When British sailing yacht builder Oyster went in to administration in 2018 no-one was more surprised than Richard Hadida, the proud owner of 27 metre Oyster sailing yacht Lush. “I’m a great lover and a great believer in Oyster yacht brand,” he explains. “I’ve sailed in one for years, I’m an owner and I was truly shocked when it went in to administration.”
As anyone with a keen interest in the sailing world will know, Hadida is now the CEO of Oyster after a successful ownership bid. “Once the shock had worn off I thought, ‘Maybe this is for me, maybe I’m the guy who can spin this business around’,” he says. “Suddenly I found myself owning the best bluewater yacht company in the world.”
So what is Hadida’s vision for the future of this storied British builder? The answer to success, it seems, lies in a variety of exciting new models. The yard has already begun construction on no fewer than three new designs - the 565, the 595 and the 1225 - which between them represent new offerings at both the smallest and largest ends of Oyster’s range.
The second component to Oyster’s revitalisation, Hadida explains, is a sustainable, more environmentally friendly outlook. “The green question is the biggest question. Obviously sail yachts are sail driven so they don’t have to use carbon emissions to get across the Atlantic,” he says. “Beyond that Oyster is trying to work out what can we do as a company to protect the oceans and the world for our children.”
“There is lots of work and research going into more ecologically sound drives, such as electric lithium ion batteries, but these things have questions attached to them,” he adds. “It’s not about saying, ‘Oh, I’ll slap in a hybrid diesel-electric and that will make the world a better place. We have to do real things that make a real difference.”
With the first of Oyster’s new models anticipating delivery in summer 2019 and the annual Oyster regatta set to take place in Antigua in April, the future for this veteran sailing yacht builder looks brighter than ever.