Oyster 825 that lost her keel and sank has been raised and investigations are ongoing into the structural failure that caused the keel and its stub to break away
Polina Star III, an extended version of an Oyster 825 that lost her keel and sank off the coast of Spain on 4 July 2015, has been raised and is now being examined by experts who are investigating the cause of the failure.
Although little is yet being said about the nature of the accident, the structural failure involved in the keel and its stub breaking away from the hull of the yacht and that this, ‘was not due to a failure of keel bolts’, according to a statement on Oyster Yachts’s website.
Before the yacht was raised, underwater photographs were taken in which the company says that the intact keel bolts can be clearly seen.
Yachting World also understands that there were no obvious signs of impact on the keel.
UPDATE ON 8/12/15 >> Oyster Yachts confirms that its inspection of the other 825s ‘highlighted a possible weakness in the process used to build the inner structure of those vessels. This process has not been used on any other Oyster Yacht built in the last 40 years and will not be used again.’ >>
Read the full statement issued by Oyster Yachts below.
The Oyster 825 is one of the company’s more recent models with seven boats sold to date, two of which are competing in the 2015 ARC. These, along with boat number one and a pair of 825s that are currently in build, have all been inspected and are confirmed to be structurally safe.
In addition, the company states that the construction method used for the internal structure of the 825 is not used in any other models in the Oyster range and have verified that, ‘no other owner of an Oyster yacht need be concerned that whatever happened to Polina Star III affects the integrity of their yacht.’
While Polina Star III was an extended version of the Oyster 825, this is believed to have nothing to do with the keel failure. The additional length was a standard option achieved by utilising the additional length incorporated in the hull mould and extending the deck with the reverse sheer transom.
A spokesman for Oyster Yachts told Yachting World that full details of the investigation would be made public once the investigations by Oyster Yachts, Polina Star III’s owner and his underwriters and the Spanish authorities are complete.
Oyster added on 8 December: ‘We are aware of the criticism in some quarters of our preference not to add to the speculation of what went wrong and to wait for the independent investigation to reach a conclusion. It is also true to say in these cases of this sorts a company is very much restrained from detailed comment by insurance and legal interests.’
Statement from Oyster Yachts on the capsize and sinking of Polina Star III
‘Since the tragic loss of Polina Star III – Oyster 825-02 – in early July, Oyster has worked with a team of independent experts to review the design and construction of the Oyster 825. Since the recovery of Polina Star III from the seabed recently we have also worked with the various representatives of the Owner’s insurance Company and other stakeholders.
The objective of this work was to establish beyond doubt how and why the loss occurred, the first of its kind in Oyster’s long history. We are aware of the criticism in some quarters of our preference not to add to the speculation of what went wrong and to wait for the independent investigation to reach a conclusion; it is also true to say that in cases of this sort a company is also very much restrained from detailed comment by insurance and legal interests.
We believe however, that our fundamental and overriding priority must be to ensure the absolute safety of all our yachts and just as important to give owners and future owners every possible confidence that they are sailing in complete safety. For this reason we believe it would be unreasonable for us to delay any longer in sharing our findings of our investigations to date.
First, it is important to note that the Oyster 825 design took into account Classification Society Rules and other standards and has been independently verified.
Secondly, our inspection of the other 825s (not including Polina Star III) highlighted a possible weakness in the process used to build the inner structure of those vessels. This process has not been used on any other Oyster Yacht built over the last ~40 years and will not be used again.
The only way to check the outcome of the process is by invasive examination taking significant parts of the structure apart. This has been done on Oyster 825-01 and 03 and following these investigations the structure has been rebuilt and, to be prudent, has been reinforced. Oyster 825-04 was only partially built so we were able to verify its structure before launch. The process for Oyster 825-05 onwards has reverted to well-proven methods used on the rest of the Oyster fleet of more than 800 yachts.
Regrettably, the challenging salvage operations for Polina Star III was such that much of the structure was damaged during the recovery of the yacht and hence at this stage we are not able to confirm whether this possible weakness is related to the loss of the vessel.
We will continue to work with the Owner and his representatives as the investigations progress.
Oyster Marine hopes and trusts that release of these findings – relating only to yachts of the 825 Class – will allay any fears that may exist in relation to safety and security and confirms above all that the Company’s fundamental priority is the safety of the sailing experience on each and every one of the yachts it launches. Also that its inspection processes will meet the exacting standards required to meet this commitment.
Oyster Marine takes this opportunity to apologise to owners for any concerns they may have had
regarding safety issues and the length of time taken to release these internal findings and thanks them for their patience and understanding.
We are delighted that the owners and crew of both Oyster 825-03 and 04 have demonstrated their continued confidence in their yachts and in Oyster and have just completed fast and successful passages in the 2015 ARC.’