Each month we pick out an iconic boat that can lay claim to the title of world’s coolest boat. This month, we take a closer look at the Oyster LD43/OM43.
UK-based Oyster Yachts has been building beautiful high quality world-girdling sailboats for half a century. If you want the ultimate in production sailing yachts, Oyster is likely to be on your list.
What it is less well known for is motor boats. But not completely unknown because in 2005, Oyster decided to create a motor boat targeted specifically at its discerning clientele.
If you were an Oyster person at heart, but wanted more speed, convenience or perhaps were just finding sailing a little much, then this was intended to be your go-to choice.
Called the 43LD and originally built by McDell Marine in New Zealand, the name referred to the fact that it was a 43ft picnic boat (LD stood for ‘lunch and dinner’), which is why it had just the one comfortable cabin with a centreline double bed, the heads and an oversized galley on the lower deck.
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Two huge captain’s chairs graced the forward end of the main deck, one behind an expansive helm, the other adjacent. Behind those were your dining options, two C-shaped settees with individual tables in the saloon, or two L-shaped settees around a huge folding table in the cockpit.
Of course the LD43 wasn’t just about dining, it was about looking good and going fast and it did the former via a beautiful sweeping sheer line and a further swage
line that swept from the top of the windscreen down and into the cockpit coamings.
It is a great looking boat. The latter was performed via a pair of 480hp Yanmar diesels linked, unusually, to Hamilton jet drives. The idea was to enable running in shallow waters and improved manoeuvrability, in fact this boat was fitted with one of the very first joystick-type controls, although it looked more like a computer mouse and was indeed called Mouseboat.
But the idea was the same, you move the mouse the way you want the boat to go and it converts that input into instructions for the steering and gearboxes, and away you go. The top speed was 30 knots.
In 2008 Oyster launched an OM43 version (we never did discover what OM stood for). Built by Broom Boats in Norfolk, it featured two cabins on the lower deck, moving the galley up to the starboard side of the saloon behind the helm.
The saloon roof moulding was modified with an extended overhang and engines switched to twin Cummins 480hp diesels, still linked to the Hamilton jets.
Only 20 were ever built, 16 of the LD version and four of the OM model, ensuring that this rare gem remains as exclusive as it is beautiful.
Oyster LD43/OM43 specifications
Power: Twin Yanmar or Cummins 480hp diesel engines
Speed: 30 knots
Price when launched: £650,000
To submit your suggestion for the world’s coolest boat, head over to the MBY forum.