If you are looking for a small, sturdy and affordable sailboat that can handle a variety of conditions and destinations, you might want to consider the Westerly Centaur 26.
This classic British cruiser was designed by Jack Laurent Giles and built by Westerly Marine between 1969 and 1980, with over 2,400 units produced.
It is one of the most popular and successful models in the history of British boatbuilding, and still has a loyal following among recreational sailors and enthusiasts.
The Westerly Centaur, a 26-foot twin-keel cruiser designed by Jack Laurent Giles, is one of the most popular and successful British production sailboats ever built. With over 2,400 hulls completed, the Centaur has a loyal following of owners and admirers who appreciate its practicality, versatility and charm.
The Centaur is a sloop-rigged monohull with a fiberglass hull and a balsa-cored foredeck. It has a shallow draft of 0.9 meters, thanks to its twin keels, which also allow it to dry out on tidal moorings or beaches. The Centaur has a spade rudder and a tiller steering system, although some models have been retrofitted with a wheel.
The mast is deck-stepped and the rig is simple and easy to handle. The sail area is 30.1 square meters, which gives the Centaur a moderate performance in light to moderate winds. The boat is not very close-winded and tends to develop weather helm when overpowered, so reefing early is advisable. The boat is not designed for heavy weather sailing, but it is safe and stable in most conditions.
The Centaur is powered by a Volvo MD7A diesel engine, which provides enough thrust for manoeuvring in marinas or motoring in calm waters. The fuel capacity is 45 litres, which gives the boat a decent range under power. The engine is located under the cockpit sole and can be accessed through removable panels.
One of the most impressive aspects of the Centaur is its spacious and comfortable interior, which offers generous standing headroom of at least 6 feet throughout. The boat can sleep up to six people in two separate cabins and the saloon.
The Centaur had three different layouts for the interior, named A, B and C:
The interior of the Centaur is well-ventilated by several opening ports and hatches, and well-lit by overhead lights and reading lamps. The upholstery is usually blue or beige, depending on the model year, and the woodwork is teak or mahogany. The overall impression is cosy, homely and inviting.
Hull and Deck
The hull of the Centaur is solid fiberglass with a white gelcoat finish. It has a moderate freeboard and a flared bow that helps to keep the deck dry in choppy seas. The deck is fiberglass with a balsa core in the foredeck area, which reduces weight and improves insulation. It has a molded nonskid surface for safety and traction. The deck layout is simple and functional, with wide side decks that allow easy access to the bow or stern.
The cockpit of the Centaur is large, deep and safe, with raised teak slats for seating comfort. It has two lockers for storing fenders, lines etc., as well as an engine access panel under the sole. There is also a bathing ladder on the stern that can be used when the boat is afloat or dried out.
The above text was drafted by sailboat-cruising.com using GPT-4 (OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model) as a research assistant to develop source material; we believe it to be accurate to the best of our knowledge.
I wrote this article using GPT-4, OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model, as a research assistant to develop source material. I wrote the final draft in its entirety and believe it to be accurate to the best of my knowledge.
Dick McClary, creator and owner of sailboat-cruising.com