Oyster Marine, world famous for its mid-range, luxurious cruising yachts, hit the market with its first ever superyacht, the Oyster 100 Deck Saloon Sarafin
Shortly before the world agitated itself into financial meltdown, the reputed UK builder Oyster Marine declared its intent to cross the 100 foot (30 metre) threshold, with an uplift to its already admired standards of design and build, to enter the realms of true superyachting. Four years on, the first example of Oyster’s new Superyacht line, Sarafin, the Oyster 100 by Dubois, has now been launched, aptly demonstrating delivery on that promise.
Oyster was in a better position than many to make this step, but the complexity in transitioning from high-end to top-end construction is daunting. To begin, Sarafin’s interior is a full 80 percent bigger than the previous flagship, the Oyster 82. That’s a big step up in size and all that goes to fill and finish her. Then consider how, as new boys on the block, Oyster opted to go further than any other in this size band and build to the very highest Lloyd’s classification, this way creating a powerfully endorsed proposition in design, build, operation and ultimately residual value.
Then think of the infrastructural expertise and spend needed en route. To take just one aspect, series building in composites may make for long-term savings, but the necessary female moulds make a heavy call on resource, especially when you’re set on developing not just a 100-footer but a 125 also, and both at the same time.
A step too far? Not with the right partners, and Oyster found one in RMK Marine of Tuzla, Istanbul. RMK has a long history of building fine 45-metre-plus yachts, and it is a part of the giant Koç Group of Companies, which is responsible for 11 percent of Turkey’s GNP. They have the kind of financial clout that contributes well to client confidence, just as it does infrastructural support. Add to this also the talents and commitment of Dubois Naval Architects and the resulting tri-partite collaboration looks pretty solid from the foundations up.
And that’s quite literally where this project began, with the building of a huge new earthquake-proofed construction hall incorporating multiple bays for both the Oyster 100 and the 60 percent bigger again Oyster 125, and also the world’s largest autoclave oven for post curing the one-piece, single-resin-injection infused hulls. It’s worth noting that the 125 hull, currently in fit-out for a late 2012 launch, happens also to be the world’s biggest ever single resin injection.
This is serious technology. Providing the reassurance, Lloyd’s surveyors watch over each detail, throughout the entire process, from design drawing to final delivery. The last word is always theirs. Right through to instructing a rethink or rebuild of any element at any stage of discovery, which surely explains why so few yachts carry this full Lloyds + 100A1 G6 MCH coding which includes assay of all machinery and installations as well as fabrication. A tough call, but then this is a tough yacht, too, as this highest level of classification certifies a yacht assessed for unrestricted global operation. So think not just worst seas but perhaps the Southern Ocean, and then reflect on the extreme comforts and design detailing on board… and relish the potential.
Oyster has built a reputation for building boats that go round the world, not just around the corner. It’s hard to name another luxury brand whose owners so frequently buy with aspirations and go on to complete ocean crossings and circumnavigations. It seems the Oyster 100 and 125 are destined for similar fates.
‘We can’t find another composite boat anywhere built to this level,’ says Oyster CEO David Tydeman. ‘Did we need to do this? No, but we’re pleased we have.’ Before sailing Sarafin, the chance to inspect hull number two in mid-build gave insight to something few see: the explanation of ‘how’. There was the three-times hand gel-coated bilges with their trans-ocean 7,250 litre fuel tanks, the multi-lane highways of pipes and cable ducting that, like all floors, headlinings and furnishings are all flexibly mounted and isolated from the twice insulated hull and deck to minimise absolutely structure borne noise and vibration. Also the ‘how’ of the buffer zones, such as an engine room lobby, further protecting against air borne noise. And there is the sound engineered, six-inch thick bulkheads with their combination of carbon fibre core and many layers of differently fabricated sound deadening meshes, foams, acoustic tiles plus air space and final outer timber panelling.
The depth of quiet on-board when underway is most unusual on a craft of this size, equating more with a 45-metre superyacht. On deck, the 355-horsepower Cummins’ tick-over could not be heard – to know what was happening, you had to watch the tachometer. At 1,500 rpm and 11 knots, below in the owner’s huge full beam suite aft, it seemed almost unnatural to hear hardly more than a hum. Under sail, there was virtual silence, with not a slap or slosh of the passing sea penetrating the hull’s sound insulated bubble – extraordinary.
Although with the range of custom specification, there’s no reason for any of the Oyster Superyacht line to be the same as another, hull numbers 1 and 2 have largely followed the same arrangement with master suite and two guest cabins aft, raised central deck saloon with the Oyster-trademarked panoramic views, lounge, diner and navigator’s console auto-rising out of the athwartships joinery, then second, lower-deck saloon for film viewing, bar and office facility, with forward of the main bulkhead a spacious, first class galley with extensive refrigeration and comfortably appointed two-cabin, four-berth crew quarters with own en suites and mess area.
Never intended as a lightweight flyer, at 105 tonnes, she’s 20 tonnes heavier than the same length Swan, and 57 more than the CNB. But she’s still a good performer, modern in line with straight bow, sweet sheer and a big beam carried aft above cruising-friendly keel and balanced rudder. Her standard, four-spreader rig is Hall Spars carbon and Navtec rod, carrying North spectra sails with lazyjacks and slab reefing for the main, and Reckmann hydraulic headsail furler. Options on Sarafin included a non-standard cutter rig with a doubling of Reckmann furlers for reacher and blade, and Oceanfurl in-boom reefing for the main.
This rig is set effortlessly, and takes minutes. It is easily managed with a mix of button pressing and joystick twiddling at the twin pedestals and the bank of big Lewmar sheet winches behind in the aft cockpit crew area, while reducing rope clutter the centrepoint mainsheet benefits from its hidden captive winch. Navcomm gear majors on Nauticomp, B&G and Simrad instrumentation, all neatly configured for shared crew viewing.
Leaving the RMK yard to sail Tuzla Bay in a building breeze, we rapidly matched seven knots of wind with seven of boat speed. As true wind built to 16 knots, Sarafin took just a splash over the foredeck when we touched 11 knots in a short chop. Later, revelling in 23 knots of warm breeze, we reached along, tame but tight, at 12 knots, before at 29 knots apparent, we took a couple of turns on the blade and settled down on a well-mannered beat back to base.
Sailing was social, the guest cockpit with mirrored table arrangement and handy drinks fridges refreshing those at work and play while the opening hard top above allowed both sun and shade. The vast flush decks fore and aft provided plenty of sunpad space and the pushpit seats almost qualify as sofas.
Oyster has always prided itself on blue water cruising stowage and on the 100 there’s a simply enormous lazarette with hydraulic stern platform opening to reveal space for water toys and dive compressor as well as warps, fenders, bikes, buckets and more. A tender up to four metres lives in the foredeck well, which, with its easy-lift system for launch and retrieval matches crew, owner, guest and even MCA LY2 requirements, is another deft demonstration of this yacht’s prowess. Whether for private usage or charter operation, this Oyster 100 seems well suited to either. Me? I’d like to keep her for myself!
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Principal specifications – Oyster 100DS
Length overall: (including pulpit) 30.80m
Length of hull: 30.80m
Length of waterline: 28.62m
Draught: Bulb keel (standard) 3.90m
Draught: Shoal keel option available on request.
Standard rig and spar type: 4-spreader carbon spar, sloop rigged, with fully-battened
main on V Boom.
Ballast keel type: High Performance Bulb
Displacement (Lightship): 105,000kg
Engine (standard): Cummins QSM11, C rated, 355hp @ 1,800rpm
Fuel tanks: (approx) 7,250lt
Fresh water tanks: (approx) 2,660lt
Sail areas: Furling main = 257m2/2,765ft22
Blade = 234m2/2,518ft22
Reacher = 335m2/3,605ft22
Gennaker = 661m2/7,112ft22
I - 40.13m/131ft 8in
J - 11.43m/37ft 6in
P - 36.76m/120ft 7in
E - 12.47m/40ft 11in
Air draft 43.5m/142ft 5in