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Any Westerly Discus 33's out there gathering dust?

James W

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26 Jun 2011
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873
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Essex
Pictures it is then! She needs a bit of tidying, but nothing that I can't do over the winter. Very happy boy.

White Lady_01.jpg
 

Concerto

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Sail on the Medway, Kent from Chatham Maritime Mar
You have got a lot of boat for your money. Hopefully there are no major problems that need sorting.

I would advise you check that the Treadmaster is fully bonded along every edge. On my Fulmar I found osmosis had started due to water becoming trapped underneath the Treadmaster. It is an easy fix once the Treadmaster has been removed. Then paint the decks with non slip deck paint.
 

burgundyben

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28 Nov 2002
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6,397
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Niton Radio
You have got a lot of boat for your money. Hopefully there are no major problems that need sorting.

I would advise you check that the Treadmaster is fully bonded along every edge. On my Fulmar I found osmosis had started due to water becoming trapped underneath the Treadmaster. It is an easy fix once the Treadmaster has been removed. Then paint the decks with non slip deck paint.
Is your Fulmar 'Concerto' - one of the ex Westerley Sea School boats?
 

James W

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Essex
I would advise you check that the Treadmaster is fully bonded along every edge. On my Fulmar I found osmosis had started due to water becoming trapped underneath the Treadmaster. It is an easy fix once the Treadmaster has been removed. Then paint the decks with non slip deck paint.
Thanks for the tip, much appreciated!
 

Concerto

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Is your Fulmar 'Concerto' - one of the ex Westerly Sea School boats?
Not to my knowledge. According to the documentation Concerto was originally purchased in 1980 by Cyril Lyon and Brian Willis and sailed on the Solent, and ownership was later transferred to just Cyril Lyon. Concerto then was sold in 1990 to someone on the Medway, then to another owner on the Medway. I purchased Concerto 3½ years ago and technically I am only the 4th owner in 37 years.

If you look at the photos in this link, you will see what she looked like when I purchased her, when trimmed in red. She has now been changed to a blue trim. http://s1294.photobucket.com/user/ConcertoFulmar32/library/?sort=3&page=8
 

Steve_N

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Joined
31 May 2004
Messages
996
Location
Fife
Thanks so much for the heads up Steve! I was working in Scotland in early September, viewed her and now she's mine! Transport all sorted and hopefully this week she'll be delivered home. Really, really pleased with her, totally made up to own such a beautiful boat.....albeit with a few minor issues just to keep me occupied over the winter. Thanks again and yet more proof how great this forum is.
Thanks and sorry for the late reply but I didn't see this post. I'm really pleased it worked out for you. Our previous boat was a Storm and we had some great times on her. Cracking boats, well done.
 
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GTom

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I was - may still - considering a bilge-keel Discus, but reading some disheartening reports on hull weakness, was this taken care of for most Discus-es in the 80's-90's in recalls, or the owner has to take care if he doesn't want to sink?

This one is from boatdesign.net:

Never mind spending out on an engineer to calculate loads. Westerly yachts were professionally designed & sold like hot cakes & yet their keels fell off with monotonous regularity. This resulted in a product recall on all centaurs to strengthen them. Despite this many didnt get fixed & in the last 10 years in our yacht club alone 4 Centaurs, 2 Konsorts & 2 Discus's have had severe hull to keel problems, two of these sunk on drying moorings (sheltered). The common thread on three of them was soft mud where the keels went in a long way & the keels got wrung as the boat lifted with the tide. Others just gave up due to long general use.
Though it can be done its an absolute certainty to be uneconomic to do. You will have to gut the saloon down to the hull skin, strengthen the skin itself at each proposed keel location & fit at least 4 floors extending 2ft each side of the keel, you will use a lot of fibreglass, then you have to put all the bunks, floor etc back in again, much of this is structural to some degree. Then you have to source keels, on a Centaur sized boat they will be half a ton each, with an efficient splayed configuration you need a lifting gantry to hang the boat in to fit them. Out of interest the cost of reinforcing a Westerly Centaur properly by a boatyard is anywhere from £7500 to £10,000 You can buy a lot of yacht for that money ready to go. Your best bet is to buy a shallow draft boat that works, go sailing & eat steak.
 

PaulRainbow

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I was - may still - considering a bilge-keel Discus, but reading some disheartening reports on hull weakness, was this taken care of for most Discus-es in the 80's-90's in recalls, or the owner has to take care if he doesn't want to sink?

This one is from boatdesign.net:
Yes, Westerly yachts were a load of old shite, that's why there are none left. Look in any marina and you won't find a single Westerly.





















What bollox.
 

GTom

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As I understood, early bilge-keeled models were affected and got recalled for hull-strengthening. However, not all owners excersized his/her right for the service. Also, I can imagine soft mud is very stressing for a bilge-keel.
 

Concerto

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Sail on the Medway, Kent from Chatham Maritime Mar
I was - may still - considering a bilge-keel Discus, but reading some disheartening reports on hull weakness, was this taken care of for most Discus-es in the 80's-90's in recalls, or the owner has to take care if he doesn't want to sink?

This one is from boatdesign.net:
Never mind spending out on an engineer to calculate loads. Westerly yachts were professionally designed & sold like hot cakes & yet their keels fell off with monotonous regularity. This resulted in a product recall on all centaurs to strengthen them. Despite this many didnt get fixed & in the last 10 years in our yacht club alone 4 Centaurs, 2 Konsorts & 2 Discus's have had severe hull to keel problems, two of these sunk on drying moorings (sheltered). The common thread on three of them was soft mud where the keels went in a long way & the keels got wrung as the boat lifted with the tide. Others just gave up due to long general use.
I searched the internet for where this quote came from.
https://www.boatdesign.net/threads/bilge-keel-conversion-a-la-westerly-centaur.57471/#post-822180

Reading the whole article it starts about taking a fin keel Pearson 30 and converting this to a bilge keel boat, the "Senior Member" Keith66 commented about Westerlys. This immediately shows he has a bias against Westerlys. He claims to be a boat builder and designer, yet none of his comments are particularly technical. He claims all Centaurs were recalled, this was incorrect as the first bilge keel Griffons were recalled after keel problems due to the change in keel angles compared to earlier designs. From conversations with ex Westerly staff I am sure every early bilge keel Griffon was returned to the factory and strengthened. He also commented on damage to a Konsort he had to repair that had broken free of its mooring in a gale and became damaged, so nothing to with build quality unless you expect a yacht to be indestructible in all extreme conditions. He has not given any information on the damage to Discus as you were asking. I expect most of the problems will have been caused by poor mooring design. Boats on drying moorings in soft mud should be moored fore and aft in the direction of the tide, but excess cross winds can exert addition twisting force on the keel. Also having splayed keels sunk repeatedly in mud will also have suction problems unless the position in the mud is constant.

Paul Rainbow owns a Discus and works with boats. His comment about Keith66 statement is true.

When considering any 40 year old boat, there will always have been some of that class that will have had some repairs. Accidents do happen and boats get repaired. That's life. Taking the occasional damaged boat and suggesting it affects everyone is rubbish. Westerly built over 12,500 yachts and sell for a premium over many similar sized yachts. Why? They were well designed and well built.
 
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GTom

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Yes, he specifically mentioned soft mud as the main reason - not the whole story told but I expect a cycling in the mud with every tide - which I'd never do to a bilge-keel boat unless the keels point straight down. Will give it a thought, but might just go with the fin-keel Discus and give up the beaching possibility & shallow draft. Tough decision...
 

Concerto

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Sail on the Medway, Kent from Chatham Maritime Mar
GTom

I have been looking more closely into the boatdesign.net web site as I had never heard of it before. It seems a very minor web site that has a fairly limited number of posters. The comments made by Keith66 have to be taken very much with a pinch of salt. According to his details he is an engineering technician/boat builder and amateur designer. Checking through the lists of builders and designers on the web site shows he is not listed as either. He has been a member since 2007, yet has only made 320 posts - most of his threads are for advice. Contributions he has made include working with insurance wrecks. https://www.boatdesign.net/threads/buying-salvage-and-reselling.52210/#post-719750

His recent threads include this one last year. https://www.boatdesign.net/threads/osmosis-problem.58061/ Then this thread shows his knowledge as it was asked it in 2010. https://www.boatdesign.net/threads/gelcoat-blistering-problem.32914/ Neither do him justice as an expert on Westerly keels. He does not even own a Westerly. As for his boat building skills he was making a 18ft rowing skiff! Nothing like a yacht.

My advice would be to take his comments as bar room gossip.
 

Tranona

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While you are right to criticise the comments quoted in post#29 as being alarmist and possibly inaccurate, you can't ignore the fact that early Centaurs and Griffons (and as I understand early bilge keel Fulmars) did suffer from inadequate reinforcement in the keel area. The Centaur case could arguably be excused because the design of keel was new at the time and perhaps the loads on boats drying out in mud (which is the source of most of the problems) was not fully appreciated. However, that failing was already known when the later boats were designed so a bit surprising that the experience did not seem to inform the designs.

It is not true that all boats were fixed by the factory, just that they were all offered the fix. Indeed only a couple of years ago there was a long thread here on the loss of a Griffon because of the failure of an unmodified keel.

So, the advice to anybody contemplating buying a bilge keel Westerly is advised to pay particular attention to the keel reinforcements, although of course a good surveyor would do this anyway. In the Griffon case the surveyor had indeed picked it up and recommended the fix be carried out. The insurer made it a condition of insurance, but unfortunately the owner did not do it immediately and the boat subsequently lost a keel and sank at its moorings - uninsured.

As with all stories about design and structural deficiencies on boats one has to keep a sense of proportion, try to establish the facts and take professional advice if unsure.
 

GTom

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Sometimes not owning one helps quite a bit formulating a clear judgement. The westerly wiki I linked just above your post stands, and helped me to understand the problem. Basically the bilge keels put significantly more strain on the hull than a fin, thus need a stronger superstructure and care. Lacking one of those = sunk boat. E.g. years of pounding on a cheap/free exposed drying mooring could take out the strongest design incl steel... I have yet to decide if I take the easy way out (fin keel) or continue the bilge way and potentially deal with the structure reinforcement (if not done) and pay attention that the regular hull+keel-antifoul includes a proper keel resealing following Westerly recommendations. Tough decision, on one hand, fin keel brings somewhat better blue water performance, on the other, more than a full ft difference in draft is quite significant.

@Tranona: As I understand, the fin-keel Fulmars, Discus'es, etc. didn't have keel problems at all?
 
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Concerto

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You will be safer with a fin keel. The number of times you might dry out with a bilge keel is very rare, especially if you berth in deep water normally.

The early fin keel Fulmars can have some slight hull flexing and they are recommended to be strengthened. My very early fin Fulmar is now 37 years old and over the years it has had a few knocks and scrapes, I even ran aground at 7 knots on sand without any damage. When I bought her 4 years ago the surveyor commented it was not reinforced, but I am due to add the strengthening in the near future.
 
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