Oysters in the shallows

Oyster Yachts has introduced new shallow-draft keel options on four of its bluewater cruisers from the 495 to the mighty 885.

22 June 2023


Over the past five decades, iconic British sailing yacht builder Oyster Yachts has established a reputation for constructing luxurious bluewater cruisers that can take you anywhere you desire. Now the yard plans to add a new dimension to the ‘anywhere’ idea with the launch of no less than four shallow draft models across the range.

The new models will afford enviable opportunities to anchor close-in to secluded bays and beaches, and with the largest model to get the option being the 90-footer Oyster 885CB there’s no reason to skimp on space – or guests – aboard. The other models in the range to get the shoal draft option are the 495, the 595 and the 745.

The move follows what Oyster says is worldwide demand from owners who are looking for high-performance bluewater cruisers that also have the flexibility to safely take advantage of shallow cruising grounds, secluded bays, rivers, inlets and small shallow-draft marinas.

Indeed, Oyster says it is now the only global manufacturer of luxury bluewater cruisers to offer four different models with shallow-draft options.


“Our owners want to combine fast bluewater performance with the flexibility to explore previously inaccessible shallow cruising grounds for large bluewater sailing yachts,” says Alex Gardner, Lead Naval Architect Design at Oyster Yachts.

“We’ve worked to incorporate shallow-draft features onto four of the current Oyster fleet – the 495, 595, 745 and 885 – using shallow-draft shoal keels or retractable centreboard systems.”

The award-winning baby of the fleet, the Oyster 495 – which Ocean took on a 1,750-mile test sail last summer – is now available with an optional shallow-draft shoal keel, reducing its draft to just 1.83 metres.

The Oyster 595 – another Ocean favourite – remains the most popular selling model in the Oyster range, and it too now also includes a centreboard variant.  This means the keel can be lifted to give a draft of less than 1.8 metres, enabling crews to drop anchor in the most remote bays with ease.

Designed and built to Lloyd’s Register certified standards, centreboard options have been available on Oyster Yachts since 2008 and are particularly popular in the US, with owners making the most of shallow cruising grounds, small marinas and sandy coves especially in the Bahamas.

The Oyster 745CB model features a retractable centreboard keel too, which gives the best of both worlds – a full-depth keel for serious upwind performance, with the ability to easily lift the keel when anchoring or mooring, which is currently unique on a 75-foot sailing yacht.

Operated by a button press at the helm station, the keel can be raised when stationary or when moving at under 4 knots, reducing the draft from 3.1 metres to just 1.98 metres. The clever design within the 745CB means that the retractable centreboard swings up inside the shallow-draft ballast keel, without compromising the openness and spaciousness of the interior layout.

At the top of the size range, the latest edition to the shallow-draft lineup is the 90-foot Oyster 885CB, which provides a full draft of 3.5 metres but which reduces to an impressive 2.3 metres, giving unparalleled freedom to navigate into shallow cruising grounds and anchorages that were previously inaccessible to such a large yacht.

“All models feature twin rudders, giving finger-tip control, which when combined with other technologies such as carbon masts, booms and carbon composite standing rigging, ensure that Oyster Yachts continues to provide impressive performance under sail, but also give the flexibility to glide into areas which other yachts simply cannot reach,” says Gardner.



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