What to look for - Centaur

tzread
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What to look for - Centaur

Post by tzread »

I have been playing with the idea of getting a cruiser for some time now and have decided to start viewing some. I am looking at a Centaur next week and wondered if there is anything in particular i should look for or ask the owner about. I have been looking over this site and gleaned a lot of interesting/ useful information. As far as i can tell it is layout A which probably wouldn't be my first choice but i'll wait until i see it. It looks to be a project boat (cosmetically) which i have no problem with, i don't mind getting my hands dirty. I'm sure i will have a lot more questions...
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Re: What to look for - Centaur

Post by chris.moody »

I would take a look and then make an offer subject to "survey and sea trial". The surveyor will find every little fault, and is a good basis for then renegotiating the price if necessary.
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Re: What to look for - Centaur

Post by Jolly Roger »

Welcome to the forum.

Have a look at the Westerly Wiki for the Centaur, there is lots of information to get you prepared.
http://www.westerly-owners.co.uk/wester ... le=Centaur
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Re: What to look for - Centaur

Post by Gary-Cottam »

I wouldn't buy one that hadn't already had the original engine replaced.
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What to look for - Centaur

Post by chris.moody »

Nothing wrong with the original engines, they last a lot longer than a brand new one will.


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Re: What to look for - Centaur

Post by tzread »

Thank you every one for the replies so far. I've taken a look at the wiki page and has given me an idea what to look for. Keel and engine seem to be the big items at the moment (as well as general sea-worthiness). I aim to have a sea trial when i get to that stage. A little unsure on the survey at the moment as some people have said that with boats under a certain price a survey is a bit too much, but i haven't decided yet on that.
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Re: What to look for - Centaur

Post by Jolly Roger »

Judging whether you need a survey will depend on your own experience of boats. Have a look at the RYA web site for more expert advice.
http://www.rya.org.uk/infoadvice/legala ... fault.aspx

If you know someone with a lot of cruiser experience, ask them to come with you when you look at the Centaur.Their eye and experience might save you the cost of a survey. Alternatively do this on a second visit.
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Re: What to look for - Centaur

Post by sentoray »

The engine isn't that much of a big deal. The old ones do last a long time. I would worry about the keels and there water tightness, the standing rigging, osmosis and the condition of all of the main bulk heads I.e no rot and no delamination of the fiberglass matting.

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Re: What to look for - Centaur

Post by TyroSailor »

I bought a Centaur last year, and I bought the wrong one! If I were doing it again, I'd...

Read, mark, learn and inwardly digest Inspecting the Aging Sailboat by Don Casey. Although it's from across the pond it's almost entirely applicable here and contains masses of good advice. If I'd read this first it would have saved me a lot of time, trouble and money. Use this to prepare a checklist of things to do/look for when seeing the candidates. Do not be swayed (as I was) by a nice smell, pretty upholstery and an owner with a pleasant manner.

Make sure the engine had been replaced. Even if the original Volvo Penta MD2b is working now, it's forty years old and it will start going wrong soon. Its valves, piston rings and all sorts of other bits will wear out and be expensive to replace. Yacht engines are generally treated badly - run at low revs for short periods and then left standing idle for weeks. This will have caused all manner of unpleasantness inside and after many years it will need at least a major overhaul. Worth paying an extra thousand or two for having all that in the distant future by which time someone else will own the boat (and treat it well while you own it!). Replacing the engine will cost you upwards of £4000.

Not buy a boat whose standing rigging is due for replacement unless you get the cost knocked off. It's likely to be another £1000 or so and needs doing every ten years. If it does need doing, I'd recommend XW Rigging in Gosport if you're not too far away from there. Paul Cochrane really knows what he's doing and his father (who started the firm) used to do the rigging for Westerly.

Make sure that the keel mountings had been strengthened with heavyweight GRP webs. Because of the mounting angle (great for windward sailing), the keels tended to splay when the boat rests on them. This was a universal problem with Centaurs when they were built; most have now been fixed but not always well. Make sure the surveyor can get at all the keel bolts (some are under the galley, the rest at the bottom of lockers) to inspect them.

Have a look under the cabin sole if possible - it very well may not be. There's a shallow bilge space between the sole and the bottom which is inaccessible unless someone's modified it. This means that (a) any water/oil/rubbish/spilt food/old socks that find their way under there will stay there and (b) if you should be unlucky/careless enough to hit something hard and make a hole in the bottom you won't be able to get at it to plug it and the boat will sink, which could spoil your whole day.

Good luck!
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Re: What to look for - Centaur

Post by TyroSailor »

...oh, and it's definitely worth spending £300-odd on a survey. It could save you thousands.
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Re: What to look for - Centaur

Post by tzread »

TyroSailor wrote:I bought a Centaur last year, and I bought the wrong one! If I were doing it again, I'd...
Thank your for your tips, i'll have a look at the book your recommended.

One i looked at so far had had a engine replacement (Volvo 2020), the rigging is something i would have to factor into the cost.
Unfortunately according to the owner the keel has not been strengthened or re-bedded which is something that concerns me (although he says there is no leakage around them). I have had differing remarks about the keels, some say don't touch the boat if the keels have had no work others aren't put off by it.

I am still deciding over cabin layout, the one i saw was A layout, i'm not sure if that just limits you on seating. As B has a settee which could fit 4 or maybe 5 at a push on it vs A where it looks more cramped at the table. Doesn't come across as comfy/ sociable, but still debating.
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Re: What to look for - Centaur

Post by TyroSailor »

Are you ever going to have that many on board? If it's party time you can use the cockpit....or someone else's boat.

Mine is a B layout (which I think is the most common) and seems fine, but I'd rather have a big cockpit locker like the C layout.
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Re: What to look for - Centaur

Post by Gary-Cottam »

"Mine is a B layout (which I think is the most common) and seems fine, but I'd rather have a big cockpit locker like the C layout."

This would be my preference to!
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Re: What to look for - Centaur

Post by chris.moody »

I have the C layout and the extra locker space is really useful.


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Re: What to look for - Centaur

Post by aquaplane »

Mine was a B layout too and it worked OK, but the Stbd quarter berth was mainly used for storage so we used it like a C layout and I often wondered if we would have been better with a C layout.

Except when my daughter and her partner came with the grandson, then we needed the B layout.
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