Lookie Louise

20151216-DSC_4186Was it fate or just dumb luck that one of my latest obsessions, the Westerly Centaur 26, had one of its own hung out to dry and for sale two miles away from my work?


It happened just like I thought it might. The boat was put up for sale by someone, who then passed away, and is now in the hands of someone else who just wants it gone. The broker told me I could get it for half of the asking price, which gave me even more negotiating power. Shit got real.


Her history relatively unknown, other than that she was last in the water in 2014, and the owner kept her in the same yard during the winter and same slip in the summer year after year. He used the boat and maintained her. But there was something very frightening about buying a dead guy’s boat that’s been in moth balls. I climbed up the swim step and shimmied myself into the cockpit. My heart was so full and fluttering it almost burst.

There was a lot I didn’t like, even more I didn’t understand–but I loved her immediately for her potential. It was both exciting and terrifying.


  1. There is a UK blogger who posted on “KeepTurningLeft”. All episodes delt with small boat cruising the UK in a counterclockwise pattern. In later episodes he resurrected a Centaur. Great stuff!

  2. They are very interesting boats. Not the prettiest things afloat, but capable and really great if you sail in an area where the tide can leave you high and dry

    • not yet and leaning towards no…

      • I live about 45 minutes from Lake Michigan, and I can’t tell you how many times I have come very close to purchasing a boat. My issue is that I save and save, and then second guess myself at the last minute. Sometimes experiencing regret later on, sometimes not. There was the 26 foot Pearson Ariel that was the perfect usable fixer upper, but I was only 22 at the time, and if I had bought that it would have taken every penny of my meager existence, and I would have regretted it. If that boat came along now, it would be wonderful. Then two years ago, it was a nice little Com-Pac 16, which I purchased only to learn there were some title issues (lesson learned there – always check into that). Fortunately I was able to come out of that unscathed. Even so…a few thousand bucks is sometimes the cost of a good life lesson. Last year I built a small wooden daysailer and am having a ball on small inland lakes in Michigan…but like you, I still walk around the Lake Michigan boatyards dreaming and desiring to purchase something. I think it comes down to that you eventually just have to go for it, and in the end it will probably work out great.


      • It’s definitely a balance between going for it and being cautious enough to get the RIGHT boat. I’m resigned to the fact that whatever I get is going to take up all of my meager existence money–and I’m okay with that. When I worry about money I just remember this— it’s just money, I’ll get more of it.

  3. Having just bought a boat I can assure you buyer’s remorse is not that fun. But after I got through that and had a few sails I got to really enjoying my new boat. There are never any guarantees you’re doing the right thing, so if it feels good and you’re excited about it, go for it. On the other hand, it’s comparatively easy to buy something like a boat, a house, a car, etc. It’s a lot harder to sell. So it doesn’t hurt anything to take your time and make sure it’s the right boat for you.

    • Yes, I truly feel like time is my ally in this particular situation because more time is more money in the bank. However it’s important we don’t wait too long in this! After much research and deliberation I don’t feel like this particular boat IS the boat for me and I don’t think it’s going anywhere if I change my mind (and if it does, then fair winds to the future owner and wasn’t meant to be for me)!

  4. A nice little boat you can look at is the Cape Dory 25D (make sure it has the D) they are a nice pocket cruiser that is almost as capable as the last boat you were on, with a much better cabin arrangement.

    • I Like the Cape Dory 25 and the D. I looked at D when I was on the West Coast and it had soft spots on the deck around the mast and the cockpit. Most of the one’s I inquire about recently, via craigslist and other sailboat listing sites, also have some core rot problems and that’s a project I don’t feel confident tackling as this IS my first rodeo. I love those boats though and if a solid one comes my way I shan’t hesitate.

  5. Here in the UK the Centaur is immensely popular with several thousand sailing. If you go to Dylan Winter’s ‘Keep Turning Left’ website and select KTL 7 from the voyage list on the right side…. the still pics show how rusty the keels were on ‘Harmony’ when he bought her. Check out the attached video too. Jacpet.