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Classic 70–ft Steel Schooner 'Spirit of Oysterhaven' is Reluctantly For Sale!  

21st November 2018
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Spirit of Oysterhaven under full sail on starboard tack Spirit of Oysterhaven under full sail on starboard tack

After 20 years of owning, restoring and operating this classic 70 ft steel schooner, Oliver Hart of Oysterhaven Marine has decided to put her up for sale. 

Designed by Frederick Parker and built in the Hamble in 1972 Spirit was fitted out in St Malo in the style of an Edwardian classic “gentleman’s” yacht. Spirit of Oysterhaven is fast and responsive, competitive in her class sailing in successive Antigua Classic Regattas in the Caribbean and Tall Ships Regattas in the Meditteranean, while her long keel and 50 tons displacement provides stability and speed sailing the wild Atlantic waves.

A full inventory and refit history is on the Spirit of Oysterhaven website here

In 1971 a French yachting enthusiast commissioned naval architect Frederick Parker to design a large ocean-going yacht to meet the exacting Lloyds 100A1 classification.

Spirit Antigua Bow waveSpirit of Oysterhaven sailing in Antigua

The hull was built in the Hamble by Joyce Brothers, a small shipyard specialising in 60 to 70-foot yachts and motor cruisers. Once completed she was shipped to St Malo in France for the interior to be fitted out in Burma teak panelling, walnut doors and teak and holly sole boards.

Spirit Afloat StbdSpirit of Oysterhaven at anchor

Commissioned in 1972 and named Senouire she was sailed to the Mediterranean where she was used for private cruising and charter, before changing hands and under the pretext of searching for “archaeological salvage” was involved in a dubious business between the Bahamas and Miami, resulting in her being impounded by the US Coastguard and sold under tender in Fort Lauderdale. Misfortune dogged the new owner and Senouire was grounded on a reef during a tropical storm after which she limped back to Ireland and was put up for sale in Kinsale, where Oliver came across her 1997 while looking for a suitable vessel on which to provide training for prospective Yachtmaster candidates.

Spirit CockpitCockpit

Following her purchase Senouire underwent a complete refit in Cork Dockyard under the scrutiny of the Department’s surveyor and in the spring of 1998 she was launched bearing her new name of Spirit of Oysterhaven and carrying the full Passenger Licence, which she used to good effect running sailing charters and adult training voyages along the south coast. Spirit also featured each week in Derek Davis’ “Out of the Blue” as presenter and crew sailed from Kilmore Quay to Bantry interviewing celebrities and sampling the finest seafood restaurants along the way! In 2001 Oliver sailed her across the Atlantic, returning the following year from Antigua to Kinsale and inspiring Theo Dorgan’s lyrical account of the voyage in his book “Sailing Home”.

Spirit ForecabinsForecabin

After a facelift and refit in Spain Spirit set off once more across the Atlantic, this time via the Cape Verde islands, landing in Tobago, and sailing up along the island chain as far as Antigua, where she once again sailed in Antigua Classic Regatta. Following a more extensive refit in Trinidad Spirit sailed back to Ireland via the Azores in the spring of 2010 and in Oldcourt, Baltimore began the process of upgrading her systems to meet the new Passenger Boat Comsail regulations.

In 2012, with her new licence, she set off for the Tall Ships in Dublin with a crew of young people, some able-bodied and some with disabilities, as part of a Club initiative. The following year she sailed to Barcelona, Toulon and La Spezia participating in the Mediterranean Tall Ships Regatta with a crew of young Irish participants.

Spirit Fwd BelowForward view

Over the past five years, Spirit of Oysterhaven has been Ireland’s de facto Sail Training vessel, filling the vacuum left after the demise of Asgard II. In her busiest year, when she completed a circumnavigation of Ireland, Spirit took as many trainees on board as Asgard did in a season. The voyage programme, which was developed under the auspices of Sail Training Ireland and with the support of many Port Authorities around the country, encouraged the participation of disadvantaged or marginalised groups of young people in a life-changing and affirming experience. The success of the enterprise demonstrated how such a cost-effective regional model of sail training operation could be replicated around the country. In recognition of that work Spirit of Oysterhaven was awarded Best Vessel Operator in the small vessel category by Sail Training International, the governing body for Sail Training worldwide, an award we shared with our partner Safehaven Voyages.

Spirit GalleyGalley

In 2017 Spirit undertook a final 'lap of honour' around the Atlantic and participated in Antigua Classic Regatta for the third time, returning via Bermuda and the Azores. Overwintering in Lanzarote Spirit sailed to the Azores in March of 2018 before hauling out for a final refit and respray in Xufre, Ria Do Arousa, Galicia, where she currently lies awaiting inspection from prospective buyers.

Spirit SaloonSaloon

Her beautifully appointed interior, Burma teak and burnished brass, make her an ideal vessel for corporate hospitality and charter, while her schooner rig and stable deck layout provide every opportunity for trainees to “learn the ropes”. Spirit not only offers unrivalled opportunities for sail training and corporate hospitality sailing but her steel construction, powerful low aspect rig and long displacement keel make her an ideal blue water vessel, whether for ocean mile-building, high latitude exploration expeditions or short-handed round the world cruising.

A full inventory and refit history is on the Spirit of Oysterhaven website here

Price €345,000 plus Vat
(Commercial vessel over 15 tons zero-rated in Ireland)

If you would like details of survey reports or any other information please contact Oliver at [email protected]

Published in Boat Sales
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