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N E W S F ROM T H E WO R L D O F OYST E R

I N T H I S IS S U E – OYSTER REGATTA BVI, IN TRO D U C IN G THE N E W 885, ARC REPORT AND OYSTE R WO R LD R A LLY.

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CONTENTS

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WELCOM E

2010

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What an exciting and demanding year so far; 18 international boat shows during the winter/spring season, an Oyster owners’ dinner on the Thames in the snow, the first 575 on the water, the 625 in production, Superyacht contracts and thus far, a higher value of orders in the first half of 2010 than we secured in our best year of 2007!

And later this summer we’ll start moulding Oyster 100-03 in parallel with the fit-out of 100-01 and 02 and Richard Matthews’ Oyster 125-01; four Superyachts in build – fantastic progress and thanks to everyone involved for their continuous hard work.

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WELCOME

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SUPERYACHT UPDATE

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David Tydeman

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40 OYSTER LIFE

MISS TIPPY Brian and Sheila Norton

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News from the world of Oyster

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ROYAL SOUTHERN OYSTER WEEK

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Eddie Mays

Barry Pickthall

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OYSTER DESIGN REVIEW

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OWNER PROFILE – DAVID RICHARDS Jesse Crosse

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CLUB LIFE YACHTING REGATTA

ARC REPORT

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SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE

Barry Pickthall

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RED SEA PARADISE Liz Cleere and Jamie Furlong

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TYING THE KNOT AT MINERVA REEF Mike and Devala Robinson

THE OYSTER REGATTA BVI 2010

WORLD RALLY 2013

NEWPORT OYSTER RENDEZVOUS 2010 George Day

Oyster 100-01 will be on sailing trials soon and I really look forward to sailing her, reporting back in the next Oyster News and inviting some of you to come and test sail while she will be based in Turkey during the winter, in final commissioning for her new owner.

Stephen Parkinson

MOANA IN THE MALDIVES Yolanda Danioth

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GSTAAD SKI YACHTING

2010 LORO PIANA SUPERYACHT REGATTA

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OYSTER AT THE AUTUMN SHOWS

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SOUTH GEORGIA

On top of this we announce the new Oyster 885; an Oyster World Rally to celebrate our 40th anniversary in 2013 and I’m sure many of you will have spotted the face-lift we’ve given to Oyster News. In this edition you’ll find some great articles explaining more about each of these new developments and the usual great stories from owners finding time to make wonderful adventures happen in their Oysters. In forthcoming magazine ads and our new Fleet Review Brochure, that will be available at the autumn shows, you’ll see we’ve worked hard to refresh the Oyster brand image focusing on our key message that we’re here to help you, our owners, enable your dreams. One caption the team came up with that brought a smile to my face was ‘Seeking Adventure Capitalists’!

Southampton Yacht Services, an increasingly important part of the Oyster Group, continues to grow its refit business supporting many Oyster owners on the south coast and from much further afield with convenient and high quality after sales care, whilst maintaining their reputation as a world leader for the restoration of classic yachts. I’m delighted to report that Robert Kathro has joined the team as MD of SYS and he and Oyster Operations Director, Kjell Vesto, are taking on the challenge of building the Oyster Group technical and design team into one unit based in two locations – Ipswich and Southampton. The Oyster World Rally will be challenging, but fun to organize and we have been greatly encouraged by around 40 owners expressing serious interest to date. We’re gathering the help of the World Cruising Club and those of our owners who have already circumnavigated. We expect to cap the entries at 30 yachts – on a first come, first served basis! So decide now, find the time to realise a lifelong dream… and, for those of you reading this who are not yet Oyster owners, it’s not too late to join us. Finally I’m pleased to say that as a result of much hard work by many here at Oyster (and my thanks to everyone of you), we remain a beacon of light in the complex ‘austerity-driven’ agenda of the new coalition.

Mariacristina Rapisardi

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ON THEIR WAY…

FRONT COVER PICTURE

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS

FROM THE EDITOR

Bitter End Yacht Club, BVI Regatta 2010. Photo: Wojtek Urbanek/PPL Media

Barry Pickthall Eddie Mays George Day Jesse Crosse

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.

PRODUCTION EDITOR

email: liz.whitman@oystermarine.com or rebecca.twiss@oystermarine.com

EDITIOR Liz Whitman

Rebecca Twiss

The Oyster 885 fills a gap between the 82 (actually an 80ft hull) and the 100. She is designed to give the maximum length and specification possible without exceeding the MCA ‘24 metre rule’ and hence will provide an efficient balance between charter and private use. At just over 300 m3 interior volume compared with the Oyster 100 at ~400 m3 and 82 at ~235 m3 she’ll be a powerful and exciting yacht with many new features. (note: the 125 Flybridge is ~700 m3!) The Oyster 575 is a very sweet yacht to sail, balanced, easy to handle and the design is turning heads in the Mediterranean where the first two are now based. The first 625-01 is being built at Southampton Yacht Services and we look forward to her premiere at our London Private View next spring.

Sincere regards to you all,

David Tydeman CEO, Oyster Group

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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Oyster life

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OYSTER WORLD RALLY LAUNCHED

HEADLINES FROM T H E W O R L D O F OY S T E R

TRANSATLANTIC RACE 2011 – AN INVITATION TO OWNERS The Royal Yacht Squadron and the New York Yacht Club, in association with the Royal Ocean Racing Club and Storm Trisail Club, invite Oyster owners to take part in the Atlantic Racing Series, Transatlantic Race 2011. The race will start from Oyster’s USA base in Newport Rhode Island and finish at the Lizard, west of Plymouth, England.

OYSTER 655 WINS CRUISING WORLD BOAT OF THE YEAR AWARD

Participation is open to all yachts of minimum 40’ LOA and if there is enough interest there could be a special class for Oysters within the Racing/Cruising Division. For more information or to enter please go to www.transatlanticrace.org

NEW MD FOR SOUTHAMPTON YACHT SERVICES

OYSTER 575 – BEST SAILING YACHT – ASIA BOATING AWARDS

The Oyster Group was delighted to announce the appointment of Robert Kathro as Managing Director of Southampton Yacht Services (SYS) earlier this year. Robert, who qualified as a Naval Architect, has a strong and varied background in manufacturing and the marine industry, combining technical and strategic consultancy experience.

OYSTERS HEAD FOR GRENADA

Cruising World magazine in the US announced the Oyster 655 as the winner of the 2010 Boat of The Year Award for the Best Premium Cruiser over 50ft.

Oyster’s 2011 Caribbean regatta will be held in Grenada, the first regatta of its kind to be organized on the island. Planning for the event, which will run from 11-16 April 2011, is already well under away, with Oyster’s Liz Whitman working with the team at Port Louis Marina and the local Marine and Yachting Association of Grenada (MAYAG) to make this a really great event that will showcase the best that the famous ‘spice island’ of the Caribbean has to offer Oyster owners, many of whom will be visiting for the first time.

Bill Springer of Cruising World commented: “It wasn’t easy picking a winner from a category filled with superlative designs, but when the test-sail dust settled and the merits of each had been thoroughly deliberated, the Oyster 655 edged out the other contenders to be named the Best Premium Cruiser”.

The Hon. Glynis Roberts, MP has enthusiastically endorsed the regatta and commented, “As Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, I warmly welcome this Oyster Regatta and say thank you for choosing Grenada as the venue for the 2011 gathering. I welcome this event on behalf of Prime Minister Hon. Tillman Thomas and other colleague members of our Government, as well as on behalf of all the warm and wonderful people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinque”. Oyster’s Service Representative, Graeme Maccallum of Caribbean Yacht Management, who is based in the British Virgin Islands, is already planning an Oyster ‘cruise in company’ for those owners wishing to bring their yachts south from the Leeward Islands and through the Grenadines ready for the regatta. For more information please contact Liz Whitman: liz.whitman@oystermarine.com

NAZENIN V Oyster Superyacht builders, RMK Marine, who also built the 52m Sparkman & Stephens Nazenin V, had the honour of seeing the yacht shortlisted for the prestigious Boat International Superyacht of the

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Oyster is proud to announce plans for an exclusive Oyster World Rally. Timed to coincide with Oyster’s 40th Anniversary, the Oyster fleet will set out from the Caribbean early in 2013 and return some 15 months later. To enter you just need to own an Oyster! See pages 22 and 23 for more details.

Year Awards. At the presentation in London’s historic Guildhall, Nazenin V was awarded the Judge’s Special Commendation. A fantastic endorsement of the quality of build expected for the new Oyster Superyachts.

Robert’s appointment strengthens the SYS team, whilst allowing founder, Piers Wilson, who will remain on the board, to phase into his retirement over the next few years without the loss of his valuable and in-depth knowledge of boatbuilding and the refit industry.

Barry Ashmore and Bart Kimman collect the Asia Boating Award The Asia Boating Awards are widely known as the region’s premier event for recognising the efforts of boat builders, marinas, clubs and individuals in creating a diverse and exciting boating community in the region. For the first time in the Asia Boating Awards’ six-year history, the lavish ceremony was held in Hong Kong and coincided with the Hong Kong Gold Coast Boat Show. Oyster Sales Manager, Barry Ashmore, along with Oyster’s Hong Kong based representative, Bart Kimman, were on hand to collect the award, which recognised the new Oyster 575’s exceptional innovation in a ‘production’ yacht over 51 feet. Commenting on the award, Bart Kimman said, “I am personally very pleased with this prestigious award. The jury has recognised how Oyster’s design team has achieved significant design improvements to the extremely successful Oyster 54 and 56, and how every new Oyster moves the benchmark of performance and on-board comfort forward. At both the Singapore and Hong Kong boat shows we have had overwhelming interest in both existing and new Oyster models”.

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Robert’s appointment also allows SYS Technical Director, Harvey Jones, to continue to expand on the essential role he has developed over the past year with Oyster’s superyacht project at RMK Marine in Turkey, where his depth of superyacht knowledge and technical input has already benefited the shape of the project there. A new team of Oyster and SYS skills will provide the Customer and After Sales support for the Oyster superyachts in the future. SYS plays an increasingly important role in the Oyster Group, currently building the first in class of the new Oyster 625, as well as a number of other new Oysters from 60-85 feet, whilst at the same time expanding on its refit and restoration business, for which the company has an enviable track record.

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OYSTER OWNERS OF PUGET SOUND – ‘OOPS’ OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED!

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OWNERS PARTY AT THE SINGAPORE BOAT SHOW Hosted by Oyster’s Asia representative, Bart Kimman, and Richard Gibson from Oyster’s UK office, owners and VIP guests enjoyed a party to celebrate Oyster’s attendance at this year’s Boat Asia show. Held at Oneº 15 Marina Club, guests had an opportunity to a private view of Leo and Vicki Nagtegaals’s new Oyster 56 Duchess, which had just been delivered to Singapore for her new owners.

OYSTER AFFILIATED TO HMS DAUNTLESS

During the Oyster team’s visit to the Seattle Boat Show, where a new Oyster 54 was on display for the first time, Robin Campbell, Bob Marston and Will White were hosted to a dinner at the Seattle Yacht Club by a contingent of diehard, loyal Oyster owners who convened to share stories, talk about their yachts and, of course, learn more about what’s new at Oyster in the UK. A toast was raised by owner Jim McCurdy, who proudly announced the official formation and recognition of the Oyster Owners of Puget Sound (OOPS). It is believed that such a merry band has never had more reason to celebrate, as Oysters are not widely seen plying the waters of the Northwest, but that’s set to change. “We thought it was about time Oyster had some official recognition out here in the Wild West. What better way to celebrate than forming our own little association to ensure the Oyster flag is being properly represented.”

On 3 June 2010, Oyster’s Marketing Director, Liz Whitman, was privileged to be invited to the commissioning ceremony for HMS Dauntless, the Royal Navy’s newest Daring Class Type 45 destroyer, one of the world’s most advanced warships. Oyster is very proud to be affiliated to HMS Dauntless which, like Oyster yachts, represents the finest example of British craftsmanship and marine engineering.

HISWA, In-water Boat Show 31 August – 5 September Festival International de la Plaisance 8 – 13 September Commanding Officer, Richard Powell, joined owners aboard their Oysters for some Solent racing and then hosted those owners to a private tour of the ship. We look forward to strengthening ties between Oyster, our owners and the ship over the coming months.

Southampton Boat Show 10 – 19 September Newport Brokerage Show 16 – 19 September Monaco Yacht Show 22 – 25 September

OYSTER APPOINTS UKRAINE REPRESENTATIVE

Oyster Regatta - Sardinia 21 – 25 September

Oyster has appointed Alex Krykanyuk as our exclusive Representative in Ukraine for our range of deck saloon yachts, from the Oyster 46 to the Oyster 885. Alex will act as an extension of Oyster’s own European team, who will continue to be closely involved in all aspects of our customer’s yacht purchase and ownership.

Genoa International Boat Show 2 – 10 October

Alex has an established track record in the marine business with offices in Ukraine and Moscow, representing a number of marine equipment manufacturers, including Oyster suppliers, Lewmar and Sunbrella. A keen sailor, Alex is already working as a consultant for a number of Ukranian customers. Alex can be contacted at: alex.krykanyuk@oystermarine.ru

OYSTER REGATTA – SARDINIA 2010

21-25 September previous Oyster events, with the emphasis on a fun and friendly event for all the family, with low key racing by day and parties and dinners by night. As always, owners who prefer not to race are just as welcome to attend with their yachts and join in the social events.

Planning is well advanced for Oyster’s ‘Jubilee’ regatta, which will be hosted by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Porto Cervo, on the coast of Sardinia. Established in 1967 by His Highness the Aga Khan, and twinned with the Yacht Club de Monaco and the New York Yacht Club, the YCCS also has a reciprocal agreement with the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, which has hosted several Oyster regattas in recent years. Around 30 Oysters are expected to take part in this event, which will follow a similar format to

YCCS Commodore, Riccardo Bonadeo has extended a very warm welcome to all Oyster owners and their guests who will be granted membership of the beautiful YCCS Clubhouse for the duration of the event. The event will include a race to Porto Rotondo, where the yachts will overnight and where a gala dinner is being organized by the Yacht Club Porto Rotondo to welcome the Oyster fleet. A full report on the regatta will appear in the next issue of Oyster News.

Jim McCurdy: jim.mccurdy@comcast.net Neil Mccurdy: neil@mccurdy5.com

ROLEX CAPRI SAILING WEEK 2011 The Capri Yacht Club has extended an invitation to Oyster owners to join them at their annual sailing week, which next year runs from 25 to 28 May 2011. Located in the turquoise waters of the Bay of Naples, owners can look forward to some exhilarating racing and great parties. To register interest in taking part in an Oyster class, or for more information please contact: liz.whitman@oystermarine.com

Annapolis Sailboat Show 7 – 11 October Annapolis Owners’ Party 8 October Hanseboot Hamburg Boat Show 30 October – 7 November Hamburg Owners’ Dinner 30 October ARC Owners’ Party 18 November ARC Start 21 November, Las Palmas

2011 London Boat Show 7 – 17 January London Owners’ Dinner Royal Thames Yacht Club 8 January

WORLD ARC OYSTERS

‘OOPS’ welcomes inquiries and plans to host future Oyster events. If fellow Oyster owners find themselves in Seattle or have cruising plans in the Northwest/British Columbia, be sure to make contact with Jim or Neil McCurdy. You’ll be warmly welcomed.

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OYSTER EVENTS 2010

At the recent Royal Southern Oyster Week, several of the Dauntless ship’s company, including

Proud Oyster owners hail from many a remote port and international calling.

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Two Oysters are amongst the fleet of 30 yachts taking part in the 2010 World ARC. Stephen Hyde’s Oyster 56 A Lady and Goswyn and Liz Dunkel’s Oyster 55, Wigwam of Kent, were amongst the early arrivals as the fleet reached the halfway stage in Mackay, Australia after their 1200-mile passage from Vanuatu. Their arrival in Australia marks a significant achievement for the fleet, as they officially complete their crossing of the world’s largest body of water, the Pacific Ocean, after heading away from the shores of Ecuador, South America, some five months ago. From Mackay, the boats start a month’s free-cruising period up through the Great Barrier Reef towards Thursday Island, where they will rendezvous again before setting out on the nextleg to Darwin.

Boot Düsseldorf 22 – 30 January

IN MEMORY – ERIC NORMAN RICE It was with much sadness we learnt that Eric Rice passed away on the 11th March 2010 at the age of 85. Eric joined Oyster yacht builders E C Landamores as a 14-year-old trainee, straight out of school in 1939. His managerial potential was spotted early on when he was promoted to foreman in charge of the machine shop aged just 17, which in those days produced a range of household goods such as ironing boards and ladders. During the 1940’s he moved in to the boat building side of the business, which was then building 65’ RAF fast launches.

In 1956 he became Yard Foreman and oversaw production of the Broads hire fleet before progressing to Manager and then Director, working alongside Leslie Landamore. When the relationship with Oyster was forged in the 1970’s it was Eric who steered Landamores on a true course to success. In 1978, Anthony Landamore joined the company and Eric continued to offer the same guiding hand to the third generation of Landamores. Although Eric officially retired on his 65th birthday, he never actually got round to retiring. Landamores would not be where they are today without him and we are all the poorer for his passing.

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Oyster Regatta - Grenada 11 – 16 April Oyster Private View, London April 2011 - dates tbc Oyster Regatta - Palma 27 September – 1 October

2012 Oyster Olympic Regatta - Cowes 12 – 14 July

2013 Oyster World Rally January 2013 – April 2014

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Great conditions, good company and beautiful surroundings made this year’s Oyster BVI regatta one to remember. This was certainly so for Chris and Susan Shea, owners of the Oyster 72 Magrathea, and David and Tamsin Kidwell with their venerable Oyster 435 Twice Eleven, the Class I

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and 2 winners, but for everyone else, the azure blue waters surrounding Tortola and the sparkling northeast trades made this a really memorable event.

R E G AT TA By Barry Pickthall

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Over the last ten years, the Oyster class flag has been flown successfully in Antigua, Auckland, Cadiz, Cowes, Palma, and Valencia, and will do so for the first time in the sparkling waters of the Costa Smeralda, Sardinia later this summer, but the sailing conditions matched with delightful anchorages and first class venues and dinners made this BVI regatta stand out.

This was particularly pleasing for Oyster Race Officer Alan Brook who was signing off after organizing these popular Oyster rendezvous in some of the best sailing waters of the world for much of the last decade.

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“I’m so pleased the weather provided such good conditions because I wanted this regatta to be as memorable for our owners and their crews, as it was for me.” Alan Brook, Oyster Marine

“I’m so pleased the weather provided such good conditions because I wanted this regatta to be as memorable for our owners and their crews, as it was for me.” Alan told the fleet at the finish. His particular brand of humour and engaging style that has encouraged so many cruising sailors to try their hand at racing, will be a hard act to follow but with the Brook’s own Oyster 56 now nearing completion, he and his family will be welcome competitors when this regatta moves to Grenada next year.

Main picture: Oyster 72, Katharsis raising the regatta flag Right: Richard & Angela Parkinson’s Oyster 46, Sophistikate

Oyster yachts are renowned ocean leviathans, designed to make long passages in comfort and style. Over 30 have already circumnavigated the globe, and all in this regatta had crossed the Atlantic. For several crews, this sailing week around Tortola was but a precursor to further adventures. Mariusz Koper’s Polish Oyster 72 Katharsis II was one of 12 Oysters to have competed in last winter’s ARC event and is now heading south to explore the white wilderness and wonders of the Antarctic – a special trip to mark his 50th birthday.

The Oyster 655 Gundamain spent last year exploring the nordic regions, sailing as far as Spitsbergen.

Oyster 82 Rivendell, looking forward in particular to a stopover in Galapagos, before continuing their cruise to New Zealand.

Now, having crossed the Atlantic, this already seasoned crew are heading for the Panama Canal before cruising through the Pacific en route to their home port of Sydney. The Oyster BVI Regatta was the first experience anyone on board had of racing, and they were tentative. They needn’t have been. With some gentle encouragement over the radio from Alan Brook, we started with the skipper’s pre-race instructions ringing in our ears. “The closest I want to see us to any other yacht is 500 yards”. We certainly started that way but as Gundamain began to hit her stride, so the adrenalin began to rise, and after passing five yachts, including two Oyster 82s on the last leg of the first race, they were bitten by the competitive bug.

These Oyster events bring together sailors of every persuasion. Within the fleet, sprinkled with Olympic aspirants past and present, were hardened cruising folk, others who are setting out to explore the oceans for the first time, and some who had simply jumped at the chance to spend a week soaking up the Caribbean sun. A few had serious intentions on winning, so it is of particular credit to Alan Brook and his race team, as well as Liz Whitman’s masterful arrangements ashore, that everyone went away having enjoyed the regatta so much. It is also a credit to the Oyster yachts themselves that while the latest models invariably shone at the front, the two oldest yachts, Samantha Simmonds’ 16-year-old Oyster 55 Ostrika and David and Tamsin Kidwell’s Oyster 435 Twice Eleven ended up sharing the honours with two of the newest Oyster 72s Katharsis II and Magrathea.

Robin and Carla Stoop have a similar itinerary to Gundamain. They too set out after the regatta bound for Panama aboard their

Far right: Close racing for the Class 1 fleet

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Far Left: The Oyster 82, Oceana leading the fleet in Class 1 Left: Dick Morgan’s Oyster 655, Blue Destiny Below: Pirates at Cane Garden Bay

One of the most appealing aspects of sailing in the BVI’s is that nowhere is more than a few hours sail away. This narrow archipelago discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493 marking the northeastern part of the ‘Windy’ chain, is only 35 miles from end to end. The islands encompass such high status hideaways as the Peter Island Resort and Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island. The closest we got to Branson’s particular piece of paradise was Alan Brook’s start line for Race 3, set within a stone’s throw of Necker’s inviting white sand beach. Any closer was out of bounds, for rumour had it that Oprah Winfrey was hiding there, away from the media spotlight that Kitty Kelly’s biography, published that week, had focused on America’s TV Queen. If Oprah was there, we hope she appreciated the excitement of an Oyster spinnaker start right in front of her balcony as the fleet raced away from the Bitter End Yacht Club on nearby Virgin Gorda to sample the sumptuous delights and banquet on Peter Island!

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The event began with a gathering at Nanny Cay, a natural hurricane hole on Tortola’s southern shore where crews brought out the spit and polish to shine in the Concours d’Elegance competition before enjoying a beachside cocktail party and dinner at the famous Peg Legs restaurant. Though they were not to know until the end of the regatta, Scott and Sue Gibson’s Oyster 72 Stravaig and Bill Dockser’s Oyster 82 Ravenous II were judged best presented yachts in Class 1, and Harvey and Sue Death’s Oyster 56 Sarabi along with Sophistikate, Richard and Angela Parkinson’s Oyster 46, took the honours in Class 2. At the prize giving, Sue and Harvey allowed their children to go up to collect their prize, in the vain hope they said, that the experience would encourage them to contribute more towards the cleaning next time!

RACE ONE – To Cane Garden Bay

SPONSORED BY LEWMAR

Mariusz Koper’s Oyster 72 Katharsis II and John McTigue’s Oyster 56 Blue Dreams were first to shine among the 23 crews, producing master class performances to lead their classes from start to finish in a 24-mile opening Lewmar sponsored race from Nanny Cay to Cane Garden Bay. Making the most of a port-biased starting line and sparkling trade wind conditions, they quickly pushed their way to the front of their respective classes and continued to dominate the chase around the islands.

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The Katharsis crew had been out enjoying these Caribbean conditions ever since competing in last winter’s Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), and the slick teamwork they have developed, certainly showed. After electing to carry a spinnaker, this ambitious Polish team made the most of their downwind sail round the back of Peter and Norman islands and back across the Sir Francis Drake Channel to not only lead the 23 strong fleet through the narrow Thatch channel and up to the Cane Garden finish, but save their time against Stuart Smith and Barry Cooper’s Oyster 82 Oceana which had elected to go white sail only. Chris and Susan Shea’s Oyster 72 Magrathea took third place in class one just ahead of Richard Smith’s Oyster 655 Sotto Vento.

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RACE TWO – To Bitter End Yacht Club Virgin Gorda

SPONSORED BY PELAGOS YACHTS

It was just as well that the series got off to such a brilliant start, for Race 2 for the Pelagos Yachts’ Cup did not follow form. The only crew to really cash in as fortunes waxed and waned with the wind was Samantha Simmonds and her team aboard the Oyster 55 Ostrika, the oldest yacht in the fleet. The crew aboard Gundamain also had something to celebrate, after finishing on a high note in what was their first race. After overhauling five yachts during the chase through the channel dividing the Thatch Islands and neighboring Tortola and the final fetch northeast to the finish, a very relieved skipper turned to his crew and said. “I’m pleased... we didn’t disgrace ourselves.” They certainly hadn’t. No one could touch John McTigue’s crew on Blue Dreams in what were predominantly downwind conditions, though all credit went to David and Tamsin Kidwell and their

Oyster 435 Twice Eleven, the smallest yacht in the race for finishing second on corrected time, just ahead of Ian Galbraith’s Oyster 53 Jigsaw.

Samantha, a London based financial lawyer, had already quit her city career some months before to sail the seven seas and had only bought Ostrika six weeks prior to the regatta, but ended the day believing the wind gods were well and truly on her side.

A pirates beach party on Cane Garden Bay got everyone in the mood after parrots, patches and peg legs had all been smuggled ashore. Mariusz Koper looked particularly menacing with a knife that Captain Hook would have been proud of, which left some with a mental note to keep well clear of the Katharsis skipper in any future skirmishes on the start line.

Midge Verplank and his crew on the local Oyster 82 Sundowner of Tortola, by contrast, could only wonder what heinous crime one of their number must have done for them to be dealt such bad luck. Not only were they left gasping for air at the start, as the opposing northerly and southerly airstreams tried to outsmart each other, but these doldrums-like conditions doggedly followed them on whatever tack they chose. Other crews took the judgment that a swim and leisurely lunch anchored off Spring Bay was the more profitable option, but the Sundowner crew battled on like gamblers down on their luck, hoping for a change in fortunes. This dogged perseverance finally got them to within a shout of the finish, but just as the beers were about to break out, the wind gods turned off the fan once more, to leave Sundowner to drift so cruelly past the wrong side of the mark.

Above top: Some serious racing on board the Oyster 72, Katharsis Above: Partying at Peter Island Far right top: Oceana crossing tacks with Magarathea Right top: Samantha Simmond’s Oyster 55 Ostrika Right bottom: The famous baths at Virgin Gorda

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Left: Dinghy racing at Bitter End Yacht Club Above: On board the Oyster 42 Katharsis Right: The Oyster 82 Oceana, owned by Stuart Smith and Barry Cooper Jnr

By contrast, the Ostrika crew, had a stress-free day. Starting in clear air, they soon overhauled David and Tamsin Kidwell’s Twice Eleven and continued to carry the breeze with them until Race Officer Alan Brook decided to put the rest of the fleet out of their misery by shortening course. By then, Ostrika was but a dot on the horizon to most of her rivals, some of who were seemingly, still struggling to cross the start. The Kidwell’s Twice Eleven took second place, ahead of Ian Galbraith’s Oyster 53 Jigsaw and Vincent Bloem’s Oyster 56 Windflower. Class 1 was finally led home by Chris and Susan Shea’s Oyster 72 Magrathea followed by two 82 footers, Bill Dockser’s Ravenous II and Oceana owned by Stuart Smith and Barry Cooper. Katharsis II, was one of four yachts judged to be over the line at the start, but recovered to take fourth place. Some crews took the opportunity to visit the famous Baths in Spring Bay at the southern tip of Virgin Gorda before continuing up to North Sound for two days of fun at the famous Bitter End Yacht Club. Those that did make the diversion were as amazed as I was by the piles of giant boulders thrown up during the island’s volcanic origins. These granite boulders, some of which are 40ft long, form natural tidal pools, tunnels, arches and grottoes, and being open to the sea, you can lie out in the warm azure pools lit by the sun’s rays pouring through the rocks and simply wonder at it all.

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The five-star Bitter End Yacht Club is like no other. Quite apart from its idyllic setting on a sandy spit overlooking Prickly Pear Island, the marina was big enough to take all 23 Oysters and allow crews to chill out, enjoying all the facilities for a day. One activity designed to work off the splendid surf ‘n turf dinner the previous night was an informal dinghy championship, which proved anything but, with Olympic aspirants and youth champions swelling the ranks of gladiators representing each of the Oyster crews. Everyone came back a winner, with Race Officer Alan Brook claiming the most spectacular capsize and David Tydeman for sailing furthest without a rudder before also taking a tumble. Andy Lovell carried the day in the Laser class for the Oceana crew by counting three firsts and a second over Zig Zag’s Phil Henderson. Alan Harris representing Katharsis II, finished third. In the Hobie Cat class, Tom Davis from Stravaig stamped his authority on the fleet with four first places, leaving Vincent Bloem from Windflower and Paulina Kierebinscy from SunsuSea to fight over second and third places.

RACE THREE – Necker Island to Peter Island

SPONSORED BY DOLPHIN SAILS

Slick spinnaker work carried Chris and Susan Shea’s Oyster 72 Magrathea to the fore in this third race for the Dolphin Sails trophy. Making the most of classic 20 knot trade wind conditions, they were first to hoist a cruising chute, and after surviving a tricky luff from Richard Smith’s Oyster 655 Sotto Vento, soon powered into the lead on what became a challenging 22-mile chase through the islands from Necker down to Peter Island.

Stuart Smith and Barry Cooper’s Oyster 82 Oceana was closest to challenge until over-standing through the narrow channel dividing the Dog Islands to concede second place to Mariusz Koper’s Katharsis II. But this Polish crew also stuttered in the gybing sequences through the Dog Islands and lost their chance to break through Magrathea’s cover too. By the time they had their spinnaker pulling hard again, Magrathea was half way across the Sir Francis Drake Channel to Ginger Island. Koper and his crew clawed back half the distance on the reach behind Cooper and Salt islands, but the Sheas made no mistake in dropping their cruising chute and held their reduced lead on the final two-sail reach to the finish off the beautiful resort on Peter Island. Oceana saved her time

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on Richard Morgan’s Oyster 655 Blue Destiny to take third place on handicap. Class 2 honours again went to David and Tamsin Kidwell’s Oyster 435 Twice Eleven, which pipped John McTigue’s Oyster 56 Blue Dreams by just four seconds on corrected time. Stephen and Jean Roth’s Oyster 53 Golden Pearl finished third. Peter Island is one of those unique places that just have to be experienced before you die. 7-star private accommodation, fabulous views towards neighbouring islands and some of the greatest cuisine in the BVIs made it the perfect place for an Oyster rendezvous! Sadly, we were there for just one night before the fleet took off on the final race back to Nanny Cay.

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BV I

R EGAT TA

RACE FOUR – Peter Island to Nanny Cay

SPONSORED BY PANTAENIUS INSURANCE

The regatta ended on a high note back at Nanny Cay with Class winners in the Pantaenius Cup race also securing the overall honours. Chris and Susan Shea sailed a masterful race on their Oyster 72 Magrathea to save their time over Class 1 rivals, Mariusz Koper’s Katharsis II and Stuart Smith and Barry Cooper’s Oyster 82 Oceana, while David and Tamsin Kidwell’s Oyster 435 Twice Eleven repeated the previous day’s victory in Class 2.

The course set the fleet on a stiff beat up the Sir Francis Drake Channel to round Ginger Island before running down behind Cooper and Salt Islands and reach between Dead Chest and Peter Island to finish off Nanny Cay. Magrathea was first to reach the Ginger Island turning point, just ahead of Robin and Carla Stoop’s Oyster 82 Rivendell, leaving the Oceana crew pinching dangerously high in their dirty air to just squeeze round the steep cliff face. Katharsis was fourth round but first to get their spinnaker drawing and managed to cut inside Oceana. Magrathea chose to pole out their headsail instead, and taking a more direct downwind route across to Peter Island, kept their lead until Katharsis and Oceana could start to make their chutes pay on the tighter reach to the finish.

Left: Chris & Susan Shea’s Oyster 72, Magrathea

This race also served to show how versatile these Oyster yachts are, for the Oyster 655, Black Pearl, which had suffered a mainsail furling breakdown at the start of the regatta, powered to windward under headsail alone to round Ginger Island ahead of all her 655 rivals. They were not as fast downwind, but that didn’t matter. Boat and crew, which included

Oyster Project Manager, Julian Weatherill as a guest on board, had made their point. The Class II fleet had an equally exciting race with Mark Howard and his crew on the Oyster 56 Amanzi finishing seven seconds ahead of Vincent Bloem’s Windflower. But neither could save their time against the Kidwell’s Twice Eleven, which proved to be the most successful yacht in the fleet. The series ended with a prize giving and lobster dinner back at the Peg Leg restaurant at Nanny Cay that continued on into the early hours as crews swapped stories and discussed ways to circumvent the volcanic cloud that had paralysed all flights across the Atlantic. For some, it would be another two weeks before they got home, but as the news reports showed, there were not many places in the world that could compete with this Caribbean island paradise to be stranded. And, whilst some yachts would be exploring the Caribbean or venturing into the Pacific, many owners had already booked their places for Oyster’s European regatta to be hosted at the glamorous Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in Porto Cervo, Sardinia in September.

Above right: Party at Bitter End Yacht Club Above left: Mark Howard’s Oyster 56, Amanzi 1 8

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CO N CO U R S D ’ EL E GA N C E

R ACE 2 – S PO NS O RED BY P EL AG OS

CLASS 1

CLASS 1

Presented by Oyster Brokerage

1st

Magrathea

72

Chris & Susan Shea

Stravaig

72

Scott & Sue Gibson

2nd

Ravenous II

82

Bill Dockser

Ravenous II

82

Bill Dockser

3rd

Oceana

82

Stuart Smith & Barry Cooper Jnr

4th

Katharsis II

72

Mariusz Koper

R AC E 4 – SP ONSOR ED BY PA NTA ENIUS

TH E OYSTE R R E GATTA TROP H Y Presented by Governor David Pearey

CLASS 2 CLASS 2

Presented by Caribbean Yacht Management Sarabi Sophistikate

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Harvey & Sue Death Richard & Angela Parkinson

R ACE 1 – S P O N S O RED BY L E WM A R

1st

Ostrika

55

Samantha Simmonds

2nd

Twice Eleven

435

David & Tamsin Kidwell

3rd

SUNsuSEA

46

Mariusz & Paulina Kierebinscy

4th

Sarabi

56

Harvey & Sue Death

CLASS 1

Katharsis II

72

Mariusz Koper

2nd

Oceana

82

Stuart Smith & Barry Cooper Jnr

3rd

Magrathea

72

Chris & Susan Shea

1st

Magrathea

72

4th

Sotto Vento

655

Richard Smith

2nd

Katharsis II

3rd 4th

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CLASS 1

1st

Oceana

82

Stuart Smith & Barry Cooper Jnr

1st

Magrathea

72

Chris & Susan Shea

2nd

Katharsis II

72

Mariusz Koper

2nd

Katharsis II

72

Mariusz Koper

3rd

Magrathea

72

Chris & Susan Shea

3rd

Oceana

82

Stuart Smith & Barry Cooper Jnr

4th

Stravaig

72

Scott & Sue Gibson

4th

Stravaig

72

Scott & Sue Gibson

R ACE 3 – S PO NS O RED BY D O L P HIN SA ILS

1st

CLASS 2

CLASS 1

CLASS 2

CLASS 2

1st

Twice Eleven

435

David & Tamsin Kidwell

1st

Twice Eleven

435

David & Tamsin Kidwell

2nd

Windflower

56

Vincent Bloem

2nd

Blue Dreams

56

John McTigue

Chris & Susan Shea

3rd

Amanzi

56

Mark Howard

3rd

Windflower

56

Vincent Bloem

72

Mariusz Koper

4th

Sarabi

56

Harvey & Sue Death

4th

Sarabi

56

Harvey & Sue Death

Oceana

82

Stuart Smith & Barry Cooper Jnr

Blue Destiny

655

Dick Morgan

CLASS 1

THE WINDBOATS A NNIV ER SA RY TROP HY

1st

Blue Dreams

56

John McTigue

2nd

Twice Eleven

435

David & Tamsin Kidwell

3rd

Jigsaw

53

Ian Galbraith

1st

Twice Eleven

435

David & Tamsin Kidwell

4th

Windflower

56

Vincent Bloem

2nd

Blue Dreams

56

John McTigue

3rd

Golden Pearl

53

Stephen Roth

4th

Sarabi

56

Harvey & Sue Death

CLASS 2

Oceana

82

TH E YACH TIN G WOR L D TROP H Y Katharsis II

Stuart Smith & Barry Cooper Jnr

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72

Mariusz Koper

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R A LLY

THE ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME B Y

D A V I D

T Y D E M A N

OY S T E R W O R L D R A L LY 2 0 1 3 –2 0 1 4 A few months ago, Liz Whitman said quietly to me that she’d been wondering if we should try to do something special for Oyster’s 40th anniversary in 2013 and how about a World Rally! As with all really good ideas, they grow legs and start running – thanks Liz! Seriously, it’s a wonderful idea and we’ll make it work brilliantly. We’ve asked the World Cruising Club (WCC) about their experiences and I’m delighted to say we have the basics of an agreement with them to work together to make this exclusive Oyster event the best the world can offer. We’ll try to combine their knowledge of ports and customs around the world with our years of experience in knowing what makes Oyster regattas so fulfilling and fun to take part in. By 2013 WCC will have run three World ARC events and our partnership with them in the Transatlantic ARC, almost since its inception

25 years ago, has shown us how we can add the Oyster layer of customer care and after sales around their splendid organization. Providing the 5-star quality we strive to deliver to Oyster owners all the time, wherever in the world they are.

The Caribbean start will get the Oyster fleet through the Panama Canal and into the Pacific fairly quickly, maximizing the time visiting the Galapagos Islands and the beautiful Society Islands - Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea and others.

David Holliday, owner of the Oyster 72, Kealoha 8, bought his yacht with the 2008-2009 World ARC event in mind (one of four Oysters taking part and overall winner) and he has provided us with generous help and guidance over the past month or so, finally giving us the confidence to announce this first Oyster World Rally in this Oyster News.

From the Pacific we will head to the Great Barrier Reef, round the top of Australia, partying in Bali and heading west for Cape Town for Christmas and thence to Brazil before joining up for a final grand party with the Oyster Caribbean Regatta in April 2014. All planned with a knowledgeable eye on typhoon and hurricane seasons to keep you sailing in the best weather possible. The route avoids a Red Sea passage and so will miss out the Mediterranean, but we will try to create a ‘grand reunion’ event in Europe in autumn 2014 or summer 2015. Who knows, we may be persuaded to do it again in 2018-2019!

We plan to refine the World ARC routing and timings (see their web site at www.worldcruisingclub.com) with a start in early January 2013 from the Caribbean. This timing will allow you to enjoy the Oyster Olympic event in the Solent in 2012 and have time to get across to the Caribbean in autumn 2012. We will run a mobile servicing and support preparation team throughout the second half of 2012.

We will aim to create a mixture of leaving you to cruise in company, enjoy escaping by yourselves into secluded, exotic places, finding new friends and rallying together, around three or four focal points for an Oyster event en route – one in Tahiti, one in Bali, and one probably in either Cape Town or Brazil. We hope these events will act as a magnet, drawing in those who can’t spend the

time doing the whole circuit. We’ve already had two commitments for Tahiti from Australian based yachts. 25,000 miles, 25 parties, and a whole lifetime of stories for the children and grandchildren over the years to come. Don’t wait – be one of the first

to enter – the earlier you enter, the better we will be able to plan this event. There is only one drawback for the Oyster team – in an ideal world we would all come too – but it will be our great pleasure to organize this for you our owners!

For more details contact Liz Whitman Tel: +44 (0) 1473 688888 email: liz.whitman@oystermarine.com

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OYSTER DESIGN REVIEW It is over 15 years since Rob Humphreys drew the hull lines for his first Oyster, the phenomenally successful Oyster 56. Here Rob reflects on the responsibility of bringing new Oyster designs to the market and introduces the latest development on his drawing board, the brand new Oyster 885.

It is over a decade and a half since I drew the lines of the Oyster 56, and while it seemed a significant moment even at the time, hindsight has added hugely to the enormity of the occasion. The 56 itself has been one of the star performers in Oyster’s history, with over 75 boats sold and still with devotees, not least among them one of Oyster Marine’s long standing directors, Alan Brook, who takes delivery of his new Oyster 56 this summer. Running on from that early success we have enjoyed responsibility for twelve further models, working hard to enhance the unique values offered by this leading blue water marque, while keeping in tune with a generally evolving market.

The fundamentals of the Oyster design philosophy run through the DNA of all the models. Together with Oyster’s in-house team we seek to ensure that the yachts are reassuringly robust, well-balanced, supremely comfortable and well-appointed, and in their easy turn of speed, extremely efficient passage makers. While there may be other boats on the market that can catch the eye in terms of performance in a closed-course environment, often these are transient in their impact with an early splash that ripples away to a gradually waning interest and an uncomfortable rate of depreciation. Oysters, we feel, should aspire towards longevity in both use and value, and

legion are the tales of Oyster owners trading up within the range – itself a testament to the strength of the brand. With such a profoundly felt responsibility to a trusted philosophy it is never easy to tackle a new model and it is always a balance between the fashion-driven steps one might be tempted to take against the need to defend the core ethos. Oyster owners are astute almost by definition, and on the whole our steps forward are measured and evolutionary to sit carefully with the acumen of the owners who require solutions that satisfy both head and heart.

BY ROB HUMPHREYS

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THE NEWEST BOAT AFLOAT – THE OYSTER 575

The Oyster 575 has evolved out of the Oyster 56 and as the nominal replacement model she certainly has big boots to fill. In many ways this size is the hub of the Oyster range and for some the entry point for new owners. Like the 56 before, the 575 is ideally suited to short-handed cruising – small enough to be sailed double-handed, big enough to take family and friends. As a serious cruising yacht with self-sufficiency important, the size can accommodate a workshop cabin. Where the 575 steps away from the 56 is in its performance potential, with nearly three quarters of a metre more waterline length for a displacement that is essentially similar to carry

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OYSTER 625 – LAUNCHING IN 2011

all the fit-out and structural security of the 56. The sail area in turn is nearly ten per cent greater than that of the 56, with a concomitant increase in ballast ratio. Significant benefits have also been built into the deck layout, with twin wheels affording the helmsman better visibility forward, and perhaps more importantly, winning an easy centreline access aft and turning the cockpit into a more dedicated leisure area. The boat is a joy to sail and there seems little to hold it back in terms of its potential over time to emulate the popularity of the 56.

The next new boat to emerge out of a fairly prolific period of development is the Oyster 625. In many ways the 625 is to the 62 what the 575 is to the 56 – fundamentally faster without compromising the qualities that make an Oyster an Oyster. This size tends to be one of cross-over between crewed operation and an owner/driver arrangement, and the 625 offers the owner flexibility to run his boat in the manner that suits him, with an option of a self-contained crew cabin forward if he elects for the latter. The waterline length of the 625 is nearly a metre longer than the 62, a direct speed-producing feature that will contribute hugely and effortlessly

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to those 24-hour runs. With an essentially similar displacement to that of the 62 the increase in flotation length allows for a sleeker distribution of immersed volume so the 625 will have significantly enhanced get-up-and-go, but still with superb control. While the sail area is up on the 62, so too is the ballast weight, generating a material performance gain at both ends of the spectrum. The 625 introduces vertical hull windows to the saloon, that will give an open view effect not dissimilar to that found in a raised saloon, while retaining the spaciousness only found with a full beam deck saloon.

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Design Notes David Tydeman, Oyster CEO In the early discussions with Rob last year we took notice of several interesting developments in the Oyster Superyacht project and with two new clients for the Oyster 82. Discussing the Oyster 885 with these owners and the new clients for Oyster 100’s, it became clear why they would still choose either the 82 or the 100. Some owners really want the higher level specifications it is only possible to build into a superyacht above 100ft – very low sound and vibration levels from floating joinery and acoustic insulation; larger ranges through increased fuel, provisioning capacities; the re-assurance of building under Classification rules and so on. Others were happy with the well-proven 82 (actually an 80ft hull length) provided we were willing to build with a high degree of personalisation – for example, a counter stern and different saloon layouts. Our broader market discussions however, confirmed that there is a gap for a ‘max MCA’ yacht between the 82 and 100. We have been assured that many owners will want the option of the third guest cabin, the extra deck length, the efficiency of charter operations, and hence the maximum size of yacht without the step up to the specification of a Superyacht. Recognising that for many owners the ability to charter is now an essential part of owning a luxury yacht, we are now focusing our thoughts very carefully on the two parts of the Oyster range – the family and friends sailing typical in the ownership of an Oyster 46, 54, 575; the professionally crewed Oyster 72, 82, 885, 100 and 125 with two to six crew respectively across the range. The Oyster 655 and the new 625 provide the crossover between these two parts. Oyster leads the market in building yachts that are luxuriously compliant with charter operations and the new Oyster 885 is an obvious step in this leadership. I am very excited about this yacht and, like Rob, can’t wait to sail her!

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INTRODUCING THE NEW OYSTER 885

The latest Oyster in development is the new Oyster 885. This exciting new yacht might be perceived by some as a replacement for the highly successful 82 but in fact she certainly is not!

The new 885 takes the Oyster range into a new design space, one that arguably few yachts address despite some significant benefits. This is just – and only just – below the limit where MCA requirements can add to cost and bureaucratic complication for anyone who may wish to charter their yachts. For many owners, chartering may not be uppermost in their considerations, but the vicissitudes of the financial climate have made many contemplate the benefit of added value, if not in an immediate sense then in a potential resale sense. So what can make a good charter yacht at this size and level of sophistication, while detracting nothing from the appeal of private ownership? One criterion is the distribution and extent of guest interior space, and in this respect the 885 can be configured with three spacious but roughly equal guest cabins to complement the really luxurious owner’s stateroom. The other major feature that counts highly in high-end charter is the crew space, and whether it allows the yacht to work efficiently. Some owners embrace their crews as members of the family while others may prefer a more distant

relationship, and in its basic geometry the 885 provides for both points of view. For the more segregated approach – which is clearly an asset for charter – the 885 has a captain’s cabin plus good cabin space for additional crew, and unusually the crew have their own mess.

This integrates well with a set-down terrace on the aft deck, affording excellent access to the sea and doing much to enhance that chill-out pastime of swimming/lazing that thrills some in the same way that others are turned on by the sheer exhilaration of steering a well-balanced boat as it threads its way uphill into a hefty breeze.

draft requires a supremely efficient shoal draft rudder arrangement. We have extensive experience of twin-rudder configurations on all manner of boats and we considered it appropriate on the 885 to introduce the arrangement as a standard offering. If this seems an unusual decision to Oyster stalwarts, then it will probably be because they might feel it undermines the long-held Oyster principles of rudder security, particularly with respect to the ability of the skeg to defend the rudder. Logically, though, the twin-rudder argument sits well in the security department – on the one hand there is an in-built level of redundancy, and on the other the diminished rudder span much reduces the propensity of the rudders to touch when moored stern-to against inconveniently seascaped harbour walls. For slick manoeuvring in harbour, the 885 comes with both stern and bow thrusters.

Speaking of which, the sailing qualities of the 885 should be at the head of this piece rather than its tail, but then again I have been trying to save the best bit till last. The hull of the 885 is very powerful, with a fairly fine entry that will help the boat cleave through a seaway with excellent Vmg, and at the same time the stern is relatively broad to deliver a high level of form stability and an off-wind potential that will rattle away the miles in any Trade Wind passage. As Oyster owners will know, the centreboard versions available on some models have twin rudders, in this instance because the retracted

So, given that the negatives are not really negative, what about the positives? Well, where should I start? Unless one has sailed a twin rudder boat upwind in a breeze – at least one that is fundamentally well balanced – it is hard to imagine the delight. When a boat is pressed to a breeze the helm often loads up, making steering increasingly uncomfortable unless the helmsman is as attentive in his call for shortened canvas as he is to his course keeping. A well-configured twin-rudder arrangement, however, comes into its own just when a single rudder begins to feel a bit of pain, and a well-balanced arrangement

The other significant attribute of the 885 is the owner’s stateroom, which incorporates glazed panels across the upper section of the aft bulkhead, bringing in an abundance of light with the blinds drawn open, enhancing the spatial qualities of the cabin.

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can make the boat seem as if it is on rails. Oysters, on the whole, are gentle by design and with the decision to go to the new arrangement on the Oyster 885 we have been able to bring the rig aft a little – not advisable for a single-rudder boat – which in turn makes the non-overlapping headsail a viable standard offering. As might be expected, the design of an Oyster is an integrated process, and one decision has consequence elsewhere; in the same way a decision can be made to deliberately set in chain a raft of other attributes. The 885 is a big and powerful yacht, and flaying sheets are nice to avoid if one can do something about it. Hence the appeal of the non-overlapper as the working headsail. The new Oyster 885 is an exciting prospect and the first of class will be on the water in late 2012. We can’t wait to sail her.

For more information please contact our sales team at yachts@oystermarine.com or call +44 (0) 1473 695005

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Maldives S T R I C T R E G U L AT I O N S –

but

– GOOD MEMORIES

Our cruising season 2007/2008 started in Singapore with day sailing through the Malacca Straits and ended in Thailand. Our passage through the Malacca Straits, well known all over the world and a daunting prospect for many sailing yachts, was unremarkable. The big container ships were far away and we didn’t experience any ‘Sumatras’ (the threatening line of thunderstorms common to this area). The wind was light and we motor-sailed most of the time in the tidal stream current. After checking in at Port Dickson in Malaysia, we made for Langkawi, and then Thailand, before heading for the Maldives.

BY YOLANDA DANIOTH, OYSTER 56, MOANA

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“HERE IN THE SOUTH, WE WERE REWARDED FOR OUR CURIOSITY! OUR VISITS TO POPULATED ISLANDS CULMINATED IN UNIQUE EXPERIENCES AND WE MADE MANY NEW FRIENDS.”

We set sail from Phuket, Thailand direct to Uligamu Island in the northern Maldives. The passage was comfortable and, although we drifted in the occasional light winds, we were able to sail the entire distance towards our destination. This was our longest leg of the season so we were pleased to arrive and to anchor behind the island, which protected us from the ocean swell. Soon after arrival the Maldives officials visited to check us in. The formalities were completed with only one qualifying point – although we had only just arrived, the officials wanted to know when we were leaving! After much debate they finally understood our uncertainty and allowed us some time to consider a departure date and a route. As requested we prepared a list with all the atolls we would like to visit. Unfortunately, we must have made the record too good because this resulted in the officials not allowing us to stop anywhere. Our planned route melted away like ice cream in the tropics, nothing was left! The officials would only allow us to stop at isolated atolls, and on the condition that we made it to Gan, the most southern island, within 30 days. They didn’t even authorise a stop in Male, the capital! The officers told us that if we stopped in Male regulations required us to hire an agent. We had sailed to Uligam specifically to avoid hiring an agent as Maldivian agents are notorious for their fees and charges, making cruising in the

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Maldives comparable to doing financial chin-ups. We attempted to resolve the situation with the officials on several occasions, and in the end they agreed only to allow us to go direct to Addu atoll (Gan) under an ‘Inter-Atoll Travelling Permit’. It was the first time in our circumnavigation that we were confronted with such onerous government bureaucracy! We couldn’t believe the circumstances and our cruising spirits sank, but as visitors we had to respect the system even if it meant that the wonderful cruising grounds just ahead of us were now technically off-limits. In contrast to the rigid regulations, the local people were warm, hospitable, helpful and open-minded. Whilst we were in Uligamu, they organised an evening dinner for cruisers and prepared local dishes of fish and rice, tomato rice, curry and beans and a kind of green vegetable. The cooking was basic and predominantly fish and rice but with an Indian influence. We tried to invite the locals onboard Moana but regrettably they were not allowed to visit foreign yachts. Our experiences changed significantly south of Male. Hiding behind reefs was a thing of the past and we could finally anchor in turquoise water with sandy bottoms, inside lagoons protected from swell. Here in the south, we were rewarded for our curiosity! Our visits to populated islands culminated in unique experiences and we made many new friends.

“IN CONTRAST TO THE RIGID REGULATIONS, THE LOCAL PEOPLE WERE WARM, HOSPITABLE, HELPFUL AND OPEN-MINDED.”

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“OVERALL WE HAD A FASCINATING STAY FROM MALE SOUTHWARDS. ONCE THE INTENSIVE TIME WITH STRICT REGULATIONS WAS OVER, WE EXPERIENCED SOME VERY MEMORABLE ADVENTURES.”

Homes that were destroyed in the 2004 tsunami, had been re-built with concrete rather than coral sand. This means that a charming tradition has sadly come to an end but citizens paint their new houses in fanciful bright pastel colours. The view from Moana of a rebuilt village was a cheerful and colourful panorama. A Maldivian family has on average more than five children and we were not surprised to learn that half of the Maldivian civilians are below 18 years of age. Further to that, Islam allows a man to have four wives as long as he is able to look after them all. Only a few Maldivians speak English but nevertheless, in the southern area they are hospitable, and tolerance, kindness and acceptance are independent of language. We learned a lot about village life, and the demands of a fast growing population has put a noticeable strain on the infrastructure; electricity, water, waste are all a problem in these remote islands and are a ticking political time bomb. Fishing is traditional in the Maldives. A group of lucky male cruisers were invited to be part of a tuna fishing crew in Thinadoo atoll. Around lunch time all the men left the calm anchorage heading towards the ocean in a blue, 25 metre long fishing boat. Out at sea, all the visitors experienced a spectacle of pure native muscle power. The tuna are attracted by two things: sardines and water sprayed from the boat. So sardines were thrown into the sea while water rushing from spray nozzles at the back of the boat simulated the sound of a feeding frenzy.

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Tuna love these conditions and quickly appeared at the surface. The crew used traditional fishing rods to pull the entire group of tuna out one by one! At the end of the carbon fibre fishing rod is a fixed length fishing line with a special barbless hook attached. Fishermen observe the water surface and with a jerk they get the fish and throw their catch overhead onto the boat. This motion releases the fish onto the deck. Very quickly, a lot of fish piled up on the deck and from time to time the fishermen shuffled the tuna into big fish holds. An amazing spectacle to see, literally dozens of fish flying through the air and on to the deck! Even big tuna, up to 50 kg, are caught in a similar way – but this takes muscle. For these bigger fish three fishermen join their lines together and use their combined strength to pull out the tuna. On Rolf’s fishing trip they caught four big tuna – each around 30kg, so in total 1.5 tonnes of tuna. The crew declared this as a small catch but they were happy to show their technique. They sell their catch directly to buyers on one of the nearby islands. Fresh tuna can be sold to the government or to a private buyer, this catch went to a local factory who sun dry the tuna and export them to Japan. Overall we had a fascinating stay in the Maldives with some very memorable adventures. Moana is now for sale with Oyster Brokerage. For further information visit www.oysterbrokerage.com or call +44 (0)1473 69500 Photos: Yolanda Danioth.

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THE 2010 LORO PIANA SUPERYACHT REGATTA

Four doors. Four seats. For test driving now.

By David Tydeman

Next year the first Oyster 100 will take part in the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta, which is organized by Boat International, and to start making Oyster’s presence felt in this arena, we decided to sponsor this year’s event.

Finding ourselves alongside several other Superyacht yards as co-sponsors, I was glad we made this decision. Every entrant in this fantastic event was given a personal invitation to come and visit our Oyster Superyacht operation in Turkey and we gave out many copies of our Superyacht book to skippers, brokers and many others who represent the, sometimes, very private or elusive owners in this market sector. Overall the feedback was fantastic with many planning to visit the yard, where visitors will be able to see four Oyster Superyachts in build. Of course, several of the Oyster team managed to enjoy some great sailing in the fleet, kindly invited by owners to experience their great yachts, increasing our knowledge of this size of yacht. I was very disappointed that racing was

cancelled due to high winds on the day I was due to race on Indio, the 102ft Wally, but on the following day I enjoyed a wonderful day on Jazz Jr, the beautiful Turkish wooden yacht built by the owners of Proteksan Turquoise, a shipyard only a mile away from where we are building the Oyster 100 and 125 with RMK Marine. Waving the Turkish flag was fun to support. There is great camaraderie in this fleet and I strongly recommend that any Oyster owner wishing to take part should give us a call about an Oyster 100 or 125!

sheet on the weather deck. It reminded us all just how quickly things can happen and many of these larger yachts, built over the past decade or so, have not been built to the rigorous levels of classification we have selected for the Oyster Superyachts.

THE NEW FOUR DOOR ASTON MARTIN RAPIDE For a priority test drive please visit www.oyster.astonmartin.com

We came away excited, stimulated and delighted we’d put Oyster, once again, into the forefront of this new sector for us. And of course, my thanks to Pier-Luigi Loro Piana for the best quality free polo shirt I’ve ever received!

It was sad to see a nasty accident on one 148ft yacht as a leeward sheet parted and an unfortunate guest on board found himself caught with the loads taking up on the windward

Official government fuel consumption figures in MPG (Litres per 100km) for the Aston Martin Rapide: Urban 12.5 (22.6), Extra Urban 27.1 (10.4), Combined 19.0 (14.9). CO2 emissions: 355 g/km 3 6

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OYSTER S U P E R YA C H T U P D AT E By the time Oyster News goes to print, we will have four Oyster Superyachts in build. A great achievement by all involved, particularly by Hamish Burgess-Simpson, Oyster’s man in Turkey, our design office team and the team at RMK Marine. Well done everyone and thank you for all your hard work. This is a challenging and complex start-up project so it’s great to report this success.

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100-01 is into commissioning and will be undergoing sea trials later in the winter, 100-02 started fit-out in July, 100-03 has just started moulding and Richard Matthews’ 125-01 has just started its fit-out programme with launch planned for next summer.

Oyster design team had only put about 2,000 hours into the project, we’re now nearly 10 times that. We’ve had a hectic 18 months since then dealing with Classification rules and the higher levels of specification needed to comply with MCA regulations for this size of yacht.

Reflecting that we signed the agreement with RMK Marine in June 2007 following about a year of technical and commercial reviews with them, it has been four years getting to this point. When I joined Oyster in December 2008, the

100-01 is the first ever composite Dubois designed yacht built to Lloyds Class (Ed’s team has designed many yachts with other less onerous Class societies and in Alloy, but not this combination before). Add to this the Turkish start up of a

world-leading composite facility and you can easily see it has been a tough management and engineering challenge. Having trained as a Lloyds Surveyor many years ago and worked as Technical Director for the American Bureau of Shipping in the ‘90’s, I know that not only is Lloyds 100 A1 notation hard to achieve but also how widely respected it is. It truly sets these new Oyster yachts apart in the global Superyacht fleet and it will provide strong comfort to owners to know that not only have all the design efforts of Oyster, Dubois and RMK been rigorously checked, but also that every part of the construction has been physically checked by the Lloyds surveyor on site during the build process. The ‘ ’ notation stands for ‘built under survey’ and it really makes a difference. Every client buying an Oyster Superyacht can be sure that we are delivering exactly what we say we will.

B Y D AV I D T Y D E M A N

In this rather uncertain world, it is also reassuring to have such a strong partner in the Koç Group and to know that the Group’s Honorary Chairman, Rahmi Mustafa Koç – takes a personal interest in the Oyster project at the RMK shipyard that bears his name. With the strength of their balance sheet behind their $40bn turnover group, we probably have one of the most secure superyacht yards in the world as partners. Rahmi bey’s personal RMK-built 52m yacht Nazenin V has just been presented with a ‘Highly Commended’ award in the World Superyacht 2010 awards – a further message to everyone that our new Oysters will be world beating. We selected a resin infusion process for moulding the hulls to provide a very controlled, environmentally friendly process that could be repeated consistently and was also appropriate for a start-up. The process allows for dry-stacking

of the laminate and reinforcing materials into the hull mould. Then we put a vacuum bag over the top of it all and flow the resin into the space to form the composite structure. Polyworx of Denmark have provided the modelling software for this process and it was only once we were well down the track with this system that we realized we had just set a new world record with the moulding of the 125 hull! With nearly 6.3 tonnes of resin flowing in around four hours, this was the largest single continuous infusion anywhere in the world – the previous record being a bridge structure at around 6 tonnes. “Dear Mr Guinness…” We have just written to lodge our claim!

We plan to base 100-01 in a marina near the yard during the winter months, before handing over to her new owner in Spring 2011. This will allow us a sensible amount of time for sailing trials, thorough commissioning and testing of every item of equipment on the yacht and also time for the international yachting press to spend time on board, many of whom have already visited the yard throughout the build process. I look forward to reporting on her sail trials in the next Oyster News.

For 100-02, just out of the mould, it was also very reassuring to find that consistency works and hull #2 is very close in weight to hull #1.

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Miss Tippy Fast ocean passages, near disaster and dramatic rescues.

The Norton Family of five continue their circumnavigation with the Blue Water Rally... and so the story continues. In early November we set off from Lanzarote to cross the Atlantic. This was the first long ocean passage we had undertaken as a family and we were filled with a mixture of trepidation and excitement. The passage itself broke down into three main sections. First, we had fairly light winds heading down towards the Cape Verdes. We took advantage of the settled weather to catch some fish and get into our routine of onboard schooling and sailing. Eventually the trade winds kicked in and we soon romped away at speed. This continued for a week or so until we hit stormy weather about 1,000 miles from Antigua. We witnessed the most dramatic lightning storms I have ever seen but came through unscathed. Despite the variable conditions we made landfall after 2,700 miles in a very respectable 19 days.

Once the Blue Water Rally fleet had gathered at Jolly Harbour in Antigua the partying started in earnest before we moved to Nelson’s Dockyard for Christmas. After the festivities we had a month or so of very relaxed cruising in the Caribbean. Having previously cruised the south of the Caribbean we went north visiting a range of islands including St Kitts, Saba, St Barts, Anguilla, St Marten and finally the British Virgin Islands. It was a magical time with heavenly sailing and exciting adventures on land as we visited the varied islands. We met many other Oyster owners as we cruised around these beautiful waters including Restless, Mystic Pearl, Carpe Diem and Black Pearl. We got a real sense of camaraderie from other Oyster owners who were all very sociable and hospitable and keen to swap stories about their travels and their wonderful boats!

By Brian and Sheila Norton, Oyster 56, Miss Tippy

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a simple life and strong community ethos. We had a lovely week visiting various palm fringed islands and chilling out and again met several Oysters in this far flung paradise. We were amazed to find out that one of them was the Oyster 82, Zig Zag owned by Richard Matthews, the founder of Oyster Marine, who invited us aboard for some bubbly! We also met some New Yorkers, Gary and Louise Strutin from the Oyster 61, Lulu who were great fun.

By the end of January it was time to head for Panama in readiness for our transit to the Pacific Ocean. We left Road Harbour at the end of January and had a great start to the journey with a broad reach at 10-15 knots. However, this was not to last and on the second day disaster struck. It occurred as I was putting out the spinnaker pole to stop the yankee flapping, one instant I was hauling the pole-lift and the next I was coming round draped on the saloon window in a pool of blood. The children, who were helping from the cockpit, raised the alarm when they saw the spinnaker pole become unattached from the mast track and swing down onto my head. Sheila (thankfully an ex nurse) leapt into action and was there helping me come round before guiding me, delirious, back to the cockpit where she could bandage the six inch gash through to my skull. Fearing skull fracture, or worse, the family was simply amazing as they took control of the situation. Annie (9) looked after me while Sheila, Charlie (12) and Freddie (11) went to retrieve the spinnaker pole, which was dangling beside the boat and threatening to damage the hull. Having lashed the pole down, Freddie found that the nearest port to us was in Puerto Rico, some 50 miles away and Charlie took the helm. Sheila went below to contact the US Coastguard on the SSB while Annie fed me ice cubes for hydration and chatted to me to keep me awake. It took eight or nine hours motoring against an increasing sea in winds of 20 to 25 knots to get into Ponce in Puerto Rico and we arrived in darkness around 0100. A local pilot, Coqui, had heard our radio transmissions and offered to come aboard to pilot us into the local marina. Sheila was very thankful as the entrance was tricky in the dark. When we arrived there were emergency services and wellwishers standing by as I was carried off by stretcher to a waiting ambulance. Coqui’s wife, Maryln, took our children for the night as Sheila accompanied me to the hospital. After a scan they confirmed no skull or brain damage and stitched up my wound leaving me bald with a very worthy scar! Everyone in Puerto Rico was incredibly good to us including officials such as Customs and the Police, the US Coastguard as well as individuals from the yacht club marina we stayed in. Being a head wound it healed quite quickly and we were soon ready to set out again so we didn’t miss out on

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cruising in the San Blas islands. We prepared Miss Tippy well, since we had been told conditions could get rough near Columbia. The area is effectively a mirror of the Bay of Biscay with a swell from a prevailing trade wind coming into a large bay formed by Central and South America. Wave heights double for any given wind strengths and are both frequent and steep. About half way into the 1,000 mile trip the winds increased to 30-40 knots and the seas steepened. We had coincidentally arrived in the area at the same time as a number of rally yachts that were coming around from Bonaire. A lot were having a tough time with several knock-downs being reported. We had a bubbling green sea in the cockpit and decided it was time to go below and let Miss Tippy look after us. This she did admirably. Rigged with only a reefed Yankee we surfed at over 12 knots at times but always felt snug and secure in our Oyster. After several days of this, the winds eased and we arrived at Porvenir in the San Blas islands just five days after leaving Puerto Rico. This little-visited archipelago on the northern coast of Panama is inhabited by the Kuna Indians who remain semi-autonomous and live a simple life true to their ancient traditions. The men harvest coconuts, fish and do some subsistence farming on the mainland while the women (who rule the roost in this matriarchal society) stitch decorative molas, which are used in clothing or as artwork. Despite their obvious poverty by western standards we rejoiced in their happiness wrought from

After San Blas we headed for the Panama Canal and got ready for our transit. The regulatory organization went smoothly and we were soon going through the massive locks and crocodile infested lakes that comprise the canal. The locks are 1,000m long and wide enough for a super tanker. You feel pretty insignificant when inside, even though we were rafted up with two other yachts. It took a night and half the following day to transit the 50-mile canal after anchoring in the lake overnight. Then after all of our dreaming, planning and sailing we were finally at the Bridge of the Americas – the gateway to the massive Pacific Ocean. It was very emotional! We anchored in Flamenco Bay, opposite Panama City for a week or so to get provisions and then hauled out at a nearby marina to reapply antifoul and make some repairs before embarking into the great blue ocean. Once this was completed we set off for the Las Perlas islands about 30 miles south of Panama and had a very relaxing time barbecuing and walking on deserted beaches. Following a few blissful days we set off again for Galapagos, about 800 miles away.

“We had a lovely week visiting various palm fringed islands and chilling out and again met several Oysters in this far flung paradise.” After a faster than expected passage we arrived at night in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz and anchored up. Puerto Ayora is one of the largest towns in Galapagos but you immediately see signs of indigenous wildlife. On the first trip into town by water taxi you cannot miss the sea lions lazing on the sterns of old fishing boats. The quayside wall swarms with bright orange crabs, which are overlooked by prehistoric looking pelicans. The town is better developed than we had expected with numerous reasonably priced restaurants and shops selling various staples. The people were also very friendly and there is virtually no litter!

The whole of the Galapagos is a conveyor belt of creation with the newest islands on the west. The islands are varied, ranging from lunar-like volcanic landscapes to lush forests. Wildlife is everywhere and is not shy of human contact. Marine and land iguana, many species of birds (including pelicans, pink flamingoes, blue footed boobies and frigates), Galapagos penguins and tortoises abound. Marine life was prolific too and many of us enjoyed diving or snorkeling with sea lions, turtles, rays and a variety of sharks including odd looking hammerheads. After an overdose of wildlife over two weeks, we set off on the longest leg of the rally – over 3,000 miles across the vast Pacific Ocean to the Marquesas Islands and the start of French Polynesia. We were lucky this year as the trade winds appeared after 100 miles or so and continued at 15 to 20 knots South Easterly for the first 2,000 miles and then Easterly at the same strength or lighter for the next thousand. This was the kind of sailing you dream of. Blue skies, warm weather, wind on your back and exhilarating speed eating up the miles. We changed our sail configuration just once in 3,000 miles, which begs the question of what do you do with all your spare time! Well I can’t answer for everyone but we caught up with schoolwork and certainly read a lot of books!

However, freedom of movement is limited in the Galapagos to ensure that the environment is protected from the potential ravages of tourism. We could not take our yachts to other islands without permits that had to be arranged many months in advance. We therefore arranged a number of trips by small motor cruisers and speedboats to other islands while we were there.

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“After all of our dreaming, planning and sailing we were finally at the Bridge of the Americas – the gateway to the massive Pacific Ocean. It was very emotional!”

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About 1,400 miles out Jaume the Skipper of the husband and wife team aboard Bionic alerted the rally fleet that he had painful kidney stones. Luckily we were only 30 or so miles away and we arranged to meet up so that we could standby to help. As we drew closer we became worried that Jaume was suffering intense pain, and associated sleep deprivation was exacerbating the situation. We were also concerned that Jaume’s wife, Carmen would find it difficult to handle the boat if his medical condition continued to deteriorate. We made the decision to try to transfer Sheila to Bionic to administer medical care and provide crew support. At first we tried to draw alongside but we found that the mid-ocean swell meant that our rigs became perilously close during this manoeuvre. We abandoned this approach and instead trailed Sheila in a dinghy on a long line for pick up by Bionic. Even this approach required two attempts before success! After lots of drugs and 24 hours sleep Jaume soon recovered but the sea state had worsened so we couldn’t get Sheila back aboard and she completed the voyage on Bionic. We were now short handed with just myself and the kids to sail the remaining 1,600 miles. Other rally boats came to standby both ourselves and Bionic in case we needed help but in the end the rest of the trip went smoothly and we arrived in Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas after a passage of just over 16 days. We had run out of gas a couple of days before arrival so this, plus Dad’s wholly inadequate cooking abilities, sent us to the nearest restaurant for breakfast upon arrival! This mid-ocean assistance reinforced our nickname ‘International Rescue’ that the rally had given us for two previous rescues. The first rescue occurred when we towed 47 ft Fantasia, Jackamy off a reef that they had been lodged on for over an hour off the coast of Antigua. We were assisted by Lucy Alice, (another Oyster) on that occasion. Our second rescue mission occurred when the yacht Serengeti asked for our assistance to guide them into the anchorage amongst the low lying, reef strewn, San Blas islands. They had arrived without steering, power and navigation equipment after a horrendous journey past the Columbian coast. Our Oyster’s dependability and capability has given us the confidence to go to other people’s assistance when needed.

able to see Marquesan dancers, sculpted tikis and painted tapas and imagine how life may have been in years gone by. Sitting on a stone bench overlooking the sea beside a sandy road with massive volcanic plugs on one side reaching for the skies, and waves gently rolling in before us, we realized we were now in the South Pacific of our dreams! Miss Tippy has served us so well, enabling fast passages (with regular 200 mile days), keeping us safe during storms and enabling us to help others in need. We have tested our Oyster well having sailed it from new for over ten thousand miles across the largest Oceans on our planet. While there have been some minor teething items to deal with, the responsiveness from David Abbott and the team in Oyster’s customer services department has meant that we have not been inconvenienced and have been able to enjoy this incredible experience to the full. Thank you again Oyster!

While any landfall would be appreciated after 3,000 miles at sea, arrival in the Marquesas is quite overwhelming. Mountainous, lush green islands emerge from the depths of the oceans and tower above you as you approach. This is a place of very dramatic scenery and fascinating history. We have had a full itinerary since arriving in the Marquesas with island tours and parties arranged for us. It has been fascinating to visit archeological remains of religious sites where cannibalism was practiced up until the beginning of the 20th century. Despite European missionary fervour, which wiped out much of the population in the islands, the locals maintain their cultural heritage and we were

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Follow Miss Tippy’s progress with films and regular updates on the family’s blog at www.rock2rock.co.uk

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ROYAL SOUTHERN OYSTER WEEK HOSTED BY THE ROYAL SOUTHERN YACHT CLUB

“Someone once said that if yacht racing hadn’t been invented at Cowes no one would ever race in the Solent and to owners and crew new to the central Solent this must have seemed very true. The Brambles Bank, the double high water, the vicious tide ripping past Cowes on every flood and ebb tide, the confusion of racing marks and the never ending stream of commercial traffic all add to the already difficult task of winning races. However on a summer’s day with the good south westerly blowing up the Needles Channel there is no finer place to sail.”

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“A week that really underlines what it means to be part of the ever growing Oyster family.”

The Lewmar winch prizes went to Scarlet Oyster in Class 1 and Little Morten in Class 2. There was also a special prize from Colin Hall to Elisa Martin, Peter’s Mum, for keeping her crew on their toes during the race.

The Royal Southern Yacht Club based on the world famous River Hamble was very proud to host the UK’s only 2010 Oyster endorsed regatta. The overall programme allowed for a fine mix of sailing and social events, traditional Oyster fare. Four days of racing were combined with visits to the Royal Solent Yacht Club in Yarmouth and lunch on the final day at the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes. By way of extending the affiliation between Oyster and the newly commissioned Royal Navy Type 45 Destroyer, HMS Dauntless, several of the crew from the ship, including the Commanding Officer, joined owners throughout the week. On Monday the week started in glorious sunshine as the yachts arrived at their berths in the nearby marina. At the early evening Skippers’ Briefing, Club Commodore John Beardsley welcomed the competitors before handing over to the Principal Race Officer Tony Lovell. Having talked briefly about the general race area Tony reviewed the general rules of conduct; reaching starts, declaration of sail combinations and, with some emphasis, the calculation of the motoring time allowance for Thursday’s Round the Island Race. With the business of the day completed, owners and skippers joined their crew on the club pontoon for a Pimms Reception, hosted by Oyster Marine’s CEO David Tydeman and Marketing Director, Liz Whitman. A relaxing end to the first day. Raymarine, the electronics giant, sponsored Tuesday’s programme of two races around the cans, with lunch on board in between. The sun had gone but the south-westerly breeze remained and at 10:30 Class 2 started with a long reaching leg eastwards towards Portsmouth. The class was very evenly matched with Andrew Tibbitts’ 435 Mythos the smallest and Michael Geary’s 49 Shakura the largest. In Class 1 the spread was much greater and when they started ten minutes later, the new Oyster 82, Starry Night, with her 10ft draft had no option but to go

east of the Brambles Bank to the Island shore and even then her progress was hampered by the close attendance of one of Her Majesty’s destroyers. Meanwhile Ross Applebey’s Oyster LW48, Scarlet Oyster, with a shallower draft was able to beat westwards past the Brambles Bank and take advantage of the better tide to reach the top mark off Cowes with a healthy lead. As Scarlet Oyster was turning for the downwind leg, so the leading Class 2 yacht Kite Runner (Nick and Dee Flower’s Oyster 45) was also at their mark to the east of Cowes. As more boats made the turning marks so the wind faded and after due consideration the course was shortened to enable lunch to be taken. Whilst the boats were anchored in Osborne Bay, below Queen Victoria’s Island retreat, the wind relented and strengthened so by the time the afternoon race started there was a brisk 15-18 knots blowing up the Needles Channel, champagne conditions that allowed the larger yachts to stretch their sea legs. Both classes shared the first reach and beat to Gurnard, a cardinal mark to the west of Cowes. The next leg took them past the Green at Cowes and the Castle (the Royal Yacht Squadron headquarters) on a fine spinnaker run towards the east before reaching across to the finishing line near the entrance to Southampton Water, and the mouth of the River Hamble. Back at the Royal Southern for the day’s prize giving, the club’s Event Organiser Colin Hall, who owns the Oyster 53, Boysterous, awarded a bottle of fine wine to the Committee Boat team to ‘aid their recognition of flags to be flown’ as the IRC 1 flag had been initially flown for the IRC 2 start! Prizes were presented by Fiona Pankhurst, Raymarine’s Head of Corporate Marketing, to the class winners. Scarlet Oyster laid down her marker by winning both Class 1 races, whilst honours were even in Class 2 with Kite Runner winning in the morning and Martin and Pam Smout’s 46 Marela taking both line and handicap honours in the afternoon.

The day sponsors for Wednesday were Pelagos Yachts. A mid-day start for a race that would take the competitors westwards to a finish off the Royal Solent YC committee boat at Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight. But with Tony setting the course nothing was quite so straightforward. ‘It was strange to beat past a mark knowing we were having to come back to it later in the day’ was one crewmember’s recollection of the day. After four hours of racing Starry Night took line honours in Class 1 but Scarlet Oyster had hung on to finish only two minutes behind and her lower handicap enabled her to take the class win. In the other division Marela again took both line and handicap wins but by less than one minute from the class scratch yacht Kite Runner. If Wednesday had been a late start, the Lewmar sponsored Round the Island Race on Thursday had everyone up by 06:00 for a 07:00 start from the Royal Solent YC start line. There was always enough wind, but it was those tacticians that made best use of their motoring time allowance that reaped the greatest rewards, especially as the yachts approached St Catherine’s Point at the south of the island. Bill and Denise Cartlidge’s Oyster 46 Penrose III, which was built in 1986 and the oldest yacht entered this year, joined Class 2 for the first time. However, it was Peter Martin’s 45 Little Morten that had the privilege of reaching the Needles first. A lead she was to keep in Class 2. Starry Night finished the course in just over four hours, almost catching the finishing committee boat out. Kite Runner, using very little of her motoring allowance but enjoying the day immensely, was the last boat home, finishing just before 14:00. The competitors could not have had a better day for this race.

The final day of racing was sponsored by Dolphin Sails and was scheduled to be a pursuit race finishing off Cowes, followed by a lunch at the Royal Yacht Squadron. The day started well with the early boats going across towards the Island shore, but an hour into the race the wind faded away to a very light zephyr leaving the late starters struggling to make any headway as the tide started to build. The Race team wisely decided to extend the time limit and shorten the course at the 2nd mark. In Class 1 Clifford and Sally Sturt’s 53 Spirit of Epsilon was first to the turning mark and managed to get back to the mainland shore before the worst of the calm. Elvis the Gecko, Martin Dent’s Oyster 66, who had the Commanding Officer of HMS Dauntless on board for the day’s racing, followed her across. However it was Scarlet Oyster who picked up a new wind in mid-channel and managed to sneak home in second place. In Class 2, Penrose III capped off a short week’s racing by taking the gun ahead of Mythos, Marela and Kite Runner. Lunch was served a little late at the Squadron but nobody seemed to mind and everyone made it back to Hamble in time for the main prize-giving and the final dinner.

Oyster Marine presented prizes to Martin Smout for Marela’s overall victory in Class 2 and to Ross Appleby as owner of Scarlet Oyster for her victory in Class 1. Ross was also awarded the overall prize for best overall performance in both classes with a clean sweep of victories. In thanking the Royal Southern, its race team and its staff, Martin Smout made a special presentation to Colin Hall, as the event organiser, for making it a week to remember. Before dinner was served Captain Richard Powell, Commanding Officer of HMS Dauntless, took the opportunity to explain to the audience the relationship between his ship and Oyster Marine. As a sailing man he talked enthusiastically about the benefits, especially to his younger crew members, of joining the event as crew on board the Oysters. Several of his crew, including himself, had taken part in the week’s activities and he most sincerely thanked all the owners who had shared their hospitality with the seamen. He ended by presenting CEO David Tydeman with a framed copy of the official ship’s painting as a token of his personal appreciation and extended an invitation to all those present to a private tour of the ship the following day, a gesture that was taken up with much enthusiasm. All in all a great week of sailing and socialising, friendships renewed and new friendships forged. A week that really underlines what it means to be part of the ever growing Oyster family. Martin Smout made a special presentation to Colin Hall, as the event organiser

Commodore John Beardsley presented Scarlet Oyster with overall prize

At the RAF Yacht Club that evening Commodore Robin Clarkson welcomed all the visitors and fondly remembered his own participation in the first Oyster Week with a new boat and 50 knots across the deck in Cowes Yacht Haven! Oyster owners visit HMS Dauntless

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Oyster Marine presented prizes to Martin Smout

Photos: Mike Jones – Waterline media, Eddie Mays, Colin Hall. SUM M ER

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SINCE 1974 WHEN HE TOOK HIS FIRST NATIONAL RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP WIN AS CO-DRIVER TO TONY DRUMMOND, HIS CAREER HAS BEEN NOTHING SHORT OF STRATOSPHERIC.

FAST LEARNER FOR DAVID RICHARDS, CBE, CHAIRMAN OF ASTON MARTIN AND PRODRIVE, SEAFARING HAS BECOME A WELCOME FORM OF RELAXATION.

It should come as no surprise that David Richards was awarded the CBE for services to motorsport in 2005. Since 1974 when he took his first national rally championship win as co-driver to Tony Drummond, his career has been nothing short of stratospheric. As an accomplished aviator, twice F1 team boss and current chairman of both Prodrive and Aston Martin, perhaps the biggest problem he faces today is running out of challenges. David has owned an Oyster LD43 motor yacht for just over a year now. Prior to that he learned to sail in a 27ft Sunbeam he commissioned especially to race near the family’s summer retreat in Cornwall. It was an ambitious choice for a beginner, he laughs, “what I know about sailing you could write on the back of a postage stamp. I was brought up in North Wales and we were about as far away from the sea as you can get. Now, our home in Warwickshire is almost in the centre of England so sailing is pretty alien to my background, but I’m learning fast.” Indeed, quick thinking is something David has a reputation for. Growing up in Ruthin, North Wales, he soon embraced the sport of rallying, demonstrating the skill and nerve to function coolly while been driven at high speed along forest stages. Having left comprehensive school at 17 to study for his articles as a chartered accountant, David found the accuracy,

management and technical abilities co-drivers needed to succeed in the hostile and often dangerous environment of a rally car, were second nature to him. He was also quick to recognise the importance of media relations and gained a reputation for holding impromptu press conferences mid-way through important events. David married Karen in 1976 and in the same year joined the British Leyland factory team, partnering the legendary British rally driver, Tony Pond. He later moved to Fiat and then the works Ford team in 1979, co-driving Ari Vatanen to win the British and Scandinavian Championships, then the World Rally Championship in 1981. A world champion at 29, he had achieved his goals as a competitor and retired from international co-driving to concentrate on a flourishing motorsport consultancy business started “on the dining room table.” He formed Prodrive (now based in Banbury, Oxfordshire) at the age of 32 and success soon followed, Prodrive winning the Middle East Championship for the Porsche Rothmans Rally Team three years in a row, three British Touring Car Championships for BMW and a number of European rally championships. Later Prodrive would also add Ford, Alfa Romeo and Honda to the list of success stories.

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NOW DAVID AND HIS TEAM ARE ABOUT TO EMBARK ON THE CHALLENGE OF RETURNING TO THE WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP IN 2011.

At the end of 2008 the economic downturn forced Subaru to withdraw from the World Rally Championship ending a 20 year relationship with Prodrive almost overnight. It came as a bitter blow but Prodrive still maintains healthy sales of £100 million a year supporting existing private teams with both new and existing Subaru rally cars. It also runs the Aston Martin Racing

However, the biggest breakthrough came in 1989 when Prodrive established the Subaru World Rally Team (SWRT) for Fuji Heavy Industries. During the following years the team scored success after success in the World Rally Championship, winning both the manufacturers’ and drivers’ titles in 1995 with Colin McRae and the manufacturers’ title in the following two years. In 1998, David realised a lifelong ambition when he was invited by the Benetton family to manage the Formula One team. With typical strength of character, he withdrew after a year on finding he wasn’t free to run the business in the way he thought essential for success. Instead, he redoubled his focus on Prodrive turning a young Richard Burns into only

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the second British world champion rally driver ever. Later he would also lead the British American Racing (BAR) F1 team to second place in the 2004 manufacturers’ championship with Jensen Button taking third place in the drivers’ championship. Impressed at the result, Honda bought the team and the management contract with Prodrive came to an end. The Richards bought a coastal retreat on the South West coast of Cornwall six years ago. For David, it represented the ideal way to relax from the pressures of a career at the pinnacle of international motorsport. An expert flyer David became the youngest Welsh person ever to gain a Private Pilot’s Licence at the tender age of 17. He has flown helicopters routinely for

team and competes in the Australian V8 Supercar Series as the official team for Ford. Now David and his team are about to embark on the challenge of returning to the World Rally Championship in 2011 with a new manufacturer and a car that they have been designing for the last 18 months.

many years now and currently owns an Agusta seven-seater with which he swiftly commutes from Warwickshire to their Cornish home. “The family lives there throughout the whole summer,” says David. “It works well for me as I can travel by helicopter directly to motor races or meetings at Prodrive, Aston Martin or in London.” Prodrive had taken Aston Martin back into racing during 2004 with the development of the Aston Martin DBR9. A return to Le Mans in 2005 has been met with success and a new Aston Martin LMP1 Le Mans car won the series and finished as the highest place petrol car at Le Mans 24 hour race in 2009. This year, an Aston Martin LMP1 car finished sixth overall. In 2007, David led a consortium to buy Aston Martin from Ford and became the company’s Chairman.

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FOR POSITION ONLY

DAVID ALREADY HAS HIS EYE ON THE OYSTER 575, A YACHT HE FEELS WILL LITERALLY BROADEN HIS HORIZONS IN EVERY SENSE.

It was after buying the house in Cornwall that David’s interest in sailing started in earnest. “Once we had settled in, friends suggested we learn to sail and while looking around the harbour for something to have some fun with, I saw the most beautiful boat – the Sunbeam. It was designed in 1922 and only 47 were built, so I commissioned number 48 to learn to sail and race. It’s very elegant and great fun but a bit like somebody buying a vintage Ferrari racing car to learn to drive,” he grins. Karen, a keen horsewoman, learned to sail as well. “We’re both at a similar level and both go racing when time allows. There are weekly races locally and there’s Falmouth Week which we always like to take part in.” He views his choice of training vessel with a sense of irony. “In the motor racing world there are lots of cars which, having spent their lives with our top drivers, we sell to private collectors. I watch them go out of the door and I know they’re unlikely to be driven quickly again in events like Le Mans. But I realise that in the yachting world, I’ve become one of these people. I’ve got one of these great boats, which I perhaps can’t sail quite as well as the designers intended, but I am slowly getting there!”

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Before long, David realised there could be much more to water-born recreation than sailing and he started looking for a boat he could use for socialising and travelling. “I was particularly interested in a motor yacht to use locally, take friends and business contacts out for lunch. I started doing some research into who made the best British boats out there and soon realised there wasn’t much decision making to be done, it was Oyster.” David is generally quite decisive about acquisitions. “I’m very focussed once I’ve found something I think fits the bill. I saw an LD43 at a boat show and thought it was the one for me. I tend to be a bit like that, whether it’s aeroplanes, helicopters, cars or boats. Once I’ve found the right thing I’ll just home in on it and the Oyster ticked all the boxes in every respect.” Oyster went down to demonstrate its motor yacht on two occasions “just to give me a run through and show me how everything works,” said David. I think they were a bit surprised at my two sons wanting to water ski from the boat but by lunchtime they were in full swing!

“I STARTED DOING SOME RESEARCH INTO WHO MADE THE BEST BRITISH BOATS OUT THERE AND SOON REALISED THERE WASN’T MUCH DECISION MAKING TO BE DONE, IT WAS OYSTER.”

“It is a motor yacht built to the highest specification by people who already build the highest specification of sailing boats and there are several aspects to it I like. The quality of build, design and layout has an awful lot to do with it, as has the thought process that’s clearly gone into every detail. Then there’s the application of the technology, the big Yanmar engines, Hamilton Jets and the rest of the technology on board. I have as much fun playing with the gadgets as anything else!” Does technology play an important part in the decision making process for David? “It’s very important,” he answers unequivocally, “although I do appreciate simplicity in products and I don’t like the use of technology for technology’s sake.” He’s a great believer in continuity too. “I tend to be consistent in life and there’s a great similarity between this boat and Aston Martins which are understated, high-performance cars with a great blend of style and technology. As a helicopter pilot, David also revels in the precision of the LD43 ’s Hamilton Jets when it comes to manoeuvring. “I love the straightforward operation of it. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than entering our local harbour which is relatively tiny and inching up to the side of the slip to pick up some guests, then manoeuvring my way out

again inch-perfect. The precision with which it can be handled is very similar to flying a helicopter. The Hamilton jets mean you can go very shallow too, it only draws about 18 inches of water.” The Richards like to take a relaxing and casual approach to using their Oyster – it’s part of the process of unwinding, although as often as not they are hosting guests on board. The LD43 sits on a mooring 100 metres offshore and is convenient to get to. They use it locally around the coastline, sometimes cruising down to Dartmouth, Salcombe or the Lizard and with a top speed of 30 knots, the Scilly Isles are under two hours away. The LD43 has a single cabin which suits David and Karen when it comes to spending the night on board. “Occasionally we manage to potter off on our own and not take anyone else along – our own private getaway,” he muses. Sometimes the couple will moor up and spend the night on board even when only 30 minutes away from home. David finds it easy to relax on the water and sleeps much better than in the hotels and aeroplanes that form a major part of his business life. The LD43 is also put to good use for daily charter work in conjunction with a local hotel and thus earns its keep when not being used by David himself.

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With this new found love of the water, the Richards’ fleet is growing steadily and the family also have a RIB for utility use and a fishing boat used mainly for setting lobster pots. Having gained so much new-found freedom on the water, there are no plans to trade the Oyster in. “This boat will serve my purpose for years to come,” says David. Nevertheless, more ambitious plans are already beginning to form. “As I’ve learned a little more about boats my ambitions have begun to grow, we’ve even been thinking about an around the world trip.” David already has his eye on the Oyster 575, a yacht he feels will literally broaden his horizons in every sense. “That will certainly require me to gain much more experience and do a lot more work before I go too far afield,” he says. And with two sons who learned to sail at an early age, sailing is likely to become an even bigger part of family life as time goes on. With a 60th birthday approaching, the next few years are promising to be quite busy for David Richards, but at least one major problem has been laid to rest. The prospect of running out of challenges is still some way off.

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Congratulations to the four Oyster 56 crews who

competitive Class C cruising division, outshining their

stole the show in last winter’s Atlantic Rally for

Beneteau, Discovery, Hanse, Jeanneau, Odyssey and

Cruisers. Sarabi (Harvey Death) Gwylan (Charles

Swan rivals. The Oyster Trophy, presented to the first

Manby) A Lady (Stephen Hyde) and Windflower

Oyster under ARC Handicap was presented to Roger

(Vincent Bloem) took the first four places in the highly

Huguet’s Oyster 47, Spray.

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This is their account of the 2,700-mile transatlantic challenge from Las Palmas to St Lucia.

The final week of preparations in Las Palmas went in the blink of an eye for those on board Fizz of Cowes as skipper Chris Willis explains. “This was to be Fizz’s third Atlantic crossing, but our first, so we were hoping she would know the way. The Oyster team in Las Palmas was absolutely brilliant and gave us great service, Eddie Scougall, who led the team, had sailed on Fizz previously and set us the challenge of beating his best speed of 15 knots. Sadly the winds were not that strong and his record still stands, but we did finish within the top five of our class.”

Onboard ‘Spray’, Roger Huguet’s Oyster 47, the main debate before the start was about food. Roger takes up the story. “Buying food turned into something of a cultural clash. On the one hand, Bryan Walker, our English skipper, knew his appetite and complained that what our Spanish chef had bought would lead to us dying of starvation in mid-Atlantic. Jordi knew his craft too but since neither he nor my other friends onboard spoke English, I had to translate for both sides. The skipper’s argument finally won the day, and after a further €3,000 expedition to the shops, we were all happy and ready to go!”

START DAY

DAY 2

FROM GWYLAN’S LOG: “An amazing start with 225 boats. Skipper failed to read the sailing instructions and we were 5 minutes late across the line, which doesn’t really matter when you have nearly 3,000 miles to go! Winds quickly built from 10 to 20 knots and we had our Parasailor spinnaker flying within 10 minutes. It is still up, even after executing our first spinnaker gybe in the dark in 18-knot winds, which was a pretty good start! It’s an Oyster party here. We at 56ft are up with an Oyster 82, 72, 655 and another 56!”

GWYLAN: “By noon we had completed 178nm in 23 hours. Will we make it to a 200nm day? Bit of a parasailor drama last night when the wind was gusting to 25 knots. Then at dawn we poled out the foresail and have been making a very steady 8 knots. Our plan is to head south until the butter melts. Big event of the day has been fishing! And see what we got – Mahi Mahi – so far eaten raw as sashimi. The rest will be cooked for dinner. Delicious!”

FIZZ OF COWES: “It wasn’t the greatest start for us, but as the fleet started to spread out, we hoisted Big Blue, our cruising chute, and Fizz started showing her pace. We had been warned about the acceleration zone to the south of Gran Canaria, but still managed to get caught out with a couple of broaches. We are all a little subdued as the scale of the challenge ahead begins to dawn on us.” SPRAY: “The start was very emotional for all of us. Spirits were up. What most intrigued us was that in just 12 hours of sailing the 225 boats almost disappeared from our view. We were alone with an ocean to cross.”

DAY 3 GWYLAN: “After not having seen another boat all day, supper was somewhat disturbed by a big race yacht that passed us and then gybed 600m away! Our main rival, Sator, is a Farr 64 and we think we are 25 miles ahead of them, which is pretty good since they are faster than us.” SPRAY: “We have been catching Dorados all afternoon. Ricard, a great surgeon, has been cutting and slicing and now our fridge is full. We are now into our watch routine and with each surf, each one of us is getting more immersed in their own world.”

KATHARSIS II: “What a fantastic atmosphere at the start! Once the winds had begun to build, our asymmetric spinnaker gave us over 10 knots of boat speed. We gybed at 1800 and set our heavy spinnaker for the first time. This sail works great in 20 knots+ and by midnight we had overhauled the Oyster 82 Rivendell.”

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DAY 4

DAY 5

DAY 7

DAY 9

FIZZ OF COWES: “We have just passed the first 500-mile marker and all is well. We had a bit of excitement last night trying to get Big Blue, our cruising chute, down in winds gusting 30 knots. The snuffer was not playing ball, so the chute went for a swim but after much grunting and groaning, we got it back on board eventually. Liz is educating us in healthy eating with lots of fresh vegetables, and is also running a Pilates class on the afterdeck each afternoon, which everyone is required to attend! The butter has just started to melt, so tomorrow we start heading west directly towards St Lucia.”

GWYLAN: “Light winds today but we have the spinnaker up and still maintaining 8 knots after a couple of slow hours. Noon to noon we made very close to 200nm. We have also gained a bit on Sarabi, but it seems very close between the four Oyster 56s, with Windflower and A Lady also in the frame. We have now completed 800nm and are inside 2000nm of the finish. I gave the helm the instruction after lunch today: steer 262 deg T for 2020nm!”

GWYLAN: “A bit of a record day. We had a maximum wind speed of 30.6 knots at 06.00 and a new maximum speed (sog) of 12.1 knots at 18.00. Our 24hr distance of 209 miles is the best we have had so far and pushed us up to 23rd overall, which we are very pleased with.”

GWYLAN: “Just finished nine hours of sewing up the Parasailor in teams of three. The chute is ready to go and we hope she will last. Generator has also been fixed so we can make water again. Beer supplies seem to be unaffected...”

KATHARSIS II: “Now steering a rhumb line course for St Lucia. Experienced our first spinnaker wrap. It took half an hour to sort it out. Then almost lost our beloved heavy spinnaker in a squall and have had to go goose-winged for a night.”

FIZZ OF COWES: “The cigars and champagne came out of deep stowage to celebrate the halfway point. We have also had the strongest winds so far, with steady 30 knots of breeze for most of the day, good for boat speed, but the seas have been confused and steep. We are now in the rainsquall zone, so need to be vigilant and avoid having too much sail up when one approaches.”

GWYLAN: “300 miles North of the Cape Verde Islands. We are now in the proper trade winds, which are blowing 15 – 20 knots from dead astern. This makes for easy sailing in a beautiful boat like ‘Gwylan’, which is making a steady 8 knots, almost in the right direction. We saw our first flying fish today jumping out of the waves just in front of the boat. Thanks to our thorough preparations, all systems are working well so we have spent our time addressing low priority tasks:

• • Lara has taught Tom the Dutch card game Farmer’s Bridge. • Charles has finished another book. • Carsten has caught up on some sleep. has had an amazing new experience, a hot shower • James on a sailing boat. new flat screen TV is going to be put through its paces • Ththise evening with a showing of ‘The Incredibles’.” Nicky has found that the ice tray needs fixing.

KATHARSIS II: “This is the longest continuous sailing we have had under spinnaker. Gybing every 8hrs to check our guy for chafing. Passed Nix, an X-612 at 04.00 and now only the much bigger Swan 112 Highland Breeze is ahead of us in our class! ”

SPRAY: “First 1000 miles completed! Jan, our airline pilot who used to fly jumbos, has been going crazy looking for something in the boat to invest his knowledge and expertise on. He has settled on challenging the Mastervolt charger/inverter after deciding that the charge ratio is not good enough. Manuals and brochures are spread everywhere. This will keep him and our skipper occupied for a week!” KATHARSIS II: “We have been making daily runs of between 225 and 235 miles ever since the start and are now 7th place overall within the fleet - really good! We have turned south to look for the trade winds but broached during spinnaker hoist, which threw all the gazpacho across the saloon. Roma, my sister is not happy!”

DAY 6 GWYLAN: “Noon to noon we ran 186nm in quite light winds. We put up the parasailor/spinnaker yesterday at 11.00 and it has not been down since except to repair a small tear, and intend to keep it up all night again. The Parasailor does make her very balanced and we feel much more confident on hoisting/lowering it. At noon today we are 33rd in the overall fleet and lead our class. But it isn’t a race of course! Who said there are no fish in the Atlantic? Maybe no tuna but today we caught four more Mahi Mahi; one got away and we threw two back; it was fish pie for dinner. Nicky says we are ahead of the menu plan as far as fish are concerned, so fishing quotas may be imposed to make sure we eat the contents of the freezer.”

DAY 8 GWYLAN: “WE GYBED! Successfully with speed not dropping below 7 knots and a smart pole change. Crew is coming along nicely. For dinner it’s champagne to celebrate halfway on the miles front, steak, chips and broccoli. It was meant to be tuna carpaccio first, but fishing let us down. Later that night: 17 metres! That’s the amount of sewing we have to do to repair the webbing tape on the Parasailor after a poor hoist at night, which ended up with it, wrapped around the radar dome. Rip! Rip! It looked like a real tearing of £50 pound notes in a shower moment. James and Nicky are sewing, Lara is making bread (we have had fresh bread every day) and Tom has his nose in the engine room trying to make the generator go.”

DAY 10

FIZZ OF COWES: “We had a very successful day’s fishing today. We caught two Dorado, one was a good 10lbs. The weather continues to be favourable, with plenty of wind from the NE, so we have been keeping up our average of 7 knots. We had our usual fight with the cruising chute snuffer this evening, but eventually managed to get the chute back in its bag and the main and genoa up for the overnight sailing. There is nothing to see out here but blue skies and miles and miles of blue ocean. We are now more than 1,000 miles from land and hoping to reach the halfway point in the next 24 hrs.”

DAY 11

KATHARSIS II: “Set the asymmetric spinnaker today. It lasted just 4 hours before blowing out in 30 knots of wind. We have replaced it with our symmetrical spinnaker and still covered 160 miles.”

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GWYLAN: “Wind completely died at 6am since when it has been a drift. We were trying to make it south towards the St Lucia latitude but stuck in a big hole. Despite this lack of wind we did manage to have a spectacular broach when a line squall hit us. A lot of water got into the pilot berth and James/Lara’s cabin, which means Gwylan went over to a pretty spectacular angle. All dried out now. A Lady has sneaked ahead 10nm and is in a better position 30nm to the South of us. Not a good day!”

GWYLAN: “Well a poor Wednesday continued into Thursday in sailing terms and I suspect it’s a bit of a light winds procession to the finish from here. We got stuck in a low that had come further south than we had thought, so the day’s total is only about 140nm. A Lady, 30nm to the south, has got away and Satori has caught up, so it looks as though we won’t beat either of them to the finish unless our wind changes a lot. Between 20.30 and 02.00 today we made 29nm. Plenty of action around us, but too much calm in the middle. The fishing rod, which was much derided when I purchased it in Lanzarote, has been put to good use again and we caught a 3-4kg Blue fin tuna. With hindsight we should have headed south about 3 days ago.”

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DAY 14

GWYLAN: “It is HOT! Sea temperature is up to 33ºC, and the few hours in the middle of the day are very hot indeed – we even switched on the air conditioning. We now have 430nm to go. The Parasailor has been up for over 48 hours now. Without it this would have been painfully slow. So all those hours of sewing were worth it. A Lady, I am afraid, is going to win the class and the race among the Oyster 56s unless she has used her engine. It’s pretty close between Sarabi and us, so it looks as though the Oyster 56s will all finish within 8 hours of each other. The winds are light, so our skipper has stopped the boat and instructed the crew to have a very pleasant swim in mid Atlantic. Even in light winds Gwylan was still making 2 knots with some assistance from the current, so nervous readers, please be assured that two people stayed on board at all times. Nicky and Lara set up a beauty salon on the rear deck offering massage and exfoliation services to all, which was quite a surprise to the rest of the crew.”

GWYLAN: “An eventful night, with tons of breeze, a gybe well executed at 02.00. Not much sleep, as helming was both demanding and exciting with cross-waves getting bigger as we passed the continental shelf and depths went from 5000m to 1200m.”

SPRAY: “Full sail set with genoa goose-winged. Some yachts have already finished, but spirits are still high. The problem is that we all assume that we are almost there even though there is still another 600 miles to go. The last few days are likely to be a bit slow.”

DAY 15

KATHARSIS II: “A near disaster day. It began with a spinnaker wrap after sunset. Everyone called on deck, but it still took 45 minutes to sort out the mess. Hoisting the spinnaker again in the dark, the sail suddenly filled while Hania was walking back down the leeside to attach the boom preventer. She was caught by the sheet and thrown overboard. I pressed the man-overboard button and we threw over a life ring with a light attached in the hope that she would swim to it. We wear lifejackets and harnesses at night, but light wind and all spreader lights up had made us overconfident, so most of the crew were not wearing theirs. We got the spinnaker down and turned the boat round within 800 metres. Wojtek pulled in the preventer line, which had a lot of pressure on it. Suddenly it dawned on him that Hania may still be holding on to it. Hania takes up the story: “It was frightening to see the boat, all lit up, disappearing. I didn’t realise I had the rope in my hand until I felt the clip on the end and instinctively clung on to it. The tow pulled me under water, but I turned on my back and came back up to the surface. Tomek grabbed me and pulled me back on board safe and sound. We were all very emotional and happy.”

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KATHARSIS II: “We have been keeping pace with all racing boats ahead of us. Then last night, just 100 miles from St Lucia, our spinnaker pole broke and the spinnaker became wrapped around the forestay – total disaster! All hands on deck. We finally managed to clear up the mess, jury-rigged the pole and sailed to the finish with headsails goose-winged. Crossed the line as 10th boat after 14 days, 3hrs 55 minutes – 2nd only behind a Swan 112 in our class to finish 3rd in our Class on corrected time – not bad!”

GWYLAN: “20 miles to go! We have the Parasailor up, reaching hard at 9.5 knots away from the edge of a cloud, which looks as if it is going to pass. The wind builds to 20-22 knots, which starts a debate on whether to drop the sail. Suddenly the right flank of the cloud detaches itself from the main bulk and dive-bombs Gwylan. We are slow to react. Pop and Bang is the sound of several thousand Euros worth of sail ripping horizontally across. Calm follows storm and we wallow into the finish line 45 minutes behind Sarabi and 10 hours behind A Lady (who used 9 hours 40 minutes of engine). Windflower is 4 hours behind so, all four Oyster 56s arrived within 8 hours of each other. Total elapsed time 15, days 6 hours and 38 minutes – 3 days faster than expected.”

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THE BEST BITS OF THE VOYAGE a Minke whale, which followed us, swimming under the boat • Seeing for 3 hours. An amazing experience! The downwind sailing. ARC 2009 had terrific weather, with good • winds every day and some memorable downwind sailing. Fizz was

“All in all it was fulfilling a dream I have long held, after seeing an Oyster 56 called Kathara sailing off St Vincent with an ARC flag on it 15 years ago. A great experience, Gwylan has been a rock-star, just the perfect boat for such a voyage. She behaved well and put up with all of our 'operator error'.

ideally suited to these conditions and really showed her paces. An enormously capable boat.

Planning this trip and having it as an objective has been a great motivator for my wife Nicky and myself after the dark days of breast cancer, chemo and radiotherapy. I think it has helped us through that in a big way. Nicky pushed me not to put it off, and so here we are. Her provisioning, happiness-creating skills, sailing skills (she is now a much better helm than me because she doesn’t overdo it), made for crew cohesion in a way you will all recognise. It has been very special to do this with my wife. Being able to sail together is a great part of our lives and marriage and I am very lucky to have her to do it with.”

• Watching the shooting stars while on night watch. camaraderie and the sense of achievement particularly when • Thweecrossed the finish line. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Chris Willis, Fizz of Cowes

Charles Manby, Gwylan

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DAY 16 FIZZ OF COWES: “We are so close to St Lucia, you can almost hear the calypso music drifting across the water. We have 228 miles to go and everyone is talking about what they miss most. Apart from family and friends, a good uninterrupted night’s sleep seems to be a favourite.”

Oyster Trophy

Oyster Line Honours

Oyster Line Honours

Cruising Division

First Oyster on corrected time:

Invitation Division:

Cruising Division:

Class C

Oyster 47 Spray, Roger Huguet

Oyster 72 Katharsis, Mariusz Koper

Oyster 56 A Lady, Stephen Hyde

1 : Oyster 56 Sarabi

DAY 17 FIZZ OF COWES: ”Just 50 miles to go. The spinnaker has been up all day, perfect sailing weather. Bring on the rum punches!!”

Photography contributions: PPL Media and Carla Stoop • Tim • Robin Wright – photoaction.com Charles and Nicky Manby • Wojtek Urbanek • Roger Huguet • •

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Oyster 56 Gwylan

3:

Oyster 56 A Lady

4:

Oyster 56 Windflower

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OYSTER. PERPETUAL ENJOYMENT.

C H ART E R

HOLIDAY. OF A LIFETIME? Many a holidaymaker has been left seriously contemplating owning an Oyster after chartering one. Who could blame them for wanting the holiday to last a lifetime? For a very special relationship starts the moment you step onboard your Oyster charter. For you will have chosen a yacht so beautifully appointed and so enjoyable to sail it makes it very hard to say farewell at the end of the holiday. What adds to the enjoyment is the professional and friendly crew who will do everything they can to ensure your charter holiday flows with a pace that suits your requirements. Energetic sailing, perhaps? Lazy days idling at anchor in peaceful bays? Or swimming from deserted palm-fringed white sand beaches? And, of course, there’s the locations. The Caribbean, the South Pacific or the Mediterranean? East coast USA or Croatia?

Q U ESTI O N I S , W H ER E W I LL YO U R M O O D TA K E YO U ?

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Oyster 82, Zig Zag

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Oyster 82, Ravenous II

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Oyster 82, Darling

Oyster 82, Pandemonium (ex Oceana)

C H ART E R

Oyster 82, Sarita

Oyster 72, Cookielicious

THE OYSTER CHARTER FLEET Oyster Charter specialises in providing a bespoke service for both owners and charter guests and represents a range of very special, privately owned Oysters available to charter from 56' to 82', all managed by professional crews.

For more information about all the Oyster yachts available through Oyster Charter please contact Molly Marston, via email at molly.marston@oystermarine.com or visit www.oystercharter.com

Oyster 56, Astahaya

“I just wanted to thank all the team at Oyster for arranging another brilliant ‘Harnett’ holiday. Venture was great… as with our previous Oyster experience, the yacht coped with everything that was thrown at her with style and panache.

Oyster 56, Amanzi

Oyster 575, Endless One

Despite the fog and rain of the New England ‘summer’, there were plenty of highlights and even some sunshine (and a few beautiful sunsets as well). Mark and Denise made sure that we had a fantastic ten days on board regardless of the weather. The highlights of the trip vary between the various members of the family. For Sara it was helming Venture on the very first day, under the Newport Bridge as we got up to speed as a crew with multiple tacks and ‘raced’ Oasis! For me it was seeing the beautiful J-class yachts racing in the Newport Bucket, followed closely by our own crossing to Nantucket almost directly downwind in gusts of over 30 knots with Venture comfortably over 11 knots. For Lizzy, it was being able to access the shopping delights of Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard and Hyannis in

such style. While George was delighted at being allowed to sit and read in comfort for ten days. Added to the sailing and the beautiful anchorages that Mark chose for us – such as Cuttyhunk and Hadley Harbour, was Denise’s cooking. While Sara and I very much appreciated all the superb catering, I suspect that it will be the fantastic warming food that Denise produced on two very wild, windy and very wet, cold sails that we had which will stick in the memory most. Suffice to say, that the fog also made it some of the most challenging sailing that we have done and made us realize more than ever, how important it is for us to have a great skipper like Mark in charge of the boat. Quite simply, we would not have been going anywhere for three or four days if we had been chartering without a skipper! Thank you again for all your help in putting the trip together, we hope to see you again soon and look forward to sailing with Oyster Charter again in future (probably closer to the equator next time!)”

“We wish to express our sincere gratitude for the wonderful time our family have recently enjoyed, sailing Sotto Vento in the British Virgin Islands. We are a family of five including three teenagers. When we saw Sotto Vento in her full glory she looked pristine, just like getting on a new boat at the boat show! This was a considerable feat considering she had just completed the ARC and sailed from St Lucia to Tortola via Antigua. We were immediately made to feel at home and, after a safety briefing, we set off to the first of many beautiful anchorages where Dee prepared the first of many fabulous lunches. Within a short space of time Gary had launched the RIB and taken the kids wakeboarding and doughnutting. We drank our favourite wine watching the sunset and, after swimming followed by hot showers, we sat down to a delightful evening meal! After just a few hours on board we were all pinching ourselves thinking can it really continue to be as good as this for the next nine days?

Well the answer was a resounding yes! Dees’ cooking has to be experienced to be believed. She worked tirelessly to produce incredible meals. It was like eating lunch and dinner at your favourite restaurant every single day! Everything was freshly prepared, and beautifully presented. The information we had provided in the preference sheets had been interpreted perfectly; the net result being presented with our favourite foods and drinks every day! Similarly, Gary bent over backwards to ensure we did everything we wanted to do as much as we wanted whenever we wanted! He was fantastic with the kids. We swam, snorkelled, wakeboarded, doughnutted and windsurfed pretty much every day! During this trip we celebrated Simon’s 50th birthday as well as New Year’s Eve. We cannot imagine a better or more memorable way of having done so. This was the best family holiday ever. Thank you so much!”

Oyster 72, Magrathea

Oyster 575, On Liberty

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Oyster 72, Stravaig of Argyll

Simon, Nina, Michael, Sophie and Ben Ashley, Charter on Oyster 655, Sotto Vento

Ian, Sara, George and Elizabeth Harnett, Charter on Oyster 62, Venture

Oyster 62, Venture

Oyster 72, Kealoha 8

Oyster 655, Acheron

Oyster 655, Roulette v.2

Oyster 655, Sotto Vento

Oyster 72, Koluka

Oyster 66, Angel Dust

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Small LuxuryHotels Hotelsof ofthe theWorld World™ ™ by by Small Luxury

Oyster and Gstaad Yacht Club... relationship reaches new peaks!

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rom body scrubs with blends of raw almond to one-on-one yoga classes on a private beach, and facial treatments created individually from natural products, Spa by Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ is a mouthwatering collection of soothing oases where you can truly indulge in some hedonistic bliss and therapeutic pampering.

In March, Oyster CEO, David Tydeman, again led the ‘OYSTER-RORC’ team in the unique GYC annual Ski-Yachting event. Reaching the semi-finals the team enjoyed some great slalom skiing and match racing the 1-metre America’s Cup replica yachts donated to the Club by Alinghi/Ernesto Bertarelli.

With over 500 of some of the world’s finest small independent hotels in over 70 countries, the choices are infinite with Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Here is just a small selection, but visit www.slh.com/spa to find your perfect spa hotel and see all the latest special offers.

Pennyhill Park Hotel & The Spa, Surrey, England Experience the rejeuvenating effect of water at The Spa at Pennyhill Park Hotel, where you can wallow in hydrotherapy pools, soak in hot tubs, steam in a sauna or be invigorated under an experience shower.

Huvafen Fushi, Maldives Surround yourself with the glories of the ocean in the Maldivian hideaway of Huvafen Fushi and head for the underwater treatment room and the signature Unite-me Crystal Ritual where exotic ingredients from sea and land anoint and enwrap your body.

Small Luxury Hotels of the World™

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, Arizona, USA Soothe, smoothe and indulge your body from the most comprehensive spa menu at the Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain. Here in the heart of Arizona’s red desert lie back and luxuriate in an aloe skin quencher body wrap and a Sanctuary stone massage.

The event starts with a 1-kilometre intermediate slalom race, with 1st place going to the skier who has the least time difference between his or her first and second runs. The best this year was 1/100th of a second difference! Consistency not speed is rewarded therefore and the best times in each team are added together to give the team result. The winning slalom team gets a bye to the quarterfinals of the match racing, with others having to win through the earlier heats. 25 teams from yacht clubs around the world took part this year and this event is now at maximum capacity for the club so they are looking at expanding the idea and have offered Oyster their own event – more details will follow soon. Last year Oyster invited the winning team from the Société Nautique de Genève (SNG) to join us at the Oyster Regatta in Palma as part of the prizes for the Ski-Yachting. This year David similarly extended an invitation again to the RYS team. The SNG team reported back to their club and Swiss colleagues so favourably about the Palma experience, that as they were knocked

out in the early rounds this year, they asked David about buying an Oyster so they could continue to take part in our events! Encouraged by this, we have signed up with Gstaad Yacht Club as an official partner, alongside HSBC, C&N, Porsche, Porto Montenegro, and Mont Blanc. Through this, Porto Montenegro has already extended some very favourable berthing terms for several Oyster yachts operating in that area and the Oyster team is now working with GYC and the other partners on extending services to all Oyster owners. We have held various highly successful ski events in the past, both in the Alps and the US, and new ideas for an Oyster ski-weekend and other events with Gstaad are emerging. We hope to use this sort of partnership more and more to generate other peripheral extras that will come with owning an Oyster.

Over 500 hotels in more than 70 Countries To book your perfect spa break visit www.slh.com/spa 6 8

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AUTUMN SHOWS

Oyster 46

Oyster 54

Oyster 56

Oyster 575

Oyster 625

Oyster 655

Oyster 72

Oyster 82

Oyster 885

Oyster 100

HISWA IN-WATER 31 Aug – 5 Sept Oyster 46

CANNES 8 – 13 Sept Oyster 56 & Oyster 72

SOUTHAMPTON 10 – 19 Sept Oyster 54, 575 & 655

NEWPORT BROKERAGE SHOW 16 – 19 Sept Oyster 655

The New Oyster 575

MONACO YACHT SHOW 22 – 25 Sept

OYSTER AT THE AUTUMN SHOWS As we launch into the autumn boat show season we offer a very warm welcome to our owners, customers and show visitors to view some of the newest Oyster models afloat.

In Annapolis we will be showing an Oyster 72 for the first time at a US show, whilst in Germany we will have another Oyster 575 on display, making her Hamburg debut.

Making her Southampton Show premiere, the stunning new Oyster 575 will be on show alongside beautiful examples of the popular Oyster 54 and Oyster 655. Visitors will find us in our usual position on the outside pontoon of the show marina.

Because we do get extremely busy, if you have a serious interest in looking at a particular yacht in our range we do ask you to contact us in advance of your visit.

GENOA Please visit the Events section of our website where you can find out more details about each boat show and where you can also make an appointment to view our yachts by completing the online Boarding Pass request form. If you prefer, you can of course simply call our sales team.

2 – 10 Oct Oyster 54 & Oyster 575

ANNAPOLIS SAILBOAT 7 – 11 Oct Oyster 56 & Oyster 72

UK/EUROPEAN SHOWS UK Office: +44 (0)1473 695005

US SHOWS US Office: +1 401 846 7400

HAMBURG 30 Oct – 7 Nov Oyster 46

Oyster 125 70

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NEWP ORT OYST E R RENDEZVOUS 2010 BY G E O RG E DAY

Light winds and good humour reigned as the fleet raced slowly eastward from Newport Rhode Island to Edgartown, on Martha’s Vineyard. Over the last weekend of June, a fleet of 13 Oyster yachts gathered in Newport for two days of sailing and socialising. Hosted by Oyster’s USA office, which is based in Newport, the event attracted owners from all over the East Coast of the US and Canada and from as far away as the UK, and included Keith and Rosemary Hamilton’s Oyster 62, Carpe Diem, and Mike and Donna Hill’s Oyster 56, Baccalieu III, both having recently completed circumnavigations. The weekend kicked off with a dinner at the New York Yacht Club’s summer clubhouse in Newport, where all of the crews had a chance to meet each other and get to know the Oyster team and the representatives from companies that helped sponsor the event. Many of the owners and their crews were old friends so the gathering was like a homecoming in which sea stories were the currency of the day. For newcomers, the Oyster clan was most welcoming as glasses were raised and boats and names were matched up for the regatta over the weekend.

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crossed the starting line and then began to slowly but surely sail through the fleet ahead of us. Using a bit of local knowledge, we were soon able to round the bluffs at Vineyard Haven and jibe out into Nantucket Sound to be at the front of the fleet near the finish line off Edgartown. But then the wind died and we all started drifting in circles. The forecast was for the wind to pick up from the east, which would have been perfect for Magrathea’s windward position relative to the inshore boats. But that was not destined to happen. After an hour of flat calm, the wind began to build. But it was building from the south and boosted the inshore boats before it got to us. The breeze hit Thales and Alan Symond’s Oyster 47 Veronica before us, allowing them to squeeze across the line just ahead of Magrathea. Twice in two days the boats I was crewing aboard were pipped at the post!

On Saturday, the fleet set out to race from Newport to Cuttyhunk in the Elizabeth Islands off southern Massachusetts. Using a rally start, the boats waited their turns as dictated by handicap, then strove to overtake the boats ahead of them. The wind was light in the morning and blowing directly up Narragansett Bay’s East Passage so everyone started at the windward end of the line and tacked slowly but steadily out the Bay. I got to sail with Doug and Jean Renfield Miller and their crew Jeff McCooey aboard their Oyster 46 Thales. We got a good start off the line, found a nice slant of wind out of Narragansett Bay and by the time we turned around buoy R2A off Brenton Reef, we were in the lead. The 46 handled very well and was able to generate a nice turn of speed in the light breeze. As we rounded R2A, with the asymmetrical chute pulling nicely, Thales got the bit in her teeth and seemed to trot away from the rest of the fleet some of whom were struggling to get their chutes set and some who chose to run off without one. By midafternoon as we neared Cuttyhunk, only one boat was threatening us from astern – the Oyster 72 Magrathea – and she would eventually beat us across the line by less than 10 minutes. But not before both boats disappeared into a fog bank that rolled in off the ocean and reduced visibility to 30 feet.

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Sailing on instruments, we navigated in close to the little island and watched, via AIS on the chartplotter, as Magrathea swept over the finish line. With the chute still pulling and the wind beginning to pipe, we hardened up a bit and Jeff steered us into the open roadstead off Cuttyhunk Harbor where we picked up a mooring for the night. One by one the rest of the fog bound fleet crossed the finish line and motored into the roadstead to pick up moorings near us until all were home safely. And, of course, as soon as the fleet was safely moored, the fog rolled out again leaving us with a lovely clear evening. Saturday evening, the Oyster crowd gathered on Cuttyhunk at the charming hilltop home of Oyster owners Pat and Alan Symonds for a traditional New England clambake – a feast of clam chowder, half shell oysters, lobster, steamed clams, little necks, fresh corn and chouriço. After a day of sailing, there were more stories to tell and the Thales crew had some explaining to do regarding the boat’s stellar performance. The Sunday race up Vineyard Sound to Edgartown went off in haze and fog and with very little wind. I was fortunate enough to sail with Chris and Susan Shea and their crew Nick and Sarah aboard their magnificent Oyster 72 Magrathea. We got the big asymmetrical chute up as we

In Edgartown the fleet dispersed as some anchored outside the harbor off Chapaquiddick Beach (where the movie Jaws was filmed and near Ted Kennedy’s infamous crash) while others picked up moorings or dock space inside the crowded harbor. That night, the fleet gathered in Edgartown, one of the most charming ports in New England, for a final cocktail party (hosted by Blue Water Sailing magazine), the awards ceremony and dinner. As it should be, there were awards for performance and there were fun awards for laughs… which we won’t go into here. For the regatta, Doug and Jean on Thales took top honours with two second-place finishes… and this was their first attempt at racing! They certainly know how to make their 46 go in the light stuff.

R E S U LT S

DAY 1 : 1st to finish

Magrathea

A congenial group, the final party lasted well into the night as old pals and new friends in the Oyster family celebrated the good life. I was glad I could be a part of it.

DAY 1 : 2nd to finish

Thales

DAY 2 : 1st to finish

Veronica

Sponsors: Blue Water Sailing Pantaenius Insurance Protector Boats New England Boatworks Old Port Marine and Cay Electronics

DAY 2 : 2nd to finish

Thales/Bobby’s Run

Overall Winner

Thales

Photos: Don Miller George Day is the publisher of Blue Water Sailing magazine (www.bwsailing.com). SUM M ER

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TYING THE KNOT AT MINERVA REEF

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“The married couple from another yacht have commercial licenses from the US which permit them to handle boats up to 100 tons and to marry Americans of any weight.”

North Minerva Reef ( Lat 23 degrees 39'.29S Long 178 degrees 53'.84W )

We are anchored in the south east corner of North Minerva Reef, an isolated coral lagoon about three hundred miles south of Tonga and less than a thousand miles from Auckland. It is a stunning, if rather surreal spot, with shallow azure blue waters fringing the friendly side of the reef. At low water no more than 0.9 metres of coral is above the water, protecting us from the excesses of the South Pacific Ocean outside. There are eight yachts, including ourselves, all waiting for a weather window for the last leg of the run to New Zealand to avoid the cyclone season. We arrived from Rarotonga after a fun, eleven hundred mile sail aboard Sea Rover, our Oyster 46, beam reaching much of the way in force 5-6. Devala is cutting my hair on the back of the boat and I’m watching two people in a dinghy visiting each of the boats in the anchorage.

Now it’s our turn. They decline our invitation on board but invite us to a party at five this evening, an engagement party; he popped the question yesterday, after four years together. Four years and a lot of sea-miles, like us their shorts and T-shirts faded a long time ago. Congratulations flow, strangers to strangers. Their story may get better, it may become Marriage at Minerva, they have yet to decide, two cruisers on another yacht having offered to officiate tomorrow. Of course we would like to join them for drinks at five, just one thing, what time is it? We ask because Sea Rover is still set to Cook Islands time which is to the east of the International Date Line. Our fears are correct; we are 23 hours behind the other boats in the anchorage, as most have sailed down from Tonga.

By Mike and Devala Robinson, Oyster 46 Sea Rover

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“Only as we finalise details of our flight to the UK to catch up with family and friends does it slowly begin to sink in, that in safety and comfort, we have actually sailed our new home half way around the world.“

No wonder we seemed to be the first sitting on deck with sundowners on Friday, Saturday or whatever day it was! It is late on Saturday night (Sea Rover time) and we now know the wedding is at noon tomorrow. We’ve just got back from the engagement party, gossiping with all the other cruisers in the anchorage, comparing notes on places and passages. Once again, I told my story of our visit to Easter Island, how several years ago, sometime between signing on the dotted line for our new Oyster and remortgaging our house, we had spent the weekend with friends who had circumnavigated in the nineties. Usual form, he had dragged her across oceans to help him fulfil his dream. As we relaxed in the West Country farmhouse they are doing up before she takes him back to sea, we mused on routes, seasons, favourite anchorages and they talked about their regrets at not spending more time exploring the Pacific, something you often hear. Then innocently I asked what seemed like an obvious question: “Why hadn’t they gone to Easter Island?” I might as well have suggested sailing to Mars. I can still remember his face and the incredulous tone in his voice: “Do you know where it is!” My geography was, shall we say, imprecise!

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Our friends had sailed the classic route that first timers take through the South Pacific. Sometimes disparagingly called the ‘Coconut Milk Run’, it joins up many of the most famous bits; Galapagos, Marquesas, Tuamotos, then Tahiti and other Society Islands before heading down to New Zealand or Australia. It is a run of over 7000 miles from Panama so when you do find Easter Island on the chart, you see why so few boats detour over two thousand miles to a small, volcanic island where no anchorage is completely sheltered from the constantly changing winds and ocean swells, which don’t always come from the same direction. At the engagement party I discovered that we weren’t the only guests to have visited Easter Island, Bruce and Alene the newly engaged couple had not only visited the island on their trimaran, Migration, but written the anchoring guide we had downloaded and used from Noonsite. Now, I jested, we certainly know where Easter Island is having sailed there from Ecuador (light winds, often only force 2-3 and motoring through the all too frequent holes). We fell in love with the island although we did have to move five times as the changeable weather made each place we were anchored untenable. Our planned 10-day stay morphed into three weeks, in

beautiful anchorages overlooking stark statues (moai), which we often enjoyed on our own. We thought we knew Easter Island’s history, how the endeavour to construct massive carved statues had depleted their natural resources until the society imploded, perhaps as some have suggested a parable for the vanities of this century. One surprise was that there are far more statues than we had appreciated, more than 900, spread around the island. On the sides of the Rano Raraku volcano was the ‘moai factory’, where carved figures still lay, many unfinished, no longer required as the islanders moved away from ancestor worship. At the other end of the island another surprise awaits as the Rano Kau volcano gives glimpses of the new religious and socio-political order, which emerged later with the Make-Make cult and its daring Birdman ceremony. Late at night after the engagement party, we hoist the flags to dress Sea Rover overall, a breakfast surprise for Migration and the first time we’d flown them since the start of the ARC in Las Palmas, just under a year ago! Midmorning, and there is a buzz of activity across the anchorage. Many of the boats are now decked in bunting, one dinghy is visiting

yachts looking for eggs to bake the wedding cake, another is visiting its lobster pots near the reef – just in case Pacific spiny lobster fall for Norwegian pots – everyone is preparing something for the Wedding Breakfast and Devala has blown up the 48 party balloons we had on board – don’t ask! The couple are married at noon, quite possibly Minerva Reef’s first wedding. Officiating are the married couple from another yacht, both of whom have commercial licenses from the US (classroom qualifications) which permit them to handle boats up to 100 tons and to marry Americans of any weight provided they are more than three miles offshore! Much of the ceremony is predictable: vows, albeit freshly scripted; the exchanging of rings, albeit cringles, all they had on board; the kiss, the cake, the toasts; and, the sense of occasion. But no family (who still don’t know) just every cruiser in the anchorage, sharing a very special occasion and exchanging stories of what brought each of us to Minerva. Many of the yachts had taken the ‘Coconut Milk Run’ through the Pacific and we too joined it after Easter Island, sailing the 2000 miles north to explore the Marquesas, seeing just one other boat in the slow, 18-day passage. We are so glad that we made the effort and see why some call these islands, with their lush green volcanic slopes,

the most beautiful islands in the world. The topography gives very good radar reflections which, when overlaid across our surprisingly accurate electronic charts, allowed us to enter some anchorages at night. We spent a month cruising north from our night-time landfall in Baie de Vierges, Fatu Hiva, to the large island of Niku Hiva, perhaps the most memorable island we visited. Like other islands it is surrounded by stunning, steep sided anchorages which you can clearly see are in the middle of the calderas of ancient volcanoes. Across the Marquesas there are wonderful clues to the culture of the Polynesians that predated contact with Europeans. Many of the marae, traditional social and religious meeting places, still have a very spiritual feel to them with lichen covered tiki set in beautiful wooded locations, of which Iipona on Hiva Oa was our favourite, despite rain and mosquitoes! Minerva Reef, mid-morning Tuesday. Channel 16 bursts into life with music. Then an apology, “Sorry everyone I know that it is illegal to play music on the VHF but I just wanted to say thank you all for yesterday, it really was an awesome day”, a sentiment that echoed around the anchorage. Somehow it is all of us who should be thanking them for ‘awesome’ memories you couldn’t write!

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That evening the party continues aboard Sea Rover, once again everyone in the anchorage contributing nibbles and drinks, all of us running down our supplies before the Ministry of Agriculture in New Zealand inspects our boats, in their reputedly friendly and very efficient way. Sea Rover, wins more admirers but someone expresses surprise that we set off so soon in a new boat, covering over 10,000 miles in her first year. What problems had we had, they wonder. My answer is very few except for our genset, which had been a litany of woes, but thanks to the support and backup from the Oyster Warranty and After Sales Team these are now hopefully a thing of the past. We have often reflected where would we be without Oyster’s David Abbott and Sarah Harmer? All aboard know that behind every beautiful photograph, there is another picture of cruisers straining to fit their heads and tools into small gaps, servicing and fixing! After midnight, when everyone had left, we reflect on the joys of cruising, the enviable places you visit, the cultures you dip into (albeit so shallowly) and the shared aspirations of so many of this small, floating brain drain, cruising the Pacific! Our boat had been buzzing with guests who we would have relished inviting for supper back home in suburbia and not talking about sailing!

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“Minerva is yet another unforgettable experience in a year already packed with enviable memories of our cruising life.”

“Stunning, steep sided anchorages which you can clearly see are in the middle of the calderas of ancient volcanoes.”

A boat full of so many accomplished men and women, usually sailing double-handed and talented sailors both. Perhaps that band of ‘single-handers sailing with their wives’ has been overtaken at last! As guests are already starting to leave the anchorage, we experience a fly-past from the New Zealand air force. Not unfortunately in honour of the marriage at Minerva, but rather ‘Orion’ asking each boat to identify itself so that they can see if we have already registered with the New Zealand authorities and record our latest ETA, before we leave these Tongan waters. Cheekily we ask ‘Orion’ for an update on the arrival of friends sailing south from Tonga. ‘Mandala’ they say, is North West of the reef. Sometime later after Migration has left to more hoots, cheers and VHF chatter, we motor

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Sea Rover across the lagoon towards the pass, so that Devala and I can go diving off the reef outside, the first time we have been diving on our own. Just as we are anchoring, we see Mandala entering the pass and wave to the friends we first met a few months ago, cruising through the Tuamotus. As the sun went down that evening, we joined Mandala for drinks and a big catch up. We had last been together in Tahiti, to where we had enjoyed a wonderful, windy sail from the Tuamotus in winds up to force 7. We anchored first in Matavia Bay where Cook had also stopped to observe the transit of Venus. We had another reason for wanting to meet with Mandala. When we left Tahiti mid-September, we had onboard a friend who had crossed the Atlantic with us in 2008 and also Mandala’s mail

from New Zealand which had arrived after they had sailed. Together, mail and friend, we cruised west through the Society Islands, enjoying picture post card anchorages in Moorea, Huahine, Tahaa and finally Bora Bora from where our friend flew home and we were left with Mandala’s mail! We sailed the mail to Maupiti, a beautiful underdeveloped island just twenty five miles west of Bora Bora. It is a wonderful last memory of French Polynesia, from where we finally dragged ourselves away in mid October. Now here in Minerva Reef, we have united Mandala with their mail! Whilst they had spent the past few weeks in Tonga, we had sailed southwest from Maupiti to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. The passage had started badly, as we had to motor for nearly a day to find the wind, before enjoying a great sail in light airs

until the last night of the trip when a front brought gale-force winds. Rarotonga is yet another place we were sad to leave, having relished its culture, the friendly people and the fact that they speak English which allowed me to pack away my still lamentable French. Increasingly it seems that travel does not make the world a smaller place, rather it gets bigger as we become more aware that we are only scratching the surface of the destinations we reach. We stayed in Rarotonga until late October so that we could watch their Gospel Day celebrations, an authentic local experience marking the arrival of protestant missionaries. It is a public holiday even though the missionary record is at best questionable and soon raised consternation in the UK in the mid nineteenth century as news emerged of the ‘Blue Laws’, the social code British missionaries were imposing on the islanders. It is seven days after the wedding and we have been downloading GRIBS by sat phone and New Zealand weather fax by SSB. There never will be a perfect window for this 900 mile, south westerly passage but we are setting off for our slalom through the rough weather that sweeps east across our path, making this sail such a cold, bumpy prospect. We leave with many more boat cards from acquaintances, whose tracks we hope to cross in the coming years.

Minerva is yet another unforgettable experience in a year already packed with enviable memories of our cruising life.

The Robinson’s account (with minor alterations) was first published in the Royal Cruising Club’s Roving Commissions, earlier this year.

When heading to New Zealand, the textbook advice is to get in as much westing as possible before the prevailing wind moves round to the south west but our weather forecasts give us the confidence to sail the shorter, rhumb line route. It is a decision that serves us well as we approach what the Maoris called ‘Aotearoa’, the Land of the Long White Cloud, a couple of days ahead of other boats following the traditional advice. Our route towards Auckland takes us through the great sailing playground that is the Hauraki Gulf and even before we arrive in the ‘City of Sails’ we are already planning next year’s cruising! Only as we finalise details of our flight to the UK to catch up with family and friends does it slowly begin to sink in, that in safety and comfort, we have actually sailed our new home halfway around the world.

Photos: Mike and Devala Robinson

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YAC HTS

OYSTER BROKERAGE OFFERS OYSTER OWNERS AND PURCHASERS A TRULY SPECIALISED AND DEDICATED SERVICE.

2006 Oyster 82 TillyMint

2006 Oyster 72 Holo Kai

2007 Oyster 655 Roulette v2

Stunning Oyster 82 with all the usual optional extras that you would expect for a vessel of this class. Built to MCA charter standards. Interior tastefully finished to give light and airy feel. Accommodation for ten.

Beautiful and elegant example of an Oyster 72. Cutter rigged with in-mast furling for ease of handling. Stunning maple interior, sleeps up to ten in five cabins and is fully equipped for family use or charter business.

Special high performance version of the Oyster 655, with a taller than standard carbon fibre rig. A very well thought out yacht with emphasis on higher cruising speeds. Impeccably maintained by full time skipper to the highest standard.

Try offers - seriously for sale Lying: UK South Coast

£2,350,000 ex VAT Lying: West Med

€2,250,000 ex VAT Lying: West Med

2002 Oyster 62 Golden Gate

2005 Oyster 56 Into the Blue

2003 Oyster 53 Zephyr II

This Oyster 62 excelled herself at the 2007 Oyster Regatta in Valencia winning overall in Class 1 and Concours d’Elégance Trophy. An exceptional example of this powerful, but easily handled, world cruiser.

Specified by experienced Oyster owners with a view to long-distance short-handed bluewater sailing. Hydraulic furling main, genoa and jib make sail-handling a breeze, below decks she sleeps six in three cabins.

A very lightly used Oyster 53, professionally maintained to the highest standards. Accommodation for seven in four luxurious cabins. Extensive list of optional equipment. Recent overhaul and refit in preparation for planned cruise of Mediterranean.

£1,195,000 inc VAT Lying: East Med

£675,000 ex VAT Lying: Oyster UK

£450,000 ex VAT Lying: Oyster UK

OYSTER BROKERAGE AUTUMN BOAT SHOW Saxon Wharf, Southampton. 10-19 September 10.00-17.00 daily Our experienced team of international yacht brokers has extensive knowledge of every Oyster built, with unique access to its history, original build files and photographic library, a facility that is simply not available to any other broker. Comprehensive and detailed sales specifications are therefore guaranteed, an immensely reassuring advantage for a purchaser as well as a vendor.

Acknowledged as the international specialists, it is hardly surprising that we are responsible for placing the vast majority of pre-owned Oyster yachts that change hands each year. We have a strong presence at the most prestigious boat shows and publish our own Oyster Brokerage Review, which is distributed exclusively to our registered clients. Of course, visitors are always welcome at our offices in Ipswich and in the USA at Newport, Rhode Island.

Timed to coincide with the Southampton Boat Show, and conveniently located close to the show at Saxon Wharf, our annual Oyster Brokerage Autumn Boat Show is a fantastic opportunity to view a large number of pre-owned Oyster yachts on the water at your leisure. No appointments are required, simply come along and spend as long as you like on board. Our experienced team will be on hand to answer your questions. We look forward to seeing you there.

Sistership

2003 Oyster 49 Spirit of Mackenzie

1997 Oyster 45 Caldew

1989 Oyster 406 Sunday’s Child

Very lightly used 49. Electric in-mast furling to the mainsail, and electric winches make her easy to handle. Teak interior sleeps six in three comfortable cabins. Fabulous spec includes generator, air con, heating and comprehensive electronics package.

Major refit in 2008 including new engine, sails, electric furling gear, standing and running rigging, navigation etc. Interior refurbishment also included and service and overhaul of all machinery and systems.

A great example of the Oyster 406, with a spacious, light and airy layout. She is easily managed and suitable for short-handed sailing. Having been with the same owner for 11 years, she has been loved, enjoyed, upgraded and cared for during this time.

£499,000 inc VAT Lying: Oyster UK

£285,000 inc VAT Lying: Oyster UK

£115,000 inc VAT Lying: UK South Coast

Please see our website for the full range of yachts available through Oyster Brokerage. Oyster Brokerage Ltd: Fox’s Marina Ipswich Suffolk IP2 8SA UK T: +44 (0)1473 695100 F: +44 (0)1473 695120 E: brokerage@oystermarine.com Oyster Brokerage USA: Newport Shipyard One Washington Street Newport RI 02840 USA T: +401 846 7400 F: +401 846 7483 E: bob.marston@oystermarine.com

“You used the expression that we have ‘joined the Oyster family’, which to the uninitiated sounds like a bit of marketing speak. In fact it has turned out to be pretty near the mark in describing our experience of ownership of a boat, which left your hands some time ago.” Simon Timm, Oyster 53, Nutcracker purchased through Oyster Brokerage.

Please contact us for further information or visit our website for more details about the yachts on show. You can also meet the Oyster Brokerage team at the Southampton Boat Show on board the Oyster yachts – Pontoon berths M338 and M340.

SAIL | POWER | BROKERAGE | CHARTER

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t con cea l the tha rds wo ple sim r fou l: sai d an up ell “S otiona l tu rm oil hu ge am oun t of men tal, pra ctica l an d em in vol ved in strivin g for you r dream.”

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Red Sea Paradise s: d a e r k o o b g o l When you r 09:25

En gin e off, broad reach, 8.2 knots speed over ground

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9.2 knots, under sail Esper record!

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9.8!!

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Caught tuna.

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10.7

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Dolphin s

re a u o y w o ... you k n tu re. n e v d a l a e on a r

Built in 1989, Esper is an Oyster 435, hull number 46, which Jamie Furlong and Liz Cleere purchased through Oyster Brokerage after much research. She is a cutter rigged ketch and, unlike the traditional deck saloon, is a coach house design. She is the only Oyster ever to take part in the 4,500 mile biennial Vasco da Gama Rally from Turkey to India.

BY LIZ CLEERE AND JAMIE FURLONG, OYSTER 435 ESPER

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proved its worth time and again in those busy shipping lanes in the Med and Red Sea. Before we set off we thought it wise to get in a bit of sailing practice, and perhaps take an exam or two. Jamie had become a sailor a few years previously when he sold his business and gave up the rat race. Clutching his Competent Crew certificate he had undertaken a number of yacht deliveries around Europe, culminating in The Big One across the Atlantic to Antigua, where he met Liz. She had also undertaken a Competent Crew course a few years earlier, but was really nothing more than a willing novice. Jamie immediately set about becoming ICC qualified and taking the Yachtmaster theory exam, both of which he passed with flying colours. Cruising the Aegean Sea around Greece and Turkey was excellent boat-handling preparation for both of us.

i “ The specta cu lar moun tain s of the Sina desert appea r on you r beam as you roller coa ster over the wa ves rea chin g un dream ed of speeds.”

On board Esper are three permanent liveaboards: Jamie (Skipper On Deck), Liz (Skipper Below); and Millie the Cat (Skipper in Charge of Fish). After years of preparing for our voyage around the globe we finally left Turkey in November 2009. Having purchased Esper in Bodrum five years earlier it had been a long, sometimes tortuous, sometimes painful slog to get to this moment. Sell up and sail: four simple words that conceal the huge amount of mental, practical and emotional turmoil involved in striving for your dream. One of the main questions we had to answer before embarking on our big adventure was in which direction to head. This sounds like a fairly straightforward conundrum but it took more than four years, hundreds of conversations and much advice (most of which was ignored) before we made up our minds. Right up until the time of departure we continued to waiver. We were overly familiar with the western Mediterranean and the Caribbean; since we were already at the eastern end of the Med it made sense to head in the direction of the more exotic countries to be found beyond the Suez Canal. The problem of piracy off the coast of Somalia, however, weighed heavily on our minds.

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Finally, after endlessly weighing up the pros and cons we went with our gut instincts: it would be an east-about route. It would also start with the Vasco da Gama Rally. Whichever way we chose, of course, we had to ensure we were as well prepared as possible. This naturally involved spending all our money, including our meagre savings, on Esper. It’s not until you live full time on a boat that you really come to understand, not only its advantages but its little foibles. Using most bits of the boat continuously day in and day out soon shows up the areas that need some tlc, especially on a 20-year-old yacht. We agonised long and hard about re-rigging Esper and, as we did not know her maintenance history, decided to err on the side of caution by having all the parts shipped over to Turkey from Oyster. Our water-maker and solar panels give us the freedom to sail wherever we want whenever we want; providing the sun shines we have constant free power and water. The addition of windvane self-steering has made our lives easier on long passages, we no longer have to watch the batteries drain and dwindle before our eyes when the autopilot is on, neither do we have to rely on hand-steering at all times. The most recent bit of kit is our AIS transponder, which has

Our time in Turkey allowed us to gain the confidence to handle Esper in any condition. Jamie spent a summer sailing single-handedly around the Dodecanese, which boosted his confidence and the trust that Liz has in him as a skipper. Despite being a ketch and cutter rigged, Esper’s four sails are easy to manage. This is in part due to the in-mast furling of the main and mizzen, coupled with a high-cut Yankee and small stay-sail. Whoever came up with Esper’s final sail plan was a genius; the sails set easily and it is often unnecessary to use any kind of self-steering, mechanical or electronic. It is worth noting that should you find yourself in Turkish waters do not underestimate the skill and workmanship of the nautical industry there. More importantly you can make the most of a non-tidal sea, predictable winds, beautiful protected anchorages and superb hospitality from the local population. Turkey remains dear to our hearts and often when we’re being chucked about in lumpy seas, or in windy anchorages with questionable holding, we think back to those lazy summers spent around the south western Turkish coastline. After a two week delay brought on by bad weather, some last minute panicking as we anticipated the 4,500 mile journey ahead, and one final engine check, we motored out of Marmaris Bay. Emotions were mixed. We would miss the friends we had made, but we longed to be sailing to new lands, new friends and new experiences. The crossing to Port Said was the longest continuous voyage we had made together, with four days and three nights of sailing. Like most crossings things went wrong: the mainsail traveller broke; the galley sink

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drainer broke; we didn’t get much sleep and our navigation skills into Port Said left much to be desired. None of that matters though, when you’re riding three metre waves under the stars, catching and eating fresh dorado under sail and reaching speeds of over seven knots. Esper loved this first taster of our voyage and equipped herself well. Much has been written about transiting the Suez Canal and, having made the trip ourselves, we would advise that future passage-makers do the research, but take it all with a pinch of salt. It seems that even for our fearless rally leader, Lo Brust, who has been through the Suez more times than most of us have had fish dinners, it is a different experience every time. The one area that remains consistent is the predatory demands of the canal ‘pilots’ (one of whom is required to be on your yacht for each of the two legs) who will ask for a ‘present’ at the end of the journey. Like everyone else in our rally, and everyone else we have spoken to who has taken their yacht through this man-made wonder, we were badgered, scolded, and bombarded by these individuals for the ubiquitous Egyptian ‘baksheesh’. It is quite a harsh introduction to Egyptian culture, but we are happy to say that it is not indicative of the people of the country as a whole. Halfway through the Canal, yachts are required to make a stop at Ismailia, the jewel of the Suez. It is a warm and gentle town and a peaceful place to rest after the hustle and bustle of Port Said. It is also the best place from which to hire a taxi and spend a day or two in Cairo. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise: the Pyramids do not disappoint – far from it! Even through our modern jaded eyes and the lifelong over-worked symbolism of all things Egyptian, they are magnificent, otherworldly and splendidly breathtaking. The Egyptian Museum too, although its method of display owes much to the early Victorians, is full of mouth-watering treasures. Drag yourself from each dusty showcase, with its sporadic hand-written information cards, to the next priceless treasure. We thought the exorbitant price demanded to see the surprisingly well-displayed ancient mummies was worth every piastre. If you plan to visit this region please don’t miss St Katharine’s (she of the wheel) Monastery, the setting alone is enough to take your breath away. After the confinement of the Canal, and the suffocating bureaucracy therein, we took off with delight from Port Suez.

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Esper dusted off her decks, spread her sails, breathed in the fresh winds, and danced in the bluest, blue waters of the Gulf of Suez. This part of our voyage was a fairytale come true for us in-the-blood sailors. Those three metre waves and Beaufort 7, gusting 8, winds hurled us towards Hurghada over a week long sailing frenzy. Heading southwards down the Red Sea is great at the northern end because you have winds behind you for most of the way. As you sally from one anchorage to the next you can’t help but gasp at the dramatic coastline. The spectacular mountains of the Sinai desert appear on your beam as you roller coaster over the waves reaching undreamed of speeds. Egypt offered a mixed bag of sights and experiences for us, but like all the countries we have visited it was the people who gave us most insight into its culture. Sure, the constant haggling and pressing for presents was at times frustrating, but on the whole we found the stigma of the ‘baksheesh’ culture a little unfair. There were plenty of exceptionally friendly and helpful people who asked for nothing. They were happy to meet us: school children shouted “Welcome!” as we walked down the street; the man on the check-out till chatted with us in fluent English about living on a yacht; men (and even women) greedily posed for photographs; just like home, taxi drivers told us their life histories and discussed politics. Egypt is a loud, dusty, over-crowded living museum, but taking time to mix with the locals should not be overlooked when traipsing from one jaw-dropping ancient site to another. One of the reasons for joining the Vasco da Gama Rally for us had been the unregimented approach of its organizer and leader, Lo Brust. There is no spoon-feeding, he expects skippers to take responsibility for their own safety, even the schedule is a movable feast. If asked, however, he will happily dish out advice for first time coral-reef sailors. He takes the burden of the bureaucracy away from participants and provides lists of suggested waypoints and stopovers between each leg. He is available at any time for his brains to be picked about anything from charts, waypoints, customs and cultures, prices of taxis, availability of fuel and anything else a confused ‘yachty’ can come up with. This allows each crew the freedom to visit the places they want to see, while remaining part of a ‘loose’ rally. Another big plus point for us was the comfort of traveling along third world country coastlines in company with others; if there should be any problems the hope was that we would be able to work together to solve them.

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This theory was tested after leaving Port Ghalib in mid January when we headed down the coast to our first really tight coral-reef anchorage. It had been a long day, with little wind and much motoring. By the time we reached Sharm Luli (24º 36’ 53N, 035º 06’ 93E) night had fallen. As the fleet made its way into this protected cove a few boats came a cropper; three of them hit rocks. To our intense relief, and as a result of Jamie’s honed navigational skills helped by cached images from Google Earth, we anchored safely. The following morning two boats nursed their badly damaged egos, but the third yacht discovered a crippling hole in its rudder. The initial shock was soon replaced by boats volunteering their help by radio around the small bay, and in the true spirit of our adventure all boats rallied round with offers of stainless steel, tools and advice. By chance we had a qualified welder amongst us who had brought along his equipment; we also had a dive master and plenty of qualified divers to assist him. What could be simpler than repairing a rudder whilst at anchor in Sudan, where you are not allowed to bring your dinghy within 20 metres of the shore and where there is no sign of habitation in any direction? Add to that a slightly hostile military presence that made it clear they wanted us to move on. Lo successfully smoothed it over with the military, who allowed us to stay while the repair was made. Within a week the job was finished. Using two teams of divers and an underwater camera the ex welder among us was able to fashion a new piece and supervise its assembly. That stay in Sharm Luli brought together an already cohesive group of boats into a real fleet of friends. We had weathered the first setback together. There would be others. Sudan is a very different kettle of fish to Egypt. If you are reading this, please go to the Red Sea and please stay in Sudan for as long as you possibly can. It has to be said, of course, that Sudan is an enormous country and has deep socioeconomic and political troubles of its own; we can only talk about the country from our experience, but we fell in love with the place and the people. The coastline is arresting and unspoilt. It has beaches, which rival the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Thailand and Sri Lanka. New for us were the many creeks, known as ‘marsas’, which litter the coast. Marsas are natural bays that often stretch a long way into the desert, are fringed with coral reefs and are found behind a headland or promontory at either side of the entrance. Don’t miss Marob, or Inkeifel, or Shinab, or Khor Nawarat, or Trinkitat, or Marsa Fijab; those

“As we mo tored out of Marmaris Ba y, em otion s were mixed. We wou ld miss the friends we had made, but we lon ged to be sailin g to n ew lan ds, n ew friends an d n ew experiences. “

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are just the ones we saw, there are many others. If you navigate carefully into these picturesque natural harbours you’ll be rewarded with the bliss of unspoilt turquoise water, surrounded by African vistas, home to dugongs, ospreys, dolphins, turtles and much more. What is special about this coast, though, is that it is truly deserted, it is untouched by tourism. You know when you unpack your BBQ on the beach, or put on your walking boots for a hike, that you have joined the lucky few who have walked its shores. We did our bit for the environment by not touching the coral and certainly not leaving any rubbish on land or in the sea. Received wisdom has it that there is a tragedy occurring in the Red Sea. The coral is slowly dying, mostly as a result of global warming. The excessive damage has been helped along by the over-diving of fragile environments by the increasing hordes of tourists to Egyptian waters. Of course, compared to the rest of the world, the reefs are still enormous and to our minds they appeared abundant and teeming with life. The irony is that the flourishing algae which covers the dead coral has created a surge in fish life in the Red Sea.

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Described as the world’s second poorest country in one reference book, we found it enthralling, beautiful and accommodating. The town of Massawa is a joy. Streets lined with old Italian colonial buildings, now riddled with bullets from its war of independence with Ethiopia in 1989, are filled with running children and women in elegant, if well-worn, brightly coloured clothes. At around 5pm the smell of incense overwhelms you as you walk around the dirt lanes and witness women starting the hour-long process of making fresh coffee on their doorsteps. Like Suakin it has its share of shanty dwellings abuzz with family goings-on; also like Suakin it is free from litter. Once again Jamie played the Pied Piper with the children, who followed him around the market and lanes, laughing and shouting. We must make mention of the Red Sea as a feast for bird lovers. All along the coast we found ospreys, often with their nests lying unguarded, on the ground. Pelicans and flamingos abound and one night we identified a bridled tern, which hitched a lift on Esper. Many types of herons, waders and gulls can be seen and we were charmed by Brown Boobies, prolific in Eritrea. We saw fan-tailed ravens, hoopoes, kites, and weaver birds further inland, and our favourite bird so far, the fantastically comic (in spite of its name) Sacred Ibis was out in force in Massawa. Indeed, the fishing is child’s play. Whenever we wanted a meal we’d dip the line over the side and pull up a tuna, wahoo, Spanish mackerel, kingfish, barracuda and on one occasion a shark. Of course, all these beautiful anchorages are inaccessible to most people, so we only saw other members of the rally or the very occasional fisherman, or a small military skiff. When we reached Suakin our senses were assaulted by the sights, sounds and smells of Africa; it was a revelation. Crushingly poor, Suakin has only dirt roads lined by decrepit colonial buildings, homes made from cardboard and children running barefoot playing football with a stone. Our hearts ached for the conditions in which these people live, but there was something wrong: the people were happy. They were welcoming. They laughed and talked to us. We saw the kids coming back from school every day and they loved to try out their spoken English on us. Most nights the cafés (or rather shacks) using old oil drums for cooking, were filled with vibrant chatter and animated faces. The cardboard shanty homes were spotless and not a piece of litter was to be found around the dwellings or market. A fascinating discovery was the women of Sudan; no black clothes from head to toe for these ladies. No meekly and mildly walking

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behind their husbands here. They wore bright, almost neon colours and patterns, and revealed their faces. This was an African interpretation of how a Muslim woman should dress and we loved it. These women even let Jamie photograph them, while they boldly chatted and giggled with him. Leaving Suakin was a wrench for everyone as it had become a friend. We were unexpectedly seduced by these gentle, smiling people and humbled by their forbearance and lack of avarice. Everyone on the rally had handed out pens, pencils, toys and anything else they could think of to our new friends. Leah, the youngest at 10, had even gone back to her yacht time and again to see if she could find any more of her toys to give away. Heading south, however, was the order of the day and we discovered that Sudan’s coast stops being friendly towards yotties just after Khor Nawarat, at 18º 14’N, after which there are few places to anchor. Choosing a time to make a break south depends on the wind and sea conditions; for us it made sense to make one long run to Massawa. Sudan was captivating, but this new country of Eritrea took it a stage further.

Whilst in Eritrea we made the journey to its capital, Asmara. The bus ride, which almost makes the visit worthwhile in itself, starts from the plains around Massawa and takes you up into the increasingly cool and verdant hills. Each settlement we passed contained both a church and a mosque, indicative of the sense of co-operation we found in this proud, new republic. As we climbed steadily higher along the narrow roads ancient terracing appeared across every slope and peak, sometimes in use but usually left untended. Finally the bus emerged through the clouds at 2,325m, into the town itself. It is a vibrant place with Italianate boulevards in its centre gradually turning into shanty dwellings further out. The last stage of the Red Sea was one of the most spectacular and memorable parts of our voyage so far. The coast to the south of Massawa becomes beautiful and hospitable again, much to our relief, as it was at this point the wind started to turn round and come straight at us. Between Massawa and Sadla Island we ducked in for shelter, waited for weather breaks and motored directly into strong currents. It was hard going and took its toll on some of the boats.

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“ In a sha rp reminder of how fas t situa tion s can cha n ge alon g the Africa n coa st we were awoken at da wn by guntotin g milita ry boa ts dema ndin g tha t we lea ve immedia tel y. “ Esper valiantly did her best against fearsome currents and confused waves but finally, after an engine scare in very inhospitable conditions, she brought us to the strangest and most eerily majestic part of the coast so far, Mersa Dudo. We had noticed the big red exclamation marks on our charts claiming that this was a restricted area, but Lo had stayed here several times before and anticipated no problems. In a sharp reminder of how fast situations can change along the African coast we were awoken at dawn by gun-toting military boats demanding that we leave immediately. The fact that we had 25+ knots of wind on the nose made not a jot of difference to these angry men. After some frenetic discussion Lo managed to get them to allow us to anchor off nearby Sadla Island to wait out the weather. What a lucky break. Sadla is a large, chocolate brown volcanic crater, seemingly newly formed. Its beaches are jam-packed with shells. On one side of the island turtles were laying eggs and sharks swam in the shallows, while on the other side the snow white sand led up to ospreys nesting on ledges. It was the closest we have ever been to paradise. Lo had finally brought us to a place, which rendered us speechless. You can follow Liz and Jamie’s experiences on their website, www.followtheboat.com, where you will find more of Jamie’s dazzling photographs. They also publish an extremely popular weekly podcast, available through the website or iTunes. Photos: Jamie Furlong

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SEA LION

VELSHEDA JK7 Rebuilt by Southampton

S O U T H A M P T O N YA C H T S E RV I C E S OYSTER YACHTS BUILDERS

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CLASSIC YACHT REFITS AND REPAIRS

MOTORYACHT REFIT AND REPAIRS

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CUSTOM NEW BUILDS

Yacht Services Ltd in 1997.

SUPERYACHT REFIT AND REPAIRS |

SMALL WORKS DIVISION

Sea Lion is a 67ft Yawl built by Abeking and Rasmussen in 1953. She is currently undergoing an almost complete rebuild at SYS. A large number of frames have been replaced and new ring frames at the mast have been constructed to improve strength in this area. The hull is being completely replanked and a new deck and doghouse will be constructed

following her original plans. A new interior, engineering and electrical systems and deck fittings will enable the owner to sail the yacht in greater comfort with fewer hands. The refit is not intended to be a faithful restoration but rather a rebuild to extend the life and practicality of this pretty design.

LENGTH OVERALL – 130ft (39.6m) BEAM 22ft – (6.6m) DISPLACEMENT – 168 TONNES DRAFT – 9.84ft (3m)

V E L S H E D A’ S N E W W H E E L Of the ten J-Class yachts built in the 1930s, Velsheda was the second built in Britain. Her present owner commissioned a total re-build at SYS in 1996. Starting with the empty steel hull, a new aluminum and teak-laid deck was fitted, together with a complete set of mahogany deck-houses, skylights and hatches. All the new electrical and engineering systems were based on the latest up-to-date technology.

ROUND THE ISLAND ON BOARD VELSHEDA Piers Wilson, retiring MD at Southampton Yacht Services, was invited to sail aboard the J-Class yacht Velsheda for this year’s J P Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race. Joining them in this year’s event were 14 Oysters ranging from John Nelson and Philip Riesco’s Oyster 42, Sundancer, to the brand new 85’ Oyster Custom yacht, Starry Night, built by Southampton Yacht Services and launched just weeks before. Velsheda is well-known to Southampton Yacht Services having undergone extensive refit work there in the last few years, whilst her support yacht, Bystander, had some work carried out during her visit too. SYS will be helping both yachts during their refit period in Palma in late Autumn. A very kind invitation from the J Class yacht Velsheda’s owner to sail in the J P Morgan Round the Island Race resulted in a phone call

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from the Captain, Oliver Tizzard. “Report to the yacht at 02.30 hrs in Gun Wharf, we sail at 03.00.” I heard myself doing a faint gulp then a nonchalant reply as if I was always up and about at that ungodly hour! Our start was at 05.00 so by the time we had motored to Cowes, been well briefed by David Pitman our tactician and Lars Loftus who was in charge of the crew, we did not have long to wait. The permanent crew on Velsheda and Bystander plied the entire race crew of 38 with a stream of delicious bacon butties and later with sandwiches. Velsheda is a fearsome weapon once sails are up, so manoeuvres before the start have to be precise with 175 tons travelling at 10 knots in amongst the large fleet of yachts. This year, with a northerly wind, it was a spinnaker start with a huge ebb tide under us making it essential not to

be too early. Leopard was ahead but our start was good and the spinnaker up in no time. I always say it is about half an acre, probably an exaggeration but it certainly seems like that when you get it down! The spinnaker drop needs about 20 crew, gathering it in at a frantic pace. The reach to the Needles was very fast. Gybing close to them with the sun just up was a fantastic and memorable sight. We had lighter wind round St. Catherine’s but then some very successful inshore tacks gave us a commanding lead over all but Leopard. We finished around 10.45 which was a remarkably fast time for a heavy displacement yacht and resulted in being placed first in Class ‘0’. We returned to the berth in Gun Wharf and the sight of Velsheda with her tender Bystander in matching livery moored astern of her attracted a huge crowd. An altogether memorable morning’s sail.

The happy relationship between Southampton Yacht Services and the J Class Cutter Velsheda continues. The Owner decided that the wheel fitted during the complete rebuild undertaken in 1996 could be increased in diameter by 180mm. This required a new wheel well to be constructed in the cockpit sole and fitted just prior to the Round the Island race.

Peter Thomas, Chargehand Shipwright, visited the yacht in the Caribbean to measure up and plan the alteration. The new stainless wheel of 1780 mm diameter has proved a great success, assisting the helmsman with more visibility and greater power when the vessel is hard pressed.

Her interior, designed by John Munford and built to exacting standards by SYS’s skilled craftsmen, truly reflects the splendour of her era. Since the re-build, Velsheda has returned to SYS on a number of occasions for servicing work and upgrading of systems, including major refits in 2001 and 2002 (after the America’s Cup Jubilee) and in 2005, 2006 and again in 2008.

R E PA I R S , O V E R H A U L S , R O U T I N E M A I N T E N A N C E O R N I G G L E S T O R E S O LV E ?

The Small Works Team at Southampton Yacht Services, led by Andy Willett, is here to help. The team has access to all the skills and facilities at the yard and has been looking after Oysters and an eclectic mix of other craft for over 15 years, with over 500 projects completed in that time.

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Whether it is preparation for a regatta or a World circumnavigation, an upgrade, annual maintenance, or fixing recurring problems, please contact Andy Willet on: +44 (0)2380 33 52 66 or email: andyw@southamptonyachtservices.co.uk to discuss your requirements.

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I N T ER N AT I ON A L

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– THE DAHM – INTER NATIONAL

C LUB LIFE YA C H TIN G R EGATTA – PA LM A –

Herbert Dahm and Murray Aitken first discussed working together at the Düsseldorf Boat Show in January 2009. Dahm International had set benchmarks for nearly 40 years in developing with Jongert what is now considered the first sailing Superyachts. By the late 1990’s, Dahm employed nearly 50 staff in brokerage, charter, servicing and yacht management and had contracted for nearly 250 Jongerts, reselling them through their brokerage nearly 1,600 times over the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s.

BY DAV I D T Y DE M A N

Herbert sold most of his business around ten years ago, but re-launched a focused Superyacht brokerage in late 2007. In parallel, the Jongert shipyard went through ownership changes and financial difficulties and the longstanding relationship with Dahm was severed. Strong connections remain between many of the Jongert owners and Dahm, and this led Herbert to set up the Club Life Yachting Regatta, which was held this year in Palma.

as our own Oyster events and it was a pleasure to sponsor this rally with both Oyster and Southampton Yacht Services. The Jongert owners made Piers Wilson of SYS, Alan Brook, and me very welcome and we enjoyed some very luxurious sailing. I’m delighted to also report that we are in discussions with one Jongert owner about changing to a ‘lightweight’ Superyacht – his view of the Oyster 125 when compared to his steel hulled Jongert! And Southampton Yacht Services are in talks regarding various refits for Jongert owners. I’m pleased that this new relationship with Dahm International is showing some strong early signs of bringing results for the Oyster Group and that the business cultures of Dahm and Oyster are proving synergistic.

A great event, the owners enjoyed some lovely sailing around the bays of Mallorca and some stylish parties – all very much in the same spirit

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Nervous excitement reaches a crescendo with the eagerly anticipated arrival of Sea Avenue.

In the past few decades, Seattle has quietly grown from a rather far-flung port city, not registering on too many radar screens, to being nationally recognized as one of the most desirable cities in the US.

container ship and motored round to her new berth at Miller & Miller Boatyard, located in the freshwater basin of Salmon Bay, which provided an ideal location for Oyster’s very thorough commissioning procedures.

Lying in the Puget Sound region of western Washington State, the waters that lap the feet of Seattle’s city towers, are not strictly those of the Pacific Ocean. For in-between Seattle and the great ocean lies the Olympic Peninsula, sheltering a stunning array of anchorages and harbours. An idyllic location then to hand over the ninth new Oyster 54 to be launched, Sea Avenue, to her owners Don and Deborah Smith.

On-hand to make sure everything went to plan was Will White, Oyster’s Newport, USA based Commissioning Manager, Ed Stock, from Oyster’s UK commissioning team and myself, the Project Manager for Sea Avenue throughout her build. Getting her ready and fully commissioned for handover proved to be a smooth operation with the help of the local Miller & Miller boatyard.

After her 28-day journey by ship, Sea Avenue was carefully unloaded from the massive decks of the

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“To me what is important when it comes to a boat is what is under the floorboards, inside the engine compartment and behind the lockers. I was not disappointed, the layout, access and common sense design are just what I expected out of Oyster Marine.”

“I got a faint glimpse of what it must be like to be a famous footballer or movie star.“

And although as Project Manager I would like to take all the credit, the whole Oyster team and builder McDell Marine had once again done themselves proud. As with most Oyster handovers, much of the first day was spent going through the boat and all her systems in great detail, taking up each floorboard in turn and noting what we found, whilst trying to impress upon the new owner the importance of maintenance and helping him to get to know the inner workings of his boat. However, endless staring into the bilges of his new boat was not what Don had in mind!

Sea Avenue was actually the first Oyster to be commissioned and handed over in fresh water, making an unusual and welcome change to Oyster’s home on the shores of the River Orwell in Ipswich. Complementing the magnificent backdrop of Seattle’s skyline, Mount Ranier towers over this city at 14,410 feet. Still considered an active volcano, her caves are kept warm from the steam and people swim in the lakes whilst surrounded by glaciers. The enchanting Salmon Bay has a hidden secret, for beneath the tranquil waters lies a hidden flurry of activity. The occasional break in the water’s surface reveals the shoals of migrating salmon making their way upriver and through the purpose-built channel at the lock gates en route to the spawning grounds in the Cedar and Sammamish river watershed. They say around 26,000 Chinook salmon make this journey every year, an incredible sight to see. Although the not so sharp amongst them get drawn back into the lock gates and ejected once again sea-side… it’s survival of the fittest and smartest! Handover day finally arrived for Don and Deborah and, after driving the 1,255 miles from San Diego, I knew they could not wait to get their first glimpse of their new yacht. I nervously awaited their arrival. Knowing they had not had an opportunity the see the boat during build, this was an incredibly exciting moment for us all. I graciously stepped to one side to allow the new owners to move through their beautiful boat at their own pace, taking in as much of the quality and refinement as they possibly could. After a while I couldn’t resist but to pop my head down the companionway to make sure that all was OK. I had to allow myself a smile as, after a pause for careful consideration, the responses came short and to the point. “Wow!” was one, closely followed by a “Fantastic!” I think it was safe to say that Sea Avenue’s new owners were suitably impressed.

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“We arrived a day early in Seattle after a long drive from San Diego but we just had to see the boat right away. When we arrived Will and Stephen were just crossing Salmon Bay from the fuel dock – what an impressive sight! Our new Oyster 54 by far exceeded our expectations. We took a quick spin around the bay and Debra docked the boat for the first time. She looked like a real pro with the ease of handling that the bow thruster offered.

With all the technical and maintenance items ticked off, we cast off our lines and headed for the lock gates. Sea Avenue was quite a tourist attraction, and I got a faint glimpse of what it must be like to be a famous footballer or movie star. We were the focal point of many a tourist photograph taken that morning from the dock. Once through the locks we headed out into the Puget Sound and made our way to Seattle’s main waterfront, tacking up and down the main strip with the famous space needle and bustling Pikes market in full view. The day was spent gently sailing on the flat seas that surrounded this great city.

Salmon Bay is above the Chittenden locks in Seattle. Therefore, the handover actually took place in fresh water. Will and Stephen advised us that this may be an Oyster first! The first day was spent at the dock going through the boat inside and out. To me what is important when it comes to a boat is what is under the floorboards, inside the engine compartment and behind the lockers. I was not disappointed, the layout, access and common sense design are just what I expected out of Oyster Marine.

Safely back on our berth and tied up, we ended the day smashing a bottle of champagne across her bow. With this, Sea Avenue was formally christened. A spectacularly memorable day, we spent the night drinking fine wine, eating French cuisine and discussing what uncharted waters lay ahead for our newest members to the Oyster family.

For Debra, the interior layout was top priority. The large aft cabin and separate shower were her must haves and the front opening refrigerator is a great feature for any sail boat. She was happy that her colour selections for the counter tops, upholstery and curtains fulfilled her expectations.

Don and Deborah will initially keep their Oyster in and around Seattle, but with exploration now firmly on their minds, it won’t be long until Sea Avenue sets sail for an adventure of a lifetime.

Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore.

At the end of the first day we had ‘Sea Avenue’ applied to the stern. That’s when we felt she was really ours. The second day we spent on Puget Sound. We had very little wind nevertheless, we had a very enjoyable day on the water. The light conditions allowed for easy practice of the systems. Sea Avenue sailed well in light air and tacked easily. I was very impressed that we could do 9 knots under power. The real sea trial came a month later when we spent several days in conditions ranging from 10 knots to 35 knots of wind, but that’s another story.”

Dream. Discover” Mark Twain

Don and Debra Smith, Sea Avenue

“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you did not do than by the things you did. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbour.

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We are back in the air again. It’s December 31st 2008, 24.00hrs Italian time, 23.00hrs English time. The wheels of our military aircraft leave the tarmac at Brize. The Italians have seen the New Year in but the English have another hour to go. We, on the other hand, are already fast asleep.

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We are en route to Stanley in the Falkland Islands for the second time. But on this occasion our final destination is South Georgia. We’ll be away for a month. It’s a serious trip this time and the sailing will be hard. The crew is about as tough as it gets! The dilemma we always have with all of our voyages is choosing whom to bring with us. This time it was a very difficult decision – who will actually want to endure ten days at sea? Five days there and five (we hope) back through the world’s roughest and toughest waters? Our decision was expert mountaineers and climbers, of course. However these people had precious little seafaring experience and no experience of stormy waters. Okay, granted, our selection was a little haphazard, maybe more than a little. Our climbers, alpine guides and rangers from Valle d’Aosta, all of whom are used to living with Mont Blanc towering above them, may suffer from agoraphobia in the endless expanse of the ocean and they’ll certainty get seasick, but they were the only ones we felt would have a serious interest in the mountains of South Georgia. They are also the only ones that would dream of scaling these mountains or at least trying to, conditions permitting. Plus they’re the only ones capable of assisting us in our much less ambitious mountain climbing forays too.

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So basically, the people we have with us are the same ones that came to Chile with us last year where, we have to admit, they didn’t get much of a taste of rough seas. Also on board are our friends who came to the Antarctic. So the crew consists of Matteo, an alpine guide and excellent climber; Luca, another alpine guide and ski instructor; Augusto, a ranger and fast skier; and our long-time travelling companions, Clive and Laila who are joined this time by Steve, a 35 year old New Zealander and seasoned yachtsman well used to sailing between New Zealand and the Ross Sea. Also aboard is Kali, a 28 year old Kiwi lady who came with us to the Arctic. But there was still room for just one more. The boat isn’t huge but it’s big enough to squeeze ten people aboard. So ten it should be – our tenth man is Tim Carr, probably the world’s leading expert on South Georgia as he and his wife spent ten years living there managing and curating the tiny Grytviken Museum. He sailed to South Georgia aboard his 9-metre engineless wooden boat and so fell in love with the place he didn’t leave it for many years. In fact, he only decided to move to New Zealand two years ago but was so homesick for South Georgia that he became almost clinically depressed! His boat is now in the Maritime

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Museum of Falmouth. Confirmation as if it were needed of his greatness! We arrive at Stanley as always, a little shattered after the 18-hour flight. It’s cold, but warmer than back in Europe where it is deep mid-winter. Here it’s the height of summer. The landscape around us is in flower, blossoming. Before leaving Italy, we had organised a get together with a large group of friends who’ll all be in Stanley for a few days with their boats. Then they’ll all go their separate ways, some to the Antarctic, some to Sant’Elena, some to Africa. We meet up for dinner in the town’s only hotel/ restaurant with Jerome who’s leaving with some BBC film crew for the Antarctic where they’ll be looking for killer whales to film hunting seals. Also there is Eef, a great sailor and navigator, leaving for the North with her husband. They’ve just finished a stay of several years down south and may come to Greenland this summer where we’ll be with Billy Budd. There are more than 20 of us around the table. A fantastic New Year’s Eve dinner – even if it is January 1st already! The following day we cast off at 04.00hrs. We have 800 miles to cover and we have no idea what kind of weather we’ll encounter, though it doesn’t seem too bad, but we’re in a hurry and we’re eager to get going.

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“IT’S A SERIOUS TRIP THIS TIME AND THE SAILING WILL BE HARD. THE CREW IS ABOUT AS TOUGH AS IT GETS!”

“WE ARRIVE, AS SHACKLETON DID, FROM THE WEST, AND ANCHOR IN KING HAARKEN BAY”

The next four and a half days pass in a flash and conditions are much better than we’d feared. The sea is good, not too rough. We’ve had almost three days of light winds, in fact, we’ve had to use the engine for two of them. Just one little glitch one night when the wind got up to 35/40 knots but that didn’t last long. On the fourth day we see Shag Rocks and feel we’ve come home, just 100 miles to go to the island – a breeze. The smell of the seaweed floats out to meet us and the rocks are covered in kelp. It’s impossible to land, and we are conscious that the albatrosses and other birds wouldn’t like it anyway. Finally, we see South Georgia, the first mountains, the first rocks, the first bays. We arrive, as Shackleton did, from the west, and anchor in King Haarken Bay, where he and his men also anchored. We can’t get the condition they were in when they arrived in their little boat out of our minds: how wet, starving and terrified they must have been. A far cry from ourselves almost a 100 years later as we glide in, in complete safety, on board our Oyster 72, not having suffered a bit! But we do

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feel a sense of relief at being able to drop anchor after all those days of open sea and uncertainty. The noise of the chain running is like the sound of the key in the front door when you’re getting back from work in the evening, peace and security at last! We go ashore and find ourselves in a grassy landscape with distant snow-capped peaks, rushing steams and rivers. A glacier looms at the end of the valley, the sun is shining bright and hot and we see our first animals: sea lions, fur seals and penguins with their young. Our climbers are almost arthritic after five days of inactivity. They prepare their skis, crampons and picks in a trice and are off to conquer those peaks. We take our time gathering up our skis and crampons, and begin the Shackleton ascent. Suddenly it becomes very busy, anyone who ventures here equips themselves with tents, skis and pulks and does the same trip. It’s two or three days’ walking, which isn’t difficult but of course you’ve got to camp en route. The toughest bit is negotiating the cracks that open up, mostly in January and February when there isn’t as much snow and the glacier splits.

But we just do a few hours’ walking. We’ve no intention of spending the night away from the boat or sleeping ashore and we don’t have a permit to do so anyway. One of the trickiest parts of organising the trip was finding out about and requesting a permit to come to this island by boat. But it was only after we’d been granted that permit thanks to the good work of Tim, that we realised it didn’t include sleeping ashore. To do that we’d have had to request an expedition permit which is another kettle of fish entirely and much more complex to boot. But everything goes well all the same, our climbers are fantastic and will certainly manage to do all they want to in a day without any need to spend the night ashore. That can wait for next time. It’s always better to just try to see as much as possible the first time, tour the whole island, get to know it and where the best places are or at least the ones we like most. Then next time, we can focus on a particular goal, request an expedition permit and scale a few virgin peaks! Even on this first day, the climbers manage to climb two mountains, one of which has never been scaled before.

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“WE KEEP SAILING DAY AFTER DAY. WE STOP OFF IN INCREDIBLE BAYS, SOMETIMES WITH ONLY SHIPWRECKS FOR COMPANY, OTHERS NOTHING AT ALL.”

We spend several days in the same bay. We go ashore and take long walks and climb in the mountains. The snows are pretty far away in the height of summer and the sun shines every day, so we do most of our travelling with crampons and not so much with skis. The weather is actually incredibly good and that’s what we find most surprising. After two years of bad to horrendous weather in the channels of Tierra del Fuego and the Antarctic, we really didn’t expect it to be so warm and sunny.

The next four and a half days pass in a flash and conditions are much better than we’d feared. The seaare is good, notby fog and after We, however, thwarted rough. atoo few hours on the glacier return to the shore where we enjoy our first adventures with the fur We’ve had almost three days of light winds, in seals. Tim had warned us that fur seals attack fact, we’ve had to use the engine for two of them. humans, particularly at this time of year because Just one little glitch one night when the wind got they are protecting their pups. He gave us long up to 35/40 knots but that didn’t last long. On the sticks to keep them at bay but none of us really fourth day we see Shag Rocks and feel we’ve believed him. We thought it was just an old sea come home, just 100 miles to go to the island – a dog telling tall tales, but we were quickly proved breeze. wrong – fur seals do attack and quite viciously! Th e smell of theatseaweed oats they out togrowl meetand us First they stare you andflthen and the rocks are it covered s impossible snarl or whatever is they in do.kelp. If atIt’that point, to land, the they’ll albatrosses you don’tand getwe outare of conscious their sight that pronto, andfor other like it anyway. Finally, we go youbirds very, wouldn’t very aggressively. see South Georgia, the first mountains, the first Their sharp teeth, stinking breath and big heavy rocks, the first bays. We arrive, as Shackleton did, bodies really are quite frightening up close. from the west, and anchor in King Haarken Bay, We’ve also been told that fur seal bites are where he and his men also anchored. We can’t very dangerous indeed because they tend to get the condition they were in when they arrived become infected very easily. Our first encounter in their little boat out of our minds: how wet, is straight out of central casting: a large fur seal starving and terrified they must have been. sees us, snarls at us, and we just stand there A far crytofrom ourselves almost a 100but years on as rooted the spot, holding our sticks doing we glide Th in en in complete safety,angry not having nothing. she gets really and goes for us, so we take off at a run… with her behind us.

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suffered a bit. But we do feel a sense of relief at being able to drop anchor after all those days of open sea and uncertainty. The noise of the chain She’s fast too, luckily she quickly runs out of running is like the sound of the key in the front breath and lets us be. This time we survived door when you’re getting back from work in the unharmed but we realise that we need to keep evening, peace and security at last! on our toes in future. We go ashore and find ourselves in a grassy We get underway again the following day, landscape with distant snow-capped peaks, which is gloriously sunny with a cloudless sky, rushing steams and rivers. A glacier looms at the calm sea and barely a breath of wind. We sail end of the valley, the sun is shining bright and hot along the south coast of the island where there and we see our first animals: sea lions, fur seals isn’t much in the way of shelter and then dock at and penguins with their young. Cooper Bay on the westernmost tip. This proved toOur be climbers one of our daysarthritic in all our arebest almost aftmonths er five days of and years in the southern hemisphere – the and inactivity. They prepare their skis, crampons magnifi cent weather, those mountains! picks in a trice and are offincredible to conquer those Thpeaks. e snow, grass, rockgathering and sea off a We takeblack our time upering our skis unique contrast. Penguins theShackleton water. All we and crampons, and begininthe ascent. needed to complete perfect picture is a Suddenly it becamethe very busy, anyone who killer whalehere or two. Butthemselves unfortunately wetents, didn’tskis ventures equips with see at all, as the we same didn’t trip. see It’ any in the andany pulks andjust does s two or three Antarctic or at Cape Thecult killer whale in days’ walking, whichHorn. isn’t diffi but of course fact is the only local animal thatThthe South has you’ve got to camp en route. e toughest bit is denied us. Butthe oncracks the plus side, that negotiating that open upprovides mostly in usJanuary with a good excuse to come backisn’t again in and February when there as much another fewthe years! snow and glacier splits.

But we just do a few hours’ walking. We’ve no intention of spending the night away from the boat or sleeping ashore and we don’t have a We anchor in Larsen Bay. There’s bad weather permit to do so anyway. One of the trickiest parts on the way and we need somewhere calm and of organising the trip was finding out about and sheltered. This place is really safe, rocky walls requesting a permit to come to this island by boat. tumble into the sea in a long, narrow fjord that But it was only after we’d been granted that ends in a glacier. The fact that it’s not only safe permit thanks to the good work of Tim, that we but spectacular is clear from the cruise ship realised it didn’t include sleeping ashore. To do that arrives and discharges its passengers in that we’d have had to request an expedition inflatables to wield their cameras and stock permit which is another kettle of fish entirely and up on some fantastic memories. much more complex to boot. But everything goes Then, ofour coincidences, anfantastic inflatable wellcoincidence all the same, climbers are and approaches Billy Budd. Inside is Kim, English will certainly manage to do all they an want to in a researcher andany a great and Antarctic day without needArctic to spend the night ashore. expert had been North with She brought That who can wait for next time. It’s us. always better to with her group of children boxesthe of M&Ms. just trya to see as much asand possible first time. TheTour cruise sponsored that the iswhole island,by getthe to company know it and where makes the latter give the best placesand areoforcourse at leastthe thekids ones weuslike tonnes most.ofThthem. en next time, we can focus on a particular goal, request an expedition permit and scale a We keep sailing day after day. We stop off in few virgin peaks! incredible bays, sometimes with only shipwrecks for company, others nothing at all. It’s always just us and we’re always flanked by incredibly huge icy, snow-covered mountains and seracs that run almost all the way down to the sea. Crazy colour contrasts: whites, blacks, blues, greens.

We call in to Ocean Harbour and then Cobblers’ Cove where we meet colonies of Macaroni and other penguins and find scores of dead chicks. Tim contacts the Grytviken centre, which immediately dispatches someone to check out the situation. Unfortunately all over the island we discover more dead penguin chicks and seal pups. Some say this is because of the scarcity of krill, others that it’s simply natural selection at work. It seems that the local seal population has burgeoned in recent years and now it’s undergoing a necessary readjustment, but seeing all the dead pups really is saddening. All those tiny bodies abandoned in the grass so callously by their companions really does bring home how different we humans are. We arrive into St Andrew’s Bay. It’s a very windy day – over 50 knots – and to get in we have to get it just right. The bay is open and there is no place sheltered to anchor but we have to stop, we just can’t sail on as the wind is too strong now. So we sail into the wind at 1.5-2 knots with gusts of 50 knots coming at us and quickly drop anchor, almost without putting the engine into neutral at all. It only takes a few seconds for us to be put back dozens of metres. But fortunately - and this isn’t the first time we realised it – Billy Budd has an absolutely phenomenal anchor system.

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The anchor is much heavier than a standard one and the chain thicker and longer. They’ve held the boat firm in over 60 knots of wind near Cape Horn and will do the same today in 55 knots in St Andrew’s Bay. We can’t go ashore until the wind drops. There’s no way we could put the dinghy in the water or use it. So it’s out with the binoculars. We discover there are thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of king and other kinds of penguins in the bay. The beach is so thronged with them that every single centimetre is covered. It’s hard to know how we’ll make our way through them. The chicks are still there with their mothers but they’re almost ready to take to the sea. The funny woolly coat that makes them look like soft toys is giving way to the sleek, black adult feathers. So what we’re seeing look like moulting monsters with tufts of woolly stuff in the oddest of places – their faces, their tails and on their backs. They really are terribly ugly and incredibly silly-looking too. The younger chicks still look like puffs of cotton wool and despite being as big as their mothers, still stick very close to them trying desperately not to get lost on the thronged beach. So we see the mother penguins trying equally desperately to escape from these huge, hungry chicks, even mothers need a break from their offspring at times! The wind drops and we go ashore. It really is virtually impossible to walk around. Apart from the penguins there are enormous, immobile sea lions. The only part of the latter that moves is their eyes as they make sure you’re not invading their space. We very delicately approach a group with pups. Tim is very careful to make sure we don’t disturb them and so guides us to the best spots for both ourselves and the animals.

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“THESE LAST FEW YEARS HAVE BEEN INCREDIBLY INTENSE AND EMOTIONAL FOR US, FOR OUR FRIENDS AND FOR BILLY BUDD. IT’LL BE HARD FOR US TO EVER FORGET THEM OR, IN FACT, TO EQUAL THEM.”

No walking for us today, the spectacle of these tens of thousands of animals is so amazing that we can’t pull ourselves away. The photographers wield their cameras while the others watch and learn about penguin life. We eventually get to Grytviken; the island’s only settlement. There we find the BAS (British Antarctic Survey), four boats tied up, two of which we already know and we immediately make friends with the crews of the others. We visit the tiny but perfect museum that Tim curated for all those years. We also toured the ruins of a whale-processing factory and, of course, the cemetery where Shackleton is buried. As with the other high latitude spots we’ve visited, we’re amazed by how young all these people are who died, many only in their early twenties. We also visit Carlita Bay, Huvik Bay, Prioni Island, Prince Olav Bay and Right Whale Bay, but time has flown by and it’s time for us to head back to Stanley as our flight home is just ten days away now. We watch the weather bulletins and GRIBs, going back into Stanley is the toughest bit as the wind is coming from the west and so are we! Our friends have told us terrible tales of what awaits us: very high winds, cross seas, squalls, gusts. The weather bulletins tell us there’s a very strong perturbation on the way from Argentina.

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To put my mind at rest, Tim tells me that these perturbations pass very quickly. Unfortunately they also often reach hurricane force and the GRIBs say 60 knots. My poor boat! How can I do this to her? How can I put her in the path of a hurricane? I try to put off our departure by making various excuses – I organise visits to other bays, but in the end, it’s all to no avail, the booked flight is more powerful than me and we get going in a 45/50 knot wind and in a cross sea! The first 24 hours are agony for anyone that suffers from seasickness, they take to their bunks, drugged up on Stugeron, and the onboard medic hands out other pills. Soon they’re virtually comatose and will remain that way for some time to come. The others try to weather the storm, quite literally, as best they can. Good old Steve is at the helm, permanently drenched to the bone, hatless, shoeless, lashed by the wave. Is his superhuman endurance just because he’s so young or is he some kind of alien life form? We take our various watches. Even when it’s time to sleep, we can’t stretch out in peace, we’re tossed around in our bunks. It feels like we’re on a rollercoaster and I won’t even mention what it’s like trying to get dressed or having a wash.

We finally enter the eye of the storm and have a few hours of calm. In fact, we even have to use the engine at one point. We manage to wash, sleep, and eat. Even the seasickness victims open an eye, though they don’t even for a second try to raise their heads… you just never know! Bulletins come in from our router – I hate him – he always tells us there’s going to be at least 10 knots more wind than there actually is. But when you see it written in black and white in his report, you start to have doubts and then you end up holding your breath for hours. The third morning, the usual bulletin arrives. Clive doesn’t read it, just passes it over to me. I see just three

numbers – wind 70 knots – in next 12 hours – for 12 hours. I don’t read on, just close my eyes and hand it back. Clive reads it and then hides the printout in the chart table. He asks me not to mention its contents to anyone else. He tells Steve that we’re in for a bit of wind in a few hours time, classic British understatement, and then takes a nap in preparation for the 12 hours of roller-coastering to come. We’d already foreseen and discussed having to heave up and so in theory we’re ready for it, but theory is one thing and practice very much another. I really have no desire whatsoever to see what a 70-knot storm at 55° latitude in the Southern Ocean looks like.

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“NO WALKING FOR US TODAY, THE SPECTACLE OF THESE TENS OF THOUSANDS OF ANIMALS IS SO AMAZING THAT WE CAN’T PULL OURSELVES AWAY.”

I wait and the hours tick by, the pain in my stomach sharpens and the hour finally comes. The wind begins to get up: 30, 35, 40 knots. It stays at 40 knots for 5, 15, 30 minutes. We begin to relax a little. Maybe we won’t see that hurricane this time after all. Happily the highest the wind goes is 55 knots, that’s bad but not as bad as 70! And then at long last, we’re back. We sail into Stanley on a gorgeous sunny day in 30-35 knots of wind and decide to sail right into our berth. A fitting end to a great trip and Billy Budd’s two years in the southern hemisphere. As we are two days early, we meet up with friends and acquaintances. We are invited for dinner with the island’s very English Governor and his wife, their house is gorgeous with portraits of the Queen and Prince Philip, lovely silver, flowers and glasshouses. The Governor is coming to the end of his term here. He introduces us to the anaesthetist at the hospital who has been here for 16 years now but is also preparing to leave.

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The last two days fly by and then it’s time to go. Billy Budd is going back up North, our hearts bleed. It’s the end of an era for her and for us. A new chapter awaits us all, but these last few years have been incredibly intense and emotional for us, for our friends and for Billy Budd. It’ll be hard for us to ever forget them or, in fact, to equal them. But we’ll see...

Photos: Mariacristina Rapisardi & Giovanni Cristofori

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Hand in Glove. Discover the difference with Pantaenius

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On their way...

Oyster 54 Sarabande The Oyster 54, Sarabande is Annemarie and Gerd Kohlmoos’ second new Oyster, their first being an Oyster 485 named Flamenco that they took delivery of almost exactly ten years ago. Gerd told us that the ‘sarabande’ is a type of Spanish dance originating in the colonies in Central America in the sixteenth century, but was banned in mainland Spain for being obscene! Sarabande has a taller carbon fibre mast with slab reefing and a nonoverlapping headsail and with her dark blue hull

in January and a further showing at Oyster’s Private View at St Katharine Docks, Endless One is now cruising the Mediterranean before joining Oyster’s regatta in Sardinia. After that she will be heading to the Canaries to join the large fleet of Oysters in this year’s ARC. Endless One will be available for charter in the Caribbean from January 2011. For details contact molly@oystercharter.com

Oyster 56 Champlain Champlain is a beautiful cutter-rigged Oyster 56 with a cherry interior and many special and unusual features, including a bespoke companionway ladder designed by her new owner. Owned by Sam and George Chandler from Vermont, USA, she is named after Lake Champlain in Vermont, where they keep their other boat, a Sabre 42. Champlain left Fox’s Marina for delivery to

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Recently launched Oysters

Oyster 575 Endless One For owner Axel Moorkens from Belgium, Endless One is his first yacht and with her eye-catching grey hull and grey D4 sails, she is an absolutely stunning boat. And not just on the water, as down below decks, her white oak interior is equally stunning and is complemented with white painted bulkheads and white leather upholstery. A brave choice when you’ve got three children aged from four! After her debut at the Düsseldorf Boat Show

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and silver lines looks absolutely stunning on the water. Below decks she has a teak interior with traditional teak and holly soles. Sarabande will be spending the summer cruising in the Baltic, before heading south to Sardinia for Oyster’s Jubilee Regatta in Porto Cervo in September. After the regatta she will be on display at the Genoa boat show, before heading for her homeport of Palma.

Oyster 46 Tigress Handover day was a real family affair for Tigress’ new owners Mark and Emily Talbot. Sadly Emily was unable to attend, so Mark brought his parents and 95-year-old grandfather along to share in this special occasion. Sailing in the River Orwell, in not such perfect conditions, gave Project Manager Stephen Parkinson the perfect opportunity to show Mark one of the many reasons why an Oyster is the preferred choice for so many cruising yachtsmen. Tigress handled perfectly,

Newport, Rhode Island via the Azores and Bermuda. George is hoping to work less and sail more and will be taking Champlain to the Caribbean this winter after spending the summer cruising in Maine.

feeling solid and safe, in gusts of over 35 knots. Following handover, Tigress was wrapped and shipped to Hong Kong where she made a welcome appearance at the Hong Kong Gold Coast Boat Show, the first Oyster to be shown at the show, and where she will be based. The Talbots look forward to spending their first year cruising around Hong Kong and are planning to take Tigress down to Singapore and Thailand.

Oyster 46 Astraeus of Mersea

Oyster 54 Wolfhound

Oyster 46 Sonsy Lass

Oyster 72 Ayaxa

Oyster 56 Spirit of Spring

Oyster 72 Albert One3

The 25th Oyster 46 to be launched, Astraeus of Mersea was shown at this year’s London Boat Show where she was widely admired. With her light and modern Maple interior, Astraeus sports a multitude of very stylish and well thought out features, including some of which are sure to find their way on to future new Oysters. Astraeus will spend the summer based out of West Mersea on the East Coast, before heading for Ijmuiden where she will be on display at the Amsterdam boat show. Future cruising plans include the Baltic and Mediterranean.

The Oyster 54 Wolfhound was recently handed over to new owner Tony Keal, who was accompanied by his long-term sailing associate, John Tindale. In near perfect conditions, Tony and John enjoyed a brisk sail on the River Orwell. After a quick lunch stop at anchor in the River Stour (accompanied by a really good Sauvignon Blanc) a beat most of the way back to Fox’s Marina, showed just what a fast and responsive yacht the Oyster 54 is. Wolfhound appeared at Oyster’s Private View at St Katharine Docks in London before leaving for her new mooring on the Beaulieu River on the south coast.

Owners Alex and June Laidlaw were reintroduced to sailing when they helped their son, Colin, to deliver his Moody 36 back to the UK from the Azores in 2008. They decided to sell their winter home in Florida and take to the sea themselves. Colin will be returning the favour and joining them on board Sonsy Lass for their trip down to the Mediterranean. Alex and June will continue on to Turkey where they plan to base Sonsy Lass.

The Belarus based owner of the new Oyster 72, Ayaxa, commissioned Jo Humphreys, wife of Oyster Designer, Rob Humphreys, to create the interior styling and furnishings for his new yacht. The result is a stunningly beautiful maple joinery work with taupe leather upholstery and stylish accessories.

The Popham family are now the proud owners of their second Oyster, the new 56, Spirit of Spring, which replaces their Oyster 47, also called Spirit of Spring. In a really kind gesture, Stuart and Carolyn invited the team of craftsmen from Windboats and Bridglands, who had worked on their new yacht, to a sail on the River Orwell followed by lunch at the nearby Oyster Reach. After a stopover in London for Oyster’s Private View, Spirit of Spring set off for Malta where she will spend the summer season, before joining the Oyster Regatta in Sardinia.

Owned by Alberto Vignatelli, head of the international design and fashion house, that includes Club House Italia and Fendi Casa, it’s no surprise that the interior of his new Oyster 72, Albert One3, exudes sophisticated style. With her cherry joinery work and Fendi-supplied upholstery, sporting the famous Fendi logo, Albert One3 was on display at Oyster’s Private View in London. She has now arrived at her berth at Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Porto Cervo in Sardinia and will be taking part in Oyster’s regatta there later this year.

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THE CHOICE OF OYSTER MARINE

Oyster Marine Ltd Tel: +44 (0)1473 688888 Sales Team: Tel: +44 (0)1473 695005 Aftersales: Tel: +44 (0)1473 690198 Email: yachts@oystermarine.com www.oystermarine.com Oyster Marine USA Oyster Brokerage USA Tel: +401 846 7400 Email: info@oystermarine.com www.oystermarine.com

HIGH TECH PERFORMANCE CRUISING SAILS SAIL INVENTORY PLANNING SAIL SETTING ADVICE COMPLETE COVER SERVICE INCLUDING: All Season Deck Covers Floor Coverings

Oyster Marine Germany Tel: +49 40 64400880 Email: yachten@oystermarine.com www.oystermarine.de Oyster Representatives Oyster Yachts Asia Bart Kimman Tel: +852 2815 0404 Email: bart.kimman@oystermarine.hk Oyster Yachts Italy Tommy Moscatelli Tel: +39 0564 830234 Email: tommy.moscatelli@oystermarine.it Oyster Yachts Russia Alexander Markarov Tel: +7 495 5006789 Email: alexander.markarov@oystermarine.ru Oyster Yachts Ukraine Alex Krykanyuk Tel: +380 512 580 540 Email: alex.krykanyuk@oystermarine.ru

Oyster Charter Tel: +401 846 7400 Email: molly.marston@oystermarine.com www.oystercharter.com

Oyster 655 Black Pearl Credit: Oyster Marine

Oyster Brokerage Ltd Tel: +44 (0)1473 695100 Email: brokerage@oystermarine.com www.oysterbrokerage.com

Proud to build sails for Oyster

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

Southampton Yacht Services Ltd Saxon Wharf Lower Street Northam Southampton SO14 5QF England Tel: +44 (0)23 8033 5266 Fax: +44 (0)23 8063 4275 Email: sales@southamptonyachtservices.co.uk www.southamptonyachtservices.co.uk


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Oyster Summer 2010 // Issue70  
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