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for owners and enthusiasts of the trapper family of yachts  

History of Trappers and the relationship with Deacons Boatyard

The history of Deacons Boatyard from when it was set up by Francis Deacon in 1922 has already been recorded. However I feel it would be useful to give an account of Deacons Boatyard with Anstey Yachts Ltd which was subsequently taken over and renamed Trapper Yachts Ltd.
Anstey Yachts Ltd of Poole was set up by Russell Anstey and his wife in the late 1950s to produce fibreglass yachts under licence from C&C Yachts, Canada. At that time the main yacht involved was called the Trapper 400, a 28' light displacement racer/cruiser. In around the middle 1960s another yacht was designed by George Cuthbertson and Cassian and sold in the States. This was under the name C&C 27.
Around 1967 I came to be introduced to Russell Anstey through yachting activities. It followed a breakup between the two Anstey’s which had caused problems for the firm. At the time I was chairman of Deacons but I was also involved in a considerable export trade on food products to Canada and the United States. It was therefore decided that I would be elected chairman of the company and undertake negotiations with C&C Yachts Ltd. The end result was that the plug for the C&C 27 was imported into the UK. This was used for construction of the mould tools which was afterwards finished as a yacht for this yacht it proved to be an excellent design both as a cruiser and for handicap racing for sale in Europe. It was named the Trapper 500. Initially the yachts were fitted with a Dolphin 12hp petrol engine but later a 10hp Yanmar was fitted.
About 1970 Anstey Yachts Ltd got into financial difficulties and Deacons Boatyard agreed to take over the firm. It was successfully marketed with small numbers of the 400s still being produced, the main production being the 500. The Company was renamed Trapper Yachts.
In 1973 Trapper Yachts took over new, larger premises on the outskirts of Poole, formerly used by Kingfisher Yachts. Deacons Boatyard Ltd was then used as a sales base for the Trapper range.
A year or two later, a small company known as Blue Water Yachts Ltd, in Jersey was also taken over by Deacons. This was building a 30' boat designed by Pocock called Starlight and the 26' boat designed by Edward Dubois, known as Star Flash. We decided to modify Star Flash. Reducing the overhang by some 8", the overall length was around 25ft 7 inches. It was decided to introduce a centreboard version which was known as the Trapper 240 at 25' overall, with a transom hung rudder. Peter Dubois redesigned the centreboard for the yacht but unfortunately it was initially not very successful. However, the problems were ironed out and the boat proved to be a fast and roomy small cruiser which was designed initially as a trailer boat. Later there proved to be a demand for a keel version and therefore the Trapper 250 was produced.
The next yacht to join the fleet in 1974 was the Trapper 300 designed by Bruce Kirby. This started off as a ¼ ton racing yacht under the RORC rule since it had a wide beam with a narrow stern and this was modified as a cruiser. The Trapper 300, which had an overall length of 26.25' proved to be a successful small cruiser and one of them was sailed successfully across to the West Indies. This trip was featured in Power and Sail in 1975 and later a boat test in Yachting Monthly appeared in 1977.

In 1981 the Trapper 501 was produced. This was a more luxurious version of the 500 and was fitted with a Yanmar 8 diesel. It had a teak interior and full length cupboard for wet gear.

In the latter part of the 1970s Trapper Yachts produced the C&C 35. This yacht appeared to have potential both for cruising and racing but Trapper Yachts Ltd were not happy with the deck layout. Paul Anstey (son of Russell), who had a qualification in yacht design therefore produced a new coach roof for the 35 and this was marketed as the Trapper 700. It was supplied both with a fixed keel and, probably more popular, a keel centreboard. The initial cost of the yacht was £24,000. As a matter of interest a second hand yacht in good order has recently sold for £32,000. A boat test took place on the Trapper 700 in June 1979 by Yachting World. The engine was a 22hp Volvo Penta.

A further development was the 31' racer/cruiser. Mould tools for this were taken from a Rollercoaster, a Rob Humphreys design which was placed second in the 1979 half tonne worlds. It was initially named the Trapper 31 but subsequently named the Trapper 950. Unlike most half ton yachts of the day it was not designed specifically under the racing rule and proved to have good accommodation and was successfully raced at home and abroad.

In the early 1980s Trapper Yachts Ltd were hit by the strength of the pound under the new Thatcher regime. This had the effect of ruining the export business. The necessary sales to support production of yachts at around 150 per year at that time could not be sustained and it was decided to close the manufacturing facility. Subsequently the yachts were produced by North Shore Yachts of Emsworth.

1981 prices are given as below

In 1984 Deacons took over a yacht produced in Italy, which was named the Trapper 36. This was reviewed in the Sunday Express of 26th May 1985. Only a few of these yachts were actually sold.

In 1987 the Trapper T250S was produced. It was a keel centre-boarder and eliminated having the centreboard case in the cabin. Few of these boats were actually sold. It was fitted with a 10hp Yanmar diesel engine.

In 1987 a new yacht, produced by Barbaris in Italy, but actually built in Malta. This was a 42' racer/cruiser, a TS42. Only a few of these yachts were sold. Initially there were problems with the construction.

Trapper Yachts Special London Boat Show Prices 1981

Standard price including VAT Special London Boat Show prices (excluding VAT in brackets)
T501 Fin Keel £16,040.35 (£13,995.00)
T501 Bilge Keel £16,534.85 (£14,467.00)
T501 Kit Fin £ 9,240.97 (£ 8,085.00)
T501 Kit Bilge £ 9,735.47 (£ 8,517.00)

T300 £10,808.16 (£ 9,727.00)
T300 + Engine £13,240.76 (£11,916.00)
T300 Kit £ 7,562.17 (£ 6.806.00)
T300 Kit + Engine £ 9,804.67 (£ 8,825.00)

TS240 Special Cruiser £ 9,132.15 (£ 8,310.00)
TS240 Budget Sail away £ 6,348.00 (£5,778.00)
TS240 Kit Option £ 4,541.35 (£ 4.133.00)

T950 Cruiser/Racer £19,998.50 (£18,498.00)
T950 Kit Cruiser/Racer £ 9,180.45 (£ 8,492.00)
T950 Grand Prix £22,310.00 (£20.636.00)
T950 Kit Grand Prix On application
T700 Cruiser £30,127.13 (£27,113.00)

These prices apply to orders placed during the Show i.e. January 7th-18th 1981.
£150 secures the special Boat Show price. A firm order must be placed before 27th February 1981 to guarantee the Show price, at which time a 10% deposit will be required. A boat number and delivery date will then be specified. This proposal allows potential trapper Yacht owners the chance of taking advantage of these special prices prior to signing a building agreement.

By: Sean Fuller, Deacons Boatyard.