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OYSTER NEWS

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NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF OYSTER

WORLD LEADERS IN DECK SALOON CRUISING YACHTS

OYSTER ANTIGUA REGAT TA • EXCELLENCE IN DESIGN • THE NEW OYSTER 625

ISSUE 68 SUMMER 2009


Contents Issue 68

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WELCOME

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EDITOR Liz Whitman

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NEWS ROUNDUP

OLD ENGLAND ODYSSEY Mariacristina Rapisardi

David Tydeman

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FAMILY AND FRIENDS Devala Dookun

CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Roger Vaughan

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ROUND THE ISLAND

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ANTIGUA REGATTA 2009

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PANAMA CANAL Bill Strong

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LAUNCHING MISS TIPPY Sheila Norton

FROM THE EDITOR We publish Oyster News twice a year and we know from our readers that the articles they most enjoy reading about are the contributions from Oyster owners. If you have a story to tell or information about cruising in your Oyster please let us know. Photographs are always welcome with or without a story. email: liz.whitman@oystermarine.com or rebecca.twiss@oystermarine.com FRONT COVER PICTURE: New man at the helm, Oyster CEO David Tydeman, steers Sir Peter Davis’s new Oyster 54, Cygnus, to her first Antigua Regatta win. BACK COVER PICTURE: Fun on the rail of Chris and Corrine Ducker’s Oyster 655, Flying Duckman, Oyster Antigua Regatta 2009 Photos: Tim Wright www.photoaction.com 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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THE NEW OYSTER 625

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2009 DUBOIS CUP

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ARC 2008 Barry Pickthall

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WINNING THE HEINEKEN CAPE TO BAHIA RACE Nick O’Donnell

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OWNER PROFILE SIR NIGEL SOUTHWARD Roger Vaughan

EXCELLENCE IN DESIGN AND ENGINEERING David Tydeman

PRODUCTION EDITOR Rebecca Twiss

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OYSTER AT THE BOAT SHOWS

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JUST LAUNCHED


Newsroundup OYSTER 72 WINS WORLD ARC

Photo: Tim Wright www.photoaction.com

The Oyster 72, Kealoha 8, won her class and was first overall in the World Cruising Club’s inaugural World ARC, which set out from the Caribbean in January 2008 and returned to St Lucia at the end of March 2009. Kealoha was one of four Oysters in the World ARC fleet of some 40 yachts, which included Mike and Donna Hill’s Oyster 56 Baccalieu III, Robert and Diane Moore’s Oyster 56 Into the Blue and Bill Mapstone’s Oyster 82 TillyMint. Owner David Holliday commented: “The best thing I did was follow my father and buy an Oyster. Kealoha gave us a great ride around the world in all conditions, never in any danger, always lots of fun. The icing on the cake was first in class and first overall when the final results were calculated.”

OYSTER ENTERS VASCO DE GAMA RALLY Jamie Furlong and Liz Cleere have signed up for the Vasco de Gama Rally in their 20-year old Oyster 435, Esper, the first Oyster to take part in this event. The Rally departs from Turkey in October and will arrive in India in April 2010. The rally covers a route that stretches over 4,300 nautical miles, taking in the Suez Canal and passing nine countries, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Sudan, Eritrea, Yemen, Oman and India, with time allowed for excursions to visit some of the great historical sights on route. Jamie and Liz will be writing about their experiences on the rally for Oyster News, which will feature in a future issue. For more details about Esper’s adventures see: www.followtheboat.com 4 w w w. o y s t e r m a r i n e . c o m

Flying the Flag for British Excellence Oyster is one of a small number of British exhibitors who will be sponsoring the Red Arrows air display at the Monaco Yacht Show in September, which is being organised by Superyacht UK. The Red Arrows are renowned throughout the world as ambassadors for both the Royal Air Force and the United Kingdom. Those who were lucky enough to see their display in Monaco last year will know what an impact they made in the skies above one of the world’s most glamorous harbours, as the nine strong Hawk team thundered down from the hills above Monaco and burst over the bay, taking the crowds by surprise as they roared above the Monte Carlo waterfront. The Red Arrows are a powerful symbol of British excellence, with a reputation built on commitment and professionalism, attributes that are hallmarks of Oyster’s yacht building heritage and we are proud to support this initiative at the Monaco Yacht Show.


OSTAR Success for Oyster Lightwave 395 Congratulations to east coast sailor and former dinghy instructor, Pip Hildesley, who completed the OSTAR solo transatlantic race this summer in her Oyster Lightwave 395. Pip has sailed extensively in the northern and southern hemisphere and, most recently, has double handed her Lightwave 395, The Shed, over 10,000 miles on a South American voyage. This included a trip to Patagonia and through the roaring forties. To compete in the OSTAR, Pip made a non-stop singlehanded return trip from Uruguay to the UK at the beginning of this year. The Original Single Handed Trans-Atlantic Race (OSTAR) is the world’s oldest solo ocean challenge, dating back to 1960 and was first won by the circumnavigator  Sir Francis Chichester. Some of the world’s greatest sailors have taken part including Eric Tabarly, Pete Goss, Loick Peyron, Francis Joyon, Mike Golding, Michel Desjoyeaux and Ellen MacArthur. The race has continued to uphold its Corinthian roots, providing aspiring professional and amateur sailors with the ultimate challenge.

OCEAN YOUTH TRUST 50th Anniversary The Ocean Youth Trust (formerly Ocean Youth Club) will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2010. Almost 140,000 young people have been introduced to sailing during this time. Some will have sailed in one of the three Oysters built for the charity, including Alba Venturer, an Oyster 70 still operated by OYT Scotland. Nick Fleming, Chief Executive of OYT Scotland, said “We are tremendously proud of our Oyster – Alba Venturer is a fantastic boat for sailing with young people.”

Dame Ellen MacArthur visits Oyster HQ CEO, David Tydeman was delighted to welcome Dame Ellen MacArthur to Oyster’s Ipswich HQ, when she attended a fundraising party for the Oyster Lightwave 48, Scarlet Oyster, as part of her Skandia Round Britain Voyage in aid of the Ellen MacArthur Trust. Crewed by young people in remission from cancer and leukaemia, Scarlet Oyster was built by E C Landamore in 1987 and was a well-known competitor on the south coast racing circuit. In 2007 Scarlet Oyster took line honours and won IRC Class 1 in the Fastnet Race before undergoing a complete refit for her Round Britain voyage. For further information about Scarlet Oyster’s Round Britain Voyage please visit www.roundbritain.org

The OYT is still engaged in a large number of exciting projects: in 2009, OYT South (www.oytsouth.org) will be competing in the Tall Ships Race series in the Baltic, while OYT Scotland (www.oytscotland.org.uk) is going to the Arctic. For their 50th anniversary, the Ocean Youth Trust is trying to track down people who have sailed with them over the last 50 years. The Trust also needs volunteers and sponsors who can support their outstanding work with young people. If you are a former crew member, or know anyone who was, or if you would like to support the Trust’s work in any way, or just want more information, please contact Caroline White, email caroline.white@oytsouth.org Tel: +44 (0)7986 354697.

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Newsroundup Société Nautique de Genève wins Prestigious Ski-Yachting in Gstaad In March, Oyster CEO, David Tydeman, joined special guests Bruno Troublé and Jochen Schuemann, and competitors from 19 teams from ten yacht clubs, representing six countries, to enjoy the perfect snow, sun, wind and great camaraderie for this unique Ski-Yachting event. First held ten years ago in the Swiss resort of Gstaad, where the Gstaad Yacht Club is based, the event creatively combines ski races where consistency (not speed) counts, with match racing (overseen by America’s Cup judges!) in the semi-Olympic indoor pool with remote-controlled America’s Cup model replica boats.

Photo: Ship to Shoreline Yacht Transport

OYSTER LD43 Keeps on Trucking This new Oyster LD43 was spotted crossing the Anza Borrego Desert in California as she was trucked from Annapolis to her new owner’s base in San Diego.

The prizegiving dinner was held in the prestigious GYC clubhouse, where participants and guests enjoyed a special presentation by Bruno Troublé on the recently held Louis Vuitton Pacific Series in Auckland. The Société Nautique de Genève narrowly beat the Royal Yacht Squadron, who were defending their title, in the final and were presented with a special Oyster prize, which will see the members of the winning team join Oyster owners at our Palma Regatta in September. For more information: www.gstaadyachtclub.com

Prestigious Design Award for Oyster Owner www.oystermarine.com Our new website recently went live and has already received very positive feedback. Over the next few months it will become available in German, French, Spanish, Italian and Russian languages. If you have any comments about our website or any suggestions for additional content or features you would like to see, please get in touch with Katie Bond: website.enquiries@oystermarine.com

Oyster News goes digital Oyster News is now available online in an easy to use digital format via the Oyster website. Signing up for your digital copy of Oyster News is easy, just go to: www.oystermarine.com/oysternews and complete the short sign up form online. Once we have heard from you, we will send you an email to confirm you are registered and a further email will be sent to you every time a new issue is published online, with a direct link. So, wherever in the world you are, you can stay in touch with news at Oyster via Oyster News. 6 w w w. o y s t e r m a r i n e . c o m

Oyster owner, Jesús Gasca, has been awarded Spain’s highest design accolade, the National Design Award. Jesús, who is a regular attendee at Oyster’s Mediterranean regattas, with his Oyster 46 Sine Die, founded his furniture design business, STUA, in 1983 and has since been joined by his son Jon. The STUA brand is well known for its quality and attention to detail, hallmarks that are shared by Oyster and the very reason Jesús chose an Oyster for his own yacht. Jesús was presented with the award at a ceremony in Cordoba by Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia of Spain. See www.stua.com


OYSTER SERVICE IN THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS The British Virgin Islands are a popular destination for Oyster owners and a favourite location for our own Oyster regattas. We are therefore delighted to recognise Graeme Maccallum of Caribbean Yacht Management (CYM) as an Oyster Service Partner. Graeme, together with his wife Brigitte, skippered the Oyster 66, Anna Cay, before settling in the BVI and setting up CYM in 2001. Since then Graeme has assisted a large number of Oyster owners, either based in the region or just passing through, with everything from provisioning to repairs or just local advice. If you are heading to the BVI, Graeme and Brigitte would be delighted to hear from you and you will be assured a very warm welcome. For more information visit www.caribbeanyachtmanagement.com

CHAMPAGNE OPENER FOR RORC CARIBBEAN 600 RACE The inaugural RORC Caribbean 600 took place in February. Organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club in association with the Antigua Yacht Club, the offshore race around the Caribbean Leeward Islands, which starts and finishes in Antigua, attracted a fleet of nearly 30 of the world’s most prestigious boats, including the Oyster 62, Hold Fast, owned by John Vogel. The 605-mile course takes the fleet to the southern tip of Barbuda, before heading North to Saint Marten via Nevis, Saba and St Barths. After rounding Saint Marten, the fleet head on a long reach to the southern end of the course to round Guadeloupe, before heading back to Antigua via the Barbuda mark and the tiny volcanic island of Redonda.

Making the World their Oyster 2009 has seen several owners completing circumnavigations in their Oysters. David Holliday (Oyster 72, Kealoha 8), Mike and Donna Hill (Oyster 56, Baccalieu III) and Robert and Diane Moore (Oyster 56, Into the Blue) all took part in the 2008-2009 World ARC. Chris Smith and Fiona Campbell took rather longer in their Oyster HP53, Carelbi, having departed Turkey in 1999 they arrived back into Europe this April. Commenting on their ten-year odyssey, Fiona said, “Carelbi has been a wonderful companion and a delight to sail the whole way.” We look forward to hearing about their journey in a future issue of Oyster News.

Mike Slade's 100ft Maxi, ICAP Leopard crossed the finish line under Shirley Heights, Antigua to set the monohull elapsed time for future yachts to beat of 44 Hours, 5 minutes and 14 seconds. Oyster will be awarding a special Oyster Class prize for those owners entering the 2010 event, which starts on 22 February. For more information visit: www.caribbean600.rorc.org

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Oyster Events 2009

Newsroundup

Orust Open Yard, Sweden 21 – 23 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 The Domus at Beaulieu 12 September Newport Brokerage Show 17 – 20 September Monaco Yacht Show 23 – 26 September Oyster Regatta – Palma 29 September – 3 October

THAT’S THE SPIRIT! Oyster 72 wins at the BVI Spring Regatta Warm water and hot racing was the billing for the 34th British Virgin Islands Spring Regatta held over 3-5 April 2009. Although the racing classes enjoyed competitive racing, numbers were down while the cruising classes were better supported with ten yachts competing in Cruising Class A, including David Yelloly’s Oyster 72, Spirit of Montpelier. In contrast with last year’s 30 knot winds, the fleet enjoyed near perfect sailing in brilliant sunshine with 9-14 knot breezes and smooth water, which really suited Spirit. Courses were varied and included the opportunity to sail around many of the BVI’s beautiful islands, rounding in deep water but close to surf breaking on the rocky shorelines. With Oyster’s founder, Richard Matthews, aboard as sailing master/tactician Spirit dominated the class with a 1,1,1,4,1 score line.

Genoa Boat Show 3 – 11 October Annapolis Sailboat Show 8 – 12 October Annapolis Owners Party 9 October Hamburg Boat Show 24 October – 1 November Hamburg Owners Dinner 24 October Fort Lauderdale Boat Show 29 October – 2 November ARC Owners Party 19 November

Oyster Regattas – Palma 2009 and BVI 2010

ARC Start – Las Palmas 22 November

A large fleet of Oysters is expected in Palma, Mallorca for Oyster’s annual Mediterranean regatta, which starts on 29 September. Hosted by the Real Club Nautico, Palma and with a programme that includes an overnight stop in Andraitx and a wine-tasting and Paella party at a Bodegas in the mountains, this promises to be another memorable event.

Oyster Events 2010

Any owners who are planning to take part but have not yet sent in their entry form are asked to get in touch with Rebecca Twiss as soon as possible: rebecca.twiss@oystermarine.com. Our 2010 Caribbean event will be held in the BVI from 12-17 April.

Oyster Regatta – BVI 12 – 17 April

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London Boat Show 8 – 17 January London Owners Dinner Silver Sturgeon, Thames River Cruise 9 January Boote Düsseldorf 23 – 31 January Düsseldorf Owners Dinner Date tbc

Full details about all Oyster Events and boats shows can be found in the events section on our website.


Photo: OnEdition

Oysters Around the Island Twelve Oysters, ranging from the Oyster 26, Ariane to the Oyster 68, Starry Night took part in the JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race on Saturday 20 June, amongst a fleet of some 1770 yachts, providing an amazing spectacle for those watching from the shore. The first Round the Island Race was organised by the Island Sailing Club of Cowes in 1931, and today their original ethos that the event is a ‘people’s race’ remains, bringing competitors from all walks of life. Professional and Olympic sailors lined up on the start with family cruisers, sportsboats, classic yachts and one designs. Triple Olympic medallist Ben Ainslie competed on an Extreme 40 for the first time in JPMorgan Asset Management/TEAMORIGIN, racing against triple America's Cup winner Russell Coutts on Team Aqua. Oyster owner, Paul Bateman, who got in some racing practice at Oyster’s recent Antigua regatta with his Oyster 56, Stardust, was one of Ben’s elite crew. Ellen MacArthur was on board the Open 60 BT and Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson skippered the Challenge the Ellen MacArthur Trust entry. The oldest boat in the race was Rosenn co-owned by one of Oyster’s longstanding associates, yachting journalist Bob Fisher. Built in the Medina in 1896 she is the last remaining Solent one-design of the 22 built. In the Oyster fleet, Colin Hall, a well-known south coast sailor, and former Commodore of the Royal Southern Yacht Club, was the first Oyster to finish and took fourth in class in his Oyster 53, Boysterous. “This was my first Round the Island Race for four years as in between, we’ve been to many other islands in the Caribbean, the Canaries, Balearics and Azores. Our target was to be the first Oyster! After a long light beat to the Needles, we slipped round the lighthouse on the inside passage and asymmetric up, gybed along the south of the Island surrounded by the sports boats that had started earlier. The wind gradually built and between St Catherine’s and Ventnor, we had over 20 knots of wind and a maximum speed of 11 knots. Then, with what seemed like two hundred others, parked in a big raft of windless calm off Bembridge. After drifting around for a while, we crept towards the island shore and a little eddy, and then found a little breeze. But short tacking an Oyster round the Ryde Sands is not the quick way home. Instead, we crossed over to the mainland and were lifted on port tack all the way to the Bramble Bank. Two short tacks had us coming in to the finish line on starboard with just 50 metres to tack and finish. I’ve found that while Oysters need more wind to get going than the lighter racing boats, when the wind turns off, they have momentum and so keep going longer to the next patch of wind.  It worked for us in 2006, and again this year – fourth in Class, first Oyster and 300th overall. Not bad for a big cruising boat in light airs, washing machine and all!”

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Caribbean Rendezvous Oyster’s 22nd Regatta

returns to Antigua

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while there was strong competition amongst

The emphasis was very much on fun sailing and some of the more experienced owners, several crews were racing for the first time.

Nearly 40 Oyster yachts were to be found in Antigua for the start of Oyster’s 2009 Antigua Regatta, the 22nd event since the Oyster Regatta series started in 2001 and the sixth time the fleet have returned to Antigua, the sailing capital of the Caribbean. In recent years, Oyster’s Caribbean based regattas have alternated between Antigua and the BVI, with other ‘Oyster only’ regattas held in Newport RI, Cowes, Palma, Auckland, Cadiz and Valencia. No less than 30 yachts joined the beauty parade berthed stern-to at Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua’s English Harbour on Easter Monday. Every vessel had already logged at least one transatlantic crossing to be there and it would be hard to imagine a more immaculately turned out fleet of these beautiful blue water cruising yachts.

ABOVE: Oyster 82, Oceana crosses Oyster 72, Stravaig OPPOSITE CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Oyster fleet anchored off Green Island Possibly the world’s biggest naval rum tot David Tydeman presenting cheque to ABSAR John Maxwell’s Oyster 655, Solway Mist II

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The Dockyard was the scene of almost frantic activity with much cleaning and polishing in preparation for that afternoon’s judging of the Concours d’Elegance awards, always the subject of much rivalry between crews. Race Officer Alan Brook presided over the pre-race skippers’ briefing held at the Copper and Lumber Store Hotel where plans for the week were explained together with the usual


T H E OY S T E R R E G AT T A Antigua 2009

safety briefing. With 30 yachts from 43 to over 80 feet, this year’s event was predominantly a big boat regatta and Alan emphasised that allowances needed to be made for the fact that these Oysters are substantial live aboard yachts not designed for nimble “around the buoys” racing. At sunset, crews gathered in the dockyard for an evening drinks party complete with Caribbean steel band. Oyster’s new CEO David Tydeman welcomed crews and presented a donation of £1,000 to ABSAR, the Antigua and Barbuda Search and Rescue. David invited Richard Matthews to organise the proceedings for a new world record for taking a naval rum tot, a tradition avidly maintained by the Royal Naval Tot Club of Antigua and Barbuda. RNTCAB chairman, Mike Rose, presided and over 200 owners and crews enjoyed a good measure of rum. Mike is no stranger to Oyster yachts having owned his own 435 and completed 25 Atlantic crossings, 23 of them on Oyster yachts. Racing in Oyster regattas is unique in a number of ways. For example Oyster have evolved their own handicap system, refined over the previous events, which takes account of the minor differences from yacht to yacht such as rig, spar type, keel configuration and the sail inventory of each yacht.

There is also a small penalty applied to yachts choosing to sail with a professional crew on board for more than one race to discourage ‘ringer’ type professional race sailors. The emphasis was very much on fun sailing and, while there was strong competition amongst some of the more experienced owners, several crews were racing for the first time. One of the more unusual aspects of the Oyster regattas is that each day competitors can choose to sail with their choice of offwind sails with a different handicap applied for cruising chutes, with or without pole, and spinnakers.

RACE DAY 1 SPONSORED BY LEWMAR The first race started with sunshine and a solid 18-knot sailing breeze. The forecast for the end of the week was for little or no breeze, so the Race Officer announced an amendment to the sailing instructions to create an opportunity for two races on each of the first two days, and a short morning race on the lay day as a contingency against the expected almost total lack of breeze towards the end of the regatta week. >

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The fleet enjoyed a day of great sailing in near perfect conditions.

ABOVE CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Close racing between the two 56’s Blue Dreams and Astahaya Richard Matthew’s Oyster 82, Zig Zag Richard Smith and crew of Oyster 655, Sotto Vento Tom Howard’s Oyster 56, Astahaya Children enjoy a break from racing on Ffyres Beach OPPOSITE: The Oyster fleet race from Sandy Island

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Race 1 started off Falmouth Harbour with the fleet divided into three classes, including a special class for the ever popular Oyster 56’s. Class 2 were away first with a clean, fast start made by Sir Peter Davis’s new Oyster 54 Cygnus with Oyster CEO, David Tydeman at the helm. The course towards Green Island was upwind with a stiff beat and a seaway to match in 18-20 knots true. At the top of the beat off Green Island, the fleet turned for a downwind ‘sausage’ leg, at which point Race Officer Alan Brook opted to shorten the course in order to sail a second race immediately after finishing Race 1. Race 2 made use of the windward leeward mark laid for the ‘sausage’ off Green Island with two laps to be sailed. Again Cygnus made a great start and romped off the line well ahead of her Class 2 rivals, whereas the Oyster 82, Zig Zag, went from hero to zero when Richard Matthews was forced to ‘bail out’ from the committee boat end and tail-ended the starting Class 1 fleet. Richard Smith on his Oyster 655, Sotto Vento built on his second place in Race 1 by securing a win in Race 2 and taking overall lead in Class 1 for the end of the first day’s racing. The fleet enjoyed a day of great sailing in near perfect conditions. >


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arranged an evening barbecue, not to be confused with the normal burger and sausage

On the beach the Oyster regatta team had

affair this was very definitely five star Robinson Crusoe – absolutely top gourmet catering.

After racing some yachts opted to anchor in the lee of the reef at Green Island, surely one of the best anchorages in the Caribbean, others making their way directly to the anchorage in Browns Bay close to Harmony Hall. Crews enjoyed drinks on the beach followed by a climb up a candle lit path to the restaurant. Catering for over 200 people, Harmony Hall delivered a delicious buffet, service and ambiance. Local band, ‘Itchy Feet’, played some great music with many enjoying dancing till late.

RACE DAY 2 SPONSORED BY DOLPHIN SAILS

ABOVE: The Oyster fleet led by Richard Watson’s 485, Sobriyah OPPOSITE CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Crew of Steve Powell’s Oyster 62, UHURU David Tydeman and daughter Sasha present golf prize to the team from Oyster 62, Venture Stuart Smith and Barry Cooper’s Oyster 82, Oceana The Oyster fleet anchored off Ffryes Beach

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Lumpy seas and 20-25 knots of wind greeted the fleet as they motored out to the start off Green Island for the second day of racing. The more adventurous opted to fly offwind sails while the whole fleet enjoyed a fast run down the coast past English Harbour and Curtain Bluff on the way to rounding Sandy Island. In the early stages of the race the outstanding performer was undoubtedly Richard Watson’s Oyster 485, Sobriyah charging along against the shoreline flying her spinnaker with reefed mainsail. The sailing instructions wisely kept the fleet to seaward of Cades Reef and offwind sails were handed as the fleet


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hardened up to a close reach off Five Islands. This was where Sobriyah’s charge ended in tears with a gybe going wrong and ten minutes lost, compromising what was looking like a race winning performance. After Sandy Island the fleet enjoyed a sprint finish, reaching in 20 knots of wind to the finishing line off Five Islands close to the entrance to Jolly Harbour Marina. Here the sandy bottom and sunshine always give the sea an almost unreal light blue colour, this particular part of the coast being a long standing favourite spot for those Oyster brochure shots. The Oyster 56 class enjoyed some very close racing with only 16 minutes separating seven yachts after nearly four hours racing. John McTigue’s Oyster 56, Blue Dreams, with his young family crew on board, took 1st place only two minutes ahead of John and Cherril Elsworth’s Oyster 56, Sea Mist. Some careful pilotage was required to reach the sheltered anchorage off Ffryes Beach, a beautiful spot for a pre-lunch swim and perhaps some rest before the evening activities ashore. On the beach the Oyster regatta team had arranged an evening barbecue, not to be confused with the normal burger and sausage affair, this was very definitely five-star Robinson Crusoe – absolutely top gourmet catering.

LAY DAY AND GOLF MATCH SPONSORED BY HALL SPARS Always popular, most yachts spent the day at Jolly Harbour Marina relaxing. Some crew took a 15-minute taxi ride into Antigua’s capital St Johns, others simply spent the day on the beach. A few crews booked a scenic helicopter flight from Jolly Harbour to see the volcano on Montserrat, which erupted with devastating effect in 1995 when pyroclastic flows left the island’s capital, Plymouth, under 12 metres of lava. For the golfers, Bob Marston of Oyster USA, arranged an 18 hole Texas Scramble at the adjacent Jolly Harbour course sponsored by Oyster supplier, Hall Spars, with the day ending with a drinks party for everyone. Oyster events always welcome families and children and David Tydeman emphasised the point with his six-year old daughter Sasha presenting the prizes for the day.

RACE DAY 3 SPONSORED BY CARLISLE BAY HOTEL Starting in about 15 knots of breeze, strengthening to 20 knots, the fleet stayed close together in beautiful conditions and enjoyed some close finishing into Carlisle Bay. The Oyster 655s dominated Class 1, with Chris and Corinne Ducker’s Flying Duckman securing 1st place, > w w w. o y s t e r m a r i n e . c o m

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for the Oyster fleet that evening was superb, the food and service were both exceptional proving the credentials of this superb hotel.

The quality of the beach dinner party laid on

Richard Smith’s Sotto Vento 2nd and John Maxwell’s Solway Mist 3rd, with just three minutes separating these yachts. In Class 2, the older boats showed their pace, taking the top five places and proving the Oyster handicapping system! Carlisle Bay opened about five years ago and has established itself as one of the best hotels on the island. Any concerns about the size of the anchorage were quickly dispelled and there was plenty of room for the fleet to anchor off. The quality of the beach dinner party laid on for the Oyster fleet that evening was superb, the food and service were both exceptional proving the credentials of this superb hotel. RACE DAY 4 SPONSORED BY PANTAENIUS INSURANCE

ABOVE CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Chris and Susan Shea’s Oyster 56, Magrathea Bill Dockser’s Oyster 82, Ravenous II Chris and Corrine Ducker’s Oyster 655, Flying Duckman OPPOSITE: Richard Matthew’s Oyster 82, Zig Zag

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To avoid any risk of a clash with Antigua’s annual Classic Regatta, which had just started, the fleet motored from Carlisle Bay past the Classics starting area off Falmouth Harbour and on to a race start off the St James Club at Mamora Bay. With the forecast now positive for a fifth race, Race Officer Alan Brook issued a sailing amendment and opted for three


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course and despite the race being shortened to two laps was almost a full leg of the course ahead of her nearest class rival. A hugely

Cygnus almost literally romped around the

impressive performance, which bodes well for this latest addition to the Oyster fleet.

ABOVE: Richard Smith’s Oyster 655, Sotto Vento OPPOSITE CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Sir Peter Davis’s Oyster 54, Cygnus Crew of Oyster 655 Flying Duckman enjoying the beach party Ffryes Beach Party The two Oyster 82’s Zig Zag and Ravenous II

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laps of a triangular course, which worked really well, giving a good beat to windward heading offshore to a laid mark. This was followed by a two sail reach back inshore and then a somewhat broader reach along the coast returning to the start line pin buoy. Each lap took just over an hour and the notables of the final days racing were Chris and Corrine Ducker’s Oyster 655, Flying Duckman, which made the best Class 1 start and was never caught despite some frantic chasing by her sistership, the 655, Sotto Vento, who took 2nd place in the race to secure the overall win in Class 1 for the week. Starting well seemed to be the key, since in the 56 Class Sea Mist got away off the line and went on to win her class. Not so in Class 2 where David and Tamsin Kidwell’s Oyster 435, Twice Eleven won the start but, along with everyone else in the class, was soon overtaken by the Oyster 54, Cygnus with owner Sir Peter Davis at the helm. Cygnus almost literally romped around the course and, despite the race being shortened to two laps, was almost a full leg of the course ahead of her nearest class rival. A hugely impressive performance, which bodes well for this latest addition to the Oyster fleet. After racing most yachts made


T H E OY S T E R R E G AT T A Antigua 2009

a cautious entrance in to Mamora Bay, some anchoring and others berthing stern-to at the St James’s Club dock, the venue for the evening prize giving dinner and party. Oyster’s recently appointed CEO David Tydeman, attending his first Oyster Regatta, warmly welcomed those attending. David, an accomplished racing yachtsman, is certainly no stranger to regatta prize-givings, and was delighted by the obvious feelings of friendship and goodwill amongst Oyster owners, their crews and guests. Race Officer Alan Brook, who together with his assistant, Oyster Commercial Director, Nick Creed, had done a first class job throughout the regatta announced the results. Alan also made special mention of Bill Dockser, owner of the immaculately turned out Oyster 82, Ravenous II who was, in effect, the father figure of all 22 Oyster regattas to date having come up with the original idea. Oyster’s event organising stalwart Marketing Director Liz Whitman and her team had created an impressive display of prizes, many of which were graciously presented by guest of honour, The Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda, Dame Louise Lake-Tack. The band ‘Itchy Feet’, who had everyone rocking

at the first night’s Harmony Hall party, kept the party and dancing going at full swing until very late. This was undoubtedly one of the best ever Oyster Regattas, the forecasted light airs for later in the week failed to materialise and the fleet enjoyed near perfect sailing conditions every day. The Oyster handicap system worked better than ever with several corrected time results within a few seconds. Ashore, Liz Whitman and her team made certain that everything worked to plan with first class quality catering which, with over 200 people attending most functions, was no mean achievement. Above all, the quality of the sailing was universally high and enjoyed by all. To have fun was, after all, the main purpose of the event. One of Oyster’s US owners, Pete Savage, asked to say a few words to round off the event on behalf of all the owners attending, stated simply that owning an Oyster yacht through build, sailing and Aftersales support and of course the regattas and special events really did make the world their Oyster. He proposed three cheers, one for the past, one for the present and one for the future. We’ll drink to that and a really good ‘Fun in the Sun’ Oyster Antigua Regatta 2009. >

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T H E OY S T E R R E G AT T A Antigua 2009

CONCOURS D'ELEGANCE CLASS 1 – PRESENTED BY ANTIGUA RIGGING Stravaig of Argyll Flying Duckman

CLASS 1 CLASS 1

72 655

Scott & Sue Gibson Chris & Corinne Ducker

CLASS 2 – PRESENTED BY ANTIGUA MARINE TRADES ASOCIATION Cygnus of Anglesey Twice Eleven

CLASS 2 CLASS 2

54 435

Sir Peter Davis David & Tamsin Kidwell

56 56

John McTigue Tom Howard

82 54 56

Richard Matthews Sir Peter Davis Chris & Susan Shea

655 54 56

Richard Smith Sir Peter Davis Tom Howard

56 CLASS – PRESENTED BY OYSTER BROKERAGE Blue Dreams Astahaya

56 CLASS 56 CLASS

DAY RACES RACE 1A – SPONSORED BY LEWMAR Zig Zag Cygnus of Anglesey Magrathea

CLASS 1 CLASS 2 56 CLASS

RACE 1B – SPONSORED BY LEWMAR Sotto Vento Cygnus of Anglesey Astahaya

CLASS 1 CLASS 2 56 CLASS

RACE 1A & 1B COMBINED – SPONSORED BY LEWMAR CLASS 1

1st 2nd 3rd

Sotto Vento Solway Mist II Zig Zag

655 655 82

Richard Smith John Maxwell Richard Matthews

CLASS 2

1st 2nd 3rd

Cygnus of Anglesey Sobriyah Twice Eleven

54 485 435

Sir Peter Davis Richard Watson David & Tamsin Kidwell

56 CLASS

1st 2nd 3rd

Astahaya Blue Dreams Magrathea

56 56 56

Tom Howard John McTigue Chris & Susan Shea

RACE 2 SPONSORED BY DOLPHIN SAILS

ABOVE FROM TOP TO BOTTOM:

CLASS 1

1st 2nd 3rd

Zig Zag Sotto Vento Ravenous II

82 655 82

Richard Matthews Richard Smith Bill Dockser

CLASS 2

1st 2nd 3rd

Tomia Cygnus of Anglesey Twice Eleven

435 54 435

Anthony & Celia Mason Sir Peter Davis David & Tamsin Kidwell

56 CLASS

1st 2nd 3rd

Blue Dreams Sea Mist Curious

56 56 56

John McTigue John Ellsworth Steve & Trish Brown

Paul May, Taboo of St Helier, winner of the Spirit of the Regatta award Richard Smith, Sotto Vento, winner of Windboats Anniversary Trophy Corrine Ducker, Flying Duckman with Oyster CEO David Tydeman RIGHT FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: Sir Peter Davis and crew, Cygnus of Anglesey, winner of Class 2 Tamsin Kidwell, Twice Eleven with Matthew Vincent of Dolphin Sails Christian Figenschou, Astahaya with Dame Louise Lake-Tack Chris Shea and crew, Magrathea, winner of Oyster 56 Class Richard Smith and crew, Sotto Vento, winner of Class 1

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Photos: Tim Wright www.photoaction.com


T H E OY S T E R R E G AT T A Antigua 2009

RACE 3 SPONSORED BY CARLISLE BAY CLASS 1

1st 2nd 3rd

Flying Duckman Sotto Vento Solway Mist II

655 655 655

Chris & Corinne Ducker Richard Smith John Maxwell

CLASS 2

1st 2nd 3rd

Sobriyah Jigsaw Twice Eleven

485 53 435

Richard Watson Ian Galbraith David & Tamsin Kidwell

56 CLASS

1st 2nd 3rd

Magrathea Sea Mist Blue Dreams

56 56 56

Chris & Susan Shea John Ellsworth John McTigue

RACE 4 SPONSORED BY PANTAENIUS CLASS 1

1st 2nd 3rd

Flying Duckman Sotto Vento Lady Tara

655 655 66

Chris & Corinne Ducker Richard Smith Merle & Lisa Gilmore

CLASS 2

1st 2nd 3rd

Cygnus of Anglesey Jigsaw Twice Eleven

54 53 435

Sir Peter Davis Ian Galbraith David & Tamsin Kidwell

56 CLASS

1st 2nd 3rd

Sea Mist Magrathea Zena

56 56 56

John Ellsworth Chris & Susan Shea Andres Zancani

THE WINDBOATS ANNIVERSARY TROPHY For the best placed yacht in the regatta, over all races, no discards allowed Sotto Vento

655

Richard Smith

56 56 56

Chris & Susan Shea John McTigue Tom Howard

THE YACHTING WORLD TROPHY 56 CLASS

1st 2nd 3rd

Magrathea Blue Dreams Astahaya

THE OYSTER REGATTA TROPHY CLASS 1

1st 2nd 3rd

Sotto Vento Flying Duckman Zig Zag

655 655 82

Richard Smith Chris & Corinne Ducker Richard Matthews

CLASS 2

1st 2nd 3rd

Cygnus of Anglesey Sobriyah Tomia

54 485 435

Sir Peter Davis Richard Watson Anthony & Celia Mason


Panama Canal Passage by Bill Strong, Oyster 66, Fuer te

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OW N E R R E P O R T

Oyster yachts are built to roam the seven seas and if you dream of sailing the wide blue South Pacific, you will probably transit the narrow concrete ditch that, at only 33 metres wide, is the Panama Canal. Fuerte, our Oyster 66 went through the Panama Canal in June 2008. Everyone aboard agreed it was a major life experience.

LEFT: Fuerte in Bora Bora BELOW FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Cruising in Maupiti Rafted together in preparation for transit The Mola sales fleet

PLANNING

AGENT

Getting to the Canal from the Caribbean is easier than getting back, as most boats enjoy a downwind run 1,000 nm to Panama. The first decision is when to leave the Caribbean, because enjoying the entire season there until late April will require a limited itinerary in the Pacific before the onset of the southern hemisphere cyclone season in December. We decided to leave the BVI on May 1st directly for Panama. This gave a more favourable wind angle than a southern Caribbean departure. It also avoided the Venezuela coast, and a windy area kicked up by the mountains along the Columbia coast. Jimmy Cornell's www.noonsite.com website is a useful planning starting point.

Unless you are on a severely limited cruising budget, it probably makes sense to obtain an Agent to handle the administrative details with the Canal Authority. Having an agent gives peace of mind about scheduling or a possible language barrier, although English is widely used. Obtaining a guaranteed transit date by use of a Special Pilot, and paying extra fees was discontinued in March 2008.

EQUIPMENT In addition to a well-equipped boat, we found AIS and GRIB especially useful. An AIS receiver is relatively inexpensive, and shows ships and large vessels within VHF range on your chart plotter or radar display. Ironically, AIS is perhaps more useful during the day, when one is less apt to use the radar to detect potential traffic conflicts. Ship traffic concentrates near the canal, but we encountered large ships all across the Caribbean. Downloading GRIB wind forecasts via a sat connection provided confidence so no weather surprises materialized after the departure forecast. GRIB's utility is even greater on the longer passages after the Canal.

SAN BLAS ISLANDS Most cruisers check in at the Canal and visit the San Blas Archipelago with 378 islands. The western San Blas are about 70 nm east of the canal, and offer a number of idyllic sand and coral anchorages with protection from the Trades. Quite by chance, we shared an anchorage there with our sistership, the Oyster 66 Miss Molly. The proud and autonomous San Blas Kuna Indians will come alongside in their dugouts to sell brightly colored fabric ‘Molas’. We enjoyed a week in Cayos Holandes and Porvenir, which had limited air service to the downtown airport in Balboa on the Pacific side.

WAITING Waiting time can vary greatly from none eastbound, to over a month westbound in the slowdown of Spring 2008. The days immediately before your transit are usually spent at three increasingly more expensive locations near Colon: Anchoring in ‘the Flats’, the Panama Canal Yacht Club (PCYC), or Shelter Bay Marina. The Flats and the PCYC are about two miles from the Gatun Locks on the east side, >

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Panama Canal Passage

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OW N E R R E P O R T

we rafted up and motored slowly toward the first lock at the end of a narrow

LINES AND LINE HOLDERS

but straight channel.

Every boat must have four line holders in addition to the skipper. If you do not have five aboard, your options include hiring an experienced local line holder, or recruiting fellow cruisers in the waiting anchorages. We were lucky to find and hire a professional who has made two transits weekly for the last twenty years (wow, thats the equivalent of four circumnavigations without leaving Panama!) He was knowledgeable, pleasant, and brought additional 40 metre docklines and fenders.

“

“

The anticipation grew as

and near the fuel dock and grocery shopping, but outside the PCYC fence can be dangerous after dark. Shelter Bay is about three miles north and offers modern facilities. It also offers easy access to some mammoth concrete fortresses, complete with screeching monkeys hidden high in the foliage. A night hike there will test anyone's nerve. Tropical birds, organized ant columns, and a small sloth were also seen.

Night lighting increases the dramatic effect.

LEFT: The first Up Lock BELOW FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: The shore of Lake Gutan Our sistership, Oyster 66 Miss Molly A friendly sloth

PREVIEW/PRACTICE RUN Our skipper volunteered as a line holder on the Oyster 66 Miss Molly several days before our transit. Having an experienced old pro at the helm greatly lowered potential tension levels during our actual transit. Or take a day tour to a visitor viewing platform to see the locking process.

TRANSIT (NIGHT) Private boats are not priority traffic and thus normally begin the westbound transit at night. Every vessel has a Canal Pilot onboard, who is delivered by their launch about two hours before the scheduled transit. Extra charges can result if a vessel cannot maintain 8.5 kts (or if you do not have bottled water or shade for the Pilot). It is common to raft three boats to follow a ship in the locks.

The anticipation grew as we rafted up and motored slowly toward the first lock at the end of a narrow but straight channel. Night lighting increases the dramatic effect. The lock doors closed behind and the dark, wet cement walls towered overhead. This is the moment of maximum suspense, and it is impossible not to look skyward as you are impressed by the narrowness. A loud horn sounded and swirling fresh water entered the lock through eighty large pipes, and the water level started a 27-foot climb that took about ten minutes. The swirling waters were vividly evident on the surface bathed in brownish light, but the buffeting was not as intense as imagined. Fuerte was aft of a moderately-sized ship that was pulled forward by the locomotive mules, without generating any propwash. This process was repeated twice more until we exited onto Gatun Lake, which spans most of the isthmus. We were directed to anchor east of the channel for the night in 25m depth at 01:30 and the Pilot departed. We wondered about the risk of a fouled anchor and were told it rarely occurs. The stillness of this natural setting was in stark contrast to the intensity of the locks. There was no time for celebration as we would be underway in six hours. The hour also prevented consideration of the brilliant concept of the lake itself at 81 feet above sea level to enable the canal, as opposed to Lesseps' impossible sea level plan.

TRANSIT (DAY) At 08:00 the next morning, a different Pilot boarded, and we motored independently across the mirror-like surface, with dense tropical foliage growing right to the waters edge. An artist's pallet from the night before was a dark one of blacks and browns punctuated with dots of light, but today's pallet (except for the brownish water) used familiar blues and intense greens with puffy white clouds. >

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Panama Canal Passage

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OW N E R R E P O R T

Canal on any vessel is a memorable experience. Transiting this engineering

Going through the Panama

marvel on your Oyster, is even better.

LEFT: Passing Moorea BELOW FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Swirling water Passing through a narrow canal Our last lock with the Pacific ahead

Boats take a couple of short-cuts across Gatun Lake, but after two hours you rejoin the main channel as the terrain closes in on both sides, and huge ‘Panamax’ ships pass close to port. Since the width of the canal is 110 feet wide, most of the ships we saw were the 108’ maximum beam, with stacked containers towering twice as high as our mast. It is easy to concentrate on the mammoth shipping traffic passing close abeam and fail to notice the famous Gillard Cut, where 31 cubic miles of dirt was excavated during construction nearly a hundred years ago. After four hours underway we entered the first of three ‘down locks’, but by now we all were old pros. The combination of our experience from three ‘up locks’ the night before, bright daylight, and gradually decreasing water levels in the locks without swirling water, made it seem so much easier. Mobile phone calls to friends encouraged them to look for us waving at them on the webcam (www.pancanal.com). After another hour the last lock doors swung open, we un-rafted, and we were in the Pacific. Denouement, but no déjà vu. For months we had been focused on this 50 nm long waterway, and now it was behind us. We picked up a mooring off the Balboa Yacht Club and began departure formalities before having a celebratory dinner ashore. A continuous parade of worldwide shipping continued 24/7 just a hundred metres from our anchorage, tried to minimize our accomplishment. The next morning we departed for the Galapagos.

TRANSIT TIPS 1. The most difficult aspect was the rafting rendezvous. Have plenty of fenders ready and don't let the other boats come alongside until they are organized and ready. 2. Taking in and easing the lines to the canal walls is the most important job once in the locks. We led the dock lines through our largest removable blocks, attached to the stern docking cleats with canvas webbing, then to our largest winch, where taking in was accomplished with a ‘push of a button’. 3. Have some extra fenders, although automobile tyres placed inside black trash bags appear plentiful. 4. The skipper's practice run and having an experienced local line holder aboard made everything relaxed and enjoyable. 5. Appreciation of the experience is increased by reading and internet research beforehand. 6. Don’t forget the Canal webcam, which for a while became my screensaver, and provided an unanticipated bonus when a brightly multicolored parrot preened itself on camera for an hour.

SUMMARY Going through the Panama Canal on any vessel is a memorable experience. Transiting this engineering marvel on your Oyster, is even better. Six months and 6,000 nm in the beauty and vastness of the South Pacific has not diminished our intense memories of our Panama Canal transit.

NOTE Fuerte is owned by Shelby and Bill Strong, and crewed by Jubee and Will Samuelson. The rest of Summer 2008 was spent in the South Pacific, then on to New Zealand, before returning to Tahiti in April 2009. w w w. o y s t e r m a r i n e . c o m

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Excellence in Design and OYSTER’S HIDDEN TALENTS A first impression by David Tydeman, CEO One of the delights in arriving in a new position in a well-established business is having the opportunity to get to know the people that make up that business and sometimes finding some hidden stars. As an outsider I had the impression that Oyster relied heavily on external designers and advisors. I’m sure many other non-Oyster owners share similar views. So I’m pleased to have the opportunity to give an overview of what I think is one of Oyster’s ‘hidden talents’ – the wealth of experience in our in-house design, engineering and project management teams – and some examples of the projects they’ve delivered.

Over the last ten years, with the change from designers Holman & Pye to Rob Humphreys, and the introduction of our current range of yachts, the Oyster Design Team has been quietly and steadily growing to its current size of twelve designers, who between them have over 200 years of experience in the marine industry. In parallel, as Oyster yachts have increased their size and complexity, we have built up a strong team of Project Managers whose focus is working with each new owner to turn their contract to buy an Oyster into a beautifully engineered sailing yacht. Few other yacht manufacturers can match such an ownerfocused, in-depth level of technical experience, practical sailing knowledge and enthusiasm. Our team offers an Oyster buyer a wealth of experience they can tap into, whether they want to customise their new yacht, or simply benefit from the development and refinement that goes into every standard Oyster. It also means that yachts in the Oyster fleet share a unique combination of style and practicality that owners will know is unrivalled by any other manufacturer. Our links to our refit yard, Southampton Yacht Services, means we can also provide significant restoration and upgrade services. We have a blend of specialists with cutting edge experience in their field and generalists who have a broad experience of the industry – all are keen sailors. Between them they ensure the right balance is maintained between the oft-competing demands of style and practicality.

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OYSTER DESIGN TEAM Leading the way in modern yacht design

Engineering “They have one thing in common – a driving passion to see Oyster yachts built well in a way that is focused on enjoying ownership with pride.”

With twelve designers, nine based at our Ipswich office and three at Southampton Yacht Services, we have a significant team. The original ‘gang of three’ – Alan Boswell, Daron Townson and Chris Lock bring a balance of naval architectural experience, creative exterior and interior styling, energy and sailing enthusiasm that, over the years, has been built on with the addition of more people in each of these main design strands of engineering. Alan Boswell developed his career with Angus Primrose and Ed Dubois, including the challenges of designing for production with some of the leading volume yacht builders in Europe. He was in at the start of the Dubois profile in Superyachts, working with Ed in the design of Aquel in the early 1980’s. At 38m (125ft) she was the largest sloop in the world at the time! Over the last ten years, Alan has supervised all areas of the technical design of Oyster yachts, and was personally responsible for the hull design and naval architecture of the Oyster LD/OM43 motoryacht. Chris Lock, leading on interiors for Oyster, was a key designer with Bernard Olesinski working on a long line of very successful Fairline, Azimut, and Princess motor yachts. As a freelance designer before that, he contributed to the design of Sunseeker and Nimbus motor yachts and had significant involvement in the growth and success of the UK and Italian motor yacht industry during the 90’s. He has led the development of Oyster interiors since the Oyster 62, and is the lead interior designer on the new Oyster Superyachts. >

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OYSTER DESIGN TEAM continued Daron Townson, who has been developing concepts for Oyster for 15 years, leads on external styling and was responsible for the development of the styling of Oyster yachts from the 56 onwards, especially the new G5 deck styles. He has led on the detailed layouts and deck design of the new Oyster Superyachts, developing the Oyster team’s inputs to the Dubois design team. The more recent arrivals include Gary Scott-Jenner, one of the top structural designers in the yachting industry. Gary worked for many years as a lead engineer at High Modulus, a well known preferred choice of structural engineering consultancy in the industry. He was involved with the design of Mirabella V, and leads on the structural design of our Superyachts, working closely with Lloyds Register for the high level of design classification we are building into these yachts as standard. John Stott, who looks after the design of sailing systems, worked for nine years as lead designer for Ron Holland and was also involved with the design of Mirabella V, together with Superyachts for Perini Navi, Pendennis, and Alloy Yachts. He has led the development of centreboard systems for Oyster. Josh Richardson, who has now been with Oyster for seven years, leads on engineering design, and has been responsible for steadily improving the layout, installation, and accessibility of the vital engineering systems across the range. Peter Bird worked for many years in the automotive industry, and then for Alan Ladd Design and Trinity Yachts in the USA has helped several owners customise their 72s and 655s. In parallel with the growth of the design team over this period, there have been remarkable developments in the software used for designing yachts. In particular, the growth of 3D virtual modelling has allowed much better design development than was possible with 2D design software, and Oyster are now leading the UK marine industry in the use of CATIA, a very sophisticated package that is the preferred choice of top players in the aerospace and car industries. At the same time, Gary has introduced the use of finite element analysis to refine the structural design of the new models. CATIA gives Oyster the ability to link the 3D virtual models directly to the 2D drawings used in the build yards, and to their hi-tech CNC machinery, which allows more efficient and better customisation of joinery when required. Our three leaders in CATIA are lifting the Oyster design services to another level; Rob Ford working on the 3D virtual model of the new Oyster 575; Sam Martin brings, for example, more diverse experience from working on the wing designs with Airbus for the A400M; and Wayne Huntley leads the team based in Southampton. The Project Managers and the Quality Team focus on MCA requirements, CE certification and the personalisation needs of each Oyster owner. With wide ranging backgrounds most have spent time at sea skippering or crewing a diverse range of yachts. They have one thing in common – a driving passion to see Oyster yachts built well, in a way that is focused on enjoying ownership with pride.

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OYSTER GROUP PIONEERS USE OF CATIA CATIA stands for ‘Computer Aided Three-dimensional Interactive Application’ and was created in 1981 by Dassault Systemes born from Dassault Aviation in France. The software was first used within the Aircraft industry, allowing designers and engineers to produce components to build the aircraft. Aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing, Airbus, Honda, Bell and Lockheed Martin were quickly followed by the automotive industry with BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Ford, Porsche, Volkswagen and Audi adopting the software. The Oyster Group realised that there were areas of design in the Oyster yachts which could be optimised to allow improvements in design, overall quality and in particular, maximizing the use of the internal volume of the yacht. Within the marine industry, the Oyster Group has pioneered the use of CATIA technology and is currently the largest marine yacht manufacturer user in the UK. The CATIA process builds up a 3D model, defining constraints and characteristics for each component of the structure. The loading environment can be applied at a global and component level to allow complex calculations to be performed on individual items to thoroughly refine the way the design behaves both locally and as an overall structure before committing to manufacture. These calculations can include collision simulations, clash detection, interference checks and weight estimates including weight optimisation. From the 3D model a 2D drawing can be produced for manufacture and CATIA can be set up to feed data into the Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines on the shop floor, increasing accuracy and efficiencies in the build processes.


EXCELLENCE IN DESIGN AND ENGINEERING

CAMBRIA RE-ENGINEERED AT SOUTHAMPTON YACHT SERVICES When the new owner of the 1928 William-Fife designed and built bermudan cutter, Cambria, decided to embark on a major programme of restorative work, Southampton Yacht Services, with their long history of refitting many of the most prestigious classic yachts in the world, including the J-Class Velsheda, were the obvious choice. The first stage of the programme included the replacement of the main engine, an upgrade of the hydraulic drive train, new wiring and plumbing, tanks and the addition of air-conditioning. The original machinery arrangement on Cambria was interesting, the engine room, situated to the starboard side of the mast, contained a single engine driving two propellers via a hydraulic system. The main engine was a large, well loved, twenty-plus year old Cummins driving two piggy-backed variable displacement pumps driven directly from the engine flywheel. A single Onan generator was installed athwartships providing AC power to the yacht. The primary goals for the re-engineering of Cambria were: • Increase the thrust/power, maximising range. • Reduce the noise of the machinery and hydraulic systems. • Install an additional generating set providing AC power to the yacht. • Update ancillary systems to provide a reliable engineering installation.

The Solution

– Propulsion/Additional Generating Set

Cambria’s skipper, Chris Barkham, and crew provided plenty of data for SYS to use and resistance and powering calculations were carried out in conjunction with the Wolfson Unit in Southampton. A new Cummins 6CTA8.3-M was selected and, after careful consideration, the main parts of the existing pumps were re-used. In order to squeeze a second generator into the existing engine room space a specialist pump drive unit was selected to mount directly onto the bell housing of the Cummins engine, giving two output pads for two pumps. This enabled us to split the original piggy-backed pumps into two individual pumps,

providing a short and compact package, giving more room to play with for the second generating set and enabling us to align both sets fore and aft. New hydraulic pipe work sizes were calculated in an effort to make a significant increase in efficiency, reduce the velocity of the oil in the system and reduce the noise produced. New hydraulic motors were specified and the structure taking the increased thrust and torque was designed and installed.

Noise The new floating ‘raft’ was designed to take the hydraulic motors and the shaft brakes mounted with flexible feet to the yacht’s structure to reduce noise through the hull structure. This ‘raft’ was designed to take the torque only and separate, Halyard Marine supplied, thrust bearings were fitted to take the thrust from the propeller shafts. The engine room had all of the existing thermal insulation removed and a new insulating system with a mass damping layer, a thermal foil faced ‘Rockwool’ layer covered with a damped aluminium skin was installed on the accommodation bulkheads. SYS worked with Halyard Marine to design a new de-watered exhaust system with a custom combined silencer/separator installed over the main engine. Every effort was made to avoid unnecessary bends in the hydraulic pipe work, and as mentioned above, with the reduction in the velocity of the oil in the system, we were looking for a significant reduction in the noise and vibration generated by the machinery.

The Result Following Cambria’s launch on the 25th April, basin trials and sea trials were conducted. These trials proved to be very successful, with Cambria meeting the predicted performance and achieving a significant increase in range, Cambria now has a range under power of between 850 – 1000nm. The vibration levels from the power train and noise levels from the engine space are a huge improvement. Cambria departed for the Mediterranean in May and is currently sailing down the Croatian coast. SYS look forward to Cambria returning to the yard at the end of the season for the next stage in her extensive restoration programme. >

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UPGRADE

CUSTOM BUILT BY OYSTER Dr Alvarez has been an Oyster owner for over 20 years and in contracting for his new Oyster 82 to replace his Oyster 68, we set up a special build programme, offline to our usual production schedules. Working with Southampton Yacht Services classic yacht and refit team, in parallel with the Oyster Design Group, we agreed to a very significant programme of extras, layout changes and design modifications. Two aspects are featured here – the new deck and a custom transom. We have upgraded the deck tooling for the 82 to produce a style lift for a ‘G5’ type deck saloon window. Significantly improving the appearance of the Oyster 82, this will now be available on all Oyster 82’s from hull 15 onwards. Down below, we worked up a layout change for an extra cabin and some personalised carpentry.

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ABOVE: Current 82 deck saloon BELOW: new g5 deck saloon


EXCELLENCE IN DESIGN AND ENGINEERING

CUSTOM FOLDING TRANSOM DESIGN A.

The client produced the initial conceptual design for the folding transom as a wooden mock-up. Using this, as a starting point, the folding transom has been further developed and designed using CATIA.

The transom design incorporates various stages of deployment as follows; A. Sailing mode (The transom is in a fully closed position). B. Bathing mode (The transom is opened and the separate steps are rotated to access the bathing platform). C. Passerelle mode (The transom and steps are in the sailing mode position with a removable access removed to allow the Passerelle to be deployed). B.

The time consuming design of this sophisticated transom took shape by initially working with some simple space reservations which were representative of the following: • The Hull form of the Oyster 82 including transom shape. • A cut down version of the transom shape to act as the space reservation for the door. • A space reservation for the rotating transom steps. These space reservations were set up in CATIA with point constraints so that each item could independently be rotated into initial positions. The reservation models were designed to produce envelopes so that when moved we were able to check the positioning for clash and collision with other moving items such as the transom steps. This information allowed us to create models of the transom door and the transom steps, developing increasing details as the path for each item was known. Further related details were designed such as folding seating in the pushpit area with a safety handrail being presented as the seating is folded to allow safe and easy access on to the transom platform once deployed.

C.

At each stage CATIA allowed us to check for possible contact with other moving structures that standard 2D packages simply couldn’t offer. >

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DEVELOPING THE OYSTER CENTREBOARDER There are obvious advantages to a reduced draft yacht and as the average size of Oysters continues to grow, for some, the advantage becomes an imperative for the ability to sail in home waters, such as Florida. But… how best to achieve the smallest draft of the fleet on what was the largest Oyster, the Oyster 82, without compromising the values and reputation of an Oyster yacht? This was the critical design question to be addressed. For other yacht builders facing the same question the temptation to use a fashionable lift keel, a ‘daggerboard’ solution, with apparent performance advantages appears to be too tempting. The Oyster team looked for proof, not just opinion, across the available options.

Centreboard or Daggerboard? To thoroughly investigate this question the Oyster team undertook a series of tank tests at the Wolfson unit at the University of Southampton. The Oyster 82 hull model was used for testing and fitted with interchangeable rudders and keels. The goal was to try and achieve a performance envelope similar, if not quicker, than the standard yacht but with a draft of only 2.14m (7ft), almost 1.22m (4ft) less than the standard Oyster 82 and just a shade less than the standard Oyster 46. The draft with the board down was 4.27m (14ft) giving a long, efficient board reminiscent of an aircraft’s wing. The test results were immediately promising, the deep centreboard giving excellent hydrodynamic efficiency, better than the standard keel. The next step was to run the test values together with the stability figures and sail coefficients through the VPP (Velocity Prediction Computer programme). The results clearly showed that the centreboarder should be more than a match for the standard 82, the slight shortfall in stiffness under sail being easily offset by the improved hydrodynamic efficiency of the board. So was this enough to tip the balance against an ‘in-vogue’ lift-keel arrangement with its apparently attractive sighting of the ballast bulb as low as the standard keel? We looked carefully at the weight balance and concluded that relative to a standard keel a lift-keel arrangement needs large lift rams, which are heavy. Add to this a high strength and, therefore, a heavy case running from hull to deck, which all starts to increase the weight high up again, necessitating a deeper and/or heavier keel, to the point of diminishing returns, effectively wiping out what was an apparent performance advantage. Fashionable or not, it really becomes difficult to justify the lift-keel arrangement on any grounds in addition to considering that the keel case will partition the most important part of the boats living quarters down the middle.

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Then there was the question of whether we could design a lift-keel and local hull structure to withstand, at even moderate speed, a grounding without the keel tearing back through the aft end of the case? Well, yes we could, but again it would be at the expense of weight in order to achieve the structural factor of safety requisite of an ocean going yacht. With the centreboard keel the board will just ‘kick-up’ should a full speed grounding or collision occur, the board is Bronze and so damage is a paint scrape rather than, at best, a damaged and jammed lift-keel and, at worst, a torn out keel case and flooding. There were also key operational factors to consider. It is common to have to stop and find sheltered water when a yacht fitted with a lift-keel has to lift or lower her board. Was this really practical and a good use of time when there are other things on the skipper’s mind, for example, trying to make harbour in perhaps difficult conditions?


EXCELLENCE IN DESIGN AND ENGINEERING

“The boat did not feel tender relative to the standard 82 even when pressed to rail down.”

The centreboard design Once all these factors were carefully evaluated, it became obvious which system was right for Oyster. With two customers waiting in the wings for centreboard 82s and the performance indicators more than promising, the green light was given to start engineering the system. A significant list of critical requirements were immediately laid down in terms of safety and as near as could be achieved maintenance-free operation:

• A precision-engineered pivot bearing must be designed to completely avoid any possibility of the annoying ‘click-clack’ noise of the board when the yacht rolls. Quite often an annoying trait of centreboarders. • Twin rudders to be provided to keep rudder draft down while maintaining excellent steering and tracking characteristics and as with all Oysters, the rudder draft to be less than board-up keel draft to afford the rudders protection from the fixed lead keel.

• The Oyster centreboarders should, as with the mainstream Oyster fleet, surpass the stability criteria for unlimited ocean voyaging.

• Rudder tips to be kept inside the line of the hull to avoid damage from a dock.

• Underwater components should be all bronze to virtually eliminate corrosion.

• The lift system was to be powerful enough to lift the board with the yacht hard on the wind in normal circumstances.

• No lift ram should be in the water to avoid maintenance and corrosion problems and negate the potential for oil leaks and pollution.

Confirmation on performance came when the 82 centreboarder was first commissioned at Oyster. On a brisk day, blowing a steady 20 kts from the southeast, several members of the design and commissioning team took her on sea trials with a freshly calibrated log. The numbers were carefully recorded. Back at the design office we compared the figures to the VPP and tank test results produced several months earlier. The performance stood up to and at some points surpassed expectation. The boat did not feel tender relative to the standard 82 even when pressed to rail down. To add to our satisfaction, she was found to be very light on the helm when well pressed, with the lee rudder being in its most efficient vertical position it gave great balance and feeling of control – a point well appreciated by the twin rudder Volvo 70 crews in the southern ocean.

• We must design a functional capability to free a jammed board should the need arise. • Board up/down interlocking fail-safe system must be 100% reliable to avoid damage in the event of lift system failure or jammed board. • There should be enough strength in the board to withstand pushing the boat to full heel should the board tip take the ground while being driven stern first onto a lee shore on a dragging anchor. The board is solid bronze. • An emergency back-up lift system using a normal sheet winch at loads no greater than the headsail sheet should be provided.

With the outstanding success of the first two centreboarders we have extended the idea across the range without changing concept or design essentials and the first Oyster 655 centreboard started building as we went to press. >

• It must be possible to replace the lift line with the boat afloat, to avoid slipping problems in more remote cruising locations.

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“All our Project Managers possess a deep love for sailing and the sea, with the ability and desire to focus on the quality of build; essential ingredients in everything they do.”

OYSTER PROJECT MANAGEMENT TEAM A unique approach to building your Oyster Over the years, Oyster has developed a unique project management system that incorporates very important basic principles, which have always guided us when considering growing the team. Our Project Managers are all highly skilled and have been carefully selected for four key elements in both their CVs and their characters that make them highly respected individuals within our industry: • They possess a detailed knowledge of modern cruising yachts, their systems and cruising grounds. • They have had significant sailing background experience of their own. • They understand how to relate to a client, to establish a rapport and listen to their wishes and aspirations. The Oyster ethos is, after all, to help you, the client, fulfill your dreams. Many have come from senior positions within the ranks of professional crews and have skippered very large cruising yachts covering thousands of sea miles in nearly every cruising ground the modern yachtsman might wish to visit. All our Project Managers possess a deep love for sailing and the sea, with the ability and desire to focus on the quality of build; essential ingredients in everything they do. Some customers, unaccustomed to the way Oyster does things, ask why we need Project Managers. Shipwrights are, as is generally well known, usually craftsmen not sailors. The fine work they specialise in needs to be directed by somebody who fully understands and appreciates the rigours of the life the yacht will lead once launched and at sea, and to ensure that each customer’s wishes are interpreted by somebody with the detailed knowledge of the yacht in question and the type of cruising being planned, so that the correct advice can be given. This is the role of the Project Manager.

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Every new Oyster owner is assigned their own Project Manager, who is their main point of contact throughout the entire construction of their yacht through to the first month after handover, ensuring continuity throughout the build and commissioning process. In 1988, the largest Oyster built was the 68, a big step up from our previous yachts. Working with the first client, we knew we lacked the superior knowledge required to deal with the increased technical aspects involved in such a yacht. The client brought a young German sailor into the team – Jens Cornelsen. Jens was a pioneer in the special role of the ‘Client Yacht Project Manager’ and was instrumental in guiding Oyster’s approach to project management. Jens’ knowledge and the management expertise required to bring a superyacht from the drawing board to the water has gone from strength to strength since 1988 and he has long been acknowledged by his peers in the marine industry to be one of the world leaders in his field. Oyster’s relationship with Jens continues with the news that the owners of the first two Oyster Superyachts have appointed Jens and his new protégé, Philip Demler, to act as Project Managers for them. Jens’ guidance and assistance will ensure, once again, that Oyster not only maintains, but exceeds the quality and engineering detail for which Oyster yachts are universally recognised throughout the world. The move for Oyster into the realm of building Superyachts, with the commencement of construction of the Oyster 100 and 125, means we are now further expanding our Project Management Team to include specialist managers with experience of the world of modern sailing vessels over 30m.


EXCELLENCE IN DESIGN AND ENGINEERING

EVOLUTION OF OYSTER MOTORYACHTS Lunch and dinner, it’s not just a picnic!

The Oyster in-house team showed its strengths with the LD43 and OM43 motoryacht designs. Completely developed in-house, Oyster were prompted to build the LD43 by a request from David and Linda Hughes, three times Oyster owners, who had taken their Oyster 66 around the world, and to Antarctica. They were looking for a high performance powerboat that would be ideal for a couple wanting to cruise the coastlines of England and France and through the French canals to the Mediterranean. Naturally the Hughes’ wanted Oyster quality throughout the boat, with good space in the master cabin and heads, a good functional galley, and plenty of space for entertaining friends for days out on the water. They wanted to be able to enjoy, and to offer their guests, a proper lunch and dinner, not just a picnic. Vital to the concept was that the boat should have good seakeeping qualities so that if they were caught out by bad weather during a passage, they would have the sort of confidence inspired by their previous Oysters. The hull was designed by Oyster’s Naval Architect, Alan Boswell, to give a very fine entry, allowing the boat to cut through the waves in rough water, and not slam into them as the more common constant deadrise planing boats do. This remarkable seakeeping ability has been demonstrated on many occasions, but was apparent during the sea trials on the first boat in the Hauraki Gulf in New Zealand, when we experienced a fiendish sea kicked up by a Force 6. On returning to Auckland harbour where the wind was funnelled down the channel, we cruised past a similar sized powerboat that was smashing into every wave and throwing up clouds of spray over the boat and had to slow right down as a result. The Hughes’ review of the market had shown there was really nothing that met their brief, and Oyster could see there was space in the market for a high quality motoryacht that met these requirements in a unique way.

Proving Oyster’s flexibility and creativity, the team turned to the propulsion systems. At a very early stage the idea of using jet propulsion came into our discussions. The jets would remove the major hazard associated with prop driven powerboats, damage to the props by ropes, lobster pots, rocks, mooring chains, and so on. It would also eliminate the risk to swimmers around the boat and give the boat amazing shallow water ability, so that it can, literally, be driven up to the beach. This and the protected drive train were attractive features for the proposed transit of the French canals. Another advantage of jets in this environment is that the vectored thrust and the control and maneuverability this gives at low speed would allow the boat to cruise the canals using only a single engine engaged. An early requirement was that the boat should have a twin-engine installation to provide a basic seamanship requirement of being able to get home if one drive train fails. For this reason the two drive trains are completely independent, each fed from its own fuel tank, and the electronic controls of the jets have multiple layers of backups, fail safes, and redundancy. Another example of the teams’ ingenuity is the unique feature of the doors at the aft end of the saloon. The top half of the glass doors are sliding panels, electrically driven, so that at the touch of a button they can be opened a little, or all the way, to give ideal ventilation in all conditions. In fine weather the saloon and cockpit can be opened up to form one large entertainment space. The new OM43 takes the proven hull design of the LD43 to the next level, with a new twin cabin layout, she has already become a popular addition to the range. Many other details found on these boats emphasise the broad engineering skills of the Oyster Design Group. No surprise then that Superyacht Project Manager, Jens Cornelsen, chose a new Oyster OM43 for his own boat! >

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LLOYDS REGISTER TESTING PROGRAMME FOR OYSTER SUPERYACHTS From the outset, Oyster made the decision to go for a high level of Lloyds Classification for the new Oyster Superyachts and it has highlighted another engineering strength of the Oyster Design team.

Their surveyors at the Plan Approval Office study these in depth and return them to us with their observations and notations, along with a Design Appraisal Document (DAD). These Lloyds-approved drawings and the DAD have to be rigidly adhered to throughout construction, with every stage of the build being attended, witnessed and noted by the appointed Lloyds surveyor for the project. During the build process, Lloyds continue with testing of the produced Laminate, taking away samples cut from the hull and destructively test them. We have had to design extra sections into the moulded structures so they can then be cut-out to provide the samples from the actual hull! Individual pieces of equipment all have to be tested or come from the supplier with Lloyds type-approval certificates. In addition to all of the above, drawings and specifications for the engineering systems (mechanical, propulsion, electrical, hydraulic, plumbing, exhausts and air ducting) have to be submitted, and a DAD is issued for these too. Again all materials used have to be Lloyds approved, and if Type Approval does not exist then individual material certification and more testing is mandatory.

After an impact test, which consists of dropping a 4kg steel ball three times onto the portlight from a height of 6m, the panel is pressurised to prove that it will withstand at least 100 kPa (equivalent to a submerged depth of 10 metres).

Working from first principles, we have run our structural designs through Lloyds rules process and supported this with some challenging test programmes for all areas of the vessel, including developing unique test programmes for glass and other components not clearly covered in the standard Lloyds processes. For example, we have to apply a pressure of 150kPa (15m of water head) to the outside of the portlights in a special jig to ensure there is no leak, then we have to try and smash the glass by dropping a 4kg stainless steel ball from 6m on three separate positions, then after cracking the glass we have to apply a 100kPa (10m water head) pressure to ensure that there is no leak! We have already submitted some 30 highly detailed drawings to Lloyds for hull and deck structure alone.

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The mast and rigging are also the subject of Classification, and here too, the design and structure, materials to be used and method of construction all need to be verified and approved. Finally, the documents describing the management of the facility itself, i.e. the yard, it's buildings, its systems, storage facilities, climate control, labour management, and Quality Assurance scheme - have all been submitted, examined, and approved. Until the Oyster Superyacht facility in RMK in Turkey was issued with a certificate by Lloyds, we could not proceed with building a hull, regardless of how many other factors had been complied with. Oyster’s team has excelled itself once again and we are very confident that this market leading decision to go for Lloyds ‘+100A1 MCH G6 Classification’ means the Oyster Superyachts are impressively well engineered.


EXCELLENCE IN DESIGN AND ENGINEERING

DESIGNING THE OYSTER SUPERYACHTS The introduction of the new range of Oyster Superyachs has given us the opportunity to take the lessons learnt in space optimisation within the existing Oyster range and apply them to the Superyacht market to an extent not seen in what has traditionally been a ‘one-off’ market. At the core of this is a centralised and ‘holistic’ view of the entire design process, combining Oyster’s advanced three-dimensional design software, CATIA, with a broad spectrum of experience in the team. Every aspect of the new designs has been modelled in a 3D environment. This includes not only the hull and deck, but also the structure, engineering, interior and even down to the lighting plan. The benefit of this approach is manifold, especially when combined with the initial set up times required in the creation and completion of tooling. By working up the entire vessel to a very high degree of accuracy within this 3D environment, long before the construction of the first yacht even commenced, we were able to fine-tune and optimise the use of space to a very efficient level. An example of this is in the area of the guest accommodation. By developing the key areas of the design concurrently (e.g. aesthetics, ergonomics, structure and engineering) every area of the yacht’s design has been optimised to best enmesh with the other requirements of the design. This holistic approach has meant that all engineering pipe and cable runs and requirements have been satisfied within the joinery of a stateroom long before the first piece

of wood has been cut. This ensures that there is never too much (or indeed too little) space left for the required air conditioning units, steering runs, ventilation etc. As well as the optimal use of space, this also allows for a streamlining of the build since there is far less ‘on the job’ problem solving to be done. Overall, the combination of a composite hull and this detailed engineering means we are providing almost 10% more internal volume for the owner and his crew than in the same length yacht built in alloy, with all its internal framing structure. We have literally focused on finding every spare centimetre in each cabin in the Oyster Superyachts by influencing the structure of the hull and deck in order to gain that last few percent of available space. A further benefit of the use of three dimensional design and modelling is the ability to help and guide both existing and potential clients through the design of the yacht and allow them to get a clear picture in their mind of how their yacht will look and what other possibilities exist within the boundaries of the space available. A customer may ask, “How will the design look with a different wood finish?”… “Is there space to squeeze in an extra couple of berths for children?”… “Is there room anywhere for me to have a gym?” A short session with the design team here in Ipswich, the press of a few keyboard buttons and the concepts appear in front of you on a large screen!

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Launching Miss Tippy A dream come true By Sheila Nor ton, Oyster 56, Miss Tipp y

Brian and I had owned and sailed four different boats over our 21 years together before choosing the Oyster 56 as our dream home on the sea. We had already spent a long time researching the market to find a vessel to suit our needs and felt almost certain that we would commission a new Oyster, if she proved to be as good on the water as she presented on paper. We met Barry Ashmore at a boat show in 2007, and were not disappointed, in fact we were thrilled to find an outstanding example of Oyster craftsmanship on show and our decision was made. We were going to become Oyster owners! Robert Vrind, who was assigned as our Oyster Project Manager and is an avid sailor himself, guided us expertly through the build process from beginning to launch. The build of our Oyster 56 started at Bridgland Moulders where we met Martin and the team. The fit out was completed at Landamores led by Anthony and his very capable workforce including Stephen Ball who deserves a special mention. Next stage was Passmores upholstery where Rick explained the whole process of the many-layered cushion and even introduced us to the seamstresses. We were thrilled to be offered a fully sprung mattress! Their work has transformed our boat into a comfortable and beautiful home. We visited Dolphin Sails where we learned that making sails and anything else from canvas is a work of art and needs specialist design and construction, there is much more to a sail than meets the eye! All these companies, who are all longstanding suppliers to Oyster, made us very welcome, were proud of their

work and pleased to present it to us. We were delighted with the very high quality of workmanship each company demonstrated and how each transition to the next step in the build of our Oyster appeared seamless. We made a film of the building process and all of the craftsmen we met encouraged us in recording their work in helping to build Miss Tippy (view at www.youtube.com). After a year and several thousand man-hours, Miss Tippy was ready to launch. Our three children, Annie aged 12, Freddie, 11 and Charlie, 8, have all sailed on holidays and weekends from birth, each being only a few days old on their first sailing trip. They have become excited at visiting so many countries and at the prospect of two years out of school! However, we have recruited John Dwyer an adventurous teacher to join us and share the children’s education on board. We also have amazing support from the common room at Cranleigh Prep School to which the children will return in 2011.

Knowing the reputation Oyster Yachts have for seaworthiness,

We are taking our family on a two-year Round-the-World trip joining the Blue Water Rally that departs from Gibraltar in September 2009.

we feel that we have the safest vessel we could possibly wish for.

Living aboard at sea brings its fears for us as a family and we are putting our trust in Miss Tippy. However, knowing the reputation Oyster Yachts have for seaworthiness, we feel that we have the safest vessel we could possibly wish for. Our concerns are reduced to crew issues such as how to deal with unpredicted weather and storms, and to boat husbandry challenges such as not running out of a year’s supply of meat provided by Gerard King and his team at the Suffolk Food Hall too quickly! We are looking forward very much to our life together, living aboard our Oyster 56 Miss Tippy will give us a wonderful chance to spend special time with each other, bonding as a family on the sea for the next two years.

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Introducing the new Oyster 625 The new Oyster 625 is designed to bring some significant improvements to the already highly successful pedigree of the Oyster 61 and 62. A new hull design with increased performance and handling, options for a sportier rig, several interior layout options and increased space in the master cabin by utilising the fuller aft sections are just some of the enhancements we’re launching with this new design. The new hull lines from Rob Humphreys will ensure a fast passage-maker, providing effortless blue water cruising in wonderful comfort.

The Oyster 625 is designed to be the starting point in the Oyster range where the option of a dedicated space for professional crew can be accommodated. The larger Oyster yachts tend to have two or more crew and consequentially are often run by their owners with an extensive charter programme. Smaller yachts tend to be sailed exclusively by their owners and friends with parttime maintenance support from a boatyard. The Oyster 625 fits in the middle of our range and will deliver significant performance, yet can still be used shorthanded or with friends; all this with the added value of a layout and interior designed for the privacy of the owner and guests, balanced with the option for a permanent crew to come along too! The two forward cabins can be arranged in either a double or twin bunk layout and each has its own heads and shower, producing a comfortable and spacious layout for eight. The fourth cabin can be configured as a workshop space, a guest cabin or, with access from the master cabin, to form a children’s cabin adjacent to their parents’ accommodation. For each of these layouts, the option of a separate crew bunk and personal heads in the forepeak may be selected to create that essential space for your extra crewman. >

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Alternative crew en-suite accommodation

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N E W OY S T E R 6 2 5

Benefiting from our design work with the new Oyster superyachts, there is also the option of three large vertical portlights in the hull, to port and starboard, to further enhance the views out from the saloon. The twin wheel configuration enables you to helm whilst sailing from either a windward or leeward position, depending on your preference and, when coming alongside, steering from the nearside helm position gives significantly better visibility. For that all-important relationship between crew and helmsman, judging the distance to the dockside becomes a more accurate decision! The twin wheels also allow better and safer access from the spacious leisure cockpit to the aft deck with its fitted transom stairwell to the bathing platform. There is an option of a sliding companionway access from the aft deck to the master cabin or owners may prefer to keep the aft deck uncluttered giving a 2m by 2.2m leisure area. The cleaner, more modern bulwark profile, with its integral stanchions and mooring cleats, creates spacious, uncluttered side decks, whilst the smoother, flush lines of her foredeck produces more deck space than the Oyster 62.

With an overall length of just under 19.4m (63’ 6”) including pulpit, the Oyster 625 supports options of cutter rig, double headsail and in-mast furling. A displacement length ratio of 182 and a sail area displacement ratio of 22.3 deliver sparkling performance for comfortable passage making. The striking new Oyster 625 is guaranteed to turn heads wherever she goes. OYSTER 625 PRELIMINARY DIMENSIONS Length overall (including pulpit)

19.36 m

63’ 6”

Length hull

19.05 m

62’ 6”

Length waterline

17.23 m

56’ 6”

Beam

5.44 m

17’ 10”

Draft (standard)

2.82 m

9’ 3”

Displacement (standard keel)

33,500 kg

73,700 lbs

Draft (shoal)

2.15 m

7’ 1”

Displacement (shoal keel)

35,300 kg

77,660 lbs

Sail area with 150% foretriangle

234.43 m2

2523.38 sq ft

The Oyster 625 is also available in Supershoal/centreboard versions please ask for more details.

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A taste of things to come… …the 2009 Dubois Cup Run under the flag of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, The Dubois Cup, which was sponsored by Oyster, was a taste of things to come for the new Dubois designed Oyster Superyachts. Oyster CEO David Tydeman and Directors, Chris Hicks and Murray Aitken, enjoyed time out on the water aboard the 37m sloop, Nashira II, with David being called on to take the helm for both races; Richard Matthews joined them for the ride on the second race, getting a personal

Photo: Ocean Images

taste of the size and scale of his forthcoming 38m Oyster 125. The event supported SPARKS, the Children’s Medical Research Charity, and in particular George’s Appeal – raising funds to help find a cure for Neuroblastoma. With sponsors and participants digging deep, over £80,000 was raised during the event. The next Dubois Cup will be held in Sardinia in 2011 and will be attended by the first in class of the new Oyster Superyachts.

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ARC 2008 By Bar r y Pic kthall The Atlantic Rally for Cruisers has become a popular annual migration for European yachts - and Oyster owners in particular - to cross to the Caribbean for the winter. Better known as The ARC, the 2008 event was the biggest yet with 16 adventurous Oyster crews swelling a 225-strong fleet from 21 nations that set out from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria last November bound for the delights of Rodney Bay, St. Lucia, one of the most beautiful islands in the Lesser Antilles. Good preparation is the key to a safe crossing and, as usual, Oyster’s five-man 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. Start day saw a slight swell, a gentle NE 10-15 knot breeze, and plenty of spinnakers, with good weather and predominantly light winds being a constant factor for most of the fleet as they made their crossing. The first Oyster on ARC handicap, winning the Oyster Trophy, was Richard and Angela Parkinson’s Oyster 46 Sophistikate, who completed the ARC with just their son Oscar joining them as crew. Oscar celebrated his 15th birthday mid-Atlantic just one week into the crossing. Sophistikate also came 4th in Class G in Cruising Division 1.

The boat has performed exceptionally well and we are more confident with her than ever before. She is a great boat and we are very lucky.

Photo: Clare Pengelly

Richard Parkinson Oyster 46 Sophistikate

Winning Oyster owners Richard and Angela Parkinson (Oyster 46 Sophistikate) and their 15-year old son Oscar.

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Oyster at the 2009 Autumn Shows For Oyster, the Autumn boat show season starts in August this year, as we will be exhibiting at some new shows, including Orust in Sweden and Oslo in Norway. Information about visiting all the boat shows, where you can see Oyster Yachts, can be found in the Boat Show section of our website. Out of courtesy to all the owners who have kindly loaned us their boats for the show and because we can only accommodate so many people on board at any one time, we operate an appointment system. This ensures that you can enjoy your visit without the boats being overcrowded. We do get very busy so booking ahead of your visit will ensure you get on board without having to wait. Book your appointment to view our yachts by completing the online Boarding Pass Request form at www.oystermarine.com or by calling our sales team: UK/European Shows +44 (0) 1473 688888 USA Shows +1 401 846 7400 ORUST OPEN YARD SWEDEN 21 – 23 August Oyster 46 HISWA IN-WATER 1 – 6 September Oyster 72 NORWEGIAN IN-WATER 3 – 6 September Oyster 46 CANNES 9 – 14 September Oyster 655 & Oyster 82 SOUTHAMPTON 11 – 20 September Oyster 54 & Oyster 72

NEWPORT BROKERAGE SHOW 17 – 20 September MONACO 23 – 26 September Oyster Superyachts Stand GENOA 3 – 11 October Oyster 54 & Oyster 655 ANNAPOLIS SAILBOAT 8 – 12 October Oyster 46 & Oyster 655 HAMBURG 24 October – 1 November Oyster 655 & OM43 FORT LAUDERDALE 29 October – 2 November Oyster Superyachts Stand

Buy tickets for the Southampton Boat Show online and raise money for the Ellen MacArthur Trust: If you buy your tickets to the Southampton Boat Show via the Oyster website you will save money on the gate price and will be able to access the show without having to queue. Oyster will make a donation of 10% of all tickets purchased via our website to the Ellen MacArthur Trust. w w w. o y s t e r m a r i n e . c o m

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Old England Odyssey By Mariacristina R a pisardi, Oyster 72, Bill y Budd

So what next? Where should we go? Our imagination usually runs wild looking for new places to go, but had momentarily run aground… It was September and the end of our first year in the southern hemisphere. A year in which we had sailed over 4,000 miles. We spent a month in the Antarctic, a month in rainy Chile and visited the Beagle Channel in three different seasons: winter, autumn and summer. In the meantime we’d also spent a while docked in Ushuaia and Puerto Williams with a few trips to the nearby fjords. Finally we decided, we set our sights on South Georgia. But we had to wait until January, we’d been told that the best time to go would actually be October but we were unable to leave Italy then. November and December were out of the question, we wouldn’t have been able to get ashore then because there would be too many animals on the beaches, some of them very aggressive, having just given birth. >

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OW N E R R E P O R T

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OW N E R R E P O R T

We started making enquiries to see who has already been there, what the islands are like and what we could do, see and visit there. This was when the surprises began, some people we talked to said they wouldn’t dream of going there. The wind, they said, is dreadful, and we won’t have a minute’s peace form it, there’s nothing to see and Stanley is sad and ugly. They warned us that three months stuck in the fjords with the unrelenting wind, which never stops even at night, would drive us mad! That was the majority opinion. A precious few, told another totally different story. They described the Falklands as stunning, wild, a different world, a place we just had to visit. So which ones did we decide to believe? Of course, the ones that told us to go, go, go. How could we resist that particular siren call? And so we decided on January, taking advantage of the Christmas holidays, but this left us wondering what we could do between September and January? We couldn’t imagine being away from Billy Budd for four months – we’d get withdrawal symptoms, anxiety attacks, fall into a depression and who knows what else! So we had to find some other new goal for ourselves. Nothing too tough because the boat had to be ready for her big challenge in South Georgia, but we didn’t want it to be too easy either because we’ve been spoilt with the winds and seas of the south, the ice and the cold!

We started the usual preparations. We prepared Billy Budd for four months in the Falklands and a month of South Georgia plus a crossing to Antigua that meant 5700 miles with nowhere to stop off and stock up on supplies of any kind. This involved the usual checks and then double checks of everything. We never mess about but this time we really had to make sure nothing was left to chance. We had seven months of sailing, high winds, tricky seas and squalls ahead of us and wild places where there would be no one to help us and certainly nowhere to buy anything.

We didn’t even think about doing the Beagle Channel a fourth time. It’s gorgeous, fantastic, unique, a fairytale world, but we’d explored its length and breadth and our spirit was screaming for something new and adventurous. But there wasn’t much left to do? Buenos Aires, 1,000 miles to the north? Yes, why not, but then what would we do once we got there? It’s a big city with a huge river, a brown one though. And there are no real animals and it’s not exactly wild… no, Buenos Aires wasn’t for us.

So it began: maintenance work, batteries, engine, generator checks, spares. Everything had to be perfect. And of course there was the shopping to be done too. How do you shop for eight people for seven months? White wine, red wine (but then what if we ended up with too much white and not enough red?), pasta, oil, tinned goods, fresh fruit and vegetables. We had no idea what awaited us in the Falklands or whether we’d even be able to stock up on fresh food so we bought as much as we could in Ushuaia.

Then suddenly we spotted something on the map: tiny, fragmented, a dozen little soap bubbles floating in the Southern Ocean, just a few miles off the east coast, right on our route to South Georgia: the Falkland Islands.

We also went through the usual pre-trip routine back at home in Italy and faced our usual problem of which of our friends to invite to join us. The list has got longer and longer, something which has changed since our earliest

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“Suddenly we spotted something on the map: tiny, fragmented, a dozen little soap bubbles floating in the Southern Ocean, just a few miles off the east coast, right on our route to South Georgia: the Falkland Islands.”

trips a few years ago. Back then we viewed anyone that volunteered to come with us with a thinly and not so thinly veiled suspicion. Now that’s all changed, the list of people that want to join us is long, some have asked us out right, others have made more discreet enquiries, either way it was difficult to choose for this trip. There were those that would most unexpectedly, be able to bear the chill of the Beagle Channel and others that would be better suited to the lonely warmth of the Tuamotu Islands. But who should we take with us to islands that have gotten the thumbs down from most people we’d spoken too? Islands we’d been told are unbearable because they’re just so wild and windy it would be impossible to get a decent night’s sleep. There was one name that leapt out at us – our friend Antoniotto; naval engineer, university professor, mini-ton sailor, goat breeder, wind lover, inventor of strange wind measurement machines that he attaches to the top of the highest tower of his castle which itself is perched on a hillside swept by all the winds of the Mediterranean.

A man curious about the world. The only person perhaps that might properly appreciate this strange, wild, hostile, sheep-ridden place. The deal was done. The boat was ready and Antoniotto was, of course, delighted to be going. It was only then we discovered a slight problem, how would we actually get to the Falklands? We only had a short time, two weeks, in fact. It would have been unthinkable to have to fly to Santiago, then Punta Arenas and then the Falklands. The added complication being that the Punta Arenas to Falkland flight only goes once a week, on Saturdays. The Falklands War means that there are now no direct flights between Buenos Aires and Stanley. Thank heavens, for the British army, which not only saved the Falklands from the Argentinean invaders but continues to guard them and their inhabitants to this day. It also flies travellers directly from Brize Norton, a military airport near Oxford, to Stanley. We booked our flights a little anxiously. Would it be a real military aircraft? With no seats? Would they make us put on parachutes? In the end, our aircraft turned out to be a >

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“We flew over the islands and suddenly it hit us: we’d been transported back to 19th century England – green fields and hills, yellow gorse, the sea and of course the elderly Miss Marples and our old-fashioned aristocratic pilot.”

completely normal Boeing with regular seats, hostesses and crew. It’s just that it’s full of, well, soldiers. Happily they’re not all in camouflage gear though. It’s a long flight, very long, with just a one-hour stop at Ascension Island. Finally, 18 hours after we left Brize Norton, we touched down in Stanley. Billy Budd, however, wasn’t there. Because we had so little time at our disposal, we had decided to have her brought to the West Falklands which were supposed to be much more beautiful and wild than the East Falklands. So the following morning, we were back in the air, this time in a little six-seater. Our pilot was a grizzled older guy, and our fellow passengers three sixty-something sisters who live in Stanley but were going to one of the southern islands for the weekend. They told us about the strange lifestyle people lead in these lonely islands where only animals and sheep abound, the very long, very dark winters and the endless wind.

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We flew over the islands and suddenly it hit us: we’d been transported back to 19th Century England – green fields and hills, yellow gorse, the sea and of course the elderly Miss Marples and our old-fashioned aristocratic pilot. We finally caught sight of our destination – Weddel Island. The pilot prepared for landing in a green field with a little two metre by two metre corrugated hut and a jeep sitting waiting to rush to our rescue in case we crashed. It’s not actually very clear how one jeep equipped with a fairly small fire extinguisher might actually rescue us. But we placed our trust in it nonetheless because we didn’t have any choice! Waiting to greet us was the entire population of Weddel Island, Martin and Denzil and our skipper Clive! There is just one house on the entire island which itself isn’t small by any means. The population of two, Martin and Denzil, spend the summer working the land and then return to Stanley for the winter. The proudly showed us their sheep-shearing pens


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and then let us go with a touch of sadness. They don’t get much company and certainly no sailing boats or Italians! Finally we could begin our exploration of these gorgeous islands. They look a little like the Kornati Islands of Yugoslavia. They’re barren, treeless and almost entirely flat apart from a few low hills. And, of course, completely surrounded by sea, sea, sea and lashed by wind, wind, wind. The wind is ever-present, it never drops, not even in the dead of night, we had live with its background howling. It was particularly loud in the aft cabin, and in fact it was a bit like sleeping in a wind turbine. On arrival to New Island we entered a little bay ringed by yellow flowers. They were everywhere, growing right down to the sea. They engulfed everything, even the house that Georgina, the island’s young owner, lives in with her partner Dan. They told us they only live here in summer and return to Britain or Stanley for the winter. In summer, they put up scientists who come to study the albatrosses and penguins that populate the nearby bay. We finally got underway again and had our very first glimpse of penguins and albatrosses. We met Pablo, a young Portuguese scientist, who spent an hour chatting with us

about them. He told us how these gorgeous animals move around the world and how scientists are trying to work out how they always manage to find their way home, no matter where they are. Maybe they have a kind of natural GPS in their head? He also told us how they need both a take-off and landing strip and how they share and divide up their territory with the rock hoppers and cormorants. We saw literally hundreds of albatrosses, all tightly packed together, sitting on their nests, waiting to hatch their eggs, for this was their breeding season. They are spellbinding to watch. We’d never seen albatrosses before and so we couldn’t tear ourselves away from them. Pablo laughed at us – he’d seen this kind of reaction before from tourists when they suddenly discover this wild world that exists only in this particular corner of the globe. Then we were off again! This time to Carcass Island, another bay, more yellow flowers, another house owned by another couple, Rob and Lorraine, who invited us to supper. They too are used to having guests – scientists, of course, and so, are very organised. The cook is Chilean and used to work on the merchant ships. >

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“I really do believe we’ll revisit the Falklands, and the next time it won’t just be for a fortnight. You need to stay, live with these people, wait and be as unhurried as they are, to really understand the place.”

The following morning we took a walk on the elephant seal beach where we came across a dozen or so females and their pups, as well as three absolutely enormous males who were busily patrolling the beach and the harem. In actual fact though, the whole shebang is really controlled by the largest of them all. Not only does he keep a close eye on all the females on the beach but he also spends a lot of time and energy ensuring the other two males don’t get near them. We were absolutely enthralled once again. This was the first time we’d seen elephant seals and we certainly had no idea they were so big, energetic and noisy. The photographers amongst us didn’t want to return to the boat and were rooted to the spot trying to shoot as many photos as we could. But we did have to get back we were due to leave for Steple Island the following morning. Its a private island so Rob and Michael came with us and proved invaluable guides. We discovered another completely deserted island with no human inhabitants at all. Only the jeep Rob took there years ago, of course the keys are still in the ignition, there are no thieves around there. This is an island on which fewer than a thousand people have ever set foot. It’s incredibly barren and completely treeless, warm too. Behind the first little hill we encountered we discovered not hundreds or thousands but tens of thousands of albatrosses. It was an unimaginable sight: kilometre after kilometre of white speckled coastline with albatrosses perched on nests keeping eggs warm that will hatch over the next few weeks. They were no more than a foot apart from each other and often hidden by the very high grass. We walked through the grass, weaving our way around the nests, for a good long while. We tried not to disturb the

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birds but they seemed completely unfazed by us anyway. We managed to walk between the nests and see them taking off and landing even though they will only leave their nests at this time of year to feed. Once again, we didn’t want to go back to the boat. The weather was fantastic: warm, sunny, very little wind and we were surrounded by grass, sea and albatrosses. The photographers kept clicking and clicking, and they were right to, this part of the planet is home to the world’s largest albatross colony. The population isn’t falling here while it seems that the colony in South Georgia is much smaller than it was a few years back. Some put this down to the lack of krill, which the Japanese are fishing by the thousands of tonne. We returned to Carcass where Wondere, a very famous, one-hundred year old wooden boat, was anchored. Sailed by her owner and his wife, they spent the winter in the Falklands and were preparing to sail to South Georgia where they intended to spend a year. The time arrived for us to make our way back to Stanley. The wind was strong, very strong, and pushed us towards the coast near Mount Pleasant, and the military zone with the airstrip we would later use to depart from for Brize Norton. But we knew that we’d be returning in two months’ time and so didn’t want to anchor in Stanley. We’d have plenty of time to get to know it in January both before and after our trip to South Georgia. So we sailed on and stopped off at deserted beaches with penguins and a few elephant seals. We visited deserted islands with just a few sheep on them, and in all this time never met any other boats. Our friend Antoniotto was


thoroughly enjoying the fact that the wind was always over 30/35 knots and was fascinated by the sheep that grazed in what looked like barren fields but somehow managed not to freeze to death in winter. Maybe they made him think about his own goats, which enjoy a much warmer time of it in the Mediterranean. We stopped at Beaver Island, one of the islands owned by Jerome who lives there with his partner and children when he’s not seafaring. We anchored in gusts of over 40 knots and made our way ashore to have tea and cake and then a tour of the island by jeep. Once again we were greeted by an enchanting spectacle: penguins, birds, sheep and, bizarrely, lots of reindeer. Jerome brought them here from South Georgia years ago, he loaded up 15 on his boat which is just a simple little 14-metre sailing yacht. He sailed five days against both sea and wind with them aboard and miraculously, unloaded them all unscathed on the island where they happily went forth and multiplied! We cast off from Beaver Island and finally dropped anchor at Goose Green close to the airport. We went ashore and the whole town (around 20 people) turned out to welcome us. Beaver Island is the most densely populated spot in

the Falklands after Stanley. The inhabitants were amazed to see us and asked us who we were and what we were doing, they were dying to know where our strange red, white and green flag was from. They tell us boats never stop off here, why would they? There’s nothing apart from minefields, which luckily are well signposted and ringed by barbed wire. Who knows why they don’t just clear the mines? Our flight was due to leave at 9am the next morning, but when we arrived we were told there had been a delay of a few hours as the army had gone to pick up two young people working on the one of the islands who had been called home urgently to be with a sick relative. That’s life in these islands at the end of the world – you wait for anyone that needs help, you welcome anyone that comes your way, always with tea and cake and something to eat. You wait for winter to pass and then watch the marvellous gorse come into bloom and you wait for the wildlife to return and watch the chicks being born and then flying away. You experience nature in a way that is still possible in only a few precious places on earth… with serenity and curiosity. For more pictures from Billy Budd’s travels, visit the Oyster website www.oystermarine.com Photos: Courtesy of Mariacristina Rapisardi and Giovanni Cristofori

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Family and Friends the experience of buying an Oyster By De vala Dookun, Oyster 46, Sea Rover

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clincher. The 46 we sailed handled like a dream and not only that, I could see where I was going and when you’re

The test sail was probably the

only 5’ 3” in your deck shoes, that’s some achievement.

The very fact I am writing this article is a testament to Oyster. I never wanted to own a boat or sail round the world, in fact as late as the summer of 2005 I would have said “Never in a month of blue Sundays” – or any other colour for that matter. But, as a wise man once said, “Never say never”. Mike, my husband had wanted to own a boat for many years but I had successfully persuaded him that we were better off chartering – not as expensive, greater variety of cruising grounds, lots of different boats to sail, not spending valuable precious sailing time scraping barnacles off the bottom etc. – were all amongst my compelling arguments, though even I recognised the wistful look in his eyes at every Boat Show. Without going into great detail, one of those life-changing events happened, which meant we could contemplate another ‘big adventure’ (we spent seven months driving a Land Rover around Africa in 1992 and always swore we’d do something else before we got too old and rickety). So Mike’s dream of owning a boat bubbled to the surface again (I don’t think it was ever that far from his thoughts). I sort of went along with this, and the Southampton Boat Show in 2005 found us seriously looking at boats – Mike more so than myself. This was OK, as every boat, whilst meeting our needs, somehow wasn’t ‘quite right’. Then we walked onto the Oyster 46 and, as I descended the companionway, I heard a voice say “I could imagine living on a boat like this”. I think that was me! I don’t know who picked up on this quicker, Mike or Barry Ashmore from Oyster. Suffice to say we left with the luxury brochure and DVD. Later at the London Boat Show we met Murray Aitken, the panjandrum of sales at Oyster. For those of you who have had dealings with Murray, you won’t be in the least surprised to hear that we have taken delivery of an Oyster and only mildly surprised it isn’t a bigger one! Seriously, Murray has been a joy to work with – he makes signing over appallingly large cheques as pleasurable a process as it could ever be. But let us share with you our experience of ‘joining the Oyster family’. I think the point that we confessed to Murray that we already had a name for the boat; he knew he was on to a winner – it seems naming the boat often causes the most angst for new boat owners. Then Mike said we wanted to sail round the world to which the reply was “Why would you want to do this in anything other than an Oyster?” Why indeed? To which the logical next step – no commitment of course (I still thought I had a way out) - was “Would you like to come up to Ipswich to discuss your requirements further?” We arrived at Oyster’s offices at Fox’s Marina and were shown into one of the meeting rooms, and offered coffee as Murray was “on his way”. Of course this allows you just enough time to see the beautifully drawn plans of the boat’s superstructure, deck and below decks laid out on the table with ‘Concept plans for Mike Robinson and Devala Dookun’. Hook line and sinker is the expression I believe! > w w w. o y s t e r m a r i n e . c o m

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Well maybe not quite that easy, but the sale was definitely half way there. The test sail was probably the clincher. The 46 we sailed handled like a dream and not only that, I could see where I was going and when you’re only 5’ 3” in your deck shoes, that’s some achievement. Suffice to say, some serious negotiation later, found us signing on the dotted line and meeting Debbie Johnson, our Project Manager, for the first time. Even at this first meeting, which to be honest is rather dry and technical as Debbie took us through the build process and the schedule for Master Work Lists (MWL), it all seemed a little remote and unreal. We went through the steps and stages of how nothing was agreed until it was signed off on the MWL and that all changes have to go through the Project Manager. It may seem rather pedantic and tedious, but believe me it is a system that makes complete sense – everyone knows what has and hasn’t been agreed and it allowed us to change our minds several times (an option we exercised to the full) and look at various options and costings without everyone ending up in a complete muddle. Debbie was (and is) endlessly patient with all requests for information and quotes for different options. She kept us on target without ever making us feel like she was bossing us around. Even at this stage, without the boat having started build we were deemed part of the ‘family’. I have to admit here that we both thought the idea of ‘the family’ was a bit twee and contrived, but given the number of Oyster owners who come back for repeat orders we decided not to be too sniffy as there must be something in it. We found ourselves receiving invitations to the private viewing at St Katharine’s, able to use the owner’s lounge at the boat shows – a god send for tired feet and somewhere to leave your coats and bags, receiving invites to the Oyster dinners. Clearly a family that is used to looking after its own and already we were beginning to feel ‘special’. Everyone we met knew who we were and that we had a 46 in build. In June 2007 work started on the hull. This was preceded by a flurry of emails about decisions that would need to be incorporated at this stage of the build. Alarmingly this included the number of holes we wanted in the hull for options such as generator and water maker and the fact Mike wanted a watertight bulkhead at the front as he cherishes the plan of including Antarctica in the circumnavigation (we’ll see about that!). Within weeks we received the first pictures of the hull being laid, courtesy of Debbie and reality began to dawn – we were having a boat built for us to our specification. Debbie was brilliant in keeping us updated across the stages of the process, gently keeping us on track for key decisions and vetting them – after all she wouldn’t want us putting anything on that would cause her embarrassment with the other project managers! Seems there is some friendly rivalry afoot there. To this day we have a sneaky feeling we might have built the boat she would like, still as our taste clearly coincides that doesn’t really matter.

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What we had never realised was a) the number of people who contribute to the actual build process – for our boat some 47 people worked on her for greater or lesser amounts of time, and b) the sheer level of craftsmanship (not mere workmanship) that went into everything. Hours were spent making, fitting and adjusting every single piece of woodwork that went into her. We were acutely aware the team had a schedule to meet and work to do and tried to keep out of their way as much as possible but our grins of pleasure and enthusiasm for the boat were palpable. They were fantastic, always welcoming and never too busy to talk to us and explain what they were doing and why. Debbie reassured us that contrary to what we might fear they were only too pleased to meet the owners and get a sense of how and where the boat would be sailed.

The monthly visits to the yard became quite a feature of our calendar, some thing we (yes by now it was ‘we’) looked forward to and, like children on Christmas Day morning, we couldn’t wait to

Our boat was to be built at Landamores one of Oyster’s two Wroxham based boat builders. We decided early on we wanted to be a part of the process and hoped to visit regularly on a monthly basis, something Debbie was only too pleased to arrange for us. Our boat was one of the first boats to be built at Landamores’ new yard, large airy, purpose built and wonderfully laid out, a far cry from the premises we first visited. Once the hull moved to Landamores the visits began.

get into the shed where she was being built.

The monthly visits to the yard became quite a feature of our calendar, some thing we (yes by now it was ‘we’) looked forward to and, like children on Christmas Day morning, we couldn’t wait to get into the shed where she was being built. So poor Debbie just had to wait for those key decisions she needed input on as we clambered all over their work. Still I think the visits worked for all of us as some of the choices were much easier to make as we could visualise them whilst standing on the boat. The visits were always followed up by emails confirming what we had agreed, essential given the multiple options we usually discussed. Emails flowed back and forth at key decision making points, including ‘Mike’s Folly’, aka the white Formula mast, an extra on a 46. Whilst I agree it and its boom are a thing of beauty, it is also ridiculously expensive. Still, as Debbie said in one memorable email, ‘You’ll still be enjoying it long after you’ve forgotten the cost’ – seven months into ownership I regret to say she might just have been right! Like many people we wanted to modify the interior to meet our own requirements. This saw the trotter box in the saloon converted into an 80 litre freezer and the port cabin reduced from two to one bunk, which could double as a workbench and with a washing machine installed beneath. Debbie’s experiences at Oyster and as an Oyster skipper were invaluable. >

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The visits were tremendous fun with a great deal of laughter amidst the decision making. One bit of fun was as a result of us requesting a seat be made for the bow. Murray, in one of what we affectionately referred to as a ‘Murray Moment’ had said this was no problem and the price was signed off. This had clearly been a challenge for the design team, one they rose to admirably. On one visit Debbie produced life-sized drawings of the proposed seat to check it met our ‘requirements’. Comments of “Does my bum look big in this?” abounded as we laid the plans out on the deck and we both took turns to ‘sit’ on the proposed seat! Our boat was the first to leave the new Landamores premises and Anthony Landamore personally ‘walked’ her out. Sadly work precluded me from being there but Mike was and, by all accounts, it was an emotional day. We both miss our visits to Norfolk and will never forget the warm welcome and watching her grow in front of our eyes. So, a big ‘Thank You’ from both of us to Anthony and his impressive team. Sea Rover arrived at Fox’s Marina for commissioning. We both desperately wanted to be there on launch day to watch her going into the water and Oyster couldn’t have been more flexible. Work commitments for both of us meant we couldn’t do the day Oyster had planned and they kindly agreed to defer the launch to a day we could both make. How do you describe that moment in a way that adequately captures the emotions? As we watched her being transported across the yard and then lowered slowly towards the water, Peter Thomas (from the commissioning team) had jumped aboard and, after double-checking all sea cocks were closed came forward onto the deck by the pulpit with a bottle of champagne and a contraption to hold it. Forward steps Debbie holding goggles and gloves with the immortal lines ‘Health and safety requires me to offer you the use of these!’ Oyster, ever mindful of the importance of these moments had set things up for us to launch her. So in true nautical fashion and tradition she was lowered into the water still dripping champagne from her anchor. So there she was – launched, albeit minus a mast, and so nearly ready to go – this dream really was becoming a reality. We had the chance to see just how much work had gone on in our boat when we sailed her down to St Katharine’s Dock in London for Oyster’s Private View. It was a glorious day – sunny and warm but little wind meant we had to motor all the way. It was a lovely journey and a great chance to start to get to know her. Peter from Oyster’s commissioning department was brilliant at talking us through some of her systems and how things work, all great preparation for the actual handover. David Abbott from the warranty team also joined us aboard. He has been great in dealing with all the teething problems of our luxury boat with its complex systems.

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As Oyster says, “No one has yet built a perfect boat” and ours has had her fair share of snags. I think he enjoyed meeting us in these circumstances as future contact was, by definition, going to be with David when there was a problem. In true Oyster fashion there was champagne waiting for us on our arrival in London. Oyster’s Private View allowed us our own private ‘show’ and on the last day of the event we welcomed our families aboard to see what all the fuss had been about! Allowing the boat to provide such vicarious pleasure has always been an essential ingredient of this dream.

In one sense the three years from idea to reality seems a lifetime, in another it’s flown by in an instant. We thoroughly enjoyed the process and feel everyone we have come across and

So now the day or rather days had finally come round – handover, and she was ours. Well not quite, we did have to go through all the manuals (and when I say ‘all’ I use the word advisedly – three lever arch files and two box files) at the end of day one of the two-day handover. Our brains were fizzing and overloaded, having been taken through the entire boat and its systems from bow to stern, all the time moored to a pontoon. Day two we were allowed to sail as we were taken through how all her systems worked under way and some helpful hints and tricks. It was really nice that Paul who had done all our electrics at Landamores was able to join us, and as with so much of the process a great time and much fun was had by all. As we sailed back up the River Orwell, Debbie quietly said ‘Can you sign this please’ after which she suggested we take down the white Oyster commissioning flag and replace it with the blue owners flag – she was now truly ours!

worked with couldn’t have treated us better.

In one sense the three years from idea to reality seems a lifetime, in another it’s flown by in an instant. We thoroughly enjoyed the process and feel everyone we have come across and worked with couldn’t have treated us better. The key relationship for us (and I would suggest for anyone undertaking building a boat from new) was the one we had with our Project Manager. We always felt she was working on our behalf to make the boat of our dreams a reality. The beautiful boat we now own is in no small part down to her. Somewhere along the line the relationship moved from the professional company/client to friendship. And what is the name of this beautiful boat we now own? Well after undertaking our first big trip on land in a Land Rover, she just had to be ‘Sea Rover’. So here we are, proud owners sitting in the Caribbean, having done the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) about to set off on a circumnavigation. Not bad for someone who didn’t want to own a boat. How’s it all gone since handover? Well that’s another story for another day. So let me finish by saying that normally you can choose your friends but not your family, with Oyster you get to do both.

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Winning the Heineken Cape to Bahia Race By Nic k O’Donnell, Oyster 72, K ealoha 8

As part of the World Cruising Club Round the World Rally, the last leg from South Africa to Brazil becomes part of the Heineken Cape to Bahia Race (the new Cape to Rio race), attracting entries from all over the world, with two divisions – Racing and Cruising. The cruising division are given a weeks head start on the racing fleet partly because, with nearly 4000 miles to sail, the monster racing machines such as ICAP Leopard and Rambler (100ft and 90ft respectively with daily averages exceeding 400 miles), would have no difficulty in making up the distance, but also because the cruising fleet take a slightly different route.

“Kealoha hit the start line with perfect timing, smelling the cordite of the start gun off a South African naval vessel.”

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The race started on the 3rd of January after great hospitality from the Royal Cape Yacht Club, some Heineken pre-race parties (everyone loves a drinks sponsor!) and the endless delights of Cape Town and the surrounding region. We made our way to the start line with a huge spectator fleet and media coverage from air and sea. It felt more like the start of the Fastnet or the Sydney Hobart, a little over the top for the 26 cruising boats (including three Oysters – the 72, Kealoha 8, the Oyster 56’s Into the Blue and Baccalieu III). Kealoha hit the start line with perfect timing, smelling the cordite of the start gun off a South African naval vessel. We led the fleet to the upwind turning mark in the world renowned 25-knot Cape Doctor – a narrow channel of wind caused by the effect of Table Mountain. The wind faded to a gentle 12-knot breeze as we headed west to clear the bay, and dodged huge clumps of kelp – the few that we caught, required two of us hanging over the transom to haul it clear! The rules for the cruising division allow up to 500 miles of motoring, across the whole race, which have to be reported,

then a suitable handicap is applied for motoring hours. This means you have to be very tactical determining when you want to motor. With weather routing (again allowed by Heineken) and making the most of our Maxsea performance software we had to choose which lot of shifting light wind we wanted to sail in throughout the ten days. We nibbled our way up the African and Namibian coastline, then headed off to the last resting place of the emperor Napoleon, St Helena. We arrived in St Helena at 0200 to an open harbour with one light! We dropped anchor and awoke the next morning to see some of the fleet from the arduous Governors’ Cup Race, which had left a week before we had. The tiny island of St Helena measures only six miles by ten and is unfortunately slowly becoming over run with yachties. With a limited amount of time we managed to see all the island, including the famous buildings where Napoleon was exiled after he escaped from Elba. The 700 plus steps to the top of the hill were best reached by taxi, although some did manage to climb! Sadly the weather meant we never got to play golf but we did get to eat in two of the islands three restaurants! >

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After 40 hours rest from racing, the weatherman announced that it was time to move on, so early evening saw us set sail for Brazil, a mere 12 days away. With daily position reporting and the complication of everyone arriving and departing from St Helena at different times, the next leg was nerve wrecking playing snakes and ladders across the South Atlantic, finally arriving at Salvador in Brazil early on a grey, wet morning. We were ecstatic in the knowledge that we received line honours being the first cruising boat home, beaten over the line only by Leopard and Rambler. We received a warm and liquid reception from the folks of the Royal Cape and Heineken. With 3921 miles travelled in 22 days we think this may be the longest race an Oyster has ever taken part in let alone won.

“We were ecstatic in the knowledge that we received line honours being the first cruising boat home, beaten over the line by only Leopard and Rambler.”

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Salavdor is a lovely old town, originally the main port and once capital of Brazil, the last place the Portuguese gave up! The very smart Yacht Club made us all feel very welcome. Slowly the rest of the fleet, racing and cruising divisions arrived, exhausted from the tough conditions. We marvelled at the pros on ICAP Leopard with their gourmet freeze-dried food (we had ‘real’ gourmet food) and their obsession with the light air was similar to our obsession with running the air conditioning. While they watched the stars and every degree in wind shift, we watched DVD’s! Mike Slade and his boys may have won over all, but there was no competition as to who had the most comfortable ride. Although we did manage to change spinnakers at least three times a day, keeping the sail locker in action, even though we never saw wind over 20 knots, and spent 132 hours in under 15 knots!


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Other ‘not so’ highlights of Salvador included the local muggers coming out in force to welcome all the sailors, thankfully no one on Kealoha was targeted but other crews lost money, watches and in one case a wedding ring. Suffice to say South America can be a dangerous place if you don’t take precautions. There is only so long you can stay in the hot and humid port of Salvador, as soon as the prize-giving was over, we headed out to cruise the Bay of Santos and visit some of the off lying islands. It’s amazing to think that off the coast of Brazil there are over 1000 islands, typically Caribbean in their appearance. We had a great time ashore and aboard, using all the toys from the windsurfer to the water skis. We particularly enjoyed the Ile Morro Sao Paulo a tiny island where there are no cars and everything is transported in wheelbarrows. We arrived in time for the full moon festival which was to serve as a warm up for ‘Carnival’ with the last of our revellers arriving back onboard at 0700 hrs! We headed off for Recife, 450 miles up the coast and home to the world record breaking ‘Carnival’. For many this is the main attraction of travelling to Brazil – five days and nights of parades, parties, floats and fun. The opening event, the Midnight Roster Festival was in essence a street party for 1.5 million people! With every type of music you could imagine, and costumes that would shame a costume hire

shop. We were lucky that the local tourist authority was well prepared for the arrival of the World ARC fleet and laid on some great vantage points for viewing and getting really involved in the Carnival. Although they warned us about going out at night, needless to say we all did, and only managed to lose one mobile phone to a pickpocket (not a bad score compared to losses other boat crews had incurred). If you arrive in Brazil at Carnival time you have to expect that very little will be open, but having said that we managed to get done what we had to, even getting a local engineer out on a carnival day to assist with a small problem with the all important air conditioning. The local yacht club, although more geared to power boats than sail, was a great host, but no one could get over the state of the marina – filthy water and unique berthing arrangements between a barbwire topped fence and mooring buoys, thus needing your dingy to get ashore. Every hotel in town was fully booked so we were lucky to be staying in the smartest location, with all the amenities we could want – on board Kealoha! You can only really enjoy the northern coast of Brazil by boat, there are so many different cultures from the islands to the cities. Winning line honours in the Cape to Bahia made our experience all the better and we will definitely return.

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Wait and See For Sir Nigel Southward, KCVO MA MB BChir MRCP, sailor, life is an understated adventure By Roger Vaughan In this publicity and celebrity-mad world, there are times when those who fare best are the ones we don’t hear about. That was never more true than in the Fastnet Race of 1979, when fifteen sailors perished in the Irish Sea during one of the more catastrophic storms in ocean racing history. The media was rife with photos of ruined yachts and their unfortunate owners and crews. The sailing world held its breath as the death toll mounted. One post-storm conclusion: yachts 40 feet and under could not sail upwind in 50 knots of wind. There was one particular skipper in the fleet who didn’t need the ’79 Fastnet experience to prove that his Contessa 32 could not sail upwind in such extreme conditions. As the wind speed steadily increased, and the breaking, multi-directional seas began to assume frightening heights, Dr Nigel Southward and his crew aboard Skat turned right ninety degrees without hesitation and reached into Milford Haven on the western tip of Wales. There they rode out the storm in safety, and relative comfort. Those who know Nigel Southward were not surprised that he made a timely, sensible decision. Those who know him best include Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, who was his patient for 28 years. She thought highly enough of her good doctor to have bestowed upon him, in a private audience, the title of Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order when he retired as Apothecary to the Royal Household in 2002. On board Skat for the Fastnet was Richard Devitt, a London insurance broker. “You have to have bad weather sometime, and we had it,” Devitt says of the ’79 Fastnet Race. “It was scary. Nigel had read Adlard Coles ‘Heavy Weather Sailing’, and he’d given it to me as a birthday present two days before when we were trying to get across Lyme Bay with no wind. He took a photo of me with the book in flat calm. A few days later there’s another picture of me with 30-feet of wave behind me. Nigel proved his worth as a skipper that day. But that was just the clincher. You know about someone from rowing an eight with him.” Devitt was a classmate of Southward at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He was also best man at Southward’s wedding in 1965. Nigel Southward is a refreshingly understated man, a wellmannered, unpretentious Englishman from a good family who can say with all candor that his appointment as royal apothecary was “just another job.” He had a surgery in Buckingham Palace every morning from 9am to 11am where his services were available to any of the 500 people who work there, Her Majesty included. In conversation, he refers to it as “my job at the Palace.” The rest of the time he conducted a private general practice at fashionable Devonshire Place in London, house calls included. Other doctors speak of the pressure involved in taking care of the Royal Family. “Pressure?” Southward says. “I don’t think so. It sounds glamorous, but it’s the same as any job. One gets used to it quickly.”

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It’s against Southward’s nature to talk about himself or his accomplishments, mainly because to him they don’t seem the least bit extraordinary. Being around him, one feels his calm emanations, his sense that the best response to whatever life dishes out is a measured one. There’s good reason he was known by his contemporaries as “Dr Wait and See.” Roger Vickers, FRCS, a London orthopedic surgeon who has known Southward since university, and who often consulted with Southward about his patients, finds him immensely personable and caring, “a good family doctor. He’s sensible,” Vickers says, “with a non-interventional approach. He’s non-aggressive and conservative with a small c. When he wanted me to see a patient of his, it wasn’t necessarily for me to operate, but to further assess the situation.” Vickers met Southward through Richard Devitt, who had a Caribbean Steel band when he was at Trinity Hall. Devitt heard that Vickers, who was at Oxford, was a drummer, so he recruited him. “We played at university parties, and that’s how I met Richard’s friend Nigel,” Vickers says. The three university pals have remained close to this day. Nigel smiles indulgently when his moniker, “Dr Wait and See”, is mentioned. He is seated in the living room of his cottage in Buckler’s Hard near Beaulieu, in the 929-year-old New Forest that was created as a royal hunting preserve by William the Conqueror in 1080. Southward’s home is a classic New Forest country lair in a magical setting where the native wild horses and cattle roam freely over fields and roadways. Looking south from the back garden on a clear day, with binoculars, one can see Cowes on the Isle of Wight. “Yes,” he says in his measured way, “the thing of it is, many doctors, young ones fresh out of school especially, are eager to treat. They have cures at their fingertips they can’t wait to try. But there’s value in holding back a bit to evaluate what develops. Perhaps we really don’t need to treat in some instances.” With a few exceptions, life has gone about as expected for Nigel Southward. He graduated from Rugby School in Warwickshire, where the sport by that name originated in 1823. He went on to Trinity Hall, at Cambridge University, where he read medicine. He says he decided to be a doctor when he was eight years old, influenced by his father, Sir Ralph Southward, also a doctor and Apothocary to HM The Queen before his son. The two served consecutive appointments totalling 40 years. At university, Southward rowed crew. Richard Devitt, who was reading law at Trinity Hall, recalls running into Nigel in the college boathouse. “He was a good athlete,” Devitt says. “By the end of the first year he was in the first boat. We rowed in a four during the summer. I stayed with him in his parent’s house on the Thames and really got to know him.” >


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THOSE WHO KNOW HIM BEST INCLUDE HER MAJESTY, QUEEN ELIZABETH II, WHO WAS HIS PATIENT FOR 28 YEARS.

TOP FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Sir Nigel Southward outside his home in Beaulieu, Hampshire Nigel receiving his KCVO with his family BOTTOM: Oyster 46, Skat in the Baltic

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NIGEL SOUTHWARD IS A REFRESHINGLY UNDERSTATED MAN, A WELL-MANNERED, UNPRETENTIOUS ENGLISHMAN FROM A GOOD FAMILY.

TOP: Skat in the Baltic TOP FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Nigel and Annette onboard Skat during their handover sail The younger family members onboard Skat

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The next year Southward began sailing with Devitt on Thalassa, a classic 48-footer built in 1906. “We both started cutting our teeth ocean racing,” Devitt says. “Thalassa was a lovely ketch, still is. The owner had five daughters, so he was always keen to have chaps on board. We all squired them around. We did the North Sea Race and other 200-milers, Cowes to St. Malo across the Channel, where a gale can always come up. Nigel was a dinghy sailor, but he quickly took to the larger boat.” Nigel’s father had bought his family a 14-footer, a “gaff clinker,” Nigel calls it, when he was teenager. “He didn’t know how to sail,” Nigel says of his father, “but my older brother knew a little about it, and we managed to figure it out. We kept the boat at East Mersea and sailed out on the ebb tide, back on the flood. Although it never quite worked out that way. We used the outboard plenty, and rowed when that didn’t work. I was quite frightened, actually. Every time we heeled I was anxious.” Handy with tools, Nigel built a cold moulded, 14-foot wooden canoe at school. His older brother suggested they move up to a 10-square-metre sailing canoe, which they bought as a kit. Nigel finished it as a school project. Summers they took the boat to an exclusive beach campsite, run near St. Tropez by an eccentric Englishman. “If he didn’t like you, he’d tell you to leave,” Nigel says. They returned every summer for five years. What summers they must have been, the young men cruising the waterfront promenade at St. Tropez, home of classic mega yachts moored stern-to, playground for international stars and jet-setters Brigitte Bardot would have been in her early 20s. Southward encountered his first significant bump in the road in his second year at Cambridge when he failed his intermediate exams. But the failure had a silver lining. He had to remain at Trinity Hall, studying over the summer. If he had passed the exam, he would have been off somewhere and never have met Annette Hoffmann, an attractive Danish girl who was polishing her English at one of Cambridge’s many language schools. Nigel met her on a blind date. “A good friend of mine who had a beautiful Danish girlfriend persuaded me to come to the cinema and help entertain her friend who had arrived the day before,” Nigel says. He married Annette four years later in Copenhagen. Nigel hurt his back rowing, and as he blithely puts it, “took up” modern pentathlon. Now wait just a moment: modern pentathlon includes pistol shooting, épée fencing, a 200m freestyle swim, show jumping, and a 3km cross country run. First Southward hurt his back, then he “took up” modern pentathlon, like one “takes up” golf, tennis, or possibly chess? Yes, that seems to be the case. Again, Nigel is offhand about it. “The most difficult part is the swimming,” Nigel says. “If you can swim, you can get by with the rest. If you can’t swim, you really fall down. The shooting is straightforward, easy. I could vaguely hang onto a horse. I had ridden as a child and the fencing you can pick up quickly.” Not only did he take up pentathlon at Cambridge, but he was awarded a “half blue” for being chosen to compete against Oxford. “He’s a good skier too,” Richard Devitt says, just in case one might think Southward was dogging it. Meanwhile Nigel was applying himself to his classes with such vigor that Annette can say, “all he ever did was study.” That wasn’t quite true. He found

time to finish another 10 square metre sailing canoe, and begin racing it at the Hayling Island Sailing Club, east of Portsmouth on England’s south coast. After graduation, Nigel and Annette moved to London where Southward set up an independent practice in the same building as his father. Almost immediately the younger Southward began standing in for his father at Buckingham Palace when he was away, or ill. “I was thrown in at the deep end,” he recalls, “and the job eventually fell into my lap. The first time I met the Queen my father took me along. The Queen is a wonderful person. Not at all intimidating.” Even while building his practice, Nigel and Annette would spend weekends, or at least Saturdays, sailing at Hayling Island. In the early 1970s, when their son and two daughters were aged four, two, and one, Nigel bought his first “big” boat, a Coronado 25. Somehow, it accommodated the five of them. “The first time we went out, all of us in the dinghy, trying to get on board with three sleepy little children, Annette said I was mad,” Nigel recalls with a laugh. “How we managed to survive I don’t know. We’d drive down Friday night from London, arriving around 10pm. We had to find life jackets, pump up the dinghy, go out in the pitch dark to find the boat on a swinging mooring. We had bags of food with us, and a five-gallon jug of water because the tanks were so small. And the dog! But the next day we’d sail up the Solent, always a nice sail, always a beat, and Sunday we’d have a nice run back. It was a wonderful break from work. We’d head back to London completely rejuvenated.” One of those late Friday nights Nigel re-injured his back clambering aboard the Coronado in the dark. The petit Annette somehow wrestled all 6’ 2”, 220 pounds of her husband into a bunk. She had to seek help the next day to get him ashore. A week later he had back surgery. A few months later he bought the first of two Contessa 32s, a popular race boat of its size in the UK. Both were named Skat, a Danish term of endearment (little treasure). It also means “animal droppings,” Nigel points out with a robust laugh. Southward had a contract with The Claridge’s Hotel at the time to be on call for its guests. One of his repeat patients there belonged to the esteemed Royal Yacht Squadron. The two often talked sailing. When the patient heard Nigel had purchased a Contessa 32, he said that now he had a proper boat he should join the Squadron. “I knew nothing about the Squadron,” Nigel says. “So I found out what membership was and I thought crikey, I have three small children. So I rang him up and said I ought to wait. He said fine, let me know when you want to join. A friend said to me, you know what you’ve done? You’ve turned down the Royal Yacht Squadron! So I thought better of it, rang up my patient and said I was ready.” In addition to cruising with his family, Southward actively raced the Contessa, often with his friend Richard Devitt among the crew. Then one evening over dinner, the exuberant Annette got on the men’s case about doing something significant with the boat. “She said, it’s about time you guys got serious,” Devitt recalls. “Enough of this weekend stuff. So we thought about that. A friend of ours had entered the 1982 two-handed race around England and Ireland. So we said let’s get training for that. We did the 1979 Fastnet Race, two-handed. That was some training.” >

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Nigel bought his second Contessa in 1981. He and Devitt sailed the boat to Copenhagen and back to qualify for the Round England and Ireland Race. With stops, the 2000-mile race took them a month. “The prevailing wind was southwest, only it didn’t prevail. It was tiring to start with, but we were both 41 years old, in good shape mentally, and physically we were very fit indeed. It was a great race, a lovely time. Did we do well? No, but we did come in second in the Contessa class – out of three boats! Southward bought his first Oyster in 1985. It was a Heritage 37 designed by Holman & Pye. “I enjoyed buying the boat because all the Oyster guys are sailors. They know boats. I loved that boat, had it 13-14 years. I sailed it across the Atlantic from the Canaries to St. Lucia.” Richard Devitt was on that trip, as was Roger Vickers who had sailed transatlantic in his Nicholson 35 in 1975. Both men report that while Nigel shunned cooking duties, he made a loaf of bread every other day. Tough job on a boat? “No,” Vickers laughs. “One loaf is the same as another.” Having sailed too many miles with Southward to let him off easy, Devitt concedes that Nigel “washed up now and then.” But of course he wouldn’t have sailed that far with Nigel if he wasn’t totally comfortable with his skipper. “He’s very organized, and very capable on the mechanical side,” Devitt says. “He knows how engines work. He built a car at some point. He loves being at sea, and he keeps a good, well-found boat.” Vickers says the only thing that fazed Nigel on the transatlantic trip was several days of light wind that left annoyed wives sitting on the beach by themselves on Christmas day. “Four days of it,” Nigel says, showing frustration anew when he thinks of it. “One noon-to-noon period we made 27 miles, and that included two hours under power!” In 1999, Southward jumped ship to another builder’s 42-footer when he was unable to close a deal on a pre-owned Oyster 435. He had purchased tickets and was about to leave to pick up the boat when the phone rang. “It was that dreadful call,” Nigel says quietly. Annette had been in a serious traffic accident. “We certainly thought she wouldn’t make it,” he says. “The lower sidebar of a lorry came through the windscreen and took off her right arm. An inch or two to the left and she would have been dead. An inch or two the other way and she would have got off with a few bruises.” The new boat was trucked in. Nigel says it was good therapy. “It arrived a few days after Annette came home. I put her in a wheelchair and took her to have a look at it. She said it’s far too big, send it back. I’d fiddle with it an hour or two each day while she recuperated. That kept me going. A month later we took it out. After that weekend Annette changed her mind about it being too big. “It wasn’t a bad boat. We had it seven years. But the aft cabin was too small, the bed was against the wall so you had to climb over each other. The galley accommodated one person, and was in the wrong place.” Annette is a capable, determined woman. The loss of her favoured arm aside, after she recuperated she continued hunting for two years. She has ridden since childhood. She put a knot in

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the reins and carried on. Then one day as she was riding out, she was almost thrown. “I decided riding was too much,” she says, with a shake of her head. “I never thought I’d have a silly car accident.” She also had to give up doing the exquisitely handsome needlework one sees throughout their home, and cooking became unmanageable. Nigel filled that gap, much to the amazement (and delight) of his sailing mates. How did he learn? “Annette stood over me and directed,” he says. “She has a chair in the kitchen and tells me what to do. It takes me forever and a day.” With more responsibilities at home, Southward decided to retire from practice at age 62. Retirement can be especially tough on doctors, who are used to being relied on by thousands of patients. “I’m lucky because I’ve always had outside interests,” Nigel says. “From the beginning we took weekends to go sailing. And we always hunted. Entering retirement wasn’t a problem for me.” There was his new hobby of cooking to pursue, of course, but more sailing is what Southward was most looking forward to. He and Annette started putting more miles under the current Skat’s keel. When the Royal Yacht Squadron asked him to be Vice Commodore in 2003, he happily accepted the job. When he heard that RYS member Bob Miller intended to attempt the transatlantic record with his 140-foot ketch, Mari Cha IV, Southward told his RYS Commodore, Lord Amherst, another Oyster owner, “write to Bob, tell him we want to come.” The two were among four amateurs on board for the record-breaking passage. “The whole boat flexes going to windward,” Southward says of Mari Cha IV, his eyes wide with the memories. “The boat reverberates down below. We were doing 25 in the fog off Plymouth. We passed a Frigate. The guys on the bridge had their eyes out on stalks as we went by. I didn’t get to steer, but I did grind the winches.” In 2006, Nigel rejoined the Oyster family. He saw the Oyster 46 at the boat show in Southampton, and tumbled. “I went below and it was so right,” he says. “The most decadent thing I did was get electric headsail furling. That transformed it for me. Ease sheet, press a button, and the foresail’s away. The galley is linear so Annette can have friends cooking with her. The aft cabin is perfect. And the boat is very quick. “Oyster’s after sales is the difference. They called me and asked if I had any problems with the gear box. I said no. But they wanted to replace it anyway. They’d had some problems. You wouldn’t get that sort of treatment from other builders.” Nigel Southward talks about his Baltic trip this past summer, how he and Annette want to work their way along the Mediterranean coast and end up in Croatia this coming September. And he wants to sail into Venice again. “I just don’t have time to miss practicing medicine,” Nigel says. “I thoroughly enjoyed it, wouldn’t have done anything else, but I do enjoy life at present.”


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TOP FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Nigel and Annette dining in ‘Oyster Style’ The launch of Skat in 2007 Another of Nigel and Annette’s pastimes, horseriding BOTTOM: Skat in the Baltic

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“Sotto Vento” - 1st Overall Oyster Antigua Regatta

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Just Launched

OYSTER 46 BORT BLAS Built for Arve and Wivi Anderson, Bort Blas is translated as ‘Blown Away’ – Arve and Wivi’s reaction on seeing the new Oyster 46. Fitted with some special Norwegian features including an insulated hull and stern anchor arrangement, Bort Blas departed just 24hrs after handover bound for Oslo, via the Kiel Canal. This lovely example of an Oyster 46 can be seen at both the Orust and Oslo boat shows. The Andersons are experienced owners having owned many previous boats and are thrilled with their new Oyster 46. OYSTER 46 PEGGY For owner Simon Clarke, buying his Oyster 46 was something of a family tradition, as Simon’s sister had previously owned an Oyster, also built by Landamores. Peggy will spend this summer cruising the south-west to the Scilly and Channel Isles with Simon, his wife Alex and their two children, Matthew 14 and Holly 5 on board. 2010 will see Peggy sail around Britain, whilst long term plans include an Atlantic crossing in the 2012 ARC. OYSTER 46 LEONELLAA After handover to her new owner, Robert Greenaway, Robert’s cousins Dudley and Annette flew in from New Zealand to help him sail Leonella to the Mediterranean where they will enjoy the summer cruising. OYSTER 46 NAUGHTYNES Owned by David Edwards, NaughtNes was handed over in May and will be based in Conwy on the beautiful North Wales coast. OYSTER 54 LOVE Bruno Derungs from Switzerland will initially keep his new Oyster 54 in Ipswich with some cruising planned to Holland and the Baltic before heading for the Mediterranean and Croatia. Love has some special custom features including a smaller section carbon mast with in-boom reefing and lightweight winches. With both her light and heavy-airs spinnakers, she should make a serious impression on the Oyster Regatta circuit. Love also has some very distinctive signwriting, which will ensure she is easily recognised; the ‘O’ is a picture of Bruno’s wife’s lips!

... just some of the newest Oysters on the water

OYSTER 54 BLUE BAYOU Owned by Volker and Roswitha Heuer from Germany, Blue Bayou will be based in Palma, Mallorca with plans to cruise the Mediterranean over the next few years. We look forward to seeing Volker and his wife at our Palma Regatta later in the year. OYSTER 54 RAIATEA Raiatea is owner James Ellis’s second Oyster, his first being his much loved Oyster 47, Rukuhia, launched in 2000. Raiatea is a small island and the cultural heart of French Polynesia and the only place in the world where the Tiare Apetahi flower grows and James has a picture of it incorporated into the boat’s name and also on the gennaker. James was accompanied on the handover by his long-standing sailing friend, Yachting World’s Technical Editor, Matt Sheahan. As a seasoned Oyster Owner, James enjoyed a sensational sail on the Orwell in fresh conditions, with Raiatea impressing with her considerable performance upgrade over the Oyster 47. Raiatea will be based in the Hamble before heading to warmer climes in the next couple of years. OYSTER 54 SURYA After spending the last 10 years sailing their 20-year old Trintella 57, Jac and Renata Janssen from Belgium are delighted with their new Oyster 54. Surya will be based in Lagos, Portugal this season and Jac and Renata plan to take her across the Atlantic in the 2010 ARC ready for a few seasons of Caribbean cruising. >

ABOVE FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: David Edwards, Oyster 46 NaughtNes The Clarke family, Oyster 46 Peggy Volker and Roswitha Heuer, Oyster 54 Blue Bayou James Ellis, Oyster 54 Raiatea RIGHT: Bruno Derungs, Oyster 54, Love


even an opportunity to try out the new cruising

Momotaro performed brilliantly, and there was chute in boisterous conditions - no damage done, and what a ride!

Jim Holden – Oyster 56 Momotaro

OYSTER 54 OYSTER REACH For Whitbread CEO, Alan Parker and his wife Pauline, the launch of their new Oyster 54 was an opportunity to throw a dockside party. Oyster Reach looked fantastic dressed over-all in the early evening sunshine and, whilst a large gathering of family and guests looked on, including several other Oyster owners who had travelled to Ipswich especially for the occasion, Pauline smashed a bottle of champagne over the bow. The party continued across the road in Whitbread’s Beefeater Inn, also called Oyster Reach. Oyster Reach will be based in Lymington initially, but when Alan retires, who knows... the world is their Oyster! OYSTER 56 TARA Turkish owner, Hasip Gencer, took delivery of his new Oyster 56, Tara, after a busy 24 hours stowing away dozens of boxes of spares, tools and safety gear, not to mention a large consignment delivered from Harrod’s homeware department! Tara will spend the summer cruising in the Mediterranean after a stop-off or two in Jersey and Malaga on route. OYSTER 56 DUCHESS Owned by Leo and Vicki Nagtegaal who live in Singapore, Duchess is a beautiful example of the Oyster 56 with an oak interior and an easy to handle, fully hydraulic sail plan. Leo and Vicki enjoyed the whole experience of building their Oyster and, with his marine engineering background, Leo especially enjoyed their visits to the yard during construction. Duchess will be based outside their holiday apartment near Vlissingen in the Netherlands before being shipped to Singapore, their permanent base, in August. Once Leo retires, they hope to travel more widely in Duchess going to, amongst other destinations, British Columbia, where Vicki is originally from. OYSTER 56 MOMOTARO It was a day of freezing rain in Force 6 outside Harwich for the first Oyster handover of 2009, in late March. Momotaro performed brilliantly, and there was even an opportunity to try

82 w w w. o y s t e r m a r i n e . c o m

out the new cruising chute in boisterous conditions – no damage done, and what a ride! It was a special pleasure to have half a dozen of the Windboats build team join for the sail and see the beautiful product of their labours in action. Momotaro is the first Oyster for owners Jim and Peri Holden, following on from their previous Malo and a Najad. She is destined for family cruising in European waters over the next couple of seasons, but after that Palma beckons, as does a bit of tradewind sailing and eventually high latitudes as well. But shortly after handover Jim and Peri and their children Daria (14), Elsa (12) and Jon (7) were setting new Oyster records of a very different (inland) sort, probing the upper reaches of such famous (but shoal) beauty spots as the Walton Backwaters and Newtown River with their 2.5m draft. For all of August 2009, Momotaro will be on a jaunt round the Holdens' favourite cruising destinations in Cornwall, Scilly, Brittany and the Channel Islands. OYSTER 56 SKYLARK Handed over to a family from New Zealand, Skylark will be spending a few summers cruising the Mediterranean with her owners, who will return to their native New Zealand during our winters, before eventually crossing the Atlantic with the ARC and slowly taking their new Oyster through the Pacific and home to New Zealand. OYSTER 62 STUFF N STUFF With a beautiful interior in White Oak, Stuff n Stuff was on view at the Oyster Private View in London earlier this year before being handed over to Jeff Graham, his partner Patti and son Ian. Stuff n Stuff is named after Ian’s business of the same name and also explains why the boat is registered in Aberdeen, where Ian is based. She is Jeff’s seventh boat having had a series of Beneteau yachts and more recently a Ferretti motorboat. Having returned to the world of sail, Jeff is planning to keep her in Palma and we look forward to seeing her take part in Oyster’s Palma Regatta later in the year before she sets off for the ARC in November.


JUST LAUNCHED

OYSTER 655 GUNDAMAIN Five years of planning finally came to fruition for Terry and Lori Berkemeier when they took delivery of their new Oyster 655, Gundamain after she was shown at the Oyster Private View in London. With the help of Richard Haworth and Luke Milner from High Latitudes, Gundamain incorporates many of the features found on the Oyster 72, Billy Budd, no accident since Terry and Lori are planning some high latitude cruising of their own. With crew, Mike and Adele Watts, Gundamain enjoyed a trip to the West Coast of Scotland before heading for Norway and on to Svalbard for the summer, where Richard Haworth will act as their guide around the Artic Circle. Terry tells us the name Gundamain comes from the name of his parents’ houseboat which Terry was raised on in Holland before moving to Australia. OYSTER 655 DAENA Daena was recently handed over to Cesar and Beata Zielinski and is their first boat. Cesar and Beata’s previous sailing experience amounted to two weeks chartering the Oyster 56 Spellbound and a second charter aboard the Oyster 655 Flying Duckman. Wisely they have employed the services of Yacht Master Instructor, David Gray, to teach them how to sail and help them take Daena to the Mediterranean where they intend to keep her for the next two to three years before setting off across the Atlantic. OYSTER LD43 MINNIE The Oyster LD43 motoryacht, Minnie, was handed over to new owners Paul and Helen Pheysey. Although Paul and Helen are from the UK and plan on keeping the boat here, their handover took place in Annapolis, USA. Paul quickly mastered the on-board ‘Mouse boat’ control system and soon had Helen driving as well. After enjoying cruising the Chesapeake Bay for a few days, Minnie was cruised to New York and then onto Newport to be shipped back to England for the summer.

OYSTER OM43 YLVA New Oyster OM43 motoryacht owner Jen Cornelsen and his wife Dorit are no strangers to Oyster, as Jens is currently project managing the first in class of the new Oyster superyachts, the 100 and 125 (see Page 40 in this issue). Jens and Dorit are taking YLVA across the North Sea to Germany where she will be berthed close to their home near Hamburg. YLVA will be on show at the Hamburg boat show in October, the first of the new Oyster motoryachts to be shown in Germany. OYSTER OM43 CORA For well-known Essex sailor, Janus van Helfteren and his wife Janie, their beautiful new OM43 is a bit of a departure from their one design sailing boat and previous Chris Craft Corsair 33. Janus said "I was in the market for a bigger motorboat, but hadn’t really considered an Oyster, not having seen the twin cabin version, but we pretty much fell in love with it there and then. I really didn't want a 'gin palace', I loved the look of my Chris Craft 33 and its sea keeping qualities and it was hard to find something which suited us – a comfortable motor boat with style, which would suit our needs on the east coast of England. We are very happy with 'Cora of Colchester'. Working in the commercial world I appreciate the importance of aftersales ... Oyster are amazing, they have relieved me of more money than I wanted to spend, but left me very happy, the service and product are second to none". ABOVE FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Alan Parker, Oyster 54 Oyster Reach Hasip Gencer, Oyster 56 Tara Jim Holden, Oyster 56 Momotaro Terry and Lori Berkemeier, Oyster 655, Gundamain Jeff, Patti and Ian Graham, Oyster 62, Stuff n Stuff Leo and Vicki Nagtegaal, Oyster 56 Duchess Jens and Dorit Cornelsen, Oyster OM43 YLVA RIGHT: Janus and Janie van Helfteren, Oyster OM43 Cora


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BUILDERS

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

www.oystermarine.com

Oyster Summer 2009 // Issue68  
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