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Old 28-03-2019, 23:03   #1
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Opinions Please!

I'm ready to purchase my next boat and would love some opinions to keep my romantic eyes on track.

Where I'm coming from:
Grew up sailing the great lakes on a Hunter33, CNC32, Mega30. Spent much of my childhood grinding fiberglass and doing bright work.

Lots of dingy sailing. Owned a Laser for a bit.

Did some crewing/boat hopping in the Caribbean on some custom boats, 57' ketch, 44 aluminum french boat (cant remember the make). Made a 6 day crossing from St. Martin to Cartagena, up through the san blas and through the canal. 14 day crossing from Panama to the Galapagos.

Moved to the PNW. Purchased a Newport 30 and sailed it extensively around the gulf islands including single handing around Van Island. Lots of boat upgrades and maintenance. I can fix or figure out most boat stuff, including engine rebuilds, electrical, glass, etc. Wood is probably my weakest point but I can learn. Lots of mistakes and lessons learned. Sold the boat a few years ago and now the ocean is calling me again.

The Newport was far too tender for me. I was constantly worried about snapping a shroud or the backstay, or wondering if the keelbolts where going to fail or if the rudder was going to snap off. In hindsight I should have never exposed it to the open ocean for days at a time, and the stresses I could feel on the boat is what led me to sell. I knew I wanted to go further, with more confidence. I want to be able to untie with less stress and get out and sail on a moments notice.

So I started looking at the opposite end of the spectrum. Eyeing up Westsail32s and Southern Cross 31s. Ingrid 38s, Tayana 37s. Alberg 30s. Big heavy displacement boats with full keels, lots of bronze, thick chainplates... Boats that break things, rather than being broken. I want something that is reasonable as a liveaboard as I plan to live on my next boat most of the year, and something that can take me accross the pacific, or up to alaska, or maybe someday cape horn or the NWP (big dream).

I was completely set on a westsail 32 or similar, until recently when I stumbled upon a Centurion 32. It had much more in common with my newport being a fin keel, with a spade rudder, modern portlights, aluminum hatches and slick interior. I read up on it and all the reviews were super positive, saying that it was a great offshore boat, that it tracked well and excelled in high wind. But wait... its not a heavy boat, and doesnt have a full keel. Could the hype be true? Would it be way more comfortable as a liveaboard than a thick double ended bathtub? Would it sail that much better? Could it handle big open ocean and the big adventures I long for?

So now, my mind is a bit more open, and with that comes more options. So I look to the forum, most of you have far more experience than I and I'm wondering what you feel are the fundamentally important features of your offshore homes and what you might recommend I look at. Price is a factor, I'm not rich, and most of the boats Im looking at are under 25k. It seems most westsails hold their value really well and are closer to 40k, but I've found a few projects collecting dust ranging from free to 10k. A SC31 for 19k, grampion 31 for 10k. Seafarer 35 for 20k. Alberg 30 for 10....

Things that I'm assuming are important are:
Self steering vane
Refrigeration
Full keel
Cutter Rig (the centurion is a sloop but I immediately started scheming on how I could fit an inner stay)
Newer Engine
Mast Steps
Cockpit cushions... oh the luxury.
Roomy interior for liveaboardability.


Any insights to this ramble?
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Old 29-03-2019, 02:32   #2
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Re: Opinions Please!

Hi, Will, i'm Ann, long term first mate, as it were, quit counting after 150,000 sea miles.

What I think is that you've a reasonable amount of experience. Many different designs of boats are capable of circumnavigations, including some with spade rudders....and catamarans. So, what it's going to come down to is what are your preferences. Ours have been for boats that sail well in light airs as well as heavy. This eliminates the heavy full keelers that some people really like.

You have to decide, as Jim has. We want a boat with a good sail area to displacement ratio, fin keel, skeg rudder, cutter rig, although this one is a solent rigged boat, and stoutly built, no liner built boats need apply. But you gotta pick what you want and can trust, or are willing to risk trusting.

Our boat is strip plank modern timber construction. One of the benefits of it, besides strength and light weight is that the water tanks are integral, below the cabin sole, which increases greatly the storage available for long passages. She also has two crash bulkheads forwards, and the rudder post comes down outside the transom, so that the rudder could be stripped off, and still no water ingress. It was built by a shipwright for his family; we are the second owners. I was afraid it would be fragile, but it is amazingly strong and quiet underway, no creaking, and sorry to brag, but dry, too.

If you want a really special boat, look at boats builders have built for themselves that meet whatever your own criteria turn out to be.

Ann
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Old 29-03-2019, 07:43   #3
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Re: Opinions Please!

The Centurion seems like quite a sensible boat. Wauquiez has a good reputation for solid construction. Sailboatdata shows it with a skeg-hung rudder rather than a spade, so you get desirable handling characteristics and protection of the rudder without the huge (and slow) wetted surface of a full keel. The Centurion 32 displaces almost as much as our 36 footer, so can't be called "light", but almost half their 9000 pounds is ballast. This boat is not likely to be tender. Rigging up a staysail on a removable inner stay should be simple. If you like the boat and it's in as good condition as you think...
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Old 29-03-2019, 09:07   #4
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Re: Opinions Please!

Quote:
Originally Posted by psk125 View Post
The Centurion seems like quite a sensible boat. Wauquiez has a good reputation for solid construction. Sailboatdata shows it with a skeg-hung rudder rather than a spade, so you get desirable handling characteristics and protection of the rudder without the huge (and slow) wetted surface of a full keel. The Centurion 32 displaces almost as much as our 36 footer, so can't be called "light", but almost half their 9000 pounds is ballast. This boat is not likely to be tender. Rigging up a staysail on a removable inner stay should be simple. If you like the boat and it's in as good condition as you think...

I think I have my terminology mixed up. The centurion is skeg hung, but is certainly a different profile from the big full rudders of the westsail and southerncross.
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Old 29-03-2019, 11:27   #5
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Re: Opinions Please!

Big and heavy means you need a lot of wind to sail her. While they are great in a blow, you may find yourself frustrated in single digit wind speeds. I sailed a beast for over 20 years. Didn't have to reef until the wind speed passed 20kn. And it was comfortable sailing. But in light winds you motored if you had to be anywhere. Something to consider.
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Old 29-03-2019, 22:51   #6
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Re: Opinions Please!

Well there is the lifeboat, Tahiti ketch, design philosophy, but really, I think you are on to something, boats can be very safe AND sail well too. Personally I'd be looking for a boat that goes upwind well. My own preference is for a long keel, ballast encapsulated or a fin keel with skeg, but that is just me. Also for comfort I happen to like my narrower, deeper v old school hull design, though she does sail on her ear a bit, (and I concede a fin keel will point higher.) The heavy double-ended lifeboats don't really go upwind, or downwind, very well IMO, but they can be comfortable!
The Centurion, I have never seen one, but judging by the sailboatdata picture of it, it looks like it should be a great design. Personally I'd definitely choose it over a Westsail.
There are a couple of boats with long keels that come to mind that have good reps for upwind performance, a Nor'west 33 and the Morgan designed Columbia 38. Those boats are rare, but you might check the specs on them for the sake of reference. Still, the Centurion should perform better than even those long-keelers though with its fin keel and skeg. It really reminds me of a Sparkman and Stephens design, the S&S 34. Good luck and keep us posted!
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