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Oyster 55, SHEARWATER – Loved by Berthon Spain since 2014

January 18, 2019


I’m at my desk, waiting for some inspiration for the next blog, when the phone rings and I’m told some new engines are being delivered. Now these aren’t just any engines. No, these are the cherry on the cake for something that my colleagues and I have worked on since we started the business. They are SHEARWATER’s new engine and generator. I am a self-confessed yacht geek, I love them, if I have 5 minutes spare in any shipyard I am all over it – kid in a candy store doesn’t come close! So it’s no surprise that I’ve fallen in love with a few yachts over the years, but some hold a special place in my heart and this is the story of one of them.

It was September 2014 and Rowan, Arthur and I were on a canal holiday in the UK and I was taking a break from captaincy and musing about starting our own business.

It was on this holiday I received a call from a charming gentleman called Charlie who was having some difficulties with his Oyster 55 and wanted someone to speak to about looking after her.

I was of course very keen and very soon met up with him and his lovely wife Jo and we agreed that I would take over the guardiennage. Whilst I was very excited about this as it was the start of our business, I had no idea of the journey we would all enjoy with SHEARWATER…


I think it’s fair to say that at that time SHEARWATER was a little tired. Not through lack of love by Charlie and Jo but perhaps because of a slightly mismanaged maintenance programme. The engine was by some miracle still running and the generator was a pile of rust.

The teak deck caulking would pull out with merely the slightest of grazes and the aluminium toerail was showing all of its 15 years of use.


As always when we take on a new yacht we started with the basics to make sure that she was mechanically sound and safe. The engine and generator were given a major service and Charlie and Jo agreed that we should re-rout and re-caulk the decks.

Soon followed a new beautiful wooden toe rail and brand new stainless steel fittings including new cleats and a new flag pole. The bilges were painted and winches, windlass and sea cocks were serviced.

It was a delight not only to see the yacht improve but also to see the lovely emails telling me how much more the owners were enjoying the boat. I could tell that, like me, they were loving the restoration process.


New cushions soon followed and then a new tender, complete with our bespoke davit lifting system to keep the tender stable.

We also had a winter cover made for SHEARWATER, which after new decks are fitted I always recommend as it saves any aggressive springtime cleaning and prolongs the life of the deck.

We have since enjoyed two fabulous Oyster Palma Regattas aboard SHEARWATER, Fairbrass family included, and she has since been named at home “The Race Boat”. She sailed like a dream and much fun has been had by all her crew.

This winter we are moving onto the next part of SHEARWATER’s journey and in the coming weeks she will be treated to a brand new engine and generator. At this time, we will also strip back and repaint the engine room and bilge and install all new ancillary equipment.

One day in the future, Rowan and I have a dream of sailing around the world. I rather hope that when that time comes the owners of SHEARWATER might be willing to sell her to me!

AF (Managing Director Berthon Spain).




For more information on Berthon Spain’s Guardiennage Services, please follow this link:


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