Three Hulls on the Road

To Tony Smith, the word "retirement" doesn't have quite the same connotation it might have for less energetic people. There'll be no pottering around in the garden for this longtime boatbuilder and designer. Instead, Tony and his wife Sue are heading for the Pacific Northwest, towing a 28ft Telstar trimaran that's been modified for an unusual cruise.For nearly 30 years Tony owned
Author:
Updated:
Original:

To Tony Smith, the word "retirement" doesn't have quite the same connotation it might have for less energetic people. There'll be no pottering around in the garden for this longtime boatbuilder and designer. Instead, Tony and his wife Sue are heading for the Pacific Northwest, towing a 28ft Telstar trimaran that's been modified for an unusual cruise.

For nearly 30 years Tony owned Performance Cruising, the Maryland-based company that builds the ever-popular Gemini 105MC catamaran. When daughter Laura Hershfeld took over the concern last year, Tony and Sue saw an opportunity for adventure. But first, the backstory. In 1970s England, the multihull-obsessed Tony designed and built a 26ft folding-wing trimaran called the Telstar. He sold nearly 200 of these simple, quick boats before upping stakes and shipping the molds Stateside, where a vast new market awaited. To cut a long story short, the molds were destroyed in a boatyard fire and Tony started building the Gemini catamaran instead.

Although the Gemini became a great success—over 1,000 have been built—Tony never stopped thinking about the Telstar. In 2003, he finally had the time to flesh out his dream boat, and the result was the Telstar 28, a trailerable tri with folding amas. It was a clever design, but never really caught on the way it deserved to; some 60 examples were built before Tony stopped producing the Telstar last year.

Meanwhile, Tony had conceived a grand adventure: trailer a Telstar up to Alaska, then sail/tow the boat down the West Coast to the Sea of Cortez over the course of a summer. The boat’s double-digit speed potential under power or sail makes it possible to cover long distances in a short time; and sitting on its trailer, it can whizz between cruising grounds at 60mph.

Tony is an inveterate thinker and tinkerer whose love of boats in general and enthusiasm for this one in particular can’t be concealed. He spent a winter working on his Telstar and ended up with a boat that is no ordinary trailer-sailer. You don’t see many trailer-sailers equipped with a watermaker, for instance; nor with a water heater and enclosed shower.

There is more volume in the Telstar than you’d think, but stowage is always an issue on a boat this size. The watermaker precludes the need for big water tanks, which in turn frees up space for other equipment: an extra battery, charged by a pair of solar panels and feeding low-draw LED lighting, a chart plotter and sailing instruments, and a drawer-style fridge that’s tucked away under the companionway steps.

Related

FB-BHM-1024

SAIL Black History Month Series: James Forten

James Forten was born on September 2, 1766 in Philadelphia to free Black parents Thomas and Margaret Forten. Forten attended a Quaker school as a young child, then went to work with his father who was a sailmaker. His father died when he was still young, and Forten worked ...read more

sailme-app_ SAIL

5 Ways Sail.me Helps You Monetize Your Boat

Ready to earn some extra funds by renting out your boat or yacht? Sail.me is an interactive service that allows you to monetize your boat in a secure, safe, and easy way. A user-friendly app and website will help you manage reservations, add-ons, and set customized routes to ...read more

VendeePromo

2020-21 Vendée Timeline

As a spectator event, France’s Vendée Globe never disappoints, and the 2020-21 edition of the quadrennial round-the-world race was no exception. From equipment failures to climactic rescues, heartbreaking abandonments and a breathtakingly close finish, this edition, which ...read more

valleytrunk3

BVI Chartering in the Pandemic

The week before I flew out to the British Virgin Islands for a bareboat charter, I was having a few second thoughts. The islands had broken out of their Covid-enforced tourism hiatus in December, but the conditions of entry seemed a little stringent: a negative Covid test within ...read more

01-LEAD-windfarm

Sailing Amid Offshore Wind Farms

Here in Europe, the general feeling about green energy from offshore wind turbines has moved on after an initial surge of general skepticism. Concerns raised over cost, threats to seabirds, wind interference and the rest have to some extent been answered, and it’s hard to argue ...read more

LunaRossaPrada

VIDEO: Luna Rossa Wins the Prada Cup

The show has gone on despite last week's Covid panic in Auckland, and the "underdog" Italians are victorious. After being bested by INEOS Team UK in the round robin section, they seemed to have an uphill battle ahead of them going into the finals. However, the Italians have been ...read more

FB-BHM-Cuffe-2048x

SAIL Black History Month Series: Paul Cuffe

Paul Cuffe was born on Cuttyhunk Island, Massachusetts, in 1759. His mother was a Native American woman named Ruth Moses, and his father was Kofi Slocum, a formerly enslaved man from the Ashanti Empire, located in modern-day Ghana. They had 10 children including Paul. His ...read more

Ryan-Finn

Point of SAIL: Ryan Finn on Solo-sailing a Proa Round Cape Horn

In this episode of Point of SAIL, Principal Editor Adam Cort talks with solo-sailor Ryan Finn, a veteran bluewater passagemaker looking to re-create the famed New York-to-San Francisco clipper aboard the 36ft proa, Jzerro. Although Finn was forced to abandon his first attempt ...read more