Designed in 1986 by Holman & Pye to the remit of Oyster Yachts for a safe, fast blue water cruising yacht capable of being sailed short handed. There have been almost 50 examples built to date, earlier vessels were built as Oyster 53s. Each is built on a semi custom basis with three or four cabin layouts, interiors, wood finish and decor all to original owner's choice. Most interiors are in teak, but light oak, cherry and ash models have also been built.
All have been saloon deck cutters, only three ketches, the rest are sloops. Almost all have furling headsails and staysails plus in-mast furling mainsails, many with electric drive and electric primary winches.
Almost all are fitted with Perkins 4236,84 HP diesel engines and Westerbeke generators. Oyster 55 successes include twice top points scoring boat in Antigua Race week, ARC class wins, Europa Rally successes and the single most prolific boat choice for the Trade Wind Round the World Rally with seven boats taking part.