When it comes to understanding what the new Oyster 745 is all about, there are easier ways of getting to grips with this new model. One is to simply look at her deck.
Aside from the familiar, trademark wraparound deck saloon windows, the 745’s flush foredeck is the first indication of a more modern style that characterises the new Oyster generation. A short bowsprit carries twin anchors and also provides easily accessible tack fittings for a gennaker and code zero is another example as is the immaculate, clear lacquered Hall Spars carbon mast and the impressive array of high spec Spinlock rope clutches clustered around the mast wall on neatly engineered carbon plinths. Then there are the halyard locks for the staysail and code zero, modern race engineered details that have been applied for this bluewater configuration. Details that mark a bold step forward in the quest to create the next generation of bluewater cruisers.
It’s not just fancy fittings and high spec deck gear that set her apart. Her guest cockpit offers another clue to the new approach. Twenty percent larger than her predecessor’s cockpit, there are no ropes, clutches or clutter of any kind in this deep and secure cockpit.
Unlike similar configurations that can be exited simply by stepping over the coamings, it feels both awkward and wrong on the 745 to do so. The more natural and preferred way is to use the centreline passageway between the twin carbon wheels where grab handles on the large pedestal/instrument plinths provide perfect hand holds.
This leads you to the working area of the 745 where a pair of powered Lewmar 88ST’s provide the muscle for the jib sheets while a pair of manual 68STs are the secondary winches. All four winches sit just behind the helmsman’s steering positions making it easy to both communicate with sailing crew and operate the sheets when sailing shorthanded.
It is not until you look forward, especially when you are underway, that the penny drops fully. Viewed as a whole, the complete deck layout is not only clean and clutter free, but also offers superb visibility. It is perhaps only then that you realise that the very feature that characterises an Oyster, its distinctive deck saloon structure, is lying low. At least that’s how it appears from the cockpit. Yet from off the boat the 745 has lost none of its DNA.
This effect is no accident. The style and proportions of the new look superstructure is another area in which the Oyster design team and the Humphreys Yacht Design office have worked hard. And the results are impressive.
Indeed, so clear are the decks forwards, it is as if the control lines and associated deck gear have been led under the deck to save you from tripping or stubbing your toes. Yet no such masking tricks have been used. Instead, the designers have utilised a more traditional, practical approach to sail handling where reef lines and halyards are gathered around the mast. But unlike classic designs where multiple winches are scattered on deck like mushrooms around a tree, the Oyster 745 has just two powered Lewmar 68STs and a collection of perfectly positioned clutches. Another clever detail is the pair of flush fitting rope tail lockers built into the deck alongside the mast - simple, effective, clean and tidy.
Meanwhile, her jib sheets are led back to behind the twin steering pedestals. One of the benefits of a blade jib is that flogging sheets are kept well away from the cockpit, but the 745’s configuration goes one step further with the sheets led neatly along the lower outside edge of the deck superstructure. Keeping them low and running them through several stainless steel fairleads ensures that they remain out of harm’s way no matter what the conditions.
Under sail, she is certainly easy on the helm. Upwind in 10-15 knots of breeze she has a balanced feel, one of the key characteristics of a twin rudder configuration. Downwind, with her large asymmetric gennaker set, she sets into an equally purposeful stride with a direct feel and plenty of grip through the helm, even when pushed hard.
Below decks she can cater for a wide range of different layouts. But there are several key features that make her stand out here too.
In particular, the clever balancing act that has been struck in the main saloon where the full width of the hull has been exploited without making the deck saloon feel like the glazed dome of a cathedral. Instead, the saloon cabin sole is at just the right height to allow good, near all round visibility when standing and moving around. When seated the vertical, rectangular orientated ‘Seascape’ windows that have become part of the signature of the new breed come into play.
Beneath the saloon floor lies the engine room where appliances and critical items are well spaced and are easy to get to for servicing.
Aside from the light, visibility and space afforded by the new look deck saloon, the next detail to stand out is the dual companionway forward either side of the mast. To starboard lies another guest cabin, while to port the longitudinal galley also provides a passageway forward to the crew accommodation.
This clever detail was taken directly from the 825 and has proved to work well, allowing crew and guests to move back and forth without having to pass through each other’s areas.
A further innovative detail in this area is the sliding panel and door on the galley side that allows the galley/crew accommodation to be closed off completely from the guest accommodation. Particularly useful when chartering the boat.
Abaft the saloon lies the a guest double with en-suite to port with a cabin on starboard that can be arranged for a variety of purposes from pilot berth cabin and utility room to an office, workshop or children’s play room.
Furthest aft is the owner’s cabin, a spacious and comfortable layout that can easily be configured from comfortable to cavernous depending on how owners wish to use their own space.
But for all the details above and below decks, perhaps the cleverest aspect of the 745 is how easily she can switch roles between being professionally run charter yacht and a private yacht for an owner and friends.
Photo by Joe McCarthy.