I had an opportunity to crew on a 62' oyster
on a run from Annapolis
to Ft. Lauderdale a couple of weeks ago. Let me offer a couple observations.
That is the most beautiful, smooth sailing personal sail boat I have ever been on. The interior
and exterior were immaculate the systems were well thought out and implemented, the joiner was superb. It is as I expect from what may have been a $2 million dollar 4 year old boat that had an owner that has the $$$$ to maintain her.
It's sailing was far smoother than my 39 foot catamaran
. It had lots more space, could carry lot more people and equipment
. It was fast! It would out my cat on ANY point of sail you'd want to name in ANY condition, light or heavy winds. I enjoyed the heck out of sailing aboard being at the helm
. There is nothing I could say negative about the boat at all.
But, would I trade
, straight up that boat for mine. Well, honestly, the answer is no, unless I could then turn around and trade
it for the 46 foot Privilege catamaran
that I want. Why, and am I just blowing smoke? It is a matter of personal preference. There was 6 that made the run down to FL. The owner decided that this was his minimum for overnight, off shore runs. That was the absolute right number. Two on watch, 3 hour shifts 6 hours off. When the boat got down to North Carolina
, 30 knot
on the nose wind
caused the owner to put in at Beaufort
. Could it have beat into the wind
? Absolutely! Would it have been safe? NO doubts! Would it be fun? NO way! Would I have done it in my boat? NO way! Why? cause its not safe? No, cause its NOT FUN! My wife and I have made the run down to Florida
3 times now in our boat. Just the two of us. We sail a combination of offshore
intra coastal. With a 63 foot mast
, we can motor
all the way to Ft. Lauderdale on the intra coastal. With the 95 foot mast
on the Oyster
, there are a few fixed bridges that it is just too tall to go under. With a 7+ foot keel
there are areas that are too shallow. We'd have to go off shore, and that is too much boat for us to handle for extended off shore passages. So, if we were making a trip like that, we'd have to take on crew. We'd either have to call friends, or hire them. That does not give me the sense of independence and self reliance that is my main motivator for cruising.
Would we have gotten there faster? Well, the Oyster is a LOT faster. We were doing 9-10 knots with just a head
sail in about 18-20 knots of wind. We were smiling that the boat just didn't want to go under 9 knots and we were going too fast down the Chesapeake. But, we stopped for weather
for 4 days. In the cat, we'd have continued down the ditch. Our overall elapsed time would have probably been only a day or so behind. Now across an ocean! The Oyster would beat us by weeks! But, we may never know. My wife has set a limit, she can only go a maximum of two consecutive nights at sea. After 3 days, she has to see land. If I want to go longer, I have to find someone else to go with me, she fly and meet me there.
The Oyster would sit 8, 2 comfortably down below for dinner, 2 more with plates in their laps or on tray tables. Okay, 1 more at the nav-station too! We can sit 6 in okay comfort in our cat. The oyster would sit 4 for dinner comfortably in the cockpit
. We can do 6 fairly comfortably. We can sleep 6 in okay comfort. The Oyster can sleep 8 and more if they want to sleep on decks. We might be able to sleep as many or more, we have these trampolines that we'll be doing additional exploring with when it get hot again !
The oyster has centralized AC and heat pump we use propane
and space heater. When I was sleep, couldn't tell the difference. Warm and toasty either place. The oyster had bigger beds. I rather like sleeping close to my wife. The Oyster had a dishwasher, we have us. We both have built in microwaves, propane oven
and stove. Oh, the Oyster had a twin sink. We have a single
sink, but don't have to turn on a pump to drain the sink. We both have vacu-flush heads. Same electronics
, except our's has integrated navigation software
. The Oyster did not. Water
maker. We had the same capacity water maker. They had the newer Spectra. We have the old Spectra. It had a gen set that was going all the time we were at anchor
. We are quiet at anchor
. They had a Delta
anchor and all chain rode
. We have a Manson and all chain rode
. Okay, the Oyster's anchor and chain were bigger and thicker, but we both had the appropriate windless for getting it back on board. Oh, we have a chain counter, the oyster uses markers on the chain to tell how much.....
But in any case the relevant point is for the TYPE of sailing and the USAGE we put the boat to, OUR cat suits US better. I wouldn't enjoy the Oyster and the things I could do with it as much as I enjoy the thing I DO with my catamaran. Is it safer in the Oyster? No relevance to us. I bunker is safer than either boat. The point being I am not going to put either boat to a test of whether either is safer. I have been in 60 knot
winds aboard my catamaran. NO, it was not fun, no, I am not doing that again. Was I safe yeah! I have been in 40 knot winds aboard a 60 foot mono. was it fun, No, it was not fun. I may do it again, but not if I don't have to. Was it safe? Sure. I was almost dumped out of a bunk in the Oyster, then we put up lee cloths (that's what those thing are for!
) Never been an issue in the cat.
Your choices may be different, but when we're out there, we'll be happy to invite you aboard our boat for cocktails, sundowners, yatzee, chess, scrable, bidge, BS, or what ever. We'll be more than happy come aboard your vessel for the same. I am sure we'll both enjoy the company, water and sunset!