MEMORIES OF A LIFETIME
Following the success of the inaugural Oyster World Rally in 2013-14, organised exclusively for the owners of Oyster yachts, 29 Oyster yachts have signed up to do the second Oyster World Rally 2017-19. Starting on 15th January 2017 from Antigua, this fully-supported, 27,000 mile circumnavigation extended from 15 to 27 months and comprising four connecting stages, participants can look forward in this event to lengthier, more relaxed exploration of the Pacific and Asian islands, while also discovering more of New Zealand and Australia. Follow the Oyster World Rally 2017-19.
The Oyster World Rally participants set sail on 15th January 2017.
Click here to follow their adventure.
Through the 27 month event, the route takes in some of the most beautiful regions of the world.
Click below for a full map view of the 2017-19 route.
- PART 01THE PACIFIC RALLY
- PART 02THE ANTIPODEAN CRUISE
- PART 03THE ASIAN RALLY
- PART 04THE PASSAGE HOME
SETTLING-IN AND THE FIRST PASSAGEJANUARY – APRIL 2017 / ~5000 NM
In January 2017, the second edition of the Oyster World Rally will start from Antigua, one of the spiritual homes of Oyster Yachts. The excellent yacht amenities of Antigua and the support of Oyster Yachts will aid last minute preparations for the start of the rally. The scheduled navigation of the Panama Canal will be several weeks later than before, allowing more time to prepare and to explore and enjoy the Caribbean islands between Antigua and Panama, including the wonderful Lesser Antilles of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao, and the San Blas Islands of Panama, an archipelago comprising around 365 islands and cays, of which only 49 are inhabited.
In March 2017, the Oyster yachts will regroup to navigate the Panama Canal together. The Oyster World Rally Rendezvous in Panama will be held at Shelter Bay Marina and, paving the way, the first organised social gathering since the start will be an opportunity to catch up with other sailors in the rally, sharing stories of the Caribbean and discussing plans for the Galapagos Islands, the magical location that awaits, once through the Panama Canal.
THE PACIFIC / 2017LATE APRIL – OCTOBER 2017 / ~4000 NM
The Oyster fleet is expected to arrive in the Marquesas Islands at the beginning of the dry season, avoiding the humid weather of the rainy season and to enjoy a full six months exploring thousands of islands in the Central Pacific; among them the Marquesas Islands, rich in culture with a dramatic volcanic terrain that makes the islands a favourite among adventure travellers. The prevailing south easterly wind provides a perfect sailing angle to explore destinations to the west including Tuamotos, Tahiti, Bora Bora, Tonga and Fiji. The Oyster fleet is expected to regroup in Auckland, New Zealand in late October, to be clear of and avoid the cyclone season in the South Pacific.
THE ANTIPODEAN CRUISENOVEMBER 2017 – APRIL 2018
Essentially the Antipodean segment of the rally is a five month ‘holding pattern’ during the New Zealand and Australian summer months, waiting for the weather patterns to change in the Pacific to allow sensible passage. The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia have both expressed their enthusiasm to welcome the fleet and help yachts ‘tough out this waiting time’, enjoying some of the best hospitality this part of the world can offer during the best few months of their sailing season!
The fleet will be welcomed to enjoy the use of auspicious yacht club and marina facilities and also events such as our own Oyster Regatta in Auckland late March/early April 2018 or for those exploring Australia the iconic Sydney Hobart Race on Boxing Day, December 2017 will become options. This dramatic race has its famous history and daring-do tales and each year draws yachts of all sizes and types including last year Oyster 72 Katharsis, for whom it was a ‘minor detour’ en route to Antarctica. An Oyster 55 won the cruising division of this race two years running so there will be no shortage of ideas for Part 02 of the Oyster World Rally.
Of course for those wanting to fly or ship in and out during this period both Sydney and Auckland, the City of Sails, have well established marine services including worldwide yacht transportation facilities as well as major airline hub for domestic and international destinations.
“It has been my dream for years to dive with Hammerhead sharks. The Galapagos is one of the few places in the world that these amazing creatures can be seen in abundance, often swimming in huge groups. In my opinion, this phenomenon makes the islands the most amazing place on earth.”
Lukas Schiesser, Oyster 54 In Flagranti - Mar 2013
THE ASIAN RALLYAPRIL – AUGUST 2018 / ~3800 NM
Starting from Auckland, the Oyster World Rally will sail to Vanuatu. Vanuatu was one of the most memorable locations from the first world rally and, hopefully, by the time the second Oyster World Rally arrives the islands will have recovered from the devastation experienced in the grip of Hurricane Pam. In early 2013 the Oyster World Rally fleet was treated to a wonderful welcome and hospitality throughout its stay. It will be wonderful to return and rekindle relationships. From Vanuatu, the fleet will sail to Australia, the first Oyster Rendezvous at a continental land mass since Panama.
Mackay and Cairns shape the projected route along Queensland’s Pacific shoreline, with Cairns the gateway to the amazing Great Barrier Reef and the tropical Daintree Rainforest. Darwin is then the planned eastward port of call in the Northern Territory and the gateway to Kakadu, Australia’s largest National Park.
The final destination for this Asian Rally Rendezvous is planned for Bali in September 2018. Underlying this section of the rally and enabling the freedom to tailor individual itineraries, the unique flexibility of the Oyster World Rally allows participants to explore where and how they want, sailing more of Australia or heading north to Asia, cruising through Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, before regrouping in Bali.
“Our passage through the channels of officialdom to enter Indonesia were facilitated by the Oyster Team, shepherding the customs and biosecurity teams around the fleet, before we were allowed ashore. The Oyster Rally management team had managed to corral Biosecurity, Customs, Immigration and the Port Authority into a single hall. Armed with 10 copies of each of our Clearance papers out of Darwin, our Permit to Cruise Indonesia – CAIT (obtained in advance), our Crew List, our Ship’s Registration and passports and visas, we navigated that ‘room’ in about an hour. Heavens knows how long we would have taken had we had to go to each of their offices, one after the other. Some time before arriving in Indonesia, we went to a charity shop in Darwin to get some clothes to give away to the Kupang locals, should we get the opportunity. A small contribution to the Salvation Army and we were the proud possessors of three bags of children’s clothes. The Oyster Rally group found out about an Orphanage in Kupang and encouraged all the boats to pool together a donation to fund the purchase of sacks of rice, flour and cooking oil. Also some mattresses for the boys (who apparently have to sleep on the concrete floor) and toys, toys and toys.”
David Caukill, owner of Oyster 575, Serendipity – Aug 2013
THE PASSAGE HOMESEPTEMBER 2018 – EARLY APRIL 2019 / ~12,000 NM
The Oyster Rendezvous in Bali will be the destination for final preparations for the Oyster World Rally fleet before crossing the Indian Ocean. While the rally will have been in flow for more than 20months, the fleet still has more than 12,000 miles to sail before reaching the final destination, Antigua, in April 2019. And it is quite some voyage with the passage home including two major oceanic segments, crossing both the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. Within these, Part 04 has potentially the trickiest passage of the rally – rounding South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope with passage through the Agulhas Current, famed for big seas when the wind sets against the current.
To help here, the Oyster World Rally is once again supported by renowned meteorologist, Chris Tibbs, whose expert knowledge proved extremely valuable when the fleet encountered pretty much the only tactical challenges of the circumnavigation before making landfall in South Africa during the first Oyster World Rally. During this leg, Chris delivered bespoke weather briefs to groups of yachts in the Indian Ocean, advising them when to hold back or speed up to avoid the worst of the weather.
He commented that these few key days of sailing around 500-1,000 miles in a specific tight window of a few weeks within the 15 month, 30,000 mile adventure of a circumnavigation, is the only time the wind could be in conflict with currents and present a real challenge. The extra time of the 2017-19 rally will now take the pressure off a little, allowing the fleet to get to Cape Town a month earlier in the calendar, ahead of the tough weather that builds around the end of the year in the southern part of the Indian ocean. And of course, on top of Chris’ detailed weather forecasting, the Oyster team will be on hand to help with well practised, concentrated support.
Long before the Cape appears on participants’ daily charts, in September 2018 the Oyster World Rally fleet will depart Bali bound first for Cocos Keeling. Midway between Australia and Sri Lanka, Cocos Keeling has a population of less than 1,000 and only two of the group’s 27 islands are inhabited.
The Oyster World Rally route will then take the fleet to Mauritius and Reunion Island before making landfall in continental Africa, at Durban, South Africa to arrive in Cape Town late November 2018. The Western Cape is a magnificent location at the beginning of the South African summer. The Mediterranean climate and fertility of the region combine, producing world class citrus fruits and vegetables, as well as outstanding fish, meat and wine. The natural vistas and abundant wildlife are renowned the world over and the city of Cape Town has an international airport with worldwide connections for visitors and participants to reunite with friends and family for the festive season.
After a relaxing Christmas break between the ocean passage from Bali and the passage to the Caribbean, the Oyster World Rally fleet will depart Cape Town in January 2019. While initially planning into the inaugural Oyster World Rally a route via Brazil, less than half took this option because it added between 500-1,000 sea-miles and a further potential 1,000 mile upwind leg along the Brazilian coast. Hence the intended route for the 2017-19 Oyster World Rally is to head northwest to St Helena and Ascension Island before sailing directly to the Caribbean. A routing via Salvador, Brazil will be supported if yachts wish to take this diversion.
The passage takes the fleet through the world’s most remote oceanic location of the Southern Atlantic, however this is the one ocean in the world without a cyclonic or hurricane season; you only need be wary of the North Atlantic hurricane season which does not start until around July each year. So as the fleet leaves Cape Town you can be sure of a long but enjoyable passage. The 2013-14 fleet enjoyed 6,000 miles from Cape Town to the Caribbean with the delight of downwind sailing in less than 20 knots almost all of the time. Southeasterly trade winds and the Benguela Current will be favourable and not just for the Oyster fleet, cetaceans including whales and dolphins should be a common sight on their migration north.
The first Caribbean port of call on the passage home will be Grenada, well known to participants of the Oyster Caribbean Regattas. Grenada will offer participants a warm welcome, and the Leeward Islands beyond offer myriad experiences before the Oyster World Rally arrives at its final destination, Antigua. The final Rendezvous will be a marvellous celebration of a wonderful event, at the exact location where the Oyster World Rally started, 27 months before.
“In some ways the adventure was better than I could have expected and a lot of the surprises were down to the fact that you didn’t really know what was in front of you. I adore adventure and in whatever I am doing I like to go forward, doing things over and over again has never been my style. So sailing around the world has been absolutely fantastic.”
Eddie Jordan, Oyster 885, Lush
“In St Helena, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, we saw devil rays with a wing span of over three metres but they were small in comparison to the whale sharks, which were truly awesome. They were just spinning around us, just a few inches from us - when we surfaced from that dive we agreed that life doesn’t get any better than that. Audrey and I swam back to Lush, I put the kettle on and Audrey was showering off at the back of the boat and started yelling at me in her West of Ireland accent. A 50ft Whale Shark had followed us and was right next to the swimming platform! The masks and snorkels went on and we filmed it swimming around the boat, the whale shark was so friendly and inquisitive, we know so little about these ocean giants, it was incredible to have such a personal experience with them.”
Paul Adamson skipper of Oyster 885, Lush – Feb 14
Oyster Yachts are delighted to work with the following partners for the Oyster World Rally 2017-19. All are well equipped to offer their expertise in their specialist areas over the duration of the circumnavigation for all participants. Please click on their logos to learn more about each partner.
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