MATAWAI’s Passage to Florida



By Bob Marston, Partner

I really enjoyed getting to know the new owner of the Oyster 655 MATAWAI. I know from my years at Oyster Yachts that the decision to purchase a serious cruising and long-term liveaboard is not arrived at easily. Considerable time is spent researching options available on the market and having a good think about how one will use the boat. After viewing several different models ranging from 56 to 72 feet, the Oyster 655 was a perfect fit for what he was looking to achieve.

After taking delivery in early November, the owner and a crew of friends prepared MATAWAI for a late-November departure, with the warm waters of Florida as a final destination. The week before embarking was spent making sure all crew were familiar with the yacht and its safety gear. Of equal importance, the extensive food provisioning took the better part of a day — it was gourmet all the way!

Reaching out of Newport, RI

Reaching out of Newport, RI

MATAWAI departed Newport, RI on a cold 20 degree day with a strong breeze out of the northwest, perfect for heading south. They made a fast offshore passage to Virginia where the Captain decided to duck into Norfolk for three days to avoid a weather system, before heading out around Cape Hatteras.

A cold departure

A Cold Departure

Waiting out the weather in Norfolk

Waiting Out the Weather in Norfolk

Once the storm system had passed, MATAWAI left Norfolk early in the morning. At sunrise they were greeted by a USCG patrol boat, who kindly asked them to “hold course and speed.” When asked why, the officer, leaning on a machine gun at the bow, pointed to an Attack-class submarine heading in their direction. “OK, hold course it is!”

USCG Patrol boat

USCG Patrol Boat

MATAWAI continued non-stop to Fort Lauderdale. Every further mile south was welcomed by all aboard, as temperatures increased and the cold-weather New England layers could finally be stowed away. The crew reported that highlights of the passage included laying on the foredeck during the day, watching dolphins playing in the bow waves and evening meals in the cockpit spent watching spectacular sunsets.

Matawai Crew Enjoying Gulfstream Temperatures

The Crew Enjoying Gulfstream Temperatures

Matawai, Dolphins frolic in the bow wake

Dolphins Frolic in the Bow Wake

Matawai, Sunset

The Beginning of a Beautiful Sunset

Now safe and sound in Florida, the owner plans to use his time this winter to familiarize himself with the boat by making trips to the Bahamas and the Keys, before heading off to distant horizons next winter.

Matawai, Oyster 655, arrived in Fort Lauderdale

Arrived in Fort Lauderdale

Matawai, Oyster 655, Tied up and ready for the next adventure!

Tied up and ready for the next adventure!