After last weekend’s superb weather, there could be many dinghy sailors who might be thinking that, with new family responsibilities or whatever, it’s time they moved up a to good little all-round cruiser with a more-than-decent performance writes W M Nixon.
Or maybe you’ve taken a sailing course or two, and decided that while dinghies may not be your thing, sailing a boat with a lid most definitely is, and moreover you feel the first tugs of that peculiar series of mixed emotion, the boat-owning vocation.
Either way, the ideal entry boat in the small performance cruiser stakes is for sale on Afloat.ie down Crosshaven way. For a 26-footer, they packed an impressive amount of accommodation and headroom into the Westerly Griffon. But don’t think this makes her a floating caravan. On the contrary, she was designed in 1979 by Ed Dubois when he was very much the rising talent in yacht design, and he gave her everything he knew for good performance, while somehow complying with Westerly Marine’s need for no-nonsense robust construction and oodles of space.
In all, there were 329 built, and the version for sale at €9,950 is the fin keel type. But even with the dreaded twin keel option which Westerly usually insisted on, Dubois was on top of his form, spending hours at the test tank until he got a double configuration which performed startlingly well. So much so, in fact, that he and a crack crew took the first one out to race the 1979 Lymington Autumn Series (one of the biggest in the country back in the day) and won their class overall against some very hot stuff. The fin keel version performs even better, and she’s one of Westerly’s best.
The first Westerly Griffon in 1979. The Ed Dubois design has stood the test of time remarkably well
Read the full Westerly Griffon advert here