Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Northern Chesapeake Bay
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I owned a Centaur for over 20 yrs, and lived aboard for over 3. Most cons mentioned about them, and twin keelers in general, are by people with no extensive experience with them. A Centaur will go to windward well, just not as well as a boat with a deep keel. It is not the twin keels that are an issue, but that they are shallower than a boat with a 5ft or better keel. However, in their favor is that when heeled over the leeward keel is close to vertical in the water which makes for good resistance to leeway. I have seen matches between a Centaur and a Permbroke - same boat but single keel - and there was little discernible difference in pointing or speed. Far more important are the cut of the sails and trimming skills of the sailors.
Centaur's are very tough for their size. These were made for sailing in the North Sea, after all and built to Lloyd's standards - mine came with a certificate. They handle chop very well and are far stiffer than typical sailboats. Do not compare with a Catalina or Hunter in toughness or stability! The Westerly's were much better. They are great boats for waters like the Chesapeake. You can go lots of places with a 3ft draft, and if caught on a falling tide the boat stays upright. Cleaning the bottom regularly is very easy for same reason.
As for outboard vs inboard, I think if you are into coastal cruising you can do that. I would not want to go long distance blue water with an outboard, but hey, Robin Graham did it. Btw, my Centaur came with a 4cyl FWC engine, so not all had the Volvo's.
There are 3 different layouts. Most early boats have what became the "A" fore/aft seating dinette on the port side. More common in later years is the "B" layout "L" shaped dinette. There were a few "C" layouts that had side to side seating.
I recommend for a variety of reasons 1974 and later models as there were some design changes that are well worth having. But FWIW the Centaur I know that circumnavigated was a modified - heavily modified, late 1960's vintage. As mentioned upstream here you might look for a Berwick. Like a big brother Centaur, about 31.5ft and standing headroom all the way fwd for most of us.
btw, Practical Sailor did a review of the Centaur several years ago.
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Last edited by Trekka; 05-01-2011 at 03:11 AM.