Boat builder Oyster Yachts, which has bases in Suffolk and Norfolk, will launch its newest yacht with a series of events around the world – starting at St Katharine Dock in London next month.

The world premiere of the Oyster 495 will visit 11 cities, with the launch event at St Katharine Dock taking place from April 21-24. From London, the Oyster 495 will set off on her maiden voyage to Oslo, and then on to Gothenburg, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Southampton, Barcelona, Cannes, Palma, Miami, and finally Sydney.

The 495 is a collaboration between Humphreys Yacht Design and Oyster’s own in-house design studio, overseen by CEO and owner Richard Hadida and founder Richard Matthews. Entirely hand-built, the 50-foot bluewater sailing yacht offers many of the features found on Oyster’s larger yachts, such as the 885 and 1225.

The company says the 495 is ideal for couples and families, and is “equally at home on coastal cruising trips, crossing an ocean or even circumnavigating the globe.”

Each event on the world premiere is invitation-only – offering people individual timeslots to look around the 495. “The private view concept has been very successful for us, especially over the past couple of years,” said Stephen Parkinson, Oyster sales director. “The world premiere further develops this concept and, importantly, takes us direct to our clients. Each stopover event will be managed by our excellent sales team, and guests will be able to explore this ground-breaking boat in safety and in their own time.”

Oyster Yachts, formerly Oyster Marine, was first established in 1973. The company is headquartered in Southampton – with additional bases in Newport, USA and Palma, Majorca. However, it retains a strong presence in both Norfolk and Suffolk, with manufacturing facilities at Wroxham and Fox’s Marina, Ipswich – as well as a specialist technology centre in Ashmanhaugh. Its yachts are designed in-house, launched and then commissioned on the River Orwell in Suffolk.

The company also runs the Oyster World Rally, a non-competitive rally that circumnavigates the globe over the course of 16 months, with 25 stopover locations. The 2022-23 Oyster World Rally set off from Charlotte Point, Antigua on Sunday, January 9 – with 25 Oyster yachts taking part in the 27,000 nautical-mile circumnavigation.

Last summer, the company launched a recruitment drive in Norfolk as part of wider expansion plans, encouraging young people and women to apply in a bid to diversify the industry as a whole. It is targeting £50m turnover in 2022, having been taken over by CEO Richard Hadida in 2018.

“Oyster has a history of employing some of the best local craftsmen and women in Norfolk and Suffolk,” said Natalie Fox, HR director. “We are currently hiring for a broad range of marine-skilled trade positions to help meet growing demand for our yachts.”

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