Three Hulls on the Road Page 2

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
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The forepeak is given over to toilet, shower and stowage, but a comfortable double berth can be formed in the saloon by shuffling a few cushions around. During the day there is ample space for two people to stretch out on the settees and admire the scenery through the portlights. On deck, a full cockpit enclosure can be rigged to keep warmth in and mosquitoes out, thus much enlarging the living area.

Having seen how the Smiths so easily launched and rigged the Telstar, using an electric winch handle to crank up the 35ft mast on its clever (and safe) system of A-frames that make light of a heavy load, I was left to reflect on the virtues of a folding trimaran as a trailerable cruiser. From its maximum of 18ft, the Telstar’s beam shrinks to a trailer-legal 8ft 6in. The combination of stability under sail and speed under power is hard to beat. So is the fact that one senior citizen (sorry, Tony) can step and unstep the mast by himself.

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At first sight the interior looks like that of a standard Telstar (above left). Tony reworked it to include a water heater and shower in the forepeak (above right). He also added a water maker (below left) and an electric single drawer fridge (below right).

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Of course, as any sailor knows, talking about spending long periods of time on a small boat is one thing; actually doing it is quite another. When the reality of close-quarters life intrudes on the romance of the sailing life, the consequences can be ugly. That’s why Tony and Sue took a trial run up the East Coast last summer, both to see how the boat worked and how they themselves would cope. Their departure coincided with a four-day nor’easter that dumped torrential rain on them from Baltimore to Boston, and instead of sampling the joys of Cape Ann, they spent the first few days of their vacation glaring out at the rain from the shelter of a hotel.

The thought of being trapped on board during such a deluge was far from pleasant, but as is the way with sailing, the bad memories disappeared when the sun reappeared. They spent a glorious few days cruising Cape Cod Bay; long enough to confirm the modified Telstar’s suitability for their West Coast plans. Glacier Bay, here they come…rain or shine.

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