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Oystercatcher XXVI planing downwind at the BV! Spring Regatta
Photo: Ingrid Abery
Oystercatcher XXVI winning her class at the Heineken Regatta
Photo: Tim Wright
Oystercatcher XXVI's minimal yet functional interior
Saloon settees double as sea berths
Oystercatcher XXVI in action at the BVI Spring Regatta
Photo: Ingrid Abery
On the wind during the Rolex Regatta, St Thomas
Photo: Ingrid Abery

Richard Matthews’ Oystercatcher XXVI, designed and project managed by Tom Humphreys and built by Geoff Hunt of Oyster Special Projects, was launched in August 2007 at Fox’s Marina, Ipswich (home of Oyster Marine). Immediately after her launch she was sailed down the coast to compete at Ramsgate Week, which started the following day – a regatta Oystercatcher XXVI went on to win convincingly.

Though not conforming to the GP42 box rule class, Oystecatcher XXVI is very similar in terms of concept, though optimised purely for IRC racing and a little more offshore oriented. With an infused carbon hull and pre-preg deck and internal structure, she is very much lighter than the majority of IRC optimised designs in her size range and combined with a generous sail plan and very high ballast ratio, she is an exhilerating boat to sail with blistering offwind performance.

After a successful start to the 2008 season in the Caribbean (winning her class at the Heineken Regatta and finishing runner-up at the BVI Spring Regatta and Antigua Race Week), she went on to convincingly win a very competitive Class 0 at Cork Week 08.