On 28th January 2010, with temperatures just above freezing and a perfect 10-14 knots from the north east creating flat waters off Harwich, we gently took Oyster 575-01 out for her maiden voyage. A special day for me too, since this was my first maiden voyage of a new Oyster design since I started running Oyster.
Oyster 575-01 quickly showed her paces, effortless under motor with a clean wake, the latest Rob Humphreys’ hull shape already giving us a great impression of things to come. Rounding the bend in the River Orwell, near Levington Marina, we unfurled the main and then genoa with the wind square on the starboard beam. She quickly added another knot of boat speed and we throttled back the engine into neutral. Whilst the expert Oyster commissioning team checked the rig (which had only been installed the day before), looking around the boat it was smiles all round as the 575 showed a lovely balance and smooth performance.
The twin helm positions working well, with great line of sight, and the ease of movement from cockpit to aft-deck immediately became evident. “Next stop, the Caribbean!” someone called out. We felt confident both Oyster and Rob Humphreys have done it again – a beautiful blue water cruising boat to go anywhere in safety and comfort.
Rob Humphreys walked around the boat with his camera and notebook, taking photos over the bow and stern, studying how much she puts her head down as the gusts come through. What’s the energy lost into wave-making look like? How much more powerful is this hull shape than the older Oysters? More grins all round and it’s thumbs up!
As Rob commented, “The Oyster 575 steps into fairly hallowed territory as far as I am concerned. The Oyster 56 was my very first Oyster design and after such a successful model, with over 75 built, it was a trifle daunting to be revisiting a similar design space.
“Cruising down the River Orwell on board 575-01 gave plenty of time to reflect, even with the boat setting a brisk pace as she motored effortlessly past the Suffolk countryside. Yacht design is much more of a science than it used to be but there is still plenty of art in it, and as for emotion – well, that comes by the barrel-load. So, with the excitement of a maiden voyage moderated very slightly by respect for the pleasure and indeed comfort that 56s have given their owners and crews over the years, it was quite a moment when the sails were unfurled to the icy breeze. Worthy, or not? That, to borrow from a real artist, is the question. Suffice it to say that the Oyster 575 stepped up to her responsibility and immediately enjoyed the business of powering upwind. Nothing beats those first few moments, sharing the experience of a new boat as she discovers for the first time what she is all about. Bite and spirit she delivered, and happily that delight was conveyed through the freezing extremities of the helmsman’s fingers!”
Another hour of short tacking and a brief trial of the cruising chute and we head back to Ipswich for the next steps in the process, measuring the freeboards, inclining the yacht, re-setting the rig, finishing the list of commissioning details … but first, that most important event, I make the call to tell her new owner how he can look forward to being the first to experience the joys of sailing the new Oyster 575.
For more photos, visit the Oyster 575 gallery below. To find out more about the Oyster 575 please visit the Oyster Yachts website.
The 575 features a unique and versatile four-cabin layout below. [img src=http://www.yachtworld.co.uk/boat-content/wp-content/flagallery/oyster-575/thumbs/thumbs_575-01b.jpg]00575-01B
The first sail of the new Oyster 575, January 2010. [img src=http://www.yachtworld.co.uk/boat-content/wp-content/flagallery/oyster-575/thumbs/thumbs_575interior1.jpg]00575Interior1
A well-lit and spacious main saloon [img src=http://www.yachtworld.co.uk/boat-content/wp-content/flagallery/oyster-575/thumbs/thumbs_575interior3.jpg]00575Interior3
Looking aft at galley and main companionway [img src=http://www.yachtworld.co.uk/boat-content/wp-content/flagallery/oyster-575/thumbs/thumbs_575interior5.jpg]00575Interior5
Master cabin [img src=http://www.yachtworld.co.uk/boat-content/wp-content/flagallery/oyster-575/thumbs/thumbs_575interior6.jpg]00575Interior6
Galley looking aft [img src=http://www.yachtworld.co.uk/boat-content/wp-content/flagallery/oyster-575/thumbs/thumbs_5kkdeckplan.jpg]00575Deckplan
The deck layout features a double cockpit.