Like us, you have probably lusted after one of those beautiful Grand Tourer automobiles of the 1950s – designed for fast, effortless driving over long distances, combining true luxury with exceptional performance capability. And, no doubt, most of us have wondered how we can improve the performance of our yachts so we can enjoy faster, more effortless passage-making.
The answer lies in the new Oyster 885GT: she combines sophisticated blue water performance with the luxury, comfort and safety for which Oyster is world-renowned. This remarkable yacht is the result of a partnership with long-term collaborators Tom and Rob Humphreys, our in-house design team and Oyster owners’ Anthony and Sophie Ward. They approached us with the idea of taking the outstanding performance of the Oyster 885 and optimising it further for even faster passage making.
We asked Tom Humphreys to talk us through how he and the Oyster team approached the challenge.
“It was clear that we needed to consider every aspect of the design to create a lighter boat with reduced displacement to enhance her performance,” says Tom. “This inspired a true Grand Tourer with optimised performance and luxury all in one.
“The 885 is a great starting point and it was really a case of honing and finessing different design elements to achieve the desired result. The marginal gains add up to create a yacht that gives an even more exhilarating sailing experience.
“We focused on all the details that make a difference to performance,” he continues. “The team all agreed the key to success was reducing weight wherever possible. So, we specified lighter carbon elements wherever possible and a T-keel with lead bulb to reduce weight and increase the yacht’s righting moment. The payback is rewarding agility and a turn of speed on the water.
“This thinking led us to optimise the sailplan with a taller 4-spreader Hall Spars mast, and carbon rigging. The carbon rigging is 70% lighter and the taller rig with extended bowsprit allows for 5% more upwind sail area and 15% more downwind sail area. The returns in speed and control are significant.
“The taller mast let us optimise the sail choices too. We specified the optimised North 3Di Ocean Sail wardrobe with 780 Main and Headsail. The innovative composite construction is stronger and lighter than conventional sails and tough enough to handle multiple circumnavigations.
After optimising the keel and sail plan, the same approach was applied across the yacht, from regatta spec ropes and upgraded winch packages delivering higher line speeds, to the latest B&G instrumentation, delivering the best possible data to the helm.
“As you can imagine, she’s been a joy to work on,” Tom concludes. “It’s been a great opportunity and it has certainly pushed the team to think outside the box to find smart, effective solutions that deliver on the promise.”
Matthew Townsend is part of the Oyster team responsible for the overall project management of the 885GT, so he has been a linchpin throughout the build. “Like any true Grand Tourer, as well as performance, luxury and comfort are at the heart of the 885GT,” he explains. “Echoing the aesthetic of road-based Grand Tourers, we wanted to create a distinctive look with subtle hints that immediately identify her as an Oyster with a difference.
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With the 885GT in production, the owners are looking forward to putting her through her paces when she launches in 2022. “It’s been a pleasure working with the whole Oyster crew to build an 885GT, thanks to their exceptional design and technical skills, not to mention their experience and enthusiasm,” the Wards told us. “It’s a dream not only to order a yacht of this calibre but also to collaborate with the team to make it a reality.”
“We love being part of the Oyster Family and the annual Regattas are a high point, sailing with like-minded people who race very competitively. It’s also a great time to be involved, with the business stable under a great new owner who is focused on building exceptional yachts in Britain.”
We can’t wait to see the first 885GT lineup and take on the rest of the Fleet when the world gets back to normal. In the meantime, we can all dream...
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