There is no better time to tap into the bluewater cruising knowledge that has been acquired during 16 months around the world than towards the end of the Oyster World Rally. So, as the fleet prepared for the final few stages to the finish in Antigua, we spoke to four skippers in Cape Town, South Africa, shortly before they headed off on the final stage, to find out what they had learned along the way.

With 27,000+ miles under the keel, a circumnavigation focuses the mind when it comes to what is really required to complete a lap of the planet. Looking back two years, as teams prepared to head off on the rally, it was understandable that the focus was always likely to be biased towards preparing the boat and its systems. Without a reliable platform, the adventure risked getting derailed.

It's therefore of little surprise that when you ask owners and skippers about the most important aspects of ensuring a successful bluewater cruise on this scale, systems and maintenance are high on the list. They are all in agreement that understanding how equipment works, how it might fail and how to cope when it does, often pays dividends during the trip.

But it’s not all about the kit. Running the boat and managing the crew is a bigger, yet subtly different task than many had expected.

Understanding the pros and cons of particular layouts and configurations is one thing, but managing personal expectations within a crew, while living together in a confined space for long periods of time, is something many knew would be a factor, but which many had equally underestimated just how much it would influence the trip as a whole.

‘Living the dream’ isn’t always as straightforward as it first might seem, yet at the same time, plenty of crews described how some of the early concerns fizzled out as the miles rushed under the keel.

So, while it may have been possible to predict some of the topics of conversation as teams got close to the end of their circumnavigation, there were plenty of surprises too, along with a wealth of valuable knowledge into which to tap.


Running a new boat and managing expectations

For skipper Fabian Fisahn and his wife Daniela, the Oyster World Rally started at a brisk pace as they got to grips with a brand new boat, Oyster 565 Infinity. Along with the owner, all three embarked on the adventure knowing that settling into the rally would present its own demands. But for Fabian there were several key factors to be discussed and agreed.

Oyster 565 Luxury Yacht Sailing Fiji Sunset


Team work and spreading the load

Skipper Catherine Verdon tells us about her rally adventure on board Oyster 66 Archaeopteryx. While the demands of running the boat were clear from the start, Catherine highlights some of the key ingredients to working with the owner, guests and crew to ensure that everyone gets what they want out of the trip.

Oyster 66 Archaeopteryx Sailing Bluewater


Inspiring stories and adventures of a lifetime from our international family of owners