Common Issues With Oyster Yachts

Common Issues With Oyster Yachts | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Jacob Collier

August 30, 2022

Oyster Yachts is one of the biggest manufacturers of boats globally. But is it smooth sailing with them? What are some common issues with Oyster Yachts?

Oyster Yachts is a famous producer of sailing yachts. The company was founded in 1973 by Richard Matthews. Between 1974 and 2004, most of their products were designed by Holman and Pye, while most of the later designs were created by Rob Humphreys. A couple of years back, the company was sold after its reputation hit, and stopped making reliable yachts.

Over the years, the company has endured issues like narrow profit margins, lack of investment, and underperformance. However, on March 20th, the company was taken over by the gaming software entrepreneur Richard Hadida. Only ten employees managed to survive the collapse into insolvency.

In February 2018, HIP investment announced that it would no longer fund Oyster Yachts. This came as a shock to all the people employed at the 45-year-old sailing giant. Soon after, the company faced a loss of 380 employees across Norfolk, Southampton, and Wroxham.

As devout sailing enthusiasts, we are compelled to share the story of Oyster Yachts and the issues it faced before getting back on its feet again.


Table of contents

The Road to Bankruptcy

In July 2015, the Oyster 825 Polina Star III sank into the Mediterranean Sea after losing its keel somewhere near Spain. The 80-foot machine was launched only a year prior. A total of five crew members were on board when it sank. Having started in the Caribbean areas of Barbuda and Antigua, they had already covered a considerable portion of the ocean.

Things were looking just fine for the yacht. The day was sunny; the tides were close to 5 feet, while the wind was 18 knots. The Polina Star III crew members put in a jib while riffling the mainsail. Around two in the afternoon, the Hull started producing a loud noise, followed by a powerful vibration. The crew went into the engine room only to discover that it had been flooded.

They turned on the emergency pump immediately and then sent a distress call. Within five minutes, the hull detached from the sailboat, leading to the vessel turning over. Luckily, none of the crew members were injured in the accident, as they all managed to escape the wreck in their lifeboats. However, they did manage to videotape their sailboat drifting away. Later on, it was calculated that the torn trim area was almost 65 feet long.

It continued to drift well into the next day. From the site where the crash occurred, the vessel drifted for 15 miles. One of the steering wheels was broken, while the other was missing. It sank 4 miles away from the coast, where the depth was 130 feet.

When asked to explain what happened, the captain of the vessel said that there were issues with the keel even before the wreck took place. He also disclosed the things discovered during the warranty after the vessel was inducted into the shipyard. During the checkup, it was found that the keel’s ballast part didn’t fit well with the plastic fin on the hull due to loose and weak hull bolts.

The problem came back again in Antigua in 2014. However, the problem was swept under the carpet by the management since they didn’t want to endure the hassle of moving the vessel back to Europe for further inspections.

After the wrecked boat and its parts were collected from the water, there were no signs of collision that could have taken place after the boat drifted. The hull and the keel had no signs of collision, which is a sign that these parts didn’t come into contact with an underwater object, even after the boat drifted away.

Right after the events of July 2015, an investigation took place to discover the issues that led to the sinking of the ship. It was found that it was the issues in the vessel’s lamination that contributed to the sad demise of the Polina III Star.

Despite the isolated nature of the incident, it heavily blemished the reputation of the company. As a result, in the winter of 2018, it was announced by the company that it had gone bankrupt. The sinking of Polani III was a major hit to Oyster Yachts. It contributed to the financial demise of the company before it was taken over by Richard Hadida.

Toward the end of 2017, the company had an order book in excess of $80,000,000. Moreover, the company had also showcased its Oyster 745 model in early 2018, which was seen as a major breakthrough.

Richard Hadida Takes Over

Six weeks after the company went into administration, it was announced that it had been taken over by the famous gaming software entrepreneur Richard Hadida. After the company went into bankruptcy, it was looked after by KPMG as its administrator. KPMG was looking for someone that could take over as the owner of the sailboat manufacturer and look after its affairs.

The sum at which the deal was concluded was kept a secret. However, the deal included Oyster Marine Holdings, as well as Oyster Marine Limited. It means that everything from drawings, hull moldings, designs, and subsidiary shares had all been purchased.

Upon acquisition, the new boss, Richard Hadida, told the press that it had been a privilege and a pleasure for him to sail with Oyster Yachts for some years. He also said that he had fallen in love with the brand, the events it threw, as well as the Oyster family. He further said that his passion for the brand is what led him to purchase the company. He went on to praise the company and the people that established it and said that Oyster had been a strong household name within the global yachting fraternity.

Hadida also said that it was a moral obligation upon him as well as other yachting enthusiasts to save and preserve the prestigious yachting company. Right after taking over the firm, he said that it was about time some drastic decisions were taken to restore the firm to its former glory.

Soon after joining as the owner and the CEO of Oyster Yachts, Hadida's first priority was the 26 orders that were booked before the company went bankrupt. He also wanted to work on rehiring employees that had left the company after it faced a difficult time.

Four Years Down the Line

May 2022 has come, and it's been more than four years since Richard Hadida pulled Oyster Yachts out of the abyss. During the fourth quarter of the fiscal year 2020-2021, the company moved into a very profitable position.

While speaking to the IBI, Oyster Yacht's deputy CEO Rebecca Bridgen said that despite the pandemic, the company continued to move forward. In addition to growth, she also said that the company has once again embarked on the journey toward profitability.

As far as the turnaround plan is concerned, it was set for 2019. According to Oyster Yacht Holdings Ltd, the core objective of this plan was to successfully reestablish its operations, which included the following.

  • Production
  • Crew
  • Charter
  • Brokerage
  • Sales and support
  • Technical

Here are a couple of things the new plan includes.

  • New investment for facilities and equipment.
  • Complete redesigning for the oyster yacht range.
  • Upgrading of the design and product development process.
  • Initiatives to build a skilled and sustainable workforce that underpins the future growth of the brand.

During the fiscal year 2020, the production turnover for the company was close to $19.8 million. However, while speaking to the IBI, Bridgen was hopeful that by 2022, the company would touch $50 million, which is more than double what they were making two years ago. Under Hadida’s visionary leadership, the founder, Richard Matthews, felt confident enough to rejoin the company.

People inside and outside the company are hopeful that the Hadida-Matthews duo would help the company embark on a profitable journey. Hadida’s entrepreneurship skills and Richard Matthews’s spirit will combine to become a double-edged sword, thus putting Oyster Yachts back on the map.

Hadida says that the new models have spiked the demand for their products. He has also revealed that the orders for 2022 have 90% coverage, while orders for some series are stretching up to 2023. He has further explained that the order book is strong across various series and also across various regions.

A great example of their success is the Oyster 565, which was released in 2019. So far, 16 pieces have been sold. Another popular model is the Oyster 495, which is also high in demand, and a considerable number have been sold so far. The company is working on yet another model, which will be available this year.

While things seem promising for the boat manufacturer, they cannot factor out the likelihood of failure. While Matthews and Hadida are working day and night to restore the firm to its former glory, the margin of failure is narrow.

The company was maligned considerably when its boat sank in 2018. They cannot afford such a massacre again, considering the hard work they have put in to bring the company back to its feet. It will take some time before we can deduce whether or not the company will thrive the way it should.

Common Issues With Oyster Yachts
Jacob Collier

Jacob Collier

Born into a family of sailing enthusiasts, words like “ballast” and “jibing” were often a part of dinner conversations. These days Jacob sails a Hallberg-Rassy 44, having covered almost 6000 NM. While he’s made several voyages, his favorite one is the trip from California to Hawaii as it was his first fully independent voyage.

Read more articles

by this author

Home /

Common Issues With Oyster Yachts

Common Issues With Oyster Yachts
7 Best Places To Liveaboard A Sailboat >>Can You Live On A Sailboat Year Round? >>

Most Recent

Important Legal Info

Similar Posts

Popular Posts

Get The Best Sailing Content

Welcome aboard! Check your email...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.

(866) 342-SAIL

© 2024 Life of Sailing
Address: 11816 Inwood Rd #3024 Dallas, TX 75244
DisclaimerPrivacy Policy