Telstar – Sailing Sunday



I was recently contacted by Drew Thompson, who is trying to track down details on his grandfathers yacht – Telstar. Telstar was designed and built the grandfather, Ivan Vitali, in 1970 from solid kauri, then glassed over. She was based on an Alan Buchanan bermudan sloop and was 33’ 6” in length.

Ivan registered Telstar with NZ Yachting so he could race and was given the sail number 1263. NZ Yachting told Drew the name was changed to Goldline – Drew tracked that lead but the owner (Murray Smith) said the yacht was never called Goldline, but Kishmul.

The history that Drew is aware of it that she was sold in 1974 when Ivan died to Chris Smith (who owns Moana at Devonport YC) who sailed her around the world before selling her in 1985. Chris believes she ran around in Noumea around 1989, but was recovered and brought back to Westhaven and repaired and that’s where the trail goes cold. Any info, insights that we can give Drew, would be much appreciated

Drew commented that the photos, from the 1970’s are not good. The writing on one picture is from Drew’s 90-year-old uncle, Lolly Vitali – the picture has been on his wall about 40 years 🙂


8 thoughts on “Telstar – Sailing Sunday

  1. And the Telstar is found!

    The Telstar is safe and sound, still sailing regularly and is well cared for – in Tanzania!

    After she was sold she continued sailing in many places, she came 11th in the Darwin – Ambon race in 1990 before making her way to Tanzania circa 1993.

    The current owner said the boom had been shortened for open ocean sailing, but she is still very fast and wins regular races where she is based at the Dar es Salaam Yacht club where she is based.

    Anyone keen to come help me sail her back from Tanzania some time…;)

    Cheers, and all the best for the New Year.



  2. Thanks for sharing Alan, lets hope we can find some info.

    For Bruce – Telstar was based on an Alan Buchanan design, but my grandfather adjusted the plans to suit his needs. The story goes that he saw it in a Sea Spray magazine in the late 60’s then set about creating his own design.

    All the pictures are Telstar – it was Yachting NZ that set me astray when they incorrectly told me it had been renamed Goldline. Sent me on quite the goose chase that set me back a bit.

    After chatting with Robin Elliot from Classic Yachts, he said the Telstar pretty much vanished in the early 80s – i.e no registrations or entries.

    I can’t accept that it’s disappeared, not just yet at least. So if anyone has any tips or suggestions for finding Telstar, I’d love to hear them.

    Thanks – Drew


  3. Ooops! That should read – ‘Roundabout (England), Rainbow II, Concord’ One Tonners. Sorry about that, Gil Littler


  4. If memory serves me well, Norm Vitali’s ‘Concord’ was a sister to Chris Bouzaid’s ‘Rainbow II’, both built at the Max Carter yard in Penrose about the same time. ‘Kishmul’ was a sister to ‘Young Nick’ built at the Brin Wilson yard in Takapuna. These latter two were an S&S development on the ‘Roundabout (England), Rainbow II, Kishmul’ One Tonners, with a wider beam, more tumblehome, trim tab, amongst other subtle changes. I know nothing about ‘Telstar’.


  5. Hi Alan, I raced to New Caledonia ( race conducted by the Onerahi Yacht Club and the Circle Nautique Caledonian) in April 1971 on the 36 foot one tonner Kishmul deigned by Sparkman and Stephens, built by Brin Wilson and owned by Whangarei pharmacist Ted Buchanan. I am uncertain that is the vessel in the photo. Kishmul did not have a doghouse. Norm Vitali (Panmure) built a 1 tonner to the same S&S (or similar) Kishmul 1 tonner design, yacht’s name escapes me. The photo does not, in my opinion, show an Alan Buchanan (England) design. regards Bruce

    On Sun, Dec 17, 2017 at 12:11 AM, #1 for classic wooden bo


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