The largest Oyster built in the UK, the Oyster 118, inched her way towards completion in late October. When we say “inched,” we’re not kidding. The hull made its way from Oyster’s lay-up shop in Lee-on-Solent to its finishing shed in Southampton. The 15-mile journey required using two cranes and careful, controlled motions to swing the structure from land to a barge. Did we mention that swing distance was about 148 feet, too? And that the fiberglass hull weighs 26 tons?
While this is hull number one of the Oyster 118 series, she marks one of a few hundred yachts created with Humphreys Yacht Design. In fact, Oyster says, the 118 is the 358th yacht resulting from their partnership. She took three years to plan, with construction beginning in springtime last year.
Oyster offer the series on a semi-custom basis. The owner of hull number one has a five-stateroom arrangement below decks, all aft, with four heads. (The Oyster 118 offers a sixth stateroom just forward. Alternately, it can be a TV room/lounge that converts to a kids’ cabin, with bunk berths.) The deck saloon benefits from natural light, through Oyster’s signature ports. Overall interior volume: 24,720 cubic feet. For perspective, this is 10 times that of the Oyster 475.
The owner and guests will likely gravitate toward the cockpit both day and night. Measuring 48 square feet, it’s set to be a center of onboard activity, given a dining area. An integral bimini keeps things cool on hot days.
Six crew, meanwhile, get the area forward of the mast for the galley and their cabins. Sure to be appreciated is the nearly full-height engine room. They should also appreciate the gullwing escape hatches (if needed) from here onto deck. As for sail-handling operations, the Oyster 118 has a mid-boom, single-point mainsheet that runs down to a captive winch below decks, through the saloon-entry bulkhead. Four captive winches are aboard in total, for the mainsail halyard, the main, and the headsails. Just as different interiors are available, different sailplans are. Hull number one has a single headstay, an extra removable inner forestay for the jib, and asymmetrics tacking to the anchor strut prodder.
The Oyster 118 offers a choice in styling, too. Hull number one has a squared-off stern; a reverse transom is possible instead. In either configuration, buyers get a fold-down platform that reveals stowage for toys. Humphreys Yacht Design penned the platform with automatic swim steps and helpful handrails, too. The tender, a nine-person Williams DieselJet 565, stows beneath a foredeck hatch. When it’s in the water, the crew can place cushions in its hold, turning it into an extra cockpit.
Launch for hull number one is about a year from now, and delivery should take place in May 2018.