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Oyster 575

2009 September 1
Yet, for some sailors, complicated is fine. So if you enjoy living a complex and comfort-optimized life aboard, maybe this new Oyster should be your next boat. You can take it all with you, including a gaggle of comfort-seeking friends. Rob Humphreys designed this new Oyster. I like his work but there is little about this design to separate it from a plethora of similar, big cruising yachts today. Let's see if we can find what makes this design different.

The first difference I see is in the displacement and the D/L of 202. This is not a heavy boat considering it is an all-out cruising boat. I would consider a D/L of around 230 to be normal for this type but this design is light. The L/B is 3.48 and that is textbook normal. Perhaps the Kevlar and carbon laminates in the hull contribute to this light weight. Beam is carried aft to help with the big cockpit layout and accommodations aft. There is moderate overhang aft and the stem is nicely raked but not too much. The big rudder is skeg hung. That's different these days when we expect to see spade rudders. This is a very long and narrow skeg. I wonder how it is built and supported. There is an elongated fillet at the root of the skeg. The keel is a "High Performance Bulb (HPB)" according to the promo material. Draft is 8 feet, 9 inches with this keel but they also offer a shoal-draft keel drawing 6 feet, 8 inches.

The layout is designed with two double staterooms and two additional smaller staterooms with upper and lower berths. The owner's stateroom is aft and features a large desk next to the off-center double berth. Of course there is a head and shower dedicated to this stateroom. The forward stateroom shares the forward head with the forward stacked-berth stateroom. The stateroom adjacent to the engine compartment is pretty tight and it too will have to use the forward head. You access the engine through this stateroom. On the port side of the engine compartment is the galley. It looks big and well laid out. The saloon is great. The dinette to port is huge and there is an L-shaped settee to starboard. Adjacent to the companionway is a large navigation center. There is plenty of volume aft of the aft stateroom for a huge lazarette. It seems that for some sailors it's all about the toys you bring along on your cruise. This design has a big toy room aft. With the raised saloon-style cabintrunk there will be a lot of light in this saloon. I'll also guess there will be a lot of headroom.

The brochure lists the SA/D as 20.8 and that's a healthy number for a cruising boat like this. There is an option of in-mast furling for the mainsail but the standard rig is a full batten mainsail. The mainsheet traveler is on the deck just aft of the twin helm stations. Double headsail and non-overlapping headsail sailplans are an option.

When I look at the deck plan I don't see much side deck width. That is certainly not unusual these days. I like big, wide side decks but they come at a cost for raised saloon cruising boats. The wider the side deck the more it encroaches on the volume inside the raised saloon. But given the science and engineering of sail-handling systems today, there is less need to run forward than there was 20 years ago. The deck is nicely sculpted in a Euro-style with soft contours. The forward cockpit is big and has its own dining table that will also serve as a foot brace. "Excuse me, your shoe is in the hummus!" With twin wheel stations you can walk right through the cockpit to access the swim platform cut into the transom. There is a very big, flush hatch over the lazarette. I notice there are no hatches in the raised saloon top. Maybe there is so much headroom there that you couldn't reach the hatches anyway.

It's hard to nitpick a design like this. It has everything and it looks good. The performance will be good at the least, and when the wind dies a VW 130-horsepower diesel will probably give you a comfortable 9-knot cruising speed. Oyster has earned its place as the leader in this type of design.

LOA 59'; LOD 57'6"; LWL 51'6"; Beam 16'5"; Draft 8'9" (standard), 6'8" (shoal); Displacement 61,728 lbs.; Ballast 17,835 lbs.; Sail area 2,091 sq. ft.; SA/D 20.8; D/L 202; L/B 3.5; Auxiliary VW TDI 130-5 130-hp; Fuel 250 gals.; Water 250 gals.

Oyster Marine USA, Newport Shipyard, One Washington St., Newport, RI 02840, (401) 846-7400, www.oystermarine.com.

OBE: $1.9 million
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