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Amazing Grace: This Oyster 37 Genuine Cruiser-Racer is a Very Versatile Sailing Proposition

23rd May 2021
Successful in racing, successful in cruising – the Oyster 37 Amazing Grace has much to offer.
Successful in racing, successful in cruising – the Oyster 37 Amazing Grace has much to offer.

It's always heartening to know that there are boats like the Oyster 37 Amazing Grace in the Irish fleet. They date from that era in the mid-to-late 1970s when leading yacht designers (in this case Don Pye of Holman & Pye) were using all their talents to create attractive yachts which looked good, fitted well into the International Offshore Rule, and yet in addition to their competitive all-round performance in racing, they were comfortable at sea, while once the next port or anchorage was reached, their onboard comfort easily matched that of pure cruisers.

In all, 40 Oyster 37s were built between 1978 and 1981. And as Amazing Grace appeared in 1979, she was in the optimum cohort for having any snags sorted, while still being a fresh design which engendered the enthusiasm of novelty among her build team.

To a modern owner, a significant consideration will be the fact that she's now more than forty years old, but this should not be a matter of undue concern. On the contrary, GRP boats of the time were still being overbuilt, her hull will last for ever, and her trademark Oyster quality joinery work would be of stellar cost if you tried to reproduce it today.

Although you have full sleeping accommodation for eight, unless you were on a flat-out racing campaign, the ideal cruising ship's complement would be four to six, and she could comfortably be sailed by three.

While the cleverly-optimised Oyster 37 layout can provide real sleeping accommodation for eight, she could be cruised in great comfort with three or four on board.   While the cleverly-optimised Oyster 37 layout can provide real sleeping accommodation for eight, she could be cruised in great comfort with three or four on board

In terms of the latest sail-plan thinking, her masthead foretriangle may seem enormous. But with a well-cut and cleverly-padded purpose-designed roller genoa – ideally controlled by an oversize roller furler – you can keep everything forward of the mast in order.

Yet so much sail area is available in the headsail that for short hops during local cruising, you'll often find you don't need to bother setting the mainsail at all, and you'll find that comments from others about being a "one-masted schooner" will have more than a tinge of envy about them. As for the challenge that such a foretriangle imposes in terms of a long and heavy spinnaker pole, in this case, it was neatly solved with a carbon-fibre pole added to the inventory in 2014.

Any Oyster 37 is a worthwhile proposition, but Amazing Grace's record speaks for itself, as it includes overall victory in the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race as recently as 2013 in addition to many more local successes in the places which she has known as her home port.

Full details of this impressive boat – sensibly priced at €39,500 – are here

Published in Boat Sales
WM Nixon

About The Author

WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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