OYSTER N E W S F R O M T H E W O R L D O F O Y S T E R - D O U B L E Q U E E N ' S A W A R D YA C H T B U I L D E R S
Oysters party in the BVI
An inside look
NUTS ABOUT BRAZIL
South American Cruising
ISSUE NO 53
O Y S T E R - W O R L D L E A D E R S I N D E C K S A L O O N C R U I S I N G YA C H T S
FROM THE CHAIRMAN
6 WINDBOATS ANNIVERSARY DINNER
A history of the Norfolk Yard
8 FLIRT’S CARIBBEAN SEASON
10 ANTIGUA CLASSIC WEEK
12 NATURE’S LITTLE SECRETS
Roger Vaughan reports on
Oyster’s BVI Regatta
24 TABOO GOES TERRESTRIAL
26 KNOWING WHAT TO DO
Profile of Oyster 56 owner, Michael Stevenson
36 NUTS ABOUT BRAZIL
Cruising South America
EDITOR CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
Liz Whitman Roger Vaughan Stephen Thomas
FROM THE EDITOR
We publish Oyster News four times a year and we know
44 THE NEW OYSTER 82
An inside look
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 me know. Photographs are always welcome with
50 SONAR MIDWINTERS
Hannah Stodel reports on
or without a story. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
preparations for Athens 2004
FRONT COVER PICTURE:
Oyster 56, Roulette; Oyster 70, Ravenous and the Oyster 62,
Loblolly rounding Flanagan Island during the UBS Oyster
53 OYSTER GROUP SKI TRIP
BVI Regatta. Photo: Tim Wright David Blacklaws
BACK COVER PICTURE:
Trevor and Anne Silver’s Oyster 56, Roulette, finishing race 3 54 JUST LAUNCHED
off Guana Island during the UBS Oyster BVI Regatta. A selection of recently
Photo: Tim Wright
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
Welcome to Oyster News, Issue 53,
put together in some haste following our
recent British Virgin Islands Regatta.
The BVI provided great sailing and a week that everyone who took
part agreed offered a good balance between fun ashore and time
afloat. Antigua or the BVI next time? It’s a question we will have to
answer soon but with three more Oyster Regattas this year – Newport
in June, Cowes in July and Palma in September - we already have
plenty to think about. In the meantime, if any of our Owners have any
ideas for 2005 we’d love to hear from you.
We hope you enjoy this edition as a "good read" - we particularly like
Roger Vaughan’s profile of Michael Stevenson and Stephen Thomas's
26 article on Brazil. Just before going to press HRH The Duchess of
Gloucester launched "Fizz of Cowes" the Oyster 53 of Jan and Anni
Matthews (no relation). The Duchess said some very kind words
about Oyster quality - more in our next issue.
The season in the UK really is in full swing, we just took the cover off
my Fife Pierrette now 105 years old and we will soon be doing those
Friday evening races from home, which finish with more time in the
pub than on the racecourse. Sailing is a great sport at every level
whether its gliding up a creek at sunset of doing 19.8 knots down the
crest of a wave in an Oyster 82, as reported in this edition.
Our thanks as usual to those owners whose contributions appear in
this issue. Please keep them coming and, on behalf of everyone at
Oyster, wherever your bow wave is heading this summer, we wish you
fair winds and good sailing.
44 Richard Matthews
Founder and Chairman
– YOU MUST
Skipper, Paul Bennett, reports on Cygnus’s first passage after leaving Fox’s Marina.
"We had a very fast passage from Cherbourg to Gibraltar and, whilst we had good
winds, there was nothing exceptional, we saw 30 knots true at one time when we did
our best speed. The boat is very long legged and particularly good in light airs; 7-8
knots true wind enables close reaching at 7+ knots. 12-14 knots true gives 10 knots,
and this makes for some good passage making. Everyone on board for the passage
helmed at boat speeds of over 15 knots and a couple of us had 17 knots on a few
occasions but, surprisingly, we were under autopilot when we hit 19.8 knots and, for the
non-believers, this is stored on the Raymarine ST 60 log, as the maximum speed
achieved! The boat remained light on the helm even when we were at maximum speeds.
She tracked well and has proven well mannered at all times."
61 Years together
ALMOST THERE and still sailing!
Quest, Maurice and Eveline Frankefort’s During Oyster’s BVI Regatta we were
Oyster 62, arrived in Rhodes during April privileged to share in the party for Oyster
and the family are due to complete their 68, Kealoha, owners, Leslie and Joan
circumnavigation returning to Cannes Holliday, who celebrated their 61st
on 13 June. Congratulations, especially wedding anniversary on the last day of
on setting sail with two children and the event. We think they are probably
returning home with three! our longest married owners, but if
(See Oyster News Issue 48 for a profile anybody can beat that we would like to
on Maurice Frankefort) hear from you.
OYSTER BROKERAGE SPRING BOAT SHOW
The annual three day Brokerage Spring The next major Oyster Brokerage event the yachts on display selling as a direct
Boat Show was held at our marina base is the Autumn Brokerage Show at our result of visitors seeing them during the
in Ipswich in May. The many visitors Southampton Yachts Services facility, show. Entry space is limited, so if you
used the show as a fantastic opportunity held during the Southampton are thinking about selling your Oyster at
to view fourteen high-quality, yachts International Boat Show from 10 to 18 the end of the 2004 season contact
from 43 ft to 61 ft, all available for sale September. This event has fast become Oyster Brokerage soon.
through Oyster Brokerage - the the premier event for buying and selling
specialists in pre-owned Oyster Yachts. pre-owned Oyster Yachts with most of
COWES REGATTA ATTRACTS OVER 40 OYSTERS
Entries are still coming in but already a fleet of over 40 Oysters is due to set sail at Oyster’s first
UK regatta, hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes from 6-10 July. With racing starting
and finishing from the RYS start line off the Castle, spectators will be able to enjoy seeing the
We are pleased to
fleet at close quarters.
welcome some new,
and not so new,
members to our team.
HUNGRY ALAN HARMER
After two years at sea skippering both
an Oyster 62 and 66, Alan has returned
FOR SPEED to the fold as a Project Manager. Alan
had previously been a Project Manager
at Oyster for three years and before
Bill Dockser owner of the Oyster that had been a member of our
70 Ravenous reports that she left Commissioning team. With a wealth
St. Maarten on Monday, 10 May of experience, Alan will help manage
at 9am and arrived in Annapolis the build of some of the larger models
on 17 May, at 5am. She did the in the range.
trip in less than 7 days - 99%
under sail before she got to the
Chesapeake - at an average daily
speed of 220 miles a day. Bill
says "The "old girl" has a lot of
speed left in her". Speaking of
speed, congratulations to Bill
who won his class in this year’s
NEWPORT REGATTA 10-13 JUNE MATTHEW MORGAN
Joining us as a Project Manager,
Matthew spent eight years as Boatyard
More than a dozen yachts are expected to take part in our first US Oyster Regatta. Based in the
Newport area, the event will start from the Hereshoff Maritime Museum in Bristol and visit Mystic Manager at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht
Seaport and Block Island before returning to Newport where the New York Yacht Club will host a Club. After leaving Hong Kong he rebuilt
prize giving dinner. his own yacht, from an insurance write-
off wreck, which he and his girlfriend
then sailed double-handed to New
Zealand. Matthew recently left DK Yachts
GOOD GOLLY MISS MOLLY in Malaysia, where he was building high-
tech, composite, racer-cruiser yachts as
their Production Manager.
‘ Now in Moorea and having a nice easy time. Miss Molly behaving impeccably SARAH HARMER
Joins us as Warranty Secretary
and still looks brand new, out of the box. Rangiroa to Tahiti in 22 hours
David Hughes, owner, Oyster 66, Miss Molly CLAIRE WATERS
Joins us as IT assistant
SIMON TUBBY – Joins us as
STEVE HOWELL - Moves
from Commissioning to
Assistant Warranty Manager
Moves from Warranty
Secretary to After
Windboats Anniversary Dinner
A H I S T O R Y O F W I N D B O AT S M A R I N E
1920 circa Graham Bunn, son of Wroxham boat builder, Herbert Bunn,
founded the company after serving with the Southampton
Power Boat Co. during World War I.
1923 Designed and built 40ft Broads passenger launch
1932 Company moved to the current Wroxham site
1934 First use of Windboat name on hire motor cruiser
1936 Exhibited at National Boat Show, part of the Motor Show
1940 The lead Wroxham boatbuilder handling the issue of War
Office contracts to other Wroxham Yards. Our current wood
machine shop was the munitions Store, containing depth
charges, torpedoes and other munitions. Built series of
MFV’s during the war years.
1945 Windboats purchased by Donald Hagenbach. MA .Cantab.
1946 More modern design of hire fleet boat developed.
1954 Exhibited at inaugural London Boat Show at Olympia.
Richard Matthews presents Oliver James, Windboats’ Production
Director, with a gift from Oyster Marine to mark the occasion
1955 Built 44ft motor yacht for George Formby.
1956 Produced some of the first GRP boats in Norfolk.
Windboats Marine, one of Oyster’s 1957 Commenced building alloy boats.
1957 Built Yvancha, 67ft long, to Lloyds 100A1. The largest boat
family of suppliers, recently held a ever built on the Broads at that time.
1958 Windboats became founder members of the Ship and
Boatbuilders National Federation.
multiple anniversary celebration. 1960 Commenced Ferro-cement construction under trade name
For Managing Director, Trevor James, this is his 50th year in the 1961 Built alloy motorboat for Prince Rainier of Monaco.
marine industry, the 40th since he joined Windboats Marine, the 1962 Donald Hagenbach appointed President of the Ship and
Boatbuilders National Federation.
30th since he purchased Windboats and last, but by no means
1963 First (Ferro-cement) Seacrete boat ever exhibited at London
least, the Windboats yard have recently completed fitting out
their 200th Oyster.
1964 Trevor James joins Windboats as Manager of Seacrete
Windboats is very much a family business run by Trevor and his 1964 Lloyds 100 A1 awarded to Seacrete motor yacht.
wife Yvonne and, in recent years, their son, Oliver, who joined 1966 Trevor James appointed Director of Windboats.
the company in 1995. Over 200 guests, including a large party 1969 Hire fleet boats sold, ending 50 years involvement with
from Oyster Marine, Windboats staff and marine industry Blakes Holidays.
suppliers, enjoyed an evening of celebration and reminiscing. 1969 Built Trixie, 75ft twin-screw motor yacht, to Lloyds 100A1.
Largest pleasure yacht built on the Broads.
In recent years, the yard has committed 100% of its production 1971 First Endurance 35 built. Over 100 Endurances built over the
next ten years at 35ft, 40ft, 45ft and 55ft in length.
to Oyster and Richard Matthews was happy to reply on behalf of
1973 First exhibited at Southampton Boat Show
the guests. Looking back over Trevor’s time in the boatbuilding
1974 Trevor James. C Eng. MRINA. Purchased the manufacturing
industry, he concluded that Trevor had in fact spent three
side of Windboats. Previously, Indentured Ships
whole years of his life inside Earls Court, whilst attending the Draughtsman with Rowhedge Ironworks in 1955, he became
London Boat shows! Naval Architect and Chief Ships Draughtsman before joining
Windboats in 1964.
6 www.oystermarine.com Trevor James and Frank Berry. Now retired after over 20
years service, Frank remains a Director of Windboats.
B RO K E R A G E
International Specialists in Pre-owned Oyster Yachts
9 AM OW RA
- 1 TH SH KE
10 SOU AT RO
BO ER B
1976 65ft Research Trawler, designed by Trevor James, built for
Solomon Islands in the Pacific. Vessel delivered the 15,000
miles on own bottom. Handed over to the Solomon Island
Government by HM Queen Elizabeth II
1977 First of a series of three-quarter ton Dick Carter designed
1977 Built pontoons in Seacrete for Norfolk Naturalists Trust Centre
based at Ranworth. Opened by HM Queen Elizabeth II.
1979 Windboats complete 25 years continuous attendance at the
London Boat Show.
1983 First boat built for Oyster Marine, three-quarter ton SJ 35,
the first of many.
1984 Built last Seacrete boat. Over 1000 different structures built
in Seacrete in that time.
1991 Purchase all of rented premises.
1993 Built 100th Oyster. Oyster Brokerage Boat Show
1993 Built first of ten Nelson motor yachts. Southampton 10 – 19 September
1995 Trevor’s son, Oliver James Bsc, joins company.
2000 Increase size of yard by purchasing original Seacrete Oyster Brokerage will be holding its annual show of pre-owned
building shop and adjacent buildings. Oyster Yachts at Saxon Wharf, the home of Southampton Yacht
Services, during the main Southampton International Boat Show.
2002 Built new workshop to construct larger Oysters.
2004 Twenty-one years of continuous Oyster construction. The Oyster Brokerage Boat Show has fast become the premier
Complete build of 200th Oyster. event for buying or selling a pre-owned Oyster with the majority
2004 Trevor James completes 40 years at Windboats, 30 years of yachts on display selling as a direct result.
ownership of Windboats and commences 50th year in the
Marine Industry. If you are seriously considering selling or buying a pre-owned
Oyster, please call Oyster Brokerage for more details.
FOX’S MARINA, IPSWICH, SUFFOLK IP2 8SA ENGLAND
TEL: +44 (0)1473 602263 FAX: +44 (0)1473 603192
OYSTER BROKERAGE USA
5 MARINA PLAZA, GOAT ISLAND, NEWPORT RI 02840 USA
TEL: +1 401 846 7400 FAX: +1 401 846 7483
AN OYSTER GROUP COMPANY
Speaking about Flirt, our 49ft
racer, I was quoted in the
May issue of Yachting World
as saying, "She’s had more
nips and tucks than a
Last year, Rob Humphreys very graciously
agreed to review the lines of our Corby-
designed hull, the result being we chopped
fifteen inches off her stern and gave her a
much fatter back end. These modifications
were undertaken at Oyster’s SYS yard and
last year Flirt had her moments, winning the
Queen’s Cup at Cowes Week and the
Ramsgate Gold Cup amongst others.
For 2004 Rob Humphreys helped again with
a re-designed, deeper bow and an all-new
keel, of T-configuration, with a very low
centre of gravity. This work was undertaken
at Fox’s Marina and Flirt was duly shipped
across the Atlantic in time for the Heineken
Regatta in St Maarten.
Flirt competes reasonably well in the UK
under the IRC rule but, in the Caribbean,
races are sailed under their own local CSA
(Caribbean Sailing Association) rule that is
We race our owners get the results!
8 www.oystermarine.com Photo: Tim Wright
hugely disadvantageous to us. Aera, a 55ft racer, gave us two
minutes per hour, while we were giving some new 45ft racers five ANTIGUA
minutes. Although Flirt is seriously fast for a 49-footer, somehow,
apart from a few third places when we sailed exceptionally well,
results eluded us.
The honour is of course in the taking part and, in the events we
sailed in, the Heineken in St Maarten; the Rolex Regatta in St
Thomas; the BVI Spring Regatta and, of course, Antigua Sailing
Week we enjoyed some outstanding sailing against some very well
sailed competition. The highest speed achieved was 20 knots,
spinnaker reaching down the back of St Maarten, the lowest
0 knots where the fleet lay becalmed for almost an hour during
Antigua Sailing Week – so much for Trade Wind sailing!
We had a top crew including Andy Beadsworth, Harold Cudmore,
Andy Green and Nik Pearson - all ex GB America’s Cup, as well as
Neil Macklay from North Sails, and our good friends Matthew
Vincent from Dolphin Sails and Rob Humphreys who both joined us
for the BVI Spring Regatta.
Looking back on our four Caribbean Regattas, Antigua Sailing
Week stands out as the event with the best sailing and social
agenda. From the viewpoint of Oyster owners wanting to ‘have a
go’ Antigua also offers a genuine cruiser class, where the choice of
using a spinnaker or cruising chute remains optional. There were
several Oysters taking part in this year’s Antigua Sailing Week,
while our track record of twice being the top scoring yacht in the
Available for Rental
entire regatta, all classes, remains. In a tranquil, private setting Galleon House is in ‘pole’
position overlooking English Harbour and about two
minutes from Nelson’s Dockyard by water taxi.
For many years we have claimed that our various racing campaigns
directly benefit the Oyster range. As an example, take our carbon Tastefully furnished, air-conditioned, accommodation
spars which, until the early 1990’s when first introduced into the includes five bedrooms and two sitting rooms.
America’s Cup, were practically unheard of. Today Oyster’s Amenities include a covered patio area, freshwater pool,
satellite TV and Maid Service.
supplier, Hood Yacht Spars, has invested in new technology
enabling them to build much lighter spars as well as their well- Special rates available for Oyster Owners
proven Hood Stoway in-mast furling rigs in carbon. Lighter rigs in
cruising yachts mean greater stability and less pitching. Contact Sally Morton for further details
At Oyster, construction systems have been the subject of much
research and development in recent years in an effort to gain an
understanding of how to save weight, while at the same time
maintaining the reputation for strength and reliability, which is an
Oyster hallmark. Flirt is built from sixty-degree, post cure, pre-preg
carbon epoxy and knowledge and experience gained with her has
been directly applied to our newest designs such as the Oyster 72.
Non-overlapping sail plans and very low centre-of-gravity keels are
other areas where the cumulative experiences over our last few
racing projects are being applied to making Oyster yachts sail
faster without any concession to strength, reliability or comfort.
Racing or cruising an Oyster will always be an Oyster.
OYSTER PROPERTIES LTD
FOX’S MARINA IPSWICH SUFFOLK IP2 8SA ENGLAND
TEL: +44 (0) 1473 688888 FAX: +44 (0) 1473 686861
The 17th Antigua Classic Regatta
took place the weekend before
Antigua Sailing Week.
Well supported, as ever, the smallest yacht in
the event was just 23ft, while the Sprit of
Tradition class had four yachts over 100ft -
the J-Class, Velsheda and the new Ranger,
Windrose and Cambria
My partner Denette and I had the good
fortune to meet the owner of Cambria in
Cowes, at the home of ex-America’s Cup
skipper Harold Cudmore. Harold knew John
David, Cambria’s Australian owner, and
arranged for all three of us to sail aboard for
the Classic Regatta.
I have a half share in the 105-year-old
Pierrette, like Cambria a Fife design, although
I was soon trimmed down to size when we
worked out that my Fife at 27ft was probably
shorter than Cambria’s bowsprit.
Cambria was built in 1928 as a 23 Metre and,
with the revival of interest in the J-Class in
recent years, she has now measured into the The magnificent 1928 Fife, Cambria
Photo: Tim Wright
J-Class joining Shamrock, Endeavour and
Velsheda, the latter having been completely
rebuilt by Oyster’s own SYS yard in tons more weight then her illustrious Brad Butterworth, was sailing aboard Ranger
Southampton. predecessor and has 4 inches more with a pro crew, including a bevy of current
freeboard. She also carries a rather America’s Cup talent.
The ‘new kid on the block’ was a recently unflattering doghouse that breaks her classic
launched replica of Ranger, the so-called lines, but with the legendary snub bow she Cambria has twin engines and her skipper
"super J" of the 1930’s. I’ve been fascinated by still looks and sails like a racing heavyweight. Peter Mandalin showed real skill in getting
the J -Class since childhood, and today our our enormous fisherman’s anchor unset and
Persian cats are named Ranger and Shamrock. Cambria with her Dacron sails, long bowsprit manoeuvring all 130ft of her out of our stern-
and triple headed rig could never match the to berth at the Antigua YC Marina. Cambria
The new Ranger was built in Denmark and it pace of Velsheda and Ranger with their state does have some hydraulic winches for jib
appears her owner may have fallen into the of the art rigs and North 3DL laminated sails. and mainsail sheeting, but in most respects
trap of wanting everything, including the How about US$200,000 for a mainsail! her rig is very much original.
kitchen sink, within. These yachts were These J-Class owners are the heavy hitters
originally built as 100% flat out racers and it of the sailing world who really do want to Ian Murray, our helmsman on Cambria,
appears the new Ranger, beautiful as she beat the other guy whatever it costs. Ex is well known to every Australian sailor and
undoubtedly is, weighs in with perhaps 20-30 Team New Zealand, now Alinghi tactician, was involved with the yacht’s refit about
Week sensibly decided that, in view of the
imminent change of ownership and the fact
that the mainsail only had one row of reefs, it
was time to call off the chase and head for
the shelter of Falmouth Harbour.
IT’S A GENTLEMAN’S SPORT!
Meanwhile, the battle at the front of the fleet
continued with Velsheda touching a mark,
seen by Ranger and most of her crew, but
strangely not seen by her helmsman. Ranger
flew a protest flag but looked oddly down at
the stern and up at the bow. After the race
Ranger was unable to start her engine and
called for a tow. The rescue and mark laying
boat suggested she should anchor a while,
since a tow would not be available until after
the last yacht had completed the race. At
that point Ranger was forced to admit they
had left two tons of ground tackle on the
dock that morning so had no anchor!
Where we sail they call that cheating, but
perhaps it’s all part of the game in the
J-Class, one hopes not. Certainly protesting
a fellow competitor for clipping a mark while
your own anchor and ground tackle was left
ashore to save weight might seem a bit rich
to put it mildly. They used to refer to
yachting in the J-Class era as the sport of
ten years ago. At the start of race 2 we hit the For the third and final race the wind had gentlemen. Certainly the yachts remain but
line doing 11.5 knots with Velsheda and increased to 20 knots, gusting 25, and we one is left wondering just how badly their
Ranger overlapping us just ahead. Mike Rose, enjoyed the most incredible sight at the start owners want to win.
the race officer came back on VHF "Velsheda with the three J-Class yachts overlapped
and Ranger, you were over the line"! Magic. together with Windrose, a 120ft schooner. The Antigua Classic Regatta is a wonderful
Four yachts, each well over 100ft, thundering opportunity for some beautiful classic yachts
Under the regatta rules, like the Oyster across the line at 12-13 knots was truly a to show their paces under ideal sailing
regattas, if a boat is ‘over early’ they must freeze frame from a bygone era. What a conditions. Many of these yachts are
ease their sheets and drop to the back of privilege to stand on one of the most maintained in close to new condition thanks
the fleet before rejoining the race. Neither beautiful yachts in the world and witness this to the hard work of the crews. Cambria had a
Velsheda nor Ranger bothered with this spectacle of sailing power. crew of six full time professionals so I guess
formality and were duly penalised 5 the varnish should look pretty good. Fair
minutes each by the race committee. Cambria had been sold and this was to be winds to Cambria wherever her new owner
Velsheda soundly beat Ranger for the her finale with John David who has owned takes her.
second day in a row with our beautiful her for ten glorious years. With the wind
Cambria a gracious third. gusting 25 knots, Cambria’s afterguard Richard Matthews
T H E U B S O Y S T E R R E G AT TA
BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
ROGER VAUGHAN Man is a creature of habit, and in these quicksilver days he is
somewhat desperate for traditions to embrace, so there was some risk
REPORTS ON involved in holding Oyster’s fourth Caribbean regatta somewhere other
than Antigua, where three excellent UBS regatta weeks had gone into
OYSTER’S FIRST the record books. One could sense the brows furrowing among the
Caribbean regulars when they received notification that the British
Virgin Islands, not Antigua, would be hosting Oyster. But thirty owners
took the plunge, and they were very glad they did.
THE UBS OYSTER REGATTA BVI 2004
Bill Dockser’s Oyster 70, Ravenous,
at the head of the Class 1 fleet
rounding Flanagan Island in Race 2
‘ Thank you for a fantastic UBS
Oyster Regatta in the BVIs. Both
on and off the water everyone
had a great time
Colin Hall, Oyster 406, Boysterous
THE UBS OYSTER REGATTA BVI 2004
t he BVI is flat out gorgeous to
begin with. It’s one of those
unusual destinations where
much of what the public
relations people write in the
brochures is actually an
understatement. There are
some sixty islands in this little group nestled
between the east coast of Puerto Rico and
the beginning of the Leeward Island chain.
Sixteen of them are inhabited. The USB
Oyster Regatta visited four of them – Tortola,
the biggest (capital: Road Town); Norman
Island; Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke – just
Ask Liz Whitman, who directed the Oyster
event. She had to make several complicated
arrangements for dinners and parties by long
distance, and no one let her down.
For all its economic organisation, there
remains something mysterious about BVI
lending a seductive appeal for those who like
their paths less travelled. BVI’s beguiling
slogan, "Nature’s Little Secrets," imprinted on
the licence plates, quickly begins to make
sense. There are small, vacant beaches
sparkling bright white in the sun around every
corner, and many steep hillsides with no sign
Oyster 435, Bermuda Oyster
water are set off by the white space of all
those beaches. Not to mention the electric,
clean blue sky where fluffy clumps of the
whitest clouds are usually on station over the
islands, creating an ever-changing backdrop
for the soaring of frigate birds and the crash-
diving of pelicans. At day’s end when the sun
blessedly loses its power to roast, the
a scratch on the surface. After finally seeing of man’s presence. The colours here are dramatic play of light rivets one’s attention.
this place, and wondering what took him so classic Caribbean to the max – the soft green As Oyster’s head of sales, Joint Managing
long to get there, this sailor can’t wait to foliage of the jagged terrain, and the dazzling Director Murray Aitken, said one enchanted
spend several months afloat exploring the blues and unearthly greens of the translucent evening, "It’s hard to take it all in."
rest of the islands.
It’s not like the BVI hasn’t been discovered.
The Dutch were the original settlers. British
planters took control of the group in 1666,
and it remained part of the Leeward Islands
colony until 1956 when the islands became a
separately administered entity. BVI is still
under British control, more or less. Everyone
drives on the left side of the road, but they
do business with US dollars. There are
several very smart resorts, a pack of salty-
dog bars, a good-sized charter fleet, and the
usual scuba and parasailing outfits. All that is
par for anywhere in the Caribbean, but those
who ply the BVI’s tourist trade understand
the need to provide good value, from
specifics (food, service) to attitude. Ashore,
BVI tends to be pricey, but it’s pricey with a
smile, and that makes a world of difference.
Oyster 53, Janus and Oyster 39, Severance
THE UBS OYSTER REGATTA BVI 2004
‘ The spinnaker was brand new from
Dolphin Sails, the anti-fouling was 24
hours old on day 1 and our race
positions during the week - 4-3-2-1 -
reflect the diminishing weight of the
boat as the beers were drunk!
Phil Fleming, Oyster Lightwave 48, Boysterous of
Lymington, on winning the UBS Trophy for Class 2
chaired the skippers meeting on the upper On Tuesday, race officer Alan Brook sent the
Oyster Lightwave 48, Boysterous of Lymington deck of Peg Leg’s Restaurant. He stressed fleet off to a finish at Pirate’s Bight on
the need for safety while maneuvering the Norman Cay. There was wind, which
heavy Oysters in close quarters. surprised everyone including the weather
But thirty Oyster owners, families, friends, man, whose dire prediction had been for a
and crews gave it their best shot during the Most of the crews had arrived at Peg Legs week of calm. It wasn’t the 25-knot
six-day regatta that began April 5, with a early, and discovered the specialty of the screaming reaches the Oysters had enjoyed
rendezvous at Nanny Cay marina on Tortola. island, a drink (that came in a keeper mug at Antigua last year (many owners were
One boat had a mishap on the way. Pete and imprinted with the recipe) called a relieved by that missing element), but 10 to
Katherine Savage’s Oyster 62, Venture, was "Painkiller." Declan O’Sullivan (Pelagos 15 knots of wind moved the boats
sideswiped by a Cuban freighter off St. Yachts) reported that the 12-ounce version comfortably.
Maarten. The crew was on deck, the Savages was the small one. A concoction of pineapple
in their bunks, when the unlit, 250-foot vessel and orange juice, coconut cream, nutmeg – The race to Norman Island, like most of the
snuck up on their starboard quarter in the dark and oh yes, a healthy splash of Pussar’s rum races, was sailed in Sir Francis Drake
of night. Suddenly it was on top of them. It – it went down like a dessert, and tasted like Channel, a 20-mile long body of friendly
took a chunk out of Venture’s bow, raked the more. That evening Peg Legs provided water that runs east-northeast and west
side and splintered the teak cap rail, somehow cocktails and a gourmet presentation of hors south-west. The Channel is only four or five
leaving the rig in place. Then it motored on, a d’ouvres under tents on the beach, followed miles across, and nicely protected by islands
hit-and-runner. Aroused, the crew of Venture by a delicious buffet dinner on the deck. on all sides. The big rollers that tend to build
gave chase. Only when one of the flares they off Antigua were absent.
fired landed on the freighter did the vessel There is such a feeling of celebration at these
slow. It seems no one had been on the bridge. Oyster regattas around the world that bring
The vessel was impounded by the Coast together collections of unique yachts and
Guard. With Oyster’s assistance, Venture those who love them. More and more families
received an excellent temporary repair in St. are taking part, with children and
Maarten. But Venture, having won her class in grandchildren on board, adding an
the last Marion/Bermuda Race, wasn’t fit to attractive generational spread
compete in this regatta. The Savages were to the greater Oyster family.
disappointed, but very aware of their good The racing is good fun, and
fortune, under the circumstances. ever more keenly contested.
But just being there is as
Owners and crews had spent Monday rewarding as any hunk
scrubbing and polishing for the Concours of silver. Old
d’ Elegance judging that took place that friendships are
afternoon. One of the judges, Will White rekindled, and
(After Sales support, Oyster USA) warned me new ones are
that walking the docks without sunglasses forged
was downright dangerous, so glittering was throughout
the chrome, so sparkling was the varnish. the week.
Oyster founder and CEO Richard Matthews
16 www.oystermarine.com Pirates party winners- Gabriele and Patrick
Fiorentino with their crew Inke and Robin
From top: Oyster 70, Ravenous, Oyster 62, Loblolly, Oyster 62, www.oystermarine.com 17
Oystercatcher XXIV, Oyster 66, Magic Dragon
THE UBS OYSTER REGATTA BVI 2004
Sailing within the islands was both
picturesque, and smooth going. But with the
wind effected by the cuts between islands,
and a bit of current running from the
northeast, tactics in the Channel were
Despite the breeze, racing was hot work.
Those who kept their biminis up were slowed
a bit by the windage, but the shade was well
worth it. We slathered on many ounces of
factor 30 and 40, got out the big-brimmed
hats, and still felt the sun’s sting. On board
Dick and Sally Morgan’s Blue Destiny, after a
fine run under a big spinnaker version of the
Welsh flag (a red, fire-breathing dragon on an
emerald green field), we barely had the
anchor set in Pirate’s Bight before we jumped
over the side. The water had a welcome chill.
Ashore, Bob Marston (Oyster Brokerage USA)
and Robin Campbell (Director, Oyster Marine
USA) had the beach games underway. The
Lilo raft races were a big hit with the kids –
eleven youngsters were in attendance at the
regatta – but the bigger kids preferred playing
water golf, a game that had been transported
from its permanent location on Tortola. The
idea is to chip balls off the beach toward an
old military life raft target anchored 40 yards
out. Around the life raft is a ring of buoys.
Landing the ball inside the buoys is worth 10
points. Hitting the raft counts 20. And into the
raft is 50 points. Floating golf balls that hit
just like the real thing, and a person in a
kayak who retrieves them makes the game
possible. Boats formed teams, and there was
a line at the "chipping range" until sunset.
The best thing about Pirates’ Bight is the
bar/restaurant barely 50 feet back from the
beach. Its broad, covered porch full of tables
and chairs was a welcome sight. One could
sit back, enjoy a “painkiller” after all that hard
racing and golf, and marvel at the bulk of St.
John’s Island (USVI) looming just a few miles
18 Oyster 56, Roulette and Oyster 68, Kealoha of Whitby
‘ More and more families
are taking part, with children
and grandchildren on board,
adding a generational spread
to the Oyster family
Dick and Sally Morgan’s Oyster 56, Blue Destiny
Race two started off Norman Island and would good reason. Suddenly there’s a stretch of
finish to the northeast off a little island called coast that looks unlike any other terrain
Fallen Jerusalem. In the interest of having a anywhere in the islands. No one has figured
reaching start, the fleet first went west to out how it got that way. At first one suspects
round tiny Flanagan’s Island, little more than a the engineers from Disney have come in and
hunk of rock. On board Molly and Terry King- built enormous smooth fibreglass boulders all
Smith’s Dorado (Oyster 62), we held an inside over the beach. Some are big as Oyster 56
to the northwest. No sooner had the sun
position and gained four boats at the turn. We hulls, and balanced upon one another two
gone down than the bar was crowded with...
could sense the bottom closing on the keel as and three high. But these granite formations
pirates! Liz Whitman had announced a fancy
Terry confidently guided the big boat over the are the real thing. Walking among them and
dress competition, and the response was
shallows. Then we hardened up and began crawling into the eerily-lit grottos where the
enthusiastic. A more gnarly bunch would
the long weather leg. Once again, there was sea floods in to make delightful, waist-deep
have been hard to find. Johnny Depp would
wind in the 12 knot range, just enough to put pools, is like being on another planet.
have felt right at home. Wigs, eye-patches,
Dorado’s shoulder to the task. On board were Georgina and Katie, who had been to The
faux parrots, ear-hoops and rubber cutlasses
Molly and Terry's son, Richard, his wife Ally, Baths before, were good guides.
abounded. It appeared that Oyster’s
and their two girls, Georgina (7) and Katie (5).
Customer Care Manager Eddie Scougal’s
They spent the weather leg watching Babe It was another hour’s sail to the night’s
glittering eye patch might have done previous
down below. anchorage at the famous Bitter End Yacht
work as a thong, but his lips were sealed.
Club in North Sound. Bitter End began as a
We finished at Fallen Jerusalem in good time, shore-front pub and a few cottages built by
and sailed on to the southwest side of Virgin yachtsman Basil Symonette in the late 1950s.
Gorda, where the famous Baths are located. The concept was rough: paper sheets and
Terry launched the dinghy and Molly ferried lights provided by generator. Taken over by
Richard, Ally, the girls and me to the beach, another yachtsman and his wife – Myron and
where a strong surge required that we swim Bernice Hokin – in the 1970s, today it is
ashore. The Baths are highly touted, and with famous as a watersports' resort, with fleets
of one design sailboats and sailboards that
are often used in pro-am events, in addition
to diving, chartering, fishing, excursions, and
other activities. And Bitter End has a great
activity schedule for kids. It was an ideal spot
for an Oyster lay day, one that was
welcomed after cocktails, a buffet dinner that
featured fresh kingfish hot off the barbecue,
and limbo dancing into the night.
The lay day highlight was one-design racing
on North Sound as regatta sailors flocked to
the 4-person Hunter 21s, and single-handed
Lasers. The fleet of 12 Lasers had a series of
six races, and featured a nip and tuck battle
THE UBS OYSTER REGATTA BVI 2004
Pirates of the Caribbean - Oyster style
between UBS representative, Sean Goodlet,
and Todd Merrill from the crew of Casey and
Melanie Fannin’s Bliss (Oyster 56). Either
sailor would rank at the top of most Laser
fleets, and it was a pleasure to watch them
handle the boats. Merrill took the prize in the
end, but the two were never more than a
For the rest, it was a day to relax on the
beach, take walks, or attend to the more
mundane duties of cruising, like laundry.
Except for Bill Dockser (Ravenous, Oyster
70), who found himself on a beach where a
large "condo" ship called the Sea Dreams
Yacht Club was having a caviar party.
Poolside cocktail party, Bitter End Yacht Club
Dockser says he slipped into the crowd with
a smile, waded up to the big floating table of
caviar and champagne and helped himself. The anchorage at Great Bay, on Jost Van Then the Shanglo Band took over, and the
When they called for a group photo, Dockser Dyke, was the most crowded of the regatta. two players sang a dozen cool songs you
was front and centre, glass raised on high. That’s because Great Bay is the home of never heard non-stop for hours over a pre-
He had to laugh afterwards. "They’re going to Foxy’s famous Beach Bar, a barefoot saloon recorded rhythm track. They sang beautifully
be wondering, ‘who the hell is this guy?’ " and restaurant festooned with the remains of together. They rocked into the night, and the
every flag and T-shirt remnant and personal dance floor was jammed. Those not dancing
For Race 3, the weatherman turned out to be card ever made, and that’s just the beginning were upstairs in the Upper Crust Room
right. There was very little wind, which made it of the decor. Foxy’s is funky down home enjoying ribs the size of winch handles.
a scorcher. Aboard Patrick and Gabriele central, el tourista trappo grandé, but one
Fiorentino’s Talisman (Oyster 61), we took you’re glad to experience. And there was old It was a short hop over to Nanny Cay the
smug satisfaction knowing that sailing without Foxy himself, pushing 80 or maybe 100 next day, and that was lucky because the
the bimini made us faster, but even so it was a years, on stage with his guitar beside a wind was still off sulking somewhere. Back
hot, slow ride down the length of Sir Francis frightfully realistic life-sized stuffed replica of home at Peg Legs, the focus for the final
Drake Channel. A slice of crew Inka Neilson's himself, rasping out a couple songs. Blink cocktail party on the beach was
perfect cheesecake in mid-afternoon saved and you missed him. Foxy has been known photographer Tim Wright’s slide show of the
the day. Oyster racing in adverse conditions is to panhandle the customers just for laughs, weeks’ events. To a chorus of appreciative
tough, let me tell you. but this night he cut out after his gig. oohs and aahs, Tim projected more than a
‘ No sooner had the sun gone
down than the bar was
crowded with … pirates. Wigs,
eye-patches, faux parrots,
earings and rubber cutlasses
abounded. Johnny Depp would
have felt right at home
hundred crisp, digital images on a sail hung
for the purpose. Then everyone was eagerly
seated by team under large tents as Richard
Matthews, with microphone in hand,
approached a table groaning with glittering
trophies. Just as he was about to begin the
awards, Miss BVI appeared, crown in place,
adding glamour to the gathering. The
impressive 22 year-old, Dian Sanderson, won
her title at the August Festival in Road Town,
two weeks of carnival celebrating the islands’
heritage. She wowed the judges in bathing
suit, evening gown, and "business attire"
categories. For the talent portion, she danced
on moco jumbie sticks. She’ll go on to the
Miss Universe competition. She would be
handing out several of the awards for Oyster.
The award ceremony is always a highlight of an
Oyster regatta because of the number of
elegant trophies, and the fact there are so
many winners. Boats that finish first to fourth in
each class in each race are awarded, as well as
overall winners. Each day’s racing is
sponsored, and Lewmar’s Robert Hill; Dolphin
Sails’ Matthew Vincent; Pantaenius’ John
McCurdy; Hood Yacht Spars’ John Boyce
presented the silver plates and cups (Pelagos’
Declan O’Sullivan had to leave that afternoon).
UBS’s Sean Goodlet presented the overall
awards, the magnificent antique silver trophies.
(see page 22 for results). Excitement always
runs high for the awards. As Richard says, "It’s
not quite a night at the Oscars, but close to it."
Oyster is actually two up on the Oscars: while
winners might brandish trophies, there are no
victory speeches. And Richard sings better
than Billy Crystal.
Dinner was served on the beach under the
tents. Afterwards, there was an early retreat
to the bunks. As she walked down the dock
toward her boat, Gabriele Fiorentino said,
"I'm going to have to sleep for a week to
recover from this." But she was smiling.
The 62, Oystercatcher XXV - a veteran of four Oyster Regattas www.oystermarine.com 21
THE UBS OYSTER REGATTA BVI 2004
RACE 1 – SPONSORED BY LEWMAR
1st Terry & Molly King-Smith Oyster 62 Dorado
2nd Trevor & Anne Silver Oyster 56 Roulette
3rd Patrick & Gabriele Fiorentino Oyster 61 Talisman
4th Leslie Holliday/David Holliday OBE Oyster 68 Kealoha of Whitby
1st Colin Hall Oyster 406 Boysterous
2nd Jean Mellows & Mike Starr Oyster 39 Severance
3rd Paul Hubbard Oyster 435 Bermuda Oyster
4th Phil Fleming Oyster LW 48 Boysterous of Lymington
RACE 2 – SPONSORED BY DOLPHIN SAILS
1st Terry & Molly King-Smith Oyster 62 Dorado
2nd Trevor & Anne Silver Oyster 56 Roulette
3rd Patrick & Gabriele Fiorentino Oyster 61 Talisman
4th Stephen & Catherine Thomas Oyster 66 Magic Dragon of Wroxham
1st Paul Hubbard Oyster 435 Bermuda Oyster
2nd Robin Wilshaw Oyster 435 Pied Beauty
3rd Phil Fleming Oyster LW 48 Boysterous of Lymington
4th Colin Hall Oyster 406 Boysterous
Miss BVI, Dian Sanderson, and Best Overall over both Classes for the Dolphin Trophy
Oyster 53 owner, Aram Shishmanian Colin Hall Oyster 406 Boysterous
RACE 3 – SPONSORED BY HOOD YACHT SPARS
1st Trevor & Anne Silver Oyster 56 Roulette
2nd Mark & Mary Nell DeFriece Oyster 62 Loblolly
3rd Stephen & Catherine Thomas Oyster 66 Magic Dragon of Wroxham
4th Terry & Molly King-Smith Oyster 62 Dorado
1st Jean Mellows & Mike Starr Oyster 39 Severance
2nd Phil Fleming Oyster LW 48 Boysterous of Lymington
3rd Colin Hall Oyster 406 Boysterous
4th Paul Hubbard Oyster 435 Bermuda Oyster
RACE 4 – SPONSORED BY PANTAENIUS
1st Trevor & Anne Silver Oyster 56 Roulette
2nd Patrick & Gabriele Fiorentino Oyster 61 Talisman
3rd Terry & Molly King-Smith Oyster 62 Dorado
4th Mark & Mary Nell DeFriece Oyster 62 Loblolly
1st Phil Fleming Oyster LW 48 Boysterous of Lymington
UBS Trophy winners for Class 1, Trevor 2nd Colin Hall Oyster 406 Boysterous
and Anne Silver, Oyster 56, Roulette
3rd Paul & Diane May Oyster 45 Taboo
4th Paul Hubbard Oyster 435 Bermuda Oyster
THE YACHTING WORLD TROPHY
Best yacht over both classes over the regatta
1st Colin Hall Oyster 406 Boysterous
2nd Paul Hubbard Oyster 435 Bermuda Oyster
3rd Jean Mellows/Mike Starr Oyster 39 Severance
4th Trevor & Anne Silver Oyster 56 Roulette
5th Robin Wilshaw Oyster 435 Pied Beauty
6th Paul & Diane May Oyster 45 Taboo
ROYAL SOUTHERN YACHT CLUB – UNITY CHALLENGE
1st The T-off Team (Dorado, Taboo, Bermuda Oyster)
Overall winner, Colin Hall, Oyster 406,
Boysterous, receives the Yachting World Trophy
Todd Merrill (right)
THE UBS OYSTER TROPHY
1st Trevor & Anne Silver Oyster 56 Roulette
2nd Terry & Molly King-Smith Oyster 62 Dorado
3rd Patrick & Gabriele Fiorentino Oyster 61 Talisman
4th Mark & Mary Nell DeFriece Oyster 62 Loblolly
1st Phil Fleming Oyster LW 48 Boysterous of Lymington
2nd Colin Hall Oyster 406 Boysterous
3rd Paul Hubbard Oyster 435 Bermuda Oyster
4th Jean Mellows/Mike Starr Oyster 39 Severance
Presented by the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board
Class 1 Bill Dockser Oyster 70 Ravenous
Class 2 Paul & Diane May Oyster 45 Taboo
Presented by the Caribbean Yacht Management
Under 5 years old-Stephen & Catherine Thomas Oyster 66 Magic Dragon of Wroxham
Over 5 years old-Patrick & Gabriele Fiorentino Oyster 61 Talisman
BITTER END YACHT CLUB DINGHY COMPETITION
Sponsored by Pelagos Yachts
1st Todd Merrill, Bliss
2nd Ben Davies, Taboo
3rd Sean Goodlet, UBS
1st Boyce & Girls
NORMAN ISLAND GOLF COMPETITION
Sponsored by Caribbean Yacht Management Bill Dockser, Oyster 70 Ravenous, receives the Concours
prize from BVI Tourist Board Director, Keith Dawson
1st Team Venture
2nd Team Boysterous
3rd Team Ravenous
Robert Grinold & Arleen Songailo Boundless Oyster 55PH
Michele Colenso Capriccio of Rhu Oyster 55
Jonathon Mould Kuyenda Oyster 56
Casey & Melanie Fannin Bliss Oyster 56
Michael Dickinson Renee II Oyster 56
Trevor & Anne Silver Roulette Oyster 56
Dick and Sally Morgan Blue Destiny Oyster 56
Roger Harding Oyster Rose II Oyster 56
Patrick Fiorentino Talisman Oyster 61
Pete and Katherine Savage Venture Oyster 62
Mary Nell & Mark DeFriece Loblolly Oyster 62
James Flynn OBE Oystercatcher XXIV Oyster 62
Terry & Molly King-Smith Dorado Oyster 62
Stephen & Catherine Thomas Magic Dragon Oyster 66
Leslie Holliday & David Holliday OBE Kealoha of Whitby Oyster 68
Bill Dockser Ravenous Oyster 70 Class 2 winner, Phil Fleming, Oyster Lightwave 48,
Boysterous of Lymington receives the UBS Regatta
CLASS 2 Trophy from Sean Goodlet of UBS
Jean Mellows & Mike Starr Severance Oyster 39
Colin Hall Boysterous Oyster 406
Roy & Jan Stansfield Blue Boojum Oyster 406
Anke Dembowski Gerda Oyster 406 We are grateful for the help and support
Robin Wilshaw Pied Beauty Oyster 435 of the following BVI organisations:
Paul Hubbard Bermuda Oyster Oyster 435
British Virgin Islands Tourist Board,
Dr Gibney Freedom Won Oyster 435 Caribbean Yacht Management, Mount Gay,
Paul & Diane May Taboo of St Helier Oyster 45 CCT Boat phone, Nanny Cay Marina,
Peter Mantle Moonshadow of London Oyster 47 Bitter End Yacht Club, Island Helicopters
Phil Fleming Boysterous Oyster Lightwave 48 and Virgin Traders
Mariusz Koper Katharsis Oyster 485
Aram Shishmanian Janus Oyster 53
Eugene & Kirsten Bannon Sandpiper of London Oyster 53 All Photos: Tim Wright, photoaction.com
CHANNEL 4 FILM CREW ONBOARD
Just before the start of the UBS Oyster
Regatta in The British Virgin Islands, Taboo
was visited by two film crew from Maverick
Television who spent a full day on board the
yacht filming for a forthcoming production of
'Home from Home' currently being shown on
Channel 4 television.
Filming interest in Taboo, an Oyster 45 owned
by Paul and Diane May, started when she was
first registered as the only yacht on Homelink,
an International agency introducing families to
exchange homes. Film coverage will be used
to advertise Taboo in this exchange
programme with links to the Oyster Marine and
The UBS Oyster Regatta was a great success,
with Taboo coming 6th overall and also being
awarded the Concours d’Elegance prize.
Taboo is available for skippered charter in The
Grenadines from May to November and will
later be based in the British Virgin Islands.
For further details please see:
or call Louise May on +44 (0) 1883 652 722.
24 www.oystermarine.com Richard Matthews takes Taboo’s helm during Oyster’s BVI Regatta
Photo: Tim Wright
capabilities of our
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Knowing what to
Michael Stevenson combines a practical mind with
a reliance on common sense and a willingness to roll
up his sleeves
BY ROGER VAUGHAN
In 1998, Michael Stevenson was on honeymoon in the British Virgin Islands. One
evening he and his wife, Serena, were walking toward the Peter Island Hotel when
they noticed a commotion in the bay. With much fanfare, three fishermen in a
small boat were bringing in a seine net full of fish, dragging it toward a holding
pen under the dock, much to the joy of the crowd of villagers gathered on the
beach. Then the seine snagged on the bottom. Loathe to get into the water, like
most fishermen, they were prodding at the seine with sticks and oars. Meanwhile the fish
were beginning to escape.
In a flash, Michael Stevenson had thrown off his shorts and shoes and was in the water, going
under to free the net, and herding the escaping fish toward the pen. When he finished, only a few
had been lost. As he walked out of the water toward his clothing on the beach, Stevenson says
one of the older women covered her eyes and began to wail. "I guess she’d never seen a white
man naked," he says with a grin. The fishermen were both amazed and grateful, and presented
Michael and Serena with more fish than they could eat. Stevenson shrugs when he tells the story.
"I simply knew what to do," he says.
His way with fish can be explained by the fact that for almost 25 years Stevenson has owned and
run the 15-acre Berkshire Trout Farm, just outside Hungerford, Berkshire, that produces two million
brown and rainbow trout annually. It’s the largest-area re-stocking trout farm in England. But
Stevenson wasn’t trained as a trout farmer. Nor was it his family’s business. He jumped into it on a
whim, figuring he’d learn as he went along. It’s how he’s always done things. That’s why when he
bought an Oyster 56 as his entry-level sailboat, those who knew him were only mildly surprised.
I met Michael Stevenson at the 2003 UBS Oyster Regatta in Palma, Mallorca. He’s lean as a
distance runner, slightly under six-feet tall with eyes wide-set in a long, friendly face, an engaging
man who looks younger than his 60 years. He’s curious, a person who constantly takes in the details
of his surroundings. He smiles easily. On board his newly acquired Oyster, Fario ("brown trout" in
Latin), with Serena and assorted children and friends, he was participating in his first regatta.
During the first conversation I had with him he looked me in the eye and said that he’d never
sailed before. I was so taken aback he had to say it again. Then he laughed, eyes
glittering, obviously delighted by the shock effect,
and gracious enough to be a little embarrassed
at the same time. He went on to explain that
his daughter’s boyfriend knew something
about sailing, and was leading his crew
of rank novices. He said
Fario was giving the
other boats plenty of
room, starting last by
design, and cautiously
feeling their way along.
Michael and Serena Stevenson’s Oyster 56, Fario, www.oystermarine.com 27
racing off Palma during Oyster’s 2003 Palma Regatta.
Photo: Nico Martinez
But then at the awards dinner, there he was,
picking up a trophy for finishing second in
one of the races that had been plagued by
light, fluky conditions. When challenged in a
friendly way about his neophyte status, he
said he was no stranger to the outdoors, that
he was an accomplished stalker of animals
and as a result had a good nose for the wind.
Indeed, while the rest of the fleet had given a
wide berth to a high cliff near the finish of that
race and ended up wallowing in a windless
hole, Fario and one other boat (with local
knowledge on board) had sailed to within a
boat length of the cliff face and kept moving.
Sailing is like kite flying. Even children, with
the exception of Peanuts cartoon character
‘Charlie Brown’, can get a kite airborne. But
Zen masters are still perfecting the art when
they are 80. And Michael Stevenson had
actually sailed before, on two Caribbean
charters with a captain. Both were three-day
affairs on 40-footers, with lots of rum punches
and snorkeling. But it was enough to let him
know he liked being afloat. "One day we got a
bit of a breeze, and I loved it. That got me
going on sailing." He said he bought the
Oyster because it is obviously a quality
product, and he got a larger one because at
his age he likes a bit of comfort. In Palma, it
seemed he was quickly getting the hang of it.
But then the man is a quick study.
Stevenson knew at an early age he wasn’t
cut out to be a student. "I knew I was smart,
and practical," he says, "but I wasn’t an
academic." He left school aged 15, and
spent a year doing an engineering
apprenticeship as a tool and instrument
maker. But zippers were on his mind. His
father, an engineer at Bristol Aeroplane
Corporation, had been sent to Germany after
World War II to sort out the spoils and see
what was worth shipping home. He spotted a
machine for making zip fasteners, sent it to
England, and developed a sideline for his
company. Michael went to see that factory
when he was 12 and came away fascinated
by the process.
‘ He said he bought the Oyster because it is obviously a
quality product, and he got a larger one because at his
purchased the trout farm. He says he’s
always wanted to be a farmer, mainly
because of the lifestyle. He couldn’t afford
the 3,000 acres necessary for conventional
age he likes a bit of comfort farming, so when he heard of the fish farm,
he jumped at it. The learning curve was
steep. But Stevenson embraces career
Before finishing his apprenticeship, Michael’s outside my office door in New York. changes with enthusiasm. "Why be satisfied
grandmother died and left him a modest "Zippers on suede boots were big for a while. with doing one thing all your life?" he says.
inheritance. He immediately used the money All colors. And hot pants and jackets. Mary "So what if it’s new stuff? Common sense
to open a 30-day line of credit, and at age 17 Quant dresses featured zippers. But keeping will get you through."
went off to Germany to buy a zipper-making up with the fashion side was crazy. There
machine of his own. He thought the bank was no time. Suddenly this colour or that The farm is an idyllic place, ideally situated
would start the 30 days upon receipt of the style was in, and we had to go-go-go on a narrow strip of lush English countryside
machine, and figured he could make enough because slam-bam it would change an hour west of London. It is bordered by
money within that time to pay off the note. tomorrow. We always had to have huge stock two small rivers - Kennet to the north, Dunn
The fellow in Germany he bought the available, all possible colours, and we’d only on the south - that run gently toward a
machine from assumed the letter to be good be selling 10% of it in any season. But I did confluence at the east end of the property.
from the day the machine left Germany. "He very well in the 60s." There’s a third body of water, the Kennet and
was livid," Stevenson recalls. "He screamed Avon Canal, separated from the River Dunn
at me on the phone." Stevenson found himself travelling to all parts by a narrow bank of earth. Started in 1840, it
of the world as an advisor on zipper took 50 years to build the Canal’s 106 locks,
Stevenson says he had the machine wired manufacturing. He could design machines and its dams and pumping stations. It was
and running the day it arrived, and began and fix them. "I was asked to go to built as an 85-mile commercial link
cranking out "stringers," lengths of fabric Washington, DC, when I was 28 to consult connecting the Bristol Channel to the River
imbedded with rows of zipper teeth. Three on a patent problem the Talon Zipper Thames. But the Great Western Railway,
weeks later, Stevenson’s sales totalled Company was having. They were the biggest designed and built by England’s famed
enough to buy another machine, so he went at the time. The chairman came to the airport Isambard Kingdom Brunel, rendered the
back to Germany. "The guy took one look at to roll out the red carpet. He gave me a tour Canal obsolete virtually upon its completion.
me and said `no way.’ I put cash on the table of the capital. I met with Talon’s lawyer. It
and he was much friendlier." was right out of a Perry Mason drama. At the Stevenson’s land has been part of the town
time I probably knew more about zippers of Hungerford since 1200. A mill was built on
Michael Stevenson was soon up to his neck than anyone in the world. I probably still the site in the 1500s, and was converted to
in the zipper business. By the time he was know more about them than most people." fish farming in the early 1900s. This was
19, he had his own factory full of stringer before electricity was available, and one
machines. He’d also designed and built finish Stevenson got out of zippers in 1975. He saw marvels at how cleverly gravity is used to
machines that manufactured all the various the writing on the wall when a Japanese draw the water off the rivers to the west end
pieces a zipper requires, and had started a container ship arrived in the UK with a six- of the farm, direct it through 70 straight-sided
cottage industry: women in South Wales month supply of zipper stock that was sold ponds and the hatchery
were assembling the products. At one point at huge discounts. So he concentrated on troughs before it flows
he had 600 women working for him. And he making machinery and equipment. "The back into the rivers
was selling miles of stringers. "I had great Japanese loved my machines, but we both at the east end. It
advice, mainly from old Jewish men I met in knew it was only a matter of time before they took two hundred
the rag trade. They were like uncles to me, a would make their own." Given the nature of labourers four years
teenage gentile kid. They supplied me with his product – small, intricate pressings and to dig the original
pearls of wisdom like, `Never give up your extrusions – it wasn’t difficult for Stevenson 50 ponds by hand.
business.’" to move sideways into the manufacture of
telephone and computer plugs, and parts for
Zippers were in fashion and Stevenson was electric motors used in aero space. He
on top of it. "We knew in the 60's," he says, sold his business in 1991.
"that the average woman had 65 zippers in
her wardrobe. At first, zippers were hidden At that point he wasn’t exactly
fasteners. Then in the 60s they became a looking for something to do.
fashion item." Stevenson came up with the Ten years earlier, he had
ring-pull zipper, a one-inch (or larger) ring that taken a partner in his
was attached to the slider instead of the zipper business and
usual flat puller, and it quickly became trendy
in Paris and London. "The US was slow to
get into it," he says, "but when they did, we
sold millions of pieces. Buyers queued up
The old mill provided the foundation for There are several outbuildings on the farm,
Stevenson’s house. A spacious entry hall now one of which is a rebuilt barn that houses the
exists where the river once ran through to interior design studio of Serena Stevenson.
turn the mill wheel. Converting the building Serena is a stylish woman, attractive and
into habitable quarters, let alone the cheerful. Like Michael, she is slim, energetic,
handsome dwelling Stevenson has created, and self-taught. They are two of a kind.
would have been too daunting an undertaking Serena once cooked for a living, and thinks
for most people. The mill and the dwelling nothing of getting behind the wheel of the 7-
attached in 1760 were in bad repair. But in old ton truck she uses to deliver furnishings. Her
snapshots, there is Stevenson in knee-high interior design business grew out of her
rubber boots, shovel in hand, leading innate good taste, and a sewing hobby. The
workers through the task of revealing the woman, who at 17 had been Serena’s
enormous brick mill foundations of the 1500s, mother’s helper, went on to train as a equipment require constant maintenance.
buried in silt. "Our local building supervisors seamstress, then to work in London. In 1990 The fish must be sorted, graded, re-
were worried," he says. "But it had to have when the recession hit, she retreated to distributed in various ponds, hand-selected,
been strong. One hundred and fifty tons of Berkshire, moved in over Serena’s house, and delivered to customers. Just
corn was stored on the third floor. And it was and the two began making curtains for local understanding the chemistry of feeding takes
a five-stone mill, so the vibrations were people. Today things have progressed to the considerable study. Aggressive opportunists
fierce." Stevenson has replaced some of the point that Serena Richards Interiors has a like herons and cormorants must be
corn bins with two 750-gallon tanks that contract to decorate 56 rooms being added discouraged. It’s labour-intensive.
gravity-feed the house water system. to a local hotel. She’s done much of the work
for The Vineyard, a 5-star "restaurant with At one pond, three of Stevenson’s workers
Standing in the Stevenson’s kitchen, it takes rooms" near Newbury, and her work can be have dragged a net toward one end to gather
a while to get used to being at eye level with seen around London. She keeps a staff of ‘rainbows’ for bailing into a tank for delivery.
the Canal flowing by less than a dozen feet five women very busy. Stevenson pitches in. Soon his boots are
beyond the window. ankle-deep in the muck of the bank as he
The fish farm is enchanting even on a grey, adjusts the net for more efficient bailing. The
chilly day. Walking at his normal rapid pace, fish are gorgeous two-pounders. Their
Stevenson and his black Labrador, Judy, lead rainbows flash in the gray light. "They’re
the way. We begin in the old brick hatchery strong fish with good fins," Stevenson says.
building with its large concrete troughs of "They’ll ‘account themselves well’ when
eggs, alevins (newly hatched fish), and fry caught. That’s because we don’t crowd the
(recognizable as fish, and ready to feed). The ponds. If I were table farming, I’d have
eggs are collected in the late fall by manually 18,000 fish in the big ponds. But with 8,000,
"stripping" the broodstock, a painstaking job. they have room to grow and be healthy. And
Milt collected from the males is then mixed that keeps the water quality up when it
with the eggs to insure fertilization. Water is returns to the river.
added, and incubation begins.
"When I bought the farm, I knew nothing
The surfaces of the ponds are still, rippled about fish," Stevenson says. "The previous
only lightly by the breeze. Stevenson opens owner came over two or three mornings a
the lid of a large plastic container at one week and told me things. I never took a
pond, fills a scoop with compressed food course. I just started figuring it out. I guess I
pellets and flings them onto the water’s had a feel for it. Not everyone does. I can tell
surface. The pond explodes with fish, an about someone I hire in the first couple of
angler’s dream. Each of the large ponds weeks. They’ll lay out a net on the floor then
(150' x 50') contains 8,000 rainbows or trip over it. It takes hand to eye coordination,
brown trout in the two-pound range. We and you have to be in tune with nature. I’ve
move on, walking among the ponds over always liked actively doing things, walking
many little footbridges under which water is miles over the hills in search of game. I’d
flowing steadily, with a pleasant gurgle. The rather climb Everest than fly over it."
sound of the gently flowing water permeates
the air. In a piece about the fish farm in Berkshire fish go mainly to private fishing
Punch magazine in 1952, P M Hubbard clubs. Stevenson also supplies river and
wrote, "I don’t know whether Wordsworth water authorities, particularly when there
was within his rights in expecting beauty have been problems with pollution. He enjoys
born of murmuring sound to pass into his doing the deliveries, driving his small four-
Lucy’s face; if so the trout-farmers should be wheel drive trucks with their 300-gallon tanks
a good looking lot." For sure they are a hard in the back to some very remote locations.
working lot. Ponds, banks, buildings, and "The fish have caused me to learn a lot about
‘ The old mill provided the foundation for Stevenson’s
house. A spacious entry hall now exists where the river
once ran through to turn the mill wheel
‘ Stevenson says freelance professional sailor David Gray
is the reason he has learned sailing so fast
Stevenson says freelance professional sailor
David Gray is the reason he has learned
sailing so fast, and so well. "I got his name
from Oyster, called him, and he said he’d like
to meet Serena and me before he agreed to
England. My customers are everywhere, and They couldn’t take the chance of burying work with us. He suggested neutral ground
most of them stock once a year. After a them on the site. At the time they had no for the interview. Finally Serena asked him,
delivery, the champagne sometimes comes idea what had killed them. `Are we acceptable?’ and he said yes. So we
out. Many of them are second and third met on the boat in the South of France. I’d
generation operators. One woman’s father "The bank gave me an open checking been commenting a bit about how expensive
died at 84 – he’d been stocking his river 40 account," Stevenson says, "and they would he was. The second day on board, Serena
years. Now she’s in charge. I’ve seen great get back every penny within 18 months. Our and I looked at each other and said wow, this
little villages I never would have visited situation spurred Serena on. Her business was guy is worth every penny."
otherwise. Lovely spots." a casual affair up to that point. But a friend,
who wanted to help, commissioned her to Gray has hauled Stevenson up the mast
On March 3, 1998, Berkshire Trout Farm completely re-do his house in Scotland. She several times, and shown him how to rig a
almost foundered. Late at night, Stevenson’s did a brilliant job. That took her business up a handy billy to pull himself out of the water.
farm manager knocked on his door. He’d notch overnight, and helped keep us going. "He’s a marvellous seaman, and extremely
made the rounds as usual before retiring, and Our legal fees were £100,000 annually." safety conscious," Stevenson says of Gray.
to his horror, discovered fish dying. Lots of "He won’t leave port unless everyone on
them. Stevenson called the pollution hot line, The turning point for Stevenson’s case was board has been through a man overboard
and brought in his other employees. They the discovery of an Act of Parliament written drill, and he’s teaching the whole time, using
were up all night. "It was a disaster," in 1794 governing the operation of everything that happens to illustrate
Stevenson says, visibly shaken when recalling waterways. The Act states that damage done manoeuvres and demonstrate technique."
that gruesome night. "The whole lot was by any oozing or seeping of water will be Stevenson returned with a stack of books
gone, 300 tons. We still had the hatchery, that compensated. "It took three years to get to about Greece, and is looking forward to a
has a different water supply, but we lost the that point," Stevenson says. "Around summer in the Ionian Islands.
rest including all the broodstock." Christmas, 2001, British Waterways admitted
their liability. We fought for another year over Last January I ran into Michael Stevenson at
Six years before, in an interview in Fish what proper compensation would be." The the London Boat Show, where he was ogling
Farmer magazine, Stevenson had proudly following year, Berkshire Trout Farm was the Oyster 66 on display. He was also
pointed out the chalk-spring source of his back at full capacity. carrying a small Mylar/Kevlar duffle bag he’d
water supply, saying "So we’re free from bought at a sailmaker’s stand. "Look at this,"
pollution and water-borne diseases...we’re The farm’s delivery season ends as summer he said, unfolding the bag and displaying its
one of the few trout farms never to have begins, allowing Stevenson to spend time on exaggerated zipper. It had to be six inches
received a disease order." What got him his boat. Recently he and a crew of three wide across the top of the bag, with a ring
turned out to be an overflow from the Canal. friends took Fario from Palma to Lefkadha, pull the size of a butter plate. "In 1963 a
It took six months worth of research on water Greece, in the Ionian Islands. He waxes French company asked me to provide these
samples to discover that toxic algae had eloquent about the passage around the toe enormous zippers for naval gun covers. Now
killed Berkshire’s trout. of Italy, with the intoxicating smell of orange they’re a fashion item!"
blossoms strong on the breeze four miles
"After Brunel’s railroad made the Canal offshore, and snow-capped Mount Etna in
obsolete," Stevenson says, "it became the distance astern. As an engineer, he
derelict. Finally the government provided enjoys studying his boat’s many systems.
funding, and decided to open up the Canal in "We had all the floor boards up on the trip to
1991. In 1995 it became operational. They Greece," he says proudly, and he has several
did a great job, put in a lot of effort, but they ideas for improving access to machinery and
fell down on the maintenance end." certain design features of the boat. He likes
solving problems, like why his fridge and
Neglected were the spillways that handle freezer were operating intermittently (it turned
flooding in the reaches between locks after out a missing screw was allowing the
heavy rains. The rains came, the Canal solenoid to slip several inches on one tack,
flooded, and the waters contaminated by and not slip back unless the boat tacked
boat traffic backed up, spilled over the again). "If I were to build an Oyster,
banks, and found their way into the fish and I do fancy the 72, my dream
farm’s water supply. The British Waterways is to be project manager on
Authority denied responsibility, and the battle the job. I don’t suppose
was joined in court. Meanwhile, the farm had they’d go for that," he
to be drained, the fish removed and trucked adds with a chuckle.
away to be buried, a ghastly job.
Photos: www.oystermarine.com 33
B E I N P E R F E C T C O N
the world’s ocean
World leading deck equipment A specialist worldwide Custom Team oversees project management and technical support
every new project from concept to sea trials for each build.
manufacturer Lewmar has for
and that includes each new Oyster design.
For each new Oyster design a complete
many years enjoyed a successful Lewmar then provides technical support and
turn-key service ensures full support during
back up through the life of every yacht.
partnership with Oyster, supplying the commission of the first new craft, and
The Custom Team: total systems integration.
winches, anchoring systems,
taking design to completion Concept requirements are assessed and
hardware, hatches and portlights to
The Custom Team seamlessly manages evaluated, as Lewmar’s team works with
these prestige sailing yachts. engineering, design, product development, Oyster’s architects, design team and builders
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suit the task for which it is intended. Lewmar’s
deck equipment is not only functional, but
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Lewmar’s thrusters: easy control in a tight spot
Several of the Oyster models are fitted with none of the drag that you would get with the
Lewmar’s powerful thrusters, and never are traditional tunnel thrusters.
they more welcome than when the skipper is
The Lewmar thrusters are made from
manoeuvring the yacht into and out of
high-grade marine alloy and stainless
a tight position such as when docking.
steel with a lightweight fibreglass
The current range of Oyster 82s, propeller shroud.
for example are all fitted with Extensive tank testing has allowed
Lewmar retractable bow Lewmar to tailor speed and pitch of
thrusters, which are capable the alloy propellers to match
of delivering thrust up to a specifically the required horsepower,
whopping 30-horse power. which gives powerful and efficient
These compact and powerful units thrust in both directions.
are deployed at the touch of a The Bow Thruster is controlled
button, and then they are ready for use. by a proportional joystick, which gives
When fully retracted they are completely fingertip variable control for precise and
within the hull leaving the hull fair so there is controlled manoeuvring.
T R O L W I T H L E W M A R
Sail Handling Tip from Lewmar
Getting the best from
your genoa cars
Correct sail shape is important not just for shape. The typical vertical sheeting angle
to provide equipment specifications.
racing yachts to gain maximum speed, but for a number 3 sail is 70 degrees to the deck.
Lewmar supplies a full set of documentation for cruising yachts too, to maintain a good
to support the equipment selected including direction, making efficient headway, and Tuning the genoa car position
detailed schematics, installation, service and many other factors.
For correct sail shape for a given weather
maintenance manuals and technical details.
Lewmar supplies a selection of genoa cars condition in the number one, two, or three
A global network to Oyster from their range of Custom Cars sail ranges, it may be necessary to flatten
designed to cope with high loads and yet the sail out in higher wind speeds by
The world is your Oyster, and wherever you
to be discreet and lightweight. moving the car one hole back. This will
are Lewmar’s unrivalled network of in-house
have the effect of reducing heel and
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experienced servicing personnel and a supply
positioning lighter wind ranges of a sail position
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when there is a sloppy sea it can be
There are two reasons
desirable to move the car forward a
for adjusting the
notch to give the sail more drive
position of the genoa
cars. Primarily to keep
the correct sail shape Typically if there are three
when furling or head sails or three pre
unfurling the defined reefing
genoa to or from points the
its reefed positions. genoa cars
The secondary reason is to should be
tune the shape of the sail at those moved to the
given reef positions. relevant
points on the
Moving the cars for head sail track and tuned
Hydraulic power is supplied by a high efficiency changes or reefed positions around these points for given conditions.
variable displacement pump fitted to the When sailing with a number one genoa or The Oyster 66 is fitted as standard with
generator. The pump uses a sophisticated load fully unfurled genoa, the typical vertical towable Lewmar Genoa cars to add to the
sensing system to efficiently deliver power on sheeting angle is around 60 degrees from control of the genoa sail shape. This means
demand. It can also be used to power the the deck as it passes through the car, with there is no need to leave the cockpit to
windlass and furlers as a backup while the the car relatively far aft on the track. alter the setting as the lines are lead back.
thruster pump is engaged. When the genoa is changed for a number 2 The same cars are favoured by the Oyster
The thruster reservoir also features a or 3 the car needs to move forward as the 82 (Lewmar models 29913031 & 29913032
seamlessly integrated Commander 400 Power clew goes forward to maintain correct sail for port and starboard, respectively).
Pack fitted with 2 x 3.3kw DC motors
mounted on the tank lid. This allows for
quiet ship sailing for powering the furlers and
windlass quietly and efficiently.
Lewmar has been supplying thruster and
hydraulic systems for over 15 years and has www.lewmar.com
supplied in-excess of a thousand boats
The idea of taking our Oyster 66
'Magic Dragon of Wroxham'
cruising in Brazil arose out of a
desire to find a more interesting
route to the Caribbean which didn’t
replicate our previous Canaries –
Antigua ‘milk run’ passage.
By Stephen Thomas - OYSTER 66
Magic Dragon of Wroxham
36 www.oystermarine.com Magic Dragon - Christmas Day anchorage in the Rio Paraguacu off a white sand beach.
O W N E R R E P O RT
Bra zil! Salvador, like most South American cities – sprawling,
chaotic and noisy, but full of life and colour.
ur objectives were to explore some interesting and uncrowded new cruising
NUTS ABOUT grounds, to find somewhere enjoyable to spend Christmas but to still arrive in
the Caribbean in time for some serious cruising prior to our Panama passage.
As we had already decided to explore the Cape Verde islands en route, a visit to Brazil looked like
a good option. It turned out to be a great choice with many unexpected delights; a wonderful
place to spend Christmas, a fascinating variety of cruising grounds and many memorable
experiences with something to appeal to all of us – myself, my wife
Catherine, 11 year-old son James and our crew Chris and Mel.
Most of the eastern and north-eastern coast of Brazil is sandy and
low-lying, punctuated only by some large, artificial and fairly unlovely
ports such as Recife, Natal and Fortaleza, making for limited cruising
opportunities. However, this stretch of coast is bounded at the north end
by the mighty delta of the Amazon and at the south end by a series of
large estuaries from Salvador southwards which offer some great
opportunities for cruising off of the beaten track. The passage from the
Cape Verdes to Natal or Fortaleza is a short 1500 miles but the west-going
trade winds and currents split north and south at Recife, making destinations
further south more difficult from which to return. However, making an extra 400
miles south allows access to Salvador and its nearby cruising grounds
and this was a sacrifice that we were very pleased that we made.
We chose Salvador as our base for Christmas and New Year largely
on the basis of its large and secure marina, but it turned out to be a
fantastic location in which to celebrate the holiday period. As
a whole, the city itself is like most large South American
cities: sprawling, noisy, chaotic and pretty rough at the edges.
We were aware, however, that much had been done in recent
years to restore the magnificent but decaying Portuguese
colonial centre of the city, the Pelourinho, and to make it
safe for tourists. What caught us completely by surprise was
Anchored off the abandoned Sao Francisco Monastery
the scale and verve of the city’s Christmas and New Year celebrations, which
made any European city seem pale by comparison. For the whole three weeks
leading up to Christmas, every building in the city centre was lit up by
elaborate fairy lights, every evening the streets teemed with Christmas stalls,
food vendors, wandering bands and, at many points around the centre, there
were stages on which carol singers, nativity players, bands and pop singers
would perform every night. The overall effect was both stunning and
fascinating in this city of largely West African cultural background.
After a few days break to recover, the city lights up again for New Year, with
huge firework displays all over the city as the clocks chimed and the traditional
Procissao do Senhor Bom Jesus dos Navigantes, a hugely colourful marine
procession made its way around the city’s bays, on New Year’s
Day. The procession is an escort for an ornate barge or gondola
which is rowed between two of the city’s beach-side churches
conveying an image of Christ and is an opportunity for services to
be held to bless the fishing activities for the coming year. We
decided that ‘Magic Dragon’ should take
part in the procession and on New Year’s
morning we joined several hundred other
boats ranging from tugs to harbour
launches, passenger ferries, fishing
boats and local working boats, all
highly decorated, in a typically South
American, noisy, colourful and chaotic
circuit of the bay. There was much jollity all round,
assisted in the later stages by the generous use of the
water cannons on the tugs to soak all concerned.
Cape Verde Islands
O W N E R R E P O RT
Bahia Marina was modern, well-equipped and
close to the city centre, but strangely (to our
eyes) almost bereft of any local sailing boats as
the local owners clearly favoured large, fast
motor boats. Although the marina looked after
us well, we used the few days over Christmas to
Sao Luis Fernando get away from the noise and bustle of the city
Forteleza and retire to the peace of some quiet
Natal anchorages. Salvador lies at the entrance to a
Olinda Ascension large bay, Baia de Todos os Santos, which,
Recife despite its proximity to the city, contains many
delightfully quiet and rural rivers, creeks and
Salvador islands. For Christmas Day, we
Camamu found an idyllic anchorage
in the Rio Paraguacu, off a
white sand beach,
overhung by tall palms
which sheltered parrots
and monkeys. Only the
gentle splash of the odd
dug-out canoe or saveiro
(the local sailing work boats)
disturbed the peace. Boxing
Day gave us the opportunity
for a gentle cruise some
Dugouts, Sao Fra miles up-river to Sao
Francisco, a very picturesque
abandoned riverside monastery surrounded by a delightful small village in which water
buffalo could be seen at work, the local youths rode around at a furious pace on ponies and
a whole fleet of dug-out canoes rocked at their moorings. On the way back to Salvador, we
also stopped at the islands of Bom Jesus and Itaparica, the former a traditional fishing
village and the latter a colourful and picturesque holiday retreat for Salvadorians.
Parade – Salvado Our intention had been to head north from Salvador, but we were persuaded by the local
New Year’s Day
yachtsmen to take time to cruise in the two large river estuaries just south of Salvador at
Camamu and Morro de Sao Paulo and we were glad that we took their advice. Although we had
no detailed charts, a good local pilot book provided good sketches and very detailed GPS routes
to follow. The estuary of the Rio Marau at Camamu winds its way 30 or 40 miles inland, offering a
myriad of pretty anchorages amid small creeks and wooded islands. Near its navigable head is
the small town of Marau, from which a long dinghy ride through mangrove-lined rivers leads to a
large waterfall at Tremembe. After several days of very pleasant gentle cruising and exploration in
the river, we moved to Morro de Sao Paulo at the entrance to the Rio Cairu. This is another large
and picturesque estuary offering many contrasts. Up-river, quiet villages and the old Portuguese
"Refuelling was an town of Cairu are dotted along the banks. At pretty Cairu we were shown around the still-active
monastery by a young Jesuit monk and were fascinated by the traditional wooden boat-building
exercise requiring the along the river banks. In contrast, Morro is a raucous beach town for the teeming hoards of
young Salvadorians shipped in by the ferry-load every day. Between them, these estuaries near
cooperation of the Salvador offer the potential for many weeks of very attractive and relaxed cruising with no more
than a tiny handful of yachts between them.
local filling station, a
Time was pressing, however, and a 400 mile motor-sail to windward took us to Recife and then
pickup truck, a number onwards onto Cabadelo and the Jacare river. Recife struck us as a rough and unattractive city
fringed by appalling favelas, redeemed only by its proximity to the quaint and historic old colonial
of 45-gallon drums Portuguese town of Olinda. We paused only briefly here for an overnight stop, put off by the lack
of secure (from thugs and thieves) overnight moorings. Cabadelo was a workaday town at the
and some ingenuity!"
"For Christmas Day, we
found an idyllic
anchorage in the Rio
Paraguacu off of a
white sand beach
overhung by tall palms
which sheltered parrots
Tagging turtles on the Christmas Day on board, complete
island of Fernando with Christmas tree, Rio Paraguacu
entrance to the Jacare river, an attractive and sheltered spot along this unwelcoming
coast, well known to cruising yachtsmen where an Englishman, Brian Stevens, has set
up a small boatyard adjacent to some relaxed beach bars and restaurants. Jacare was
also our base to visit the city of Joao Pessoa, a trip made more interesting by the
opportunity to use an antiquated and well-worn local railway to reach it. Refuelling here
was an exercise requiring the cooperation of the local filling station, a pickup
truck, a number of 45-gallon drums and some ingenuity!
By way of a contrast, our next passage took us some 200 miles offshore to the
island of Fernando de Noronha, an exposed, volcanic, rocky island which is now
a holiday island and nature reserve. This picturesque and remote island teems
with bird life and is famous as a dive site for its variety of undersea life. Mel and
Chris enjoyed some great diving here, while we enjoyed the dramatic coastal
scenery, watched turtles being tagged on the beach and indulged the children in
us by renting one of the ubiquitous and decrepit beach buggies as local transport.
Unfortunately, the anchorage here is badly exposed to the swell. Out in the bay, a
stern kedge allowed us to ride the developing 2m swell without too much
The market at Joa discomfort, although the seas smashing over the nearby rocky islands were a trifle
un-nerving. Getting ashore rapidly became a life-or-death experience. At some
states of the tide, the swell reaching the only landing beach in the small harbour broke heavily in
breakers up to 5m high, requiring a carefully-timed approach or departure. It’s always a bad sign
when the landing beach is dotted with keen surfers on the look-out for the next ‘big one’ and we
decided to cut short our stay on the island after a couple of heavy dunkings in the surf.
Fortunately, Forteleza, our next port of call, offered the opportunity to calm our nerves for a few
days. Although itself a large and unremarkable seaside resort town, Forteleza boasts a small if
ramshackle ‘marina’ (remarkable for being constructed from a collection of rusty metal tanks
loosely chained together which bob about in the swell and crash into each other) which has the
benefit of being attached to a large hotel, thus providing good swimming pools, bars and
restaurants only yards from the boat. Our stay here was marked by a truly awesome amount of
rain. At its peak, we estimated that some 15 inches of rain fell in one 36-hour period. Even our
trusty Avon dinghy, floating beside us, came close to foundering as it filled with water to the brim
O W N E R R E P O RT
in overnight downpours. We later heard
that this was exceptional even for Brazil
(where Forteleza is regarded as one of the
drier spots) as 10 people had drowned
nearby in various flood and mud-slides
caused by the rain.
Most foreign yachts which venture this far
head directly north from Forteleza to reach
the Caribbean some 1800 miles away to
the NW. We, however, felt that it would be
a sin to sail past the famous Amazon
without taking the opportunity to do some
exploring. The Amazon delta region
covers an immense
area some 300 miles
square in which a
number of major rivers
The large swell at Fernando de Noronha made
reach the sea. The getting ashore a life-or–death experience
Amazon itself is
navigable by sizeable
vessels for at least 600
miles upstream and,
strangely, is tidal
(although still fresh) for
nearly all of this distance.
Navigationally the delta
region is not without its l fishing boats, Cabede
One of the many loca
challenges; 8 knots plus tidal
streams, 3 metre tidal bores, rapidly-shifting channels, floating tree trunks,
vicious rain squalls known as marajos, big wind-over-tide waves and local
pirates known as ‘river rats’ all make for interesting sailing. We decided to
head for Belem, the capital city of the region and some 150 miles up-river on
the Rio Para. Entrance to the river (which is some 20 miles wide at this point)
through the buoyed shipping channel was straightforward as we reached it on
a fairly calm evening at neaps. Even then we were pounced on by a 40 knot
rain squall, which reduced visibility to zero at midnight while we were in the
narrowest part of the buoyed channel, doing little for my blood pressure! By
morning we were motoring along the chaotic waterfront at Belem to an
anchorage off the Irate Club do Para – actually some half a mile off it - as the
river was so shallow at this point (and even then we went aground at each low water).
Belem is a fascinating city. As the focal point for trading in the immense Amazon region, it teems
with life. It has a real sense of being a rough, tough frontier town where fortunes have been made
and lost. A host of relatively modern concrete apartment blocks (ubiquitous to all
Brazilian cities) contrast strangely with the primitive jungle
huts across the river and with the ramshackle
fishing boats swarming around the market. For those of a more
Local markets are piled high with
strange fruits garnered from the adventurous spirit, the
Amazon forests, stalls are
stacked with hundreds of
Amazon region offers
different herbs and medicines
derived from forest plants, the
a unique and
fish market is piled high with
Amazon fish, Belem fish market www.oystermarine.com 41
large and very unfamiliar-looking fresh-water fish
netted in the teeming waters of the rivers. Fleets
of large river ferries jostle for customers and
goods seeking passage up-river and huge
barges pass slowly down-river carrying stacks of
timber from the forests. Despite some recent
attempts to smarten up the waterfront, the city
has the uneasy feel of a war zone and we never
felt completely safe here, but it has a certain
undeniable fascination. In bygone days, the city
was immensely wealthy from the rubber trade
and a few monuments remain to this era. Most
of the fine buildings are now sadly decayed but
a wonderfully ornate and vast opera house has
been painstakingly restored and a few of the
palaces have re-emerged as museums and
Anchored in the Jacare river
ly in huts along
als live entire
The Amazon, where loc
We were made extremely welcome by the few sailing members of the ‘Yacht Club’
James with Am
azon Jungle fru
who did everything that they could to help the few visiting yachtsmen. They also suggested it
something that I had already considered – making a complete 500-mile circumnavigation of the
Amazon delta via the Os Estreitos channel (leaving through the north channel of the Amazon). We
acquired the necessary local charts to follow this tortuous channel through the delta and it
appeared a feasible if adventurous option. Sadly, we were reaching a period of equinoctial spring
tides and this meant that we would have faced very strong streams throughout the passage so,
lacking the time to wait for neaps to come round again, we reluctantly abandoned this idea. By
way of compensation, we took a number of day trips out into the local rivers of the delta in small
local boats which were completely fascinating. We were lucky enough to find an outstanding local
naturalist guide to take us out into the jungle and to show us the many kinds of plants and
wildlife, not least a young but still chubby tarantula which he plucked from its nest in a dead palm
frond and some ants over 3cm long. The local people live entirely in huts
"We had no regrets and
along the edges of the rivers as all transport here is water-born,
much of it by traditional dug-out or planked canoes. many delightful surprises
Most derive a living from gathering forest fruits and by
fishing in the rivers. On our final day in Belem we from choosing our
were invited to join a yacht club outing to a
simple restaurant out in the jungle which gave less-usual route to
us the opportunity for another close look at the
jungle from a locally-built catamaran. the Caribbean"
I n t e r n a t i o n a l Ya c h t C o n s u l t a n t s
Expert navigation through
the yachting world
Leasing • VAT and Tax Services • Marine Finance • Insurance
Commercial and Private Yacht Registration • International Safety Management
Project Management • Yacht Management • Crew Employment
Pelagos Yachts Limited, Auldyn House, 7 West Quay, Ramsey, Isle of Man, IM8 1DW.
Tel: + 44 (0) 1624 819 867 Fax: + 44 (0) 1624 819 887
Email: email@example.com www.pelagosyachts.com
UBS Oyster Regatta BVI 2004
1st ‘Boysterous of Lymington’
400 Main Road Harwich Essex CO12 4DN
The choice of Tel: (01255) 243366 Fax: (01255) 240920
Oyster Marine firstname.lastname@example.org www.dolphinsails.com
TWO CENTRE NORTH AMERICAN SKI TRIP
The Oyster Ski Group has Meeting up at Sun Valley Lodge for the first of two weeks glorious skiing we were all impressed
by the photo of one of our stalwarts, Tom Corcoran, in the Sun Valley Lodge corridor of fame.
Tom skied for the USA in three Olympics and his photograph rightfully holds place alongside his
customarily met in Europe skiing contemporaries, as well as famous movie stars of the day such as a youthful Bing Crosbie,
Clark Gable, Sonia Heeny and many others who frequented Sun Valley as the fashionable ski
and North America in resort of the day. Joining us on the group were Tom’s guests, Oswaldo Ancinas and his wife.
Oswaldo, who skied for Argentina against Tom Corcoran in the Olympics, is an accomplished
alternate years. After an guitarist and we all enjoyed his musical entertainment on a number of evenings during the week.
interesting visit to Klosters Baldy Mountain at Sun Valley is steep and it provided us with some exciting skiing. The resort
lived up to its reputation and we had beautiful sunshine with daytime temperatures just around
in Switzerland in 2003 freezing and the ‘Camelot’ experience of 2 to 3 inches of snowfall on three nights during our stay.
we travelled to Sun Valley, For our second week we travelled to Deer Valley in Utah where we welcomed additional members
who had been unable to get to Sun Valley. Bobby Foster, President of Sales at Deer Valley
Idaho and Deer Valley, Lodging made us all especially welcome on this, our second, visit to the resort in three seasons.
Baskets of fruit, nibbles and bottles of wine awaited us all in our rooms and the loan of three 4x4
Utah, for 2004. Chevvy Vehicles enabled us to visit nearby Park City to satisfy any retail therapy needs and we
were all guests of Deer Valley Lodging for a meal one evening.
Once again we had great sunshine but with a rise in temperature this meant "spring skiing" with
crisp early morning conditions that improved to superb by lunchtime, becoming somewhat heavy
by mid afternoon. The group quickly settled into the routine of a fairly early start and a late lunch
followed by the hot tub and sunbathing or, for those with any energy left, shopping in the afternoon.
Anyone for Europe in 2005?
The Oyster Ski Group is an informal association of Oyster owners and friends who
have met to ski and enjoy each others’ company for the past six or seven years.
David Blacklaws, Oyster non executive director, is the Ski Group organiser and
owners interested in the dates and venue of the next meeting should contact him
by email on email@example.com.
Olympic skiers, Tom Corcoran and Oswaldo Ancinas www.oystermarine.com 53
A selection of recent Oyster launchings
Bob de Haven
David and Nicola Yelloly and their children, Nick and Sophie, launch Galloper at a party in Fox’s Marina David Wansbrough
and Prue Moon
OYSTER 49 GALLOPER
David and Nicola Yelloly took delivery of their Oyster 49 GALLOPER at the end of April. David
is a very keen yachtsman, having raced dinghies and many other yachts, and decided the time
had come to share his passion for sailing with his wife Nicola, son Nick and daughter Sophie.
The family plan to sail her to the Mediterranean and will be taking part in the UBS Oyster Regatta
in Palma later this year. GALLOPER should be easy to spot, as she carries a huge galloping
black horse on her large white and blue spinnaker.
OYSTER 47 JUBILATE
David Wansbrough and Prue Moon took delivery of their Oyster 47 JUBILATE at the beginning of
April in time for a season of summer sailing on the couth coast. Having previously owned a 40 ft
yacht, they both had many practical ideas they wanted to incorporate into their new Oyster. They
are planning to spend their first year with JUBILATE on the south coast - just look out for the
large Royal Southern Yacht Club burgee flying proudly from the mast top! Next year, JUBILATE
will be heading for the Mediterranean and a Croatian cruise. Meanwhile we look forward to seeing
JUBILATE at the UBS Oyster Regatta in Cowes in July.
Don and Sue Smyth
OYSTER 62 MISTRESS MALLIKA
Bob and Mallika de Haven took delivery of their Oyster 62 MISTRESS MALLIKA in May.
Following shipping to the USA, MISTRESS MALLIKA will be taking part in the Oyster Newport
Regatta. They intend to cruise the east coast of America, before heading for the British Virgin
Islands and Caribbean. MISTRESS MALLIKA features a carbon ‘Smartboom’ rig, which should
give them real pleasure in the local regattas that they so much enjoy taking part in.
OYSTER 56 ICHI FEET
Owned by John and Elsie Oliver, ICHI FEET, was recently on show at
Oyster’s ‘Private View’ in St Katharine’s Dock, London, where John and
John and Elsie Oliver Elsie invited family and friends to join them for a special launch party.
After setting off from London, ICHI FEET will be heading for a
shakedown cruise around the British Isles before sailing north to
Scandinavia for the summer season. ICHI FEET is finished in American
white oak with blue upholstery. She has been fitted out for long-
distance cruising with all the latest equipment to make life on board
comfortable and a home-from-home for John and Elsie and their
guests. Satellite communication will keep them in touch with their
friends all over the world.
OYSTER 49 ADESSO
Second time Oyster owners, Gerald and Ann-Marie Goetgeluck, have
named their new Oyster 49 ADESSO, which is Italian for "just now, or
immediately" which goes a long way to explaining how they are planning
to enjoy life over the next few years. Their cruising plans include a trip to
the Baltic, as far as St Petersburg, for this summer, with an Atlantic
crossing planned for later this year and then on into the Pacific in 2005.
ADESSO is cutter-rigged with oak interior joinery.
Gerald and Ann-Marie Goetgeluck
OYSTER 56 CLARE
Frank Chapman sailed away from Ipswich with his new Oyster 56 CLARE at the end of April and
had a fast trip to her homeport of Hamble in just over 24 hours. After her official launch party at
the Royal Southern Yacht Club at the end of May, Frank is planning some short familiarisation
trips across the English Channel with his family, before taking CLARE to the Mediterranean for the
summer season. With manual furlers and a high spec, slab reefing Mainsail, Frank wanted to
combine his racing experiences on the Challenge boat 'BG Group' with the luxury of a cruising
yacht, early reports suggest he has achieved his goal.
OYSTER 56 SHAYA MOYA
Owners Don and Sue Smyth are also heading north with their Oyster 56, SHAYA MOYA,
where they plan to join the Classics Malt Cruise. Organised by the World Cruising Club,
the 200-mile cruise through the Inner Hebrides combines a passion for sailing with the
stunning Scottish scenery and of course malt whisky! Later in the year SHAYA MOYA will
head for the Mediterranean, where she will be based for the next year or two.
Frank Chapman www.oystermarine.com 55
T H E WO R L D ' S YO U R OY S T E R
New 46 Deck Saloon 53 Deck Saloon 62 Deck Saloon New 72 FastTrack 82 High Level
49 Deck Saloon 56 Deck Saloon 66 High Level New 72 Deck Saloon 100 High Level
Deck Saloon Deck Saloon
D o u b l e Q u e e n ’s Awa r d Ya c h t B u i l d e r s
OYSTER MARINE LTD OYSTER MARINE USA
FOX’S MARINA IPSWICH SUFFOLK 5 MARINA PLAZA
IP2 8SA ENGLAND GOAT ISLAND NEWPORT RI 02840
TEL: +44 (0)1473 688888 FAX: +44 (0)1473 686861 TEL: +401 846 7400 FAX: +401 846 7483
EMAIL: YACHTS@OYSTERMARINE.COM EMAIL: INFO@OYSTERYACHTS.COM
O W N E R R E P O RT
Sadly, a certain amount of banditry remains a
way of life here. On our last night, a couple of
guys in a dug-out removed our (locked)
outboard from the back of the boat in the
Size With an area of 8,512,000 square kilometres (3.3 million square miles), a coastline of
middle of the night (we just caught a glimpse
7,250 kilometres (4,500 miles) of warm, white beaches and a population of 170 million,
of them paddling away into the moonlight)
Brazil is the world’s fifth largest nation in terms of area and population.
During our stay a bunch of armed robbers
boarded a tanker moored in the harbour –
Language The language in Brazil is Portuguese. Spanish and, to a much lesser extent,
Belem remains high on the international ‘hot
English will help you get around.
spots’ for piracy.
Weather Most of Brazil from Rio de Janeiro to the north is blessed with a tropical climate.
After a week in Belem, we headed down-river
Rio’s average temperature is around 27ºC (80º F), which climbs to 40ºC during the summer
and soon experienced how rough it could get
months that stretch from December through to March.
even in the river when a 30-knot onshore wind
meets a 5-knot out-going current, completely
Getting There Air France, Alitalia, British Airways, Iberia, KLM, Lufthansa,Swiss, Tam, Tap
submerging the boat from the bows aft to the
and Varig all offer scheduled services between Europe and Brazil. From the UK, the most
mast. One of the problems faced by any yacht
direct flights to Brazil are those operated by British Airways and Varig. Both offer daily
exploring the Amazon is that almost inevitably
services to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro from London Heathrow.
one has to face a 150-mile beat to windward
in very shallow (less than 8 metres) waters
Passports and Visas European Community passport holders do not need a visa to enter
against the prevailing onshore trade winds
Brazil but passport holders from some other countries, such as the US, Australia and New
with strong tidal streams in order to reach the
Zealand do. If you have any doubts about the need for a visa, consult the airline with which
open sea again, clear of the shallows
you will be flying or contact your nearest Brazilian Consulate.
deposited by the rivers. We paused overnight
(In the UK 020-7930-9055 firstname.lastname@example.org).
for breath at Soure, on the north side of the
Rio Para, a very pleasant small town famous
Currency and Exchange Rates Brazil’s currency since 1 July, 1994, is the Real (R$) which
for its herds of water buffalo, which wander
is roughly valued at R$5.19 = £1.00 (at February 2004) Most Brazilians understand dollars
the waterlogged island of Marajo between the
and, as a foreign currency, it is by far the most widely accepted throughout the country and
Para and Amazon rivers. Another day of hard
gives the best exchange rate. In the larger cities there is little problem in changing other
sailing to windward saw us clear and reaching
foreign currencies and there is an extensive network of ATMs. Most major credit cards are
fast in strong trade winds and a large swell
accepted in Brazil.
towards Trinidad and Tobago 1200 miles
away. It was soon nice to be clear of the
Vaccinations Vaccination against yellow fever is recommended for all travellers when
constant rain and humidity which is a natural
visiting the following states of Brazil: Acre, Amazonas, Amapá, Distrito Federal, Goiás,
part of the Amazonian experience.
Maranhão, Mato Grosso do Sul, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima and Tocantins.
We had no regrets and many delightful
For more information on visiting Brazil
surprises from choosing our less-usual route to
please contact the Embassy of
the Caribbean. We left the Canaries in October
Brazil in London.
with the crowds, had a great couple of weeks
32 Green Street
cruising in the Cape Verde islands, spent a
wonderful Christmas and New Year in Salvador,
cruised for nearly two months in Brazil and still
Tel: 020 7399 9000
reached Trinidad in time for Carnival at the end
of February. Brazil exceeded all of our
expectations and it offers cruising for every
taste, from lively towns and cities to quiet and The information shown is believed
secluded rivers and estuaries, where few yachts correct at the time of going to press.
venture and where a primitive and fascinating Readers should make their own
rural way of life still flourishes. For those of a enquiries before travelling.
more adventurous spirit, the Amazon region
offers a unique and captivating experience.
Despite its challenges, the Amazon provided us
with some of our most memorable moments of
our voyage to date. Photos: The Thomas Family
“ It is the level of detail that makes you realise
just how much thought has gone into this latest
creation from this prestigious boat builder
“ I am really pleased with
Cygnus. I think she is an
outstanding boat and
beautifully designed and built.
She is as good in her own
way as the 56, which I've
always thought was one of
the best boats you have ever
built. She sails beautifully and
the balance seems superb.
look at the
I also think that the build
quality by SYS is really first
rate. The attention I have had
from Chris Packard and the
support on the design front
from Chris Lock has really
combined to make this a boat
that, not only sails well, but
looks extremely good
THE OWNER, OYSTER 82, CYGNUS
“ It would seem that
the company’s oft
repeated slogan of
‘quality, quality, quality’
has paid off yet again
“ The engine room beneath the
raised deck saloon is impressive
for a yacht of this size
“ An outstanding boat, which
I think takes Oyster into the
next league. It really is a
superyacht and I am delighted
with the execution of the
concept. I am proud to own
the boat and I am sure you are
proud to have created it
THE OWNER, OYSTER 82, CYGNUS
“ Further aft is Oyster’s
trademark: a luxury owner’s
suite stretching across the
yacht’s full beam
“ I am increasingly happy
with the interior, both the way
it is laid out and the decor.
Chris Packard and Chris Lock
did a superb job and now
after four nights on board,
I am very comfortable in every
sense of the word
THE OWNER, OYSTER 82, CYGNUS
AT SAXON WHARF
a haven for
Oysters on the
Southampton Yacht Services Ltd.
Saxon Wharf Lower York Street
Northam Southampton SO14 5QF England
Telephone +44 (0)23 8033 5266
Fax +44 (0)23 8063 4275
REFIT & REPAIR • CLASSIC RESTORATION • NEW BUILD YACHTS
Onne van der Wal, vanderwal.com
When it all comes together.
Cruising is supposed to be a breeze. When you leave the
dock, your bow thruster should ease you out with nothing
more than a whisper. En route to your favorite spot, your
steering, and sail control systems should take you there with
complete control. And when it’s time to anchor, why not enjoy
pushbutton windlass performance and a fast, solid hold on any
seabed? When it comes to cruising, we at Lewmar believe
there’s nothing wrong with perfection.
Disabled sailor, Hannah Stodel, reports
on her team’s preparations for the 2004
Paralympic Games in Athens
The Midwinter’s started with a disaster. Steve
our mainsheet crew had some problems with his
leg that we thought had been sorted.
Unfortunately a week before we were due to fly
out to Florida, he was re-admitted to hospital for
an operation. Cue desperate panic in an attempt
to find a replacement crew. Luckily my friend
Graeme Oliver from the Musto Skiff class
answered the call. Well who wouldn’t want to
spend ten days sailing in Florida in March?
With disaster number one out of the way, and a
sad farewell to Steve, we set off in high spirits.
We arrived in Florida to find glorious sunshine
but one very grubby "Chimera" (our Sonar). We
had decided to leave the boat in Florida after
the Sonar Worlds due to the cost of shipping. Racing during the actual competition was very We are now off to Weymouth for a months
So Graeme and I got to work in an attempt to tight, with representatives from many countries training with Andy Green, in readiness for the
clean her. Cue next disaster - "Er guys, where competing, including the top American and Sonar Europeans in Cowes at the end of May,
are the new sails?" "Somewhere in Florida." – Irish boats. where Andy will be our fourth crew in this
Well that narrows it down. able- bodied event.
We finished 2nd overall, well ahead of third
Having tracked down the sails, we finally got place and only a couple of points behind the Thank you Richard for your continued support
racing after a couple of days of boat preparation winning Canadian team. That’s not to say that and a big thank you to all the Oyster owners
work and some very windy training. We also we didn’t cause them endless amounts of supporting our campaign.
spent time on our fitness regime. Having been trouble in trying to get to the top spot! All said
training hard in the UK, it was nice to do our and done, the regatta was very successful for Hannah Stodel
usual 4-mile run in warm sunshine. We also us, proving that we are still on top and definitely
played tennis as part of our regime. Fellow crew, in contention to be one of the top finishers at
John Robertson, plays wheelchair tennis for the Games. Added to that I won an award for For more information about the
team GBR and was certainly able to keep us all the highest placed female sailor. Girl power! British Paralympic Association
running. Back on the water our boat speed The icing on the cake came when British and the Paralympic Games see:
seemed to be up to scratch as we spent time Airways, who already give us discounted flights, www.paralympics.org.uk
two-boat tuning against the Canadian team. We gave us business class upgrades on our return www.rya.org.uk
were working well as a team despite the flight to London! www.sailforgold.co.uk
absence of Steve.
FOX’S PROVIDE GREAT SERVICE FOR OYSTERS
(and other yachts too)
“ I acquired 'Arabella', a 1988 built Oyster 53, through Oyster Brokerage in 1997.
She immediately went through a major refit at Fox's, including re-caulking the decks, refitting
the deck saloon windows, new running and standing rigging and repainting all spars. After
20,000 miles sailing I returned to Fox's from the Caribbean for her second major refit
including the fitting of a custom high performance keel, modified rudder, stretched stern (to
make her a '55') and a new generator. The keel was a particularly demanding exercise.
Three years later after a 600-ton dredger tore into 'Arabella' on her mooring I returned to
Fox's to repair a large hole in her starboard topsides, at the same time I replaced the engine
and the complete rig after a spreader was torn off half way across the Atlantic. I chose Fox's
because they have the expertise and experience to deal with difficult jobs and they were
cost competitive. I have always found the management and staff good to deal with.
Practical and fair with a boat building heritage stretching back generations...
Jonathan Baker - Oyster 55 Arabella
6 February 2004
NEED WE SAY MORE?
TWO TRAVELIFTS FULLY EQUIPPED WORKSHOPS ELECTRONICS
TO 70 TONS AND 85FT LOA REPAIRS • NEW DECKS • REFITS SALES SERVICE AND
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STAINLESS FABRICATIONS ALL SERVICES UNDERTAKEN
SPRAY PAINTING BY OWN STAFF
FOX’S MARINA IPSWICH LTD
IPSWICH SUFFOLK IP2 8SA ENGLAND
TEL: +44 (0)1473 689111 FAX: +44 (0)1473 601737
foxs@oyster mar ine.com
AN OYSTER GROUP COMPANY