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  #1  
Old 12-05-2008
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Westerly centaur or bristol 24

Hello all,

Ive been lurking awhile, and am finally down to a point where i am going to buy. I've looked at a bunch of boats from 24 to 36.

I am a newbie to sailing and looking to live aboard down in the florida keys.

All the boats that are way bigger would be better live aboards no doubt, but its either try to get financing and do some work or go with a more modest layout initially get sailing now without the worry of a loan sucking out my spending money for the boat, plus as we all know the cost of new goodies increases exponentially with length so thats what i decided to do. Id rather get one i can make well founded, than stretch for something that might be unaffordable at this point. Plus i figure since ill fix it up (i always do) My mistakes are cheaper and ill lose less money. Better a modest boat I can sail now and lose a little money (yes it will prolly be thousands) on than some behemoth that i lose a lot of money on. and maybe never get bristol shape ya know?

I figure its a better way to go since Ill just plan on replacing shrouds and winches, interior wiring, new sails. Restoring cars was a lot like this. Plan on the pleasure of a job well done to be the reward cause a financial gain isnt gonna be it even when you do the work.

Im looking more for solidly built even if slow and forgiving over fast. I figure once i get the hang of it i can always upgrade.

Let me state first i know they are slow and 'go poorly to windward', and yes i know they dont have a shower.

Mainly i want something to sail now, maybe in 6 months or so go to the dry tortugas or the bahamas. Perhaps in a year or so I can move up or move ashore and keep the boat.

I picked the westerly and the bristol because they seem to be better built than hunters and other production boats, they seem to be forgiving, with standing headroom, modest investment, shallow draft, less expensive for new items ie Winches sails, biminis, and it seems easily single handed by a newbie like me.

I know the room is limited. I just graduated from college and lived in camper van as i moved around as an outdoor guide. My main bitch wasnt the space but the lack of headroom. Everything i own at this point fits in my dodge intrepid so i dont really have to get rid of anything.

Ive got a few lines on each boat and am interested in your opinions on each design. Im leaning heavily toward the westerly cause its bigger and the twin keels plus an enclosed head. Of course the prop would foul easier. But the bristol heels less (which i like a lot, what can i say, im a puss) and has the fuller keel which is enclosed and a higher ballast displacement ratio plus would stand up to grounding better. Plus the bristol is 2 miles away, whereas the centaur isnt. but its only 200 miles or so very doable. Both have outboards by the way, though it was an add on for the westerly.

Anyone know the capsize screen on the westerly centaur? The bristols is the magic under two number so that was a big plus.

Does anyone have any experience with the roller reefing main systems on the westerlies? this seems a big bonus to me though it adds something that could break. I figure i could cover both ends and put in manual reef points just in cas and have the best of both worlds.

Thanks for the opinions.

Josh
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  #2  
Old 12-05-2008
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I would highly recommend you look at several other boats as well... James Baldwin, a fairly well known sailor and author has a good list of small boats that might do well for you. You can find it here.

I'd personally recommend you look for a Cape Dory 25D, which has standing headroom unless you're freakishly tall. It is one of the better smalll pocket cruiser sailboats, and has a decent size head in place of a v-berth.

As for the mainsail roller reefing system... it isn't a very good system...and most people have retrofitted the boat with slab or jiffy reefing in its place. The roller reefing boom complicates using a boom vang or a preventer.

Sailcalc has capsize and other numbers for the boats... click HERE.
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Last edited by sailingdog; 12-05-2008 at 06:58 PM.
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Old 12-05-2008
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Are the westerlys tender?
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Old 12-05-2008
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I don't know... never having sailed one...
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 12-05-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
I'd personally recommend you look for a Cape Dory 25D, which has standing headroom unless you're freakishly tall. It is one of the better smalll pocket cruiser sailboats, and has a decent size head in place of a v-berth.

As for the mainsail roller reefing system... it isn't a very good system...and most people have retrofitted the boat with slab or jiffy reefing in its place. The roller reefing boom complicates using a boom vang or a preventer.
I agree with Dog's Cape Dory recommendation. This would be an excellent choice - well put together, exceptionally seaworthy and easy to sail. I seriously considered one of its big sisters (Cape Dory 30) and was very impressed by it.

I have a similar roller reefing system on my Morgan. I actually like it a lot, but the lack of boom vang is a problem. I am working on a possible solution......

Good hunting

Stuart
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Old 12-06-2008
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I've never heard anyone complain about a Bristol 24.

I was seriously considering one before deciding on my Ariel, chose the Ariel primarily because it was local and the price included delivery, even then it was a hard choice to make.

They are good boats, and by all accounts very stiff, from what I've seen they have a lot more room in them than the average 24 footer, looking at the plans, they look to have as much if not more room than my Ariel.

If I'd have had a Bristol 24 when I was younger, I'd have never left California unless it was to go across the pacific.

Ken.
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Old 12-06-2008
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Of those two choices, I would choose the Bristol. I love that boat, perfect pocket cruiser with standing headroom. I can't look at a picture of a Centaur without dry heaving a bit. uuuuuugly! so I never bothered to learn much about it, but if you can get past the looks, I'm sure it's ok. I like the Pearson Ariel and Pearson 26 as well. No way are you going to find a Cape Dory 25D for anywhere near the price of those other boats, but go ahead and try, they are great.

I have looked into Bristol 24's extensively, and the main thing I learned is there is a big difference in the keel, some used real lead and some used whatever scrap they had laying around mixed with concrete. I believe the Bristol boats were all lead.
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Old 12-07-2008
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Yeah the one im looking at is a sailstar variety and given the depth of the bilge im pretty sure its concrete. Of course im in florida so its not likely to freeze any time soon.

The bristols are a lot prettier.
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Last edited by ghostwriter247; 12-07-2008 at 06:56 PM.
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Old 12-08-2008
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Lookee here. Six grand, already in Florida. You have 20 hours to make your move!

Less pressing, here's a CD28 also in FLA, with some external storm damage, and some maggot stole the spars for crack money. How much time you have? Interior looks clean, and most of the damage looks like a person with reasonable glassing skills could put it right. I'd want a survey on that one, for sure. But spars shouldn't be hard to find down there in storm country.
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Last edited by bobmcgov; 12-08-2008 at 12:14 AM.
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Old 12-08-2008
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I recommend the Westerly Centaur heartily. Owned one for 20yrs. No, they are not tender. They are very stiff. I will wager they heel less than the Bristol. They are heavily built for their size, and have a lot of room inside - about twice as much storage space as a Cape Dory 25. One year at the Annapolis Show the Westerlies were on the same dock as the Cape Dories. I went down the line and it was not until I got to the CD 30 that there was as much storage space in the boat. I prefer the 1974 or later models, btw, and the "B" layout . But there is an early one, from the 1960's that has circumnavigated at least twice. There is a very good list serve on Yahoo where you can get any questions answered and see tons of pictures of variations and mods. You can also PM me here.

As for 'go poorly to windward' I consider that apochryphal rather than real. When heeled the leeward keel is near vertical in the water, and deeper than when upright. That resists slippage better than a single keel which is at an angle when heeled. I never felt any loss of pointing when I had good sails properly trimmed. Sailed once for a couple days in company with a Pembroke - a single keel Centaur. It couldn't do anything my boat couldn't do. But mine would stand up at low tide so I could clean the hull any time I wanted and spare the $$ from a haulout.
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