Small Trimaran Charter on the Chesapeake
I discovered Chesapeake Sailing Tours a few weeks ago while surfing the net. This business is unique because they actually offer a small trimaran charter for daysailing. I’ve wanted to find out more about their sailing excursions ever since … especially considering this cabin cruising trimaran is just a stone’s throw from my slice of the coast.
I emailed the captain, Dan Tobin, and asked him if he’d share a little about himself and his trimaran charter business with us. He kindly sent me the following … along with a few photos and short YouTube videos.
Chesapeake Sailing Tours
by Dan Tobin
I sailed a little bit while I was growing up, but never particularly seriously. It wasn’t until after I graduated from college that I really got into sailing. I was, of course, expected to go right out and get a real job, but I convinced my parents to let me take a little time off first. After a short stint out in Steamboat Springs Co., I headed down to Key West for one last Winter of fun.
Shortly before it was time for me to come back home, I “lucked” into a job on one of the large catamarans that do snorkeling / sunset sails down there, and I was hooked. Thirteen years later, I finally came back up north to Annapolis
with a Captain’s license, a wife, and three kids, but still no “real job”!
Multihull sailboats are very common down in the keys due to the typically shallow water, and because they are fast enough to get snorkelers out to the reef and back in a timely manner. As such, much of my sailing experience has been on multihulls. I like cats and tris for most of the obvious reasons; speed, stability, shallow draft, lots of deck space, etc., but I became attracted to the idea of a trimaran specifically when considering a boat for my business. I did so for all of those reasons, but there was one characteristic that set it apart from a catamaran. That is it’s ability to fold in from a beam of about 20′ to a beam of about 10’6″. To my knowledge, there are no catamarans that can do this, and to me this is a huge factor. With this ability, the boat can fit in a traditional slip, and can be easily trailered as well.
I acquired my boat about two years ago from a guy who had read a post of mine on the Quorning Dragonfly website asking a question about the boats. He replied that he had a Dragonfly 800 at a marina about twenty minutes away, and was thinking about selling it. I replied that it was probably out of my price range, but he said that he would let it go reasonably as he hadn’t used the boat much for awhile.
I went down to look at the boat, and it definitely needed a lot of work. He offered it for a great price however, and I couldn’t say no. Anyway, after a fairly major refitting, the boat is in great shape, and I am thrilled with it!
The boat was built in Denmark. Dragonfly’s are great boats, and are very popular in Europe. There are not very many of them around in the U.S., but you will see one around here and there. There is a dealer in New Jersey, and they usually have a boat at the Annapolis Boat show. They are probably not quite as fast as the Corsair F boats, but have a much nicer, cruising quality interior. They are certainly still very fast boats though! I have had mine up to fifteen knots, and have heard people commonly get up over twenty knots with a spinnaker.
I have been working on other people’s boats for about twenty years (15 years as a licensed Captain), and when I moved up to Annapolis, I found that there really were not many charter sailboats around as compared to Key West. Also, most of the boats were larger vessels taking thirty or more passengers. It seemed like there would be a demand for a smaller boat suitable for just one small group or couple, so I started looking at different boat options.
I decided the ideal boat would be a trimaran for all of the reasons listed previously, but was unsure about which one, or if I could even afford one. The Dragonfly has been a great success, and I think it is more appealing to a potential customer to go out on a fast, sleek trimaran as compared to a typical monohull boat.
We feel we have a somewhat unique business in the Annapolis area for several reasons. First, I believe we are the only trimaran charter boat in the area, large or small. Second, we only cater to smaller groups no larger than four people at a time. It is also a private charter, so the boat is reserved for the one group only. We could take up to six legally, but feel that this makes the boat too crowded, and detracts from the overall experience we are trying to give to our customers. Last, I encourage our passengers to be hands on, and I allow them to steer the boat, and trim sails, etc., if they are interested. Of course, if they prefer to kick back and relax, that is fine as well. Please check out our website for more details, and contact info.
Thanks for sharing Dan! — Small Tri Guy Visit Chesapeake Sailing Tours for more information about how to enjoy a trimaran charter this season on the Chesapeake Bay.