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Contents Issue 67


FROM THE CHAIRMAN Richard Matthews

EDITOR Liz Whitman




THE 2008 FIFE REGATTA Richard Matthews












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: or 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.

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Welcome A Change of Watch It’s late November and by the time you read this, Oyster will have both a new CEO and a new Chairman. I’ve known our new CEO, David Tydeman, for many years. He is a qualified naval architect with an MBA, an experienced businessman, but above all an accomplished yachtsman. Our new Chairman, Richard Winckles, is the Managing Partner of Balmoral Capital, who purchased Oyster from Alan Brook and myself in February. With these guys on watch, Oyster will continue to be in good hands and, in case you are wondering, after 36 years at the tiller,




you will meet us all during the January boat shows or afloat, once the 2009 season gets underway.



I’m staying on as a part time Non-Executive Director. Hopefully


You don’t need me to tell you the economic climate is the most extreme most of us have ever known. A good time to have a healthy order book and a great product range, and happily Oyster has both.



The three ingredients to enjoy quality of life cruising remain the same. The means to buy; the time to enjoy and, above all,





the health and fitness to get out there and do what so many can only dream about. I’ve lived that dream for every one of the last 36 years and, God willing, there are a lot more cruises to be charted yet.

Oystercatcher XXX will be the first Oyster 125 when she is launched in 2011 and I can hardly wait! As usual fair winds and good sailing to all our readers.

Richard Matthews Founder, Oyster Marine

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Newsroundup OYSTER CIRCUMNAVIGATORS As one Oyster sets off on a circumnavigation, another two complete theirs. Mike and Devala Robinson, whose new Oyster 46 Sea Rover was the first boat to be completed at the new Landamore’s yard earlier this year, set out on their circumnavigation from Las Palmas in November in the company of 15 other Oysters and a fleet of over 220 yachts in this year’s ARC. We look forward to hearing from them as they sail around the world. Meanwhile, US owner Peter Graham, who owns the Oyster 61, Royal Leopard, the first of that model to be launched in 1995, has just completed a circumnavigation with his wife and two crew on board. Highlights from the six-year trip include sailing into St Petersburg, Russia and circumnavigating both the North and South Islands of New Zealand. Peter said, "This has been a fantastic adventure, we love our Oyster and wouldn’t consider owning anything else". At the Oyster Regatta in Palma we were honoured to be able to present a special award to Keith and Rosemary Hamilton from Canada, who own the Oyster 62, Carpe Diem. Keith and Rosemary completed a four-year circumnavigation when they arrived at the Real Club Nautico for the start of the Oyster Palma Regatta, having set out from Palma after the Oyster Regatta in 2004.

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TEAM OYSTER… down but certainly not out The culmination of our four years sailing campaign was supposed to lead to gold medal glory for us in the Paralympics sailing venue of Quingdao. The Chinese people were wonderful and gave us everything we needed-except wind! Wind was always going to be in short supply, but this regatta proved to be extremely frustrating for us and many other teams and in the end only six points separated the top seven crews in an 11-race series.

Oyster strengthens European team To deal with growing European interest in Oyster Yachts, Oyster has opened a new office in Hamburg in northern Germany and at the same time strengthened the Oyster team with the addition of two new sales negotiators. We are delighted to welcome Thorsten Flack and and Britta Bunkenburg who have an enormous amount of experience of Oyster yachts and our customer’s expectations. Thorsten and Britta join the Oyster team to deal specifically with the German speaking markets, including those in Austria and Switzerland. Both will be familiar to many Oyster customers, as not only have their family owned an Oyster for several years, but both have worked with Oyster at the various European boat shows for the last 15 years. Britta spent three years in the UK with the Oyster sales team in the early 90’s at the start of her career. Commenting on their appointment, Britta said: "We have so much respect for the Oyster brand and all it stands for and we are thrilled to be joining such a prestigious and progressive company. We look forward to meeting friends old and new at the London and Düsseldorf boat shows."

Things didn’t go right for us and luck just wasn’t on our side. We sailed well at times but with the overall standard of the Sonar fleet having been raised considerably over the past year or so it just wasn’t good enough. We never gave up and when the wind finally arrived on the last day, our 1st and 2nd finishes demonstrated what might have been. We kept fighting right up until the bitter end but finished in a bitterly disappointing 6th place. Our two World Championship wins in 2005 and 2006 and Paralympics Test Event gold medal proved insufficient to keep us ahead when it really mattered. Success breeds success and unfortunately the Paralympics sailors were not able to emulate our Olympic counterparts but we are already putting plans together to continue on towards London 2012. Despite our disappointment, we still have the fire within us to put ourselves through another four years of campaigning both on and off the water. Thank you Oyster, and all the owners who have supported us, for giving us the opportunity of following our dreams. We are sorry not to have delivered in Beijing as we feel we have let everybody down but we have to believe that our time has not arrived. I know 2012 is a long way off, but we’re hoping there will be wind in Weymouth!

OYSTER NEWS PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITION Starting in 2009 we will be running a competition in each issue of Oyster News with a prize for the most interesting, unusual or dramatic location shot featuring an Oyster yacht submitted. The competition is open to Oyster owners and non-owners. Digital photographs need to be in high resolution (at least 300 dpi). Please send in your entries to Rebecca Twiss, contact her for more information:

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For one day a week, in addition to their formal training at College, the apprentices were able to completely strip the interior, cockpit, hull and deck of the boat, draw up plans for a new interior, work out plumbing and electrical layouts and rebuild the yacht. The hull was also sanded down and sprayed using the same system with which Oyster yacht interiors are varnished. The result is a completely refurbished Broads yacht of which all the trainees can be justly proud. Louise is available for the use of the Windboats’ workforce, who are encouraged to take her sailing on the Broads. For details about trainee placement at Windboats please contact Clive Howard at:

Will White

Oyster builder, Windboats, are committed to the training and long term employment of apprentices into the marine industry. Five years ago, recognising the need to introduce a training scheme they began employing young trainees in conjunction with a day release programme run by a local college. To develop their skills in fitting-out, marine engineering and electronics and to enable them to work without direct supervision, Windboats purchased a rather tired 28’ traditional Broads sailing yacht.

Best in show at Annapolis Sailboat Show After twenty-five years, Oyster’s participation at America’s leading sailboat show, has also become something of an institution, more so than any other non-US builder. This year it was a case of little and large, with the Oyster 46 and Oyster 82 on show. The Oyster 82 was the largest new yacht on display and a long line of visitors stretched out along the dock throughout the show. Universal praise "best in show" was the order of the day with visitors giving both Oysters the thumbs up as representing the highest standards of design and build quality. At the annual Oyster Owners’ Party on the Friday evening of the show, Oyster’s founder, Richard Matthews, welcomed a group of about 75 owners, friends and members of the yachting press. With over 20 Oyster yachts represented, some owners had made a special trip from the West Coast to catch up on news and happenings at Oyster.

Oyster Regattas online Log onto where you can see two short films covering all the action on and off the water at the British Virgin Islands and Palma Regattas held earlier this year. Go to Regattas and select DVD’s.

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It is now a long-standing tradition that after ten years service, Oyster staff are rewarded with their own Oyster (of the Rolex variety) and this time it was the turn of US after sales support guru Will White. Will is well known to almost all Oyster’s US owners and appreciated for his experience and hands on approach to after sales service.

Oyster Events 2009 London Boat Show 9 – 18 January London Owners Dinner Royal Thames Yacht Club 10 January Düsseldorf Boat Show 17 – 25 January Strictly Sail Miami 12 – 16 February

High Latitudes High Latitudes, who assisted in preparing the Oyster 72, Billy Budd, for her Arctic expedition, are currently working with two more Oyster owners planning on some remote cruising. As part of Steve Powell’s circumnavigation with his new Oyster 62, UHURU, which will include Cape Horn and Antarctica in 2010. High Latitudes, working with Oyster’s Project Management team, were involved in advising on the specification of the yacht and will be planning the detailed preparations for that passage. Steve was careful to specify that "I do not want an icebreaker, but I want to minimise any risks during the Antarctic leg". The owner of the Oyster 655 Gundamain is keen to spend much of his time exploring remote locations. Plans for the vessel’s first summer season in 2009 include a cruise up the Norwegian coast to the Arctic Islands of Svalbard. Once again, High Latitudes were involved in the specification of the vessel, have recruited the crew for Gundamain and will assist in the management of the vessel after handover. For more information about High Latitudes see:

Moscow International Boat Show 9 – 12 April Oyster Regatta – Antigua 13 – 18 April St Katharine’s Dock Private View 22 – 25 April Palma International Boat Show 24 April – 2 May Orust Open Yard, Sweden 20 – 22 August HISWA In-Water Boat Show 1 – 6 September Norwegian International In-Water Boat Show 3 – 6 September Festival International de la Plaisance, Cannes 9 – 14 September Southampton International Boat Show 11 – 20 September Southampton Owners Dinner 12 September Monaco Yacht Show 23 – 26 September Oyster Regatta – Palma 29 September – 3 October

Retirement for Mike, promotion for Barney We recently said farewell to Mike Mummery, who has retired as Oyster’s Commissioning Manager after ten years loyal service and we wish him a long and very happy retirement. Taking on the challenge of replacing Mike is Barney Sollars, who joined the Oyster commissioning department in 2001 and is already well known to many Oyster owners as he has been responsible for commissioning many of the larger yachts in the Oyster fleet over the last seven years. Barney has over 20 years experience in the marine industry having, amongst other things, served aboard Tate and Lyle’s Thames Sailing Barge, May for five years and skippered Mermerus in the 1998 Clipper Ventures round the world race, finishing fourth, and subsequently managing the Clipper fleet to their next start in 2000.

Hamburg Boat Show 24 October – 1 November Fort Lauderdale Boat Show 29 October – 2 November Barcelona Boat Show 8 November – 16 November ARC Owners Party 19 November ARC Start – Las Palmas 22 November

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The Oyster Regatta Palma 2008

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“Unlike some other regattas where owners and crews are separated ashore, Oyster events embrace everyone as members of the growing

In the best-supported Palma Regatta yet, thirty-four Oyster yachts lined up for the 21st regatta in the Oyster series held between 30 September and 4 October.

Oyster ‘family’.”

Hosted by the Real Club Nautico, Palma, the event was, as usual, run by Oyster’s own team. Event Director Liz Whitman and her capable staff ran the shore-based events, with long serving Joint Managing Director Alan Brook in charge of the racing.


Lots of cleaning and polishing was in evidence as crews prepared for the Concours judging on Tuesday afternoon. It would be fair to say, without exception, every yacht from the brand new 655s to the vintage Holman & Pye 435s were all beautifully turned out. Over the years, many owners have found more pleasure in owning an immaculately maintained twenty-year-old Oyster than a new ‘factory built’ yacht of equivalent value.

John and Sonia Marshall’s Oyster 56, Rock Oyster The Oyster fleet racing past Puerto Portals Evening drinks party at the Virtual Club, Illetas Gerd Koehlmoos’s Oyster 485, Flamenco Some of the Oyster fleet at the Real Club Nautico OPPOSITE: Trevor Silver’s Oyster 655, Roulette

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A show of hands at the Skippers’ Briefing confirmed that the majority of yachts taking part had supported previous Oyster events, nevertheless Oyster founder, Richard Matthews,

gave the now well-rehearsed safety briefing. A reminder to keep a good leeward lookout and bear away early was perhaps all the more poignant following a tragic fatality in the classic fleet racing at Cannes the previous week. Unlike some other regattas where owners and crews are separated ashore, Oyster events embrace everyone as members of the growing Oyster ‘family’. Numbers stretched the logistics and with almost 250 people at the opening party it would be fair to say the facilities of the Real Club Nautico were fully utilised. These gatherings are a good opportunity to make friends, share experiences and chat over cruising adventures past and future. Results are calculated using Oyster’s own handicap system, which takes account of the configuration of each yacht and allows a choice of downwind sails to be declared each day for a small extra handicap. A pro crew factor is applied for those yachts that carry a professional crew for more than one race. After 20 regattas, the Oyster system seems fair, is regularly updated and has produced some very close results.

Wednesday, the first race day, started as forecast with a beautiful but windless morning. Alan Brook wisely held the fleet in port until midday and then sent them out to sea, by which time a building 9-10 knots breeze gave the fleet champagne sailing in the first of two races, a 12-mile triangle around the Bay of Palma. While the larger class one yachts powered ahead, Race 1 definitely went to the very well sailed Oyster 485 Flamenco, owned by Gerd and Anne-Marie Koehlmoos, who stamped her authority on Class 2 to take overall honours and to win her class by a margin. An evening coach trip took us around the Bay of Palma to the cosmopolitan Virtual Club at Illetas for drinks and dinner on a sandy beach with a tropical atmosphere. For those with some energy left after a day on the water, a spectacular natural cave was transformed into a nightclub, where several crews danced the night away. The ‘smart’ prize here went to David Yelloly who cunningly anchored his floodlit Oyster 72, Spirit of Montpelier a hundred yards from the Virtual Club jetty – no coaches or taxis for this crew. >

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“The standard of both starting and boat handling seen in Oyster Regattas has improved greatly in recent years as crews have become keener and more experienced.”

ABOVE: The Oyster 72, Cookielicious, overall winner of Class 1

Thursday’s race to the Cabrera National Park was in doubt due to the possibility of very strong headwinds for the return leg to Palma on the following day. Race Officer Alan Brook gathered all the weather information he could and decided that 20-25 knots would be the most wind the fleet could expect so it was off to Cabrera. The course gave the fleet an upwind start with a good beat to round Isla del Sech before bearing away for a fast beam reach of 22 miles to Cabrera. Champagne sailing for sure, with dolphins playing under the bows of several yachts. Liz Whitman had done well to get permits for every yacht, essential for Cabrera where no anchoring is allowed and there is a strict limit on the tightly controlled official moorings.

OPPOSITE CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: The Oyster fleet anchored off Cabrera David Yelloly’s Oyster 72, Spirit of Montpelier Dick Morgan’s Oyster 655, Blue Destiny Steve Powell’s Oyster 62, UHURU Evening drinks and dinner at Pueblo Española

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Cabrera measures around three by four miles (about 5km x 6.5km). It's a charming rocky island, much frequented by pirates in days of old. On a darker note, it also served as a prisoner-of-war camp during the Napoleonic Wars. Many died on this island during this period. Cabrera is

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beauty incarnate, rich in wildlife and plants, and the island has been a national park since 1991.

200 strong Oyster Regatta contingent having a quiet drink before dining aboard.

The Cabrera anchorage is surrounded by high cliffs and well protected with a dock adjacent to the only civilisation on the island. Apart from the bar, of which more in a moment, the other island attraction is a climb to the top of the ancient castle. The reward for the climb is a commanding view across the anchorage on one side and back across the coast of Mallorca on the other.

Friday’s weather started more or less as forecast with a 10-knot breeze giving the fleet a beat back to the Bay of Palma. Alan Brook started his morning VHF roll call with a happy 80th birthday message for Mike Powell, father of Oyster 62 UHURU owner Steve. With 100 metres of water off Cabrera, Alan solved the start line problem by using Richard Matthew’s Oyster 82, Zig Zag as the pin end with both committee boat and pin holding station under power. In Class 1, the Oyster 72, Spirit of Montpelier got a cracking start hitting the line with a second to spare at full speed hard on the wind. The standard of both starting and boat handling seen in Oyster Regattas has improved greatly in recent years as crews have become keener and more experienced.

Every visitor knows the best bar on the island because the best is also the ‘only’ bar and reminiscent of a Mexican cantina. Until this year the bar was operated by a single ‘gringo’ who somehow managed to serve at the bar single-handed and keep a hundred or so thirsty yachties plied with beer. Never giving change was one way he kept the beer flowing. This year ‘el gringo’ was still in residence but busy playing poker, with two new faces doubling the output across the bar and just able to keep up with the

The wind was expected to head and strengthen during the morning and thankfully it freed enough to allow the fleet >

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“In the sheltered water of the Bay of Palma with the finishing line in sight the conditions were truly exhilarating.”

ABOVE CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Trevor Silver’s Oyster 655, anchored off Cabrera Prize-giving party, Casa font Seca Boyd and Debbie Goldie’s Oyster 49, Zebahdy Dick Long and Janice Wright’s Oyster 49PH, Blue Elixir II, Richard Smith’s Oyster 655, Sotto Vento and Martin Dent’s Oyster 66, Elvis the Gecko Close racing between Oyster 655, Solway Mist II and Oyster 82, Zig Zag OPPOSITE: Robert and Diana Jansen’s Oyster 61, Sydney Rock

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to close reach to the Bay of Palma. By the time the leading yachts approached the Bay in the usual wind shifts and swirls coming off the high headland, the wind has increased to 20 knots true. With sheets just eased, the wind increased with gusts of over 30 knots giving the fleet a final 10-mile blast across the bay of real full throttle sailing. Most yachts with a double reefed main by this time and a few rolls in their headsails were making hull speed which, for the larger class one competitors meant 10-11 knots with sheets just cracked. Windblown spray and judicious easing of mainsheets in the gusts gave everyone a ride to remember. Of course at sea in open water, perhaps dead upwind if the forecast was accurate, would have been a lot less fun but in the sheltered water of the Bay of Palma with the finishing line in sight the conditions were truly exhilarating. That evening crews enjoyed drinks and a splendid dinner within the walls of the ‘old’ Spanish Village or Pueblo Española, an interesting reconstruction of the most

outstanding architectural styles of architecture seen throughout Spain. The final day of the Regatta started with 10-15 knots, but the forecast expected the wind to drop to 5 knots or less by lunchtime. Alan Brook did his best to get the fleet out early and racing eventually got underway at 11:50. Class 2 were clean away, but with pressure mounting for results, several Class 1 yachts were over early. Unusually in Oyster regattas early starters do not return to re-cross the line to minimise the chance of an incident with other yachts. Race instructions call for them to furl sails and stop until released by the Race Officer. In a shifty, fading breeze, yachts without spinnakers or downwind sails struggled and the course was shor tened to finish at Isla del Sech where the fleet rounded the point of the island and ghosted across the line. Every yacht completed the course by which time the Bay of Palma was a glassy calm.

With a record entry, functions ashore were filled to capacity but, despite winds ranging from 2 to 32 knots, every race in the programme was sailed and everyone agreed the racing was great fun and fair. The Royal Thames Yacht Club kindly presented a trophy for the top scoring yacht over both classes and their recently retired flag officer, Andrew Collins, attended the regatta to make the presentation. The Royal Thames also presented a special award to Richard Matthews recognising his contribution to UK yachting with Oyster yachts. Perhaps the most significant award at the prize giving dinner went to Keith and Rosemary Hamilton from Canada recognising their recent completion of a circumnavigation aboard their Oyster 62 Carpe Diem. The Hamiltons join an ever-increasing roll of honour dedicated to the many owners who have sailed around the world in an Oyster. Carpe Diem started her voyage in October 2004 from Palma right after that Oyster Regatta and competed it with participation in this year’s event four years later. >

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CONCOURS D'ELEGANCE CLASS 1 PRESENTED BY OYSTER BROKERAGE CLASS 1 Sydney Rock 61 Robert & Diana Jansen CLASS 1 Rock Oyster 56 John & Sonia Marshall CLASS 2 PRESENTED BY UNDERCOVER CLASS 2 Spirit of Spring 47 CLASS 2 Twice Eleven 435

Stuart & Carolyn Popham David & Tamsin Kidwell


Spirit of Montpelier Solway Mist II Cookielicious Roulette v.2

72 655 72 655

David Yelloly John Maxwell Peter Morris Trevor Silver

CLASS 2 4th 3rd 2nd 1st

Blue Elixir II Boysterous Adinda Pied Beauty Flamenco

49PH 435 435 485

Dick Long & Jan Wright Paul Millham Robin Wilshaw Gerd Koehlmoos

RACE 2 SPONSORED BY LEWMAR CLASS 1 4th Sotto Vento 3rd Roulette v.2 2nd Solway Mist II 1st Cookielicious

655 655 655 72

Richard Smith Trevor Silver John Maxwell Peter Morris

CLASS 2 4th 3rd 2nd 1st

406 435 49PH 435

Richard Weatherhead & Kate Hooker David & Tamsin Kidwell Hans Kampers Paul Millham

Blue Beat Twice Eleven Mareka of Holland Boysterous Adinda

THE LEWMAR TROPHY (combined result of Race 1 and Race 2) CLASS 1 Cookielicious 72 Peter Morris CLASS 2 Boysterous Adinda 435 Paul Millham ABOVE FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: John Maxwell, Solway Mist II with Denette Wilkinson Hans Kampers, Mareka of Holland with Sarah Brooke from Raymarine Dick Morgan, Blue Destiny with Matthew Vincent from Dolphin RIGHT FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: Stuart and Carolyn Popham, Spirit of Spring with Oyster’s Alan Brook

RACE 3 SPONSORED BY RAYMARINE CLASS 1 4th Solway Mist II 655 3rd Carpe Diem 62 2nd Sotto Vento 655 1st Cookielicious 72

John Maxwell Keith & Rosemary Hamilton Richard Smith Peter Morris

CLASS 2 4th 3rd 2nd 1st

David & Tamsin Kidwell Robin Wilshaw Hans Kampers Paul Millham

Gerd Koehlmoos, Flamenco Pia Schulte, Anabasis winner of youngest and bravest participant Peter Morris and crew, Cookielicious, winner of Class 1 Robin Wilshaw, Pied Beauty, winner of Class 2

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Twice Eleven Pied Beauty Mareka of Holland Boysterous Adinda

435 435 49PH 435

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Oceana is a leading organisation that campaigns to protect and restore the world’s oceans and the people and creatures that depend on them, an issue that is of interest and concern to all yachtsmen. In 2006, an international team of scientists assessed the state of the world’s oceans in an article that was published in Science. Their findings had the ring of the apocalyptic: Nearly a third of the world’s commercial fisheries had already collapsed. And if trends were allowed to continue, all the world’s fisheries would collapse by mid-century.

by Andre w Sharpless CEO, Oceana

This is a serious problem for the world because a billion people turn to the seas for protein. Hundreds of millions of people rely on an abundant ocean for their livelihoods. Countless coastal villages, some quite remote, will become ghost towns if the oceans collapse. And of course there are many wonderful wild ocean creatures – whales and dolphins just the celebrities among them – that do not deserve to be hunted to virtual extinction. Practical people want to work on problems that are solvable. And many people assume that saving the oceans is impossible. Let me give you some very good news: Restoring abundant oceans is the most solvable global ecological challenge that we face. And we can get it done in our lifetimes. Why? Discouragement is rooted in several fundamental misconceptions about the causes of the problem.

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O C E A NA p r o t e c t i n g t h e w o r l d ’s o c e a n s

First, people assume that ocean collapse is driven by pollution. That’s discouraging, because pollution is difficult to prevent. For example, oil and mercury pollution of the oceans is a consequence of things that people want and need – for example, gas in their cars, electricity to their homes. The good news is that most of the collapses in ocean fisheries are not caused by pollution. They are instead caused by shortsighted commercial fishing practices that include overfishing, habitat destruction and high levels of bycatch. These are fixable problems. We know what to do. We just need to get the government officials who set the rules for commercial fishing to do a better job. Second, people assume that international action is required to save the oceans. Because vast parts of the oceans are beyond the reach of any one country, one naturally assumes that ocean protection requires action by the United Nations or other international treaty bodies. That’s discouraging too because, sadly, the track record of many such bodies is long on words and short on results. The good news is that many of the most ecologically and commercially valuable parts of the ocean are coastal. Shallower coastal waters produce more productive marine environments. In the 1980s, the nations of the world took control of their coastal oceans out to a distance of 200 nautical miles. That means that you can protect much of what is most important in the ocean by national action. Third, people assume that fish farming is a solution to overfishing. The facts are that it depends what fish you are farming. If you’re farming a fish that eats fish, then

aquaculture does not reduce the pressure on the wild ocean ecosystem – in fact, quite the reverse. Salmon farmers need at least three pounds of wild-caught fish to produce one pound of salmon. On the other hand, if you are farming a fish that eats vegetable protein, then with appropriate safeguards (on use of pesticides and antibiotics, for example), such a fish farm can indeed contribute to solving the problem of ocean depletion. Ocean ecosystems are generally quite resilient. While there are distressing exceptions – the collapse of the Atlantic cod fishery off Canada is a vivid one – fisheries will rebound if managers enforce scientifically sound quotas, protect habitat and reduce bycatch. One example: during World War II, when fishing in the Atlantic dropped off, fishery populations increased dramatically. At Oceana, we make it a practice to give ourselves a limited number of policy objectives – restoring ocean fisheries, for instance – and to hold ourselves accountable for delivering results within three to four years. We resist the tendency to spread ourselves too thinly among too many objectives, doing just enough on everything to lose. And by results, we mean a policy change that will deliver concrete benefits to healthy oceans. We do not mean objectives like "raising consciousness of the problem." Happily, our practical approach has made us very effective in the seven years since our founding. Here’s to an abundant future. For more information please see: Photos: Courtesy of Oceana

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The 2009 Oyster Fleet The 2009 Oyster Fleet comprises a range of modern sailboat designs from 46 to 125 feet, including the new Dubois designed 100 and 125 superyachts, and the new twin-cabin Oyster OM43 motoryachts. Every Oyster is built with blue water live-aboard cruising in mind. Great sailing performance, sea keeping, ergonomically designed cockpits and comfortable, spacious interior layouts come as standard. So too does a host of practical seamanlike features, that make an Oyster an Oyster. Also standard is Oyster's After Sales Support, which our owners tell us is the best in the industry. Regattas and social events around the world encourage camaraderie and make owning an Oyster feel like belonging to a large, but rather special, family.

OYSTER 62 The 62 is an excellent performer, proven by being top cruising yacht in the ARC and winning five firsts at Antigua Sailing Week. Twin wheels give safe and easy deck to cockpit access, while the cockpit itself is easily the best in her size range. Now with her new g5 deck styling she offers an even more striking outboard profile.

OYSTER 655 With her fully-optimised hull lines, long waterline, generous sail plan and Kevlar/carbon hull, the Oyster 655 offers performance, comfort and style in abundance. Below decks, her contemporary, open-plan saloon and U-shaped galley make best use of the yacht’s generous 5.62m beam.


The Oyster 46 has established herself as the quality choice in this popular size range. Her great interior layout, with typical Oyster build quality and her stylish deck, sets her apart. The 46 sails really well and almost certainly has best in class stability for real sail carrying power and comfortable passage making.

Maintaining all the advantages of the proven Deck Saloon, the Oyster 72 has one of the sleekest profiles in the range. A fast cruising yacht with winning ways, the 72, Oystercatcher XXV, won the Rolex/RYS Around the Isle of Wight Race, and several other races overall, proving the yacht’s potential against world-class competition. A look below will show the 72 also offers luxurious live-aboard accommodation.



With hull lines designed by Rob Humphreys and styling and detail from Oyster’s own Design Team, a glance at the 54’s outboard profile confirms that her stunning appearance will be admired around the world’s cruising grounds. Careful, design development by a team of talented, artistic designers has created what we think is one of the best-looking Oyster deck saloon designs ever.

With sales well into double figures, the Oyster 82 has proved herself beyond doubt as a really superb yacht. Light on the helm and well balanced, the 82 sails remarkably well. Built from cost effective tooling, the 82 offers a combination of build quality, performance and comfort above and below deck that really puts her into the superyacht league.


OYSTER 56 With well over 70 yachts sold, the Oyster 56 remains a market leader and has established herself as one of the most popular Oysters and for good reason. An ergonomically designed cockpit, proven performance and a stunning outboard profile amongst them, which makes the 56 a true blue water cruiser.

OYSTER 575 The new Oyster 575 is about evolution and experience. Evolution means an exceptionally sleek deck saloon and cockpit with twin wheels. Experience means creating a design that benefits from the knowledge we have gained in building over 125 Oyster yachts in this size range. With three new 575s already sold from the drawing board, the first yacht will be available early in 2010. 20 w w w. o y s t e r m a r i n e . c o m

OYSTER SUPERYACHTS BY DUBOIS Comprising of three models, the Oyster 100, Oyster 125 Deck Saloon and 125 Flybridge, our Superyacht project is well underway with the Oyster 100 about to commence moulding and the first 100 expected to launch in summer 2010. Tooling for the 125 Flybridge has started with the first yacht launching in 2011.

OYSTER MOTORYACHTS The OM43 motoryacht range is built to the same high standards as our sailing yachts. Offering daytime comfort for at least six people in her comfortable saloon or cockpit and now with two cabins, the OM43 is powered by water-jet propulsion allowing you to explore those shallow creeks and dry out when required, without the dangers of fouled props.

Oyster at the 2009 boat shows As we start the 2009 boat show season, we extend a very warm welcome to you to visit us and see some of the newest Oysters afloat. In London, the new Oyster 54 makes her London debut at Excel, alongside the stylish Oyster 655 in the North Hall, whilst the new twin cabin version of the OM43 Motoryacht makes her world premiere in the South Hall. In Düsseldorf, our new German sales team, Thorsten Flack and Britta Bunkenburg, along with some of the team from Oyster UK, will be welcoming visitors to our 2009 boat show stand, which this year will be bigger and better than ever. We will be showing the new Oyster 54 alongside the Oyster 655. Also in Düsseldorf, we have a separate Oyster Superyacht Stand in Hall 7 where we will have large scale, detailed models of both the Oyster 100 and Oyster 125 Flybridge, together with the latest drawings and specifications on the Superyacht range. As usual, we will be operating an appointment system to enable as many visitors as possible to view our yachts. Whilst we try to ensure everyone who wants to view our yachts can do so, we do get extremely busy. Booking a boarding time ahead of your visit to the show will ensure you are not disappointed. Appointments can be made via the on-line Boarding Pass request forms on our website at: or please call: UK/European Shows UK Office Tel: +44 1473 688888 USA Shows US Office Tel: +1 401 8467400 London Boat Show 9-18 January 2009 Stand Nº N08 New Oyster 54 Oyster 655 Stand Nº S30B New Oyster OM43 motoryacht Boote – Düsseldorf 17-25 January 2009 Stand 16C58 New Oyster 54 Oyster 655 Stand Nº 7AD23 Oyster Superyachts To contact us during the Düsseldorf Show please call: +49 163 1435723 Strictly sail – Miami 12-16 February 2009 Oyster 46 Buy tickets for the London Show online and help the Ellen MacArthur Trust: Buying your tickets to the London 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. w w w. o y s t e r m a r i n e . c o m


Maiden Voyage By Chris Duc ker, Oyster 655, F l ying Duc kman

On 21 March this year, a dream came true and we took ownership of our new Oyster 655. Up to this point, I had only raced in a variety of boats, from dinghies to 50-footers, in various regattas and championships around the world. We had limited cruising miles under our belts. However, we had decided to experience a new way of seeing the world and enjoying our free time, so what better way to do it than in an Oyster, we had been reliably informed. As a result, our expectations were high. Although we had spent many hours coming up with a name suitable for an Oyster, my friends told me I had no choice. Most of my racing boats had been called Flying Duckman and I was associated with this name (along with one or two not so ingratiating others), even having a caricature presented to me. So Flying Duckman it was.

“One of the greatest pleasures of owning our Oyster has been sharing her with friends.”

The port of registration was another interesting one. Did I have London or Bahamas or some other exotic location? I am a pond sailor from Windermere and my nearest port of registration is Barrow-in-Furness, in fact all the passenger steamers on the Lake are registered in Barrow, so if it is good enough for them it was good enough for me. It has raised a few eyebrows, but I think we are pretty unusual, how many luxury yachts have you seen registered in Barrow? I also think that our Oyster is as indestructible as the nuclear submarines produced there! Having been fortunate in finding a young and enthusiastic crew, in An and Jens, who have guided us in the do’s and don’ts of cruising (I have to say mainly the don’ts though!) we left snowy Ipswich.

ABOVE: The Ducker family and their crew An and Jens OPPOSITE PAGE TOP RIGHT: Ian enjoying his first go on the helm TOP LEFT: Preparing to leave snowy Ipswich BOTTOM: Our favourite marina, Calvi

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Thick fog in the English Channel was no fun, but my learning curve was already rising quickly with this new experience. Emerging out of the fog, we were welcomed by the beautiful estuary of Benodet in Brittany, what a first port of call.


I would recommend it to any one, but suggest you leave at high tide when you don’t have 7 knots of flow pushing you sideways, another interesting moment, well done Jens! We had many adventures along the way and throughout Flying Duckman acted impeccably. I knew one day I would have to sail through a bit of a gale, but didn’t expect it to happen quite so soon. As we left Benodet the local forecast and GRIB files for the Bay of Biscay were for a reasonable force 6 to 7. Reality was force 9, but our new 655 took it all in her stride. As I sat on deck, wind gusting 45 knots plus, the occasional wave breaking over us, I felt totally safe and

secure. When I did venture down below to eat one of An’s tasty dinners, that she had some how managed to serve with her usual excellent presentation, the calmness and relative stability in the saloon was remarkable, especially when you considered what was happening outside. A variety of friends hopped on and off at different ports on route to assist with the trip to Corsica, our destination for the first couple of months. I was amazed at how many friends I suddenly had! One of the greatest pleasures of owning our Oyster has been sharing her with friends, 21 guys assisted with the trip to Corsica on the six different > w w w. o y s t e r m a r i n e . c o m


“As a relative novice of cruising and specifying a yacht, other than for racing, the benefits arising out of the patience and guidance shown by our Project Manager, Julian Weatherill, has been immeasurable.”

ABOVE: Flying Duckman at anchor off Corsica FAR LEFT: Approaching Calvi FAR RIGHT: Friends became keen crew

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legs we had planned. Many of them had never done a night passage and for one, his time onboard left him with an experience he won’t forget in a hurry – surfing down a wave in 27 knots of wind, under a sky of shooting stars, hitting 13.8 knots on the log. It wasn’t a bad moment for me either. Just when a fresh group onboard had settled into a routine, something would happen. Thick fog, a beautiful piece of coast line, catching of a 7kg tuna, which was miraculously turned into instant sushi and sesame seared steaks by An and many other fond memories. There are too many to mention, but here are a few. Due to a couple of storms and having plenty of time, we ended up in two marinas that we would never normally visit. La Coruna, on the North coast of Spain, provided us with fantastic seafood and many a late night in a local bar, serving their wonderful beer brewed on the premises. If you ever end up in La Coruna, visit the beautiful yacht club, they made us most welcome, serving large gin and tonics in marvelous glasses, with impeccable style. We also ran from the weather in Marina Porto Atlantico in Leixos, just north of Porto in Portugal, what a pity! Again, the two local yacht clubs made us most welcome, serving unbelievably good value food, in generous portions. Porto was only a short taxi drive away and it would have been rude not to sample the locally produced liquor. By this stage, there appeared to have been a trend developing on our trip!


A group of three climbed onboard in Estepona, Spain to assist with the next leg, one who had never sailed before, Ian. The second night at 3am, the wind built to 30 knots with a sharp chop. Although we had carried out a full safety briefing, no one had thought to tell Ian that it was quite normal and indeed safe when Flying Duckman slammed into waves and the whole yacht shuddered. A series of rapid texts were sent to his wife, wishing a fond farewell and telling her where the insurance policies where. Once we had turned a corner to enter our next destination the wind and waves eased, much to Ian’s relief. Having been informed of his horrors I comforted him with the fact that Oysters were designed to take all that can be thrown at them and he relaxed. The next day we set sail in 15 knots of wind that built to a perfect 25 knots. We spent a few minutes training Ian and put him on the helm. You have never seen a grin so big, he is now a total convert and wants more. We had dolphins joining us on many occasions, but the most memorable of the wildlife were the whales. Half way between Minorca and Corsica on a calm sea with little wind, we saw a small pod of whales directly ahead of us. On checking one of our guide books, we determined they where Fin whales, five of them, including a mother and her calf. On one occasion they came directly along side, just two metres away, running parallel

Why did we choose Corsica as our destination? Simple really, everyone that I had ever discussed Corsica with, had never had a bad word for it and we weren’t disappointed. Every headland we sailed around there was another remarkable view. The mountains, wildlife, bays and old towns all add up to make it a special place for those onboard. My favourite marina was Calvi, what a location to leave Flying Duckman in the capable hands of my crew. A key lesson learnt in retrospect is that we have no doubt benefited from the knowledge and expertise provided by Oyster during the build process. As a relative novice of cruising and specifying a yacht, other than for racing, the benefits arising out of the patience and guidance shown by our Project Manager, Julian Weatherill, have been immeasurable. Although we have many additional features fitted to Flying Duckman, to enhance our experience and further cosset us in the Mediterranean and on crossings to the Caribbean, I was guided to keep things simple and effective. This has greatly contributed to making the last few months experience even more enjoyable. Thanks to all the team who have helped put our dream together.

and the largest of the group was virtually the length of us, close to 20 metres. Wow and wow again! The longest lasting memory of them though was their breath. We were slightly down wind on one occasion, when the pod decided to surface and exhale It was the most disgusting smell on earth, it was a combination of rotting fish, a sewage works and the after math of a night on stale beer! As we sailed on there was a silence onboard, they had left quite an impression.

So, what are our feelings after the first few months onboard Flying Duckman as relative cruising novices? Well, it’s difficult to knock it really, it has been a pleasure all the way along the line, with so many happy memories and lessons learnt. There are many people who have contributed to making the first year of Flying Duckman so successful – friends, An and Jens and those people back in the build yard and offices of Oyster, thank you to you all.

We had remarkably few problems on our first voyage considering we departed Ipswich with only the Oyster test miles under her belt. When issues did occur it was always reassuring to know that David Hayward and his After Sales Team were there to support us in their impeccable and efficient manner.

My next trip is to help take our ‘baby’ across the Atlantic, it will be the first time for both of us, and it’s going to be a bit special I think. Well done Oyster, you have surpassed our expectations.

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An inside look at... the Oyster 655 By Duncan Kent


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A N I N S I D E L O O K AT. . . t h e O y s t e r 6 5 5

The 655 is one of Oyster’s most successful models in its impressive new ‘g5’ series of Kevlar/Carbon deck saloon cruisers, with 11 built already since its launch two years ago and further orders already signed. As with all current Oysters, this lustrous ocean cruiser was created by renowned yacht designer, Rob Humphreys, together with Oyster’s own in-house design team. In addition, during the initial construction, Oyster formed a close partnership with High Modulus – one of the world’s leading composite engineering companies – to help them create the strongest but lightest hull possible without compromising Oyster’s renowned build quality. The 655’s single skin hull is moulded from an E-glass/Carbon/Kevlar composite using a balance of materials designed to offer superior strength and stiffness to the hull, whilst making significant weight savings over a typical GRP construction. The hull is further reinforced by bonding a matrix of foam stringers and floor bearers to the inside – both above and below the waterline. The consequent weight reduction, allied to a long waterline, shallower underwater sections and generous sail plan, has resulted in an easily driven hull that is not only pleasingly quick under sail, but also extremely well balanced. In standard form, the Oyster 655 sports a high-performance bulb keel combining a moderate draft with good sailing performance. She sports a GRP stub keel to which is bolted a 14.7-tonne, hydro-dynamically efficient lead ballast bulb. A shoal draft keel reducing the draught from 2.93m to 2.16m is also available as an option for those that like to get a little closer to the beach. Attention to styling has given the new g5 range a more modern, streamlined appearance and a truly seductive profile. Completely new moulds were created wherein the hull to deck join, finished with upstanding bulwarks on previous models, has been modified to create a smooth, moulded toe rail that can be left bare, or teak-capped. The new deck moulding offers improved headroom throughout the length of the boat without adversely affecting her sleek contours.

ON DECK Her twin-helm cockpit, standard on all Oysters over 56ft, has a working area that is kept separate from the main cockpit, so guests can be entertained under way without being disturbed by the crew. The lectern-style consoles at both helms are large enough to house a substantial chart plotter/radar LCD, plus a plethora of other instruments and displays. The deck gear is sensibly arranged so that a couple can manage her quite easily – in fact she can even be sailed single-handed without much difficulty, thanks to her standard powered sheet winches and furlers. Headsail sheets, mainsheet winch and furling controls are all within reach of the helms and hydraulic adjustment to the Navtec outhaul and vang is made from the consoles, duplicated each side. Many of Oyster’s traditional features have been retained, such as the handy rope bins in the cockpit seats that keep the decks tidy and hazard-free. The main/guest cockpit has a teak table that extends to provide dining space for at least eight in comfort. Twin helm stations provide an unobstructed passageway from the cockpit to the transom, where steps lead down to the teak-planked swimming platform and deck shower. The large afterdeck leaves plenty of room for drying off and lounging about, whilst two L-shaped, teak rail seats offer a fantastic view of the whole deck and are a great place to sit under way. Beneath the afterdeck is a huge lazarette large enough for a diving compressor and bottles, as well as all the other paraphernalia associated with long-term cruising. Flush hatches, fold-away cleats and recessed headsail tracks mean moving around her decks bare footed is not a toe-stubbing experience. Her wide side decks sweep enticingly up to her commanding bow, which looks and feels immensely powerful as it carves a deep groove through the oncoming waves. Anchoring facilities are robust on any Oyster as its designers and builders fully understand that their boats frequently lie at anchor for long periods in all conditions. Long-term cruisers need formidable ground tackle to enable an undisturbed night on the hook. The 655’s 48kg CQR self-stows in a massive bow roller and together with 100m of 12mm calibrated chain and powerful Lewmar electric windlass, should undoubtedly keep yacht and crew safe and sound. >

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RIG AND SAILS Oyster has retained the traditionally robust masthead cutter rig, which it believes to be the most versatile for its overall design function, although two so far have been built with a single, non-overlapping headsail. Standing rigging is discontinuous rod throughout and another of the g5 features, a hydraulically jacked mast, greatly facilitates the setting up and tuning of her rig. Detachable check stays are also supplied for windward work in heavy seas, although some owners have chosen mast jumpers instead. A carbon spar option is available for those looking for maximum performance, otherwise she is supplied with a Hall Spars alloy mast and boom as standard, with triple spreaders, fully-battened mainsail, single line slab reefing and lazy jacks. Yankee and staysail furling is via two manual Harken furlers as standard, but Reckmann hydraulic furlers powered by a Lewmar Commander hydraulic power unit are a popular option, with push-button controls at the helm. She has powerful Lewmar three-speed electric (77CEST) primary winches and two-speed manual (65CST) spinnaker winches. One of several other winches beside the mast foot is also electric as standard, as is the mainsheet winch, but more can be upgraded if required. Sails are by Dolphin Sails, now part of the Oyster Group. Dolphin knows exactly the cut that favours these yachts after many years of supplying Oyster as an independent sail loft. Getting a cutter rig to sail especially well can be a tricky business, but the design of the 655’s headsails put them in perfect harmony when working to windward – something not always achieved with such precision.

BELOW DECKS In common with all modern Oysters the 655’s raised deck saloon features large windows that allow plenty of natural light to flood the saloon. Sunblinds are provided and both forward deck saloon windows open to allow a good breeze through at anchor. The layout of the main cabin is quite open plan. The large table is set against a curved settee to starboard that comfortably seats six for dining. However, modifications are frequently made to this arrangement whereby the table can

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double in size simply by folding over the entire upper section, bringing the opposite settee into the seating plan and providing a huge dining area for special occasions. Typically for Oyster, the woodwork and joinery is of superb quality and there is a wide range of different timbers available. Some have the American White Oak, which is bright and pleasing to the eye, although alternative woods include equally attractive maple, cherry or teak. Throughout the yacht the sole is a teak chequerboard pattern with every board dampened to stop squeaks and screwed down for security. Two steps down to port and you’re in the long, U-shaped galley. There is a large, top-loading freezer and a single front opening fridge under the granite-style counter top. At the end is space for a drawer-style dishwasher, or a second fridge. Meals for eight or more can be created on the Force 10 cooker with its full-size oven and most other conveniences, including a microwave, are built in. To starboard is the navigation station, comprising a full admiralty sized chart table with a desktop alongside for a laptop or keyboard. Plenty of surrounding console space has been provided for large displays and there’s a deep bookshelf above for manuals, pilot books etc. A Digital Yacht navigation and communications computer can be built in under the tabletop. Standard electronic navigation is by Navionics on a Raymarine E120 series chart plotter/radar, with a repeater on the starboard helm station, but other makes of equipment can be fitted on request. Sleeping accommodation is provided for eight in four luxurious cabins – a master suite aft, a VIP cabin just forward of the saloon to starboard, and two twin-bunk cabins. The master suite has a raised, queen-size island berth on the centerline, excellent headroom and enough stowage for very long periods on board. It has its own access ladder and escape hatch to the afterdeck and a comfortable settee large enough to relax in and read a book, or to watch a DVD on the optional bulkhead mounted, 32in LCD. The settee can also be used as a sea berth for long passages. >

A N I N S I D E L O O K AT. . . t h e O y s t e r 6 5 5


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A N I N S I D E L O O K AT. . . t h e O y s t e r 6 5 5

Forward of the saloon the VIP cabin has a roomy double berth, ample dressing area and excellent clothes stowage in cedar-lined lockers. As with the owner’s suite, the en suite facilities include a separate shower stall. There are two further cabins with twin berths – one opposite the VIP suite forward, also with its own en suite facilities, and a second, smaller cabin, which is accessed through the corridor to the aft cabin. Access to the engine is through full height twin doors in the aft corridor, but the sole boards in the saloon must be lifted to service the generator, which is forward of the engine, alongside the batteries.

UNDER WAY We took hull No 2, Acheron, for a trial sail out of Oyster’s homeport, Fox’s Marina in Ipswich. Motoring her down the River Orwell to the sea was a relaxing half-hour, thanks to the exceptional engine soundproofing and Oyster’s tendency to ‘over-engine’, which enables her 185hp Perkins-Sabre diesel to push her through the water at a steady 8.2-knots, cruising economically and quietly at just 1,500rpm. Her four-bladed, Brunton folding propeller pushes enough water over the large rudder to give her steerage, even at low speeds. This was admirably demonstrated by Oyster’s Senior Commissioning Assistant, Adrian Mulville, as on our return he threaded us back into a berth just a foot or two longer than her hull, after completing a 180° turn between the pontoons, to take her in stern first – with the assistance of her powerful bow thruster.

Once out at sea the breeze filled in a little as we hoisted full sail and trimmed. The whole business took very little time and effort – courtesy of the powered furlers and winches – and we were soon driving to windward at a respectable 7-knots plus. She has a nicely balanced helm that gives positive feedback to the wheel, but as the wind rises the mainsheet traveller needs to be slid down the track a touch to avoid excessive weather helm. The view forward from either helm is exceptionally good and her long waterline and powerful, deeply V’d bows give her a resolute, but comfortable motion through the water. As we came a little off the wind onto a beam reach, the log surged over the 8-knot mark, despite a true wind of just 12-knots. At this point I could have left the helm and made tea without the assistance of the autopilot – although she was eager to reach up to her favoured slot at around 40° off the apparent wind, where she would happily cross half an ocean with little more than the odd tweak of her wheel. Sadly, Acheron’s spinnaker had yet to arrive, so we could only try her off the wind with the white sails, but her big yankee is not far short of genoa proportions and with the staysail rolled away we still managed a relaxing 5.2-knots on a broad reach in 10-knots of true wind. The small 10° angle of spreader sweep allows her boom to be let a long way out without chafing her sail or risking an accidental gybe, which makes for well-mannered and less fraught downwind sailing. In all, the Oyster 655 is an easily handled, relaxing and fun yacht to sail. Sensible planning and powerful deck gear has enabled her to be sailed short-handed, which for a 65ft, 40-ton boat is a considerable achievement. Details on specification, a gallery of the latest images and video footage of the Oyster 655 are available on the Oyster website:

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CURIOUS - London to Morocco By Ste ve Brown, Oyster 56, Curious

Our maiden voyage on our new Oyster 56 Curious took us from Fox’s Marina, Ipswich to St Katharine’s Dock in London where our new yacht was showing at Oyster’s Private view and it was there that we officially named the boat.

ABOVE: Curious makes her debut at St Katharine’s Private View OPPOSITE FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Trish in shoe shop heaven, specialist souks in the old medinas One of many historic and intricate doors, Kasbah in Rabat View from the rooftop, Kasbah du Toubkal, High Atlas mountains

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When we were searching for a name for our new home we wanted something that was in keeping with such a beautiful, ocean going boat and a name that captured the freedom and wandering spirit of the adventure we were to embark upon. After hours of scouring the internet for other boat names for inspiration (and to avoid picking a name that was already in use) Tricia resorted to reading through the dictionary, jotting down names she liked and thought I might also like. Most were discarded but one stood out above the rest and our decision confirmed when she heard a speaker on the radio say "you know when you are old because you stop being curious". We also saw a quote that we liked from the American poet and writer, Dorothy Parker who said that "the cure for boredom is curiosity...there is no cure for curiosity"


We had been looking for willing volunteers/crew for the Atlantic crossing in November and, as most of my friends are climbers, we needed crew that knew how to sail. In the end things fell nicely into place and we met up at St Katharine's the day before departure with the aim of spending a week together sailing the boat to Camaret in North West Britanny. We were also lucky to have Duncan Bush from Oyster as far as Falmouth. He had commissioned the boat and was a great source of detailed knowledge as well as a Yachtmaster Instructor and helped us enormously. He was also great fun to be with! Although our plans were loosely formed, Trish and I decided that as we were so close we should officially start our trip from the Greenwich Meridian. We pushed aside the hordes of other tourists and took a photo of our feet either side of the meridian. We also tried to get a photo of our GPS read-outs showing 00.00.00 but could only get 00.00.02! The first few legs of our trip took us from London to Camaret, La Rochelle, Lagos and then on to Gibraltar where we had the option of crossing to the Balearics Islands to join the Oyster Regatta at the beginning of October. But despite the obvious attractions of the regatta, Trish and I decided to spend some time in Morocco having read an article by Liza Copeland, which we followed up with research on marinas and ports along the Atlantic coast. Everyone we spoke to had enthused about the country, its diverse countryside and landscapes, its friendly people and its ancient towns and cities. A week long Levanter kept us in Gibraltar longer than anticipated. These easterly winds create a large cloud cap over the west side of the Rock, keeping everything in the shade while everywhere around is under blue skies. They also create an accelerate zone, making leaving and entering port difficult. We finally made the crossing to Tangier only to find that the tiny marina was full and the port authorities unwilling to find another berth for us, so we made a hasty change of plans and sailed on to Asilah on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. Although the pilot book warned against taking larger yachts into many of the por ts, we were surprised to later find that a number of new marinas had been built since the book was published and we were able to use

the brand new marinas in Smir and Rabat, leaving Curious for extended periods to explore inland. The pilot book shows that Asilah is a small fishing port where it is possible to anchor but there is a sand bar at the entrance and also the depths inside need carefully monitoring as you enter. In our experience there was no wind and very little swell so entry was quite straightforward. However, there is little room for a boat of our draft and we had to search out the best spot on a falling tide. We still had to move closer to the entrance either side of low water and even then felt the boat touch the sandy bottom once or twice. As it was, we decided not to prolong our stay and left early the following morning in order to avoid the next low tide. The forecasted NW winds did not materialise and with a 1 knot south going current, we motored the 95 miles to Rabat at an average of 9.5 knots under clear blue skies and flat seas. Is the Atlantic supposed to be like that? We passed fishing boats large and small along the way and even tiny wooden rowing boats miles out at sea. We were also stopped by a coastguard cutter who asked where we had come from and where we were going to, all in a friendly manner and were then sent on our way with a wave and good wishes. We arrived at the entrance to Rabat and called up a pilot boat as both the charts and the pilot book shows the Oued Bou Regreg to be un-navigable due to silting. However, they have dredged a channel up river and built a brand new marina complex. The only danger was from hundreds of children swimming across the river as you motored by with no room to motor around them. The guy in the pilot boat shepherds them out of the way, all done in good humour. We felt safe leaving Curious in the marina whilst we explored the two cities either side of the river Bou Regreg, Rabat on the south bank and Sale on the north bank. Now the capital of Morocco, Rabat has its own long history and much to see in and around the old Medina and Kasbah. Situated on top of the hill overlooking the river, the minaret is all that is left of what was the second largest mosque in the world. As well as the mosque, there is also the tomb of King Mohammed V the grandfather of the current, young reforming king Mohammed the VI has introduced many changes to the country including universal suffrage, school education for children up to the age of 15 and a programme of > w w w. o y s t e r m a r i n e . c o m



infrastructure development that includes many new roads and motorways as well as opening the airspace to create additional tourism and trade. Trish and I ended up leaving the boat in Rabat for a week and hired a car to drive across to Marrakech and on through the High Atlas Mountains. The 450km trip across to Marrakech was surprisingly easy with a new motorway now connecting Rabat to Casablanca and beyond to Marrakech. Motorways are usually boring or stressful but the roads were almost deserted and ran across some fantastic landscapes ranging from fertile farmlands to arid desert. The colour of the soil ranged from vivid red, to chalky white and volcanic black, with areas of geological importance along the way. The Medina in Marrakesh had a completely different feel to it than Fes, with cars and scooters allowed into the Medina’s narrow streets. But it also had a greater vibrancy, more tourists and slightly pushier shop and restaurant staff. It also had a greater variety of shops and stalls and, being closer to central Africa, some strange and wonderful sights, sounds and smells. We had decided that once again we wanted to stay within the medina in one of a number of old Riads that have been renovated and now cater as upmarket B&B’s for tourists. Quite by chance we chose one in the Mellah, what was once the old Jewish quarter, situated close to the King’s palace for protection. Being in Morocco at the time of Ramadan gave us the opportunity to see what life is like during the long days of fasting. With many visitors choosing not to come to Morocco during Ramadan, the medina was much quieter than usual and like a ghost town once the break fast had been called around 7.00pm when food and drink could be taken for the first time since 4.30am. Despite the creation of school education for children up to 15, many families cannot afford the books needed and so put their sons into apprenticeships while still quite young. We saw children from 7 or 8 upwards working in the small workshops, some while they were off school for the holidays and others in full time employment. From Marrakech, Trish and I drove east into the High Atlas Mountains. We had reserved a room in the Kasbah du Toubkal, a renovated fortress now serving as a ‘mountain retreat’ but in a great position at the end of a long valley and beneath North Africa's highest mountain, Toubkal. From Imlil we drove south through the winding valleys and over 36 w w w. o y s t e r m a r i n e . c o m

the Tiz'n'Test pass, punched through the mountains by the French in the late 1920's and now one of the great road journeys, passing by dozens of high Berber villages that have changed little over the centuries apart from the coming of electricity in the mid 1990's and now the addition of the ever-present satellite dish. The recent elections throughout the country exposed the problems of Morocco's high illiteracy rate and new ways had to be found to enable those that could not read or write to vote. This was done by painting squares on walls and numbering the square or placing symbols linked to the candidate in the square. These ranged from Palm Trees to Fish. The next stage of our trip took us from the High Atlas across the fertile plains to the south west and on to the coast near Agadir. From there we travelled north along the coast past miles and miles of deserted sandy beaches. The road took us inland through more farmland that was filled with Argane trees, the fruits used to produce an oil that seems to be used for everything from cooking to aromatic massages! Wherever there are Argane trees there are climbing goats. We saw a herd that was tended by two small boys who appeared from nowhere as soon as we stopped to take the photo. They asked for change with a big cheeky grin, but complained when I tried to take their photo, relenting when I offered some coins in return. I had been careful throughout our time here in Morocco never to take photos of people as it was apparent from the outset that the people did not want to be photographed and objected even when we were taking wide angle shots of scenery and souks, etc. This was a great pity as Moroccan's come from wide and varied backgrounds – indigenous Berbers, Jews from Asia that arrived in the 3rd century BC, Arabs that came bringing the Muslim religion in the 8th Century AD and people from the Iberian Peninsula that arrived to escape persecution and the Spanish Inquisition. This mix has created a wide range of features and skin tones and together with the different ways of life in the RIF and Atlas mountains, the fertile valleys, coastal plains and the Sahara desert offers some amazing photographic opportunities. But I could not bring myself to impose on them and sadly missed many great shots. We had originally intended to sail down the coast and stay in Essouira but had been put off by other sailors that had


FACT FILE Everything you need to know about Morocco and up to date information on facilities for visiting yachts can be found on the excellent Noonsite website at RABAT – BOUREGREG MARINA A new marina opened in March 2008 on the northern side of the city, in the Bouregreg River. The river entrance is protected by both outer and inner breakwaters, but breaking waves can penetrate even as far as the inner entrance in certain conditions. Watch out for fishing nets in the river. Service is reported to be excellent and marina staff will escort you in and out of marina if you call on VHF. Pontoons have power and water. Fuel berth, laundry, small supermarket, cafe, 24 hour security. Marina and fuel berth now accept credit cards. Work is currently in progress to provide WiFi, car hire, slipway, boatyard with crane. Clearance Customs and Immigration facilities available at the marina.

found little room to moor and been rafted to local boats who tended to be a little less careful than the visiting yachtsmen would have wished. The harbour was a hive of activity day and night with a range of fishing boats based there, from 30m long line boats and 20m sardine fishing boats down to small wooden rowing boats now powered by small outboard engines. The sardine trawlers go out at night and come back in during the day, they all seem to arrive back at the same time making for some amusement for bystanders as they push and shove their way into the harbour. We were very privileged to have been in Morocco for the whole of the Ramadan Festival as well as before and after. After 30 days the fast ended on a Tuesday to be followed by two days holiday. The locals then took time out to be with their families to stroll around the city, along the riverside walks and into the new marina complex. Once again I regretted being unable to take photographs of the people in a variety of dress styles. The girls wore typical western mini skirts and skimpy tops, a stark contrast to the older woman in Burkas or Kaftans and headscarfs. The men and boys in western style suits, casual shirts and trousers or Jalabas and Fez. To sum up Morrocco – it is probably the easiest going of all Muslim countries and we have been impressed by the friendliness of the people, their freedom of dress and their acceptance of other religions, with the Catholic churches and Jewish synagogues in Rabat as full as the many mosques. At the same time this is most definitely a Muslim country with the Meuzzin calling the faithful to prayer throughout the day and the strict but self imposed, observance of the Ramadan period. Trish and I were sorry to leave Morocco but with favourable weather forecast for the next five days we needed to make the crossing to the Canaries to arrive in time to meet friends and family who were flying in to spend some time with us before we headed off for the ARC.

Docking Rabat´s once busy port has suffered from the silting of the Bouregreg River but dredging is now taking place and this activity is something to be aware of when approaching the port. Bouregreg Marina 7 rue Abou Inane, Hassan, Rabat Tel:+212 37 849900 Fax:+212 37 785858 VHF Channel 10 Email: Position 34°02.5’N, 06°50.3’W.

RABAT – MARINA SMIR Full service marina; 150 ton travelift, 10 ton crane. Electricity and water on all berths. Showers, ice, full repair facilities and shore storage area. Restaurants, bars, swimming pool. Clearance Formalities are relatively straightforward here as officials are used to dealing with yachts. Initially go alongside the Customs/fuel berth (to port just inside the entrance) and wait to be allocated a place. Docking This marina development on the north African coast is just 25 miles from Gibraltar. It offers a secure and economic base for repairs, winter berthing (afloat or ashore) or generally cruising the western Mediterranean. It is well protected from all weathers. Marina Smir B.P. n83, Mdiq, Tetouan, Morocco Tel:+212-39-977 250/251 Fax:+212-39-977 265 VHF Channel 09, 1 Email:

Having got to know a little of the country it would have been nice to have had more time to explore inland and in particular take another road trip over the Tiz'n'Tichka pass to Ouzarzate and then south to the northern edge of the Western Sahara. Perhaps another time... Inshalla! ABOVE FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Goat boys, photo opportunity exchanged for ‘argent’ View from our room in the Riad Assakina in Marrakesh Essouira’s ancient fortifications, home to the Barbary pirates. Mud walled villages, High Atlas Mountains

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Oyster Superyachts There was a time, long ago, when Turkey was the centre of the civilised world. Today, Turkey is rapidly becoming recognised as a centre of excellence for superyacht production.

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The outstanding and innovative Turkish built 290ft Maltese Falcon has turned heads around the world and we are confident that Oyster Marine’s new superyachts, the 100 and the magnificent 125 Flybridge, will also be head turning once afloat in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Both yachts have been designed by the Dubois office, with structural engineering, styling and interior detail from Oyster’s own in-house team. Dubois has a justifiable claim to be one of the worlds most successful designers of very large, fast, cruising yachts with over 30 yachts in the 100 foot plus category already afloat and many more in build around the world. The Oyster superyacht project is the result of collaboration with RMK Marine, whose shipyard is in Tusla, 40 kilometres from Istanbul. Mike Burnham, who runs the yacht division of RMK, was formerly MD of VT Halmatic in the UK, which built the 237ft Mirabella IV, at the time the largest sloop in the world. It was at VT Halmatic that a dialogue started with the founder of Oyster Marine, Richard Matthews, about a 100-footer. When VT stepped aside from the yacht business to concentrate on their core commercial and naval work, Mike saw the opportunities at RMK. The RMK yard is owned by the Koç Group and their principal, Rahmi Koç, is a fanatical lifelong yachtsman whose family are also enthusiastic sailors. When the Koç Group acquired the RMK yard it was an established builder of small ships, with a few powerboats to its credit but few sailing yachts. RMK’s first large sailing yacht project Nazenin V is a 170ft S&S design in steel for the Koç family. This yacht is already showing her pedigree of flawless build quality and will be afloat for the 2009 season. 42 w w w. o y s t e r m a r i n e . c o m

The investment in tooling, a new build hall, oven and fitting out the first of class Oyster 100 and 125 can only be described as massive by industry standards. This is only possible by the joint participation of Oyster, one of the world’s most successful yacht builders and by RMK as a member of the Koç Group. Putting the Koç Group into perspective is difficult, but the cash dispenser for one of Turkey’s major banks, which is sited by the shipyard gate, gives a clue – the Koç Group owns the bank, which has over 400 branches! That’s not all, because Koç build cars and vans for Ford and others, are a leading manufacturer of white goods, have 22% of Europe’s television market and refine 70% of Turkey’s petroleum. The Group is one of the major retailers in Turkey, owns a chain of hotels and marinas and holds the West Marine franchise for that country. Altogether the Koç Group has over 90,000 employees, represents 11% of Turkeys GNP and is ranked around 200 in the Fortune 500 Companies worldwide. In financial terms this must make the Oyster superyachts one of the most strongly backed projects of its kind anywhere in the world. The relationship with Oyster, with a commitment to build series production tooling for both the Oyster 100 and Oyster 125, has given a virtually instant start to a project whose scale would have taken most builders several years to aspire to. Not only is RMK tooling for series composite construction, but the yard has also simultaneously invested in a new 40,000 sq ft 3720 sq m building hall. This hall is amongst the most modern in Europe and includes a 150ft long high temperature oven, one of Europe’s largest, to post cure hull and deck structures.


As at 1 December 2008, the Oyster superyacht project was in full swing. The tooling for the 100 was in the final stages of preparation and laminating, using the resin infusion process, will start in January. Tooling for the Oyster 125 is close behind with the hull plug fully skinned and the flybridge deck plug set out and already taking shape. Sample panels have passed all their quality checks and a full size interior mock-up for 100-01 has been built with most of a cabin’s worth of completed joinery for evaluation and quality benchmarking. Every yacht will be completed to and certificated by Lloyds to their 100A1 LMC standard and be MCA compliant to facilitate chartering if required. Oyster are proceeding with the moulding and fitting out of 100-01 and 125-01, which will be used for promotional purposes once afloat. The 100 is being offered for immediate sale, while being underwritten by Oyster founder Richard Matthews as a stepping stone towards 125-01, which will bear the name Oystercatcher XXX and be Richard’s personal yacht. For obvious reasons a lot of care and attention from all involved will go into these early yachts while the RMK shipyard is gearing up to be able to produce three or four vessels each year.

Julian Weatherill, who joined Oyster Marine in 2001, has been appointed Oyster’s Superyacht Project Manager. Julian, who has over 75,000 nautical miles on his log and holds an MCA Class IV qualification, has a wealth of experience in project managing and skippering a number of large yachts. Julian will be working closely with Hamish Burgess-Simpson, Oyster’s Superyacht Project Coordinator, to ensure every Oyster Superyacht meets each owner’s expectations. Oyster’s Joint Managing Director, Murray Aitken, will personally handle all enquiries for the superyachts and will arrange tours of the RMK Shipyard, where potential buyers can view the 170ft Sparkman and Stephens yacht as she nears completion and see the early stages of a project that we believe will set a new standard for very large, fast cruising yachts in the years ahead. For further information contact Murray Aitken on +44 1473 688888 or email

While build quality will take precedence over all other considerations, the investment in female tooling will facilitate cost effective production that will enable the Oyster Superyachts to be offered on very favourable terms. While each owner’s layout and taste will be incorporated, these yachts should be a serious alternative to a commissioned one-off with less risk and expense and predictable standards of build quality and after sales value. The Oyster After Sales team will offer worldwide warranty and support, which will be another benefit to owning a yacht that bears the Oyster marque. w w w. o y s t e r m a r i n e . c o m


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Summer? No, Thank You... By Mariacristina R a pisardi, Oyster 72, Bill y Budd

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Billy Budd has been down South for almost a year. She arrived at Puerto Monte in September 2007 and we explored the Chilean coast in November and December before pushing on to the Antarctic in February 2008 and then to the Beagle Channel.

So what next? Where could we take her before heading off to South Georgia in January 2009? Simple, of course... the Beagle Channel in winter, that’s July and August in these parts. When we arrived at Ushuaia Airport I asked our taxi driver whether anyone ever sailed the Beagle Channel in winter, he said "no, absolutely not! The Channel is cold in winter and sometimes even freezes over. It snows. Why bother?" Winter-time in Ushuaia, he said, meant skiing in Cerro Castor or staying at home warm and dry, waiting for summer to come round again. Yes, sure, but we wanted to try it all the same. I suppose sailing the Beagle Channel in winter was just something we had to do to cap our two years down South. So we began to organise the trip and think about which friends we should invite along. We always take two Italian couples with us on our Billy Budd adventures. We choose who to take depending on where we are going, of course; the more relaxed friends for warmer seas, the sportier, more outdoor types for the tough seas, and mountain lovers where there is any climbing or skiing to be done. But who could we choose for the Beagle Channel voyage? We had to look to our sportier, hardier friends, of course. Whoever came along would have to be able to endure the bitter cold and extreme solitude and not be worried by ice. And so with unerring logic, we chose two friends that had spent every summer of their lives on the beach, stirring only from their sun loungers for quick dips in 30 degree seas, plus another two that hadn’t ever been aboard a boat before! 46 w w w. o y s t e r m a r i n e . c o m

What possessed us you might ask? Who knows? One night at dinner we put it to all four and instead of getting the expected and immediate "No, thanks all the same but we’re actually busy around then…" we received an enthusiastic and emphatic "Yes no problem…we’re packed and ready to go!" There is nothing quite so difficult as trying to retract an invitation that’s been accepted. And so we found ourselves with two couples champing at the bit to cast off for the Beagle Channel but blissfully unaware of what that would involve after a lifetime of sultry Italian summers. This marked the start of months of sheer panic for me. How would I cope with them? How could I explain that it would be cold; very cold, dark, very dark; windy, very windy; and wet, very wet? That we’d have to turn off the heating at night and that they’d be waking to temperatures of 5/6 degrees in their cabins each morning, without even mentioning what the bathroom would be like! How could I explain that they were absolutely forbidden to fall overboard or get into the inflatable without a life jacket, and that when we went ashore we’d be surrounded by snow, snow and more snow? In the end, after various dinners involving long explanations and hefty doses of psychological terrorism, we decided there was nothing more we could do. If they really wanted to come, then we’d have to take them with us. First however we had to clothe them properly and ensure they bought all the vital gear that spending the winter on a boat in Patagonia would demand. Then we got together a collection of various board games, playing cards, CDs and DVDs to help pass the long southern evenings.

“How could I explain that it would be cold, very cold, dark, very dark, windy, very windy, and wet, very wet? That we’d have to turn off the heating at night and that they’d be waking to temperatures of 5/6 degrees in their cabins each morning.”

We had a lot of very short days and long hours of darkness ahead of us. In fact, we’d have to anchor very early in the afternoon and wouldn’t have anything to do until cocktail hour or dinner time. My husband and I arrived on Billy Budd first, a week ahead to get an idea of how things really stood and to prepare the boat for our friends’ arrival. We landed in Ushuaia on a typical winter’s evening. The streets were snowy and the lights bright – it felt like Christmas but was actually 15 July. We pulled our skis out from under our bed and the following day set off to try out the pistes of Cerro Castor. To our great surprise we found chair lifts, ski lifts, perfect, modern beautifully maintained pistes, gorgeous snow and, to our delight, not too many other skiers. The rental system was impeccable and there were even a few quite good restaurants too. All that and fantastic warm sunshine to boot! We were introduced to a local guide, Pablo, by Gregg and Kerry, two great sailors that keep a boat at Ushuaia. In summer they do a bit of chartering to pay their bills and then

spend the winter working on the boat, preparing it for the following season. Pablo is Argentinean but had spent many years working as an Alpine guide in Switzerland. We hired him at once and went off looking for some good off-piste skiing - which we found, of course. And excellent it was too! We cast off for Cape Horn. We had to go via Puerto Williams and get permission from the Chileans, something that’s more and more difficult to do with each passing month. This time they gave us ten days to get there and back but refused us permission to anchor. We sailed off in that direction, stopping off at Caleta Martial (where we anchored!) for the night. The following day, however, the wind was very high as was the sea. The result was that although we tried to get near the Cape itself, we soon realised that we’d never be able to land in the tender. We had to turn back. A real pity as this was the third time we’d come to the Cape without managing to get our name on the illustrious list of folk that had managed to land there. We had no other choice but to be patient. While we were there the Chilean Navy hailed us over the radio. > w w w. o y s t e r m a r i n e . c o m



“The surroundings were stunning: frozen mountains, rivers, trees, impenetrable forests... it was like being in a fairytale.”

We are well used to getting these calls as the Navy tracks all boats mile by mile and demands continual updates on their positions. This time, however, they were calling to invite us to anchor in the Caleta, off their lighthouse – it was too windy and rough, they said, for us to keep going. We neglected to point out that it was they that had forbidden us to anchor in the first place but instead thanked them and said we’d keep going. After all, was Billy Budd or was she not, a sailing yacht? And so we returned to Ushuaia and spent the last few days before our friends’ arrival skiing. We also met up with all the new buddies we’d made over the last year. All of the boats at Ushuaia were battened down for winter at that point in the season. No one does any chartering or ventures out in the channels that time of year. So instead they all came to dinner aboard Billy Budd and we went over to them on their boats. It felt like we were all part of a small floating village in which everyone knew everyone else and people kept each other company by chatting away about the sea and sailing. 48 w w w. o y s t e r m a r i n e . c o m

But then, at long last, the big day arrived and with it our four friends.They emerged from Ushuaia Airport wrapped up in the winter woollies they’d left Italy in and looking a little lost but thrilled to arrive and raring to go. And go we did. We sailed, once again, via Puerto Williams, where we paid a quick visit to the museum where a local scientist gave us a talk on the Fuegans and their lifestyle, before finally we cast off for the Channel itself. The sun was beaming down and it was neither warm nor cold, as we arrived into Yandegaia, where Jose and Anne keep several horses. This marked the star t of the holiday of our dreams. The following morning, we mounted up at 9am in the bitter cold. Luckily, however, the sun was still shining and we began our ride across the glacier at the bottom of the valley, a 12-mile trip through snow at least 40cm deep. The surroundings were stunning: frozen mountains, rivers, trees, impenetrable forests... it was like being in a fairytale. >

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That evening we got back aboard and set off to fish for ‘centolla’ king crab for supper. Fishing was allowed at this time of year and the water was teeming with them. Having centolla for dinner was something we’d done before but a totally new experience for our Italians friends. We spent two days at Yandegaia, which is just gorgeous. We were berthed beside a boat owned by two Dutch people – they told us they’d been there ten days and had no intention of moving. We, on the other hand, did and so we continued on through the Channel. We arrived at the Caleta Sonia lighthouse where the lighthouse keeper, his wife and two children were expecting us. We’d met them in April when we discovered that they supported the Italian football team, Roma, and so we brought some t-shirts and baseball caps for the children. They were delighted but were actually expecting something else too: to be invited aboard for some of our spaghetti. So we ended up stopping for a long leisurely meal and lots of stories. These people spend up to a year at a time all alone at the lighthouse. A few ships pass occasionally but yachts hardly ever do and even then they never stop. The family is in radio contact with the Navy but other than that they are completely on their own. They are so isolated in fact, that before sending them to the lighthouse the Navy insisted they all have their appendixes removed – they just couldn’t run the risk of a serious infection in such a remote and inaccessible location. 50 w w w. o y s t e r m a r i n e . c o m

We cast off once again and finally got to the glaciers: Italy, France and Germany. In the meantime all of our board games stayed in their drawer and no one made any attempt to take them out. The days were short, true, but it only got light at about 9am and darkness fell again at 6pm. That didn’t leave a whole lot of time to get bored. Showering, chatting and an aperitif brought us up to dinner time after which none of us could keep an eye open. Perhaps it was the cold, the place or the winter, but we would all get unbelievably sleepy and be tucked up in bed incredibly early every night. We moved from cove to cove, glacier to glacier. Tying up was always complicated, but we already knew that would be the case. First we had to run a minimum of two lines ashore, then anchor, then reverse the boat to position it properly. We had to look for the right depth and the right trees to tie on to. A complicated job that sometimes took over an hour to complete. But at that point we were well versed in all the secrets of getting this task out of the way as quickly as possible; everyone had their own specific role and we all worked quickly to get the boat right so that we could go ashore. The landscape was magnificent but rough. There was a lot of snow this year, more than normal, and it was fresh and powdery. This meant we had to use snow shoes or skis.


“We left a strip of sea in our wake as we made our way through the frozen water like an ice-breaker. Hats off to Billy Budd!”

It was cold too so we had to pile on the clothes. We also had to take a rucksack everywhere. We didn’t really know where we were going so we had to take a portable GPS, sat phone, VHF radio and some food with us at all times. Needless to say, not getting lost was a priority. The forests were dense with no real reference points. They quickly closed around us with nothing but trees and more trees everywhere we looked, so we’d immediately lose sight of the boat, the sea and the mountain tops. Even the tracks of our skis and snowshoes would often be quickly swept away by the wind or covered up by fresh snow. So we had no real alternative but to keep the GPS to hand and save the route. It was either that or tie bits of coloured string to the trees – however, I think the GPS is a much more reliable and modern alternative! We found some small frozen streams that we could walk on, following the tracks of the guanacos. If they were able to walk on them, then why couldn’t we? Though come to think of it, how much would the average guanaco weigh? All this meant that we were able to get to places that would have been completely inaccessible in April, February or December. It’s much easier to walk on ice, than through the 50cm of mud we’d have faced at any other time of the year! Our Italian friends were rendered speechless by the whole scene of course. And not because they were frozen to the spot either, they were simply blown away by the incredible surroundings. Sunny day followed sunny day. It was cold but the sky was incredibly clear and the mountains looked etched in the distance. They were ‘only’ 2,800/3,000 metres high, but that’s 3,000 metres literally from sea level – the equivalent of a 4,000 metre mountain. The mountains France, Italy, Darwin and Bove would peep out now and then from their

wreaths of clouds if the sky was particularly clear. An impressive sight indeed with snow scattered on their steep rocky slopes like icing sugar. These great mountains exuded an increased aura of power and energy. We could see very, very clearly just how un-climbable they were. We finally understood how Cerro Torre got its fearsome reputation. We were constantly on the lookout for animals too but they were probably all hibernating. Apart from a few seals, we saw a guanaco that ran off the minute he caught sight of us, and we saw a fox that followed about a metre behind us and wouldn’t leave us alone. But that was it. We didn’t see any other boats or ships after Yandegaia apart from a single fishing boat whose crew swapped some ‘centolla’ for a couple of bottles of wine and some cigars. The cold was relentless but we were fine once we were in the boat. The reflex stove worked brilliantly as did the heating which we only put on at night. It snowed a lot, clothing the landscape completely. Some mornings we’d wake to find 20cm of newly fallen snow on the decks and surprise, surprise…the sea frozen around us! We felt like heroes, the ice was, of course, only a few millimetres thick but there was still enough of it for us to have to smash it from the bow or the inflatable. We left a strip of sea in our wake as we made our way through the frozen water like an ice-breaker. Hats off to Billy Budd! Billy Budd really came into her own when we got near to the glaciers. At Ventisquero, the last glacier in the first part of the Channel, there was a lot of ice and a strong current. I’ll never know how we managed to get permission to go there, – maybe the Navy made some kind of mistake. We were near the rocks and the shore but luckily in deep water where the ice didn’t seem as thick. However, two or three of us still had to stand on the bow to push the larger chunks of ice out of the way. >

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“This is how we spent three enchanted weeks in the cold and sun, managing tough but do-able shore trips, sailing and tying up and watching glaciers emerge from the distance.”

We were moving at less than a knot but we only had a fibreglass bottom so even if we’d wanted to, we couldn’t have pretended we were an ice-breaker. Eventually though, navigating the fjords near the glacier became impossible and we had to turn back. This is how we spent three enchanted weeks in the cold and sun, managing tough but do-able shore trips, sailing and tying up and watching glaciers emerge from the distance. Until, that is, we had to return to Ushuaia as our holidays came to an end once again. Back in Ushuaia, the other boats awaited and we took our four Italian heroes skiing at Cerro Castor to give them a taste of the southern hemisphere’s pistes. We went to dinner with the crews of the other boats too: four Dutch, various New Zealanders and Americans but no other Italians apart from ourselves.

Our holiday ended with a 10am flight to Buenos Aires. In all our time aboard Billy Budd, we hadn’t opened a single game or watched a single film. We’d barely even had time to read the books we had on board. We’d sailed a lot, seen a lot and lived a heck of a lot! Our friends returned to Italy enchanted by a world so very different from their own, by the unique, fascinating people we’d met, people that told stories that sounded like children’s fairytales but were actually very much their own. We, on the other hand, returned to Italy determined to come back to the Beagle in winter once again. It was just too majestic not too at least one more time. In the meantime, however, we’ll be getting both ourselves and the boat ready for another great adventure…this time to the remote, sea and wind-lashed mountain isle of South Georgia. And Billy Budd will keep on sailing.

Photos: Courtesy of Mariacristina Rapisardi and Giovanni Cristofori

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Oyster Motoryachts The OM43 with twin ca bins‌ f ast, fun and comfor ta ble

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The new OM43 is a development of the successful LD43, which Oyster brought to the market two years ago. While the LD has lots of space we were increasingly aware that some owners wanted the ability to take friends on their cruises. Time then for a new configuration to give more live aboard accommodation, while maintaining the fun appeal and unique style of this boat. By bringing the galley into the upper saloon level, the Oyster design team has cleverly created a second twin berth cabin of reasonable size. The saloon features a U-shaped seating area, offering a panoramic outboard vista when seated at the table which has plenty of space for six people to dine in style. The cockpit offers lots of space for outdoor living with a host of subtle improvements. Power is by two of the new generation, fuel efficient Cummins 480hp motors, while most impor tantly the OM43 retains the two Hamilton Waterjets which, linked to the unique ‘Mouseboat’ system give incredible manoeuvrability at high and low speeds. Water jets allow the OM43 to dry

out for a beach par ty and offer shallow water exploring and extra safety around bathers. There can be no fouled props on passage with all that can mean for the safety conscious boater. See the new twin cabin OM43 at the London Boat Show, Stand S30D.s

For further information contact: UK Office:

Paul Harding Tel: +44 (0)1473 688888 email:

US Office:

Bob Marston Tel: +401 846 7400 email:

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Singapore, through the Malacca Strait to Thailand and Malaysia By Keith Hamilton, Oyster 62, Car pe Diem

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Carpe Diem, our Oyster 62, arrived in Singapore on 14 November 2007 from Bali, Indonesia. It was an uneventful passage with reasonable winds and moderate traffic – mostly shrimp boats whose bright lights made them very easy to spot at night. The traffic in Singapore Harbour however was another matter. As expected from one of the busiest harbours in the world, its waters were absolutely full of large commercial vessels and smaller ferries, tugs, pilot boats and recreational powerboats, all busy going from one spot to another. The major vessels, which were our main concern, were quite strictly held to traffic lanes, which at least gave them some predictability. Crossing the lane to get to the area for immigration clearance however was quite tricky as the vessels were moving very closely one after the other at least 10 knots. We called Singapore Immigration when we were abeam Sister Islands at the Western Immigration and Quarantine Anchorage, as instructed by the Pilot Book and they came alongside in their launch, checked papers and cleared us in. They were extremely courteous, efficient and professional. A welcome contrast to Indonesia and an insight to the way Singapore is run. After clearance we proceeded to One 15 Marina on the South side of Sentosa Island. After this initial clearance we had 24 hours to go to the One Stop Document Centre to complete fur ther paperwork. It was a shor t metro ride from our marina. The marina is named for its latitude Nor th. We decided to go there rather than the traditional Raffles Marina on the recommendation of an Australian couple we met in Bali. One 15 is more of a country club marina than a working marina, but it is extremely convenient to Singapore City. Raffles has great facilities, 60 w w w. o y s t e r m a r i n e . c o m


but is a long way out of town. As we did not need anything done by way of repairs we chose One 15. The staff were extremely helpful and we had a very secure berth close to the clubhouse. The recreational facilities were superb with a large glass sided swimming pool and a couple of good restaurants. There was a free shuttle bus to a major shopping mall on Singapore Island, which had great provisioning, eating and shopping. It was also a subway stop on the Singapore metro. The metro was a great way to get around the city and we made good use of it. Singapore is a totally controlled city where chewing gum is illegal, corporal punishment can be par t of a judicial sentence and drug smuggling carries the death penalty. It is spotlessly clean, tidy and efficient, but free speech and public dissidence are not well tolerated. Under the functional dictatorship of Lee Kwan Yew for decades, it has achieved tremendous economic success for a geographically tiny city-state. Lee Kwan Yew has retired but his influence and philosophy live on. After some months in the significantly more relaxed culture of Indonesia it was an interesting contrast. Everything comes with a price. At 58 years old, the price for clean streets and efficiency in Singapore seemed reasonable to me. I don’t think I would have felt that when I was 18. One 15 Marina was extremely secure, both from the weather and crime perspective so I was quite happy to leave Carpe Diem there for a few days while I went back to England for some business and to engage crew. Rosemary and I arrived back in Singapore in early December. I was happy to see all was well with our boat, except for the absolutely filthy dust that covered her. Being in the middle of a city the pollution was terrible, and the rain that fell every

day brought it all to the ground. We spent the next week or so exploring Singapore, provisioning and preparing for our next passage to Phuket, Thailand. Provisioning was very easy, as one would expect. We made good use of a huge Carrefour in the Suntec Mall, downtown. We had decided to go straight to Phuket, bypassing Malaysia, as we were meeting our youngest son there for Christmas, and the clock was ticking. Sam Ringdahl, our new Captain and his partner, Jenna Prado, Mate/Chef arrived in Singapore on the 15th December. They had a very hectic two days to orient themselves to Carpe Diem and we left on 18th December. The traffic leaving Singapore was as busy as when we arrived, worsened by some squalls that blew though the harbour. We planned to run up the Malacca Strait on the east side, just outside the shipping lane. We were aware of the reputation the Malacca Strait has for pirates, but by most accounts they seemed to focus on commercial shipping for the payrolls or cargo. My father-in-law added to our concern by ‘helpfully’ giving me a copy of the latest National Geographic article on Malacca Strait Piracy. We hoped we would be a low profile vessel and not worth bothering! In fact the passage was quite interesting and really not as stressful as we had thought it may be. Being outside the shipping lane we could watch with interest, not concern, the hundreds of huge vessels passing in their North and South lanes continuously. What a vast amount of energy is used moving stuff from one part of the world to another. Although we were clear of the major commercial ships, many smaller ships and barges were doing the same as us, using the narrow space between Traffic Separation scheme and the shore, so we were never bored! >

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Interestingly, a few days later we heard that a medium size commercial vessel had been captured in the Strait the first night we were passaging through. After a quiet passage of three days we arrived at Yacht Haven Marina, Phuket, Thailand. We had to clear in at Ao Chalong on the South coast before proceeding to the Marina on the North coast. It is worth noting that if any of the crew are going to fly out of Thailand rather than sail out, they should come in as passengers rather than crew, as transferring off the crew list is a hassle and expensive. Yacht Haven Marina is a very secure harbour on the North Coast of Phuket Island, it is very well run by Nick Wyatt the Manager. We rented a car and braved the hectic Thai traffic to explore and provision. Our son Trevor arrived a couple of days later and we set off to cruise the waters around the nor thwest Thai coast. We star ted in Phang Na Bay, between Phuket Island and the mainland. There are many, many islands in this area, their limestone carved into extraordinary shapes by rain, wind and tide. One of the islands features in the James Bond film ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’ and hence has become a popular tourist site. Despite that it is wor th seeing, either before or after the crowds. Another film location that we visited was Maya Bay on Phi Phi Le Island where the beach was used as a location for the film ‘The Beach,’ with Leonardo DeCaprio. This was again a very beautiful spot until about 10am when it became a bit swamped with visitors from nearby Krabi. The people themselves were just having a good time, but the ubiquitous longtail boats that use automobile engines, unsilenced, were extremely noisy.

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We were impressed by the number of mega-yachts in this area. Talking to their crews it was obvious that Phuket, together with the Maldives and Seychelles, are an attractive alternative to the Caribbean for winter cruising. Cliff climbing is very popular on the rocks and little islands in the Bay and Trevor and Sam made the most of it. They spent many hours climbing up the cliffs and jumping back down into the sea. Definitely a spectator sport for me! From Ao Chalong Bay we cruised south and around many of the islands, spending a very pleasant week around the area. The water in the north of the Bay is not very clear, but improves as one moves south. The Island of Phuket itself is a very overcrowded tourist market and Patong and Phuket town are best avoided, especially on shore, unless one is enthusiastic about alcohol excess, touts and bar girls. What is interesting though is the extensive rebuilding that has occurred after the devastating Tsunami in 2004. Clearly the profit to be made from basic instincts is extensive. One good aspect of the towns were the restaurants, which were of high quality and reasonably priced. Rosemary spoke well of the foot massages and facials too. We spent a quiet family style Christmas anchored off a small island to the south of Phuket, and so decided to crank it up a bit for New Year’s Eve. Koh Phi Phi is a young persons’ party island most of the time, and at New Years Eve it pulls out all the stops. We made a good anchorage off the village and went ashore. The village itself was extensively rebuilt after the Tsunami. The photographs of the destruction were terrible, but the spirit of the people in starting again was very impressive. We were pleased so see a bar called >

“About 50nm west of Phuket are the Similan Islands. They are protected by the Thai Government as a Marine Park with great success. The water is very, very clear, the coral is extensive and undamaged, and the fish and turtles are numerous and large.�

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Carpe Diem! A fine philosophy. Rosemary and I bailed out fairly early in the evening to enjoy the show from the relative peace and quiet of our cockpit, but Sam, Jenna and Trevor made the most of the occasion. At midnight fireworks seemed to come from everywhere, together with ship horns, bells, car horns along with any other possible noisemaker. A unique and beautiful aspect of the celebrations was the lighting of flying lanterns. These were basically small, 1-metre diameter, hot air balloons made of rice paper and bamboo strips with a wax impregnated coil at the bottom supported by wire. On being lit they would rise up into the sky for at least 100 to 200 metres depending on the breeze. To see hundreds of these floating through the night sky was just magical. We set off a couple ourselves, narrowly avoiding setting alight the boat near us, as the wind was a little stronger than we (I) had estimated! About 50nm west of Phuket are the Similan Islands. They are very well protected by the Thai Government who keep them as a Marine Park. The water is very, very clear, the coral is extensive and undamaged, and the fish and turtles are numerous and large. We had a few days there and could easily have spent many more. There are extensive recreational diving operations in the area, but they are well taken care of and the operators work hard to preserve the environment. Anchoring is not allowed in most spots, but there are many moorings in good condition. We would love to go back and spend more time in the Similian Islands. Before we started our next passage to the Maldive islands we wanted to repaint our antifouling. The marinas in Phuket that had a large enough travel-lift for Carpe Diem were too shallow for us, so we decided to go to Langkawi, Malaysia. Langkawi is also well known as a duty-free island with extensive provisioning and many liquor stores! 64 w w w. o y s t e r m a r i n e . c o m

The passage to Langkawi was pretty straightforward. Our adventure started after arrival. We approached the Langkawi Yacht Club, our port of entry, in the afternoon. The docking was a little tricky, tight distances with a few knots of crosstide and cross wind. About 10 seconds after we put the first line on the dock the throttle mechanism snapped! We quickly got settled and then checked out the problem. We needed a new throttle mechanism and morse cable. We called Oyster After Sales and asked them to send the throttle mechanism to the crew person who was flying from England to join us in Langkawi to passage to the Maldives and we bought a morse cable locally. As we had to wait a few days for the crew to arrive we decided to haul out and anti-foul. Lashing the RIB alongside Carpe Diem we manoeuvred out of the Langkawi Yacht Club and sailed to the Rebak Marina, about five miles away. When we got there we hauled the boat with the help of the very professional marina team, and checked her out prior to antifouling. To our intense disappointment we found that the cutlass bearing and the stern tube bearing were loose and needed to be repaired. Normally this would be enough of a hassle, but it was the day before Chinese New Year. In Malaysia this involves about seven to ten days of holiday for the local Chinese, and all the local hardware, chandlery, engineering shops and mechanics are Chinese! Fortunately we were lucky enough to find Peter, an Aussie engineer who worked for a mining company in Sumatra but spent some of his time in the Marina. His help was invaluable in removing the Maxi Prop, prop shaft, machining the cutlass bearing to size and putting everything back together. Langkawi itself was not a very exciting island. The provisioning was quite good and the antipodean wines were good quality and cheap, but otherwise there wasn’t a lot to do. On the advice of all those who had made the trip


previously, we took the opportunity to stock up on cartons of cigarettes and bottles of scotch to facilitate our passage through the Suez Canal. The water during this passage tended to be green and opaque in contrast to the clear blue translucent seas we had come to expect in the previous 10,000 miles of Pacific and Australia, so the sea and beaches weren’t very attractive. Rosemary and I therefore decided to do some traveling inland. We spent a couple of days in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and then a few days in Bangkok and Chang Mai Thailand. Kuala Lumpur has an extremely modern down town core, the main aspect of which are the Petronas Towers, which were the world’s tallest buildings from 1998 to 2004. The town was attractive, but seemed quite sterile compared to many Asian capitals. Bangkok was a huge contrast. We had visited there many years before, and other than a few more high-rise buildings it still felt the same. The markets are an extravaganza of noise, smells and movement. Everywhere one looks one is overwhelmed with sensation. The Pak Khlong flower market is an unbelievable sea of colour, with every kind of bloom one could imagine in huge clouds as far as you can see. The shopping in Bangkok covers a complete range from local crafts and silks, through designer knock-offs to top European names. There are multi-level department stores and malls and small outdoor markets. Something for everyone. Buddhism is an important part of Thai culture and there are hundreds of beautiful temples in Bangkok that are very peaceful and rewarding to visit.

A ride on the Chao Phraya River is a popular activity for tourists, and the various ferryboats that travel up and downstream are a very useful way of avoiding the notorious Bangkok traffic as you explore. After a few days we travelled up country to Chang Mai, 700 miles north west of Bangkok, at the base of the Golden Triangle. Chang Mai is a very attractive country town with many Wats (temples). It also has a famous Night Market, which is a descendant of the old trading markets from the days when Chang Mai was a stop on the route from China to the coast of Myanmar. A lot of backpackers and trekkers come to Chang Mai as part of their hiking trips in Northern Thailand. As well as walking around town we spent some time at an orchid farm and an elephant compound in the nearby hills. The elephant camp was very impressive. The animals ranged fairly freely around the area. When we arrived they were in the river being scrubbed by their attendants. As a token to environmental discretion, several women hovered downstream with baskets, catching the bowling ball sized faeces that the elephants released as they relaxed! After ten days inland we were happy to return to Carpe Diem and prepare for our next leg, to the Maldive Islands. Repairs completed, provisioning done we prepared to leave. As usual, towards the end of season, marinas are full of cruisers discussing weather windows, passage timing and future dangers. The Chicken Little syndrome reigns large. We noticed that about half the cruisers felt we were going to leave too soon while the other half thought we were too early. That seemed reasonable and on February 14th we left Malaysia to continue our circumnavigation, heading for the Maldive Islands, a 1700nm Passage.

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ARC 2008 This annual transatlantic rally starting each November in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, has now become the most popular way to cross the Atlantic. As the largest transocean sailing event in the world, the ARC brings together over 200 yachts from all over the world every year, this includes a large fleet of Oysters. The Caribbean destination is Rodney Bay in St Lucia, one of the most beautiful islands in the Lesser Antilles. The 2700nm passage on the NE tradewind route takes on average between 14 and 21 days. Conceived as a friendly race for cruising yachts to make the Atlantic crossing both safer and more enjoyable, participating yachts must carry a range of safety equipment including a liferaft, EPIRB and VHF radio. Daily radio nets contribute further to the safety of participants. The presence of experienced sailors is another incentive for those with little offshore experience. The ARC has a special flavour, which successfully combines racers with cruisers, old with young, and provides entertainment for all with a wide-ranging programme of entertainment taking place both before the start and after the finish. Good preparation is essential for a safe crossing and, as usual, a five-man Oyster service team, led by Oyster Customer Care Manager, Eddie Scougall, was in Las Palmas one week before the start to give every Oyster taking part, regardless of size or age, a complimentary ‘health check’ before their Atlantic adventure. For many owners this ARC will be their first Atlantic crossing, and not just owners! David and Becky Werrett, owners of the Oyster 49 Chilli Oyster, gained an unexpected crewmember after being refused permission to repatriate their dog, Molly, back to the UK, having visited Morocco on route to Las Palmas! On the new Oyster 72, Stravaig of Argyll, there are three generations of the Gibson family on board – owner Scott, his 70-year old father Alex and 14-year old son, Cameron, whilst on the Oyster 46 Sophistikate, Oscar Parkinson will celebrate his 15th birthday mid-Atlantic along with his Mum and Dad, Angela and Richard, who make up the three-person crew. 66 w w w. o y s t e r m a r i n e . c o m

Paul Bateman, owner of the new Oyster 56 Stardust, whose Atlantic crossing has been two years in the making, was emphatic in his praise for the Oyster service.

“I have been wanting to do this all my life and never thought I would get the chance. Thank you to Debbie Johnson at Oyster Marine, her help and support has been wonderful since the day we set out designing the boat and we would not be here in such good shape without her. Thank you Debbie, Eddie and the whole Oyster team.” Paul Bateman, Oyster 56, Stardust

Start day for the 23rd Atlantic Rally for Cruisers started in spectacular style with 211 yachts from 21 different nations crossing the start line off Las Palmas de Gran Gran Canaria. The sea surface had a slight swell running after two days of gentle north easterlies, but the NE 10-15 knot breeze meant more crews than usual were hoisting spinnakers. Winds are expected to remain from the north-east with tradewind conditions likely to establish themselves, offering the prospect of a steady passage to St Lucia, with a recommendation at this stage to stay south of the rhumb line route. The good weather meant a wonderful sight for the hundreds of spectators watching afloat and ashore. We wish all the ARC Oysters a safe and fast Atlantic crossing and hope to feature stories from some of those taking part in the next issue of Oyster News. For more details about the event and how to enter please see: Photos: Richard Langdon of Ocean Images

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Palma to Las Palmas By Ste ve Powell, Oyster 655, UHUR U of Lymington

After taking part in the Oyster Regatta in Palma our plans were to sail to Las Palmas for the ARC via Tangier, Mohammedia (Casablanca) and Essaouira, a small fishing port that I had read about. Bad weather put paid to all those plans as we sat in Gibraltar for over a week waiting for a series of south-westerly storms to pass though. With an easterly going on inside the Med, this was producing similar sea conditions to those that caused so much damage in Queensway Quay just a few weeks before. So our itinerary was cut short and we decided to head directly to the old fishing port of Essaouira, (formally Mogador) and what a find this place turned out to be. We arrived early in the morning as the fishing boats were coming in from their predawn start. The port was heaving with fishing boats, people buying and selling, and thousands and thousands of seagulls. We had been warned against Essaouria by another Oyster skipper who told us tales of woe and disaster. But on further questioning it transpired that he had never actually been there just heard stories. What we found was the most exotic fortress city with the nicest people you could hope for and some of the best food we have had on this trip, very French with a touch of Africa. Mind you we had been stuck in Gibraltar for a week or so, not exactly the gourmet centre of Europe! The sights, sounds and smells were mesmerising. We spent hours just watching the fishermen coming in and out with their catches. Some of the little boats would come in nearly awash with six or seven large shark and a sword fish onboard. Then the trading began right there on the quay.

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After the sale, runners would rush the catch off to the local restaurants or fish market. One night we watched our dinner, a very large Sea Bass, being selected from the fishing boat, paid for on the quay and then rushed around to Chez Sam’s to be baked in a salt crust - mouth-watering experience. Chez Sam’s has to be the best place to eat. Right on the dock, you can watch the sights and sounds of the port while enjoying the very freshest fish you can dream of. Yes it was challenging and tight getting into the port and we had to be on our watch all the time, but we had our local ‘boat boy’ to look after us, ask for Omar. After two hours and five different offices to get through the entry formalities (plus a few packets of Marlboro and a bottle of wine in baksheesh, which may I remind you is not bribery, but an appreciative gift for services rendered) we settled in. The formalities were very friendly although a little long winded. Spelling out every detail on six passports using the phonetic alphabet while the immigration chief types with two fingers was a little different, we became friends in the process and exchanged family pictures. >

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When we arrived there was just one other sailing boat there, a German catamaran and they left the next morning. So despite the number of boats heading down to Las Palmas, Essaouira still seems to be a little bit of a secret.

My everlasting memory from Essaouira, will be leaving just before dawn with an escort of waving fishermen. What a fantastic, spectacular, colourful, friendly, exotic and delightful place.

What we found in town was a classic old for tress city (medina) and in the walls of the city many little shops and ar t works. Essaouira appears to be half way between an unspoiled back packers haven with few facilities and a fully blown tourist town with all the baggage that that comes with. So it still has its old world charm, the shops don’t hassle you like they do in Tangier and Marrakesh and there are very few street hawkers. It has a number of very good ar t galleries and there is some genuinely good ar t for sale. The local speciality of carving and polishing the root of the thuya tree produces extraordinary sculptures in a rich golden colour with dark dramatic grain. The oppor tunities for good, high quality shopping here where endless, and needless to say the girls took every oppor tunity to suppor t the local community.

Our route to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria took us to Isla Graciosa, a small island off the north coast of Lanzarote, some 225 miles from Morocco. The main attraction for a stopover here is that it’s a National Park, has one of the most beautiful bays to anchor in and has a challenging narrow channel between the two islands called Estrecho del Rio, with very steep cliffs on one side and four volcanic cones on the other. We ‘goose winged’ down the Estrecho del Rio with the NE Trade wings funneling in behind us until we arrived at Playa Francesa for the night. We are now just over four thousand miles into our journey, with only another 54,000 nm to go! Most of our trip so far has been about going south into warmer climes, well now we are star ting west towards the Caribbean with the first stop being Las Palmas for the star t of the ARC. UHURU heads west, the Caribbean beckons, Bob Marley here we come…

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The 72ft Oystercatcher winning Antigua Sailing Week with rigging, custom stainless and painting all by Fox’s. She later returned for a refit, replacement generator and new bow thruster.

Boadicea the Essex oyster smack believed to be the oldest sailing vessel in commission celebrated her 200th birthday with a refit by Fox’s including paintwork, new engine installation, spars, rigging and electronics.

Small jobs to major refits - projects of every size are welcome.

An improved range of services for 2009 and our fair deal pricing policy makes Fox’s the right choice for quality, service and value. From engineering, stainless, osmosis treatment, painting, electronics, joinery and workshop services - you name it, we do it and do it well.

Fox’s new Chandlery and Outdoor store opens January 2009, the largest of its kind in the UK. Great prices and traditional standards of service for personal and Internet shoppers with the new Fox’s online -

Fox’s Marina Ipswich Ltd Ipswich Suffolk IP2 8SA T: +44 (0) 1473 689111 F: +44 (0) 1473 601737 E:

SYS News For nearly 30 years, Southampton Yacht Services has been providing a full range of services for yachts of all sizes… we went to spy on a few of their current projects, and find out why their skills are in such demand. Founded in 1980 by Piers Wilson at Shamrock Quay in Southampton, SYS has established itself as one of the best major refit yards in Europe, building a name for its high quality workmanship. Over the years the yard has completed restoration work on a number of the large classic sailing and motor yachts, including rebuilding one of the most famous yachts in the world, the J Class Velsheda. But what’s going on in the yard at the moment and what’s so special about the service that SYS offers? You don’t have to spend long in the yard to find out… CUSTOM PROJECTS One of the most stunning projects the SYS team are currently working on is the beautiful Fife classic Cambria. Cambria is having an extensive engineering and electrical refit, which will see her ready for a new season in the Mediterranean next year. Her engine room is being re-planned to improve layout, sound-reduction and access for maintenance. The new main engine with improved hydraulic drives to the two propellers is being planned and a full rewire of the electrical system will upgrade the installation. Next to Cambria, two brand-new 43 metre motor yachts, Waterlily and Caneli are having their interiors fitted before heading for their new home in Monaco.

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Piers Wilson explained: "We were perfectly placed to fit the interiors of these yachts as our team has the expertise to finish the joinery to the highest standard. We are also able to pull together all the other trades – marble work, electrical work, luxury leather work, upholstery – that are needed to complete a luxury fit-out." The expertise SYS has built up over the years in the luxury yacht field is rare and much sought-after. OY S T E R R E F I T S Over the last ten years, SYS has become involved in fitting out Oysters for Oyster Marine, and in December 2000 the company became part of the Oyster Group concentrating on building the larger yachts in the Oyster range. As Oyster builders, SYS is ideally suited to refit and maintain Oysters of all ages, and the company has been slowly increasing and developing their service to owners. Visitors to the yard over the past year include Richard Matthews’ Oyster 82 Zig Zag, which stopped in at SYS on her way back from the Fife Regatta. She spent three weeks in the yard, emerging gleaming and refreshed ready for the Oyster Regatta in Palma.


FAR LEFT: Velsheda LEFT: Caneli & Waterlily BELOW: SYS Technical Director Harvey Jones

For those buying used boats, SYS offers all the expertise owners need to make their pride and joy look as good as new, allowing them to put their own stamp on the boat. Among the boats in the yard at the moment is the Oyster 62 Emeah. The original owner had young children and tried to squeeze a fifth cabin in, but the berths were very narrow. The SYS team is currently rebuilding the forepeak berths, adding two hanging lockers and fitting blinds to make it into a habitable and useful cabin for ‘grown-ups’. At the same time the rigging is being replaced and the boat is undergoing a general refit so she’ll be as good as new for her first season with her new owner. Next to Emeah is an Oyster 82, which is used regularly for charter. She is having her regular five-year service, her rig and safety equipment are undergoing a thorough check, her hull’s just been sprayed and the team is replacing components in the rudder system so the owner can enjoy another five care-free years. Due in the yard after Christmas are a whole queue of boats, including an Oyster 61, Oyster 56, two Oyster 53s, an Oyster 45 and 47 and an Oyster 72. As Andy Willett, SYS’s Project Manger reeled off the list, it was obvious that each one was much more than a number, each one was an individual needing attention, a project to take pride in, and it’s this that marks out the SYS approach.

25 YEARS ON Keeping quality staff is key to this attitude, and to the company’s success. Technical Director Harvey Jones is celebrating 25 years with the company, having joined the business straight from school. He recalls, "When I went for interview, I ended up helping with a survey on a 212ft motor yacht." The yacht, Shemara, was once owned by industrialist Sir Bernard Docker, whose wife allegedly threw a fortune’sworth of jewels over the side during a disagreement. "I remember how Harvey climbed up onto the funnel and thought it was great to be on something so large," founder and Managing Director Piers Wilson laughs, adding: "He has been a fantastic support to me over the years and worked his way up to Technical Director. We have always aimed to have long-serving staff and we have a good history of keeping them, so that the skills that are built up over the years are maintained." In this spirit, Harvey’s milestone wasn’t going to pass unrecognised. As a wine-lover, the company organised a special wine-tasting trip to visit the famous vineyards of Bordeaux. SYS also try and cultivate long standing relationships with owners and captains and they are delighted that the captain of Caneli first came to the yard as captain of a 55ft new build sailing yacht 25 years ago.

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Oyster 62 UHURU and Oyster 655 Sotto Vento

designed to perform... built to last

400 Main Road • Harwich • Essex • CO12 4DN • Tel: +44 (0)1255 243366 • Fax: +44 (0)1255 240920 •

Just Launched A selection of recent Oyster launchings

OYSTER 46 ON THE MARK On the Mark was handed over to Mark, Julie and Eric Kaufmann by Oyster’s Will White in Newport, USA. On the Mark was on display at both the recent Newport and Annapolis boat shows, where she attracted plenty of attention. This winter will see her enjoying the Florida sunshine, before her return to the US East Coast in 2009.

OYSTER 54 CYGNUS OF ANGLESEY Recently handed over to Sir Peter Davis and his crew, Tim and Sybilla, Cygnus of Anglesey is Peter’s fifth Oyster. Peter becomes the first owner to have commissioned five new Oysters, having previously owned an Oyster 45, 56, 82 and an LD43 motoryacht. Handover took place on a beautiful autumn day with a blustery sail, short-tacking up river from Felixstowe to Woolverstone, before turning back downstream to set the MPS. In recognition of his loyalty to the Oyster brand, Sir Peter was presented with a perfect half-model of his new yacht by Oyster Directors Alan Brook and Liz Whitman. Cygnus will be spending the winter in Antigua and we look forward to seeing her at the Oyster Regatta in Antigua in April, before she heads off to spend the summer on the US East Coast.

ABOVE FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: The Kaufmann family, Oyster 46, On the Mark Oyster’s Alan Brook with Sir Peter Davis, Oyster 54, Cygnus of Anglesey Oyster 655, Larette Cameron, Laura and Stuart Gibson, Oyster 72, Stravaig of Argyll Midge Verplank, Oyster 82, Sundowner of Tortola RIGHT: Jonathan Mould, Oyster 72, Koluka

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OYSTER 655 LARETTE Larette’s maiden voyage was from Ipswich to her owners’ house in Sweden, she covered the 560nm miles in just 66 hours giving the crew an exciting ride to the Baltic! Larette will eventually be based in the South of France from where her owners intend to cruise the Mediterranean. Fitted out in a contemporary style with maple joinery and white leather upholstery, Larette makes a special and individual statement. With her carbon spars and fullybattened sloop rig she has proved to be a powerful cruising yacht with plenty of pace.


OYSTER 72 STRAVAIG OF ARGYLL Owner Scott Gibson brought his young family, Cameron, Laura and Stuart to Ipswich to witness the launch of their new ‘baby’ Stravaig of Argyll when she was handed over. After a fantastic sail on the River Orwell, Scott was full of praise for their new acquisition. Stravaig of Argyll departed Ipswich immediately after handover to sail to Las Palmas where she joined a large fleet of Oysters taking part in this year’s Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, which set off for St Lucia on 23 November. Joining Scott on this big adventure, which will be a first Atlantic crossing for all of them, will be his 70-year old father, Alex, and 14-year old son, Cameron, making Stravaig of Argyll probably the only boat in the ARC fleet with three generations on board. Stravaig of Argyll is available for charter through Oyster Yacht Charter. OYSTER 72 KOLUKA Koluka is owner Jonathan Mould’s second Oyster, having previously owned the Oyster 56 Kuyenda. Koluka arrived in the Caribbean this autumn and is a stylish addition to the Oyster Yacht Charter fleet with her teak and cream leather interior, state-of-the-art entertainment system and carbon performance rig. We look forward to seeing Koluka at Oyster’s Antigua Regatta next April.

OYSTER 82 SUNDOWNER OF TORTOLA The Oyster 82 is owner Midge Verplank’s second Oyster and replaces his Oyster 66 of the same name, which was launched in 2004. This stunning new Oyster 82 is the first of the new Supershoal 82s with a centreboard and the interior is beautifully fitted out in maple. The boat is crossing the Atlantic as part of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers and will then spend her first winter season in the Caribbean.

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Head Office: Oyster Marine Ltd Fox’s Marina Ipswich Suffolk IP2 8SA England T: +44 (0)1473 688888 F: +44 (0)1473 686861 E: Oyster Marine Germany: Saseler Str. 192a 22159 Hamburg Germany T: +49 40 64400880 F: +49 40 64400882 E: Oyster Marine USA: Newport Shipyard One Washington Street Newport RI 02840 USA T: +401 846 7400 F: +401 846 7483 E:

Oyster Winter 2008 // Issue67  
Oyster Winter 2008 // Issue67