The Oyster 55 is a classic bluewater cruiser, and was, at the time of her unveiling in 1986, the largest Oyster model to be launched. Designers Holman and Pye built on the success of their earlier deck saloon Oyster 406, 435 and 46 designs to produce a larger yacht that offered much more interior volume, and a longer waterline for better offshore comfort and performance. Recognizably a Holman and Pye Oyster, the 55 retained the long overhangs, balanced hull, low freeboard and elegant sheerline that characterized many of their earlier Oyster designs.
The 55 was originally conceived as a 53 footer, and in fact the first sixteen hulls were launched with a counter stern, before the ‘sugar scoop’ stern was added to aid access to the water. Half of the original sixteen hulls were later converted to 55s with the addition of the ‘sugar scoop’ stern moulding, and all the later 55s were handed over with this enhancement. All 53s and 55s benefitted from the traditional single skin hull construction, keel-stepped masts, full length rudder skegs, and, with the exception of a handful of shoal draft examples, encapsulated lead keels.
Oyster went on to launch forty-eight Oyster 55s, with production finally finishing in 1998 when she was replaced by the Oyster 56. A small number were launched as ketches, but the vast majority were supplied as cutters, normally with in-mast furling and powered furling to her headsails, permitting a couple to handle her with ease. The 55 has a superb reputation as a long range bluewater cruiser and live aboard, with assured and weatherly performance, particularly in poor weather.
‘Princess Arguella’ is a late model 55, with a cutter rig, with electric in-mast furling to her mainsail, whilst her headsails can be furled from the cockpit using her electric winches. Below decks she has cherry interior joinery giving a homely and traditional feel, she sleeps eight in four cabins. Her current owners bought her thought Oyster Brokerage thirteen years ago, and have used her for Mediterranean cruising ever since.