Join Date: Feb 2002
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Looking for a quality 27-30ft boat
I will second ndsailors'' comment on the Westerly Centaur. I own a 1967 Westerly 25, and have sailed on a Centaur. I am now trading up to a Pacific Seacraft Dana 24 and am selling the 25''. I started with an Aquarius 23'' 22 years ago, moved to the Westerly, now to the Dana.
I''ve been an inland sailor, and am now intending to make coastal and short offshore passages---including the trip to the bahamas and sailing the Sea of Cortez.
The Westerly''s are built in Plymouth, England, and built very tough. Less than 200 of the 25''s were built, but ndsailor is quite correct---well over 2000 of the 26''s were built. The Centaur was probably the most successful English sailboat production run ever. Makes for a good network of owners. They are still common. You may even be able to find a freshwater boat if you are patient.
Both my 25 & the 26 I sailed had bilge keels (twin keels), designed in England to use the "mud" docks when the tide is out. They stand upright on the bottom when the tide is out. The 25 draws 2'' when upright, about 30" when healed.
I''ve heard mixed reviews of the sailing qualities of the twin keel design, but it does minimize draft. I''ve felt very comfortabe and safe in mine.
The Westerly''s are slow---they are a heavy displacement boat, but they are seaworthy. Frankly, "go fast" is not important to me. "Getting there safely" is---I figure having a strong, stable boat is the best defense. Westerly''s score well in that department.
My 25'' has an outboard, which I considered inappropriate for coastal and offshore work; it comes out of the water in big waves, forcing me to keep sail up, put out sea anchors and wait, or run for cover. The shoal draft makes running for cover easier.
The Centaur I sailed had an inboard diesel. Much preferable. The displacement from the Westerly 25'' to the Westerly 26 goes from approx 5000# to over 8000"; this translates into a much more liveable interior in the Centaur.
I agree that when buying an older boat, you best have some cash in your pocket. Look first to the big problems (hull, motor, keel mounts, etc) before worrying about cosmetic issues. A survey is well worth it if you are not knowledgeable on where to look for the big problems.
Maybe someone else has a better feel for the money issue. If I were to buy a $7,500 boat and plan on using it for passages to the Bahamas, I''d budget another $7,500 to go over the boat, standing and running rigging, engine, and upgrading the equipment for coastal/offshore sailing. That doesn''t include the sweat equity in bottom work, etc.
Good luck. Best of luck