The Oyster Life

Sunday, 28th February 2021

Owner stories

Oyster 575 owners Pau Serracanta and Helena de Felipe Sempere discuss becoming part of the Oyster family, life onboard during the pandemic, awaiting delivery of their 595 and preparing for an Oyster World Rally.

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As director of Dorna Sports, Pau has been flying around the globe for the last 22 years organising (amongst many other things) the MotoGP World championships. Helena has her own sales and marketing consultancy serving luxury hotels. Early in lockdown, they decided to relocate, with son Gabriel, to their Oyster 575-32 Mastegot, moored in Port Vell, Barcelona.

The change has been wonderful. For the last seven months they have lived and worked from Mastegot and made the most of their time. “It feels like summer has gone on forever, yet it’s also passed by so quickly,” Helena says. For Gabriel, it’s been the summer of a lifetime. “Even going back to school was more fun,” he said, “because I could jump off the boat, down the pontoons through the marina to school. After school, my friends would come back and hang out on Mastegot. Most days, Dad would get the tender out and we’d go swimming and wakeboarding.”

For Pau, it meant a welcome break from 22 years of flying around the world on business. “I enjoyed more time on Mastegot moored in Barcelona when Gabriel attended the school, or sailing around the south of France and the Balearic Islands in the summer months.”

But even an idyllic lifestyle comes with its own challenges. “I have to be really careful with the camera angles on video calls on board,” says Helena with a big smile. “One of my clients, who actually owns a boat too, is a little jealous of the Mastegot’s interior.”

Pau’s passion for motorcycles and yachts started young. Against his parents’ wishes, he competed in motorcycle races before deciding to make it his career rather than his hobby. “I was a keen windsurfer when I was 15 and bought my first cruising boat when I was 28. It was nothing like this,” he laughs. “Very basic, no hot water, no fridge, no autopilot, but we loved cruising around the Balearics in it.” Helena was also a keen sailor when they met, and Pau’s son Gabriel was practically born on the water. “We gradually increased the sizes of our yachts, from 27 ft, 36 ft, 42 ft, then 53 ft.” The family have all gained their sailing qualifications, with Gabriel taking his Coastal Skipper just after his 16th birthday.

Pau’s Oyster epiphany happened midway across the Atlantic, while taking part in the ARC rally two years ago, “I won’t say what make it was, but myself and a couple of friends were sailing a brand new 62 foot production boat across to St Lucia, and the boat had a lot of problems,” he explains. “I’d always dreamt of having a really nice boat to sail around the world in, and that’s when I knew I wanted an Oyster. I wanted a boat that was the absolute best for safety and quality.”

The family had seen lots of Oyster yachts during their time spent cruising around Mallorca, and especially in Palma where the Oyster Service Centre is located. They were delighted when they found 575-32 for sale through Oyster Brokerage. “She was in excellent condition,” says Helena, “and we really liked the layout and cabin configuration. She’s very light and airy inside.”

Renamed Mastegot, the boat was booked into the Oyster Service Centre in Palma for minor interior modifications before she was handed over. “I’ve only got one word to say about the team at Palma,” says Helena, “and that’s excellent! I cannot praise them highly enough. Every single member of staff is professional, well-trained and welcoming.”

Pau agrees: “If you’ve been cruising and anything needs fixing, however small, you just call up and book in. It’s a fantastic service.”

The Oyster 575 exceeded Pau’s expectations – in fact, she was a dream come true. “She’s even better than I had hoped,” he says. “She’s a solid boat, so she’s really good at sea and for a high-quality, well-equipped boat, much faster than I expected.” Even in average winds, Mastegot easily exceeds eight knots. Easy to live aboard, she became home from home for the family.

“Every boat we’ve owned has been called Mastegot,” says Pau. One of five children, he recalls his father telling him off for being naughty with his sisters. Pau’s father would say: “Behave, or you’ll get a mastegot!” Roughly translated from Catalonian, mastegot means a smack or a scolding. “I like the irony!” laughs Pau.

Fuelled by his work, Pau’s passion for speed is part of the reason why they decided to upgrade their much-loved 575 to a new larger and faster 595, currently in build. “It’s going to be a quicker boat, and that’s what we want when we sail long passages around the world,” says Pau. They are planning to take part in an Oyster World Rally in their new 595 (which will also be called Mastegot, of course!). Gabriel will be at University by then, so he will fly out and join them on various legs and stop-overs during the circumnavigation.

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For both Pau and Helena, this long-term plan means they have time to make some changes to their working life too. “I will keep a couple of my key clients, who will know and understand that I am travelling, and that I may be out of contact for a while,” says Helena. Both are looking forward to taking a step back from the everyday pressures of work and really enjoy the experience.

“The boat will have good communication facilities on board, but we don’t want to be under pressure from work while we’re sailing,” Helena says. “It’s more important that we can keep in contact with Gabriel and our parents.” Although they intend to slow down from work, it doesn’t apply to their sailing. One of the attractive features of the 595 is its hull shape and bow which are optimized for speed. “I like the twin rudder system and the fixed bow sprit too,” says Pau.

The family are working as a team on the specifications for their new boat, drawing on their experience of sailing and living on board Mastegot over the past seven months.

Oyster’s core qualities of reliability, high quality and safety have always appealed to the family. Pau remembers “When Gabriel was younger, I used to have nightmares about something happening to him when we were sailing. Now I’m excited to travel with him and Helena around the world with the Oyster World Rally. I know that with Oyster, we’ll be with an excellent team, in a very safe boat, with the best support and service.”

Their new boat is due for delivery in 2022, ready for the next Oyster World Rally. Pau says, “I’ve always dreamt of having a really nice boat to sail round the world. And my aspiration was always to have an Oyster.” Dreams, it seems, do come true.

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