Oyster Yachts was founded in 1973 and has established itself as an international market leader in luxury cruising yachts. With their distinctive Deck Saloon designs, Oyster Yachts are recognised throughout the world for their quality and performance.
With headquarters in Hythe, near Southampton, the factory now builds very different yachts to what were built 40 years ago. These days half of the new boat construction is carried out for existing owners – a testament to the loyalty that follows this iconic superyacht brand.
Early yacht years
Richard Matthews founded the brand in 1973 and commissioned the design for a 32 ft prototype called the UFO II. Designed by two Royal Naval Architects, the UFO won several races including the Royal Yacht Squadron’s de Maas Cup at Cowes in 1974 and the design was subsequently launched as the Oyster 34 – the first yacht to be produced by Oyster Marine.
Over the years, the shipyard has collaborated with several internationally recognised yacht designers to create its production and custom sailing yacht models. In 1978, Oyster commissioned a 46ft cruising fetch design by Holman and Pye which pioneered the Deck Saloon design – a feature that became the company’s trademark.
Over the next few years, Oyster increased the size of their vessels and launched a 53 ft design in 1997 followed by a 62 ft by yacht in 2022, both designed by Rob Humphreys. Soon after they partnered with Dubois Naval Architects, to create the Oyster 100 and 125 sailing superyachts.
Today, Oyster Yachts builds sailboats ranging from 56 ft to 125 ft, all designed by Rob Humphreys and the Oyster Design Team.
Sold to equity firm
In 2008 the company was sold to private equity house Balmoral Capital in 2008 for around £70m who then sold it in 2012 to Dutch private equity firm HTP Investments BV for around £15m.
Oyster World Rally
In 2013-2014, Oyster Yachts demonstrated the oceangoing capabilities of its bluewater sailing yacht range by holding the inaugural Oyster World Rally. This signature event sent 26 Oyster luxury yachts on a mighty 2 year, 30,000-mile voyage around the globe. The event was such a success that today, the Oyster World Rally is open to all Oyster Yacht owners who are invited to sail around the world together. They follow a circum-navigation route pre-planned by Oyster and with support of the after-sales team.
You can follow the current Oyster World Rally 2022-23 on the Rally Live page.
Oyster continues to run other events exclusively for Oyster owners and their families including two regattas – one in the Caribbean at Easter and one in the Mediterranean in September/October – as well as parties and dinners for owners during the London, Southampton and Annapolis boat shows.
In February 2018, the boat-building arm of the Oyster Group went into administration. Despite having a record order book of £83m by the end of 2017, the company faced cashflow issues and by January 2018 the Dutch shareholders decided to withdraw their support and the directors had no alternative but to appoint administrators.
A new era of Oyster Yacht Reinvestment and Growth
The administrators, KPMG were brought in to find a new buyer for the business and in March 2018, software entrepreneur Richard Hadida was announced as the new owner. Richard embarked on getting the business back on its feet by re-employing as many of the original employees as possible as well as inviting the founder, Richard Matthews to join the board.
Becky Bridgen was installed as Chief Financial Officer, together with Non-Executives Ashley Highfield, former Formula 1 team boss Eddie Jordan (a good friend of Richard), Ivan Ritossa and Rob Humphreys.
Since Hadida acquired Oyster Yachts in 2018, the board has made strong progress in turning the business around, successfully investing in up-to-date production systems and facilities. It has scaled up the workforce to meet demand and launched two new models – the award-winning Oyster 565 and our Oyster 1225 sailing superyacht.
Today’s Oysters are very different to the yachts that were built 40 years ago. However, the Oyster core values of strength, seaworthiness and a multitude of practical yachting features are still valid. Oyster remains the only yacht brand currently running its own global circumnavigation rally. And it is that hands-on feedback of sailing for hundreds and thousands of miles that is key to its success.
Oyster Yacht Range
There are currently six yachts in the Oyster fleet, ranging from 50ft to 120ft :-
- Oyster 495
- Oyster 565
- Oyster 595
- Oyster 675
- Oyster 745
- and Oyster 885, the ultimate bluewater sailing yacht
This 50-foot sailboat promises exceptional performance while being comfortable and easy to handle for a family crew. Hosting a dinner party for friends, exploring coastal waters, crossing oceans, or even circumnavigating the globe, this 50-foot yacht offers such limitless potential.
Like all Oysters, she features a beautifully styled centre cockpit and deck saloon, with a flush foredeck. Plus, the same twin rudder configurations found on the larger yachts and a range of technology that makes shorthanded sailing much easier.
The Oyster 565 is one of the new generations of Oyster Yachts, and at 60 feet this sailing yacht builds on the many accomplishments of the pioneering 56 and 575. In just two years 20 yachts have been sold and five 565s will join the 2022-23 Oyster World Rally fleet.
It has a spacious cockpit, while the twin helm stations keep the business end of things separate for safer and easier handling. There is a choice of keel configurations which means you can take her anywhere, with a fixed keel or centreboard option for shoal draft cruising.
Described by Oyster as a ‘pocket superyacht’ the 565 lives up to the expectations of the larger yachts in the fleet with a very high standard of spec.
Described by Oyster as a “60 foot yacht that is capable of great things”, the 595 is a new design that is already proving very popular – 16 yachts are currently on pre-order.
Designed to be sailed effortlessly by two people, this bluewater cruiser has an impressive internal space to easily accommodate family and friends for lazy cruising days in the sun.
The 595 is also tricked out when it comes to technology – with the latest navigation and entertainment systems, and stylish mood lighting, controlled by the touch of a button. You can choose your favourite AV solutions and WiFi comms technology to keep you connected in the world’s remotest corners.
The Oyster 675 is a versatile sub 70-foot sailboat designed for the adventurous at heart. She can be sailed with ease by two people, but also take a full crew and up to eight friends and family.
This is a true ocean sailboat. There are push-button hydraulic in-mast and headsail furling, fitted as standard, which makes light work sailing this 70-foot sailboat. She delivers exhilarating cruising and consistently fast passage-making speeds and provides complete control in tight spots thanks to the standard retractable bow and stern thrusters.
The Oyster 675 is therefore a popular choice for the Oyster World Rally and other long-haul adventures.
The Oyster 745 is a true long range cruising yacht, designed to take you to the remotest corners of the world. This is an impressive bluewater cruiser that can be sailed with a small crew – in fact it is the smallest yacht in the Oyster range that comes with dedicated crew quarters.
This is a beautifully balanced offshore sailboat, and its sheer scale will impress anyone aboard. It is thrilling to sail with a powerful, large volume hull form along with the twin rudders which offer perfect stability and effortless finger-tip control on the helm.
The Oyster 885 is the pinnacle superyacht in the Oyster fleet, it is an exhilarating 90 foot sailing yacht, delivering comfort and safety. Designed with sailing and entertaining in mind, this impressive sailboat boasts expansive and luxurious living spaces.
At just under 90 feet, the Oyster 885 comes in just below the 24m Load Line Rule, which means less red tape with many of the benefits of a much larger yacht. A number of Oyster 885 owners therefore choose to make the most of their investment by offering their boats as charter in between their own ocean adventures.
Drag Reducing Propellers for Oyster Yachts
Darglow have supplied drag reducing props for many of the models in the Oyster yacht range. We keep an expanding database of technical information on many of our installations along with feedback from our customers.
Check our full list of Oyster Yachts we have supplied propellers to here.
Rope Cutters for Oyster Yachts
We have supplied rope cutters for various boats in the Oyster Yacht range. We keep a database of technical information on many of our installations along with feedback from our customers.
Check our full list of Oyster Yachts we have supplied rope cutters for here.
Visit the Oyster Yachts website