Every good design tells a story. It may be the artist’s personal saga or, if she’s working within the confines of a corporate identity, the client’s story. The latter is far more challenging. Designing a new yacht, for example, to replace a popular but aging model cannot be easy. The design team has to maintain the builder’s valuable stylistic identity at the same time that it updates the look and creates significant improvements in performance and livability. Oyster Marine, working with naval architect Rob Humphreys, seems to have successfully navigated these shifting shoals in developing the Oyster 625.
This new yacht’s closest antecedent is the Oyster 62, also designed in collaboration with Humphreys and introduced in 2001. An elegant piece of work at the time, the 62 had a relatively tall and upright deckhouse, flat windows and sharp angles that seem hopelessly out of date compared with the organic flow of the 625’s deck and house. On the other hand, the 625’s raised-deck salon and subtle sheer line firmly establish the new yacht as an Oyster, in the same way that Ian Callum’s design for the 2011 Jaguar XJ sedan nudges that company toward the future by paraphrasing the stylistic elements that made its earlier cars so attractive. Both designs woo potential owners with understated elegance.
A casual glance at the sheer line in profile may make you believe that it’s flat, but it dips just low enough to reveal the lovely line along the bottom of the deckhouse window. Three elements — foredeck, deckhouse and trunk cabin over the master suite aft — interact to form a harmonious unit. The foredeck rises gradually to meet the front window of the house, reducing the apparent height of the house and providing a graceful transition into the window’s severe rake. The rake and fastback at the terminus of the house form the subtle arc of the roof line, which, viewed as a separate entity, resembles that of a modern grand touring coupe. The fastback shape appears again at the after end of the trunk cabin, and in reverse as the trunk cabin joins the deckhouse, at which point it contributes to the side window’s shape. The fastback theme also appears in the curve of the transom on each side of the sugar-scoop swim platform.
The plan view shows that the 625 carries more beam aft than her predecessor does, which, combined with flatter sections, gives the yacht more bearing — an increase in lift — allowing her to surf more easily than her ancestor did. Her finer entry, compared with that of the 62, keeps head seas from significantly slowing the 625’s progress. Humphreys also lengthened waterline — always good for speed — and added freeboard. The additional freeboard increases reserve stability and at the same time lets the stylists reduce the height of the deckhouse. Although the cove stripe and portlights disguise the expanse of topsides, the optional vertical windows in the salon ought to further diminish our perception of acreage.
In addition to raising the bar on speed and handling, the changes in the hull have produced the happy side effects of more volume and enhanced livability belowdecks. The standard arrangement plan has four staterooms, one of which — on the starboard side immediately forward of the master head — may be configured as a workshop. Oyster says that the 625 is the smallest yacht in its fleet that will accommodate separate quarters for professional crew. This optional arrangement places the crew in the forepeak.
The Oyster 625 fits nicely between the 575 and 655 and gives fans of the brand a worthy option to consider when they’re shopping for a new cruising yacht.
Draft: 9’3″ (std. keel)
Draft: 7’1″ (shoal keel)
Displ.: 73,854 lb. (std. keel)
Displ.: 77,823 lb. (shoal keel)
Sail Area: 2,523 sq. ft. (150 percent foretriangle)
Sail Area/Displ. Ratio: 22.3
Displ./LWL Ratio: 182
Engine: 1 x 180-hp Volvo D4 diesel
Oyster Marine USA, 401-846-7400; www.oystermarine.com