Please select your home edition
Cyclops Marine 2023 November - LEADERBOARD

Oyster Yachts celebrating 50 years of success

by Oyster Yachts 25 Mar 2023 10:28 UTC
Oyster 495 © Oyster Yachts

With over 20 million sea miles and 100 circumnavigations of the world, Oyster Yachts has come a long way from the company's beginnings in 1973 in a boatyard in Norfolk. Celebrating 50 years this year, the company boasts over 600 employees in the UK, USA and Europe, a highly coveted range of award-winning bluewater sailing yachts handcrafted in the UK, and an order book stretching to 2026.

A unique customer journey from first touch with sales, then build, through to a host of relevant services like charter, brokerage, aftersales, crew and maintenance, allows Oyster to control and maintain the highest standards at every touchpoint. They even organise and run their own events, including the prestigious Oyster World Rally.

Oyster Yachts was started in 1973 by Sir Richard Matthews. His vision for the Oyster 34, a cruiser racer designed by Don Pye of Holman and Pye and built using local boatbuilders Landamores in Wroxham, Norfolk. This mould-breaking design was to lay the foundations for 50 years of success. By 1980, Matthews introduced the Oyster HP46. This yacht featured Oyster's pioneering deck saloon, a signature feature on all Oyster Yachts.

Combining build quality and interior features that made Oyster Yachts synonymous with long-distance bluewater cruising, the range extended to include the Oyster 41, 43, 53 and 55. Then, working with yacht designer Stephen Jones, Matthews launched the Oyster SJ35, which went on the win several high-profile races.

1984 saw the launch of the Oyster 435, and Oyster also set up its highly successful Oyster Brokerage to meet the demand of boat owners wanting to upgrade to new models. Today Oyster Brokerage still helps hundreds of owners to buy and sell their Oysters. With Oyster Yachts being sold and sailed worldwide, the company won its first Queens Award for Export in 1990.

In 1999, Oyster commissioned naval architect Rob Humphreys to design the Oyster 56. This winning relationship continues today, with the Oyster 56 becoming the most successful model, with over 75 hulls sold. Rob Humphreys and his team, now headed by his son Tom, have since designed 17 models, including the Oyster 46, 54, 575, 655 and 72.

The largest Oyster in the current fleet, the Oyster 885, was launched in 2010 and along with the Oyster 625, was the first to feature Oyster's signature seascape windows. Now making Oyster Yachts instantly recognisable, this supported the integration of several innovative and technologically advanced exterior and interior design features, which make Oyster's so practical for long-distance blue water cruising.

Always looking to develop the company, Oyster's expansion saw an increase in skilled British craftspeople and the introduction of manufacturing facilities at Hythe in 2021, the birthplace of Oyster's new 495. Already established as one of the company's most successful models, the Oyster 495 has just won the 2023 European Yacht of the Year award.

Other developments revealed first in the Oyster 885 and 675 include twin rudders, plumb bow, sleek tinted wrap-around deck saloon windows, protected cockpit and flush decks. In addition, internally new technology has been introduced to give owners the 'as good as home' feeling, including Oyster's connectivity, IT and control systems, including Oyster Command, now standard on all models enabling users to control and monitor systems on board, from anywhere on the yacht including mobile tablets.

Oyster Yachts grew its success through innovation within the industry, building the "Oyster family" reputation. The company took the lead in organising worldwide events for its owners, including the first Caribbean Regatta in Antigua in 2001 and the Palma Regatta in 2002. These events continue to this day. To celebrate its 40thanniversary in 2013, Oyster came up with the innovative idea of the Oyster World Rally, a fully supported 18-month circumnavigation of the world, exclusively for Oyster yachts.

Proved to be a massive success for existing and aspiring Oyster owners, subsequent rallies were run in 2017 and 2022. The conclusion of the 2022/23 Oyster World Rally will take place in Antigua this April and will also see the 100th Oyster to circumnavigate the world, crossing the finish line. Future Oyster World Rallies will take place in 2024/25 and 2026/27.

Always with an eye to meeting and exceeding its customers' needs, Oyster has also pioneered new ways to bring its highly exclusive yachts to market. In addition to attending leading international boat shows, the company has set up mutually beneficial collaborations with other UHNW companies and associations. Recent years have seen an emphasis on private viewings, exclusive opportunities to try, see and sail at round-the-world launch tours, and industry-leading use of digital and video assets to demonstrate Oyster's range and performance to potential buyers anywhere in the world.

Oyster's success comes from all the strands within its DNA - from the initial designs for award-winning go-anywhere bluewater sailing yachts, to the highly skilled and dedicated craftspeople and its forward-looking management team. In 2018, the company was acquired by Richard Hadida and is now headed by CEO Ashley Highfield.

"Oyster's achievements in 50 years are too numerous to mention. But one thing is certain, our reputation is built as much on our quality of build as it is on special memories and life-changing experiences our owners have enjoyed over the last half-century," comments Richard Hadida, Owner and Chairman of Oyster Yachts

For more information, visit Oyster’s 50th Anniversary page to look back at how Oyster yachts earned their reputation as the world's finest bluewater cruiser, and the ultimate platform to adventure.

Related Articles

Everything to know about a circumnavigation
The live webinar will feature a panel of veteran circumnavigators Oyster Yachts invites sailors and adventurers alike to ask their hottest circumnavigation questions to a panel of circumnavigators and bluewater sailing experts at a live Q&A session discussing the Oyster World Rally. Posted today at 1:31 pm
Oyster Yachts announces return to profit
After significant year of growth British luxury yacht manufacturer Oyster Yachts has announced a return to profit - following heavy investment in manufacturing facilities, staff and new support services. Posted on 4 Apr
Oyster Yachts announce Oyster World Rally 2028-29
This is the sailing adventure of a lifetime This is the sailing adventure of a lifetime: an exclusive, enriching voyage of discovery, magnificent experiences and exhilarating ocean crossings on the world's finest luxury bluewater sailing yachts. Posted on 26 Mar
Oyster World Rally fleet transits the Panama Canal
What is normally a relatively simple procedure, was a little more complicated this time around With over two years in the planning, the Oyster World Rally fleet 2024-25 has now transited from the Atlantic to Pacific Oceans via the Panama Canal. Posted on 14 Mar
Oyster's first 885GT bluewater Grand Tourer
Proving her prowess with exceptional speed as well as style The new Oyster 885GT, exemplified by the first hull Babiana, was born to be fast. Babiana has, in her 12 months of existence, already showcased her performance in multiple regattas and a remarkable Atlantic crossing. Posted on 18 Feb
Small Packages
You know? It is all about really good things You know? It is all about really good things. In sailing, two of the best attributes have always been fun and participation. Some would argue that these may have slipped off of late, but perhaps, it is more about finding a suitable offering. Posted on 13 Feb
Newey reveals all in Oyster Yachts documentary
The short film follows Adrian Newey and Oyster Project Manager Matthew Townsend A fascinating behind-the-scenes documentary film, Adrian Newey, Building my Oyster, showing the build of Red Bull Racing Chief Technical Officer's Oyster 885, is now available for public viewing. Posted on 9 Feb
Oyster Yachts reveals all at boot Düsseldorf 2024
Showcasing the highly-popular Oyster 565 Oyster will be showcasing the highly-popular Oyster 565 at boot Düsseldorf from 20-28 January 2024, on stand C-58 in Hall 16. Posted on 20 Jan
Oyster World Rally 2024-25 underway
Sir Rodney Williams fired the cannon to the 27,000-mile, 16-month adventure Twenty-one Oyster yachts crossed the start line of the Oyster World Rally at Nelson's Dockyard, Antigua, yesterday afternoon. Posted on 15 Jan
Oyster yachts gather in Antigua
Ready for start of Oyster World Rally 2024-25 Twenty-one Oyster yachts, ranging from 53 to 90 feet, are now gathered in Nelson's Dockyard in Antigua, ready for the start of the Oyster World Rally. Posted on 11 Jan
Cyclops Marine 2023 November - FOOTERPantaenius 2022 - SAIL FOOTER - ROWNorth Sails Performance 2023 - FOOTER