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Old 15-02-2024, 08:13   #1
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Post Contest 50CS or Oyster565

We are in the final phase of selecting our bluewater ocean cruising yacht and the shortlist is down to 2 brands and models.

In the first year we would like to do the Sail around Great Britain and Scotland, then sail it down to the Med to cruise around for a full year (Spain, Balearen, Italy, Croatia and Greece). Then to prepare for a circumnavigation around the world for 2-3 years or more.

Previously we have owned an X-46 for approx. 5 years and we have looked at various brands and models for this new adventure and narrowed it down to Contest from the Netherlands and Oyster from the UK.

Albeit different in size at Contest we prefer the 50CS over the 55CS and at Oyster we prefer the 565 over the 495, based on the following:
  • Contest 50 is more spacious over the Oyster 495 as it is simply a larger yacht (LOA and Beam) that results in more interior space (larger main cabin, nice kitchen, large shower).
  • Contest is build fully under Lloyd Register and has a single rudder, which gives more protection.
  • Interior finish of the Contest 50 is absolutely magnificent.
  • Overall built quality on an exceptional high level (even better vs Oyster)

The Contest 50 HOWEVER, does not have a lazarette.....it has instead 2 quarter lockers. This is my only and big concern: where to store fenders, dive gear and all other stuff you carry on long ocean crossings.

The Oyster 565 has it all....., however carries a hefty price tag of > EUR 1 million over the Contest 50. What else to consider for the Oyster 565:
  • Very good deck layout (cockpit and helm stations) and deck hardware (fair leads, cleats, scupper).
  • Very nice bathing platform.
  • Seascape windows in interior are magnificent.
  • Line of the yacht looks more nice vs Contest 50 CS (more elegant).
  • Forward facing captains navigation corner (on the Contest its facing to port-side).
  • Technical room with very good access to the engine room.
  • Global service support network of Oyster is more developed.

I think in terms of sail handling, both yachts will be comparable and the comfort on big open water, I will test before making the final call.

The name of the Yacht is going to be AMOUAGE, which means passionate waves in Arabic.

Any external views and recommendations most welcome!
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Old 16-02-2024, 06:31   #2
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Re: Contest 50CS or Oyster565

Big open spaces at sea are not necessarily as wonderful as they are in port. Your mention of them brings up the question of handholds. We noticed handholds sadly lacking aboard a friend's Oceanis, and that was in only about 25kts of breeze. Hopefully both your selections have adequate handholds.
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Old 16-02-2024, 07:11   #3
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Re: Contest 50CS or Oyster565

I agree with psk125.
Open spaces are not safe for water sailing">blue water sailing.
But I must admit that there is even an Oyster Round The World Rally.
So it is personal judgement.
The chance that you are tossed about by a sudden wave is small, but the consequences might be large. It happened...

On my 50' boat I am sure TS would find the spaces cramped. But I like it, it gives you security. And in harbours, well, you are outside.

Another point:
I found the diesel tanks to be too small for blue water cruising.
Ours are 1000 liters for a 90 hp engine and even that is not too much. Cruising at 5,5 knots at 3,2 l/hr on average. Sometimes I would have felt more secure with a bit larger tank.

Watertanks are just minimal at least. Even with a watermaker, when that fails you need tankage. Our 1000 liter gives just enough and than we do not shower too much.

Sails are presumably hoist electrically/hydraulically. Not my choice. I prefer manual.
So therefor I stick to 50' max with a ketch rig.

All in all I did not choose for a production boat.
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Old 16-02-2024, 07:18   #4
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Re: Contest 50CS or Oyster565

Quote:
Originally Posted by psk125 View Post
Big open spaces at sea are not necessarily as wonderful as they are in port. Your mention of them brings up the question of handholds. We noticed handholds sadly lacking aboard a friend's Oceanis, and that was in only about 25kts of breeze. Hopefully both your selections have adequate handholds.
In addition to a dangerous lack of usable handholds and useless open space, another thing that is missing from many modern “cruising” yacht are proper seaberths with Lee cloths or boards.

On some deliveries the crew and I have been required to sleep on the cabin sole to avoid being tossed out of bed in rough conditions.

Those island beds are nice at the dock. Beating into 25 knots and 6 foot seas, they are useless.
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Old 16-02-2024, 11:20   #5
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Re: Contest 50CS or Oyster565

Will Amouage be a brand new yacht or a previously loved one.
Delivery times of new ones are considerable.
I am sure at Contest you can get a special design interior that suits you well.

And what to do with the dinghy? Stowed away in a garage, stowed away folded, or in davits? The dinghy is your taxi whilist cruising the islands....
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Old 16-02-2024, 14:26   #6
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Re: Contest 50CS or Oyster565

Handholds are well positioned on the Contest and on the Oyster the grab rail in the main cabin needs to be extended.

With regards to water and fuel, I believe both yachts have sufficient capacity as today’s water maker generate 100l/h and after all its a sailing yacht, so engine use to a minimum.

Both Contest and Oyster have all twin beds equipped with lee cloths and if the weather is very bad, then you can still sleep into a singel bunk.

Dingy will be mounted onto davits on both yachts.

The yacht will be ordered new and lead times at the moment are approx. 15 months, so they have come down considerably (not 2-3 years like seen in the period 2021 - 2023). This is no problem as I am planning to have it in 2026.
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Old 17-02-2024, 03:06   #7
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Re: Contest 50CS or Oyster565

Then I would settle for the Contest.
Easier to handle in small quarters (harbours).
Fast enough for your travels.
Good hull: Lloyds approved vacuum injection process.
Keels not falling off.
You save money so you can spend that on the trip itself.

Storage is not so much a problem of space, it's about weight.
The more you carry, the higher the loads on standing rigging.

We store fenders in the dingy....

There is a culture difference.
Oyster owners are the people with money who wish to go sailing.
Contest owners are the sailors who spend money doing so.
We met both on the Med and on our circum nav.
But this sais nothing about TS ofcourse and is only my personal limited view on the world.
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Old 17-02-2024, 04:00   #8
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Re: Contest 50CS or Oyster565

Indeed the Contest 50CS is a very solid constructed yacht and indeed if the fenders go in the dinghy then the dive bottles can be stored in the quarter lockers (they are quite deep).

Question if there is sufficient space for the dive compressor in the quarter lockers. Else, most probably Contest can - instead of the double bunk in the forward cabin - create a locker room for storage of dive bottles, as you don't use them all the time.

John Lennon once said: image is everything, however I couldn't care less.
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Old 17-02-2024, 05:16   #9
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Re: Contest 50CS or Oyster565

My beef with the Oyster (the one we considered… things may have changed) is the steps down into the galley. They are very close to the companionway steps and are an accident waiting to happen.

My beef with the Contest (again the one we considered) is that they had a galley countertop piece to cover the cooktop which was big and heavy and not attached to anything. Again, an accident waiting to happen.

I would opt for the Contest as well, and demand they fix the obvious mistakes. The ordering negotiations is the time for this.

I would also urge you to consider an arch on the stern instead of davits, capable of carrying a large solar array, as well as a specialized bimini/hard top that can also carry large panels.
For the dinghy itself, a one-line controlled pivoting hoisting arm on the arch capable of lifting an 11 foot aluminum RIB with 20hp outboard. It took me 5 dinghies and 4 builds/alterations over a timespan of 22 years to get this right so take advantage of my experience and save yourself some time
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Old 17-02-2024, 06:24   #10
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Re: Contest 50CS or Oyster565

Well noted and thank you for the advice.
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Old 17-02-2024, 17:15   #11
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Re: Contest 50CS or Oyster565

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
My beef with the Oyster (the one we considered… things may have changed) is the steps down into the galley. They are very close to the companionway steps and are an accident waiting to happen.

My beef with the Contest (again the one we considered) is that they had a galley countertop piece to cover the cooktop which was big and heavy and not attached to anything. Again, an accident waiting to happen.

I would opt for the Contest as well, and demand they fix the obvious mistakes. The ordering negotiations is the time for this.

I would also urge you to consider an arch on the stern instead of davits, capable of carrying a large solar array, as well as a specialized bimini/hard top that can also carry large panels.
For the dinghy itself, a one-line controlled pivoting hoisting arm on the arch capable of lifting an 11 foot aluminum RIB with 20hp outboard. It took me 5 dinghies and 4 builds/alterations over a timespan of 22 years to get this right so take advantage of my experience and save yourself some time
We have a discovery 55 and many people reject these boats because of the changing levels inside the boat. I can tell you it takes about 2 days to get used to it and after then you do't notice it. We looked at both the Contests and Oysters and chose Discovery because we wanted a deck saloon where we could see and look out the windows. With the others you may have good windows but you are sitting down in the hull with the windows above you. We also didn't like the Contest nav table at 90 degrees to the direction of travel. One of the best features of the Discover 55 is the nav seat, it is elevated and you can keep watch from there and steer using the autopilot and keep both warm and dry.
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Old 17-02-2024, 20:19   #12
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Re: Contest 50CS or Oyster565

That is certainly a big plus. Hence the reason why I have also looked at the KM Yacht Bestevaer 53 as well as the Kraken 50.

Both are having well protected helm stations. What I like about the KM Yachts is the rough aluminium structure they use (I am a material science engineer), however I don't favour the deck layout.

Kraken has a raised helm station inside the yacht and generous access to the engine room and a yacht well thought of. Most likely I will go to see this one as well, but they seems to be fully booked up untill 2027.
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Old 18-02-2024, 02:18   #13
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Re: Contest 50CS or Oyster565

I think that the Kraken is a great choice. The philosophy of the boat is so well thought out. There is a brilliant video on the design and build of them. I have not seen one in person so if it is on you list you will need to check the build quality.

https://youtu.be/uNXSfwO8NWI?si=mEt8jR7zt_RFCyeR
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Old 18-02-2024, 02:23   #14
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Re: Contest 50CS or Oyster565

https://www.schepenkring.com/boats-o...sgraaf-design/

This ship will do its second world circumnav 2024-2026 and be ready for sale again in 2026.
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Old 18-02-2024, 02:28   #15
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Re: Contest 50CS or Oyster565

The Oyster 565 was on our short list as well before we went choose something completely different. Just was in Dusseldorf and toured the boat again they had on display and have to say it’s gorgeous and would be a fantastic choice!
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