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Cheap Centaur

obmij

Member
Joined
30 Nov 2005
Messages
366
Boats left in a yard can deteriorate quickly - but a lot may be cosmetic.

Half a day with a pressure washer & a day or two scrubbing the interior & engine bay and you've got something that looks like a boat again. Wash the seat covers, drop a bit of carpet in, batten up the headlining etc..

I've been following Roger's centaur refit (linked above) for years now and what he's doing is amazing. Solway Cloud is going to be the westerly equivalent of an Eagle E -type when she is finally launched in 2033 ; - )

But, admirable though that project is not all refits need to be as exacting. If the engine works (which you can test yourself with permission of the owner / yard) and if the bulkheads aren't completely shot you could get out on the water for buttons.

Do you really need new standing rigging? Sails? No-one likes going upwind anyway.

So yeah - with a couple of caveats why not? Could be fun and if it all goes to ratshit what have you lost?
 

ashtead

Well-known member
Joined
17 Jun 2008
Messages
2,733
Location
Surrey and Gosport UK
I guess another way to look at it is to add up what you will have to spend on this unlucky girl and then use as a benchmark to price others? Clearly we don’t know if the engine runs or if you are a skilled mechanic who can get it running but having bought all the bits and invested all that time will you be a happier person ? I think only you can answer that one. I remember a school friend who spent a small fortune at the time restoring an mg midget and gained much pleasure in the work but that’s really all . Personally I would work out my budget and look at others where someone else has at least put in the new Nanni. You are not buying an old swan or bowman or Hallberg where I can see a labour of love might reward but sadly centaurs are perhaps not in that class. If it was given away and you have no storage charges then as a project to learn about centaurs and become an expert for others it might be a suitable new interest though . Certainly if you go ahead a photo journal of the restoration might be of interest to the westerly owners . Good luck if you go ahead -there’s. Plenty of advice on this forum the only issue is it tends to be in conflict normally however here it does seem a general consensus might be emerging.
 

Dutch01527

Active member
Joined
7 Jul 2016
Messages
450
The rust on the engine suggests that there has been water lying in the boat for a long time. That will have also have ruined the electrics, bulkheads, controls, upholstery ect ect.

I can not see any reason to buy a ongoing problem., except for the tiny minority of people who enjoy a major refurbishment project. You will spend a massive amount of time and money on getting it right and there are so many choices of well looked after boats of this size under £5,000 that would be less stress, less money and quicker to start using.
 

obmij

Member
Joined
30 Nov 2005
Messages
366
It's not necessary to approach every boat with a full restoration in mind and no requirement to 'get it right'

If bought for a few hundred quid, with an engine that works most of the time - what else is needed other than elbow grease? Get afloat and on a mooring, If it doesn't work out then there is always ebay and no reserve!

But yeah, if the desire is to bring back to a good standard then for sure it would be better to spend more initially and start from a better position.
 

38mess

Well-known member
Joined
9 Apr 2019
Messages
2,281
Location
Wales
Hi Ashley.
I bought a bilge keel boat without any keels 40 years ago . I just knocked out two keels out of 1/2 inch plate, good job my brother has a fabrication shop, I kept the boat for 3 years, she sailed like a pig. Me and a friend bought a centaur that was supposed to be in good condition, we ended up spending a lot of time and money beefing the keels up because they leaked. Also we had to replace the engine with a lovely little beta. I dread to think how much we lost on that boat.
My advice is to walk away, sorry, but that engine looks like the original. And who knows what other horror stories lurk inside. But if you need a project to get you through this strange time, this will do it.
 
Last edited:

Tam Lin

Well-known member
Joined
1 Sep 2010
Messages
3,646
Location
Essex, near the R. Blackwater
If, after reading all the negative replies, you still want to go ahead I will pm you my jobs list and costs. It is not complete because I stopped when I got to sixty things that had to be fixed, improved or replaced and the costs came to three times what I had paid for the boat. I couldn’t face counting any more costs!
 

ash12

Member
Joined
25 Jan 2009
Messages
819
Thank you for everyone’s replies. I don’t mind one with some work to do as I’m pretty handy but I think seeing what everyone has said this is too much work
 

Vicarage

Member
Joined
21 Mar 2017
Messages
47
you can buy a ready to go Centaur for not much more than £5k. You'll definitely end up spending more on this boat not to mention the time and aggro.
 

Blueboatman

Well-known member
Joined
10 Jul 2005
Messages
8,734
If (!) you could take it off their hands , for £1
If you can do a survey yourself
If there is no osmosis
If you could buy a 4wheel trailer for sub £800
If you have a friend with a rated tow truck
If you fancy a winter project
If you have space at home for the boat
And if you have a wee workshop
If you have a tolerant family
If you value the experience
If you are prepared to sail an empty shell, chucking out soggy mattresses, frivolous lining and coverings
Non structural soggy woodwork
Broken bog,
Busted motor
Rusted tanks
....
if you buy a drum of fibreglass resin at a great price ..
Go for it 👍
Why not?
 

jamie N

Well-known member
Joined
20 Dec 2012
Messages
2,730
Location
Fortrose
If (!) you could take it off their hands , for £1
If you can do a survey yourself
If there is no osmosis
If you could buy a 4wheel trailer for sub £800
If you have a friend with a rated tow truck
If you fancy a winter project
If you have space at home for the boat
And if you have a wee workshop
If you have a tolerant family
If you value the experience
If you are prepared to sail an empty shell, chucking out soggy mattresses, frivolous lining and coverings
Non structural soggy woodwork
Broken bog,
Busted motor
Rusted tanks
....
if you buy a drum of fibreglass resin at a great price ..
Go for it 👍
Why not?
Yeah, but apart from that.....????
 

doug748

Well-known member
Joined
1 Oct 2002
Messages
10,000
Location
Plymouth
I'd still like to see someone who buys a sickly Centaur fabricating an outboard well. 4 stroke fuel and power economy compares well with diesel now . 10hp twin cylinder should do it.

Me too, I think the drawings showed it could be done neatly. In addition to the traditional positives, a few factors are tilting the balance:

The smoke problem with 2T outboards, in a well, should be less with 4 strokes and a simple bilge blower could duct the stuff away anyway.
There is less need for powerful alternator outputs on a small boat, with LED lighting, solar panels etc.
Petrol is becoming increasingly available alongside, with the advent of powerful Ribs operating out of marinas.

.
 

Mark-1

Well-known member
Joined
22 Sep 2008
Messages
2,860
Me too, I think the drawings showed it could be done neatly. In addition to the traditional positives, a few factors are tilting the balance:

The smoke problem with 2T outboards, in a well, should be less with 4 strokes and a simple bilge blower could duct the stuff away anyway.
There is less need for powerful alternator outputs on a small boat, with LED lighting, solar panels etc.
Petrol is becoming increasingly available alongside, with the advent of powerful Ribs operating out of marinas.

.
Or a small cheap briefcase generator would work fine.
 

Iliade

Well-known member
Joined
27 Apr 2005
Messages
1,639
Location
Shoreham - up the river without a paddle.
I ran my old centaur with a transom mounted tohatsu 9.9 4T o/b while she was between engines. Worked fine once I bought a strong enough bracket and released a cavernous locker for bikes etc.

Likely the engine is dead or soon will be. The sails could be useable albeit in need of some patio magic.

The ply bulkheads don't go down to the bottom, they meet an internal moulding at about a foot above the bilge (T'Cap'n knew that water would get in eventually.)

Bleach is great for black mould. Patio magic great for the outsides.

They all need new headlining. Just replace with something quick and cheap.

If the loo is broken, buy a bucket.

Considering all that, with the £800 they are offering to pay you to take it away, it should be just about worth taking on...
 

ashtead

Well-known member
Joined
17 Jun 2008
Messages
2,733
Location
Surrey and Gosport UK
Won’t the splayed keels cost a bit to fix the OP ? New rigging ? How much would he have to pay crew Unless he intends picking up in France who might be tempted to voyage across the channel in this project boat. Clearly for someone who doesn’t work and has no social life it would certainly keep you busy over winter though.
 

GTom

Active member
Joined
12 Jun 2017
Messages
994
Hi all.
looking for what everyone thinks. I went to look at a centaur yesterday which is on offer local to my cruising ground and in a yard where it can stay for a while to complete works. Problem is I don’t know if it’s too much work. The exterior is in good condition apart from cleanliness as you can see in the photos, problem is inside. There is water in the bilges up to the bottom of the engine and thus is coming above the cabin sole at the bottom of the cabin steps. The interior mainly needs tlc apart from that. The headlining In the forward cabin needs doing but the main cabin has been replaced with wooden panels which are rotten. I didn’t manage to get a good look at the keel stubs. I believe it is a later one with square forward portholes and shrouds in front of the windows, but with skegless rudder.
I’ll try to upload a video of the interior soon. View attachment 100532View attachment 100533View attachment 100534View attachment 100536View attachment 100537
Way too much work. Of course, everything can be restored, question is if you want to put 4-5times the money that buys a centaur which is in good working order. Apparently needs a new engine (even second hand £2k+), lots of woodwork (easily another £2k), new sails, new standing and running rigging and likely countless things we can't see here. An important issue with centaurs is the week keel-design, saw one sunk for this reason in Bangor last year.
 

oldharry

Well-known member
Joined
30 May 2001
Messages
9,125
Location
North from the Nab about 10 miles
Reality is, are you looking fro a boat to work on, or a boat to sail in? Restoration is a happy if expensive pastime. If restoration is your hobby then its well worth while, and you willl end up with a £6k+ boat. The difference will be that you will KNOW that everything is right on it. The average £5k Centaur is well able to hide nasty and expensive faults, like an unreliable engine, corroded mast (you cant really tell till you take the S/S fittings off and find a large hole underneath where the ally has burned away - dont ask!), corroded rig fastenings, and other such comical and expensive delights in older used boats.

But if you want to go sailing next year, then a cheap boat is no longer the point to start.

This raises the wider question of what we do with the waste from 60 years of volume produced GRP hulls. Wooden counterparts will just gently return to nature. Its a sobering thought that theGRP from almost every one of those boats will still be somewhere in the environment in 500 years time - whether in landfill, rolling round the seabed making novel new homes for marine life, or - where? Because the material will still be here if we cant find a way of recycling them.

I did hear that minced grp makes very good roadbuilding material. Not cost effective yet, but?
 
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