Sail-World Cruising

Inspired and inspiring: Oyster's first 885GT bluewater Grand Tourer

Oyster 885GT Babiana 1


The new Oyster 885GT, exemplified by the first hull Babiana, was born to be fast. Babiana has, in her 12 months of existence, already showcased her performance in multiple regattas and a remarkable Atlantic crossing.

Designed by Humphreys Yacht Design and Oyster's Design Team, the objective of the 885GT was clear: to build the fastest Oyster to date, with every detail optimised for bluewater performance and comfortable passage making. James O'Rorke is the Owner's Representative for Babiana, and talks about the key design features that have helped reduce Babiana's weight and increase her speed.

"Right from the start, the focus was to make the hull as dynamically-optimised as possible," explains James. One of the key design features on the 885GT is the change from the standard long keel to a cast bronze fin and lead bulb, which reduced the overall drag whilst giving a deep 4.1m draft. This saved approximately two tons of weight, but maintained the same righting moment and recessed anodes ensure a streamlined below water hull.

In order to enable the 885GT to sail faster and higher than other yachts - which was proved from Babiana's performance in the Oyster Palma Regatta - Oyster dedicated substantial attention to the rig and sail setup.

The mast is made from high modulus carbon fibre, with an extended mast crane to accommodate a fat head mainsail. The 3-spreader mast (most Oysters of this size have a 4-spreader mast) is longer by 0.8m and is supported by AeroSix shrouds with a carbon forestay, backstay and carbon jib foil.

Oyster 885GT Babiana 2

"The total rig weight has been reduced by over a tonne and a half, improving the righting moment. The benefit is also noticeable with less pitching and rolling and a much more comfortable ride," says James. "Even the race boom is made from carbon to reduce overall weight."

Choosing the right sail wardrobe was also essential for performance. Babiana selected Doyle Sails with its structured luff technology, and has a choice of sails including A2 race spinnaker, A2 cruising spinnaker, an A3 top down furler, Code Zero, jib, staysail, spinnaker staysail. Storm jib and a slab reefing mainsail. An extended bowsprit accommodates the spinnaker tack, Code Zero hydraulic furler and jib furler.

The running rigging was supplied by Marine Rigging Services and follows the 'Grand Prix' style of a smaller diameter rigging, protected by technora covers. Control lines are managed with soft connectors, enabling outboard and inboard leads for the jib and mainsail to be rigged up, plus tweekers for the downwind asymmetric sails. There are load cells on the spinnaker tack, Code Zero halyard, forestay and staysail tack to ensure Babiana is sailed within the parameters set by the rig and sail suppliers.

All running rigging and sheets have been designed to be adjusted quickly and easily, with underdeck sheeting for the jib, and upgraded Lewmar three-speed 88 winches, which reduce weight and increase efficiency. Sail adjustment is quick and easy using hydraulic outhaul adjustors for the mainsail and for the main and jib cunningham lines.

"So many aspects on the 885GT have been meticulously planned and implemented to save weight and increase performance," says James. "Babiana's lightweight displacement has been reduced by 7%, and everything operates quickly and smoothly enabling us to make fast and effective adjustments on the racecourse. This was really noticeable at the Palma Regatta where we could sail faster and higher than the other Oysters, securing significant wins in many races."

Babiana, the first hull of Oyster 885GT, has already demonstrated her capabilities as a genuine ocean Grand Tourer and now with Adrian Newey, Chief Technical Officer at Red Bull Racing and renowned as one of the world's greatest engineers in F1 history also choosing to build an Oyster 885, there is no doubt that these yachts are maximised for speed as well as outstanding bluewater and long-distance adventures in total luxury.

Discover more or to download 885GT brochure, visit Oyster's website here

Eddie Jordan tours the new Oyster 885GT
Eddie Jordan tours the new Oyster 885GT