I was recently asked by one of my readers about the Telstar and how it compares to the Corsair F28. He was wondering how much of a performance hit you take with a Telstar over a F28. He was also curious about how well the Telstar points upwind and how well it performs in light winds.
Here’s how the specs stack up against each other.
Beam: The Corsair is also 19′ 9″ wide, compared to the Telstar’s 18′, which may give it a bit better stability…but I doubt it is significantly more stable. The stability is also influenced by the ama and rig design, but I can’t speak to which is more stable overall.
Draft: The Corsair is a bit deeper draft, with 4′ 11″ daggerboard down and 1′ 2″ with daggerboard up, versus 4′ 6″ centerboard down and 1′ with it up for the Telstar. I don’t know which has more surface area, the daggerboard on the Corsair or the centerboard on the Telstar, and that is probably more significant in terms of lateral tracking ability than the actual draft.
Hull: I believe the Corsair has slightly less windage than the Telstar, as the cabin is significantly smaller than that of the Telstar. This probably gives the F28 a bit better performance upwind.
Rig: The Corsair also has a 36′ 6″ rotating mast, rather than the slightly shorter 35′ fixed mast on the Telstar, which will give the F28 a bit better performance, especially upwind. However, the rig on the Corsair is attached to the amas, and may be significantly weakened when the amas are retracted. The rig on the Telstar is attached to the center hull and is not affected by the ama position. The heavier and taller rig on the Corsair will tend to be less stable than the lower, lighter rig on the Telstar.
Sail Area: The Corsair has more sail area, with 300 sq. ft. for the main and 175 sq. ft. for the jib, compared to the Telstar’s 242 sq. ft for the main and 168 sq. ft. for the jib.
Waterline: The Corsair’s waterline comes in at 26′ 3″ versus the Telstar’s 26′ 6″. I don’t believe the difference is a significant one, especially given that these are multi-hulls, and not displacement monohulls.
Weight: The Corsair is about 900 pounds lighter, at 2,690 pounds, compared to the Telstar’s 3,600** pounds. This gives the Corsair the edge.
Upwind Performance: The Telstar points upwind quite well, and I’ve sailed one as close as 35 degrees off the wind, but performance is much better once you’re at about 45 degrees or so. I’d imagine, if I had been interested in more performance, we could have pointed a bit higher, but with some loss of speed. This is pretty comparable to the Corsair F28 in my experience.
Light Air Performance: This is probably more a factor of what sails you have in your inventory. I believe the roller furling screacher on the Telstar is 400 sq. ft. versus the Corsair’s 358 sq. ft screacher.
On the Telstar, we were able to do six knots close reaching in nine knots of wind using the only the main and 150% Genoa. Granted, we weren’t trying to trim the sails to maximize performance at the time. On a Corsair F28 in the spring of 2004, we were doing a bit over ten knots in ten knots of wind close reaching, but I don’t remember what sails were up at the time and the crew was trying a bit harder to make some speed.
Note: Two things that matter: on the Telstar, we had a 50 HP four-stroke outboard motor and four people; on the Corsair, we had a considerably lighter 9.9 HP two-stroke engine and three people.
Conclusion: I think that the Corsair F28 is a faster boat than the Telstar. The Corsair F28 is lighter and has a more efficient rig and can have more sail up. The spinnaker for the Corsair is much larger than the Telstar, 780 sq. ft. versus 590 sq. ft. The rotating mast also gives the F28 an edge upwind. If the Telstar and the Corsair are both loaded up for cruising, then I think the Corsair’s racing oriented design will suffer far more than the heavier Telstar. If both are stripped down in weight, the Corsair will offer significant performance advantages over the Telstar, as the Telstar is not designed to be raced.
But, I don’t believe that the speed advantages of the Corsair F28 outweigh the advantages of the Telstar—in terms of the comfort and safety, cabin space, better galley and head facilities, side decks/net usability, rig design or ama design. Also note, I don’t believe the Corsair F28 has lifelines on the amas—the Telstar does have removable lifelines for the amas as well as rigid sidedecks.
The Telstar can easily motor at 15 knots with the amas deployed or retracted using the 50 HP outboard. I don’t believe the Corsair is capable of this—certainly not with the amas retracted. The Telstar cruises at about seven knots with the 20 HP outboard. Also, I believe the Telstar’s amas are slightly more buoyant than the Corsair’s but don’t have actual figures for this.
If you’re looking for a boat to scream around the buoys with, then the Corsair makes much more sense. If you’re looking for a very capable and comfortable cruising sailboat, with an emphasis on comfort and versatility, then the Telstar is probably a better choice.
* Telstar jib size estimated from the 150% genoa, which measures 274 sq. ft.
** The weight of the Telstar is based on the specifications found in the Telstar 28 owner’s manual that is currently being written by Performance Cruising, Inc., which includes the weight of the outboard, sails, rigging and options. The boat I was on was probably slightly lighter, around 3,400 pounds or so. The Corsair F28 weight is from Corsair’s website and I believe it only consists of the actual hull and rigging, and does not include the outboard or other options.