I pulled the plug on the Westerly Centaur 26 after a sleepless night tossing and turning between yes and no, sheer terror and delight. I came up with a new adage that describes what I am looking for when it comes to my first boat. I want to outfit, not refit. I hope to gain the physical, mechanical skills that come with sailboat ownership and maintenance to one day take on that project with the potential to be the ‘perfect boat,’ but at this point I want to spend my first season sailing and tinkering, not overhauling.
I can’t pin point exactly what I felt was wrong with the boat as I never went back to give her a second look–I just wrote her off. I know the Centaur is built like a brick shit house. Designed by the esteemed Laurent Giles at least one has circumnavigated and many more have crossed oceans, but there was something rather unnerving about buying a boat from a dead man.
There was no one to answer my many questions. The boat had been in moth balls for over a year and it’s noticeable. Her sails were not properly stored and seemed tired. There was no information about when the standing rigging was last replaced. The tiller was rotted. The interior was cold and uninviting.
I could go on with what seemed wrong with her but I won’t, because honestly I’m not sure I even know the true status of her condition. Structurally she may very well be stout and sound. For reasons I can’t explain I don’t want her, despite the fact that I probably could have walked away as her owner for a couple of grand.
I’m sure all she needed was good dusting and would have been ready to sail locally and I did think it would have been kind of fun to call her Sasquatch, but at this point all I can trust are my instincts, which said move along.
Now I’m reading ‘Inspecting the Aging Sailboat,” by Don Casey in hope that I’ll get far enough along in my search to only have to pay for a survey once. People may say that I was silly to let this boat pass me by, or that I’m never going to find the “perfect boat.” It’s true no boat is perfect, but who’s to say that the guy who meticulously maintained his 70’s era 24-footer isn’t ready to move up a couple of feet and wants to see his baby go to a good home…