Jacek and Dobra Reschke left their native Poland in 1987 to sail around the world, eventually settling in America. Nearly 30 years to the day, the Polish couple will be starting their second circumnavigation in their Oyster 56, Shanties. “It took us some time to save the money to buy an Oyster and whilst we considered many other boats, once we had visited Oyster and looked at the craftsmanship, there was only going to be one outcome.” commented Jacek. “It would have taken us many years to plan this adventure on our own. However, the Oyster World Rally takes care of so much of the logistics, we can just concentrate on maintaining our boat and enjoy our second circumnavigation, this time in more comfort and at a leisure.”
Jacek and Dobra only recently acquired Oyster 56, Duchess, which had participated in the first Oyster World Rally. In Nelson's Dockyard, just 24 hours before the start of the 2017-19 Oyster World Rally, the couple called upon King Neptune to rename their yacht Shanties. The ritual involved offering champagne to the gods of the north, south and east and west winds. The Oyster family gathered around and cheered as the champagne flowed around the boat, there was a huge round of applause as the christening came to a conclusion.
Eddie Scougall was the customer care manager for the first Oyster World Rally and is part of the highly experienced Oyster team assisting the participants in Antigua for the second edition. “Duchess served her owner Leo Nagtegaal very well in the first rally. I truly believe that these boats have a soul, and if you look after them, they look after you.” commented Eddie. “It is great to see that this Oyster, like so many others, will be going on another great voyage.”
Skippers' Briefing and Royal Naval Tot Blessing
The Oyster World Rally Skippers' Briefing was held in the Copper and Lumber Hotel in Nelson's Dockyard, Antigua. Oyster Group Chief Executive Officer, David Tydeman, welcomed the skippers and also took the opportunity of thanking Sarah Harmer, Oyster World Rally Event Manager and event co-ordinators Regine Watts and Jennifer Whalley, which received great applause. The Skippers' Briefing gave details of the starting area and procedure and also discussed the HF SSB “Safety Net”, which will be used by participants. The YB Tracking system will show the position of the yachts during the 27 month rally and it is now active. Logistics of the arrival in Panama to ready for the Panama Canal crossing were also highlighted.
After the Skippers' Briefing, the Oyster World Rally participants were invited to 'take the tot' and well over 100 sailors took the opportunity. The Royal Naval Tot Club of Antigua & Barbuda is celebrating its 25th anniversary, the charitable group meet at the end of the working day to toast the Queen and reinstate the Royal Navy’s tradition of a daily tot of rum, which had been discontinued in 1970. Among many projects, the Tot Club have renovated the hiking path leading to Fort Charlotte, where cannon fire, on Sunday 15th January, will signal the start of the 2017 Oyster World Rally.
Rum Bosun, Peter Bovey, toasted the fleet. “There are Wood Ships and there are Good Ships and there are ships that go to sea but the Best Ships are Friendships and may they always be and the Queen, God Bless Her."