Building our Dream Oyster

Oyster 675-02 Amphora

By Justine Lloyd Kristensen

Building our Dream Oyster

"It was a Saturday morning in September 2016. I’m pretty sure I‘d heard the same words in 2015 and 2014 and I knew exactly what it meant – it was the signal that yet again, we would start a familiar discussion: should we or shouldn’t we?"

"I decided not to go to the boat show, but I can still recall vividly when Klavs returned having been onboard Babiana, Oyster’s first 675, exclaiming, “I just love her.”"

Klavs has been a sailor all his life and at the time we owned a 54 footer, based in Barcelona and subsequently in Palma. However, over previous years the conversation as to whether we should consider a bigger boat had been on the agenda frequently, usually over a bottle or two of rosé sipped at anchor whilst enjoying the Mediterranean sunset.

I would listen patiently to Klavs as he reasoned why we should and then listened patiently the next morning when he reasoned why we shouldn’t.

As parents to three sons, Sebastian 22, Matthias 20 and Oliver 19, and our daughter Tatjana 15, it was obvious that our family was going to grow in size and soon there would be partners to consider too.

We also knew that over the next 10 years, climbing in and out of the cockpit of our 54 footer wasn’t going to get any easier and one thing was certain, life on a boat featured heavily in our future plans, well in Klavs’s plans.

I decided to just wait and see.

After the 2016 boat show, talk of a boat change gathered pace, with Klavs saying he wanted to build a new boat for the first time. With quality being extremely important and knowing roughly what kind of cruising boat we wanted, the decision was very quickly narrowed down to two builders.

At the Southampton Boat Show in 2016, Klavs had seen the brandnew 675 Babiana and loved the new Oyster designs, but he felt she would perhaps be a bit too big for us. However, the 595, which was on the drawing board, could be more suitable.

In March 2017 Klavs took the plunge and Richard Gibson kindly arranged for us to test sail Babiana in Ipswich to get a feel for the new Oyster designs with twin rudders.

The day was grey and miserable and if I’m honest, being a fair-weather sailor, I wasn’t overly thrilled to be there. I’m not a particularly confident sailor, so the idea of test sailing a boat that we weren’t going to buy, on a murky grey outlet in typical British weather held little appeal. As soon as we were safely out of the marina, Stephen offered Klavs the helm. And that’s when it happened.

A look came over Klavs’ face and I knew all my arguments were lost. Klavs said later that he could feel his lifelong dream of owning a beautifully crafted yacht was in the palm of his hands.

I could see he was absolutely smitten which was confirmed when he exclaimed that the boat was so easy to handle compared with our 54 footer and yes of course, we could manage a boat of this size.

Nevertheless, we decided to test-sail another 60 footer, despite pretty much having made up our minds. It seemed like it was the sensible thing to do.

Having now test-sailed both yachts and after many more conversations with Richard, we decided to meet in Palma at the end of April 2017 to see Babiana moored at her new home on the Oyster Dock.

We met at the Oyster office on a beautiful sunny day (more my kind of weather) and boarded Babiana together with Richard and that’s where we decided to go for it and build our dream Oyster 675.

The wonderful Debbie Scougall was to be our project manager with Robbie Keeble leading the team that would build our dream. Klavs is a very hands-on person and was keen to know every inch of the boat and just as importantly, he was determined to design the interiors to a very high specification in keeping with his Danish roots.

Regular meetings with Debbie took place in Wroxham with Klavs and Debbie poring over every inch of the plans. Here, I’d like to acknowledge what a true professional, efficient, patient and very knowledgeable person Debbie is. Thank you so much for making this build process as painless as possible.

Having decided to put his own stamp on the interior of our boat, now named Amphora by our son Matthias after the Greek wine vessel, Klavs began by telling Debbie that he wanted to remove the standard chart table chair and instead would deliver a Charles Eames classic chair. And if they could just design a way for it to be fixed to the floor that would be great…

Following on from that, Klavs then designed a handmade, distressed leather navy headboard for the master cabin, which we think ended up giving the makers, Passmore, many a sleepless night.

Some of the other alterations included different taps, shower heads and towel rails, which were all ordered in from Denmark and the bedside tables and pilot’s desk which were all to feature leather insets.

Halfway through the build, Klavs then announced to Debbie and Robbie that he wanted to change all of the LED lights onboard. Klavs is a perfectionist when it comes to lighting and truly believes that lighting makes or breaks a home.

Having designed and built our home in Denmark and also extensively refurbished our home in London, Klavs arranged for our close friend and lighting expert, Jan Bjarnhoff from OneA, to fly over fromDenmark to look at the plans. Together they then flew to Palma to take a good look at Babiana as it was important to determine the design and exact placement of each light prior to their manufacture.

Jan had been solely responsible for all the lighting in our properties, so Klavs knew he was the only person for the job.

This was a completely new and potentially very complicated project, but Robbie and Debbie never faltered in their positive attitude and were extremely accommodating throughout. Nothing was too much trouble. Robbie handled the whole exercise like the true professional he is, and we are so grateful to him for his incredible skill, knowledge and patience.

So, as the boat’s journey had progressed, so had mine. My enthusiasm and interest had soared, and I was hugely excited. I could see this enormously beautiful piece of art coming to life and I couldn’t quite believe that after all our conversations we were actually going to own such a magnificent boat.

Klavs threw himself into the project and we agreed for her to be exhibited in all her glory at the 2019 Düsseldorf Boat Show. We were both excited to attend the show and walked with trepidation through Hall 16, and then she came into view. She literally took my breath away. It was an emotional few minutes as we stopped a short distance away and stood in awe at the sheer beauty of our boat. We are so grateful to the whole Oyster team for making our dream a reality, she really is beautiful.

Fast forward two years from the original order date and we are about to become the very proud owners of a stunning Oyster 675. Amphora is perfect in every way with the level of craftsmanship surpassing all other yachts – every single detail has been attended to.

Upon delivery, we sailed her from the south of England to Palma, all of which is documented on our Instagram page ‘Amphoras_Adventures’. Now the plan is, hopefully, fingers crossed, to join the Oyster World Rally in 2022.

This time, the dream is just a little bit more mine than Klavs’s.

Learn more about the Oyster 675.