Join Date: Feb 2002
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I own a ''67 Westerly 25 (outboard), and have sailed on a Centaur (inboard). Both are bilge keel boats. I like ''em. Yes, they are slow, but very strong, shoal draft, forgiving, and generally affordable. I have always felt safe on them.
When on a boat I am not in a hurry; I just want to get there safely. If you want fast, get a power driven vessel.
I like a tiller, ''cuz it''s easy to rig the auto-pilot when going to windward in light air. I motor frequently to windward in light air---the tiller is great for that.
The small Westerly''s are heavy displacement boats, but that translates into a gentler ride when the wind blows. They may not be excellent to windward, but they aren''t that bad either if you''ve got more than light air.(My first boat, a 1973 Aquarius 23'',was abysmal to windward)
Hey, I don''t care what anyone says. The Centaur had a production run of 2500 or so (a hugely successful production run). Find It was a strong, expensive, well-made boat, but couldn''t compete in the long run with cheaper (and more cheaply made) production boats.
If you find a Centaur in satisfactory condition (hire a surveyor, it''ll be worth it for your peace-of-mind) at a satisfactory price to you, pick it up and enjoy it with your young kids. It''ll take care of you.
I suspect like me, you''ll discover over time there is no ideal boat. Like the comment about cars. What''s the best car? Whatever car you''ve got that''s paid for.
I owned an 1973 Aquarius 23'' as my first boat, then the 1967 Westerly 25''. Loved them both for what they were.
Now I''ve teamed up with two others on a 1988 cutter-rigged Pacific Seacraft Dana 24 (another small heavy displacement boat with a tiller.
However, I''ll always look back on the tremendous times my family (wife and two sons)had on the Westerly. It''s been a great boat.
As a last comment, for my money, I would gladly pay a premium for a newer or rebuilt engine, especially on an older boat. Knowing I will be motoring more frequently in a heavy displacement boat, I want a good, reliable engine.