Thirty Oyster Yachts have gathered in Antigua to enjoy exhilarating sailing and fabulous shoreside parties in one of the world's most outstanding sailing locations. The UNESCO world heritage site Nelson's Dockyard, English Harbour, is a fitting venue for a very special double celebration in true Oyster style.
On Sunday 7th April, a welcome celebration was held marking the final chapter of the 2017-2019 Oyster World Rally. The second edition of the 27,000-mile circumnavigation came to a conclusion where it started in the spiritual Caribbean home of Oyster. Following the memorable occasion, the 42nd Oyster Antigua Regatta will take place from the 8th to the 12th of April. 17 Oysters with close to 200 Oyster owners, guests and crew, will enjoy a mixture of course and passage racing, taking in a lay day mid-way through, and memorable shoreside parties at some of Antigua's renowned destinations.
The Oyster Antigua Regatta Skippers' Briefing was held in The Captain's Quarters in Nelson's Dockyard. Race Officer Ben Mobley and Alan Brook, offered guidance on the forthcoming regatta, highlighting safety and fair sailing above all else. After the briefing, the extended Oyster family was invited to ‘take the tot’ by the exclusive Royal Naval Tot Club of Antigua & Barbuda, and well over 100 sailors took the opportunity. Sundowners were served on the lawn of the Copper & Lumber Hotel, delicious canapés were served, and the stage was set for a night to remember.
Oyster Yachts CCO Paul Adamson opened proceeding, by introducing Jenny Hadida and Oyster Yachts CEO Richard Hadida to the main stage. “Huge congratulations to the Oyster World Rally,” enthused Jenny. “Hopefully in a couple of years time, we will get to do this amazing adventure, I can't wait to catch up tonight with you all and your awe-inspiring experiences. Well done, we are so delighted that you are here in this beautiful setting.”
“It is now nearly a year to the day that we bought the company and our mission is to look after Oyster for many years to come,” commented Richard Hadida. “Just like many of you here, we are Oysters owners. We have two kids who are studying at the moment, when they are a bit older we would love to sail around the world in the Oyster World Rally as you have done. People ask me what is it like to be an Oyster owner, and there is a common theme that runs between all of us; a taste for adventure, a desire to go to places that are inaccessible by other means, hats off to you all for a tremendous achievement.”
Each owner from the 2017-19 Oyster World Rally was warmly greeted on the stage by Richard and Jenny Hadida, with a massive round of applause from the Oyster family. The guests of honour were presented with Polynesian Leis and custom-made momentous for their achievement. Oyster World Rally organiser Regine Watts and Technical Support Engineer Gavin Needham, also took to the stage, and were congratulated for their amazing support of the Oyster fleet. During the 27-month Oyster odyssey through the oceans, the Oyster fleet visited some of the most beautiful regions of the world.
Sir Richard Matthews, founder of Oyster, and racing his Oyster 82 Midnight at the regatta, was invited to speak. “Thank you to Richard Hadida for allowing me the privilege to speak on behalf of the entire Oyster extended family, that have worked together for over 40 years to evolve this amazing fleet of fine yachts, that we are all rather proud of,” commented Sir Richard, who continued. “Tonight is about congratulating the latest Oyster circumnavigators, who have just joined a rather exclusive club, now totalling 90 owners that really have made the world their oyster by sailing round it.
< Richard and Jenny Hadida with Sir Richard Matthews
Over the years I have met many yacht owners who have declared their intention of sailing around the world. However with no disrespect to them, for 90% it was a dream but not a reality. The commitment and resolve required, to make that dream come true, goes way beyond talk. You have all completed an amazing achievement, which both I, and all here, are hugely proud of.
I hope in years to come that you will share good times and happy memories with the friends that you have met on the rally. I am sure there were dark times, but I am certain you are pleased that you chose an Oyster Yacht for your adventure of a lifetime. To this day, I can honestly say, that there is no other yacht brand more suitable for blue water cruising, and certainly none capable of getting together a fleet to sail around the world together.
While you have been away, Oyster Yachts has been through a dramatic time. With a new investor in Richard Hadida, and the boundless enthusiasm of Richard and his people, there is every expectation that Oyster will go from strength to strength and continue to set the standard to which others aspire to.”
The Welcome Celebration continued into the night with a superb plated Caribbean buffet, followed by a live set from the internationally acclaimed Antiguan band, Asher Otto & Itchy Feet. Racing at the Oyster Antigua Regatta 2019 will start Monday 8th April, with a five-day programme of sailing and parties for the Oyster fleet.
Starting on 15 January 2017 from Antigua, this fully-supported, 27,000-mile circumnavigation extended from 15 to 27 months and comprising four connecting stages, participants enjoyed a lengthier, more relaxed exploration of the Pacific and Asian islands, while also discovering more of New Zealand and Australia. The extended route took in some of the most beautiful regions of the world.
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