In late 2019, I took my seat at the table with the Oyster Yachts board. At the top of the agenda was the idea for a new, smaller addition to the range that looked like very promising territory for the brand. This idea was the subject of much discussion and could have gone in a number of directions. Whichever way it went, there was a solid consensus around the table that it must retain the core values that have made Oyster Yachts so special and, at the same time, lay out a blueprint for the future.
The result is the new Oyster 495, created in collaboration with a highly experienced team including Oyster owner/CEO Richard Hadida and myself, along with naval architects Tom and Rob Humphreys and Oyster’s own in-house design studio. When you see her, you will understand just how special this elegant yacht is.
Designed to offer a stunning combination of performance, comfort and style, with seamanlike qualities in equal measure, the new 495 is an Oyster through and through. We wanted her to be the perfect yacht for small families, big enough to be convivial and welcoming, while being effortless to handle. Most importantly, she had to be fun to sail and live aboard. From a design viewpoint we are really excited – she looks and feels just right.
Pride of ownership comes as standard; it all starts with the design. Aesthetically, the 495 is, as you would expect, a stunning yacht from every angle. But her beauty is more than skin deep and in common with all Oyster yachts the new 495 will come to life in the exceptionally skilled hands of some of the UK’s finest craftsmen. Oyster have been creating beautiful yachts for over 47 years, built on a fleet that has sailed over 40 million miles across the world’s oceans. No surprise then that our reputation for high quality bluewater cruising yachts is recognised around the world.
The Oyster 495 features a flush foredeck and a beautifully styled central deck saloon. This instantly-recognisable Oyster feature is much-emulated – but no-one pulls it off with such aplomb as us. The whole team agreed this is the heart of an Oyster, a key part of our DNA. It’s a convivial space, designed for your guests to enjoy sailing in safety and comfort, while creating the perfect entertaining space when you are at anchor. It offers outstanding light and ventilation to the centre of the boat, making the saloon below feel light and airy.
The saloon is bright and spacious, with more light in the navigation and galley areas courtesy of the deck saloon windows that have been extended aft. The u-shaped galley has plenty of space for all the appliances anyone could wish for. It is practical and easy-to-use, and it connects with the saloon itself, making it very much a part of this welcoming social space. On a practical note, we also managed to include a handy space behind the nav area where you can fit a washer/dryer if you wish.
Carrying her beam aft makes all the difference in a yacht of her size too. There were lots of ideas discussed amongst the team, but all agreed the owner’s cabin should be really truly impressive, and the wide beam makes this possible. Throw in the triple Oyster Seascape windows and the feeling of light and space is quite spectacular.
With three cabins there is plenty of space for family and friends to relax. On a practical level, another nice feature that has been adapted from our larger models is the large self-contained machinery room. It is soundproofed (perfect for families with youngsters) and has enough space for an optional generator while still allowing access for maintenance via large doors and hatches. The team opted for a 110-horsepower auxiliary which, in extreme conditions, will give ample ‘get home’ power.
Effortless handling is a given with an Oyster and never more so than with the 495. The Humphreys G6 hull design has been optimised with state-of-the-art computer-based design tools. She has very clean hull lines and carries her beam well aft. As well as creating a striking look, this contributes to form stability and sailing performance. We have all been very taken with the twin rudder configurations on our larger yachts, created by Rob and Tom Humphreys - applying the same approach here makes her light and easy on the steering, even in the most boisterous conditions.
The stern of the 495 shows just how much thought has gone into every aspect of her design. The transom houses a neat, powered boarding/bathing platform, which is push-button operated from the deck. The perfect spot for fun with the family, it is also eminently practical for boarding and departing on your tender. The large quarter aft pushpit seats will definitely be a popular option, creating a favourite spot for a relaxed sunset drink or just enjoying the yacht under sail from a very comfortable vantage point. The stern deck has been designed flat for sunbathing and the flush foredeck offers plenty of space for more of the same inactivity.
Like larger Oyster models, the deck layout is simple with concealed lines and sheets. A range of efficient sail handling controls are within easy reach, including powered in-mast furling and powered self-tailing winches to make push-button sail handling a reality. The non-overlapping rig allows the benefit of wide spreaders and chainplates outboard at the deck edge to minimise rigging loads. This also makes her easy to tack, while the inboard jib sheet leads are positioned to optimise upwind sailing angles.
One element of Oyster design that is fundamental to the practicality of our yachts is the ergonomically designed cockpit and helm positioning seating. We were the first builders to invest in truly ergonomically designed seating and this detail has been further refined on the 495.
Clever design thinking shines through with the cockpit table – the centre section has been carefully sized to house a handy on-deck drinks/wine locker. With the leaves unfolded, there is plenty of space for six to eight people to enjoy alfresco dining.
One key point the team came back to again and again during the process was the need to keep family and good times front of mind. So the 495 is nothing if not versatile, whether you are in the mood for a dockside dinner party, cruising around the Greek islands with family and friends or living aboard while you sail around the world, it’s good to know the 495 is equal to the challenge.
At the end of the process, it’s fair to say the whole team is thrilled with the results and potential of the new Oyster 495. She will launch later in the year and promises to set a new standard for 50 foot bluewater yachts. To find out more, please get in touch with the Sales Team at [email protected].