With the Oyster 53 Deck Saloon, Rob Humphreys has designed the hull, deck, and rig, while Holman & Pye have designed the interior layout and provided the technical and structural specification. The Oyster in-house team have coordinated the styling and overall details of the yacht. As with the Oyster 56 they also integrated the ergonomically-designed cockpit, whose technical specification originated from the Department of Ergonomics at Loughborough University. The design brief for the Oyster 53 was to create a yacht in a center cockpit deck saloon configuration that offers many of the features of the larger Oyster 56, but still maintains a stylish, well-proportioned outboard profile. The design team approach, linked with the use of powerful integrated CAD design computers, has created a fifty-three foot yacht with a spacious cockpit, large saloon, and up to four separate sleeping cabins. Performance and handling under sail and power are well above average, gaining from the undoubted skill of Rob Humphreys whose Whitbread and World Championship winning race designs - not to mention the Chay Blyth fleet - have established his international reputation for safe, fast yachts. The Oyster 53 features a shapely, low center of gravity, and a bulb-type, lead ballast keel which has benefited from Rob Humphreys' extensive wind tunnel testing on foil designs during some of his better known race yacht projects. This keel gives optimum stability with only moderate draft. An optional shoal draft variant with an extended keel stub is also available. Although offered with a sloop rig as standard, we expect many owners to opt for the cutter sail plan for ease of sail handling when blue water sailing. Although the 53 is unusual in offering four sleeping cabins, there is also the obvious opportunity to forgo one of these and create a dedicated machinery room, in itself an unusual feature on a yacht of this size. The 53's 15-foot 3-inch beam has been fully utilized to create a really spacious and well-proportioned saloon which, thanks to the deck saloon, is light and airy. As usual the forward deck saloon windows will open to provide unbeatable fair weather ventilation. The designer's view by Rob Humphreys: Given that cruising is often perceived as the antithesis of racing, one might be forgiven for considering the expression "performance cruiser" to be a contradiction in terms. It is not. It is the concept embodied in the highly successful Oyster 56, launched to record-breaking sales, and in her smaller sister, the Oyster 53. It is about performance in its widest sense, not just speed through the water - which is there in demonstrable measure. It is about the contribution of every design element and characteristic, each one performing and contributing to the efficiency of the collective whole. Thus boathandling is also considered an essential part of the equation. Taking passage-making speed first, it is achieved not by costly and often disconcerting application of aerospace technology to the marine environment; it is achieved in full deference to the commonly stated Oyster owner's preference for a robust, even traditional, approach to structural design, with the designers working around this prerequisite. Not negotiable either, there is no change in the standard of comfort and lavish fit-out that befits the Oyster marque. It does not take a rocket scientist to work out that we are, by necessity, talking about a moderately high displacement:length regime. One cannot magic away displacement when that parameter is the definitive manifestation of onboard well-being, but one can take a different view as to how to arrange its distribution. This, essentially, is the step forward represented by the 56 and the 53. With very few exceptions, recent race-bred naval architectural know-how has been reserved for the lower end of the displacement - length spectrum. One of these exceptions has been my long standing and arguably obstinate desire to give my offshore racing yachts a dual-purpose role. Having worked consistently and successfully on the heavier side of the team, as evidenced by a great number of major championship winners, it enabled me to relate immediately to the philosophy promulgated successfully by Oyster over the past 25 years. The resulting product is a hull-form whose topside configuration reflects what goes on under the water, allowing the necessarily full-immersed volume to run seamlessly into a similarly full topside afterbody, encouraging the water to exit the hull with minimal disturbance and raising the speed potential of the boat beyond what has traditionally been termed the hull-speed hump. The fuller-form aft coincidentally produces increased form stability and, in flattening the wavetrain, improves directional stability by allowing the rudder to work more efficiently and by negating the effect of a suspending quarter wave. Images of a heavy displacement hull pushing its limit, almost hanging off its own quarter wave with a white-knuckled helmsman wondering where he's going to go next, can be put to one side. Of course, the naval architectural sculpting is achieved at no cost to aesthetic considerations, particularly bearing in mind that the eye of the beholder is itself an evolving eye, able and willing to keep step with visual developments. So, while this boat is recognizably an Oyster in all qualitative respects, the Oyster 53 moves the game forward in terms of contemporary styling.
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