Thinking of downsizing from a P10M to a westerly centaur 26 - SailNet Community

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Old 04-02-2011
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Thinking of downsizing from a P10M to a westerly centaur 26

I purchased a pearson 10M over the summer and lived aboard for about 3 months. I single handed her a few times but found it to be quite exhausting and always wished I had more people with me. Have also sailed her about 200 miles with a crew. I find the 5' 11" draft and 48ft mast somewhat restrictive or maybe intimidating. I was attracted to the boat as it was the smallest and cheapest boat I looked at that had true standing headroom (am just over 6') and was reputed to be blue water capable. Having done more sailing I've found I am a coastal cruiser who may have bit off more then I feel like chewing with such a large boat.

I just discovered the westerly centaur 26 which is reputed to have 6' of headroom. I am attracted to the 3' draft, ability to dry the boat out on the beach with the twin keels, and possibility of gutting the inboard for an outboard. (I already own 2 new outboards that would be perfect) One of the things I hate about my boat is dicking around with the inboard A4 - an outboard would feel like a huge weight off my shoulders. The draft decrease would mean I could go virtually anywhere worry free vs being almost as restricted as a ship. It would also be much less intimidating to singlehand due to the smaller sail area - have found it tough to find crew. All in all it seems like a much more useable and nimble unit.

The only cons are that I am somewhat in love with the beauty of my P10M. I also have a lot of faith in how solidly shes built - very thick hull and oversize rig. Shes also a very roomy and comfortable liveaboard but almost seems like more of an apartment then a nimble and useful vehicle - I would like to have both perhaps one to live on and one to go sailing in but having two boats would be cost prohibitive. I think the centaur is a bit uglier and more cramped but the draft would be huge for ICW and bahamas cruising.

Has anyone here cruised a Westerly centaur 26? I she seaworthy enough that I wouldnt be giving up a real world cruiser for a day sailor? Does she really have 6' of headroom?

Am going to go check one out if I can find one for sale close to me...
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Old 04-02-2011
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The question is, after sailing your 10m for a bit, is it the size of the boat, or how you do or don't have it set up for ease of sail handling? Does your main have cars instead of a bolt rope? Have you made a simple lazy jack system? Maybe use hanks for your jib(s) rather than a luff track? Are the halyards lead where you'd like them to be? Can you easily operate the reefing system? Is your traveller and main sheeting system (including fine tune) properly sized and operable under load? A good tiller pilot? Jacklines? A quality tether with a quick release shackle on the 'customer' end? I ask because there are many small things that one can do to optimize for short or single handed sailing and safety. You'll need to do the same for almost any boat. And with the second boat mentioned, you might not be very pleased with the performance hit unless you're doing a lot of very shallow water cruising. If it's a matter of not really liking to sail single handed (and that's very understandable), downsizing might not be the cure. It just isn't for everyone, and there's no shame in that at all. Apologies if you've already done all of the above. Everything you've mentioned are very common difficulties with a first boat. Very often the sailor we think we might be turns out to be very different than the one we become. Not better or worse, just different. You certainly wouldn't be the first person to switch boats as a result of greater self-knowledge. Good luck!
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Old 04-02-2011
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The P10M is fairly easy to handle the sails solo - all lines are led aft and its a compact cockpit. It has roller furling for the jib. Its not sailhandling that makes me think twice about going solo its docking, weighing anchor alone, going below to use the head leaving no one on watch etc I also grew up an avid kayaker and like to explore shallow bodies of water and inlets - being pounded on the high seas alone is not what I expected. I expect I would still not enjoy docking and weighing anchor solo with a smaller boat but the 3' draft is very intriguing esp as I am pondering cruising the bahamas. I dont like how drawing 6' makes for few sheltered places to run when it gets nasty and how much more vulnerable to shoals etc one is. That said the P10M is one heck of a boat in a blow. I suppose they are compromises I wish I could store my P10M somewhere super cheap and pick up a Centaur for shallow cruising. I guess this is why retractable centerboards were developed. When I bought my boat I started out cruising deep waters in LIS - I now want to bring her down to FL and the ICW looks a mess and the Bahamas are quite shallow in most places. I could see being able to get to more isolated spots with a shallower boat though maybe I'd just find a bunch of motorboats when I got there...

Last edited by Mariner777; 04-02-2011 at 05:32 AM.
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Old 04-02-2011
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i have a 26 ft paceship[py26] with a keel stepped mast,in many ways its ideal for a singlehander,but like everything in life its still has disadvantages,its too small for long offshore passages yet too big to trailer,kindof like owning a truck,with a 2 ton truck i can haul almost anything but too big for every day use,a pickup is great for every day use but not for serious hauling,a 1 ton isn't ideal for either,you just can't have it all
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Old 04-02-2011
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Sounds to me that you have had a few bad days in your 10M.

I have had a couple of days sailing a Westerly Centaur and quite liked it but it is a slow old tub and it is not going to go to weather at al well esp. if you have the Bilge keel version. If you do finish up deciding to buy one I would be leary of swapping out the inboard for an outboard kicker unless you are absolutely sure you will never be in a situation where you need to punch into a head sea. Yes it will get you around in flat water but when the wind pipes up a bit and you have some chop then things are going to be problematic.

Having said this there will be some bargain Centaurs around as they came with 2 cyl Volvo diesels which are too expensive and unreliable to maintain now. A replacement engine costs about $10k. So buying one with a dead engine should be cheap.

FYI I am 63 and sail a 44 footer, single handed some of the time, around the Caribbean. She draws 5'6" and I would take her through the Bahamas tomorrow with only a few spots that I would be carefull about. I had a 4 knot s*** box before and love expecting to average 6 knots plus on passage.
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Old 04-02-2011
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What you're contemplating is kinda like driving a sweet Camaro SS 350 for a while and trading it in on a '64 Nova 4 banger with shot springs....

This is too soon in your sailing career to make this call, IMO... I think you'll regret it. How often would you truly want to 'dry it out' on its keel? Bilge keelers are generally very poor performers upwind, as mentioned, and I think after the 10M that frustration will outweigh any perceived benefit of the other.
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Old 04-02-2011
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i have a p-32 and when i first drove her she felt like the enterprize when docking in a breeze..now iam trying to not lust after the p-36...install an autopilot and an electric windlass and your good to go...
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Perhaps you could look at centerboard boats. Lot more models,makes,sizes to choose from than bilge keelers I'm sure. Irwin is one make that comes to mind.
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Old 04-03-2011
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I own a 75 B layout Centaur since 2004 and reckon she,s a go any were I want to go boat, slow alright to windward but steady in the occasional bad conditions I,v encountered here on the South East coast of Ireland . I,m 5`11" and only bang my head on the bulkhead door opening, just too stupid to fit a rubber strip.
Doesn,t feel the weather as much as some I,v sailed on and her bilge keels let her sail more upright than a single keel boat. Wouldn,t fancy the Atlantic but plenty have crossed it and some have gone a lot further.

The Centaur is solid and dependable. I sail single handed most of the time so having a well built boat with solid old style reliability is important for me. Theres currently three in harbour here over the winter so I,m not alone in thinking they are a good bet.
My longest cruise so far is about 120 nm south and it took me 2 weeks there and back, I enjoyed being on her and hope to go further this year.
The shallow draft is great and drying out on twin keels can be a great advantage if space is hard to find in a good harbor.
Check out the Westerly Owners Association for general info.

Common fault is Gel coat blisters and weeping along the keel joints caused by splaying of the keels. Both can be repaired at minimal cost if into DIY.
Its worth taking out the floor of the sink cupboard to check the keel bolts and for keel leakage.
Safe sailing
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I would suggest that you need to see the Interior and look at Jack Hornor's Centaur review. On Sailnet 'Articles' Mark Matthews writes alot of articles and he sailed a Westerly Centaur. See 'Seamanship' article about him going thru Panama canal in Centaur. I owned a Centaur on Lake Mich. and sold it 10 yrs ago, and now (like other Westery owners) I want to buy another to be in a safe boat at sea. Slow is main problem. On lake Michigan I was caught in 30mph winds and 12 ft waves and Centaur handled it so good it became Fun. Has a Baby stay for extra strength and sliding hatch is very,very,very strong. (A 31 FT. WESTERLY BERWICK is same but bigger).
....I never had an Keel bolt problems or leaks, or blisters. Made for North Sea !

Last edited by sidney777; 04-03-2011 at 11:43 AM. Reason: additions
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