Cheltenham Week of all times, it’s more than appropriate to be considering a Laurent Giles-designed 1978 Westerly Centaur for sale on Afloat Boats for Sale at a bargain price in Crosshaven writes W M Nixon. The 26ft Westerly Centaur has been in a central position in a particular world view of sailing for so long now that we think of the Centaur as only being a type of small cruising boat. Yet if you can think even dimly outside the box, you’ll find the Centaur was a mythical creature with the head, arms and torso of a man, and the body and legs of a horse.
Quite how Jack Giles and the Westerly team cam up with such a name for a bilge-keeler is anyone’s guess. But a very modest success investing in the outcome of this week’s Gold Cup could bring this particular bit of still-very-living sailing history within reach, for she’s for sale with Crosshaven Boatyard for just €6,950. This has the feeling of a figure which could be whitttled down a little, for here we are with April just around the corner, yet this little boat could definitely use a bit of TLC to get her fit for the coming season.
But she’s the real McCoy (sorry, just can’t get Cheltenham out of the way this week), with bilge keels and a 23hp Volvo diesel which is original. That at least is a decent power-pack if it’s still running with full efficiency, and we can think of any number of shoal draft places where this boat would find a perfect home. Over the years, many of them did. There were 2,444 of them built between 1969 and 1980. Somebody was getting something right.