THE TALK OF MIAMI: Big Motors & Oyster Rumors Confirmed

Boats and skyline

I put in an appearance at the Miami International Boat Show last week for the first time in a few years. My first visit actually since the main part of the show moved out of Miami Beach and consolidated all its bits in front of the old Marine Stadium on Virginia Key. While roaming the ever-shrinking sailboat side of the show (it didn’t take long) I had a few conversations about the demise of Oyster Yachts. Word on the docks had it that the Polina Star III keel disaster was indeed the proximate cause of the boatbuilder’s sudden liquidation. And now today we find that Alexander Ezhkov, the aggrieved Russian owner of Polina Star, has unveiled a full barrage of information pertaining to his ongoing dispute with the builder on a website appropriately entitled How It Went Down.

The site offers up lots of documentation, including the original build contract, surveyor’s reports, incident reports, a communications log, and a detailed timeline of the yacht’s brief existence and the dispute that blossomed out of it.

Polina raised

Polina Star III after she was recovered from the bottom of the Mediterranean in 2015

Torn laminate

Where the keel used to be. As you can see, a huge piece of laminate ripped off the bottom of the boat

Though Ezhkov did receive an insurance pay-out for the loss of his boat, he has continued to assert claims against Oyster for uninsured incidental losses, and Oyster has repeatedly refused to negotiate with him. The last unsuccessful attempt to talk was at the Boot Dusseldorf show in January, shortly after which Oyster announced it was liquidating. Ezhkov now is asserting that Oyster’s owners may have stripped the company of assets prior to the announcement.

No one I spoke with at Miami believes there is any chance that Oyster’s founder, Richard Matthews, will swoop in to the rescue the company, in spite of much hopeful speculation among Oyster’s cult of faithful owners.

As for the Miami show itself, I have to say it seems smaller than before. But, as always, it had lots of interesting things in it that you never see at sailboat shows…


Starting with women who dress like this

Pointy Merc

And outboard motors that look like this!

Marine stadium

The old Marine Stadium, a graffiti-covered ruin, looms over the show docks, creating a vaguely post-apocalyptic ambiance

Fuel cell

An EFOY fuel cell. It turns 2.6 gallons of methanol into 925 amp-hours of electricity, with a bit of fresh water left over. Charging output of this top-of-the-line unit ($6,900) is 8.75 amps for a daily capacity of 210 amp-hours. These have actually been around for a few years now. Not enough output to run everything, but combine it with solar and wind and you can go a long long time without worrying about juice


These are very cool (a 2017 SAIL Magazine Pittman Award winner) and are now being distributed by Weems & Plath as the CrewWatcher. Buy this $90 fob, download a free app to your phone or tablet, and you have a working MOB alert system

Propane Tohatsu

Never seen one of these before. A propane-powered Tohatsu outboard


Torqeedo and BMW, together at last! An all-electric marriage made in heaven

Five motors

Too many outboards for sure


This was my favorite boat in the show. An aluminum lifeboat tricked out for power-lounging, with toeholds, a handhold, and a swim step incorporated into the stem

Marlow Hunter 47

And yes, there were some sailboats, including this Marlow Hunter 47 with Bahamas turquoise topsides and matching spongy Sea Dek nonskid. Crazy mon!

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3 Responses
  1. Rick P

    They still make sailboats? Alas we’re witnessing the slow death of an industry. Can someone tell our youth and the millennial generation about the joys of sailing? The yacht clubs are too focused on racing, something that isn’t going to help sailing grow….

  2. Jim Simons

    I agree with Rick. Spent a number of years racing on Lake Ontario, but the best sailing was on the Beneteau 36.5 on a Sunday afternoon, the owner and I just sailing, talking, eating and a little beer. Great memories. I have had it with racing. Injuries etc. Did the ARC but that was sailing.
    To win one club race on a Wednesday evening and be probably one of 5,000 Wed. Races. Not really a big deal. IF you are not having fun, you are in the wrong sport.

  3. John S

    The sailing “industry” has commercialized sailing in such a way that people of average means have to really stretch to afford it. And even then, the vast majority of people I know are buying old boats and milking them along. Who buys these new million dollar boats? Every sailing rag is filled with advertising for “must have” gear. Unless you are really determined, it’s hard to resist purchasing all the “cool” stuff for your boat. I have seen people with old boats spends tens of thousands of dollars for electronic upgrades and other high tech gear instead of spending money on basic maintenance or a new set of sails. And for what? Very little of the cool gear makes you a safer, happier, or more competent sailor. It just makes you poorer and overly complicates your boat. It’s easy to lose sight of the very thing that made sailing appeal to us in the first place. Wind, water, skill, and a sense of freedom. The sailing rags and the sailing industry will be the architects of the demise of sailing. Reading about the new boats that seems more about technology and glitz rather the essence of sailing makes me feel like Andy Rooney. “Have ya ever wondered….”

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