The management of the well-known British brand is confident that in the near future there will be a significant decline in interest in motor boats in favor of sailing boats in the world.
The history of Oyster Yachts began in 1973 with the 10-meter sailing yacht UFO II, created with all the latest achievements of that time and built by Holman & Pye. The ship turned out to be very successful and repeatedly won convincing victories in a number of different competitions. This ensured the success of the UFO 34 yacht, designed on the basis of the UFO II and becoming the first commercial proposal of the young company.
Constructed from fiberglass, the UFO 34 was designed for navigation in difficult weather conditions and was designed for both long sea voyages and competitions. In total, 150 such vessels were built, which showed excellent results, proving their reliability and versatility. The UFO 34 was followed by other no less remarkable yachts that brought Oyster Yachts worldwide fame.
Unfortunately, at the beginning of the 21st century, the company's activities were far from being so successful. Sales of Oyster Yachts gradually declined, customers left. The last sales record was set in 2004 with 63 units sold. Then a small surge occurred in 2009 - 54 units. In 2015, the company managed to sell only 20 vessels.
In many ways, the decline was due to a decrease in buyers' interest in classic sailing yachts in favor of motorized vessels. Thus, the last surge of interest in sailboats 24 meters or more in length occurred in 2000, followed by a series of brief bursts followed by falls. At the same time, "Oyster has lost its way and lost touch with its core values," says Oyster's commercial director Paul Adamson.
Things started to change for Oyster Yachts in 2018 when Richard Hadida bought the company for £6.7 million. Now he is the owner and CEO of the 40 year old brand. The main thing that Hadida did was to surround himself with a team of professionals in love with sailing.
Much has been done to restore consumer confidence in the brand. And although the first couple of years turned out to be unprofitable for him, the situation seems to have begun to improve. The company became profitable again. The restoration of affairs is already evidenced by the fact that the number of employees in the company has increased to 420 people and Hadid plans to bring this number to 500.
Moreover, the company's management is confident not only in the great future of the brand, but also of sailing in general. According to Hadid and Adamson, in the near future we will see an increase in interest in sailboats - one of the oldest modes of transport. In particular, this will happen against the backdrop of increasing interest in environmentally friendly solutions. After all, even if you burn fuel using a generator on a sailing yacht, it still consumes many times less than even the most economical diesel engines require.
It is stated that Oyster Yachts is doing everything possible to guarantee the maximum environmental friendliness of the boats it manufactures. At the same time, the fact that not just newfangled technology approaches are used, but those that have shown their effectiveness is especially noted.
According to Adamson, "sales of sailing yachts will only increase, while sales of motorboats will fall." I am sure of such changes and Hadid, who believes that the coronavirus pandemic will also contribute to the growth of interest in sailing. Instead of acquiring mansions, people will be more willing to splurge on yachts that will allow them to travel from country to country to get to a safe place.
Today in the world there are more and more developments of environmentally friendly propulsion. But for the most part, they still remain nothing more than interesting experiments. The sail, on the other hand, was and remains a technology proven for millennia, moreover, fanned by a romantic halo.
So far, it is difficult to assess how correct Oyster Yachts' forecast for sailing ships is. It is especially difficult to make any assumptions about superyacht segment. But one thing is for sure - the famous company has survived difficult times and is moving in the right direction.