Hmmm... where to start... I've had a Telstar 28 for almost 2 years now. I've sailed it on Buzzards Bay for two seasons, and taken her out in weather that scares off the powerboats and most other sailors.
First, multihulls are a very different breed of boat from monohulls. Trimarans tend to handle much like monohulls, but don't heel as much. They will generally sail better than a catamaran, and pivot around the main hull, much in the manner of a monohull. Catamarans are a different beastie. Trimarans will generally have less stowage and cabin space than a monohull of the same LOA, while catamarans will have more cabin space and stowage. Trimarans will generally dust a monohull in performance. I've run down 40' monohulls pretty easily.
They do get a bit pissy when a 28' boat goes by them without even trying.
It is a very solid boat... and I've been very happy with mine. I've got a few videos of sailing in my Telstar up on Youtube
. I spent quite a bit of time researching boats when I was looking to buy mine—both monohulls and multihulls. There are quite a few reasons I went with the Telstar 28 over the other trimarans, and several reasons I went with a multihull over a monohull.
Hmmm... monohull vs. trimaran.
I wanted a boat that is fast. Trimarans are generally much faster than monohulls. To get similar speeds out of a monohull, I'd have to be up in the 40' range at a minimum. This was far less expensive a way to get a faster boat.
I also like the fact that it has a very shallow draft with the centerboard up... which means there are more places I can go with less trouble. I also like the fact that the boat doesn't heel much. Several of my good friends have physical disabilities and probably wouldn't be comfortable on a boat that heels 25˚ or more.
Versatility—I like the fact that I can trailer this boat if necessary. Not to many boats can go to windward at 55 mph.
Why a Telstar and not a Dragonfly or Corsair.
Well, I am not a wealthy person by any standard... I wanted a reasonably affordable boat. I looked at the three most common trimarans, which are the Telstar 28, the Dragonfly 800/900 and the Corsair 28/31. The Telstar simply gave me the most boat for the buck.
The Dragonflies are beautifully built and finished boats—and their prices reflect it. They, like the Corsairs, are fairly wet boats to sail. The folding system is one that I'm not particularly crazy about. Folding a Dragonfly 900 adds about four feet to the length of the slip required, and the folding system makes maneuvering the boat more difficult—since the rudder goes from a transom hung rudder to one five feet into the boat's effective hull length.
The Corsairs are predominantly racing focussed boats. This is especially true of the 28, which is a one-design boat. I wanted a cruising boat. The C28 doesn't come with a full galley or marine head. The options are for a camping stove and a porta-pottie. Also, the C28 doesn't have standing headroom for me, and I'm only 5' 5" or so. Clearly, the C28 wasn't an option.
The C31 is a bit better, since it has standing headroom at least. However, the C31 is about 70% more money than a Telstar 28, and doesn't really provide much more in the way of cabin space or stowage.
The mast raising system on the Corsairs also left a lot to be desired. A common way to damage a Corsair is to drop the mast while trying to raise it. One of the C31's I had looked at had the mast replaced for just that reason. Also, the mast raising system is dependent on the trailer winch... which means you can't lower or raise the mast on the water. Finally, the Corsairs were just really wet boats to sail. This is fine in the summer, but in early April, when I usually start sailing, it really isn't an option.
Finally, the folding system on the Corsairs left a lot to be desired. Most Corsairs you see in the water are on a mooring or a lift. You can't have the boat sit in the water with the amas folded for two reasons.
First, the amas folded leave the ama hull-deck join in the water. This isn't a problem on the newer boats, since the amas are effectively one-piece IIRC, but it does require you to have hull paint on the topsides and deck of the ama or get lots of nasty growth on them.
Second, the rigging is attached to the amas... folding the amas makes it far more likely that you'll lose the rig in a storm. The rigging on the Telstar is all to the main hull, and isn't affected by folding the amas.
There are two more problems IMHO with the ama folding system. One, you can't motor with the amas folding on the Farrier designs. It really isn't designed to allow that. Two, you need to have tools to fold and unfold the amas. The amas are held in the deployed position using four bolts each, and you need a wrench and the bolts to lock them down. These are two more reasons most Corsairs are on moorings.
The Telstar 28
The boat is significantly drier than the Corsair or Quornings. I think this is mostly due to the hard ama deck that extends inboard of the amas, between the akas, and tends to deflect most of the water that would normally spray up onto the main hull from the amas.
The ama folding system is very solid on the Telstars, and doesn't require any longer a slip than the actual boat. The amas do not change in orientation, like they do on the Corsairs, and only require a slightly higher waterline on the hull paint if the boat is to be stored with the amas retracted. The amas do not require any tools to deploy or fold. They are held in position using a line clutch in the cockpit locker—two lines per ama, with one tensioning the nets and the other the amas. The amas are also locked in the closed or open positions using the line clutches. The amas allow you to motor with them retracted... so the boat can be stored in a normal 25–30' slip. The ama design requires them to move forward and then back again to be either deployed or retracted, and they rise about 4" during deployment. Both of these factors make it very unlikely for the amas to retract under sail, since buoyancy and the forward motion of the boat will tend to keep the amas deployed. This is not the case with the Dragonflies, where the amas swing back to fold, or the Corsairs, where the folding mechanism requires the use of bolts to secure it in the deployed position.
The cabin on the Telstar 28 is almost as large as that of the Corsair 31 or Dragonfly 900. It comes with a marine head and galley—as well as having an option for a refrigerator. My boat was one of the first equipped with a refrigerator btw. The literature says the cabin can sleep five.. which while true, is highly optimistic. In reality, the cabin can sleep two or three in a pinch.
The mast raising system on the Telstar 28 is one of the key reasons to buy the boat. It uses a series of a-frames and a line led to a genoa sheet winch to raise and lower the mast. It can be raised or lowered in about 15-30 minutes, and this includes taking the boom on/off and all that. And it can be done by a single person, either on the water or on the trailer. One of my sister ships was on a cruise in Florida and found that the marina they had chosen to haul out at required ducking two relatively low bridges, so they just dropped the mast, and motored to the marina. If they had been in a Corsair, Quorning or monohull...they would have been screwed.
BTW, they recently modified the hull design a bit to allow for a longer centerboard than I have on my boat. The new design also has a shower dam molded into the interior, to allow you to take a shower in the head IIRC. The Telstar 28 hull numbers start at 300, since there were about 300 Telstar 26s built previously.
If you're really interested in the boat, I would recommend that you join the Telstar 28 forums, which are located here
. On Sailnet, Onremlop and CaptRon400 also have Telstar 28s IIRC.
I've got a lot about the boat, the modifications I've made to mine and the reasons I bought mine over at my blog