps…


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The children test the strength of almost every feature close to the toe rail. We can assure Oyster they are child proof.

this is always done after some introductory conversation, in a non-aggressive and kind manner. Sometimes we get mangos or bananas in return for our small gifts. When they are disappointed because we have run out of T-shirts, we tell them "ini kapal, ini bukan pasar" "this is a boat, not a market" they laugh (maybe at our pronunciation?) and agree. Our last stop on Flores was the town of Labuanbajo set in a scenic bay. Here for the first time in two weeks we saw another sailboat. We had not seen any since Kupang. We also learn about the Indonesian ‘liter’ having ‘filled’ our three 20 litre jerry cans with 20 indo-liters of diesel each, I observe that they are only about two-thirds full!

Komodo Dragons From Labuanbajo, we moved to Rinca, next to Komodo, where the famous dragons live. The anchorage is in a delightful little bay, and from the cockpit we watched macaque monkeys running up and down the beach. Early in the morning we went ashore to see the famous dragons. These lizards, about three meters long, are carnivorous and it is wise to stay some distance away. The ranger suggests a walk of 5 km to see more dragons, but it is hot and a good wind is just starting to blow. We had to choose between seeing more dragons (after all just big lizards) and a good sail. Well, not much hesitation…

Sumbawa We returned to Adesso and enjoyed a wonderful sail to Sumbawa, the next island to the West. From here on, we started experiencing stronger sea breezes. Sumbawa is the largest island of the province of West Nusa Tenggara, the province we are in. It is home to the

Tambora volcano. The 1815 eruption sent 150 cubic km of ashes up into the atmosphere, enough to lower global temperature for a year - snow fell in London in August 1816! Again we moved by legs of about 40 miles, stopping overnight in friendly villages. Many of the villages have no electricity and at night the only light is the communal fire around which villagers gather, it is hard to believe we are in the 21st century. At night, the fishermen in their little sampan sing softly. Some of them have beautiful voices and it is marvellous to lie down in our comfortable bed listening to their melody. Sumbawa like Flores offers many good anchorages. In one of them, we had just dropped the anchor for lunch when an open boat shows up with four men on board, two of which were holding machine guns. Seeing our astonishment, they shouted: friends, friends! We wondered why friends would need machine guns, but they told us that they were coast guards, even though they had no uniforms. They climbed on board Adesso, which was difficult to refuse under the circumstances. We started chatting in broken English and broken Indonesian about everything; they are quite open and laugh all the time. They asked us for cigarettes but we had none. We offered them a chocolate bar instead and that was accepted with enthusiasm. Half an hour later they left thanking us and wishing us a pleasant stay in Indonesia. Only then did we discover the mess they had left: chocolate stains everywhere on the teak deck! Oh, well, better than having bullet holes in the hull… After a couple of anchorages, we arrived in Bima, a deeply Muslim town. The city has a fairly large market and the time had come to do some provisioning. >

FAR LEFT: Armed ‘sea police’ on the island of Sumbawa ABOVE LEFT: Coloured lake in the crater of a volcano, Kelimutu ABOVE RIGHT: One of the beautiful beaches of Gili Air

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NUSA TENGGARA FACTS: Indonesian Cruising Permit (CAIT) All yachts are required to have a valid Indonesian Cruising Permit (CAIT) while in Indonesian waters. Contact: Kustarjono Prodjolalito Tel: +62 215 358404 Email: cait@indo.net.id Or The Indonesian Embassy: Tel: 0207 449 7661 www.indonesianembassy.org.uk

Darwin to Kupang Rally: The 2007 rally leaves Darwin on 21 July 2007 For more information visit www.sailindonesia.net

Sea World Club, Flores: Pondok Dunia Laut Maumere 86181 Flores Indonesia Tel: +62 382 21570 www.sea-world-club.com

Amanwana Resort, Moyo Island: General Enquiries: Tel: +65 6883 2555 www.amanwana.com

Tourism Information www.indonesia-tourism.com www.nusa-tenggara.com

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There were no other yachts to be seen in the huge bay, no tourists whatsoever, but a fascinated crowd waiting for us at the quay as we arrived by dinghy. Between dozens of "Hello, Misteeer", we learnt that the market is about 1km away and that we would need a taxi. Bima taxis are called ‘Ben Hur’. If you saw the movie, you’ll be disappointed, because they are a far cry from Charlton Heston’s magnificent four white horse carriage. They are single horse, not white, and extremely old, shaky carriages! Downtown Bima must not have changed much in the last 100 years, it looks very oriental and is chaotic but pleasant. The people at the market smile seeing us shopping around and bargaining for the best prices. A few children touch our arms; they have never seen such a pale skin. A couple of days later, we arrived at Moyo Island on the north side of Sumbawa, and anchored close to the Amanwana Resort. Wow! This is totally different, an oasis of calm and elegant luxury. First of all, there is a nice dinghy pontoon. We went ashore and received a warm welcome. We had a tour of the attractive small resort, and learnt that Princess Diana stayed in one of the ocean ‘tents’. Rooms are about 500 Euros a night, however a simple, yet tasteful, western style three-course dinner is offered at a very reasonable 30 Euros. The tables are set up on the beach so as to fully enjoy the stunning sunset on the Flores Sea. This is a stop not to be missed. The next morning, we returned to the resort and snorkelled just in front of the beach. What a surprise! The coral is fantastic, tropical fish abound, white, black, yellow, blue, red, green and pink in all combinations you can think of; the water is incredibly transparent and a wonderful 28°C. Moyo Island is one of our best snorkelling experiences ever.

Lombok After a few more days of delightful sailing, we arrived at Gili Air Island, at the northwest tip of Lombok. The Gili islands are three little coral islands fringed with sandy beaches, three little gems. Gili Air has an opening in its coral reef that affords good protection against the strong sea breeze. The small island is peaceful, no cars are allowed; all transport is done with horse and carts. The anchorage is deep, in over 20 metres. With the reef close by we had not been able to lay out more than 60 metres of chain. This made us a bit nervous, and after one sleepless night during which the wind blew from the only unprotected direction, we moved five miles across to the island of Lombok, to Narat Bay. The anchorage is also very deep, a little over 20 metres, but it is on black sand and we had plenty of room to swing. The wind falls from the surrounding hills at up to 35 knots, so we let out 80 metres of chain to make sure Adesso would still be there when we got back from our tour of the island. Ashore we met Mohamed, a cultivator, turned tourist guide during the season. He loves his region and showed us his fields of chillies, tomatoes, cabbages, tobacco and rice. He invited us to his home to have tea with his family and after having driven us around in his minivan, he loaded our bags with a two-week supply of beautiful vegetables. The Lombok countryside is relatively green. Its tourist industry has been badly hit, like that of Bali, by the bombings. All Indonesians we met were angry at the bombers, realizing the damage they have done to the image of their country and the distress they brought to many households by keeping the tourists away.


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By the end of September we had been in Nusa Tenggara for over a month and it was time to move on to Bali. We waited a few days at anchor in Lombok so that we could sail with a favourable tide to Benoa Harbour on Bali. The currents there are even wilder than in other straits in Indonesia, and you must time your arrival in the reef-fringed Benoa at slack water. We truly enjoyed our time in Nusa Tenggara. The scenery is magnificent, the weather is sunny and dry from May to October, prices are extremely low, the people are overwhelmingly friendly and smiling, the anchorages are numerous and well protected, the sea breeze allows for good sailing when the south east trade winds do not blow, navigation is relatively straightforward and security is far better than in many other places in the world. The entry and exit formalities for Indonesia are easy with no problem whatsoever if you use an agent. This can be done at a very reasonable cost. Of course nothing is perfect: the lack of environmental awareness is often shocking, rubbish litters many otherwise lovely spots, and

sewage is obviously dumped straight at sea in villages. The islands are poor and waste management does not seem to be one of the priorities of the local government. Provisioning for fresh supplies is easy at the numerous open-air markets, but one must come well stocked up with dry groceries as there are no supermarkets. Despite this, Nusa Tenggara certainly is an area worth discovering at a leisurely pace. There are many pristine, uninhabited, peaceful anchorages. It is a place not yet touched by land tourism, where people welcome sea visitors not for the money they might spend, but simply because they enjoy having someone visiting them, because they are as curious of us as we are curious of them.

“

It is a place not yet touched by land tourism, where people welcome sea visitors not for the money, but simply because they enjoy having someone visiting them.

�

FAR LEFT: Colourful boats on Gili Air LEFT: Buying chickens at market in Bima ABOVE: Adesso anchored in a bay off the island of Rinca

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Billy Budd’s Arctic Adventure by Mariacristina Rapisardi, Oyster 72 Billy Budd

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Gr een la

Devon Island Bylot Island

nd

Thule

Upernavik Baffin Bay Disko Island

Aasiaat

Clyde River Da vis

t rai St

Baffin Island "Dear Signora Rapisardi, We haven’t met, but I am Vice Commodore of the Royal Cruising Club in England and I am writing to say that the club has recently awarded you, jointly with Richard Haworth, our 2006 Tilman Medal for your expedition last season to the west coast of Greenland and north-east Baffin." It was a Sunday night in January, and before going to bed I found this email in my inbox. I thought it was either spam, a virus ready to knock-down my pc, a joke from some friend or a mistake...? Then, when I saw the email address it was sent from, I began to think otherwise, so although it was late at night I called Richard to ask if he knew anything about it. And, as always, he already knew everything... So our summer in the ice had caught the attention of and interested someone apart from us - some important English sailors and explorers! We had spent a wonderful summer aboard our Oyster 72, Billy Budd. It felt like we were living in an enchanted world of colours and lights, surrounded by nearly prehistoric animals and a wild nature, whose growth is stunted by the harsh environment. The feeling was of being in another era, different from ours, the era of the ‘creation’ of the world, when light, energy and primary needs reigned. We found Billy Budd waiting for us in Aasiaat, half-way up the west coast of Greenland, moored alongside a tiny fishing dock. The village is very small, inhabited only by Inuit, but has a hospital, a school, and two big shops selling food and basic goods: boots, jackets… and copious amounts of alcohol! In August the sun never sets and at midnight it seems as if it's 5pm; but in winter darkness reigns and the population of these places barely survives, sadly there are many alcoholics, suicides and often cases of family violence. ABOVE: Atasound, Greenland (about 69,50N/50.50 W) RIGHT: Mariacristina at the helm, Cape York/Melwille Bay, the entrance to Smith Sound

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Billy Budd had been prepared for cruising in these remote places by High Latitudes, a company run by our skipper, Richard Haworth. We loaded gas, heavy clothes, boots, ropes, ice screws and rock pitons. We had provisioned with food to last for several months - obviously Italian pasta, tomatoes, parmesan cheese and fresh mozzarella that we had brought with us from Italy. Travelling with us, apart from Richard, were the only two of our friends who were brave enough to venture this far - Luca and Daria. In addition there was Gianni, an alpine guide who wanted to climb the mountains of Greenland with me; Bob Shepton, a 72 year old vicar, but most importantly a veteran of cruising in Greenland (Bob unfortunately lost his boat in a fire the previous year while wintering in the ice). The crew was completed by 25 year old Kali, from New Zealand and smiley ‘little Richard’, a 21 year old university student from London, an expert in cocktails and computers! This was indeed a very strange collection of people heading for the ‘big cold’. We departed for our first objective: Disko Island, the green island where Amundsen and, before him, nearly all the ships trying to discover the mythic north west passage have stopped and rested before their big departures. We sailed around the island for a few days, anchoring at night in deep fiords surrounded by small mountains. We walked in wonderful valleys and tried to fish (but the fish didn't seem very hungry). It was mosquito season so it was essential to go around covered in nets. The island of Disko is covered with mushrooms, which weren’t very flavoursome, but good enough for a risotto; obviously cooked by us Italians, and not by the English contingent of the crew! We reached a village that was magical Rodebay, the village consisted of about ten very colourful houses built on white rocks. It was here that we ate our first and last dinner at a restaurant. The German restaurant owner had lived in Rodebay for more than ten years. When we asked him why, he answered that he likes the dark and winter... a strange thing to hear when at the time there is 24 hours of daylight. >


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“

We had spent a wonderful summer aboard our Oyster 72, Billy Budd. It felt like we were living in an enchanted world of colours and lights, surrounded by nearly prehistoric animals and a wild nature.

�

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“

We dodged the icebergs and growlers, sailing with a very small main sail and our small staysail; but we were still doing 10 knots!

�

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Billy Budd’s Arctic Adventure continued We continued northwards. Strangely we didn't see any animals; neither seals nor whales. However, one night anchored in a bay, we slept next to a big whale that seemed to have chosen that bay as home; she emerged, didn't seem to see us, and disappeared again under the water. Another day while sailing we finally saw the back of a whale swimming. Immediately we heard very loud shots and saw dozens of boats each with two Inuit on board shooting at the whale. This is the modern ‘whale hunt’. The harpoons have been replaced by rifles, but the war is just the same: man against whale, looking for food and trying to survive. After all, Greenland has been home to the Inuit for hundreds of years. It's their land and it certainly isn't an easy land in which to survive. Denmark helps these people but not enough for them to survive at the same level as those living in a European country. We found confirmation of this in a tiny village where we met an Inuit who spoke French (the only one in the whole village). He told us that the village, which has a population of more or less one hundred people, had suffered an epidemic the previous year and a number of people had died. He lost his wife and four other members of his family. The village has a school and a supermarket but no hospital or doctor and it is a three hour journey (on snowbike) to the nearest village, but obviously sick people can't be transported this way and the helicopter is much too expensive. We didn’t speak with any other Inuits; they are a very shy people. For the most part they don't speak other languages apart from their own and they didn’t seem very interested in our presence. They live calmly and peacefully in their territory with little interference from the outside world.

LEFT: Dodging icebergs around Disko Island, Greenland TOP FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Inuit children catch a lift! Walruses everywhere! The village of Upernavik, Greenland (72,47 N/56,04 W)

The weather was good, sun all day and night, and it was warm, very warm, so warm that we had a swim… for all of three seconds! but at least we can say we touched the artic water! Whenever possible we ate in the cockpit; breakfast, lunch and dinner. We had cocktails at 7pm and we often ate dinner in t-shirts and sunglasses! Richard reminded us that Greenland’s weather is not always like this - that when it changes it can change fast! During the day we sailed a lot, stopping just to eat and sleep. In the mornings we walked - in the mountains where possible, or in the woods or villages we came across. In one of these villages, Proeven, we found an rock engraved by the crew of HMS Alert, in 1875! One day the wind picked up from 15 knots to 45 knots in the space of half an hour as we sailed through a field of icebergs. For the first time we took in the

fourth reef, so at least we have a chance to try it! We dodged the icebergs and growlers, sailing with a very small main sail and our small staysail; but we were still doing 10 knots! We were scheduled to leave two of our friends in Upernavik and proceed to Canada, but our friends couldn’t resist staying another ten days to continue the amazing voyage. At this point Richard wanted to turn west to go to Canada, but I had another plan - Thule, 76 degrees north and the legendary ‘Ultima Thule’, land of Apollo and of the now extinct people that once lived here. So we continued northwards and entered the long fiord systems around Upernavik where we finally managed to do some rock climbing. We found the best climbing at Kuvdlorssuaq where we climbed the Devil’s Thumb, a 400 metre rock peak, which was first climbed by an expedition of Italians led by Guido Monzino. So we repeated their adventure. This was to be the first Italian repeat of the climb, probably the first ascent of the peak by a woman and certainly the first by a priest of 72 years of age! We reached the long and majestic gateway of Thule - the Pittuffik Glacier (our northernmost destination) and asked permission from the American military base to anchor and stay for one day under the legendary flat-topped mountain. It is forbidden to visit the American base, so we anchored in front of Moriussak village whose 11 inhabitants speak only Inuit. This is the place that was contaminated with radiation in 1969 when an American plane crashed in the sea with four atomic bombs on board. The time came to leave Greenland and in order to do this we needed to reach Nunavut, land of the Canadian Inuit. The aim was to head for Devon Island. We had not heard of any known anchorage on the island, except for a whaling ship that apparently wintered here in the early 1800’s. These icy lands of northern Canada are the lands I dream about when I am back in my office in Milan, more so than Greenland. From Nunavut we crossed the northern waters of Baffin Bay - some 200 miles in just over 24 hours. 2006 was apparently a very good year for ice. The ‘central pack’ that would usually have blocked our route was already completely gone. However, thick fog meant that we had to keep a sharp lookout to avoid floating ice that sometimes appeared in front of the boat, as if coming from nowhere. We arrived at Devon Island safe and sound and fortunately not overly tired. When entering the bay the first thing we heard was a strange noise… walruses, dozens >

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Billy Budd’s Arctic Adventure continued of them. They were huge! Some slept on rocks, whilst others swam towards the boat and investigated this strange object violating their private and magic world. We anchored 100 metres from their rock, hearing their noises and smelling their pungent odour and waited before putting the dinghy in the water because we knew they could be quite dangerous. It certainly wouldn't have been fun to end up in the water with these big animals - just one walrus is able to defeat the polar bear! Whilst waiting to get to land we looked around with the binoculars and saw four dark figures moving slowly around a patch of snow. They were muskox! It was incredible, that after spending one month in Greenland and not seeing a single land creature, within ten minutes of our time in Canada we had seen walruses and muskox! When we eventually reached land to get closer to the walruses and the family of ox: father, mother and two kids; all seemed to look at us with curiosity: man was somewhat of a novelty to them! More surprises awaited us when we got back on board Billy Budd - we saw a big white ‘thing’ coming closer and closer to the boat. At first we thought it was ice, on a closer look it was in fact a polar bear. He was inspecting us to see who - or what - we were. The huge bear swam towards us and stopped just a few metres from the boat, then he started swimming around us, looking at us, smelling the air. He swam away, then returned, is was almost as if he'd like to come aboard! We had a rifle on board, which we took ashore with us at all times as a defence against these bears. They are one of the most aggressive species of mammal you may find in the wild. Seeing one in its own habitat, you really understand why: he was hungry, finding food is not easy in these desolate lands and in summer the seals disappear along with the ice. During the night we had another visit: two other polar bears, a mother and a cub. We really felt like Canada, or rather ‘Nunavut’, the Inuit land, had welcomed us with its wonderful rare and unique animals. We felt like guests in a perfect and wild world. But time had come to move on and we headed south to Bylot Island. Whilst sailing around the island we came across icebergs, floating ice, narwhal, arctic hares and more polar bears (so that by the end of the trip we had seen 25 in total!) We walked amongst lands that aren't green anymore, instead they were dry and rocky, with sporadic blades of grass and plants that seem to be struggling to survive. Many of the plants look like those we find in the Italian Alps, but in miniature form. At Pond Inlet our friends and Bob left us to allow another three friends to join us for the last three weeks of our trip - down the east

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coast of Baffin Island. Baffin is another very different but incredible place. Long fyords in which you can loose yourself; tall grey rock walls that rise straight out of the sea. Most of the fjords have not been surveyed, so we sailed without charts. Here we realised that it may be time to change our depth sounder. It seemed to be going crazy and changed from depths of 100 metres to 3 metres in a second, which was enough to make me feel faint! There were plenty of opportunities to climb in these parts. During one climbing session we even tethered the boat to an iceberg as the fjord was too deep to anchor. Two ice screws, one rope and we were secure but we did keep a knife ready to cut the rope in case the iceberg should decide to turn over as does occasionally happen! Baffin had so far welcomed us with rain and fog, so we headed towards Isabella Bay in search of better weather. We were told that this is were the bowhead whales come to breed. Sure enough, we saw several swimming close to the boat. When we finally found sunshine we climbed the granite rock of Isabella Bay, then of Clyde Inlet. It is fantastic rock, compact, warm …and very difficult! We always enjoy the excitement of climbing new routes and make a point of writing down every single place we go to, including every anchorage. You never know, maybe we will be able to return, or others may decide to come here. At the end of August a few hours of darkness started to creep in; looking north you could see the horizon with a line of light where darkness had not yet arrived. It was time to head to Clyde River from where our plane for home would leave. We anchored and organized re-fuelling so that the boat could get back to England. There was only one fuel truck with a hose only 50 feet long, so we had to position the boat very close to the stone breakwater, whilst attempting this the children of the village came to stare at the boat and asked to come on board. Finally we had to leave. The only policeman of the place took us to the plane and told us that in winter bears are practically knocking at the doors of the houses! From here we sadly departed for Europe, and Billy Budd departed for Southampton. The guys at SYS anticipated greeting Billy Budd covered in scrapes and possibly having experienced more serious damage from travelling 15,500 miles in nine months (3,000 of them amongst the ice!). Instead they saw a blue jewel entering the harbour, with her white and blue striped mast, clean, in order, with no scratches or other damage, and over all, proud of her great adventure.

ARCTIC FACTS: Cruising Season: This is ice dependant, but is usually best throughout July and August (ice is at its clearest at the end of this period). In a bad year most of the coast of Baffin Island remains inaccessible throughout the season. Currency Danish Kroner in Greenland Canadian Dollars in Baffin. Climate: Temperatures are similar to a mild British winter, but much drier. Prolonged periods of fine weather are interspersed by sometimes violent depressions. Charts: Danish charts are needed in Greenland, while Canadian charts for Baffin. The charting of the whole region cannot be considered as complete - particularly on Baffin Island. Further Information: ‘Faroe, Iceland and Greenland’ - RCC Pilotage Foundation by Willy Kerr. www.highlatitudes.com www.billybudd.info

RIGHT: Crossing a glacier, Devon Island, Canada (74,50N/80,60 W) BELOW FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Heading to Bylot Island The Polar bear inspecting Billy Budd and us! Tethering Billy Budd to an iceberg


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Cruising the Grenadines And a ten year test for the Oyster 70 by Richard Matthews

Some might call it a busman’s holiday but when the chance came for a two week cruise aboard the Holman & Pye designed Ravenous, now ten years old, I grabbed it with both hands. I can remember Oyster’s David Blacklaws selling Ravenous to her original US owner, Bill Dockser, at the London Boat Show. Bill was an experienced yachtsman, having previously owned the 70ft Ocean Mermaid. He wanted the very best Oyster we could build at that time and over the years Ravenous has been greatly admired for her immaculately maintained dark blue hull and for those lucky enough to get aboard her lovely American Oak joinery with butterfly veneers. Oyster took Ravenous in trade against Bill’s new yacht, an Oyster 82, which will no doubt set similarly high standards when she appears for the first time, probably at the Southampton Boat Show. Ravenous had been laid up ashore in Newport RI pending sale and working on the basis that yachts always look better in commission and in sunshine we opted to relocate her to Antigua. A new crew, Quentin and Florence, were engaged and, as so often happens, the yacht was sold unseen to an owner from Turkey almost as soon as she left Newport. With delivery agreed for early May we had the opportunity to do some cruising as well as taking part in the Montpelier Oyster Regatta in Antigua and Antigua Sailing Week. Sailing Ravenous created a really good opportunity to make some direct comparisons in how our yachts have developed and improved over the last ten years. Making a direct comparison with my own 72, Oystercatcher XXV there were some significant differences, but to say one yacht was better than the other would be a little like saying the new Porsche 911 Carrera is a better car than the Jaguar E Type. In their day both cars were considered amongst the best of their era. When Ravenous was in her prime, Bill Dockser happened to be in Sardinia during a Swan regatta and was constantly approached by people walking the dock asking about what they thought was the prettiest boat in the harbour. As a result of that experience Bill convinced me to start the Oyster regatta series and, as they say, the rest is history.

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OYSTER 70 RAVENOUS

On a straight statistical comparison the ‘numbers’ between the two designs are: Oyster 70 Oyster 72 LOA hull 21.14m (69’3”) 22.77m (74’9”) Water line length 17.68m (58’0”) 19.75m (64’9”) Beam 5.26m (17’3”) 5.85m (19’ 2.5”) Displacement 40,824kgs (90,000lbs) 48,000kgs (105,820lbs) Sail Area 259.6m2 (2,794 sq ft) 300m2 (3,228 sq ft) The most significant difference between the two as live-aboard cruising yachts is, in my opinion, the major improvement in cockpit configuration. The H&P 70 has a comfortable protected cockpit but the steering pedestal at the aft end makes it relatively difficult to get from the cockpit to the steering position. The yacht has relatively wide cockpit coamings, which in turn, especially with the bimini in place, make it a little awkward to access the cockpit from the deck. This is not to say the 70 was a poor design since with around 20 sold it was as well thought of as any during its production life. The new Oyster 72 (and for that matter other Oysters over 60ft) has a twin wheel configuration, which facilitates an altogether much longer crew cockpit as well as very easy access to both helm stations and aft to the working deck. A week or two living aboard both yachts and everyone will agree that the new 72-style cockpit is simply in a different league. The additional beam means that the centre fixed section of the cockpit table is wide enough to house a decent drinks fridge, which was impossible on the 70.

Over the years Ravenous has been greatly admired for her immaculately maintained dark blue hull and for those lucky enough to get aboard her lovely American Oak joinery with butterfly veneers.

Flowing from the cockpit improvement and getting the coamings relatively further outboard, the whole business of access to the cockpit from the working deck, either over the coamings or better yet from the stern deck area, is both easier and safer. It also creates a handy safe area behind the helm stations, using the length of the aft coachroof as an additional crew/cockpit area when required. Strangely the new style 72 cockpit doesn’t compromise any of the below deck accommodation but in fact improves it. This is because the design team, empowered by modern, fully integrated computer design capabilities, have been able to optimise the amount of usable headroom under the cockpit floor. The result is a centreline passageway with full standing headroom along the length of the cockpit, which in turn allows cabins to be placed outboard as well as easy access to the owner’s stateroom. As a result, instead of having the galley area in a walk-through passage, as in the H&P 70, the galley is now forward of the mast, with the obvious benefit of keeping crew and galley well separated from owner and guest accommodations. The extra beam characteristic of the more modern designs isn’t just at the mid-point through the saloon, since the latest design trends carry the beam much further aft, giving the yacht an altogether broader and more powerful sailing hull with improved form stability. Perhaps even more important in a cruising yacht is the fact that the extra beam goes all the way to the back of the boat. This allows a much wider, more spacious owner’s stateroom and better guest cabins, which would have been a real squeeze on the earlier design. A further benefit here is the option of an additional companionway hatch from the aft stateroom to the stern deck, without compromising the size of the berth or anything else. Other benefits include improved spaces for shower and WC, which are also possible because of the greater beam. Most of the Caribbean cruising I have done in recent years has, one way or another, been between Antigua and the BVI, in between regattas. For this cruise the Grenadines was the obvious choice. Rather than sail from Antigua we opted to let our new crew do the passage >

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And a ten year test for the Oyster 70 continued to St Lucia and join the boat there. The first night found us berthed stern-to under the Pitons, St Lucia’s most conspicuous landmark, and happy to have Terry and Molly King-Smith aboard for drinks. Their Oyster 62, Dorado, was anchored nearby. Not that long ago Colin Tennant, who was one of the prime movers in getting Mustique up and running, actually kept an elephant at his ‘bang between the Pitons’ restaurant. It seems the elephant somehow or other ingested a large quantity of baker’s yeast and expired, which is a pity, because the breathtaking scenery beneath the Pitons would have been even better with the odd elephant. Next day we did a lunch trip to Marigot Bay, which had reputedly become a superyacht dock in the ten years since I was there last. No sign of any superyachts, or a dock, instead dozens of bareboat charterers and hordes of people taking the ferry from one side of the harbour to the other. Dolittle’s Beach, so named because it was used in a scene in the movie ‘Dr Dolittle’, where Rex Harrison ‘talked to the animals’ used to be a really classic Caribbean beach with lots of palm trees and indeed was used in an Oyster ad shoot. Not any more, since the whole beach was covered in plastic sun loungers and most of the palm trees seemed to have been blown away. No longer worth a visit. Next stop was Young Island, at the end of St Vincent, where en route we had some uncharacteristically windy and wet weather, during the course of which my cell phone got a soaking and expired. The extraordinary thing about the Caribbean is how the prime movers in various small ports make things happen. Sam Taxi, who runs the anchorage at Young Island, is just such a guy and produced an exact replacement cell phone, fully charged, for $300 by 8.30am the following morning. Having met the crew of Oyster 53, Nutcracker, ashore for drinks next morning, we climbed the stone steps of Duvernette island to find the cannon and carronades pointing inland to defend the anchorage still in place. We marvelled on how much effort it took to get those heavy guns to the top of the peak, much less cut the several hundred steps into the stone to reach the summit. As luck would have it we got a handy snapshot of Ravenous and Nutcracker as the only two yachts visible from the island. From Young Island we had a cracking sail to Bequia in 25 knots true under full main and staysail, a heavy air combination I like a lot, especially if the sheets are eased a little. Ravenous cantered along at a comfortable 10 knots under autopilot, doing what she does best. Admiralty Bay, Bequia, is a pretty harbour and offers a classic Caribbean waterfront scene with lots going on. It’s always worth taking a look at the various model boat workshops, whose output is mostly devoted to the traditional whaling gigs that are still in commission. The people of Bequia are allowed to take four whales each year provided that they are harpooned in a traditional way from a boat propelled by oars. There are strict rules for the conduct of these whaling gigs, many of which might join the chase after a single creature. Apparently in 2006 only one whale was landed. From Bequia we made the short hop to Petit Nevis, a small adjacent island that was mission central during the time the whaling trade was in its heyday. The crucibles used for melting the oil and the slipway where the whales were hauled ashore are still in place, as a reminder

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of what must have been a major activity in Caribbean waters one hundred years ago. From there, another short but bumpy reach across to Mustique and ashore for a delightful dinner in the Firefly restaurant, who provided transportation from Basil’s Bar, the well known watering hole. Our night in Mustique coincided with the end of a music festival and later that night back at Basil’s we were treated to a full-blown blues concert involving 15 to 20 musicians.

RAVENOUS FACTS: Designed by: Holman & Pye as the Oyster 68.

Our trip through the islands continued, typically stopping at one anchorage for lunch and another for the evening. We made our way from Mustique to Canouan, on to Mayreau, the Tobago Cays and then Carriacou. I was particularly keen to take a look at the local Carriacou sloops which are prolific in many of the Caribbean islands and have a major regatta at Carriacou each season. The people of Carriacou pride themselves on maintaining traditional wooden boat building skills on the foreshore and we made a visit across the island to see a 40ft sloop about half way through construction. Using locally grown white cedar and building in a very traditional way, the boat we saw was coming together very well and, whilst not quite to Oyster standards, looked as if it would be both strong and seaworthy. It was fascinating to stand on the beach amongst driftwood and coconut shells, seeing the bow of a new wooden boat taking shape.

Significant upgrades: High performance bulb keel, designed by Derek Clark and fitted to most yachts from hull # 05 onwards. Stern extension to 70 LOA, and all new deck, designed by Holman & Pye, for hull # 12A onwards.

The turning point of our trip was Grenada, which had particular significance due to a planned meeting with a prospect customer, in residence at his holiday home on the island. The meeting ended happily with the sale of our Oyster 72, Oystercatcher XXV, giving a real sense of purpose to our cruise. Grenada is a beautiful island that has recovered dramatically in the two years since Hurricane Ivan. Like many others in the Caribbean, it has a new cricket stadium in the final stages of completion, courtesy of the Chinese, in time for this year’s Cricket World Cup. One of the few negatives of our cruise was arriving for a pre-booked dinner at the Petit St Vincent resort restaurant only to be turned away by a surly local barman, who told us his colleague should never have taken the booking, as they had no meat! We offered to settle for fish and pasta without success and could not even make contact with the manager to express our extreme disappointment. Oyster owners would do well to give this place a miss. After a wet, dark ride across the channel between PSV and Petit Martinique, we landed on the beach and met a guy who, as luck would have it, was the local restaurateur on his way home after closing up. When he heard of our plight he turned around, gathered his staff together and provided us with a first class meal. This was the Palm Beach Restaurant and Bar where, in contrast with the PSV resort, we would heartily recommend this establishment to all our owners, especially as, concerned for our safety on a windy night, they offered us a ride back to the yacht on a launch. As it was we crossed the channel safely and got back aboard Ravenous, soaking wet, but grateful for what turned out to be one of the more memorable evenings of our cruise. The Grenadines has a lot to offer with a large number of island locations offering safe anchorages and interesting places to visit. Chris Doyle’s ‘Sailors Guide to the Windward Islands’, now in its 13th edition, is the bible for this area. Don’t leave home without it!

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ARC Report The annual transatlantic rally starting each November in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and finishing in Rodney Bay St Lucia, has now become the most popular way to cross the Atlantic. The largest transocean sailing event in the world, the ARC brings together over 200 yachts from many different nationalities. Oyster yachts have been the most prolific participants since the ARC began over twenty years ago.

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ARC REPORT

ARC 2006 Oyster yachts achieved top four positions in no less than four classes in the 2006 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers. Congratulations are due to the owners and crews of Kealoha 8, David Holliday, Nutcracker, Simon Timm, Boysterous, Colin Hall and Sakida, Simon Daymond-Harris. In the Invitation Division no less than three Oysters filled the top five places. The winner of the Oyster trophy for the 1st Oyster on ARC handicap was Simon Timms’ Oyster 53 Nutcracker.

ARC 2007 Looking ahead to the 2007 event, which starts on 25 November, a substantial fleet of Oysters has already entered, including two of the new Oyster 655’s and two 72’s. The smallest Oyster being Paul McCarthy’s Oyster Mariner 35, Jigsaw, and the largest, Bill Mapstone's 82 Tilly Mint. As usual, Oyster’s pre ARC service team will be in Las Palmas before the start to thoroughly check over every boat in the Oyster fleet, regardless of age or model and a party for Oyster owners and crews will be held at the Santa Catalina Hotel on Thursday 22 November.

Crew of Oyster 53, Nutcracker, winner of the Oyster trophy

More details about the ARC can be found at www.worldcruising.com

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ARC 2006 by Rachel Miller, Oyster 55 Om Shanti

Those in the small club of 20,000 or so people who have sailed across the Atlantic with the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) will be familiar with the feelings of exhilaration and achievement. Those who have had the privilege of owning or sailing on an Oyster will understand the elegance and robustness of these boats. So, to combine the two and sail the ARC on an Oyster is undoubtedly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Om Shanti is an Oyster 55 built in Norfolk in 1992 by Landamores, the renowned Oyster builders. Originally known as Chinatown, she completed a circumnavigation under her previous owners as well as many other extensive passages and charters in the Caribbean. In July 2006, she was purchased by David Cooke and John Pearce to continue the adventure sailing, teaching and charter programme, established over the past five years by John, on his Bavaria 49. On purchase, she was brought from Lymington to Gosport to undergo a major refit. It was in the midst of this refit that I first came across Om Shanti. A throwaway comment in an unrelated conversation with David Cooke established that I was looking to do some open water sailing and co-incidentally he just happened to have a recently cancelled space in the crew for the ARC 2006. The offer was too good to be true so I headed down to Gosport to have a look at the boat and meet David and the skipper. I went home full of tales

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of wonder at the elegance and splendour of an Oyster, never before had I sailed on a boat with such advanced equipment and sense of grandeur. I started counting the days until my flight to Las Palmas.

LAS PALMAS Every year, at the beginning of November the pontoons that make up the marina in Las Palmas gradually come to life with the arrival of the ARC boats. Towards the middle of the month more and more of the 240 or so boats arrive by day and by night, building the festive atmosphere to the crescendo that is the start line. Multicoloured bunting flaps in the breeze, previous years’ ARC flags fly alongside those of sponsors and countries. Friends from marinas all over the world greet each other with excitement and the pontoons bustle with trolley-loads of food, whole branches of bananas (which as the experienced will know, will all ripen on the same day and go off after a week!) and the odd bottle of whiskey. The hive of activity on Pontoon 18, where Om Shanti was berthed, was electric, the sense of comradeship amongst neighbouring crews strong but also jovial. The ARC is renowned for it’s pre-start parties. As the crew of seven arrived, they found the skipper and mate immersed in repairs, often starting early in the morning and only breaking for an hour or two to head to one of these gatherings.

TOP LEFT: Om Shanti leaving Las Palmas


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ARC REPORT

Nevertheless, by Saturday everything was ready, a feat which would not have been achievable without the help of many technicians, friends and experts. Most notably, there was much appreciation for the unbelievable support from the Oyster team led by Eddie Scougall with Ed and Stuart who spent time on every aspect of the boat, missed nothing and gave invaluable practical advice and tips.

LEAVING LAS PALMAS

Those who have had the privilege of owning or sailing on an Oyster will understand the elegance and robustness of these boats. So, to combine the two and sail the ARC on an Oyster is undoubtedly a once-ina-lifetime experience.

It’s hard to describe the emotion that is the start of the ARC. After days of shopping, cleaning, tidying, unpacking and repacking lockers (and just a little partying) the crew were ready to go, eager to get underway and start their adventure out on the ocean. So it was with a certain amount of relief that the morning of the start dawned, the water tank filled for the last time and the dingy lashed. At noon Om Shanti waved goodbye to Pontoon 18 and the Oyster team, slipped her mooring lines and headed out to join the throng of 240 yachts jostling to get out of the narrow harbour entrance. With crews dressed in everything from smart uniforms to kilts (or in our case formal ‘fluorescent’ evening wear), bands playing in the background and hundreds of people lining the harbour walls, the spectacle of all the boats leaving will provide an everlasting memory. The start line was timed to perfection and we crossed it just as the gun went off, seemingly within the first 10 or so boats, a feat achieved by great tactics from our skipper. With a following wind of 10-12 knots and sailing with a genoa both poled out we settled at an average of 7.5 knots and prepared to spend our first 24 hours at sea.

THE CROSSING The first night was a bit like trying to cross the M4 on a bicycle during rush hour, with a vast number of tankers and more sailing boats than are normally found in the vicinity, due to the trade winds appearing further north than usual. This presented a real challenge for the relatively inexperienced crew who were still finding their feet, some having never actually placed those feet on a boat until two days before. As the watch leaders assumed responsibility at the start of each two-hour night watch, close calls were recounted and warnings of lights and traffic on the horizon passed on. Nothing could diminish, however, from the

spectacular dolphin show on the bow earlier or the moonrise and shooting stars that greeted us as dark fell. Settling in to the routine on this long passage happened remarkably quickly. By the end of the first 24 hours, the watch system of four pairs was up and running as was the daily routine of cooking and cleaning. As with sailing skills, adeptness on the domestic side ranged from ‘goddess’ to some who’ve not cooked for many years, to one who hadn’t even made a cup of tea in 20 years! As time went by, however, each person found a niche within the group that contributed to the smooth running of the boat, be it as rubbish man, fisherman, handyman, tea-maker, or general joke teller and spirit lifter, all equally as important as the other. Rare is it that a crew gels so quickly, remarked the skipper, a true sign of good times ahead. The plan was to go as Columbus did to head south to about 20 degrees north, 20 degrees west, watch, wait for the butter to melt, the traditional signal to turn and gently ease passage to St Lucia at 14 degrees north. By day four, this tactic proved worthwhile, as the majority of the fleet had headed further south and were becalmed, going at best two knots, whilst we merrily skipped along at six. To compound our smugness, this speed and our recent purchases of new ‘barbie’ fishing hooks in Las Palmas culminated in the first catch of the voyage, a beautiful green and gold Dorado which was expertly hooked and gaffed onto the aft deck before being doused in gin to kill it. This provided the first of many delicious seafood suppers - it’s a truly unique experience to catch, fillet and cook a fish in less than an hour and the result is a wonderfully succulent and satisfying dish, not least because it makes a change from pasta and unidentifiable sauce. As the days continued, life on board was idyllic, little did we encounter other than calm seas and fair winds with the occasional dolphin pod playing in the bow surf to sightings of whales abaft the beam. By day we took time out to relax, to catch up on reading or sleeping, by night we watched the stars, laughed together and took the occasional hit from a flying fish landing in the cockpit. As is common with Atlantic sailing, events turned very quickly - on day six the sea rose from an unremarkable two metre swell to over four, the wind picked up to 20-25 knots and the ocean began to >

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ARC 2006 on Oyster 55 Om Shanti continued

show a different face, something that would prove to test the strength and endurance of a number of the ARC fleet over the coming days. On our boat, however, the rig was working well, the genoa poled out to starboard and the goose winged staysail out to port, providing a maximised boat speed without the complexity of coloured sails whilst also enhancing safety by enabling furling of sails without de-rigging the spinnaker and jockey poles. Om Shanti rose to the challenge of the change in weather, surfing down the waves at 12 knots, but all the while maintaining stability, reassuring the skipper and crew that she was built for this type of adventure. Our first of three Mayday calls came in the following morning. Mustang, a fellow ARC boat in the racing division, was dismasted at dusk the night before and was in a precarious position - the mast was still attached by a stay and was in danger of making a hole in her hull which would render her severely damaged and the crew in an emergency situation. We picked up the call at 10am from Cowes and immediately set about assessing how we could help, specifically with fuel, water and an angle grinder to cut the remaining stay away. We changed course some 15 degrees to sail towards the stricken vessel, sailing to conserve our own fuel and at a speed that would see no increase with the use of the engine. An SSB and Pan Pan were sent, eliciting only one response, however, a call out on the ARC net found a number of boats able to assist more quickly. Blue Tiger, a boat closer to the scene went to Mustang’s aid and Om Shanti’s role as rescue co-ordinator was over. By now, we were not without our own problems. A chance prank involving some kidnapped custard creams and a ransom note for a packet of midget gems led to the skipper being on the foredeck to retrieve his goods where he noticed a serious problem with the spinnaker pole track. It had started to come away from the front of the mast and with two sheared bolts it could have been a disaster, both damaging the boat and severely hampering our sailing going forward. The decision was taken to re-rig the boat, using the main boom to pole out the genoa and rig a preventer. The crew set about their task, continuing into dusk. The day proved tiring, but no less a very real reminder that we were a little boat at the mercy of this big ocean and only by working as a team could we all reach the Caribbean safely.

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As the wind gathered pace to gusts of up to 45 knots and the sea continued to rise to a swell of five metres, so too did the frequency and intensity of squalls. Not only did this make for rather uncomfortable sleeping, given the pitching and rolling, it also dislodged much of our careful packing, resulting in chaos down below with the explosion of food and clothing everywhere. In the midst of sorting the mess out, we got involved in our second rescue support, this time a fellow ARC boat had lost steering in the bad weather - all evidence pointed to a loss of rudder. We immediately furled the sails and stayed in close radio contact, offering what advice and moral support we could. Even under bare poles we were travelling at four to six knots and in the wrong direction. As we were preparing to evacuate them from their boat, however, they took the decision to steer by sail and after many assurances we continued on our way. We later heard that after a gruelling 24 hours of attempts they finally made the painful decision to abandon their boat mid-Atlantic and were subsequently rescued. As our journey continued so too did the highs and lows of the crew. As with similar situations where there is limited entertainment, we made our own with sea shanties, charades, joke telling and shaggy dog stories filling the time between more thought out pranks and the serious business of fishing. Even the loss of all my clothes over the side, in an overoptimistic attempt to do some washing, did nothing to dampen my spirits. On the flip side, severe dehydration crept up on two members and we spent a dicey 24 hours caring for them, ensuring their water intake was sufficient to get them quickly back to health and on their feet. The astronomical tonnage on the rig meant that on several occasions we found load and chafe related problems, the most severe when we decided to re-rig the main boom preventer and headsail sheets and found a 12mm shackle cracked right through the shank. All these events, however, did nothing to stem the enthusiasm and teamwork of the crew who pulled together to support one another both in times of physical and mental strain. Above all, these events made us realise what close bonds we had formed, how we were sharing a unique experience and were forming memories to last long into our years. Our third mayday assistance reinforced this and the fragility of life at sea even more.

I thought I knew what to expect but I was overawed by the fun we had, the side splitting laughter, sharing the tears, tension and sometimes the danger. As one crewmember put it on arrival - a previously unfulfilled desire, now an everlasting memory.


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Late one afternoon we received a VHF Mayday call from another ARC boat. They relayed that one of the two crewmembers on a nearby non-ARC boat had been lost over the side. Now single handed, the remaining person was only able to transmit limited information about his position as he was preoccupied with de-rigging the boat to start a search pattern for his friend. We later found out that the man overboard was a 30 year old male wearing only a pair of swimming trunks.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Approaching the finish line A fine Marlin catch! Om Shanti nears the finish line

Neither yachts had SSB radio so it fell to us to affect a mayday relay to all yachts and act as coordinator of the rescue. The effect of this relay was magnificent from the ARC fleet and was testament to the level-headedness and skill of our own radio operator. After a short time MRCC Germany were successfully contacted and they, in turn, contacted MRCC Fort du France in Martinique who took over the general coordination and sent a rescue vessel whose ETA was 10 hours. In the mean time we arranged for four other yachts that were closer than us, to rendezvous with the distressed vessel and start a search pattern. We could only imagine the distress the remaining crewmember on that boat was feeling. It certainly affected the crew of Om Shanti and with night falling, even with the immense help that was motivated we felt there was little chance of a safe rescue particularly since the man overboard was not wearing any survival gear. We continued a

listening watch for some hours whilst the vessels were working their skill and magic, and magic it was because the man was found alive. After these eventful days a severe drop in the wind resulted in the crew voting to turn on the engine for the first time, forfeiting our potential place in our class but ensuring we got home in time for Christmas - the rest of our voyage passed safely and without incident. We regarded our imminent arrival in St Lucia with emotions varying from elation to the desire to sail right past the island and keep on going. Whilst the experience was the same for all the crew, for each of us it had been a different journey. For some, the mental challenge of day after day at sea without the sight of land or other people far surpassed the physical endurance. For others, having three weeks immersed in such a different life from their daily routine provided the break they had desperately sought. For me, I went to spend time with the sky and the sea, to reconnect with life and catch up on a bit of ‘me-time’ through the wonder and power of being on a boat alone in nature. I thought I knew what to expect but I was overawed by the fun we had, the side splitting laughter, sharing the tears, tension and sometimes the danger. As one crewmember put it on arrival "a previously unfulfilled desire, now an everlasting memory".

Crossing the finish line Relaxing on our beach!

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ARC 2006 - It all started at a wake! by Elaine Taylor, Commodore, Ballyholme Yacht Club, on board the Oyster 72 Kealoha 8

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It’s normally the Irish who have great wakes, but this time it was Les Holliday’s wake where we re-kindled old sailing friendships. My husband is a long time sailing friend of the Holliday family and we flew to England for Les’s funeral. Late into the afternoon and after a few ‘jars’, Les’ son, David, invited us to crew on his new Oyster 72 Kealoha 8 (K8) for the ARC 2006. It didn’t take us long to accept the invitation and so began the voyage of a lifetime. David Holliday decided to bring together the old Kealoha crew of the 70’s and, unfortunately, they are all called David, my husband is David Taylor (DT) and then there is David Cobden (Cobby). The last time these guys sailed together was over 30 years ago - the sailing talent remains the same but the bodies don’t resemble the slim, fit, young men of the 70’s! To complete the crew, David enlisted his nephew Chas Holliday, Sigma 38 sailor Neil Aitchison and brother-in-law Alan Marshall. ARC 2006 was not David and DT’s first - they had completed the ARC ten years previously on Kealoha 5, a Moody 42. Along with David’s father, Les Holliday, they completed the course in good time finishing 7th in class. David stated what our aim for the 2006 ARC was – top 10 finish, top 15 on handicap and top 2 in Oyster fleet; and to all finish as friends. All realistic and competitive goals, which suited my husband and I. In September David invited me for a short delivery trip from Sardinia to Cannes where Kealoha 8 was to feature in the Cannes Boat Show. It was a great chance to sail the boat, meet Chas and get to know David better. Having grown up in dinghies at Ballyholme Yacht Club and raced keelboats in Belfast Lough, the largest ‘yacht’ being a J130, I was over-awed with his Oyster 72. I was struck by the sheer height of the mast lit up in the marina, not to mention the simple fact that it was a long walk from bow to stern, the electric winches, flat screen TVs and a dishwasher - such luxury! I really enjoyed the short delivery from Sardinia to Cannes - the boat trucked along nicely, doing 10 knots boat speed in 15 knots apparent wind. During the trip we managed to hoist the pink asymmetric spinnaker in light winds and that’s when it struck home just how big everything is – hoisting a spinnaker 100 feet up a mast is hard work between four of you. Sailing the boat was delightful

and with all the modern gizmos to make life easier, I was in my element and eagerly looking forward to the 2006 ARC. The build up to the ARC in Las Palmas was wonderful – just being a part of the sailing fraternity who were all thrown together in the harbour was great. Attending lectures on provisioning and sextant use were fascinating plus it also gave you a chance to meet and chat with fellow sailors. The boat was continually being checked and prepared for the ARC the Oyster team were great and we got to know them quite well. A dedicated bunch that worked long hours, missed dinner reservations and always came on board with a smile on their faces. The provisioning was a major part of the build up to the ARC. We managed to get away with only three trips to El Corte Ingles – a trolley each was our limit. Once the food was delivered it was washed, labels removed and tins marked and stowed for the trip. The only hiccup in the food delivery was that we received over 100 tomatoes too many and no onions, whereas the Oyster 82, Tilly Mint received 100 onions and no tomatoes. On start day, the boat was stowed and tidied and we left the harbour to the sounds of brass bands playing. The harbour was filled with onlookers and all the boats got a great farewell from the locals. The start line was created from a cruise ship at one end, with a large wind shadow, and a buoy at the other end that we never quite found! We had decided on a conservative, mid line start, so didn’t hoist our pink asymmetric spinnaker until we had cleared our air and there was less congestion. It was a wonderful and memorable sight seeing over 200 boats setting off together. After a few hours the fleet had spread out and by the time we came to the south end of the island the fleet was choosing which route to take - steer clear of the lee of the island or take the direct route. They always say that the ARC route is to sail south until the butter melts and then head west.

The Oyster team were great and we got to know them quite well. A dedicated bunch that worked long hours, missed dinner reservations and always came on board with a smile on their faces.

Our first sunset lived up to expectations and with the wind blowing 12-18 knots from the northeast we trucked along nicely. As the wind freed, we changed to the big turquoise spinnaker. This was the first time many of us had seen the big yin and at 4000 sq feet, it was twice the size of our house! We started our watch system at 2000 hours. >

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ARC 2006 - It all started at a wake! continued

During that first evening there was no moon and it was surprisingly black. We followed a stern light and had a light to windward, but after that first night we did not see another boat until the approaches to St Lucia.

David and Cobby both loved to helm the boat and since she handled so beautifully, just like a 40 footer, they were always fighting to get back onto the wheel when the 30 minutes were up. They had it timed down to the nearest second!

Day two of the ARC saw us broad reaching with surfing boat speeds up to 11 knots. The wheel was heaving in the following sea and the helms were steering on instruments, which was new to me – having always used land as bearings previously. We spotted a lonesome petrel but no dolphins or flying fish.

We had plenty of drama on day three the wind had dropped and we were about to hoist the turquoise spinnaker when we found a ‘T’ shaped tear near the foot of the sail. We did a rapid and remarkable repair with spray glue, the Daily Mail, Homepride flour and matching sailcloth. We hoisted the sail and all stood back to admire our handiwork - pretty effective. Just when it was starting to get dark and the off watch crew were having bangers and mash, there was a loud bang. The snuffer shackle had opened and down came the spinnaker, leaving the snuffer up the mast. Keoloha’s skipper, Jarrod, quickly turned the boat head to wind and all hands gathered the spinnaker - actually it was just a case of lying about the foredeck with crispy turquoise sail cloth all around. We found another tear, did another quick repair and since we had no snuffer we ingeniously ‘tied’ the sail with masking tape. The sail was re-hoisted with a lot of grunting of crew power helped along with great dead downwind steering from Cobby.

We tended to drop the spinnaker when the winds were gusting over 25 but inevitably there were times when we were roaring along in 30 knots of breeze with the boat stable and everyone enjoying themselves. That was when it was really hard work snuffing the kite. In general it took us 20 minutes to snuff the kite and inevitably this was nearly always done in the dark. With the spinnaker down we goose-winged the genoa and in 20+ knots wind speed were still averaging 10+ knots boat speed. We tended to use the autopilot whilst white sailing and this gave the watches additional rest since only two bodies were needed on watch, whilst with a spinnaker up to four were always needed. I was on watch with my husband DT, David and Cobby. David and Cobby were great helms and DT and I trimmed the spinnaker. During a four-hour watch we ‘spelled’ each other every 30 minutes - the drivers found the wheel very physical at times and trimmers were getting cricks in their neck. I tried many different positions, trimming from windward, leeward, lying down etc.

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With all the up-to-date navigation instruments on board it was a delight to track approaching squalls on the radar, plot the competitors’ progress and see Africa on the chart plotter. The squalls came at dawn and dusk, just when you were least expecting them. We had some real beauties track down either side of us on the radar and just miss us. Some squalls caught us out - three days from St Lucia,


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we had two broaches on whites. During those broaches we lost a diesel can and Cobby lost his washing overboard! On the other hand there was the DVDs - what’s better than watching ‘Pirates of the Caribbean II’ in 25 knots of wind with popcorn served during the interval! Every few days we put the clocks back one hour and both watches did an extra half hour during the ‘dog watch’. This was one of the most social times of the day with all the crew up and about. During that time we would start off with afternoon tea where we managed to demolish David’s Mum, Joan’s fruitcakes; then have Happy Hour at 1800 hours. Happy Hours consisted of presentations by David to crewmembers for different achievements. Cards were presented to crews for either the worst matching t-shirt and shorts, or outstanding crew work! Alan’s birthday took place during the trip and we managed to produce party balloons, face masks and of course a birthday cake! We even broke out the champagne at the halfway point in true Oyster fashion and celebrated with bow ties and silly hats. Towards the end of our passage, Alan composed a great Calypso song - "We’re On Our Way to Rodney Bay". We typed up song sheets and all tunelessly sang along accompanied by maracas made from plastic bottles filled with pasta and rice. Life on board was obviously very comfortable and the crew all got along well. The two watches were competing with each other to see who could get the most mileage in during their four-hour watch, so this kept the boat at optimum speed. The turquoise spinnaker repairs were starting to show fatigue, so we changed to the pink asymmetric and still maintained great boat speed. We poled her out and she acted just like the symmetrical spinnaker - and she was pink and pretty! She loved running deep and in 25 knots wind speed we were getting 12 knots boat speed - champagne sailing. Two days from St Lucia we spotted the QE2’s distinctive funnels on our port beam. David called her up on the radio and had a chat with an Officer. She was en route to Madeira and we told them to look out for another 250 boats that would be racing across the Atlantic. He thanked us for the information said he would inform his passengers of the fleet’s progress.

As we approached St Lucia we found we were well into our routines with bonus bouts of sleep when the white sails were flying. Appetites were diminishing in the heat and we were taking plenty of fluids. Despite the diminished appetites we still all really enjoyed the sirloin steak dinner before landfall. It was on the approach to St Lucia that we saw Dark & Steamy scoot past us with her spinnaker flying. We spoke on the radio and discovered they were on their last spinnaker, had gone through three sets of sheets and guys and had to re-tie and use them. She was a DK46 and no wonder they hit top speeds of 22 knots! She finished an hour in front of us. The last few hours before landfall we changed watches to give the helms plenty of sleep and keep them fresh for the last big push. When the wind went down below 25 knots, up went pinkie and we started putting in more gybes. Had a great cooked breakfast and all the crew put on their nice fresh crew gear for arrival. We dropped the spinnaker and hardened up for the finish line. As we rounded Pigeon Island into Rodney Bay we saw David and Alan’s wives, Diana and Judy waving and cheering us on from the fort. We finished at 1700 hours on Saturday 9 December after 13 days at sea, tied up with a great rum punch welcome from the St Lucia tourist board and the ARC organisers. We were 11th boat across the finish line, 2nd in class and won the Cable and Wireless Trophy for Line Honours in Invitation Class 7.

She loved running deep and in 25 knots wind speed we were getting 12 knots boat speed champagne sailing.

A big thank you to David Holliday and all the crew of Kealoha 8 for such a great experience. We enjoyed it so much that we returned for Antigua Sailing Week and will be joining the Oyster Regatta in Valencia! STATISTICS • 2940 Nautical Miles travelled • Journey time: 13 days, 8 hours, 2 minutes • Averaged 222.7 nm per day • Average speed: 9.2 knots Footnote I’d like to dedicate this article to my Mum, Barbara Firth who passed away in January 2007. Despite battling with cancer for 18 months, she had no hesitation in urging me to head off for a month to do the ARC. She reflected the true spirit of sailing and my love for the sport.

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The 40th Antigua Sailing Week

Celebrating its 40th anniversary, Stanford Antigua Sailing Week is one of the most popular regattas in the Caribbean. This year 135 private yachts joined about 65 charter bareboats to create a fleet of just over 200 participants. The fleet was split into two divisions, Division A for the more serious racers with about 65 yachts, including high profile racers like the Volvo Race winner ABN Amro One, and Division B for the racing cruiser, fun sailors and bareboats. Sailing Week is a 5-race day event with a lay day in the middle. The Division A fleet sail two races a day for two days and have longer, more ambitious courses, while the Division B fleet usually finish in time for lunch - altogether more civilised, and slanted towards having fun on and off the water. The week also marks the virtual end of the Caribbean season, since by mid May many yachts have left for the US East Coast or Mediterranean. The tourist trade around the twin ports of English and Falmouth Harbours slows down with two thirds or more of the bars, restaurants and suchlike putting up the hurricane shutters and closing until mid November.

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THE 40TH ANTIGUA SAILING WEEK

This year’s Sailing Week saw a respectable turnout of Oysters with seven taking part. David Holiday’s 72 Kealoha 8, Richard Matthews’ sailing the vintage Holman & Pye Oyster 70 Ravenous, Philip Goymour’s 56 Pearl Fisher, Bob Jones’ Lightwave 395 Amandla Kulu and three Oyster 53’s - Anni and Jan Matthews Fizz, Colin Hall’s Boysterous and Simon Timms’ Nutcracker, most of whom had also supported the Oyster Regatta ten days earlier. Racing takes place under the Caribbean Sailing Association or CSA handicap system, a measurement rule of sorts evolved in the Caribbean. The CSA includes arbitory factors for hull, rig, keel, rudder, accommodation etc and different measurers appear to have different views on where the end of the tape should be held and which factors should apply. For example the three almost identical Oyster 53’s had a CSA rating spread of 1 minute 37 seconds per hour, putting two of the 53’s in one class and the third in another! Rating rules aside, Antigua Sailing Week provided champagne sailing as usual in 15-20 knot trade winds, sunshine and blue water. With most participants the emphasis is on fun rather than serious racing which is one reason why the event is so popular. Five days of coastal racing finishing in time for lunch with a lay day in the middle provides an ideal balance for most crews. Over the years Oyster yachts have made their mark with class wins for the Oyster 55, 56, 62 and 72. This year there were no cigars although ten year old Ravenous did manage one 2nd and one 3rd in her class. With the America’s Cup in Valencia, most of the larger, high profile racing yachts were absent this year but in some ways this made for an even friendlier week enjoyed by all. More information on Stanford Antigua Sailing Week can be found at www.sailingweek.com

ABOVE: Philip Goymour’s Oyster 56, Pearl Fisher, leading the fleet

BELOW FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: David Holliday’s, Oyster 72, Kealoha 8 Simon Timm’s Oyster 53, Nutcracker Oyster 72, Ravenous

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HANNAH STODEL UPDATE

After a gruelling 13 races, the top three teams were separated by a single point, with Riposte taking the win, USA’s Rick Doerr taking second on countback and Chimera third. So much was learnt from that one race and although we had missed out on the Gold, the objectives for this training regatta were achieved and surpassed.

Hannah Stodel Team Oyster Update

The lead-up to our World Championships this summer could not have started any better with six weeks of midwinter training and racing in Florida, taking advantage of the elevated temperatures, great breeze and good competition. With such an important year ahead of us, with the selections for the Paralympic Games, we decided to take our training boat Riposte, with an experienced able-bodied tune up crew Dan Parsons, Guy Draper and Tom Pygall. Having the tune-up boat meant that we could ensure quality, time-effective training for the entire six weeks. With some time before the start of the regatta, we hit the water to make the most of the perfect conditions that Biscayne Bay had to offer. Straight away the benefits of having the second boat there were showing, allowing us to test our rig and get quickly up to speed. The Miami Olympic Classes Regatta was the first racing scheduled. With a flying start to the regatta, both boats pushed hard from day one consistently adding great results to the scoreboard. Towards the end of the week it was clear that the event was going to be tight, with us and our tune-up team tussling for first and second places. Coming into the last day after 11 races, we were on 31 points, ahead of Riposte on 38 points, with a clear gap of 13 points to third place, Ricky Doerr of the USA. Shifty conditions in the first race of the day saw Ricky take line honours with Riposte fourth place and us in ninth, compressing the points difference and piling on the pressure. Pushing a little too hard at the start, we were over the line and forced to go back, changing the race objective - sail Riposte down. We battled hard on the water, succeeding in knocking Riposte down the fleet, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough.

As the next two regattas were 3-Sail (with the addition of a spinnaker and an extra person), both boats had to be re-rigged. Straight onto the water again with four days before the next event allowed both crews to get back into the routine of using a spinnaker. With some short-course, boat-on-boat training, both teams quickly got to grips with the added dimension in time for the start of the Key Biscayne Midwinters. Sadly light and fluky winds were to plague the whole regatta with the locals coming out on top and Team Oyster suffering in the unpredictable conditions. The third and final event was the St Petersburg NOOD regatta, some 260 miles from Key Biscayne and with it a logistical nightmare. With only a day between events, seven people, two boats, a rib and everything that goes with them it was going to be tight but our kit arrived on time with thanks to Gene Hinkle the class measurer who made two gruelling trips towing boats from Miami over night. St Pete’s once again provided some truly spectacular conditions allowing us to dominate from start to finish with our tune up crew finishing second. This was a fantastic end to our tour of the States. Our event progress, including day-by-day accounts of our time away can be read on our website, www.teamoyster.co.uk. New for 2007, the website gives us the ability to keep everyone at home up-to-date with our movements and race results. Now we are back in the UK and making preparations for our next event in Hyeres, France at the Olympic Classes’ Regatta. This is the first time the Sonar has been represented here and is a huge step for the class. All in all it’s been a hugely successful start to the year with some valuable lessons learnt in time for our defence of the World Title again in September. We are well under way with our preparations but none of this could have been possible without the support of Richard and everyone at Oyster, including the Oyster owners. So once again thanks for helping us towards our goal of representing the Great Britain in Beijing at the 2008 Paralympic Games. Happy Sailing

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Proud to have built the sails for the new Oyster 655

Oyster 655 Blue Destiny

THE CHOICE OF OYSTER MARINE OYSTER REGATTAS 2004/06 COWES 2004

PALMA 2004

ARC 2004

ANTIGUA 2005

CADIZ 2005

BVI 2006

COWES 2006

PALMA 2006

CLASS 1 1ST SCARLET OYSTER

CLASS 1 1ST ROULETTE

CLASS 1 CRUISING 1ST VOODOO

CLASS 1 1ST CARPE DIEM

CLASS 1 1ST ROCK OYSTER

CLASS 2 1ST TUSITALA 2ND FIZZ

CLASS 2 1ST FIZZ

CLASS 2 1ST FIREFLY

CLASS 1 2ND GREAT BEAR 3RD SABA

CLASS 1 1ST LUSKENTYRE

(PART INVENTORY)

YACHTING WORLD TROPHY 1ST LUSKENTYRE

CLASS 2 1ST SABA 2ND FIZZ

OVERALL REGATTA 1ST ROULETTE

OVERALL REGATTA 1ST FIZZ

CLASS 2 1ST JUBILATE

CLASS 2 1ST BLUE BEAT

Oyster 72 Luskentyre

400 Main Road • Harwich • Essex • CO12 4DN • Tel: +44 (0)1255 243366 • Fax: +44 (0)1255 240920 • sails@dolphin-sails.com • www.dolphinsails.com


Oyster News 62

5/6/07

12:34 PM

Page 77


Oyster News 62

5/6/07

12:34 PM

Page 78

Just Launched A selection of recent Oyster launchings

OYSTER 46 SKAT

OYSTER 49 WANDERER

Sir Nigel and Lady Annette Southward took delivery of their Oyster 46, Skat, in March after her appearance at the London Boat Show. Skat is their second Oyster, having previously owned an Oyster Heritage 37, also called Skat, which they took delivery of 22 years ago in 1985! The 175 mile delivery trip of the new Skat from Ipswich to their home port on the Beaulieu River took just 24 hours. Cruising plans for this summer include a six-week cruise to Southern Ireland. Sir Nigel is Vice Commodore of the Royal Yacht Squadron.

Wanderer was handed over to Clive and Anne Stephen in April, and with their young daughter Rebecca, already a keen sailor, they delivered her to London where she was part of Oyster’s nine boat fleet at the Private View in St Katharine’s Dock. Wanderer will be staying in Gosport for her first year, before the Stephen family head off to the Mediterranean to take part in Rally Portugal in 2008.

OYSTER 46 MARELA Martin and Pam Smout’s Oyster 46, Marela, featured in Oyster’s Private View and is now based at Port Solent, on the south coast. The Smout’s plan to use Marela for weekend cruising to France and the Channel Islands before time allows them to venture further afield.

OYSTER 56 GUDRUN JONSDOTTIR Joint owners Jon Palmason and Agust Arnbjörnsson are Oyster’s first Icelandic based owners, although Gudrun Jonsdottir will initially be based in Sardinia for family holidays. The boat is named after Jon’s daughter and the name sounds delightful when said in Icelandic - although here at Oyster we are still practicing the pronunciation! Their shakedown cruise included a stopover in Ramsgate before heading on to Gibraltar for a ‘boys only’ trip.

OYSTER 53 SILVER WANT Oyster Project Manager, Paul Griffiths, entertained new owners Bill and Imogine Bampton and three of their friends with some exhilarating March sailing on the River Orwell during the handover sail on their new Oyster 53, Silver Want, which included setting the 'chute in almost 30 knots of breeze! Silver Want is now on her way to Valencia, where we look forward to seeing her at Oyster’s regatta, she will then be heading for Corfu for the summer.

The Oyster 62 Liberté of Waterford is Nicky and Maria Fewer’s second Oyster, replacing their Oyster 53, and is the first of the Oyster 62’s to feature the new g5 deck styling. Severe gales in the English Channel delayed their planned departure from Ipswich, but Liberté is now on her way to Jersey from where she will head for Valencia and the Oyster regatta.

OYSTER 56 MARIELA

OYSTER 655 ACHERON

Brothers, Rolf and Joachim Riel, took delivery of Mariela in February and sailed to Hamburg en route to the Baltic for their family’s summer cruising. Mariela is the first of the Oyster 56’s with the new g5 Deck Saloon and is beautifully fitted out in Cherry. She will eventually be based in the Mediterranean, where the Riel family have cruised for many years.

Acheron, the second of the new Oyster 655’s to be launched, is fitted out with a stunning Cherry interior. She will spend the summer based out of Ocean Village in Southampton before taking part in the 2007 Fastnet Race in August. 2008 will see her head to Puerto Banus in Spain, before joining the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers.

OYSTER 62 LIBERTÉ OF WATERFORD

OYSTER 46 THALES Project Manager Matthew Morgan travelled to America to join US based colleague, Will White, for the handover of the Oyster 46, Thales, to new owner Doug Renfield Miller. Thales will remain berthed at Goat Island Marina, Newport and Doug intends to get to know his new boat with some extended family cruising around the east coast this summer.

78 www.oystermarine.com


Oyster News 62

5/6/07

12:35 PM

Page 79

OYSTER 655 BLUE DESTINY

OYSTER LD43 THANKFUL

Blue Destiny was the first Oyster 655 to be launched and was on display at the London boat show in January, where she attracted a lot of attention from both the press and visitors. Blue Destiny is owner Richard Morgan’s second Oyster, and follows his Oyster 56 of the same name. Blue Destiny is now on her way to Valencia for the America’s Cup and the Oyster regatta. She will be based in the Mediterranean and is available for charter (see www.oysteryachtcharter.com).

Oyster’s Nigel Leamon from the UK and Bob Marston from Oyster’s USA office joined Annapolis based owner Steve Brumit for handover of his new LD43. Thankful will stay on the east coast before heading off to the Bahamas for the summer, followed by a winter season in Tennessee. Steve also owns a J102 race boat.

The whole ‘Oyster experience’ has been a great pleasure - from the start of negotiations, through the building stage to the delivery Sir Nigel Southward, Oyster 46, Skat

OYSTER 72 COOKIELICIOUS The Oyster 72, Cookielicious features a very modern and stylish custom-designed interior fitted out in Maple with leather upholstery and includes a very unusual saloon table that converts from a dining table for 12 to a low-level coffee table. With her customised spars and external paintwork she is sure to attract admiring looks wherever she sails. Cookielicious is available for charter (see www.oysteryachtcharter.com).

ABOVE FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: The second of the Oyster 655’s Acheron Sir Nigel and Lady Southward, Oyster 46, Skat Doug Renfield Miller, Oyster 46, Thales Martin and Pam Smout, Oyster 46, Marela Nicky and Maria Fewer, Oyster 62, Liberté of Waterford Jon Palmason and Agust Arnbjörnsson, Oyster 56, Gudrun Jonsdottir The Stephen family, Oyster 49, Wanderer Richard Morgan, Oyster 655, Blue Destiny Brumit family, Oyster LD43, Thankful RIGHT: Ralph and Joachim Riel, Oyster 56, Mariela

www.oystermarine.com 79


Oyster News 62

5/6/07

12:35 PM

Page 80

t h e w o r l d ’s y o u r o y s t e r

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s

s

s

s

s

s

s

s

s

s

s

s

46

49

525

53

56

62

655

68

72

82

100

125

LD43

OYSTER DOUBLE

QU E E N ’ S AWA R D YAC H T

Oyster Marine Ltd Fox’s Marina Ipswich Suffolk IP2 8SA England T: +44 (0)1473 688888 F: +44 (0)1473 686861 E: yachts@oystermarine.com

®

BUILDERS

Oyster Marine USA Newport Shipyard One Washington Street Newport RI 02840 USA T: +401 846 7400 F: +401 846 7483 E: info@oysteryachts.com

www.oystermarine.com

Oyster Summer 2007 // Issue62  
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