After contracting for a new Oyster 575 in July of 2013, spending eight months making decisions and waiting for a production slot, the hull and deck GRP (fiberglass) have been formed. And, what’s even more exciting is we saw it!
We just returned from a week in the UK with our sailing friends Pat and Teri where we not only took in the sites of London but traveled to Oyster facilities in Wroxham and Ipswich where over the next year Spirit will evolve into a finished yacht. Also, this was the first chance we had to personally meet Luke, our project manager, who’s doing an incredible job of keeping us under control and the production process flowing.
While in Wroxham we visited the place that molds the hull and deck components, toured the facility that customizes the yachts interior (everything from the deck down) and climbed on several boats in production. This is truly “Santa’s workshop”. In Ipswich, Oysters main offices and Fox’s Marina where a year from now we’ll depart to sail off into the sunset, we reviewed options then traveled to a neat little company in Colchester that specializes in marine upholstery to make selections on everything from the upholstery to mattresses to seat cushions to things we can’t even remember. It was a very long day, but productive.
Our final day was spent back in London at a beautiful marina just off the Thames River, St. Katharine Docks – the site of Oyster’s annual Private View of their newest yachts. This was a great opportunity to immerse ourselves in the latest and greatest and confirm, or change, decisions we had made over the previous several days.
The people we met both in our travels across England and at Oyster Yachts were nothing short of warm and friendly – very welcoming. We did have one major complaint; the driving across central London, through hundreds of rotary’s, in a large rental car, during an underground train strike – it was like being single handed and stern mooring an 82 foot yacht in 25 mph crosswinds with no bow thruster. Suffice it to say, we survived.
Now back at home, we’re just pinching ourselves realizing all this is really happening. The pictures below capture some of our experiences in the UK.