23rd August 2019
Eight Bells – Designer Don Pye

The flag atop the West Mersea Yacht Club was at half-mast this week noting the passing of yacht designer Don Pye who, following a heart attack passed away on 20th August aged 93.

In partnership with Kim Holman in 1960, and later with David Cooper, the firm of Holman & Pye was respected throughout the sailing word for designing practical sea-kindly yachts with lovely lines and excellent performance.

Since 1973 Holman & Pye office enjoyed a close relationship with Richard Matthews in the fledgeling years of Oyster they designed the UFO 34 and other UFO models before the first Oyster branded yacht the Oyster 37 in 1978.

Working with Oyster, Holman & Pye created and evolved the Deck Saloon and a series of successful Oyster designs from 37 to 80 feet incorporating the Deck Saloon concept followed up to the mid-1990’s when Don Pye retired.

Rob Humphreys had always respected Don Pye's creativity and was then logical choice to take over the baton as the principal designer of Oyster Yachts.  To this day some of Don Pye’s original concepts are still reflected in the beautiful and ever-expanding range of fine Oyster yachts emanating from Rob Humphreys design office.

As an example of Don Pye’s timeless design skills and as proof of their suitability for blue water ocean passage making, six of the eighteen yachts taking part in the 2018 Golden Globe race around the world were Holman & Pye designed Rustler 36’s, which went on to finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

Several thousand yachts from the Holman & Pye office, including a large fleet of Oysters, are sailing the world.  Thanks to Don Pye’s creativity, and their renowned longevity, these lovely yachts will be giving pleasure to their owners and crews for many generations. 

Richard Matthews