NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF OYSTER • DOUBLE QUEEN'S AWARD YACHT BUILDERS
OYSTER - PROUD SPONSORS OF THE BRITISH PARALYMPIC SONAR TEAM OYSTERS IN COWES • THE NEW OYSTER 575 • RACE REPORTS
ISSUE 66 AUTUMN 2008
Contents Issue 66
FROM THE CHAIRMAN Richard Matthews
EDITOR Liz Whitman
THE 2008 FIFE REGATTA Richard Matthews
CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Roger Vaughan
OYSTER COWES REGATTA 2008
THE NEW OYSTER 575
PHILIPPINES – OUR GATE TO SOUTH ASIA Yolanda Danoith
PRODUCTION EDITOR Rebecca Twiss
RACE ROUNDUP LATEST
SOUTH, SOUTH, SOUTH Mariacristina Rapisardi
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: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org FRONT COVER PICTURE: The Oyster 72, Luskentyre during Oyster’s BVI Regatta 2006 BACK COVER PICTURE: The new Oyster 62, UHURU, during Oyster’s Cowes Regatta 2008 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.
ONE AMAZING DAY Nick O’Donnell
BERMUDA OYSTER WINS Barry Pickthall
Welcome Welcome to the 66th edition of Oyster News, which we hope you enjoy. As usual many thanks to the owners whose contributions appear in this issue and to those of you who are considering writing something for a future edition. While I was in Scotland for the Fife Regatta I telephoned Owen Parker, who had been struggling with cancer, and invited him to the Oyster Regatta prize giving in Cowes. Sadly, just three weeks later, Owen passed away and missed our event in Cowes by a few days. Owen was an outstanding ambassador for the sport of yachting and for the marine industry, having represented Lewmar since the 1960's. Not only was he a real gentleman, but above all he was passionate about sailing and will be remembered for his uncanny knack of predicting Solent winds and of course for his time as sailing master aboard all of Sir Edward Heath’s Morning Clouds.
FIJI, LAND OF FRIENDLY PEOPLE Donna Hill
PARALYMPIC SAILING UPDATE Hannah Stodel
On another tack, just before this issue of Oyster News went to press, I went to Sunday lunch, laid on by Hannah Stodel's mum to give her daughter and the other two crew, Stephen Thomas and John Robertson a send off before leaving for China and the Paralympics Games, representing Britain in the Sonar class. The commitment and confidence of this crew is immense and I am really proud of Oyster’s role as their sponsors over many years. They, I mean we, are really hopeful of a medal this time.
OYSTERS AT THE 2008 AUTUMN SHOWS OWNER PROFILE – MIKE WALLACE
Once you catch the sailing bug it's a disease for life for which there is no cure. Forget the doom and gloom of the economy and go cruising, all the better if it's an Oyster, but go anyway, life's too short not to.
REGATTAS, EVENTS, PARTIES
Richard Matthews Founder and Chairman Oyster Marine
Stop Press Congratulations to Britain’s Olympic Sailors Once again the worlds best! Ben Ainslie Paul Goodison Iain Percy & Andrew Simpson Sarah Ayton, Sara Webb & Pippa Wilson Bryony Shaw Nick Rogers & Joe Glanfied
Finn Laser Star Yngling RSX 470
Gold Gold Gold Gold Bronze Silver
Congratulations also to the RYA and every member of the Team GBR Olympic Sailing - We’re proud of you all! www.oystermarine.com 3
Newsroundup ELLEN MACARTHUR TRUST VOYAGE AROUND BRITAIN The Ellen MacArthur Trust has announced an exciting new project for 2009. Sponsored by Skandia, 100 young people in recovery from cancer will sail around the UK in the Oyster Lightwave 48, Scarlet Oyster, as part of The Ellen MacArthur Trust Skandia Round Britain ‘Voyage of Discovery’. Starting out from Cowes in May, the voyage will stop at 20 ports around the UK including Dover, St. Katharine’s Dock (London), Ipswich, Hull, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Fort George, Fort William, Largs, Belfast, Isle of Man, Liverpool, Hollyhead, Cardiff, Torquay and Southampton before finishing in Cowes in September 2009. The young crews will visit hospitals and young person’s principal treatment centres, across the UK, who have helped them recover from cancer and leukaemia. Both Trust patrons Ellen MacArthur and Shirley Robertson are hoping to join the crews for part of the voyage. “This is an amazing project for the Trust,” said patron Ellen MacArthur. ”I cannot fully express the impact that the four-day sailing trips have on these young people. So I can only imagine the effects that a voyage around Britain will have. In 1995, I sailed around Britain and it is fantastic to see them follow in my footsteps, the opportunity for these young people to share their experiences with others in treatment, and show them that there is a light at the end of the tunnel is very, very special. I’m only sorry that Gordon Applebey, who made Scarlet Oyster available to the Trust, is not here today to see these children sail around the country in his boat”. Oyster looks forward to welcoming Scarlet Oyster and her special crew when they arrive in Ipswich.
TO THE GALAPAGOS Well-known US broadcaster, Gary Jobson, will be joining the Oyster 82 Zig Zag with a film crew and heading for the Galapagos in March 2009. The American TV channel
For more information about the Ellen MacArthur Trust see: ww.ellenmacarthurtrust.org
ESPN has commissioned Gary to make a movie about a nature cruise through the islands. Previous expeditions by the Jobson ESPN team include sailing to the Antarctic with Skip Novak and an Arctic cruise to eighty degrees north aboard Richard Matthews’ Oyster 62 Oystercatcher XXII.
SUPERSHOAL 82 ON TRIALS The supershoal variant of the Oyster 82 has undertaken builder’s trials and has proved to be an excellent performer under sail and power. Designer Rob Humphreys was confident that this twin rudder, shoal draft centreboard yacht would handle well, but to make certain the Humphreys design office undertook a series of tank test trials at the Wolfson Unit of Southampton University. Some minor tweaks were incorporated and the engineering design for the centreboard and lifting mechanism was undertaken in house by the Oyster design team. More news on the Supershoal Oyster 82 will follow in a future edition of Oyster News.
Paradise at Le Phare Bleu Terry King-Smith, owner of Oyster 62, Dorado, is pleased to pass on details of a new marina in Grenada… just don’t tell everyone! Finding lovely anchorages, the bottom visible in ten metres of “crystal clear water, are ten a penny in the Caribbean but sometimes your boat needs some TLC and a marina is required. Most marinas I have experienced don't offer many attractions, but Le Phare Bleu, located in southern Grenada in Petite Calivigny Bay just east of Calivigny Island, definitely does. The bay, while protected by a reef, is open to the south eastern sea breezes and the current, always quite strong along this southern coast, sluices through the bay past Calivigny Island keeping the water clean and fresh. It is the only marina I have been in where I am happy to swim in the surrounding waters.
RECORD CIRCUMNAVIGATION Congratulations to John and Jean Armitage who have just completed a 14-year circumnavigation in their Oyster 435, Ostrica of Orwell, which we think is probably an Oyster record. As John told us, “The trick is not to be in a hurry, change plans frequently and of course have a great boat!” A major feature is the Light Ship, brought all the way from Sweden. It has been fitted out with excellent toilets and showers and the upper deck converted to a ‘haut cuisine’ restaurant. Ashore there is a fresh water swimming pool plus another larger restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Marina, which is a Customs and Immigration port of entry, has a range of services that include power, water, wifi, and refuelling. Other services include a canvas shop by Dave Royce, who used to supply Oyster in Ipswich, Marine engineering and electrical, including fuel polishing, and guardianage services. Island Water World chandlery will deliver to the marina as will laundry services.
For more information about Le Phare Bleu see: www.lepharebleu.com
Newsroundup NEARLY THERE! The Oyster 62, Carpe Diem, owned by Keith and Rosemary Hamilton set out from Palma after taking part in the Oyster Regatta in September 2004. This September will see them complete their circumnavigation as they return to Palma for this year’s event and we look forward to celebrating their achievement with them when they sail into Real Club Nautico.
NEW ATLANTIC CROSSING GUIDE – CAN YOU HELP? Jane Russell, wife of David Russell, the Engineering Manager at E C Landamores, is editing a new Atlantic Crossing Guide for the RCC Pilotage Foundation. The new guide will be updated and expanded to include information on the African coast, the passage to Brazil, routes through the Caribbean including to Panama, routes north from the Caribbean up the east coast of North America, and northern latitude routes via Greenland, Iceland and Faroes.
Windboats Celebrate 25 Years Building Oysters To mark their 25th anniversary of building Oyster yachts, Trevor James of Windboats Marine commissioned a beautiful perpetual trophy, which was presented during the Oyster BVI regatta earlier this year to the top scoring yacht over the whole regatta. The winner was David Yelloly’s, Oyster 72, Spirit of Montpelier.
From now until July 2009, Jane will be collecting information ready for publication in early 2010 and would love to have any relevant feedback from anyone who is sailing the Guide areas over the next 12 months. In particular she would like to hear of any surprises, good or bad – anything that, despite all the preparations, was unexpected. This could be current approaches or port information, or it could be aspects of equipment, crew dynamics or other observations on passage. Up to date photographs would be greatly appreciated. Any published contributions will be acknowledged. If you would like
New Director at EC Landamore Congratulations to Kevin Webster who was recently appointed a Director of E C Landamore. Kevin joined Landamores over 36 years ago, straight from school and has occupied a variety of positions since, starting in the workshop and latterly moving into management. Kevin’s contribution to Landamores and the Oyster business has been enormous and his appointment to the board is well-deserved.
to contribute, either with text or photos, please contact Jane by email at email@example.com. Further information about the RCC Pilotage Foundation with publications, cruising and passage planning information an be found at: www.rccpf.org.uk
Oyster Events 2008 Cannes Boat Show 10 – 15 September Newport Boat Show 11 – 14 September Southampton Boat Show 12 – 21 September Owners Dinner – Southampton 13 September
New Directors at Oyster Two long-standing Oyster team members have been appointed to the Oyster Marine Board. With over 20 years service, Mike Taylor started out in the Oyster build yard before moving to the accounts department and finally production, and has personally project-managed over 70 Oysters. Mike takes on the role of Production Director. Nick Creed, has over 30 years experience in the marine industry, 13 of those within the Oyster Group. An experienced international yacht racer, Nick is Oyster’s new Commercial Director. Also new to the board is Chief Finance Officer, Chris Hicks. A keen sailor, Chris brings a wealth of financial experience to the Oyster team.
Monaco Boat Show 24 – 27 September Oyster Regatta – Palma 30 September – 4 October Genoa Boat Show 4 – 12 October Owners’ Party – Annapolis 9 October Annapolis Sailboat Show 9 – 13 October Annapolis Powerboat Show 16 – 19 October Hamburg Boat Show 25 October – 2 November Ft Lauderdale Boat Show 30 October – 3 November ARC Party 20 November ARC Start – Las Palmas 23 November
Oyster Events 2009 London Boat Show 9 – 18 January Photo: Ingrid Abery
IRC CHAMPION Richard Matthews’ Oystercatcher XXVI beat 48 other yachts to become the overall winner of the East Coast IRC Championship sailed over six races off Ramsgate 15-16 August. Following her success in Cork and Cowes, Oystercatcher is Yachting World’s September edition “Boat of the Month”.
Owners Dinner – London 10 January Düsseldorf Boat Show 17 – 25 January Oyster Regatta – Antigua 13 – 18 April
2008 FIFE REGATTA
Fast and Bonnie the 2008 Fife Regatta By Richard Matthews
Anyone who appreciates beautiful classic yachts is almost certain to have heard of Fife, as well or better known in their day as Herreshoff in the USA, both families renowned for not only designing but also building their yachts. There were three William Fifes; the first started building fishing boats on the bank of the Clyde at Fairlie at the beginning of the 19th century, with little more than a sawpit and a small blacksmith's smithy. The first and second William Fifes had natural genius, were craftsmen in their own right and knew how to get the best out of a boat when sailing. The third William Fife joined the firm in 1885 and had a more formal training than his father and grandfather but the spark of genius had been passed on to the third generation. William Fife III, who died in 1944, is probably the most famous of them all and is remembered for his designs for Sir Thomas Lipton's America's Cup challengers Shamrock I and Shamrock III and the 23-Metre Shamrock, his designs for the Metre classes, especially the 6-Metres, various one-design classes, many beautiful cruising yachts and ocean racers. Today little or nothing remains of the old Fife yard at Fairlie but the wind vane atop the village church is modelled on one of Fife’s most beautiful designs the ketch Latifa.
Photos: Denette Wilkinson
This June, 20 Fife yachts, some well over 100 years old, gathered off Fairlie in the Firth of Clyde for the third Fife Regatta of the modern era. I had chartered The Truant, a recently restored 45ft 8-Metre from 1910, owned by a young Scottish artist, Ross Ryan. This really came about because I am two thirds of the way into restoring a 50ft Fife from 1898, Kismet, and wanted to learn about the rig and gear. Racing was in two classes with some real divas like The Lady Anne, Maraquita, Moonbeam and Altair in the big boat class with one of everything from 19ft to 50ft, including The Truant, in class 2, which was divided about 50-50 between gaff and Bermudian rig. Starting and ending with receptions at Kelburn Castle, the fleet was based at nearby Largs Marina, although the larger Fifes had to anchor off. We raced to Helensborough where the Royal Northern YC put on a traditional Burns Night dinner complete with haggis and pipers. From there to Rothsay where we were hosted for dinner in Mount Stewart, an outstanding gothic mansion. Through the Kyles of Bute and back to Largs, the five race series was keenly sailed but with a strong emphasis on camaraderie and friendship between crews. Aboard The Truant we learned how to set a topsail and won all five races in the gaff
division. One memorable moment was on the penultimate race from Rothsay back to Largs when a 40-knot rainsquall swept the fleet. Aboard The Truant we tried to reef with limited success, as we could not keep her long overhanging boom out of the water. We dropped the peak halyard, pressed on downwind and, thankfully, within 15 or 20 minutes, the worst of the squall passed leaving us, and the rest of the fleet, a little shaken but undamaged. Another bizarre moment was just before race five when we found we had been carrying a stowaway for the entire regatta! It turns out the The Truant’s owner Ross had been given the boat and the means to restore her by his uncle Bob. Bob passed away a month before Truant was re-launched and Ross discreetly stowed the urn, containing Bob’s ashes, in the lazaratte. We entered into the spirit of all this by taking Bob’s urn to the prize giving, and our crew have now been invited to a remote pub on the Isle of Skye, later this year, for Uncle Bob’s final farewell. The Fife’s described their yachts as ‘fast and bonnie’ and I would agree. When you see a classic yacht look out for the dragon carving on the caveta line on the bow a sure sign of a genuine Fife yacht. For more on the Fife Regatta see www.fiferegatta.com
Sunshine in the Solent The Oyster Regatta â€“ Cowes Hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron
Photos: Tim Wright/photoaction.com
OYSTER REGATTA COWES 2008
Twenty-six Oysters entered this, the 20th regatta for Oyster yachts, which, as usual, was very kindly hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron at their landmark headquarters,
Thank you to our day sponsors for their continued support:
the Castle, on the Cowes waterfront. The event opened with the usual skippers’ briefing, which was given by principal Squadron race officer, Rear Commodore Yachting, Simon van der Byl, assisted by Oyster’s own race officer, Alan Brook. Earlier in the day, Simon’s wife, Suzy, made a thorough inspection of the assembled Oyster fleet at Cowes Yacht Haven, in her role as Concours d’Elegance judge. Before the first night dinner, Squadron Commodore, The Lord Iliffe, extended a very warm welcome to owners and guests, warm indeed being the flavour for the week since, with building high pressure, summer had returned and the forecasters were talking about record temperatures. Tuesday’s plan was for two relatively short inshore races starting and finishing off the RYS line, but with the high pressure as forecast, racing was postponed until late morning by which time a building sea breeze was enough for even the smallest yachts to make headway to windward against a fading foul tide. First away in Class 2, looking very sharp off the line, and short tacking up Cowes Green to make best use of a favourable back eddy, was John Nelson and Philip Riesco’s Oyster 42 Sundancer of Chichester. In Class 1, starting 20 minutes later, Richard Matthews, sailing the Oyster 82 Zig Zag, was cleanly away and, as expected, led the fleet upwind. Most yachts elected to carry offwind sails and with the sea breeze building to around 14 knots during the afternoon it was champagne sailing all around. There was some keen competition between the two Oyster 655 sister ships, Richard Smith’s Sotto Vento and
FAR LEFT: Richard Smith’s Oyster 655, Sotto Vento
Acheron, which included an uncharacteristically aggressive luffing match. In the end Sotto Vento had the best of it but was beaten on corrected time by the vintage Oyster 68,
ABOVE FROM LEFT TO RIGHT:
Jose Alvarez’s Starry Night, sporting a new spinnaker for the occasion, and no doubt
Lord Iliffe welcomes the Oyster owners
benefiting from an age allowance befitting her years. >
The Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes Suzy van der Byl and Oyster’s Barry Ashmore judging the Concours d’Elegance
OYSTER REGATTA COWES 2008
Sunshine in the Solent... continued
For the crews that still had some energy left after racing, Lewmar, who sponsored the day,
A strong fair tide made it all too easy to be over the line early but both classes made excellent starts.
put on a winch grinding competition before dinner. No records broken, but some fun and camaraderie, especially from the mixed pairs. Overnight, the wind swung through 180 degrees giving the fleet a windward start for their easterly course from Cowes to a finish line off the historic dockyard in Portsmouth. A strong fair tide made it all too easy to be over the line early but both classes made excellent starts. During the day the wind faded from 14 to around 6 knots and there was even talk of shortening course, but in the event the fleet pressed on and, coaxing the yachts along in light airs, managed to round No Mans Land Fort, just to seaward of Ryde, as the penultimate mark. This fort and two others were built in Napoleonic times to protect the British fleet and submarine barriers were added during WWII, now thankfully removed on the No Mans Fort side. Some years ago the fort was massively restored to provide luxurious living accommodation with everything including a heli pad and tennis court, and was later sold at a fraction of it’s original cost. No chance to pop next door for a cup of sugar! Portsmouth harbour was busy with yachts and commercial craft getting ready for Navy Day at the end of the week. Oyster’s Liz Whitman had wisely reserved berthing at the Royal Clarence Marina on the Gosport side where a ferry had been chartered to carry everyone across the harbour to the historic Portsmouth Dockyard for the evening’s entertainment. HMS Warrior was the largest warship afloat when built in 1860 and the first with both sail
ABOVE FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Crew of Oyster 46, Marela winners of the mixed Lewmar Grinding Challenge Crew of Oyster 461, Blue Fox enjoy the entertainment aboard HMS Warrior HMS Warrior on a beautiful summers evening
and steam propulsion, but throughout her 20 years of service never saw action. There was however plenty of action on board for the Oyster fleet, starting with drinks on deck on what was one of those truly fabulous English summer evenings, and then below for dinner between decks. While admittedly Navy life was never like this, the atmosphere created by scrubbed wood tables between the guns, low headroom and dimmed lighting, did give some feel for what life might have been like, and certainly created a unique atmosphere for a great dinner
FAR RIGHT: John Nelson & Philip Riesco’s Oyster 42, Sundancer and David Wansbrough & Prue Moon’s Oyster 47 Jubilate, overall winner of Class 2.
party. Groups of musicians and entertainers, dressed in traditional sailor costumes, toured the tables and never was "What shall we do with the drunken sailor" sung with more gusto! >
OYSTER REGATTA COWES 2008
Sunshine in the Solent... continued
The following morning, a fresh 16-18 knot easterly breeze greeted the fleet as they cleared Portsmouth and assembled off Gilkicker Point for a windward start out of the Solent and across to Bembridge Ledge before running back to Cowes and the Royal Yacht Squadron finishing line. It has to be said that the standard of sailing at Oyster regattas has improved steadily over the years. Steve Powell, who by his own admission is a novice to the racing scene, made what was to be the start of the week in his new Oyster 62 UHURU, arriving at the Pin End Buoy at warp speed within a second of the starting gun in a move that any America’s Cup crew would have been proud of. Champagne sailing was the order of the day, and after a vigorous beat to windward from
Steve Powell, who by his own admission is a novice to the racing scene, made what was to be the start of the week in his new Oyster 62 UHURU, in a move that any America’s Cup crew would have been proud of.
Bembridge Ledge to New Ground buoy, just inshore of the Nab Tower, David Wansbrough and Prue Moon’s Oyster 47 Jubilate judged a perfect lay line to lead the fleet back to Cowes. Most boats carried spinnakers and the only mishap was to Richard Matthews’ Zig Zag whose cruising chute failed at the head shortly after setting, but luckily the crew were able to recover most of it pending a big visit to the sail loft. There was a spectacularly close finish between UHURU and the Oyster 68 Starry Night, both yachts crossing the finishing line at 10 knots under spinnaker within a matter of seconds of each other. With two races to sail on the last day of the regatta, the RYS Race Officer sent the fleet west against the tide with a series of cross Solent up wind legs, which allowed the bigger yachts to stretch away. As usual the standard of racing was high and, as this was the last day, all crews were doing their very best to coax that elusive extra tenth of a knot. > FAR LEFT: Close racing between Steve Powell’s Oyster 62, UHURU and Richard Smith’s Oyster 655, Sotto Vento ABOVE LEFT: The Race Committee at the Royal Yacht Squadron ABOVE RIGHT: José Alvarez’s Oyster HP68, Starry Night, overall winner of Class 1
OYSTER REGATTA COWES 2008
Sunshine in the Solent... continued
With a strong foul tide close to the entrance to the Beaulieu river Richard Smith’s Sotto Vento
Owners and crews agreed that this 20th regatta in the Oyster series had been a great success.
tried a little too hard to cheat the current and finished up hard aground on the side of the shoal with the tide pressing her further aground. Try as they may, the crew could not escape for a good twenty minutes, by which time her race was run. The fleet were back in time for a leisurely lunch on one of the many vacant moorings off Cowes and then once again went to the Squadron start line for the final race of the regatta. A guest appearance from the Oyster Lightwave 48 Scarlet Oyster made an interesting addition to the fleet and, impeccably sailed, she managed to wriggle ahead of her larger rivals and stay there. Now used by the Ellen MacArthur Trust for introducing children suffering with cancer to the joys of sailing, Scarlet Oyster did of course win her class in the last Fastnet Race proving that both boat and crew are pretty slippery on the race course. It was a perfect evening for the prize giving at the Squadron - indeed all five days of the event had been blessed with near perfect weather. The Commodore of the Squadron, the Lord Iliffe, presented the principal prizes and confirmed that he would very much like the Oyster fleet to return to the club for the next event in 2010. Owners and crews agreed that this 20th regatta in the Oyster series had been a great success. Perhaps the overriding feature of the regatta, expressed by many owners, was the pleasure of feeling very much part of the Oyster family. These events are a great place to make new friends and Cowes 2008 was no exception. Dates for the Oyster Regatta Cowes 2010 are confirmed as 19-23 July. For details about all Oyster events please contact Liz Whitman, firstname.lastname@example.org. >
ABOVE: The Class 1 boats battle it out, led by José Alvarez’s Oyster HP68, Starry Night
OYSTER REGATTA COWES 2008
Results CONCOURS D'ELEGANCE CLASS 1 CLASS 1 CLASS 1
PRESENTED BY ROYAL YACHT SQUADRON Elvis the Gecko 66 Martin Dent Acheron 655 Skipper: Richard Winder
CLASS 2 CLASS 2 CLASS 2
PRESENTED BY ROYAL YACHT SQUADRON Innamorata II HP46 Steve Kerswill Marela 46 Martin and Pam Smout
ABOVE FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: Richard Matthews with Eliza Martin, Little Morten, winner of the Spirit of the Regatta Award Prue Moon, Jubilate with Francis Vincent from Dolphin Sails John McMonigall and crew, Saba of Hamble with Lord Iliffe
RIGHT FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: Steve and Geraldine Powell, UHURU, with Barrie Sullivan from Pantaenius
RACE 1 SPONSORED BY LEWMAR CLASS 1 4th Acheron 3rd Saba of Hamble 2nd Sotto Vento 1st Starry Night
655 53 655 68
Skipper: Richard Winder John McMonigall Richard Smith José Alvarez
CLASS 2 4th 3rd 2nd 1st
46 49 47 42
Martin & Pam Smout Clive & Anne Stephen David Wansbrough & Prue Moon John Nelson & Philip Riesco
RACE 3 SPONSORED BY RAYMARINE CLASS 1 4th Acheron 3rd Saba of Hamble 2nd Starry Night 1st Sotto Vento
655 53 68 655
Skipper: Richard Winder John McMonigall José Alvarez Richard Smith
CLASS 2 4th 3rd 2nd 1st
45 45 46 47
Aidan Millerick Peter Martin Martin & Pam Smout Clive & Anne Stephen
RACE 4 SPONSORED BY DOLPHIN SAILS CLASS 1 4th UHURU 3rd Acheron 2nd Starry Night 1st Sotto Vento
62 655 68 655
Steve & Geraldine Powell Skipper: Richard Winder José Alvarez Richard Smith
CLASS 2 4th 3rd 2nd 1st
435 46 42 47
Andrew Tibbetts Richard & Angela Parkinson John Nelson & Philip Riesco David Wansbrough & Prue Moon
Marela Wanderer Jubilate Sundancer of Chichester
Tusitala Little Morten Marela Jubilate
Mythos Sophistikate Sundancer Jubilate
The Stephen Family, Wanderer with Lord Iliffe Aidan Millerick, Tusitala with Fiona Pankhurst from Raymarine David Wansbrough, Prue Moon and crew, Jubilate, winners of Class 2 José Alvarez and crew, Starry Night, winners of Class 1
Photos: Tim Wright/photoaction.com
OYSTER REGATTA COWES 2008
RACE 5 SPONSORED BY PANTAENIUS CLASS 1 4th Starry Night 3rd Stardust 2nd Acheron 1st Zig Zag
68 56 655 82
José Alvarez Paul Bateman Skipper: Richard Winder Richard Matthews
CLASS 2 4th 3rd 2nd 1st
46 42 49 47
Martin & Pam Smout John Nelson & Philip Riesco Clive & Anne Stephen David Wansbrough & Prue Moon
RACE 6 SPONSORED BY PANTAENIUS CLASS 1 4th Sotto Vento 3rd Stardust 2nd UHURU 1st Starry Night
655 56 62 68
Richard Smith Paul Bateman Steve & Geraldine Powell José Alvarez
CLASS 2 4th 3rd 2nd 1st
435 45 47 42
Andrew Tibbetts Aidan Millerick David Wansbrough & Prue Moon John Nelson & Philip Riesco
THE OYSTER REGATTA TROPHY CLASS 1 4th Saba of Hamble 3rd Acheron 2nd Sotto Vento 1st Starry Night
53 655 655 68
John McMonigall Skipper: Richard Winder Richard Smith José Alvarez
CLASS 2 4th 3rd 2nd 1st
49 46 42 47
Clive & Anne Stephen Martin & Pam Smout John Nelson & Philip Riesco David Wansbrough & Prue Moon
Marela Sundancer Wanderer Jubilate
Mythos Tusitala Jubilate Sundancer
Wanderer Marela Sundancer Jubilate
The New Oyster 575
THE NEW OYSTER 575
Why introduce a new Oyster 575 when we already have the best selling yacht in Oysterâ€™s 35-year history, the Oyster 56, in our current range? An increasing number of customers, including some that currently own either an Oyster 53 or Oyster 56, explained that they were looking for a larger yacht but that the step up to the very much bigger Oyster 62 was just one step too far. They explained that although they would like more accommodation, comfort and performance, a yacht that could be sailed short-handed by an experienced couple was essential to them. Many owners feel that ownership of a yacht over the 60ft mark requires a professional crew on board. Secondly, over recent years we have had a tremendously positive response to the twin wheel configuration, previously offered only on the Oyster 62 and upwards. Whilst we were not convinced we would ultimately want to replace such a good design as the Oyster 56 we made the decision to embark upon a feasibility study and a possible new design, larger than the Oyster 56 but less than 60 feet and with twin helms. The volume of a yacht increases exponentially to any increase in water line length and although on the face of it the Oyster 575 is only slightly larger than the Oyster 56 in terms of overall length, in real terms it has significantly more water line length, beam, freeboard and sail area. In other words, it is a significant step up in size. This much greater volume also enabled a twin wheeled configuration to be incorporated - under sail you have the
benefit of helming from windward or leeward depending on your preference and perhaps, just as importantly, when coming alongside steering from the nearside helm position gives significantly better visibility and the ability to better judge distances, always important for good relations between the helmsman and the person chosen to jump ashore!
The elongated sleek deck saloon adds to the elegance of the yacht and, whether at anchor, alongside or under sail, is so well proportioned that it gives the impression of being a significantly larger yacht.
Another huge benefit of the twin wheeled configuration is that it keeps the helms out of the cockpit leisure area thus achieving much more seating space for relaxing. The leisure cockpit offers a very impressive seating area of a size more normally found in a yacht of 60ft. Twin wheels also allow the ability to move from the leisure cockpit to the helm positions, without having to climb around a large single wheel and make much safer movement around the cockpit possible.
Below decks, the nine-man Oyster in-house design team has created this very exciting new design in 3D to optimise the available accommodation area. A luxury of space offers comfortable sleeping accommodation for up to eight in four cabins with the option to construct the fourth cabin, adjacent to the engine room as a work shop, office or utility area if eight berths are not required. A large galley, with twin worktops, offers plenty of storage space, with a large front opening fridge and room for many electrical appliances as required. Externally, as with all our latest designs, the styling reflects that of very much larger superyachts with a rounded composite bulwark giving a very clean and modern hull to deck join. The elongated sleek deck saloon adds to the elegance of the yacht and, whether at anchor, alongside or under sail, is so well proportioned that it gives the impression of being a significantly larger yacht. As with all our latest designs, performance will be optimised using pure hull lines from Rob Humphreys. This yacht will be a fast passage maker and like every other Oyster in the range will result in effortless blue water cruising whilst enjoying exhilarating performance and wonderful on board comfort and stability. The end result is a stunning, large and spacious yacht that can still be sailed short handed anywhere in the world by competent crew.
Philippines - Our gate to South Asia By Yolanda Danioth, Oyster 56, Moana
Two main characteristics describe the diverse Philippines: over 7000 islands and more than 95 million people. This is a country with rice fields in the far north, long sandy beaches in the south, hanging cliffs in the west, rigid mountains in the east and remote lagoons and small islands in the centre. Nevertheless, in comparison to other countries in Southeast Asia, the Philippines are not equally included in most of the important travel catalogues or visited by many yachts â€“ this is incomprehensible! These islands are singular in their place in the world; they are green, clean, organised, laid back, unique and reflect a simple, idyllic life virtually empty of tourism. We enjoyed sailing the archipelago waters of the Philippines. It was easy sailing; there is no ocean swell and Moana moved fast in only 10 knots of wind and flat seas. Finding a place to anchor was simple because there are no restrictions, no reefs and the bottom slopes up from deep water to sandy beaches most of the time. As soon as you are in anchor depth water, just drop your hook and enjoy your stay. This presents the best conditions for cruisers to go and explore! One point you have to bear in mind in parts of the Pacific Ocean is the threat of the presence of hundreds of fisherman in the archipelago. The crackle from their two-stroke air-cooled engines can be heard from far away. They move fast, almost flying over the water, in long outrigger canoes headed for where the birds are feeding. They bring their nets and get the fish spotted by the birds. The scene looks like confetti flying all over the surface: yellow, green, red and violet painted canoes hunting for the fish. When you see this you know why nobody likes to be at sea during the night â€“ it is too dangerous to navigate. We concentrated our cruising on the beautiful Visayas, the central part of the Philippines exactly as Ferdinand Magellan did some centuries ago when he arrived as the first European in Cebu. Closing in on Cebu, the capital of the Visayas, we realised the effects of the big city. Outrigger canoes got fewer and fewer; ferry boats and cargo ships dominated the location. Due to pollution the colour of the water changed suddenly from blue to brown, the air from light blue to black and the land from green to brown. However, after months in remote areas we looked forward to our arrival in a vibrant city and our first South East Asian town. >
ABOVE: Yolanda and Rolf RIGHT: Moana anchored off Coron Island
Philippines - Our gate to South Asia continued
We found Malapascua one of the nicest unspoiled islands we visited. There are no cars and locals and tourists live in harmony with nature.
Cebu Yacht Club is a small and dirty marina with mainly local boats and few cruising yachts. However, it is a secure and a convenient location, just a short walk to the town. The staff were helpful and even managed to get power for Moana. They cut cables, took off the power plug and hooked the cables directly into the power socket lying just above the waterline. It looked dangerous but worked fine. Checking in was trouble-free. On our arrival we got a permit to stay two months and an outward clearance for the port in Palawan we wanted to visit. The authorities didn’t need to visit the boat and the paperwork was professionally completed. Of course there was baksheesh involved – but an acceptable amount. Berth prices are cheap for the first 15 days. From then on the cost gets unbelievably expensive, a tacit sign for foreign yachts to move on. Everywhere in Cebu are huge billboards, clean and cheap restaurants, big shopping malls, congested traffic abound with cars, scooters and thousands of people. As this was our first stop in South East Asia, we felt absolutely overwhelmed. There are few traffic signs or zebra crossings and the road traffic rules are simple. Whatever is bigger has right of way! We crossed the road with only this rule in mind. The selection of fruit, vegetables and herbs in the markets and supermarkets are a luxury. Almost never-ending shelves are loaded with fresh products packed in different sizes. Shopping and eating out is diverse and extremely cheap... and very delicious. A three course Asian dinner inclusive with beverages for two is less than ten US dollars in an air-conditioned restaurant. Even cheaper food is available from the locals with their mobile kitchens. But be warned – there are some Filipino eating habits which are very unusual. It sounds harmless enough when you first hear a cyclist with a cool box wandering around and calling "Balut, balut". All the local people rush over to buy one or two each which makes you wonder what all the fuss is about; after all, a balut is only a boiled egg, isn’t it? No, it is not. This egg contains legs and wings, feathers, beak, bones, claws and a few more bits of the un-hatched chicken. Filipinos eat these fertilized eggs between the 16th and 21st day. They prepare balut by boiling, cooling, peeling off the shell at one end, adding a little salt and swallowing down whole. Chew it if you feel the need but definitely don’t look at it, think about it, or smell it… just eat it and enjoy! Filipinos believe that eating these eggs improve sexual stamina. Happy with our sex-lives, we left the eggs to them! Jeepneys are the typical Philippine means of public transportation. When the American armed forces left the Philippines after the end of the World War II, they gave their military jeeps to the local population. The locals altered these jeeps so that more passengers could be transported. They added a metal roof to provide shade and painted the converted vehicles skilfully with decorative and colourful pictures. Most owners chose religious motifs and made shining engine cooler grills from chrome. They look nothing like army vehicles anymore. Jeepneys are taken with pleasure and are popular!
While Moana was moored in Cebu Yacht Club we took a day excursion by ferry to Bohol. The main attractions of Bohol are the Chocolate Mountains and the tarsier, a little monkey. The conical shaped ‘Chocolate Hills,’ as they are called, are well known outside the Philippines. Some geologists believe that these unique, approximately 40 metre high formations are depositions of coral and conglomerate stones which were formed millenniums ago by erosion. Beyond the geologic explanation many mystic legends surround them; The first tells about the fight of two giants who pelted themselves for days with stones and sand before they made friends. At the end they left the island tired and exhausted without having cleared up the battlefield. The second legend is a more romantic one. Aragon, a strong young man fell in love with Aloya, a quiet daughter of a native headman. Her death broke his heart and Aragon cried bitterly. The proof of his deep grief are the Chocolate Hills; his tears became the hills. Tarsier is the name of a small, cute nocturnal forest inhabitant. The tarsier belongs to ghost animal or to the ghost monkey family and is a type of primate. They look like a mixture between a Gremlin and ET. An outstanding feature is its big eyes with up to 16 mm in diameter. This size, in comparison with a human eye, would make it a medium sized apple for a person! There is no other mammal with such unusual proportions. Interestingly, the tarsiers’ eyes weigh more than their brains. Tarsiers not only have enormous eyes, they have long feet, too. Their feet have extremely elongated tarsus bones, which is how they got their name. They are primarily insectivores and catch insects by jumping at them. They are also known to prey on birds and snakes. As they jump from tree to tree, tarsiers can catch even birds in motion. Typical of the tarsier is a round head capable of a rotation up to 180 degrees and good hearing. Unfortunately tarsiers are threatened in the Philippines. The main menace of the tarsier is the destruction of their living space. In addition, these tiny monkeys are hunted for their meat! Tarsiers have never bred successfully in captivity. Caged tarsiers have been known to injure and even kill themselves because of stress. Therefore it is important that the animals are kept in protected surroundings and locals as well as tourists are informed about the endangered state of the species. Who knows how long this small ghost will still move in wild nature.
Malapascua We found Malapascua one of the nicest unspoiled islands we visited. There are no cars and locals and tourists live in harmony with nature. Electricity flows only between 6pm and 9am – to coincide with the time when tourists return from excursions. ABOVE FROM LEFT TO RIGHT:
Malapascua is popular with divers. Two diving areas we particularly liked were Gato Island and a sunken island called Monad Shoal. Gato is a special habitat under nature conservation and offers underwater tunnels running from one side of the island to the other and submerged canyons. After a 40 minute speed boat trip we reached the island. Bear in mind, ‘speed boats’ in the Philippines are big wooden canoes with two outriggers. >
Jeepneys, the local public transport A local fisherman in Cebu One of the never-ending market stalls in Cebu Yolana and Rolf at the Chocolate Hills A luxury forest house A friendly tarsier
Philippines - Our gate to South Asia continued
The wind influenced our route and one day we ended up in Sibuyan. This little village is overlooked by tourism.
On our dive through the tunnel we watched different reef sharks sleeping. Nevertheless, our absolute high point was to spot seahorses! Luckily our diving guide had trained eyes because we would have missed these small animals hiding in ferns. Seahorses belong to the most remarkable species of the deep. Biologically they are normal fish in a special packaging. Everybody likes seahorses. A quite unusual fascination with these sea animals with their horse heads grips most people. They are gorgeous to watch!
Sibuyan The wind influenced our route and one day we ended up in Sibuyan. This little village is overlooked by tourism and even by Manila – which tends to overlook retirement payments and other governmental responsibilities. The island has 50,000 inhabitants and no more than 50 to 100 western tourists visit a year. In every respect the remote 2,058 metre high, egg shaped Mt. Guiting-Guiting controls the climate of the place. Guiting-Guiting magically draws all clouds from the wide surroundings. Accordingly, measured with other islands, the territory is rich in water and has one of the best preserved primeval forests of the Philippines. Another reason for the thick virgin forest is the streams and waterfalls that are abound along the abrupt flanks of the mountain. Instead of hiking up Mt Guiting-Guiting we travelled on a tricycle around the island. Tricycles are light coloured motorcycles with painted side cars. Here on Sibuyan these are the only motorized vehicles and the main transportation. Most of the time these vehicles are loaded with many adventurous Filipinos and their luggage and domestic animals. On our small tour of Sibuyan we discovered two German settlements, passed the fresh produce market, colourful colonial style terraced houses and beautiful virgin forest – we had a lovely relaxing time.
Boracay One of the best known destinations in the Philippines is Boracay. The small seven kilometre long island lies north of Panay. Everything here happens at the ‘white beach’ one of the nicest palm tree lined beaches in the Philippines: sunbathing, relaxing, outdoor massaging, shopping for souvenirs, eating, drinking and even diving tours. A contrast to the beauty and cleanliness of the white beach was life behind the beach. Everything looked to be under construction or at least refurbishment. Power supply lines were hanging loose from house to house. Dogs, rats and other small animals searched for food in shops or in commercial waste. The weird architectural activity led us to suppose that a recent typhoon or tsunami had swept the place. But our belief was wrong... the locals were constructing and extending buildings due to the increasing number of visitors. Back on the beach we felt like we were in another world.
Coron On arrival in Coron we left the province of Visayas. Coron Island is part of the Calamian Group and offers similar beauty to the neighbouring world-renowned Palawan, for its vertical limestone formations - although the Corons’ are more concentrated and on a much smaller scale. The entrance to our anchorage was very adventurous. Between precipitously sloped limestone rocks and water varying in different blue to turquoise colours, we found just enough water to get Moana into the small space. We were in the midst of a stony upright surrounding! Due to the limestone bottom the anchor would not dig in, so Moana was held only by the weight of anchor and chain. At that time of the year, the weather conditions were moderate so we had no concerns. The place was idyllic, impressive and quiet and we enjoyed the very clear and clean water in this Philippine fjord! "Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, keep nothing but memories, kill nothing but time" a sign said before we climbed up the stairs to Kayangan Lake. After a rise and a descent we reached the clear freshwater lake with its three arms nestled into the limestone of Coron Island. The steep, sharp-edged rock walls are reflected in the clear plain water. We paddled along the shore of this lake that lays 80 metres above sea level. We experienced the scenery of Kayangan as sole visitors, the silence was only interrupted by the humming of our kayak pilot. Back at sea level we found out that this lake and its surroundings still belong to the Tagbanuas tribe and therefore is custom ground. All income goes directly to the Tagbanuas. Even with some income these people live a very simple life. Their houses are built directly on shore, on stilts and have no flowing water or electricity. They gain additional income by collecting swallows’ nests. The soup made in Chinese restaurants from these nests is a delicacy. To prepare one soup requires about 300 nests! The nest contains a protein which is the main ingredient of the soup. Of course, to collect the nest is not easy. The swallows build their nests in inaccessible caves on vertical face walls. But Tagbanuas set up a bamboo construction and climb up into the heights of the cave to get their prize. Back in Europe any health and safety man would have a stroke from this vibrating, unsecure construction without any safety measures. What an indescribable endeavour to get some pesos. >
ABOVE FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Beautiful limestone formations of Coron Fishing boats of Boracays’ white beach Diving in Malapascua The local children in Sibuyan Our transport in Sibuyan
Philippines - Our gate to South Asia continued
It was clearly a wonderful place but a good weather window opened and allowed us the opportunity to sail most of the way to Borneo.
” El Nido El Nido in north Palawan is a small tranquil fishing village with some 23,000 inhabitants. The name El Nido is Spanish for ‘the nest’ referring to the swallows’ nests which are also found on this island. We did not spend a lot of time in El Nido. It was clearly a wonderful place but a good weather window opened and allowed us the opportunity to sail most of the way to Borneo, our next destination. We had not expected a favourable wind! This area normally has poor winds in the beginning of March so we hoisted sail and went for the 360 nm trip to Borneo.
Passage to Borneo The weather forecast was correct and we sailed the whole way. Indeed, with light winds we did not reach record-breaking speeds, but we sailed in calm waters and made steady progress. We entered the South China Sea without even noticing it. Close to oil fields, which are plentiful in this area, we began to spot countless vessels including supply ships, numerous freighters and some tankers and fishing vessels. In the Balabac Strait the lonesome times at sea were definitely over. We shared the waters with other ships whose courses built a virtual thick net of routes over the sea. The highlight on this trip was Rolf’s birthday. We received many greetings from members of the family and friends by email. I spoilt and surprised him with culinary lusciousness the whole day. Our Champagne and red wine remained unopened and had to wait until we reached land – the Captain himself had prescribed our ship policy, "no alcohol while en route". Still, Rolf enjoyed eggs (without garnish) for breakfast, an ice cream at midday, cinnamon rolls for afternoon tea and an Indonesian curry for dinner. Rolf’s present was a Scrabble – English issue! Now we fight for words… my next article will contain new words, thanks to Scrabble!! At 2am we arrived in Sutera Harbour Marina in Kota Kinabalu, Borneo, from where I complete this article. From now on we know anchorages will become rare. Yachts sailing from here up to Thailand hop from marina to marina so the same will apply for Moana, we will spend the next 12 months mostly visiting luxury marinas with all amenities. Half of this time we will dock Moana in Singapore to enable land-trips and visits back to Switzerland to meet with friends and family. Cruising will become somewhat different in this area of South East Asia. Marinas are used as bases for excursions and trips on land. Kota Kinabalu is our base to explore Borneo. Our program is the ascent of Mt. Kinabalu, an excursion into the jungle to meet with Orang-utans, a diving safari in Sipadan (a world first class diving place) and a visit to the world’s largest cave systems near Miri, Malaysia.
PHILIPPINES FACTS: Weather Resources: Moana is equipped with an Inmarsat Fleet33 system and receives weather charts and GRIB files via MPDS as well as Met Area reports with SatC. The Philippines have a high risk of typhoons, which are most frequent between June and October. The rainy, SW monsoon season is from June to September, the dry season October to May. The best season for cruising in the Philippines is from early January to mid-May when the weather is pleasant and the danger of typhoons is minimal. Met Area 11 weather report: http://weather.gmdss.org/navimail/GMDS S_METAREA11_INMARSAT The Joint Typhoon Warning Centre: https://metocph.nmci.navy.mil/jtwc/ab/ab pwweb.txt Synopsis Analysis and Prognosis and other weather chart products by radio-facsimile are broadcasted by T’ai-pei, Tokyo and Australia. Travel Guide Books: • Cruising Guide to Southeast Asia Volume I, South China Sea, Philippines, Gulf of Thailand to Singapore from Stephen Davies & Elaine Morgan, Imray Laurie Norie & Wilson • Lonely Planet Philippines • Lonely Planet Diving & Snorkeling Philippines An excellent addition to the above guide with places to see, background information and listings of dive spots
Money: Philippine peso (PHP). Exchange rate £1 = 84 PHP (Aug 2008). US Dollar is widely accepted. Abundant ATMs and credit cards widely accepted. Clearance: Immigration: No visa is required for stays of up to 21 days. 60-days visa can be obtained in advance. Visas or extensions of an existing 60-day visa can be obtained from immigration in either Cebu or Manila only, although some people have managed to renew their visa elsewhere. Fees vary but should be displayed in the immigration office. Customs: Firearms must be declared to customs on arrival. Prohibited items include pornographic material, narcotics and internationally prohibited drugs, unless accompanied by a medical prescription. Yachts with animals on board must contact the Animal Quarantine office in Manila. Tel (2) 992-836, for clearance and permit. The yacht will be inspected and a fee charged. Officially yachts gain free entry for one year and the only charges are for immigration visa extensions. Although the government is trying to stamp out corruption and also to standardise the entry and exit charges applied to yachts, in practice, many local officials charge for what they call ‘special services’.
ABOVE FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: The beautiful ‘white beach’ of Boracay Local freight transportation Moana anchored off Coron Island Our guide in Coron Moana in Malaysia
Race Roundup Latest We race … our owners get the results While Oyster build comfortable live-aboard cruising yachts, we are serious about trying to combine comfort with excellent sailing performance. For over 35 years, Oyster has maintained an active racing profile, which we continue to believe empowers us to be serious and authoritative about performance and the factors that contribute to it. Our latest trial horse, Oystercatcher XXVI, designed by Rob Humphrey’s son, Tom, made extensive use of a velocity prediction programme, VPP, to evaluate and optimise the yacht’s theoretical performance. On the racecourse we constantly monitor the ‘numbers’ to measure actual performance against the theoretical VPP data. This is the same tool that the Humphreys Design Office uses to optimise the latest Oysters. For example the VPP programme was used extensively to optimise the new super-shoal centreboard and twin rudder Oyster 82 and compare her performance against her standard keel sister.
Photos: Tim Wright/photoaction.com
RACE ROUNDUP LATEST
The bi-annual ACC Bank Cork Week is one of Europe’s largest regattas and Oystercatcher was racing in a highly competitive Class Zero fleet against 17 other yachts. With the best seven races to count, Oystercatcher scored 6 x 1st and 1 x 2nd to easily win her class and became a strong contender to claim the best overall performance. On most races times were taken between every leg upwind and downwind and compared with the competition. These were then re-calculated against each yacht’s IRC rating to get a net gain or loss on each leg. These comparisons create a learning tool that can and does find its way into the design process for Oyster yachts. Oh yes, and then there was Skandia Cowes Week, the most competitive fleet yet including many of the yachts that had taken part in the Commodore’s Cup the month before. Tides play a big part racing from Cowes and we were very pleased with our 1 x 1st and 1 x 2nd. We continue to believe that while we race our owners get the results.
South, south, south... by Mariacristina Rapisardi, Oyster 72 Billy Budd
There was great excitement as our aircraft neared the very southernmost tip of the earth; we spied a strip of water: could it be the Beagle Channel or the Straits of Magellan?... It was Beagle, Ushuaia, a big bay and a plethora of smaller ones. Or at least that’s how it looks from the air. Somewhere down there was our Oyster 72, Billy Budd. I tried to pick out her mast with its two blue stripes but we were too far out. Our small aircraft landed and we excitedly made our way to the boat. There were seven of us altogether: my husband and I, the usual two friends who’ve now ‘put down anchor’ on Billy Budd, two Alpine guides and a ski instructress from Courmayeur. This time we hoped to make it to 66 degrees South even though it was late in the season. By February the ice would normally be starting to make its way northwards. We knew what that meant in the Arctic, we had to get going as fast as possible. We had a month to do the whole trip in. We hoped that six or seven days would be enough for the trip to the Drake Channel and the rest of the time we hoped would be spent sailing down along the Antarctic peninsula. On the day we were due to leave, a storm was forecast for Cape Horn with 60 knot winds; the harbour master in Ushuaia decided on a lockdown with no boats or ships allowed to leave the safety of port. So we settled in to wait. We got our skis, ski boots and ice axes ready: at the same time wondering if we really would be able to ski, climb and trek down there? Towards evening the wind had dropped and the port reopened; we cast off in the dark, not that it made much difference with 700 miles of the Drake Channel ahead of us! In the end we got through the passage with the greatest of ease with the wind practically astern; one or two of us fell prey to seasickness but to be honest it was nothing like we had expected. After three and a half days at sea we thought we must be nearing land; we couldn’t see land, but we could smell... penguins! It was an incredibly strong smell that hit us well before we caught our first glimpse of terra ferma. This was partly due to the fact that Billy Budd was surrounded by thick fog. A light sprinkling of snow dusted the deck and gave the air much more of a zing than we got on our mountains back home. We set foot on Antarctic soil for the first time in a bay dominated by the ruins of an old whale processing plant complete with huge boilers, shipwrecks, sheds and houses where the workers once lived. This is a site of archaeological importance so although we look, we’re careful not to touch anything. This was our first taste of adventure in the Antarctic: we found the Deception Island thermal springs and ended up swimming in a pool in which the water was... 60 degrees! The pool was only a couple of metres deep but the water was scalding hot and the air temperature remained Antarctic cold.
We cast off once again; and after a few dozen miles reached the peninsula. The weather was fabulous with the sun beaming down on us from a cloudless sky. We arrived at Cape Herschel surrounded by icebergs and gorgeous mountains. We quickly dropped anchor and prepared ourselves for our first ski excursion. This turned out to be trickier than we had expected. There was an awful lot to get ready before we could head ashore – skis, crampons, ice axes, ropes – getting to the snow proved even trickier. The Antarctic coastline is steep to the point of being inaccessible in some spots; we used crampons and ice axes to get up to a plateau from where we could get started on our long ski trip. Obviously we stayed tied together by ropes and harnesses; there were huge crevices everywhere and worse still they were dusted with snow so we couldn’t really see them. Luckily though, we had our mountain experts with us so they very calmly helped us pick our way through.
The weather started to change and it began to snow. Billy Budd was soon blanketed in snow. It fell off the mast and the boom and filled up the cockpit. The deck became an ice rink.
Our first descent on Antarctic snow was marvellous, the kind of descent that you rarely get in the Alps – perfect curves on spring snow on a warm, sunny day. Our night at Cape Herscel was far from peaceful, with too much ice and too many icebergs none too gently grinding against and slamming into Billy Budd’s hull. We cast off again early in the morning bound for Enterprise Bay, a tiny harbour where we anchored by a half-submerged wreck. This was an incredibly calm spot sheltered from the winds by gorgeous mountains. We took advantage of the wreck, the sun and the warmth to embark on our first dive in Antarctic waters. After struggling into our dry suits, which weigh 16kg a piece, and donning hoods, gloves and masks, we finally slipped beneath the surface of the sea…and saw nothing but icebergs and the wreck! No fish, no penguins, nothing. The weather started to change and it began to snow. Billy Budd was soon blanketed in snow. It fell off the mast and the boom and filled up the cockpit. The deck became an ice rink. Despite the weather we continued to the Lemaire Channel, Port Charcot and Mount Scott in turn and with every night and day that passed we came across more and more of the most famous channels, fjords and bays in the Antarctic. Each one has its own history of explorers, single-handed sailors and boats that have spent the winter iced-in in these secret coves. We now saw penguins, penguins and more penguins - elegant Gentoos, blue-eyed Adelies and cute Chinstraps. The weather turned so ugly we were no longer able to explore the mountains, our trips were confined to long walks near the shore and to visiting the penguins. We obviously never touched the birds. For a start they won’t let you any nearer than two metres before they back off a foot or two, making it quite clear that they want to maintain a certain distance. >
South, south, south... continued Many of the penguins were still very much chicks, staring at us curiously, walking around and hopping along after us on tiny feet, skittering down snowy slopes and tumbling head over heels which was a really funny sight! We saw thousands of penguins. It truly is incredible how many penguins can fit on to a single beach and how they can cluster so closely together. Our encounters with them continued and evolved with each passing day. We’d often find an adult just starring at us, probably asking itself who or what we were. It would then follow us and almost seem like it wanted to get onboard the boat. But then it would decide that its native land is more hospitable than Billy Budd and swim away with great dignity. To us however, Billy Budd, always seemed very warm and welcoming: the stove in the saloon is fantastic and when we lit it in the evenings it would raise the room temperature up to 20 degrees. It was a little chillier in the cabins, particularly our aft cabin. Temperatures fell to three or four degrees in the mornings but our skipper Clive had the ingenious idea of connecting the towel rails in the heads to the batteries (rather than the generator) so that they were deliciously warm which also meant we could actually dry some clothing. Because the truth of the matter is, we were always wet. The continual snow showers didn’t give us time to dry off our clothes, oilskins and, most importantly, our gloves. Our journey continued in the Lemaire Channel and we headed for Port Charcot; the sailing was just the same – no wind, the sea was calm and we were surrounded by icebergs. On one iceberg we caught a glimpse of something dark. Was it penguins? Seals? We edged closer to see what kind of animal might be stretched out so calmly on this flat iceberg. Then we noticed there was a large creature swimming around the iceberg heading for the boat and we suddenly realised what it was... a leopard seal!
At long last a sighting of the famous leopard seal that everyone had told us about. This hungry, aggressive seal can apparently attack tenders and devour hundreds of penguins; in short it is the polar bear of the south. It was big too, it swam towards Billy Budd and what we experienced then was the most thrilling spectacle of our entire journey; the seal began a strange dance around the boat, diving and resurfacing. It swam around the bow, surfaced at the stern and then appeared to start attacking the hull, hurling its enormous mouth and razor sharp teeth at Billy Budd. But then at the very last second, it would veer away, barely caressing the boat with its enormous three-metre-plus body. Meanwhile the other animal stretched out on the iceberg, another leopard seal, didn’t move, merely raising its big head giving us a bored look. We couldn’t understand what this strange dance/attack meant. Perhaps the seal was trying to defend its iceberg. Perhaps it was its home. Maybe the seal on the iceberg was a female and the one in the sea a male. We all had our own theories but none of us are animal experts and so our questions stayed unanswered.
Billy Budd, always seemed very warm and welcoming: the stove in the saloon is fantastic and when we lit it in the evenings it would raise the room temperature up to 20 degrees.
Nevertheless, after this strange encounter I decided I wasn’t interested in diving any more and Clive agreed. The idea of meeting the big leopard seal underwater didn’t appeal one bit, even if the experts claim they won’t attack humans. You just never really know. This was far from the end of our leopard seal adventures. One not so pleasant experience was during one of our disturbed nights amid the icebergs, we were hit by a particularly annoying one that began repeatedly pushing Billy Budd whilst we were trying to asleep. At Port Charcot we met with Jerome Poncet and his guests aboard his boat Golden Fleece. This was a very important meeting for us as he is a great sailor, one of the foremost seafarers in these southern seas. We invited him and his friends to dinner. It turned out that they were there working for the BBC and looking for killer whales whose highly evolved and fascinating social life they wanted film. They told us wonderful stories of their adventures and the animals they’ve come across. They told us tales of how long they had to stay in the water to snatch just a few moments of interesting film and how difficult it is to find just the right shot and then slot it in a wildlife documentary. They’d been in the Antarctic a month already and had nothing to show for it. It seemed that there were no killer whales or at least that they’re keeping out of sight if they were around. As we journeyed south we encountered more and more ice with each passing day. Nights were less than peaceful and we often had to get up to move small chunks of ice clunking against Billy Budd’s hull before they could cause any harm. We used a hook to push the smaller chunks away but we had to get out the tender when things got more difficult. This meant we could only continue our journey by day, merely managing part of the way we planned as the weather was so bad. It snowed a lot but it was neither too cold nor too warm, just wet. The worst thing about this kind of weather was that we were only able to >
South, south, south... continued
As we journeyed south we encountered more and more ice with each passing day. Nights were less than peaceful and we often had to get up to move small chunks of ice clunking against Billy Budd’s hull before they could cause any harm.
catch very occasional glimpses of the mountains. Their lofty peaks would suddenly appear, high and inaccessible. When we reached Vernaski, the Ukrainian Antarctic station, we had reached the southernmost point of our voyage. That evening we drank a toast in the world’s most southerly bar where Caterina, our young ski instructress, proved a major hit with the base’s scientists and staff who challenged her to a vodka drinking competition! The next morning we made our way north again, to Port Lockroy, a large bay with a museum that attracts tourist ships. We anchored in a nicely sheltered fjord, but had to move because the wind turned and ice began coming in. It even reached as far as the bay, so Clive spent a sleepless night checking that Billy Budd didn’t get surrounded and damaged by mini icebergs and growlers. The skipper of the boat Pelagic Australis, which was anchored near us, hailed us over the radio at one point when he was woken by larger chunks of ice hitting his boat. The weather was dreadful, the barometer hits its lowest point – 960 mb and there was a 60-knot wind! So we stayed aboard and only went ashore to visit the museum where we made a few purchases. The locals said that the weather had been particularly bad so far this year with very little sun, high winds and squalls. Which was a pity but it also gives us the perfect excuse to visit another time! Sadly we had to start thinking about our return journey and checked the weather bulletins. We had to get to Ushuaia by February 28 at the very latest and we couldn’t risk being slowed or stopped in our tracks by a squall in the middle of the Drake Channel. Our plan was to leave the Antarctic around February 23rd or 24th but the Gribs was forecasting 60 knot winds for the 23rd – that means big seas and waves – and in the Drake Channel. So we set off from Port Lockroy at dawn on the morning of the 20th. We discovered that our radar wasn’t working so stopped off at Melchiorre Bay, where a base is located, though now closed, to try to fix it. Anchoring was tricky as the wind was high and the sea rough. Richard and Clive climbed the mast to try to find out what the problem was but there was nothing they could do. So we set off for the open sea with an 800 mile trek ahead of us, hoping that it wouldn’t be too rough. It was rough but not overly so, just enough to do the trick. Perhaps it was our emotions, the fact that we had to leave so quickly and the forecast of storms in two days, taking their toll psychologically as some of the crew fell prey to a bout of severe seasickness. It was almost a bow sea. Even though the waves weren’t too bad they really slammed the bow and with each slap the already pale faces got paler. It’s wasn’t exactly pleasant for the rest of us either as every time the bow slammed into the sea, a shudder ran through the entire boat from stem to stern, before it started all over again.
Those of us not too seasick took the watches. We tried to cook a bit – the usual risotto that we rustle up on long crossings. But hardly anyone had any appetite for it. Three days dragged or flew by – depending on who you asked. We approached Cape Horn by the evening our second day. The Gribs forecasted a 65 knot winds for 09.00 the following day so we tried to go as fast possible and finally we dropped anchor in Caleta Martial on the island of Herschel at two o’clock in the morning. The sea was now as calm as glass, there wasn’t a breath of wind and the sweet smell of land drifted towards us on the wind. We toasted our return to dry land and then headed off to bed in a boat that was still at last. We awoke the next morning in a 69.8 knot wind and our friends turned pale with dismay, all too well aware that if we’d been a few hours later, we’d be at Cape Horn where the winds by then would have been reaching 105 knots…not a pleasant prospect at all. It was far too blustery to go ashore or even put the dinghy in the water. So we were all stuck aboard again. Those of us who’d been looking forward to a bit of sunshine and a walk on the beach were a bit down, but we all knew that’s just how changeable it is in these parts. To prove my point the following day was wonderfully warm and sunny. We went ashore to the beach at Caleta Martial and climbed a small mountain covered in brambles and bushes; one of us fell asleep in the sun on the beach whilst the others photographed flowers and saplings. The ice and cold are behind us now. But we’ll be back – that’s a promise and we’ll be venturing even further South next time...
One Amazing Day By Nick O’Donnell, Oyster 72, Kealoha 8
Forget the National Geographic - this is real life Fijian culture, bought to you by Oyster and the team on board Kealoha 8.
‹When you are sailing around the world in an Oyster 72 on the World ARC, amazing days can seem two-a-penny, but some stand out more then others and this day was no exception. We were invited to the local village of Nacula in the Yasawra group of islands, north of Fiji, for an annual fundraising event, and we really had no idea what to expect. We set off in blistering sunshine with our excellent local guide, George, at around 09.30 to weave our way through the reefs in our trusty dinghy (which is a good enough reason to make sure you have a big one!) On shore the locals greeted us. “Bula Bula” the local greeting was said by everyone we met and we returned the welcome. At George’s house, we changed into local Fijian dress that he loaned to us for the occasion and watched as the local ladies in their brilliantly coloured outfits, prepared for their special day, as they walked past his house. For this was the day that every woman in the village presented to the Chief of the Island their fund raising efforts towards the building of the village hall. Every woman was expected to have raised or saved Fijian $100 (£30) over the past year.
Now we knew we were special, but what we didn’t realise was that the three of us from Kealoha 8, owner David Holliday with crew Rosie and myself, were the only guests at this event with 250 locals. After opening prayers, the men sat with the men, and Rosie with the local women, under the shade of a temporary cover, men and women divided by the enormous Kava Bowl. Clan by clan, the ladies went forward to meet the Chief, generally each clan in matching dresses. Rosie got to join our host’s wife, Zulu. A compère announced the donations in a style not too dissimilar to Terry Wogan in his role for Children in Need! All the while the younger men of the village served tea, juice, cakes, and Kava to the elders (and us) as we looked on and applauded in the traditional Fijian way. Our gift of Kava root was gratefully received and sealed our fate as welcome guests. Kava is made from Kava roots or stems, which are carefully mashed into the Kava bowl to which water is added. It is drunk out of shaped coconut shells, small, medium, and large. In a surreal way the chief chose the music to accompany the ceremony and much was conducted to the sounds of Johnny Cash! >
One Amazing Day continued The local ladies were enormously proud of their donations and danced with joy as they returned from the Chief’s table, some taking pleasure in getting David dancing, to howls of laughter from all. What a colourful and fun occasion.
grateful to be found some chairs and invited to take food from the head table as well as the buffet. Forget your hotel and tourist events, this was a real feast, complete with young men fanning our food to keep away the flies!
All the while George, our guide, provided a ‘David Dimbleby’ style commentary on the proceedings, kindly leaving every two hours to check and re-anchor our dinghy as the tides were quite big. All of the other elders were keen to talk to us and swap stories of life and adventures. We also toured the makeshift outdoor kitchen, where whole pigs were being cooked in a pit and huge pots of food had been prepared. The barbecue consisted of two railway line like steels, with the logs burning underneath for a length of 10 metres.
What did lunch consist of? Yams, five types of fish, pork, chicken in palm leaves cooked in the earth oven, rice, curried vegetables, local spaghetti with mixed vegetables and limpets which were huge, just to name a few, all piled high and eaten with our fingers. We were served fruit juice to drink.
While all of the ceremony was in Fijian, the Island chief welcomed us in English and gave David about 15 seconds to think of a suitable response to the assembled audience, which, as such an experienced public speaker, he managed flawlessly!
And so back to the ceremony where it was the turn of all the village men to pay homage to the Chief. We moved to sit in the shade with George, who was excused from duties to look after us, and continued to explain the proceedings as various gifts from the village were presented to the Chief. A mix of very serious tradition, formal Kava offerings (unfiltered – ugh!) and much hilarity at some of the local war dancing as the women sought to disrupt the men.
Then to lunch with the ladies and honoured guests (us) heading into the partly completed village hall for a feast of all things Fijian. David was seated on the head table, along with 25 of the female village elders. Having sat crossed legged on the floor for three hours, we were
But it was great to hear that overall the village had raised more than Fijian $11,000, $6000 of which was donated by the Chief! With the formal ceremonies over, after a mere six hours of tribal events, we returned briefly to George’s house for late afternoon tea with his
family, where they presented us with gifts of Kava cups for myself and David and a traditional dress for Rosie. Before heading back to the boat, as we walked the beach with our guide, George paid us an enormous compliment, telling us we were “Very good tourists”. Meeting the Chiefs of each village we visited (along with presenting Kava root), asking permission to snorkel and take photographs, bringing gifts for the local school and villagers of tee-shirts and tinned food and donating money towards the village hall. Apparently not all yachtsmen are as considerate. So forget the National Geographic - this is real life Fijian culture, bought to you by Oyster and the team on board Kealoha 8. David Holliday and his crew are sailing around the world as part of the World ARC 2007/2008 on his Oyster 72, Kealoha 8. The fleet which includes the Oyster 82 Tillymint and Oyster 56 Into the Blue are currently in Australia. Further information about the World ARC can be found at: www.worldcruising.com/worldarc
BERMUDA OYSTER WINS
Bermuda Oyster wins cruiser Division in 2008 Newport to Bermuda Race By Barry Pickthall Paul Hubbard and his crew on the veteran Oyster 435, Bermuda Oyster, returned to their home port with something to celebrate in June after winning the 43-boat Cruiser Division and the famous Carleton Mitchell Finisterre Trophy in this year's Newport Bermuda Race. The champagne and bacon sandwiches that greeted this crew at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club dock was part of a tradition that dates back at least eight years when fellow Bermudian, Neil Redburn, started sailing with Hubbard, but several others on board for this yearâ€™s race had competed in this biennial classic on this venerable Oyster 435 for the past 18 years. Asked to describe his yacht to Bermuda's Governor General Sir Richard Gozney, Hubbard responded. "Well, compared to most other boats around, this is a caravan with a stick. We were docked next to one racer in Newport before the start and their crew was offloading provisions and liquor while we were stowing ours below. We have an extensive wine list onboard" he joked, adding, "This was the roughest trip on the boat. The wind was on the nose the entire way, but she is a heavy boat that sails well upwind and we dine well all the way!" The Newport to Bermuda Race was founded by Thomas Fleming Day and the Rudder magazine in 1906 and is the oldest ocean race in normal boats for amateur sailors. After a period of inactivity from 1911-12, it was revived in 1923 by Herbert Stone and Yachting magazine. Since 1926 it has been run by the Cruising Club of America and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. For more information on the Newport to Bermuda Race see: www.bermudarace.com
The crossed flag lighthouse logo is a registered mark of the Cruising Club of America and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.
Fiji, Land of Friendy People and Beautiful Cruising Grounds By Donna Hill, Oyster 56 Baccalieu III
We had our first experience drinking kava shortly after arriving in Fiji. We joined a local man sitting on a woven pandama mat, crossed our legs yoga style in front of a four legged wooden kava bowl and threw back a coconut shell filled with a muddy looking mixture that immediately numbed our tongues and throat. Not many years ago the kava would have been drunk from the skull of an enemy and the roots of the kava pepper plant chewed by young women who spat the grounded root into a wooden bowl for the consumption of male village elders. We had arrived in Fiji a few days before with the Blue Water Rally whom we had joined in Panama. We tied to a mooring at the Copra Shed Marina on the island of Vanu Levu, the more remote of the two larger Fijian islands. There are fewer tourists on Vanua Levu than on Viti Levu and the streets of Savu Savu were busy with local activity. Indo Fijians are the foundation of the country’s economy, operating small businesses and stores, growing produce and offering it for sale in a large covered market where we purchased the customary gift of kava root to offer to the chiefs of villages that we planned to visit. Fijian natives on the other hand prefer to live in villages along the coast independent of others except for the purchase of basic staples and every day the sidewalk outside the bus stop would include an array of colourful ankle length dresses as native women waited to be transported back to their villages. A former secluded village located 20 km outside Suva Suva had recently decided to experiment in the tourist trade with guided tours to one of their most sacred of sacred commodities, the Red Prawns. Red Prawns are one of Fiji’s endemic species, a rare shrimp that appear pink in colour before cooking. They are found in two locations in Fiji and have probably survived throughout the centuries due to the fact that native Fijians declare them sacred and claim those who attempt to remove them will fall prey to the evils of the sea. A hike over aging bridges, through mango swamps, salt water pools, overgrown vegetation and a 500 metre salt water channel, mid calf deep with low tide, lead us to an islet. We lowered ourselves down a shallow rock face to a small cave where the red prawns often take refuse until a gifted member of the Narwani clan sings a solemn calling song summoning them into
the open lava rock pool. Traditionally, gifted natives call for sea turtles, sharks and other sea life during practiced rituals. We left Suva Suva to join our Blue Water Rally friends on Malolo Leilei Island located in the Mamanuca Islands about 15 km west of the large island of Viti Levu. The group of twenty islands, mostly of volcanic origin and now blanketed in greenery amidst crystal turquoise waters, sit on the North Western limit of Fiji and are exposed to open sea allowing a north swell to ruin a night’s sleep if you do not tuck into a protected bay. Musket Cove, located inside the barrier reef, is one of the safest and most sheltered bays in the Mamanuca’s and sits amongst several smaller reefs lying incognito like land mines in an unsuspecting field. In the approach to Malolo Island, we sailed within close proximity of several surrounding islands watching waves break over an assortment of reefs while our charts indicated there were far more coral impediments than what we could visualize. Amongst the small islands there are few international navigational markers and we found only current mangled, windblown naked sticks lying at an assortment of angles, some adorned with bundles of upright branches with a sort of army brush-cut appearance. We learned later, the upside down bristle broom look were taboo markers erected by natives indicating areas of native fishing rights. There’s not much chance anyone would try to approach Musket Cove after sunset, not even the Malolo ferry runs after dark, but if you did attempt it, using the present navigational leading lights you would find yourself high and dry on the sandy extremity of Malolo Leilei Island, as the lights were reportedly never installed in proper alignment. Well I guess all would not be for lost, as you would be beached only metres from the Four Dollar Bar. Moorings are available outside Musket Cove as an alternative to tying to dock inside the cove or hanging out for the arrival of high tide in order to navigate >
LEFT: Anchored alongside a fellow Oyster in Musket Cove ABOVE: One of the village children, Namara
Fiji, Land of Friendy People and Beautiful Cruising Grounds continued
The sparkle of the night sky persuades you to believe there are no worries in the world. It is a place where just by being there is an euphoric experience.
the incoming channel. Even at high tide we had only inches to spare beneath our 2.4 metre keel. Docks? When had we last been to a dock? From the city wharf in Tahiti, we had visited the French Polynesian Islands, Mourea, Huanine, Raiatea, Bora Bora and tied our stern to a deep cement wall in the small fishing boat harbour in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. With only moorings available in Niue and Tonga, it had been several months since we had seen the luxury of a dock. A number of Blue Water Rally members had arrived before us, their boats tide stern-to just footsteps from the Four Dollar Bar. Their circumnavigation schedule allowed them to stay three weeks in the cove. As for us, this was where we said our goodbyes. Not only were we taking a leave from the boat to return to Toronto, but upon our return our plans were to spend more time exploring the southern portion of the South Pacific than the rally schedule would allow. The following spring, after completing our leave in Toronto, we returned to Musket Cove. A coup had taken place since our leave and the new self proclaimed president, Commadore Voreqe Bainimarma, promised a cleaner government. All we know is that we obtained our new cruising permit very quickly without the need to grease any palms.
We fully expected to drive the boat out of the storage hurricane hole and turn the bow towards the outward islands in quest of new adventure. Our good intentions however were marred by the knowledge that the annual sailing regatta was soon to take place at the Cove, a regatta that after 27 years continues to attract reuniting sailing friends from around the world. One older couple from New Zealand had just made their 10th crossing to attend this year’s regatta and later in the week when they held a wet t-shirt contest, she was front and centre with a bevy of others males. With great hesitancy, we deferred our departure and stayed on for the events. It was one of the best decisions we ever made. Musket Cove is a haven for sailors passing through the tropical South Pacific. Often after arriving in such a welcoming haven, some never really venture far, perhaps a circuit to Tonga, New Zealand and back, but always back. Here at the Cove you will find yachtsman from all over the world and I have heard it said by those who have already completed a circumnavigation and returned to the Cove for a second time, that the Cove is a unique place in the world for sailors. It may surprise you to know that sailors are not always welcomed to drop anchor at every resort. In all fairness, we tend to be a casual lot, often not possessing resort wear and can appear, well, unkempt at times. OK, we can look downright scruffy, so there I’ve said it.
But at Musket Cove, owner Dick Smith offers his entire resort including restaurant and swimming pool to all transient sea going bums. Dick knows the needs of a seaman and provides his blue water visitors with their own island affectionately called Dick’s Island. He has furnished it with picnic tables, wood burning barbecues and a thatched roofed outdoor bar known as the 3 Dollar bar, (which by the time we had returned from Toronto was the 4 Dollar bar), and every evening when sailors get together for a sundowner and cook out, many of the inquisitive resort guests join the scruffy lot for some down to earth seafaring talk and a good drink to boot. The bar celebrates Sunday night as ‘mates night off’, and offers pre-cooked baked potatoes, pasta and green salads at a reasonable price to accompany whatever you are flaming over the barbecue. Every night the resort supplies the dinner ware, napkins, and condiments to use at the picnic tables. It seems too good to be true. God Bless owner Dick Smith who once was a sailor. With lit torches and beating of the Lali drums the regatta festivities began. Pirates Day initiated a boat race to Beachcomber Island; the rules of the race – get there any way you can! Participating boats soon found themselves in friendly battle hurling water balloons, tomatoes, and biodegradable toilet tissue. Hobby Cat races, barbecues, dress your boat day, dress your man for drag night, and a pig on the spit feast were all part of the finale. It was all great fun and when it was over, we left on a high morning tide and ventured into the Yasawa islands. The Yasawas’ are a long chain of islands and islets, some so close together you can wade from one to the other, all stretching 80 km into the yonder blue waters of the Pacific. Many are uninhabited. Rimmed with craggy coastlines, bare rocky pinnacles poke skyward through dark lime green foliage. Virgin beaches support numerous bays, inlets and lagoons, some offering good holding for an anchor. An ocean roll from the north can make the small bays lumpy and if dropping a lunch hook is the plan, arriving early to leave early is a good idea as the more protected bays are far and few between.
With few real navigational aids, the occasional bare stick leave the helmsman to ponder which side of the post the hull crushing coral is located. Many of the sticks have been blown off course leaving the dangerous zones naked and now unjustly mark the safe ones and there were times when steering towards the visible whiteness of breaking waves then turning the boat towards the next foamy breaker was the only way to discover a passage through it all. Our fear was to get into the middle of a coral maze and not find our way out so we often used the chart plotters trail marker to visualize where we had come from, causing the computer screen to look more like a plate of spaghetti than an aid. It became important for us to travel when the sun was at its highest in order for one of us to be stationed on the bow pointing out the water covered obstructions. Sometimes my arms would be flailing like I was dancing to the YMCA. The 16-20 volcanic Yasawas’ lie 20 km off the north west of Viti Levu and are a back packer’s haven serviced by a catamaran called the Yasawa Flyer that whisks casual tourists to laid back resorts, some run by local fishing and farming families. The low cost resorts provide dormitory facilities, communal meals, outdoor plumbing, and drinkable rain water. Limited electricity demands the resorts keep in touch with other islands by radio and light disappears with the setting sun. It is a natural haven where coconuts fall out of trees daily, you can easily find a precious beach and the sparkle of the night sky persuades you to believe there are no worries in the world. It is a place where just by being there is an euphoric experience. The miniature islands of Vanua Levu and Navadra are separated only by a narrow passage of water forming a small bay between them. They say you can always expect at least a little roll in this cove but once there, are committed for the night because the distance to the next sheltered island is not reachable by sundown. We were the only boat in the inlet and chose a spot in deep water to drop anchor so as to avoid the abundant soft corals flourishing in an unspoiled undersea garden stretching from shore to camouflaged reef mid bay. The clarity of the water was like a brand new piece of >
LEFT: Musket Cove FAR MIDDLE: A mooring in Suva Suva FAR RIGHT: The annual regatta ceremony
ABOVE: Baccalieu anchored off Dick’s Island
Fiji, Land of Friendy People and Beautiful Cruising Grounds continued
We dinghied ashore that morning to visit the village of Namara where we were met by a child of about three who did not hesitate to help drag our boat onto the beach.
glass and we snorkelled the area discovering colourful coral microbes housing fish so well camouflaged we could not detect them until they moved within their hideaways and others so intensely coloured they might have been painted with a box of florescent crayons. The island, uninhabited except for goats, offered us total privacy. It meant I could shower nakedly carefree off the stern and wind dry on deck with only the goats for company. That was special. Not the goats, the solitude. That night, the almost half moon offered enough light to never let the islands totally disappear, glazing the white reflecting sand beach like a glowing luminescent strip. I could see the black silhouette of a lone goat standing on the narrow peninsula like a black cut out pasted on a piece of art. The following morning we carried on north keeping well out from the neighbouring islands which seemed to magically support trees and shrubs in seemingly invisible soil. It was rolly once we left the anchorage and the smell of lamb shanks stewing in the bread maker below was not as enticing to me as it might have been in steadier seas. Small waves were capped with white and when one hit the side of the boat splashing salt water over the fore deck, Mike grumbled about the salt residue it would leave on our recently washed boat. See, what happens when you stay on land too long?
A little motoring and a little sailing brought us into Blue Lagoon, but not before we almost met with a submerged reef by taking one of those bare reef markers on the wrong side. Besides offering one of the most protected anchorages in the Yasawa Group, Blue Lagoon, offers a casual resort of cottages nestled amongst a forest of coconut trees. Lunch is available to cruisers, and dinner if you are willing to chance your motor prop navigating the shore reef after the sun goes down. You can walk around the island if you time the walk at low tide or take a twenty minute walk across the island on a well worn path used frequently by backpackers staying at a casual resort on the windward side. I loved that walk through the tall grasses, they sway in the breeze like waves rippling through an anchorage and as many times as we have enjoyed spectacular views from hill tops. I never seem to get quite enough of them and always take a moment to inhale the surrounding view; white caps on the windy shore, blue calm in the lee. We decided to leave the bay and go in search of the manta rays at a snorkel sight in Manta Ray Bay four hours away. The morning we left a rain shower was dousing the far end of the island and a double rainbow reached over the islands unimpeded by clouds.
We were first to arrive in the small quiet anchorage but not long after, a second boat then a third and by the following day we had the lime green Awesome party cruiser as a very close neighbor as well as the cruise ship, Spirit of Yasawa. The clipper ship, Spirit of the Pacific was anchored on the far side of one of the passes and as it regularly drove by in close proximity cutting between us and the Awesome, passengers leaned over the side shouting their friendly bulas. I made note that if they came any closer, we should get to know their names. There was a back packers resort located nearby where we attempted to send a fax home and although the fax never got away, the people were so very friendly and tried repeatedly to solve our dilemma. As I sat on the beach waiting for Mike by the dinghy, I was joined by an employee who came to wait for new resort arrivals. She had a name tattooed on her hand that a friend had punched out with a sewing needle. We moved the boat again in search of another resort called ‘Octopus’ that we had learned from other cruisers was worth a stop. The only information we had was that it was located somewhere on the North West corner of Waya Island and we headed the boat in that direction although our electronic charts were pretty useless. Once we arrived, the manager of the Octopus invited us to make use of all the resort amenities while anchored off his shore, swimming pool, beach volley ball, and happy hour each evening. A Fijian lovo feast was being prepared for that evening and a seafood buffet the following night. It sounded like we might never want to leave. But that very night, our first night, the swell came into the open anchorage and rocked us like Ray Charles standing on stage singing, "What I’d Say". The next morning we dragged ourselves away from what could have been a very nice retreat and headed for another bay. When we arrived at our new location we dropped anchor between two islands off the southern shore of Waysasewa Island. There was one other boat in the spacious bay but it left the following morning just after the roosters from all three villages cock-a-doodle-dooed their way into daylight. Each morning vibrated with rooster mania in surround sound but it was actually the beating drums from one
of the villages that woke me, or was it the church bells from the other village? I expect the beating drums woke the roosters or maybe it was the squealing pigs being tormented by the dogs, but it was all before the first light of day break. We dinghied ashore that morning to visit the village of Namara where we were met by a child of about three who did not hesitate to help drag our boat onto the beach. Dry brown kava roots poked out from the newspaper wrapped bundle in my back pack like a dehydrated bouquet of flowers. The island chief was away on other important matters and the daughter of the acting chief invited us into their home. Mike lay the kava at his feet and we sat on the coconut mat in front of him while he ran through the traditional welcome dialogue. We were thankful he skipped the part about sharing the kava root with us. We spent four nights anchored off the island; we toured the boarding school where approximately 70 children, most from neighbouring islands attend grades one to eight. Parents of the boarding children pay two dollars per semester per child and pay for the pickup and drop off of the children by local boats on weekends. The children of various ages slept in a two room brightly painted dormitory, one room for boys and a separate one for girls. If they had diesel for their generator, lights stayed on until 8pm. The weekly rugby match was to take place across the bay in another village. Although Anita, the kindergarten teacher had a fear of drowning, she requested that we take her and her two children to the match. She had never been across the bay before and I guess felt safer in our dinghy than in the small village long boat that over flowed with twelve rugby players and a few local fans. The following day, we pulled our dinghy away from the village shore for the last time. A young boy whom I had not met before was standing knee deep in water helping a fisherman shove his long boat out to sea. Asking my name, he stretched his hand towards me and presented me with a small beautiful highly polished shell. "Here, you can have this, he said with a smile". Eeli and I knew each other for no more than sixty seconds and yet I shall never forget his friendship or the unselfish kindness of the Fijians.
FAR LEFT: Village children lend a helping hand, Namara FAR RIGHT: The Volcanic Yaswaras’ islands
ABOVE: Namari school children
Countdown to Qingdao and the Beijing Paralympics Cowes 2 Sail Open Regatta As we had no more international competitions scheduled before the Paralympic Games, Team Oyster decided to create our own regatta. Enlisting the help of long time Sonar sailor, Andy Cassels and the Cowes Corinthian Yacht club, we got a fleet of seven boats to join in, including the Irish and Norwegian teams and, the current Paralympic Gold medallists, the Israeli team. We also invited some able bodied sailors, including our long time tuning crew of Dan Parsons, Jon Waite and Joe Erskine. All in all we had four days of great competitive racing. In the end it came down to the last race between Team Oyster and the Norwegian team. Going into the last race on equal points is something we have been discussing recently as a possible scenario for the Games so to have some first hand expereince in Cowes was brilliant. Following a textbook start we covered the Norwegians all the way for two laps of the course, putting us last and last but one. Then on the final lap we sailed them to the wrong side of the course and split with them to what we knew was the favoured side. In the end we even managed a last race win, leaving the Norwegians fighting it out at the back. So Team Oyster took the title with our tuning crew coming in a very credible 4th. Great job boys! A huge thank you to the Cowes Corinthian Yacht club especially Debbie Macdonald for all their help with the organisation. Finally thank you to Andy Cassels and your Foundation for the loan of charter boats and the fantastic prize-giving dinner!
Irish 2 Sail Open Regatta Following our regatta in Cowes, the Irish team decided to host a similar event in Kinsale, Cork. Loading up two boats, six sailors and one coach, Team Oyster took to the road once more. A special thank you must go to our driver, Steve Wood, for the two trips all the way from our
Photo: Liz Harrison
warehouse in Colchester to Ireland – it’s a pretty long way, and we really appreciate how much effort it takes to get two boats and all the kit that we carry around to the various venues! We welcomed Martin Boatman to the team for the first time, taking over from Dan on the helm. All in all it was a great regatta with the Australians making the long journey over together with the Norwegians and of course the Irish! Nine boats took to the water from the stunning Kinsale Yacht Club and made for some incredibly tight racing in conditions not that dissimilar to those we might find in Qingdao. With nine races scheduled over three days we had some very long days on the water but it was well worth all the effort. Martin and the boys must be congratulated on their brilliant sailing – they came away to take the title and gave us some well-deserved grief around the racecourse. We finished 2nd, 16 points clear of our old rivals the Norwegians.
It sent a great message to all of our Paralympic competitors, as effectively it was the British that came out on top once again. Things are certainly looking up and finally all those long hours on the water are starting to stick. We fly out to Qingdao on August 21 with our tuning crew. Let’s hope the outstanding Olympic sailing success rubs off on us! So the waiting is almost over and my next report will tell the whole story of our Paralympic regatta. Without all the support over many, many years from Richard, Oyster and a number of Oyster owners there would be no story to tell so a big thank you to you all.
Oysters at the 2008 Autumn Boat Shows The boat show season is now upon us and as always we extend a very warm welcome to you to visit us and see some of the newest Oysters afloat, kindly loaned to us for the shows by their owners. Because we can only accommodate so many people on board at any one time and because we want you to enjoy your visit, without the yacht being overcrowded, we do operate an appointment system at all boat shows. You can book an appointment to view our yachts by completing the online Boarding Pass request form on our website at www.oystermarine.com or by calling our sales team direct: UK/EUROPEAN SHOWS USA SHOWS
+44 (0) 1473 688888 +1 401 846 7400
CANNES 10 - 15 September Oyster 655
GENOA 4 – 12 October Oyster 655
NEWPORT (USA) 11 - 14 September Oyster 46 Oyster LD43
ANNAPOLIS SAILBOAT 9 - 13 October Oyster 46 Oyster 82
SOUTHAMPTON 12 – 21 September Oyster 54 Oyster 56 Oyster 82 Oyster LD43
ANNAPOLIS POWERBOAT 16 – 19 October Oyster LD43
MONACO 24 – 27 September (Oyster Superyachts Booth)
HAMBURG 25 October – 2 November Oyster 54 FORT LAUDERDALE 30 October - 3 November (Oyster Superyachts Booth)
Buy tickets for the Southampton Boat Show online and help the Ellen MacArthur Trust Buying your tickets to the Southampton Boat Show via the Oyster website saves you money on the gate price and ensures you fast access to the show without queuing on your arrival. But even better, Oyster will make a donation to the value of 10% of all tickets purchased via our website to the Ellen MacArthur Trust. Tickets can be posted to you or you can print your own tickets to take to the show with you. www.oystermarine.com
Up to date details about boat shows, how to make appointments, buy tickets and general visitor information about each show can be found on our website at www.oystermarine.com
Mike Wallace is Optimistic By Roger Vaughan
One of the boats at the spring Oyster regatta in the BVI was the Oyster 53 Arbella belonging to Mike and Vicki Wallace from Annapolis, Maryland, USA. The Wallaces, with their old friends Jeri and Stan Jakopin, from Chicago, and Vicki’s sister Johanne Hainz in from Florida, were gathered around a table on the second floor of Quito’s beach bar and restaurant on Tortola’s Cane Garden Bay, having a late lunch. The view was spectacular. Looking west, the island of Jost Van Dyke simmered in the mid-afternoon sun. A tape of Quito Rymer’s reggae tunes was quietly rocking the place. Over cold Carib beers and jerk chicken, the Arbella crew was animatedly replaying the day’s race around Peter and Norman Islands. There was lots to talk about because it had been the Wallace’s very first race. They’d been game, but admittedly nervous when a guest helmsman had taken the boat into the pre-start fray. A couple of times Vicki had covered her eyes. Mike had then steered most of the race with good concentration. It was clear he was excited about being on the learning curve.
TOP: Arbella during the Oyster BVI Regatta 2008 MIDDLE: Mike aged 25 aboard U.S.S. Thomas Jefferson (SSBN 618), polaris missile submarine, 1972 BOTTOM: Mike and Vicky Wallace and crew, Pirates Party, Oyster BVI Regatta 2008
A gregarious couple, the Wallaces were dashingly costumed for the pirate party at Pirates Bight. And Mike was seen jogging on Virgin Gorda’s steep roads. Wallace ran the Chicago Marathon in 2001, the Marine Corps Marathon in 2002 and again in 2007, the latter two weeks after his 60th birthday just to see if he could do it (he could). But in between races, drinks parties, dinners, and workouts, he was seldom seen.
He was working. Officially, he was on vacation, but Wallace is so involved in the nuclear power industry that he simply has to be available part of every day. There was one phone call in particular he was waiting for. As luck would have it, it came on the regatta lay day, a full working day for Wallace. It was from the White House staff calling for the President of the United States, confirming Wallace’s special appointment to the National Infrastructure Advisory Council. Under the Office of Homeland Security, NIAC provides the President with advice on the security of the "critical infrastructure sectors and their information systems." There are 18 infrastructure sectors in the United States. Of those, the nuclear sector holds the highest security priority. Wallace’s appointment to NAIC – one of 30 members (he was sworn in on July 8, 2008) – is the result of his dedication to nuclear energy security over the last seven years. He says safety comes naturally to him. "I’m one of those guys who takes out the information card on an airplane and reads it, plays out escape scenarios," he says. "I want the knowledge to act responsibly if I have to." The bureaucracy of nuclear security is as thick and complex as the walls of a reactor, and Wallace has run the gamut. He’s been chairman of the Security Working Group that represents the 104 reactors operating in the US. He’s been chairman of the Nuclear Sector Coordinating Council, that includes everything nuclear (reactors, fuel fabricators, the radioisotope community,
research and testing of reactors). Above that is the Partnership for Critical Infrastructure Security, where he is Chairman Emeritus and member of the board. PCIS is made up of the heads of each of those 15 infrastructure sectors mentioned above. But all that is extra-curricular activity. Wallace’s day job is Vice Chairman of Constellation Energy, located in Baltimore, Maryland, and President and CEO of Constellation Energy’s Nuclear Group. As such, he is in the vanguard of the nuclear renaissance in the United States. At age 60, when many executives are preparing for retirement, Wallace has increased the pace a couple notches. Eighty hour weeks are common. Mike Wallace is one of four brothers who were raised in the Irish neighbourhoods of Chicago on a shoestring by their mother after their father died when Mike was 12. "That caused me to move into an independent role rather quickly," Wallace says. "We were scrappy Irish brothers. I didn’t lead them, exactly, but I was the oldest." There was no money for college, but in high school Wallace learned he could get an ROTC scholarship. He took the test, passed the physical, and selected
Marquette University. Working summers, he made enough money to pay room and board. "When my next brother came along I said look, this isn’t too hard. He passed the test, passed the physical, went to the University of Illinois. The third brother was two years behind. He didn’t get a scholarship, but we helped him. Same with the youngest." Sitting in the library of his expansive house on one of Annapolis’ many creeks, Wallace says that early independence and responsibility laid the foundation for his ability to work with people, and his uncommon leadership skills. "I have a strong confidence in myself," he says. "I’m comfortable with what I can do. There’s a lot I don’t know, but not much I can’t do." One only had to remember the way he took to that first race in the BVI to believe him. An electrical engineering candidate at Marquette, he was attracted to nuclear energy junior year when he took the introductory course. Wallace owed the Navy five years, and with nuclearpowered submarines on the prowl since 1955, when Nautilus was launched, he thought nuclear would be an intriguing way to go. >
Mike Wallace is Optimistic continued
I respected the sea, but was confident I could be safe and function on and under the sea. I never once had any fear of sailing.
After graduation in 1969, he spent six months in a classroom at Mare Island, California, and six months ‘sailing’ a land-based, fully-functional Nautilus-type submarine powered by a nuclear reactor. His first floating assignment was the Thomas Jefferson, a ballistic missile submarine. His executive officer was Zack Pate, founder and chairman emeritus of the World Association of Nuclear Operators. Pate honed his life-long dedication to nuclear safety working as assistant to Admiral Hyman Rickover, the father of the nuclear Navy. Pate says he knew very quickly the new junior officer aboard Thomas Jefferson was a cut above the rest. "Mike was always thoughtful about what he was doing," Pate says. "And very good with people, fair-minded. He was always thinking beyond where most people think. He was an inquisitive, open-minded person and had the respect of those who worked for him."
TOP: Arbella during the Oyster BVI Regatta 2008 MIDDLE: Mike aged 25 aboard U.S.S. Thomas Jefferson (SSBN 618), polaris missile submarine, 1972 BOTTOM: Mike and Vicki Wallace onboard Arbella during passage from Bahamas to Annapolis, 2004
When he left the Navy in 1974, Wallace joined Commonwealth Edison in Chicago, setting his sights on the highest-flying nuclear project in the private sector that had government funding: the "breeder" reactor at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Breeder reactors generate new fissionable material faster than they consume it. The breeder technology was impressive – it still is – but Oak Ridge turned out to be a political football. With cost overruns over the roof, and President Jimmy Carter concerned about the plutonium produced by the reactor leading to accusations of nuclear weapons proliferation, the Oak Ridge project was finally cancelled in 1982. But the two-and-a-half years he spent working at Oak Ridge were educational for Mike Wallace, both technically and politically.
He returned to Chicago, working at ComEd during the day, and attending University of Chicago at night for his MBA (in finance). The day job involved two nuclear plant construction projects in Illinois: Byron in Rockford, and Braidwood in Joliet. That’s where Jim Walkington first met Mike Wallace. Walkington is currently Senior Vice President (Finance and Administration) for Constellation Energy’s Nuclear Group. In 1975, he was crunching numbers for the construction of Byron and Braidwood. "Mike’s the reason I’m here in Baltimore," Walkington says. "He’s quite the visionary. He’s always been in the forefront of the US nuclear power initiative. Others have jumped in, but he was the one who saw the need on the horizon in 1975 when we were building plants. The energy business is run by engineers and financial people. Leadership tends to be left brain, technically oriented. His innovative management style sets him apart." Mike had ideas he wanted to try. He was casting about for a more exciting job when ComEd asked him to manage one of its fossil (coal) fuel plants that needed a turnaround. Wallace thought that would look good on his resume, so he agreed. Then he realized he had no idea how a fossil plant works. "I’d never even been in a plant," he says. "I always wondered how the coal transmitted its heat energy into the water that would run the turbine. I had no text book or real experience. I had to call a friend and ask him what I should wear!" Wallace’s first day of work at the fossil plant is an example of what Zack Pate is talking about. Wallace is disarmingly forthright, whether or not the facts are in his favour. One learns that what you see is what you get from him. "The various department heads gathered in my office for their daily orders," Wallace recalls. "I said to them, I’m not going to tell you
what to do, I don’t know how this plant operates, I’m sure you guys do, and can tell each other what to do. But I do know about people and building teams, and organization, so maybe that will be helpful. But I’m going to learn more from you than you’ll learn from me. That was the start of a fabulous relationship," Wallace says. "I learned a lot, and I know I made a difference." About that time (March 1979), the reactor at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in Pennsylvania established a prominent spot in America’s history of catastrophe with a reactor core melt down. A combination of equipment malfunctions, design-related problems, and worker errors caused what was categorized at the time as the most serious of accidents. But the walls of the core were not breached. There were no deaths or even injuries to plant workers or members of the community. Under the gun, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission reacted with a series of policy revisions that staggered the nuclear power industry. Since the Three Mile Island melt down in 1979, not one license has been issued for the construction of a new nuclear plant in the United States.
Several new plants had been licensed and were under construction at the time of Three Mile Island. Many were never completed, testament to the extreme difficulty caused by the Regulatory Commission’s frequent, confounding, and costly re-readings of rules and codes. Byron and Braidwood were two of the plants in various stages of construction. Given Wallace’s experience in the initial stages of those plants, Commonwealth Edison assigned him as project manager of both in 1982. It was perhaps a bit more excitement than he’d been looking for. Wallace was suddenly in charge of a work force as large as 7300 for six years during nuclear energy’s most trying time. When the two Illinois plants were nearly completed (April, 1986), the reactor at Chernobyl in the Ukraine exploded, killing 50 people immediately, thousands more from radiation, and spreading thirty to forty times the fallout that occurred after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was nuclear power’s worst day. "I was horrified, but not surprised," Wallace says. "My submarine experience gave me a perspective on how Russian nuclear submarines were designed and operated, with a low concern for human >
Mike Wallace is Optimistic continued
life, with lack of respect for nuclear safety. Chernobyl was an accident waiting to happen."
We started looking at Oysters in 1995, when we saw photographs in Cruising World. Vicki saw all those windows and said now that’s a boat I could live on. We were so impressed by the craftsmanship that went into the boat, the decking, woodwork, panelling. It was incredible.
TOP: Close racing between Arbella and the Oyster 66 Avolare during the Oyster BVI Regatta 2008 MIDDLE: The crew aboard Arbella, BVI Regatta 2008 BOTTOM: The Wallace family onboard Arbella during passage from Bahamas to Annapolis, 2004
In 1998 Wallace resigned as ComEd Senior Vice President to co-found a niche investment banking firm in the energy sector. Called Barrington Energy Partners, Wallace guided the new company into taking advantage of acquisitions triggered by the deregulation of energy that was beginning on a state-by-state basis. It was a good call. The company grew from the two founding partners to a talent pool of 18 experts in all phases of energy in just 15 months. Barrington’s clients were major utilities in the US. Among them was Constellation Energy. Just a year into Barrington Energy, Wallace did something he’d been looking forward to for some time: he bought his second sail boat, an Oyster 53. The only other boat he’d owned was a Sunfish. Mike Wallace remembers the first time he went sailing as if it were yesterday, perhaps because he very nearly died. He was 19, spending the summer of his sophomore year in Corpus Christi, Texas, going through Naval aviation as part of ROTC training. One Saturday his roommate, another Marquette student, suggested they go sailing. It sounded like fun. They went to the harbour and signed out a Sunfish from Navy Special Services. They picked up a third guy along the way. Off they went, the three of them crammed onto the 14-foot, minimalist boat, with no life jackets. Roommate practiced a few tacks in the harbour, then confidently sailed through the breakwater into the Gulf of Mexico. The onshore breeze was building. An hour or so later, with land fast disappearing, Wallace recalls suggesting they turn back. Roommate tried several times, but failed when the strong wind got behind the overloaded boat and kept rolling it over. Finally, Roommate
suggested it would help if one of them got off. The third guy was shivering with cold, so Wallace jumped in the water. To this day he shakes his head about doing that. His pals continued upwind, and capsized every time they tried to turn back. "I could only see them part of the time as I bobbed in the waves," Wallace says. "Finally they gave up and took the sail down. They disappeared." He treaded water for three and a half hours before a Special Services launch found him. "I was in the best shape of my life, and I was totally exhausted. I slept for 18 hours." Wallace didn’t sail again for 15 years when he bought, of all things, a Sunfish. When the odd coincidence of that purchase was pointed out, Wallace said it had never occurred to him. "Perhaps part of the reason lies in the submarine training I received along the way," he says. "When I received my dolphins that meant I could drive that war machine, fix it, dive it, surface it. I respected the sea, but was confident I could be safe and function on and under the sea. I never once had any fear of sailing." By 1982 Mike and Vicki were married with two children aged 8 and 10. He taught himself to sail on the lake across the street from their house in Arlington Heights, IL. The family spent summer weekends visiting lakes in Michigan and Wisconsin with the boat strapped to the back of their camper and they all caught the sailing bug. A few years later, Vicki surprised Mike by chartering a 25-foot Catalina on Lake Winnebago, in Wisconsin. "I went into the office where they asked for my sailing resume," Mike says. "I said I didn’t have one, but that I was a Navy officer for five years. The guy said that covered it, and took us out for a trial run. I told my son Shawn, who has a photographic memory,
to remember everything he did. Later we took the boat out into the lake, dropped the anchor, and got out a book we had called How to Sail. It was my first time on a sailboat with rigging." Wallace sailed with a friend on his Morgan 45, chartered in the Caribbean a number of times, took the Annapolis Sailing Course for bareboat chartering in 1990, and signed a contract with Richard Matthews for the Oyster 53 at the Annapolis Boat Show in 1999. "We started looking at Oysters in 1995," Wallace says, "when we saw photographs in Cruising World. Vicki saw all those windows and said now that’s a boat I could live on. A friend had a Hinckley 60, a beautiful boat, but with no deck saloon so it was dark below." The Wallaces made their first trip to Oyster in 1996. Today they call it their Oyster Adventure. "We didn’t know if we could ever afford one, but we could dream, we could start down the path." Mike says. They visited Fox’s Marina, Landamores, and Windboats. They made five trips once the boat was in construction, always adding a couple of extra days to tour the English countryside. "We liked our Oyster
Adventure," Mike says, "because at the end of the day if Barrington Energy went south and we had to sell the boat before it got finished, we were at least going to enjoy the trip along the way. And we were so impressed by the craftsmanship that went into the boat, the decking, woodwork, panelling. It was incredible. Even if we could only afford to own it for a while, what a great experience it would be." Unlike most Oyster buyers who suffer through the two-year wait, Wallace put a delay on construction. He didn’t want the boat until April, 2003, when he and Vicki planned to go sailing for eighteen months. Then in 2001, just as initial work began on Arbella, Wallace got a call from Constellation asking him to come in and run the Nuclear Group. His initial reaction: been there, done that. "But Vicki and I talked, and we thought how bad can this be? We can take the offer, sell our interest in Barrington, move to Annapolis and live on tidal waters, take delivery of the boat, work another year, and then go sailing." It sounds glib, but what really drives Mike Wallace is a personal obligation to give back. Both Mike and Vicki are Marquette graduates, where the philosophy embedded is excellence, >
Mike Wallace is Optimistic continued
To sail with our adult kids, who learned on a Sunfish and chartered with us all over the Caribbean, was priceless," Mike says. "It was a life bonding experience for all of us. For those six days the world really was our Oyster.
faith, leadership, and service. They are both strong believers in a Jesuit education. "There’s an old saying, to whom much is given, much is expected," Wallace says. "Vicki and I are so blessed. Life has been good. I feel obligated to use whatever I have that is helpful." Wallace signed a three year contract with Constellation and became responsible for 78 electric generating units (three of them nuclear) and 4000 employees stretching from California to Pennsylvania. He bought additional units, finished others under construction, and that three-year contract is now in its seventh year. His participation in the network of national nuclear security organizations began about the same time. He has no regrets. "I love what I’m doing," he says. "But `satisfaction’ doesn’t describe it. I’m caught by a sense of responsibility to make a difference if I can. Not to be soapy, but it’s for the good of the country. If I can help make nuclear power a reality, I don’t want to leave the business sooner than I have confidence that’s happened." Wallace’s, and Constellation’s, most significant project is the plan for Unit #3, a brand new, 1600-megawatt reactor at Maryland’s nuclear plant at Calvert Cliffs, on Chesapeake Bay. It would be one of the biggest reactors in the world. Wallace predicts they will break ground for Unit #3 in the first quarter of 2009, and have the plant operational in 2016. If he’s right, it will be the first new nuclear plant built in America in 30 years. Thanks in part to global warming, and the urgent need to control carbon emissions, several leading environmentalists have come over to nuclear power.
Former critic, Dr. Patrick Moore, a founder of Green Peace, is now a nuclear proponent, and friend of Wallace’s. James Lovelock, the British biologist who is considered a world leader in environmental consciousness, has stated: "There is no sensible alternative to nuclear power if we are to sustain civilization." Public perception about the horrors of radioactivity has been tempered by statements like Lovelock’s, and calmed by millions of accident-free hours of 104 U.S. plants, and many more abroad. Mayo Shattuck, CEO, President, and Chairman of Constellation Energy, says nuclear energy is about anticipating what can go wrong. "This is an industry where most of the focus is inside the box, literally and figuratively," Shattuck says. "And Mike Wallace is one of the most prominent managers and leaders in this world. He’s one of the last people in the business who built plants 30 years ago. Mike is a crusader in the development of new nuclear options. If we are successful building a new nuclear plant in the United States, that will be an incredible legacy for Mike Wallace." In 2006, all the Wallaces – Mike, Vicki, son Shawn (32), and daughter Amy (30) – made a six-day passage on Arbella from the Abacos to Annapolis. "To sail with our adult kids, who learned on a Sunfish and chartered with us all over the Caribbean, was priceless," Mike says. "It was a life bonding experience for all of us. For those six days the world really was our Oyster." When Unit #3 becomes a done deal, you can bet Mike and Vicki Wallace will go sailing. He’s optimistic about it.
Coming Up R E G A T TA S • E V E N T S • PA R T I E S With just weeks to the start of our 2008 Palma Regatta, planning is already underway for our 2009 events and dates are confirmed for our Antigua Regatta as 13-18 April 2009. Later in 2009, there will be another Mediterranean based event – details to be announced. Owners and crews can look forward to some great racing and plenty of parties! We look forward to seeing you.
PALMA 2009 PROGRAMME TUESDAY 30 SEPTEMBER • The Oyster fleet arrives at Real Club Nautico, Palma • Registration and Skippers’ Briefing • Drinks Party and Barbecue on the terrace at Real Club Nautico WEDNESDAY 1 OCTOBER – SPONSORED BY LEWMAR • Race 1 and Race 2 in the Bay of Palma • Drinks Party and Dinner at Virtual Beach Club, Calvia THURSDAY 2 OCTOBER – SPONSORED BY RAYMARINE • Race 3 to the National Park of Cabrera, where the fleet will anchor overnight • Drinks party at the beach bar FRIDAY 3 OCTOBER – SPONSORED BY DOLPHIN SAILS • Race 4 back to Palma and Real Club Nautico • Drinks Party and Dinner at the atmospheric Pueblo Espanol SATURDAY 4 OCTOBER – SPONSORED BY PANTAENIUS • Race 5 in the Bay of Palma • Prizegiving Party and Dinner at the 17th century manor, Casa Font Seca
OWNERS DINNER – Royal Yacht Squadron
13 September 2008
OYSTER REGATTA – Palma
4 September - 30 October 2008
OWNERS DINNER – Royal Thames Yacht Club 10 January 2009 OYSTER REGATTA – Antigua
13-18 April 2009
OYSTER REGATTA – Mediterranean
2009 - To be announced
For more details about Oyster regattas and events see our website at ww.oystermartine.com or contact Liz Whitman at email@example.com
THE CHOICE OF OYSTER MARINE
OYSTER COWES REGATTA 2008 CLASS 1 1st Starry Night 2nd Sotto Vento 4th Saba of Hamble CLASS 2 1st Jubilate 4th Wanderer
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Just Launched A selection of recent Oyster launchings
OYSTER 56 ASTAHAYA
OYSTER 56 SKYCLAD
Tom Howard and Christian Figenschau’s new Oyster 56 Astahaya is a stunning example of the Oyster marque, thanks to Tom and Christian’s interior design experience and meticulous attention to detail. Astahaya has a very customised and contemporary interior, which includes gloss finish to the interior teak woodwork, dark granite work-surfaces and upholstery in charcoal Alcantara. To celebrate the launch of their new yacht, Tom and Christian took the build team from Windboats out for a sail, before entertaining them to lunch at Fox’s Yacht Club. Astahaya’s launch party will take place at the Real Club Nautico in Palma just before the start of the Oyster Regatta.
The new Oyster 56 Skyclad is Vince Dale’s first boat and he has a varied cruising itinerary planned, taking in Turkey, the East Coast of the USA and the Caribbean, although not necessarily in that order! Skyclad will remain in Ipswich a little longer as Dale is currently on an important assignment in Australia where he will be co-piloting The Greenbird in an attempt on a world land speed record (which currently stands at 116.7mph) for a wind-powered vehicle. Skyclad’s cruising chute is painted to match the wing on The Greenbird, so should be an easy one to spot in future Oyster regattas.
OYSTER 56 STARDUST OF BURNHAM OYSTER 46 SEA ROVER
ABOVE FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Tom Howard and Christian Figenschau, Oyster 56, Astahaya Mike and Devala Robinson, Oyster 46, Sea Rover Vince Dales, The Greenbird, powered only by nature Paul Bateman, Oyster 56, Stardust of Burnham John Maxwell, Oyster 655, Solway Mist II Steve and Geraldine Powell, Oyster 62, UHURU FAR RIGHT: Steve and Geraldine Powell, Oyster 62, UHURU
Owners, Mike and Devala Robinson have previously travelled extensively around Africa in a Land Rover, so chose the name Sea Rover for their next big adventure. Sea Rover put in a brief appearance at the recent Oyster Regatta in Cowes, before heading to Guernsey en route to the Canary Islands for the start of the ARC, where she will join a large fleet of Oysters for her transatlantic crossing. Mike and Devala plan to head straight to the Pacific for some ‘extended cruising’ including Easter Island and the Marquesas. Sea Rover was the first Oyster to leave the new Landamores yard earlier this year.
Paul Bateman is an experienced sailor, having owned various sailboats since racing dinghies out of Burnham. He still owns his previous boat, Starlight, a Moody 42 that he bought new 20 years ago, and can’t quite bear to part with. Stardust took part in the Oyster Regatta in Cowes and is another Oyster joining this year’s ARC after which she will make her way to her permanent berth in the warm waters of Barbados.
OYSTER 655 SOLWAY MIST II
OYSTER 62 UHURU
John Maxwell’s Oysters have all been beautifully fitted out and his third Oyster, the new 655 Solway Mist II is no exception with her lovely classic teak interior and cream leather upholstery. Solway Mist II departed Ipswich in May, first stop the Adriatic where she is spending the summer and taking part in the Royal Thames Yacht Club Aeolian Regatta, before joining a fleet of over 30 Oysters, including four other new 655’s, at this year’s Oyster Regatta in Palma. In December, Solway Mist II will feature in a line up of Oysters at the Antigua Charter Show and will be available to charter in the British Virgin Islands through Oyster Yacht Charter.
The Oyster 62 UHURU was handed over to owners Steve and Geraldine Powell in June, just in time to take part in Oyster’s Cowes Regatta, where she was a striking sight with her dark blue hull and bright red ‘Parasailor’ kite. UHURU has caught the regatta bug and will be joining the Oyster Regatta in Palma before heading for the Caribbean with the ARC fleet. Steve’s plans include some adventurous sailing to the Arctic and Antarctic, and with Steve’s background in photography, we look forward to some eye-catching articles for future Oyster News. UHURU is available for charter through Oyster Yacht Charter.
OYSTER 53 AEOLIAN PEARL Owned by Nicholas and Dee Arnold, the new Oyster 53 Aeolian Pearl has spent the summer cruising Portugal and the Mediterranean before she heads off to Las Palmas for the start of this year’s ARC. The Arnold family are looking forward to some Caribbean sailing and we hope to see them at an Oyster regatta before too long.
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