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Oystercatcher XXVI
Photo: Tim Wright (Photo Action)

Oystercatcher XXVI, the new HYD42 designed and project managed by Tom Humphreys at Humphreys Yacht Design, has had a promising start to the 2008 racing season, winning her class in the Heineken Regatta and finishing second in class at both the BVI Spring Regatta and Antigua Race Week. This success at the start of the 2008 season follows on from a string of wins on the east coast of England at the end of the 2007 season, shortly after she was launched.

The Tom Humphreys design is very much an “IRC friendly” adaptation of the new GP42 box rule class. The design is a few hundred kilos heavier than a GP42 (though 90% of this extra weight has gone into the bulb) and features a few more creature comforts in the interior including a small galley, seated nav station, saloon area and a fully enclosed heads compartment.

The high modulus carbon Hall Spars rig is similar in proportions to that of a GP42 though downwind masthead A-sails are flown from a retractable bow sprit and Lewmar pedestal driven primary winches provide the line speed required when gybing the big chutes. Backstay, outhaul and cunningham are all on Navtec supplied hydraulics and sails are by North UK and Dolphin.

Built by Oyster Special Projects in Colchester, UK, the new boat uses many innovative design and construction details and has formed part of Oyster’s overall product development program (for example the new Oyster 100 uses the same resin infusion system first used by Oyster on the HYD42). Female moulds were used for the hull and deck shell. The deck and internal structure are all made from carbon prepreg while the hull shell is infused carbon. All non-structural interior components are constructed in E-glass sandwich panels.

The success of Oystercatcher XXVI marks the re-emergence of Humphreys Yacht Design in the grand prix racing arena. The team are currently working on a range of such projects including the design of Team Russia’s Volvo Open 70 and the Orca Class 40, both due to launch this spring.

After her successful Caribbean season opener, Oystercatcher XXVI will return to Europe shortly for a summer racing under IRC in British waters.