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Oyster 495: the dream boat that sets the bar

Sam Fortescue

  • Sam Fortescue
  • January 2, 2023

Oyster have long set the standard for luxurious blue-water cruisers, and the Oyster 495 is the new baby in the range. Even if you’re not in the market for one, it’s nice to dream, says Sam Fortescue

Product Overview

  • High build quality
  • Very stable
  • Modern hull shape
  • Flexible sail plan
  • Accessible technical spaces
  • Lots of deck stowage
  • Numerous interior steps
  • Limited clothes storage
  • Captive main/jib halyard


Price as reviewed:.

Following an era which saw Oyster yachts getting progressively bigger and bigger, the iconic British boatbuilder has shifted its gaze back to the sort of boats that made it famous. And the first fruit of this welcome development is the comely Oyster 495.

The best part of £2 million all told, she is eye-wateringly expensive. So why sail her?

Well, this iconic British brand has long set the standard when it comes to offshore and ocean luxury cruising yachts, so it’s worth seeing, if only to measure other boats against.

A man wearing tan trousers and a black top at the helm of a large yacht

The cockpit is deep, secure and well-sheltered. Credit: Morten Strauch

Even if you haven’t got that kind of loose change in your pocket, it’s nice to dream, isn’t it?

Freshly designed from the keel up, this is a that boat aims to combine comfort, quality build and reliable blue-water passagemaking with features found on the bigger boats.

Drawn by Humphreys Yacht Design, the Oyster 495 is the first new model since Richard Hadida bought the business in 2018.

‘She’s a go-anywhere adventure machine capable of taking her owners to the four corners of the globe,’ says Hadida, for whom this first boat has been built with a huge array of extras.

Oyster 495: a new icon

Approaching the Tuborg Marina in Copenhagen to join ship for the overnight passage to Kiel, there was absolutely no mistaking this boat, whose glossy black carbon mast gave her away long before I spotted the trademark Oyster eyebrow.

Hull number one, which is on a promotional world tour lasting well into 2023, also has a bold turquoise vinyl hull wrap.

A man sailing a boat

Solo sailing is feasible thanks to almost all controls being push-button. Credit: Morten Strauch

In line with recent thinking on hull shape , the Oyster 495 punches a plumb bow into the seas and carries much of her beam well aft – noticeably more so than previous models.

Such a hull form resists heeling and reduces the need for ballast.

Halyards on a boat mast

The halyards make off to the mast and can be tensioned by winches, but must be moused to be lowered. Credit: Morten Strauch

‘With the twin rudder configuration that we have adopted as standard on all our Oyster designs since the 885 model, it provides us with more flexibility to carry a higher proportion of form stability by increasing the power of the aft hull sections,’ says naval architect Tom Humphreys.

‘This is still introduced sensitively to ensure motions and control in waves is not compromised.’

Generous accommodation

Together with the slightly higher beam and topsides compared to the 46, it creates a lot of volume below for the master cabin and extra headroom in the fo’c’sle.

As is typical for Oyster, the mast is keel-stepped. It intrudes slightly into the corridor forward, but does a better job of transferring rig forces to the keel and reduces chainplate loading.

Our test boat had the full carbon mast option from Selden with in-mast furling, and in some ways, this is a bit of an oxymoron.

A anchor and bowsprit on an Pyster 495

Headsail furling is electric on the Oyster 495, with a double bow roller in the integral bow sprit. Credit: Morten Strauch

The carbon mast adds nearly £100,000 to the pricetag for a big weight saving of some 200kg, but the mandrel and furling gear puts some of that weight back in.

On the other hand, it reduces the sail area by 10 per cent and prohibits the use of performance-enhancing battens.

‘You get more sailing done this way,’ explains sales director Richard Gibson, and that is a key point in a blue-water yacht.

The sail plan is designed with an efficient 54m2 jib, which can be set up for self-tacking, or remain on tracks set well inboard for good tight angles upwind.

Then there’s an attractive moulded-in bowsprit which carries two tack points for asymmetric or reaching sails, while beefy padeyes along the raised bulwarks give you heaps of options for fixing the blocks needed to run sheets and guys.

A cockpit on an Oyster 495

A large sprayhood, and an optional bimini or cockpit tent offer good protection from the elements. Credit: Morten Strauch

As well as push-button controls for the mast furling and outhaul, this test boat has the optional hydraulic mainsail trim.

Effectively reversing the mainsheet to be trimmed in the boom and not on deck, this clever kit was first developed by Wally superyachts.

The mainsheet is spliced to a strop on the deck behind the helm and a ram hidden in the boom does the trimming, removing trailing ropes in the cockpit.

Just the jib sheets come back to the cockpit, because all the halyards are designed to be handled at the mast.

An Oyster 495 yacht with a blue hull and black sails

The mainsheet control is hydraulic and hidden inside the boom. Credit: Richard Langdon

It keeps the cockpit remarkably tidy, but requires you to spend time crouched at the foot of the mast to launch or douse a reaching or running sail.

Similarly, the jib and main halyards terminate with loops over a mast fitting which is tensioned then pegged off.

As they are cut to this length with the sails hoisted, you can’t lower them in a hurry.

You need to unload the hook using a winch, then tie on the provided mousing line. Tidy, yes; practical, no.

Hunting for wind

Now, we had lamentably low wind during our test sail, and the delivery team were intent on reaching Kiel by daybreak, so we spent much of our 24 hours aboard with the motor running and the sails furled.

And here, it must be said that the boat performs very well.

At an optimal 2,300rpm, the efficient Yanmar 110hp shoved us along at 8 knots through oily calm seas, consuming 8.7 litres of diesel per hour.

That’s roughly 1 litre per nautical mile, or nearly 4 days and nights of motoring on a full tank of 800 litres.

The deck of an Oyster 495 yacht

Excellent deck stowage is located aft of the single-point mainsheet attachment. Credit: Morten Strauch

And though the engine sits in the traditional spot beneath the companionway, with the chart table to starboard and the galley to port, it is very well muffled.

Crucially for the workhorse on a blue-water cruising boat, access is possible via hatches on all four sides of the engine block, while the compartment itself offers plenty of room for additional equipment.

During two passages of moderate wind, the skipper obligingly let us set the main and jib – a slow but simple question of pressing buttons, with jib sheet winches within easy reach of the helm on the coaming.

She remained light and responsive on the helm and at one point, we clocked up a decent 5.1 knots of boat speed, fetching easily into 8 knots AWS.

A drinks fridge on the cockpit of an Oyster 495

Oyster is proud of its cockpit table, which contains a drinks fridge. Credit: Morten Strauch

Conditions didn’t permit much more, but polars indicate that she will perform up to about 32º true wind angle, quickly accelerating to 7 knots upwind in a 10-knot breeze.

Broad reaching with the 197 m² asymmetric, she can manage 11 knots in a blow.

Despite being resin-infused, the boat has a relatively heavy glassfibre construction and weighs in at 21 tonnes without fuel, water, food, gear or crew.

Seating down below on an Oyster 495

The saloon is large and extremely light thanks to the trademark deck saloon windows

Her sail area to displacement ratio of 16.1 is that of a solid offshore cruiser, while the waterline length to displacement ratio of 203 promises a little more power.

It gives her a very solid feel on the water, like her bigger siblings, but limits performance.

‘You want the boat to be the destination in a way,’ says Tom Humphreys. And like all Oysters, the 495 is just that.

The trademark raised centre cockpit means plenty of aft deck for lounging, fishing or blowing up tenders, while the seating, with its central fold-up table, is deep and well protected.

The optional cockpit tent and a bimini would be a boon for warm water or Baltic sailing .

A navigation station on a yacht

A proper forward facing chart table is essential for ocean navigation and as a work station

Deck, rigging and underwater lighting may be a little showy for some, but do create real atmosphere. The heart of the boat, though, is its large saloon area.

Deep upholstery on either side provides space to put your feet up and relax, gather with friends, sit down for a meal around the eight-person table or even watch a movie on the pop-up TV.

A double bed on a boat covered in cushions and a beige throw

Luxury styling in the cabins hasn’t made Oyster forget practicalities such as lee cloths and handholds.

The space communicates nicely with a very well-found galley to port and the chart table to starboard, and there are handrails to help you make your way everywhere.

The finish is Oyster to the core and styling has been revitalised with a new superyacht inspired look that is all geometric relief, pale wood and Nordic lamps.

Continues below…

oyster yacht test

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One step too far

If I had one criticism of this otherwise spotless interior, it would be the number of little level changes that connect the spaces.

We counted 12 steps in total, besides the companionway.

While they maximise the volume, they also present a tripping risk.

The bow of a boat cutting through the waves

The hull form includes a plumb bow to stretch waterline length, and carries its beam well aft, controlled by twin rudders. Credit: Brian Carlin

One of the reasons for these steps is clear: the saloon sole is raised somewhat in order to create space for the tankage beneath, as well as enjoy the views from the deckhouse windows.

And there, at least, the benefit is overwhelming, because you can easily inspect each tank, as well as the batteries and other equipment.

Custom joinery adapts the galley storage to your crockery and glassware.

An oven and galley area on a yacht

The galley of the Oyster 495 is well laid out for use at sea

Standard is a four-burner hob and oven from GN Espace, side opening boat fridge plus an optional freezer and microwave.

Another highlight is the huge chart table.

There are those that scoff at the waste of space in a digital age, but anyone undertaking blue-water cruising knows the value of this space.

A man at the helm of a boat

The saloon deckhouse leaves the foredeck clear for sail handling, lounging, or dinghy stowage. Credit: Morten Strauch

B&G instruments are the standard choice. The main interfaces are touchscreen displays that drive C-Zone digital switching , but key kit still features two-pole manual switches.

‘We wanted to introduce tech into the boat, but we had to make sure that if something breaks down mid-ocean you could fix it,’ explains Gibson.

Down steps aft, the owner’s cabin is clearly inspired by the big Oysters.

A boat engine

The engine compartment is well insulated and has ample space for a genset and other systems. Credit: Morten Strauch

The island bed measures 140cm across and features an elaborate fabric headboard that shows off the new styling to maximum effect.

There’s the option of a huge TV on the forward bulkhead, plus a vanity table and a sofa.

A luxurious ensuite heads features a separate shower, reached – you’ve guessed it – down another step.

The second cabin lies in the fo’c’sle and it runs to another good sized semi-island bed.

A yacht with a blue hull and white sails sailing in the open ocean

The boat remains a medium-heavy displacement cruiser, but the new hull shape adds extra performance. Credit: Richard Langdon

Having shared this space overnight with the photographer, I can attest to the comfort, and the natural light.

There is a third cabin to starboard with a pair of useful bunks, sharing the forward heads and shower. Finish quality is, as you’d expect, excellent.

In the end, Oyster has been ambitious in trying to squeeze in the features of its larger boats onto this design.

But it has been a successful project and, even as we hove in sight of Kiel’s green approaches, it was all too easy to imagine settling in and heeding the call of the high seas.

Verdict on the Oyster 495

New focus from Oyster and some modern hull design courtesy of Humphreys have given the Oyster 495 a modest performance boost and some welcome contemporary features.

However, she remains very true to Oyster’s keystone values of safety, seaworthiness and comfort. And in that sense, at least, she is not a radical boat.

Her layout, too, would be familiar to an Oyster 49 owner from 2001.

An aerial view of a yacht sailing on a blue sea

The Oyster 495 is built for serious long-distance cruising. Credit: Brian Carlin

There’s plenty of technology here – digital switching, plotters galore, good AV options and hydraulic sail controls. But it is not dressed up to be flashy.

The boat is solid, well-built and beautifully finished. She is easy to handle, capable and well organised.

Our only misgivings were about the less-than-easy halyard handling, and reliance on hydraulics for sail trim.

It’s all very neat, but is that really the priority for blue-water cruising?

As to whether she represents the world’s best 50ft blue-water yacht, time will tell, but with 16 boats sold off plan, some buyers clearly think so.

Would the Oyster 495 suit you and your crew?

Oysters are the stuff of dreams, and the new 495 is no exception.

If money were no object, and it needs not to be for this boat (our tricked-out test boat cost £1.6m ex-VAT or £1.92m inc VAT), then this is a vessel custom made to fulfil blue-water cruising hopes.

She would best suit a family with a steady flow of visiting friends, or a mix of older and younger kids.

A woman sailing a yacht with a white hull and black sails

The integral bowsprit on the Oyster 495 facilitates the setting of various offwind sails to maintain passage speeds. Credit: Brian Carlin

The disparity between the aft and fo’c’sle cabins rules out a project involving two couples.

She would also work well with a couple and some paid hands, although the ease of sail control and trim makes her perfectly viable for sailing solo or two-up.

There’s no reason that you couldn’t take the 495 up Britain’s rivers and estuaries, with her 2.28m draught and option for a 1.83m shoal keel.

But a boat of this capability demands to cover miles.

Sail round Britain , up to Svalbard , round the Mediterranean or around the world – the boat could undoubtedly handle it all with aplomb – but make sure you’re stretching her legs.

Solid, well-built and beautifully finished

YACHT test : How Oyster makes a fresh start with the 565

Jochen Rieker

 ·  21.01.2020

YACHT test: How Oyster makes a fresh start with the 565

It almost sounds a little too smooth, too good to be true. Because a new beginning in boatbuilding does not always succeed. Finngulf, for example, finally went under after two attempts at revitalisation, as did Etap. Najad stumbled several times over almost a decade. And it is still too early to say how Discovery Yachts is faring, whose now-disgraced managing director Sean Langdon had to file for insolvency a few days before Christmas.

At Oyster, however, this flagship of the British yacht-building industry, which has now shrunk considerably, things are back on track. This is partly down to Richard Hadida, the new owner, who has made a fortune on the internet and has made saving the shipyard a matter close to his heart. And it is also down to the employees, many of whom have been working for the brand for generations and are a guarantee of continuity.

  Can take a beating: Oyster 565

This is one of the reasons why the latest, currently smallest yacht - the Oyster 565 - actually has everything that makes an Oyster. And a little more. This was demonstrated during the YACHT test off the coast of Catalonia, where the boat was available to us for a whole week as part of the selection process for European Yacht of the Year - in a wide wind range from 5 to 25 knots.

Under sail and under engine, the Oyster 565 designed by Rob Humphreys was equally convincing. It also coped with rough seas and strong winds without complaint, almost bored. And still responded with pleasant agility even in light conditions.

  Can tell a story: Paul Adamson

However, it would be a mistake to judge it solely on these aspects. After all, the Oyster 565 only reveals its true strength below deck and deep in the bowels of its construction. That's where we accompanied Paul Adamson, once captain of racing team owner Eddie Jordan's Oyster and now Chief Commercial Officer at the shipyard. A sailor through and through, he is now at the helm of the company.

What he says about the brand's DNA, why he still considers dipsticks for the diesel and fresh water tanks to be indispensable and why he offers all YACHT readers a drink if they find squeaky floorboards on the Oyster 565 build number 3, which will be on display at boot Düsseldorf - all this and more in the test report.

Now in YACHT 2/2020, available in the DK-Shop. Or you can download the test directly via the link below.

Bild 1

Oyster 565 (pdf)

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oyster yacht test

Sailboat Review: Oyster 495 Combines Performance and Power In Under 50 Feet

  • By Kimball Livingston
  • October 27, 2023

Oyster 495 sailboat

Few boats would merit a glance from a savvy, experienced skipper looking to consolidate the best qualities of his performance cruiser and his motoryacht into just one boat.

Someone might even ask: “Are you kidding me? Can you do that?”

Enter the Oyster 495.

As the smallest yacht the company has developed from concept since 2005, the 495 is rigorously detailed. It is true to the heritage of a builder where a 50-footer has become the entry-level model. 

For this latest raised-salon offering, Oyster created a new facility in Hythe, on the Southampton shores of southern England. The aim is to build 12 boats a year, and sales to date suggest that this figure is not overly ambitious. 

I encountered Genevieve , the well-traveled Hull No. 1, in Southern California, where the boat had been delivered to the owner in Santa Barbara after being shown extensively in Europe. She was purchased to replace a performance cruiser and a powerboat. 

First impressions count, and the 495 makes a great one. If you’re switching over from a different brand, forget about bringing along your plates and glassware. All of that is provided, with subtle logos and fitted stowage. Mood lighting is available at the touch of a button. The TV raises and disappears with another button. In the guest stateroom forward, hatches overhead open in opposite directions. The queen berth in the owner’s stateroom could be a boat-show sales tool, but the cabin top is equipped for the lee cloths you will need when the boat is doing what it is meant to do: go places. 

To that end, an aluminum mast with electric furling is standard, but Genevieve is equipped with a Seldén carbon rig with in-mast electric furling and a hydraulics package including a mainsheet, vang, outhaul, backstay, and ­in-boom ram. In operation, it was whisper-quiet. 

The twin wheels offer clear sightlines from secure footing, along with command posts that have buttons to deploy and furl sails, and to adjust everything adjustable without straining a finger or risking a hangnail. Lewmar EVO primaries are handy, just outboard of the helm stations. Optional dual thrusters make everyone a hero going and coming to the dock, and smaller items such as pre-rigged preventers speak to that shadowy concierge who seems to have been everywhere. 

With four of us aboard, the cockpit was more than ­generous. I imagined many sociable scenes to come as the sails came out. The Yanmar saildrive was so quiet, it had to go off for me to even notice it had been on. Put that down to sandwich insulation glued, not screwed. 

The breeze was single digits, not enough to make the boat light up under a 105 percent jib, and we were dragging a wide transom and two rudders. Nevertheless, it was enjoyable sailing. I also appreciated seeing the cabin house square to the seating, to make a comfortable backrest looking aft, stretched out on passage. Rounding the forward backing the way some manufacturers do may work when you’re not going anywhere, but what is a boat for? 

The cockpit is laid out to walk on a single level back to a full-beam lazarette, which has ample stowage and access to the steering, backstay, exhaust and seacocks. Step back farther, and you are stepping down a reverse transom to a shower and an electronically operated swim platform. When the boat is stern-tied, that will be the boarding ladder. 

Belowdecks is bright, with close attention to ­ventilation. The opening coachroof windows in the salon will delight passengers in a tropical anchorage with the breeze wafting through. Batteries and tankage are centered under the salon sole, focusing the weight where it belongs. A U-shaped galley, two steps down to port, places most of the cook’s needs at hand in a space where it will be easy to brace underway, and the cook is not isolated from crew and guests. The twin sinks are on centerline for efficient drainage. 

The saloon table lowers to bed height for those who are overblessed with kids or grandkids, and the step-down nav station is separated but not isolated. A swing-out computer screen is here, along with CZone control and monitoring instead of fuse panels. A freezer is abaft the nav station, where it won’t see a lot of traffic unless it’s stocked with ice cream for those kids. 

Opposite the nav station, twin doors open wide to an engine compartment thoughtfully laid out to be serviced without provoking naughty words. Clear labeling matters, and I liked seeing the Panda generator within a sound-­insulated compartment.  

All the way aft, the owner’s stateroom has 6 feet, 4 inches of headroom, a sofa, cedar-lined lockers, escape hatches, and Oyster’s signature vertical portlights for a special view of the world. Forward of the salon is a cozy over/under double that shares a head and shower with the bright and airy forward stateroom. Nowhere above or belowdecks does the level of fit-and-finish fall short. 

Oyster describes the hull as an “overspecified laminate resin structure with a combination of stringers and frames for extreme strength and durability.” I believe it. Genevieve had the L-shaped standard keel and a draft of 7 feet, 5 inches. A shoal-draft keel is an option. 

Lunch waited ashore, ­creating an opportunity to ­observe how magically the sails disappeared and how comfortably the boat motored at 9-plus knots. It’s replacing a powerboat, remember. There was also a moment to ­demonstrate that, under power, the Oyster 495 will spin in its own length. That gave me a grin too.

Oyster 495 Specifications

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Sail Universe

Editor’s Choice: 18 Bluewater Sailboats We Love

Advantages of bluewater sailboats, factors to consider when buying a blue water sailboat, allures 51.9, contest 55cs, discovery revelation 480, grand soleil 42 lc, hallberg-rassy 48mk ii, island packet 349, j/boats j/45, najad 395 cc, outbound 56.

Bluewater sailboats

Looking to sail the open seas? Bluewater sailboats are your answer. With their sturdy construction and ability to handle rough conditions, these boats are designed for serious offshore sailing adventures. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of blue water sailboats and provide you with everything you need to know. From their unique features to their advantages and considerations, we will explore it all.

Bluewater sailboats are known for their strength and durability. Built to withstand the challenging conditions of ocean crossings, these boats offer stability and safety on long voyages. Whether you’re planning a solo trip or setting off with a crew, a blue water sailboat is an excellent option to explore the depths.

We will discuss the key characteristics that make blue water sailboats stand out, such as their hull design, rigging, and navigation systems. Additionally, we’ll explore the various types and sizes available to help you find the perfect fit for your sailing aspirations.

So, if you’ve ever dreamed of embarking on a thrilling ocean adventure, join us as we navigate the world of bluewater sailboats and uncover everything you need to know.

Bluewater sailboats are designed to withstand the demanding conditions encountered during long ocean voyages. They possess several key characteristics that set them apart from other types of sailboats. 

bluewater sailboats

1. Sturdy Construction

Bluewater sailboats are built with robust materials and construction techniques to ensure their strength and durability. They feature reinforced hulls made of fiberglass, aluminum, or steel, which can withstand the impact of large waves and adverse weather conditions. These boats are designed to handle the constant stresses of offshore sailing without compromising their structural integrity.

2. Seaworthiness

One of the defining characteristics of bluewater sailboats is their seaworthiness. They are designed to handle rough seas and strong winds, providing a stable and comfortable ride even in challenging conditions. The shape of their hulls, with a deep V or modified full-keel design, allows them to cut through waves and maintain stability, minimizing the rolling motion commonly experienced on other types of sailboats.

3. Self-Sustainability

Bluewater sailboats are equipped with systems that enable self-sustainability during long voyages. They typically have large water and fuel tanks, allowing sailors to carry ample supplies for extended periods at sea. In addition, these boats often come equipped with renewable energy sources such as solar panels or wind turbines, reducing the reliance on external power sources.

Bluewater sailboats offer numerous advantages for sailors looking to embark on offshore adventures. Here are some of the key benefits of choosing a blue water sailboat for your next sailing journey.

1. Safety and Stability

When sailing across vast oceans, safety is paramount. Bluewater sailboats provide a high level of safety and stability, thanks to their sturdy construction and seaworthiness. These boats are designed to handle adverse weather conditions and rough seas, ensuring the safety of the crew and the vessel. The robust hulls and well-balanced designs make them less prone to capsizing or taking on water, providing peace of mind during long voyages.

2. Long-Distance Capability

Bluewater sailboats are specifically designed for long-distance sailing. They have the capacity to carry ample supplies, including food, water, and fuel, allowing sailors to embark on extended journeys without the need for frequent resupply stops. With their self-sustainability features and efficient hull designs, these boats can cover long distances efficiently and comfortably.

3. Comfort and Liveability

Living aboard a bluewater sailboat for an extended period requires comfort and practicality. These boats are designed with spacious interiors, allowing for comfortable living quarters during long voyages. They often feature multiple cabins, a well-equipped galley, and ample storage space for provisions and personal belongings. The layout and design of blue water sailboats prioritize functionality and convenience, ensuring a comfortable living experience even in the middle of the ocean.

And now… it’s time to discover together our selection of 18 Bluewater sailboats we love!

The Allures 51.9 innovates with its full-beam aft owner’s cabin. This model disrupts the codes of the yard also outside with its cockpit of 6 meters long with sunbath and swim platform for comfort; the navigation space can be protected by a hardtop to navigate in any security. The boat has a length of 51.9 feet (15.8 meters) and a beam (width) of 15.4 feet (4.7 meters). It is equipped with a fixed keel and a composite hull, which provides good stability and seaworthiness. The Allures 51.9 is available in a variety of configurations, including a three-cabin layout with a spacious owner’s cabin and two guest cabins, or a two-cabin layout with a larger owner’s cabin and a smaller guest cabin. It is also equipped with a well-equipped galley, a large saloon, and a navigation station.  Allures official website .

amel 60 Bluewater sailboats

In a dynamic evolution and complementary to their range,  Amel  launched a larger model, with a higher specification and built with attention to details. Riding on the success of the  Amel 50 , the Amel 60 is an enhanced version of the new Amel design . The brand’s fundamental characteristics are well represented in this large yacht, with an additional 10 feet increasing her volume as well as her interior and exterior living spaces, while still ensuring ease of use for a small crew. 

Signed Berret-Racoupeau, the generous volumes of this large yacht have been designed to allow owners and their guests to fully enjoy life on board, while preserving everyone’s privacy: a large living space in the saloon, an ultra-equipped high-end galley three cabins each with a bathroom, an even larger protected cockpit, opening onto sunbathing areas ideal for relaxation.

contest 55cs Bluewater sailboats

The  Dutch specialist  in semi-custom constructions Contest Yachts presented the brand new 17-metre Contest 55CS at Boot Dusseldorf 2020. Don’t call it “simply” a  bluewater  yacht. The stunning lines both above and below water from star designers Judel/Vrolijk shall ensure a real sporty character. A newly conceived interior styling now features an even bigger flowing corner radius to the exquisitely finished timber work. There are also now more optional hull windows in up to four stations along the yacht’s length.

discovery revelation 480

Discovery Yachts  presented the new Revelation 480 at  Boot Dusseldorf 2020 . This is the first model of the new Revelation line and differs from the Southerly line for the fixed keel and the lowered saloon. Yes, the Revelation 480 is a lowered saloon boat based on the well-known Southerly 480. The Revelation 480 combines bluewater capability with a low, sleek coachroof that contributes to an interesting aesthetic. Down below, the single level interior is extremely light and exquisitely furnished.

grand soleil 42 lc

The Grand Soleil 42 LC is  Cantiere del Pardo ’s latest entry model of the bluewater line. Comfort and sailing autonomy are the main features of this 12-meter, designed by Marco Lostuzzi together with Nauta Design and Cantiere del Pardo’s Technical Office.

The 42 LC is available in two versions; standard or sport. The former is equipped with aft benches, and a carbon arch over the cockpit, designed to keep this area free of the mainsheet traveller. The GS 42 LC’s hull guarantees great stability thanks to greater hull volume. The well-proportioned sail plan optimizes the high-performance sailing standards. As with the rest of the Long Cruise range, the Grand Soleil 42 LC is designed to provide greater and more luxurious comfort on board.

The interior layout is available with either two or three cabins, to meet the client’s needs. Both versions include two heads with a shower. In the saloon, a three-seater sofa is found on the starboard side, while the central seat can be transformed into a chart table.

Hallberg Rassy 48 Mkll Bluewater sailboats

The Hallberg-Rassy 48 MK II is a true bluewater cruiser that offers more natural light, more comfort and more elegance than ever before. With three double cabins and a vast saloon, she offers great space for modern comfort aids. Known far and wide for sturdy construction, superb craftsmanship and signature seaworthiness, Hallberg-Rassy boats are globally respected for their elegant lines and spirited performance.

Hylas H60

Hylas Yachts has collaborated with German Frers for over 40 years and built a reputation for yachts that combine ocean sailing capability, classic lines and exquisitely finished interiors.  Now the company is staking out new territory with the H60. Still ocean capable, still with an exquisite interior but also embracing some of the contemporary demands of today’s cruising sailors. 

Longtime Hylas fans will not be disappointed by her performance. Built using the most advanced construction technologies, the H60 has been designed to excel in all conditions with excellent seakeeping ability. A plumb bow and broad transom make the most of her waterline length underway, providing speed with optimal comfort.

The builder partnered with Milan-based firm  Hot Lab , known for their elegant designs in the superyacht world, to offer interiors that immediately set the new Hylas on a new level.

ice yachts ice 70

The project of the ICE 70 by  ICE Yachts  has been realized using the most advanced modeling and analysis software available today. “ Thanks to the new virtual reality ‘tools’ ,” explains  Felci Yacht Design , “ we have been able to make the owner and the shipyard participant of many geometric and stylistic choices. It is a yacht with high technological potential, starting from the design of the hull and the appendices “. With this sporty bluewater sailboat, the Italian yard wanted to create a technologically avant-garde boat with large, comfortable indoor and outdoor spaces, which is easy to sail and entirely safe at sea. Like all ICE Yachts models, the ICE 70 is a semi-custom product with which the owner has many possibilities for customization and equipment. ICE Yachts official website

island packet 349 Bluewater sailboats

With this model, iconic Island Packet has returned to the Solent-style rig as standard, featuring a mainsail with a working jib and an optional lightweight 170% reacher or asymmetrical that mounts on the integral bow platform and furled with Harken systems. The working jib is fitted with a Hoyt Boom that is self-tending and improves performance with its close sheeting and self-vanging feature, while the large optional reacher or asymmetrical boost performance in light air or when off the wind.

The fully battened mainsail is equipped with a low friction Battcar system and drops easily into a stack pack with an integral cover and lazy jack system.  This rigging offers ease of use and versatility in the varied wind or sea conditions and increased speed and maneuverability.

j/boats j/45

The J/Boats J/45, is a true  bluewater sailing yacht, designed and built for the sea by life-long sailors. The  J/Boats  and  J/Composites teams have collaborated to create a special design for discerning sailors seeking an exceptional sailing experience. The J/45 can be sailed solo, cruised by 2-3 couples or large family, and pleasure sailed or raced with room for the whole crew. This is an investment-grade sailboat that won’t require a professional crew to sail, handle or maintain. J/Boats official website

kraken 50 Bluewater sailboats

The Kraken 50 is designed to be the short-handed bluewater cruising yacht. Due to her steady motion and stability, her crew will be equally comfortable at sea or in the anchorage, and special consideration has been given in the K50 layouts above and below deck to allow for short-handed ocean passage making. The Kraken 50 features the renowned integral  Zero Keel  and fully skegged rudder.

najad 395 cc Bluewater sailboats

N395 CC (centre cockpit) is part of the all-new Najad 395 range, designed in a joint venture by Najad, Farr Yacht Design, and Ken Freivokh Design – superyacht stylist, architects, and interior designers. The N395 CC is characterized by a well-protected large cockpit located close to the center of gravity. It has a well-designed interior and a very comprehensive options list that includes all equipment necessary to tailor the yacht to any individual needs. This model is available in two or three cabin layouts with one or two large heads.

outbound 56 bluewater

Welcome aboard the newest addition to Outbound’s impressive line of offshore passage makers. The new Outbound 56, built from German Frers timeless and proven design continues to fulfill our single mission of building great offshore yachts.  Fast, accommodating and gorgeous, the 56 will take you anywhere your heart desires in style and comfort.

oyster 565 Bluewater sailboats

The entry level yacht for the ‘G6’ range of seven models up to the Flagship Oyster 118.  Using the latest generation of Oyster hull shapes, developed with Humphreys Yacht Design, the Oyster 565 is designed for family sailing without professional crew.

A generous sail locker and lazarette, headroom and bunk lengths to match the larger Oyster Superyachts, the 565 can be configured with many different cabin layouts – and for the first time in Oyster Yachts – can have the master cabin forward and a dinghy garage in the transom.

rm970 Bluewater sailboats

The Brittany based yard is well known not only among ocean sailors but also to those who love short-handed sailing and are looking for seaworthy and easily driven bluewater sailboats, both safe and comfortable. This last aspect is where Fora Marine has made great progress in the last few years, shedding some of the spartan image that characterized their products for many years.

What has not changed, and what is still the RM range’s defining characteristic, is the twin-chined hull, made of Okumé plywood impregnated with epoxy resin (the deck is in fiberglass sandwich). Below the hull, the yard offers two options, a single deep keel or double shoal draft keels. The RM are designed by Marc Lombard, probably one of the architects most able to transform the fashionable chine into an important element in cruising design. A chined hull, when properly drawn, gives both better hull shape and interior volumes. ( Read our test )

rustler 42

The Rustler 42 is a classic looking yacht which combines style that is traditional yet modern. Her cruising layout results in a live aboard yacht that has stability and elegance with the same unique sea-kindly characteristics as the Rustler 36. Below the waterline, she looks conservative with a deep canoe body, long fin keel and a big skeg hung rudder.

Below the decks, this yacht has a spacious open plan saloon. The large, finished saloon table can comfortably seat eight. The aft cabin has standing headroom, a full-width double berth and plenty of storage within lockers and a vanity unit with seat. The aft head incorporates a shower unit and a ‘wet lilies’ locker. At the forepeak the grand master cabin has a 6 ft 6 in double V berth.

swan 58

Signed by  German Frers , the Swan 58 needs to combine the spaces of bluewater sailboats with a fast cruiser performances. Key details include a deck featuring soft and rounded shapes, a new cockpit design, a redefined coach-roof style and large swimming platform. The concept is easy: to give the maximum comfort and liveability at rest, together with maximum efficiency for short handed sailing, without losing the capability to race with a full crew. 

The interiors of the new Swan 58 , which is fitted with European oak, have been conceived as a combination between luxury and comfortable living spaces, storage and volumes for systems and safety features; we find here a large saloon, a galley with a 360 degree layout and three heads. Various interior styling layouts are available varying woods and materials. 

tartan 395 Bluewater

Designed by Tartan naval architect Tim Jackett, the 395 comes out of the Tartan factory in Fairport Harbor and is the perfect example of bluewater sailboats. Her hull shape is an evolution of tried and true concepts proven to deliver great stability and high interior volume while maintaining comforting manners throughout a wide range of sailing conditions. On deck Tartan 395 sports hallmark Tartan design elements such as a traditional cabin house fitted with functional polished stainless steel rectangular portholes.

Like her smaller sister 345, 395’s handcrafted interior is built in maple as standard, with cherry a no-charge option. The lighter maple opens up her interior in ways the darker cherry simply cannot.

The countdown has begun for the new ICE 66 rs

Lagoon 60, freedom of space and panoramic views, setting sail with swan 51: a milestone in performance cruisers, the new sw96 liberty splashed down in cape town, live your passion, subscribe to our mailing list.

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  • By Barry Pickthall
  • Updated: October 4, 2007

oyster yacht test

Sailing in 40-50 knot winds is a pretty severe test for any yacht-the sort of conditions where things break and structures fail. That’s why, when I turned up to review Oyster Marine’s new 82 deck saloon cruising yacht on a day with occasional Force 9 gusts, in truth, I was rather surprised to go sailing at all.

But there were no qualms on the part of the skipper or crew of Bare Necessities, apart from the judicious use of fenders to save the yacht’s brightwork as we left our dock. Even better, none of those who remained within the safe confines of this Oyster’s expansive cockpit got wet as we skated around England’s exposed Solent waters at a speed of 10 to12 knots. Plowing upwind through short, sharp seas at an easy angle, Bare Necessities remained rock steady, making it easy to walk around. The only reminder to the immense stresses came when a staysail sheet snapped with a bang. “Those ropes are designed to take a 10-ton loading, so I guess we must have exceeded that,” was the comment from our representative from Oyster, who immediately offered the owner a free upgrade in sheet size.

It is an accolade to Oyster Marine that half their new builds are repeat orders from existing owners; invariably, the desire is to move up in size. It was this that prompted company founder Richard Matthews and his team to develop this 82-footer, as well as to plan on offering a 100-footer in the future. The first three of these fiberglass Oyster 82s to be launched were sold from plans; a further three are now being built, with two destined for American waters, where the brand has a strong following, particularly in the Caribbean. The British company inspires its faithful flock by organizing hugely popular race weeks in far-flung corners of the world, where the emphasis is on fun and sharing cruising experiences with others in this rather exclusive club. Last year saw 14 yachts compete in the Oyster Rally at Newport, which has a central sales office, and 32 in the Caribbean week in the British Virgin Islands.

Richard Matthews started the business at the tender age of 24; he is an immensely personable yet fiercely competitive character, who has won more than his fair share of prestigious trophies-from the Britannia Cup at Cowes to the SORC series around Florida. He owns and still races the former British America’s Cup 12-meter Crusader, and lives up to his philosophy: “Fast is more fun than slow-even when cruising.” His spirit has rubbed off on many of his owners, whose Oysters have won Antigua Race Week four times and have become the dominant marque in bluewater events like the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), the Trade Winds Round the World event and the Europa Around the World Rally. Of the thousand Oysters launched over the past three decades, 125 have completed the ARC race, and 24 have gone on to circle the globe.

One to follow in their wake will be Darling, the second of these Oyster 82s, which is bound to generate considerable mirth during radio chats as she goes around. The third 82 of the line-our review yacht-was built for charter in the UK, where she commands around $7,000 a day. Outwardly, the two yachts are very similar, with the latest carbon rigs, but belowdecks the variations show the extent that these custom-built yachts can be tailored to meet the requirements of their owners.

One feature both share is the high-level deck saloon configuration first pioneered by Oyster back in 1978, which remains a hallmark of their cruising range. In terms of aesthetics, the bigger the yacht, the more pleasing the angular outboard profile becomes, to the point where the lines blend almost seamlessly into the deck line on this 82. The advantages become apparent the moment you step below, for the concept creates an especially light and airy living area with fantastic visibility from within the large split-level saloon. The other major practical consideration that the raised floor offers is plenty of space in the engineroom, which allows for other heavy items like tankage and batteries to be situated close to the yacht’s center of gravity, which dampens pitch and rolling in heavy seas.

Even better, the raised deck and the glass windshield (fitted as an extra on this yacht) protect the cockpit against any spray. In more clement conditions, the large windows can be opened outward to greatly improve fair-weather ventilation. (Though air-conditioning is standard with five compressor units dotted around the yacht.)

The cockpit is split between a separate helm/crew working area and a 10-foot-long central guest cockpit adjacent to the companionway, which is both comfortable and well protected. I particularly liked the neat way that the tail ends of sheets and other ropes are stowed away in pillar-box slit lockers around the sides of the cockpit to save them from getting underfoot. The twin steering wheel configuration was also good, offering excellent visibility all around, though the angle of the flat-screen instrument panels needs to be raised forward to provide an optimum viewing angle and to save the helmsman from craning over the wheel.

The owner of Bare Necessities is-understatement alert!-something of a computer buff. Not surprisingly, flat touch screens adorn every part of the yacht, monitoring everything from course to compass heading. There is even a bevy of screens (with the touch facility disabled) across the companionway to keep guests informed of the yacht’s position on an electronic chart, wind and performance figures, as well as a bird’s-eye view of themselves from a camera at the masthead. From any of the 20 touch screens that can be found in the cabins and engineroom, crew and their guests can switch between a large library of films and music albums, and can monitor anything from engine revs and temperatures, fuel, water and food stocks, to rig sensors, electronic charts and sailing instruments. The three infrared cameras within the engineroom can be angled remotely to check for any irregularities. Sensibly, one of these can be clamped to any part of the engineroom to monitor any aspect of the yacht’s mechanicals from a dripping hose to other parts that may be prone to overheating.

This owner, who also has a smaller Jeaneau 42 that is controlled completely by computers, designed and developed all the computer systems on board. I think he should ring Hollywood and arrange for a very rugged reality show to be filmed, calledÉBare Necessities.

Belowdecks, every inch of this Oyster 82 radiates luxury. The maple interior furniture provides a light and airy feel to the boat, though other woods like teak, American white oak and cherry are also offered. This is really where semi-custom building comes into its own, for owners not only have a choice of finishes but layout options that will depend on whether the yacht is to be marina based, sailed with a small professional crew, or handled by an experienced coterie of family and friends. Other factors might depend on whether the yacht is to be used primarily for coastal or bluewater cruising in cold or hot climates, and whether it will be geared towards weekend use or live-aboarding in deep or shallow cruising grounds.

Almost anything is possible within the constraints of the seven watertight bulkheads. This owner had day charters for up to 18 guests (and four crew) very much in mind when it came to the interior design of his 82. But he still got his 18-foot-wide master stateroom aft with private access to the aft deck. And there are two twin-bedded guest cabins, all with en suite facilities. The crew is quartered in two separate cabins forward of the mast.

Between crew and guest quarters is an enormous main saloon, which includes a 10-seat circular dining area on one level, offering panoramic views through the expansive glass area afforded by the raised deck. A second dining/lounge area on a lower level seats a further 10. The yacht’s navigation and communications center is on the starboard side of the upper level, within two strides of the companionway.

Opposite the lower saloon area is an impressive open-style galley with a large induction burner and oven, fridge, freezer and dishwasher, together with a large pantry. The washer/dryer is fitted into the bow area, together with occasional fold-down pipe cots. On Darling, which is built for world cruising, a day head replaces the galley area, which in turn is situated in an enclosed area on the port side forward of the mast. A third twin-bunk guest cabin with shared facilities replaces the skipper’s cabin on Bare Necessities; instead, Darling’s crew share a twin V-berthed cabin forward.

Both yachts are equipped with Hood carbon spars. Darling’s mainsail furled up inside the mast, but on Bare Necessities, which is equipped with Doyle Cuban-fiber performance sails, the fully battened sail drops down onto an 850-millimeter-wide Park Avenue Boom. The genoa and staysails are furled on their headstays, which operate hydraulically.

With all winches push-button operated, the sailing side of this Oyster can be handled by as few as three crew. In the strong winds we faced, she handled supremely well, though the steering downwind would soon tire an inexperienced hand. But then, that is what the autopilot is for. She was also easy to maneuver under power; with the aid of her 30 hp retractable Lewmar bowthruster, all was simple to control from the port wheel position.

Our thrilling day ended with a final test, when we had to reverse Bare Necessities back into a very tight marina berth when the anemometer was still showing 40 knots of side wind. Would she be carried away? Our first effort wasn’t quite right, and by the time she was lined up, the wind had control of the bow. We pulled out, turned the boat round in her own length and had another go, and this time she went in perfectly. “There are no prizes here for hitting anything-and no pride lost in having another go,” said our affable skipper. To my mind, he did brilliantly to do it in two. If it had been my boat in those conditions we might still be there trying vainly to coax her in.

Contact: Oyster Marine USA, (401) 846-7400; [email protected] ; www.oystermarine.com .

_ View the photo gallery._

_ Read more about Oyster yachts._

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Oyster 54 review: from the archive

  • Matthew Sheahan
  • June 2, 2021

Matthew Sheahan sets off on a shakedown cruise around the Channel Islands and Brittany to find out how the new Oyster 54 shapes up and whether he and the owner had ticked the right boxes during her build


Raiatea at anchor off Sark. Credit: Ocean Images/ywpix

Product Overview


For once, there was no need to remove every cushion, lift every floorboard and squeeze into the engine room for a boat test.

Having acted as the owner’s consultant in this, our second Oyster, I had been party to many of the decisions made over the course of the conception and build of this Oyster 54.

I had acted in the same role for James Eilis’s previous Oyster 47, Rukuhia , and enjoyed seven seasons of cruising afterwards, which placed us both in a far better position to make judgements this time around based on practical experience.

Between order and delivery, Raiatea had grown and changed her model name from the 525 originally announced, to the 54 after Oyster decided that more stowage space could be provided in the lazarette by extending her transom slightly.

On paper we had tried to create the perfect cruiser, but to find out whether we’d got it right, we headed off on a week-long shakedown cruise in the direction of Brittany.


Beamy sections aft make fir a powerful hull and a stiff boat in a breeze, two great attributes for a long-distance crusing.

This trip would involve more sail changes, anchorages and dinghy deployments than we had carried out in an entire season aboard the previous boat – perfect.

Our cruise plan was deliberately open.

Despite having brought the boat around from Ipswich to St Katherine Docks in London and then on to Hamble, we were still getting used to her capabilities under sail and power as she appeared to be considerably more slippery than the 47.

In the event, a bow thruster joystick failure meant our plans took a diversion and we headed towards Guernsey.


She’s a far slipperier and more responsive boat than the 47 and great fun to sail.

The prospect of nosing into small French rock-strewn harbours with a brand new boat, high topsides, no bow thruster and plenty of breeze and tide didn’t appeal.

Once the new part had been fitted in the Channel Islands, we headed off to Lezardrieux.

Where, as it turned out, the harbour was empty enough to turn a supertanker and the breeze insufficient to snuff a candle.

Changing gear

Good performance in my book is a combination of long legs and handling that doesn’t frighten the family.

The ability to change gear without having to leave the cockpit by opening the leech of the genoa and twisting off the main to depower makes for a less physically demanding experience and extends the wind range for a given configuration.

Aboard the 47 we had achieved a sail plan that was a doddle to handle from the cockpit without having to resort to an in-mast furling mainsail and complex hydraulic systems.

The idea behind the Oyster 54 was to have precisely the same arrangement, but within a considerably bigger sail plan.

A fully battened, single-line reefing mainsail and a standard rope-operated furling genoa can both be operated manually.


A big boat, but modest freeboard for her size makes the step/jump down onto the pontoon manageable.

Although in practice the electric primaries, mainsheet and halyard winches mean that there are few operations that don’t involve a gentle squeeze of a Lew mar button.

Another essential ingredient is decent sails that keep their shape through a broad wind range.

Once again, North did us proud with a suit of white sails in Spectra Gatorback and a well-cut, stable, asymmetric cruising chute.

The result is a powerful, yet easily manageable sail plan which in 30 knots of breeze demonstrated that the Oyster 54 can power-reach happily under two reefs and 50 per cent headsail.

The bottom line is that she’s a far slipperier and more responsive boat than the 4 7 and great fun to sail.


The crew at lunch.

Where she really impresses is in her light airs performance (we mostly had 5-20 knots of breeze).

Of the few disappointments above decks, stowage quickly became the biggest bugbear.

With no forward sail locker to stow the spinnaker or staysail when on passage, changing sails became a back-breaking chore, digging the sails out from the cavernous lazarette and hauling them along the side decks.

Fender stowage was also an issue and frequently resulted in us tying the four of them to the pushpit rather than see them buried in a locker that couldn’t really cope with their size.

Where to stow all the kit?

For each increment in boat length, sail area increases by the square, volume by the cube and stability by the power of four.

It’s a great way to justify the sometimes breathtaking increase in cost per foot!

What came as a surprise with this 54-footer, however, was that with our usual cruising team of five, kit bags and sailing gear still cluttered cabins.

Despite the extra length, there appears to be little extra practical stowage space below other than in the saloon and galley.

Sleeping cabins may be slightly bigger, but once you’re under way and have gone through the first 24-hour watch cycle, you’d be hard pressed to notice.


A simple, yet practical and comfortable layout.

The lack of a workshop/walk-in hanging area is frustrating – a small wet locker towards the aft end of the galley provides the only place for clutter and wet kit in the boat.

And it’s only just large enough for foulweather gear and the odd broom and you have to drag it through the galley to stow it.

There are fewer drawers for torches, knives, tape, sail ties, etc, as well.

In addition, the main power switches and relays are positioned under the navigator’s seat and only easily accessible to those who enjoy limbo dancing.

Having said all that, the galley is a big improvement over the 47 and is very easy, comfortable and safe to work in, even when sailing upwind.

Throughout our test, our notorious appetites were never left unsatisfied and the very few meals eaten ashore gave testament to the Oyster 54’s functionality and practicality.

Eating aboard at anchor, drinking ashore in pubs, the pattern became quite familiar.


The saloon area has a simple layout.

The saloon is spacious, yet practical and secure with handholds in all the right places.

The navstation is sited low in the hull, but its fit-out is just what we wanted and perfectly executed.

The whisky stowage is also safe when under way and practical when at rest. And then there’s the oak joiner work, which is quite simply beautiful.

On deck of the Oyster 54

When flying the asymmetric on the carbon spinnaker pole and using just one extra line as a guy, the tack line becomes the downhaul as you wind the guy back.

In this configuration, you can sail as low as 170° true for very little additional effort. As a result we don’t carry a conventional symmetric spinnaker.


You can sail as low as 170° true.

A non-standard carbon boom by Selden. The Y-shaped section provides a mini Park Avenue-style boom with just enough landing to ensure that the mainsail sits tidily and easily on top.

Of all the on-deck decisions, this one took the longest to make. But has proved to be the best option for us-easy to use and practical and well worth the extra cost.


The carbon boom is non standard by Seldon.

One end of the double-ended mainsheet ends up alongside the halyards and reef lines at the companionway hatch.

The other is led to a powered winch at the aft quarter of the cockpit and within easy reach of the helmsman.

Being able to ease the mainsheet to bear away is essential for any boat, especially one with a decent-sized main.

We have gone for pinstop cars rather than traveller control lines to keep the cockpit clutter to a minimum.

Most of the time you can use the kicker to provide mainsail leech tension.

On a long passage you might set up the traveller to leeward beforehand


Companionway hatch.

Below deck the Oyster 54 in detail

The galley is the best part of this boat below decks. There is enough space to ensure that cooking doesn’t become a logistical exercise, yet there is always somewhere to brace yourself when under way. A galley for keen appetites.


A galley for keen appetites .

As navigator and serial web surfer I’m particularly pleased with this navstation.

The boat’s laptop is stored in its own locker and hooks up to a dedicated remote screen and wireless keyboard and mouse.

The system can display different chartplotting systems and AIS targets as well as acting as a repeater for the radar.


Navstation of the Oyster 54.

Offering the forward double cabin to the other crew members and guests as they join the boat will make you appear benevolent.

Indeed, at rest this cabin, like all other forward doubles, is sumptuously comfortable.

Upwind in a blow it is a different story, yet our dedicated crew rode it out.


Forward double cabin.

The owner’s double aft.

There was only one person in our crew who didn’t think this cabin was maybe a little too big and might have compromised the on-deck stowage. Yet strangely no one sought to challenge him on the matter.


The owner’s double aft cabin.

The Oyster 54 is a terrific sailing boat, not for her straight line speed or any particularly nimble handling.

But for her balance – balance between powerful sailing characteristics in a breeze.

Where her high righting moment makes it difficult to dip the leeward rail and the ease with which she ghosts along in the light.

Balance between decent manoeuvrability and noise/vibration free, effortless pace on passage under engine.

And balance between a healthy amount of sail area that ensures that you can spend more time sailing than motoring and yet can manhandle her without a squad of 6ft fitness freaks.

She might be only 8ft bigger than our previous boat, a mere 17per cent, but the sum of her parts makes her a far bigger boat to manage. Yet a few days into our trip and she’d shrunk – a good sign. A few hundred miles more under her keel and I suspect she’ll feel almost normal.

So will the increased distances and shortened passages that are now possible with such an injection of pace.

It is this and her ability to provide enough volume to offer versatility in her layout that will make her a popular size in the range.

Tweaking the stowage arrangements will address one of the few serious criticisms and set her on a path towards being a new benchmark for Oyster.

First published in the September 2009 issue of YW.

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    The Oyster 565's £1.5m price tag is steep, but it is comparable to similar-sized yachts from competitor brands and, unusually, comes with a very high standard spec. This includes hydraulic ...

  2. Oyster 495 review: an impressive smaller Oyster

    The Oyster 495 is as much a part of the small superyacht style of Oyster as its last few launches from the Oyster 565 to the Oyster 885, all by Humphreys Yacht Design. First impressions centre on ...

  3. Oyster 495: the dream boat that sets the bar

    Price as reviewed: £1,600,000.00. TAGS: new boat New Boat Test oyster Yacht review. Following an era which saw Oyster yachts getting progressively bigger and bigger, the iconic British boatbuilder has shifted its gaze back to the sort of boats that made it famous. And the first fruit of this welcome development is the comely Oyster 495.

  4. Oyster 565 Yacht Test: Marking the rebirth of a legend

    A robust bowsprit extends the yacht's length to 59ft. Although the hull length of the new Oyster 565 is shorter than the 575 it replaces, its waterline length is longer and it boasts 10% more volume. Its full bow sections also create space for a sail locker, a crucial asset for stowing the offwind sail needed to supplement the blade jib.

  5. Oyster 495: Top 10 Best Best Nominee

    The Oyster 495 has a simple rig with a 105% genoa and a large in-mast mainsail that is standard. A Code 0 is optional. Our test boat had the upgraded carbon fiber, keel-stepped Seldén mast with electric in-mast furling and a hydraulic ram inside the boom to help with furling and reefing.

  6. Oyster's ultimate bluewater cruiser? Full tour of the ...

    Join Toby on a full walkaround of the £1.45m Oyster 565 - a top quality new Rob Humphreys design and the first to launch since Richard Hadida took over the B...

  7. The Oyster 495 Review

    For starters, while 50 feet isn't exactly small for many builders, for Oyster the 495 would be the new entry-level model and would still need to bear the trademark characteristics of the marque - quality, performance and reliability. She needed to be just as capable as a long-distance bluewater cruiser as any of her larger sisterships, while ...

  8. The remarkable Oyster 675 on test

    When it comes to series-building large cruisers, Oyster Yachts is the undisputed world leader. The yard's evergreen popularity lies with its bluewater cruisers up to 60ft (Boat test: Oyster 475 ...

  9. YACHT test: How Oyster is making a new start with the 565

    This is one of the reasons why the latest, currently smallest yacht - the Oyster 565 - actually has everything that makes an Oyster. And a little more. This was demonstrated during the YACHT test off the coast of Catalonia, where the boat was available to us for a whole week as part of the selection process for European Yacht of the Year - in a ...

  10. Three-day test on the new Oyster 495

    An exclusive three-day test on the new baby of the Oyster range, the Oyster 495, shows that big things can come in (slightly) smaller sizes, says Toby Hodges. The Oyster 495 is as much a part of the small superyacht style of Oyster as its last few launches from the Oyster 565 to the Oyster 885, all by Humphreys Yacht Design.

  11. Sailboat Review: Oyster 495 Combines Performance and Power In Under 50

    The Oyster 495 is an impressive, new entry-level model from this builder of bigger, higher-end sailing yachts. The Oyster 495 combines performance and speed in Oyster's smallest model to date. Courtesy Oyster Yachts. Few boats would merit a glance from a savvy, experienced skipper looking to consolidate the best qualities of his performance ...

  12. Oyster 595 Review with Matt Sheahan

    Join respected sailing journalist Matthew Sheahan as he tests and reviews the Oyster 595, our latest addition to the fleet and fastest-selling Oyster.Departi...

  13. Oyster 575 review: from the archive

    Though our test boat had the deep keel, she is offered with a shallower fixed version (2.06m) or with centreboard and dual rudders (reducing draught from 3.82m to 1.65m). ... Oyster yachts are ...

  14. Oyster 595

    The main (and arguably deciding) difference then comes down to space - the 595 has 14% extra internal volume. Both yachts are based on Oyster's tried and tested centre cockpit layout, with an aft owner's cabin and walk-in engine room with adjoining workroom. An alternative layout is offered, with the owner's cabin forward, albeit an ...

  15. Editor's Choice: 18 Bluewater Sailboats We Love

    Using the latest generation of Oyster hull shapes, developed with Humphreys Yacht Design, the Oyster 565 is designed for family sailing without professional crew. ... (Read our test) Rustler 42. The Rustler 42 is a classic looking yacht which combines style that is traditional yet modern. Her cruising layout results in a live aboard yacht that ...

  16. Oyster 595 test: best selling Oyster ever

    Toby Hodges takes an overnight test of the Oyster 595 and finds out how this £2.3m yacht managed to pick up 16 buyers before the first one even hit the water. Your world becomes a very small ...

  17. Boat Review: Oyster 82

    Oyster 82. Sailing in 40-50 knot winds is a pretty severe test for any yacht-the sort of conditions where things break and structures fail. That's why, when I turned up to review Oyster Marine's new 82 deck saloon cruising yacht on a day with occasional Force 9 gusts, in truth, I was rather surprised to go sailing at all.

  18. Oyster 495

    The Oyster 495, European Yacht of the Year 2023. A new breed of 50 foot sailing yacht, delivering bluewater sailing performance, luxurious living space for six guest and shallow-draft keel option. ... 495 on test with Toby Hodges. Read more . Configure your 495. Create your dream Oyster 495 using our yacht configurator. Configure . Building the ...

  19. First look: Oyster 495

    Rupert Holmes gets the latest on the first new sub-50ft yacht launched by Oyster in many years, the Oyster 495. The Oyster 495 is the first all-new sub 50ft Oyster model in 16 years and is one of ...

  20. Oyster Yachts

    Builder of the world's finest bluewater sailing yachts. With 50 years of seafaring expertise, Oyster Yachts is the international market leader for world-clas...

  21. Oyster 595

    The Oyster 595 bluewater cruiser is a well-proportioned, versatile 60 foot sailboat. ... An overnight test proves the ideal chance to find out why. READ MORE. ... Create your dream Oyster 595 using our yacht configurator. Oyster World Rally. Take the voyage of a lifetime. The Oyster Fleet. Explore other models .

  22. Oyster 54 review: from the archive

    The result is a powerful, yet easily manageable sail plan which in 30 knots of breeze demonstrated that the Oyster 54 can power-reach happily under two reefs and 50 per cent headsail. The bottom ...

  23. Test

    Test Overview. Top Sign up to our newsletter. Be the first to hear about new launches, exclusive events and all things Oyster. Sign up to our newsletter Our Yachts. Oyster 495 Oyster 565 Oyster 595 Oyster 675 Oyster 745 ... Oyster 495. Winner of European Yacht of the Year 2023. She sets a new 50 foot bluewater benchmark, offering a stunning ...