I have an earlier one that sits in mud twice a day six months of they year & has done for the last 7 years that I've owned it. The other six, it's on the hard on its keels. Mine's got extra webs glassed in above the keels.
The problem occurs because the keels are splayed out. So when it sits down in mud, they are pushed out. As it rises, they are pulled in. Some other bilge keelers have more parallel keels.
After you've seen a few, you will easily spot the ones that have been beefed up as mine have. Westerly built them heavy anyway but some have extra webs across the keel stubs. When I fitted a new depth sounder, I saw the layup on the bottom is 30mm+
You're right to be careful but if beefed up & looked after, it's not a problem.
A few other things to look for:
1. The older versions suffered from a lower chain plate design flaw as they were placed above the front set of windws. This is a weak spot that over time causes the couch roof to deform up & the windows to leak. The easy fix is to add tie bars inside the boat to tie the chain plates to a point under the windows. The load is then shared between the coachroof & the deck & any movement is limited. Later versions had shorter front windows. I have seen some boats where the lowers have been extended down to deck level instead but this causes an obstruction to walking foreward. I added tie bars a couple of years ago before the windows started to leak. Some people add a nice teak grab handle to the tie bars. Mine are not exactly the same & I made wooden patterns to make sure they fitted exactly.
2. The upper chain plates can over time cause the deck to deform upwards. You can check this easily with a steel rule. I replaced mine a few years ago & fitted a lump of wood under the deck that helps spread the load.
3. Mast step compression is the other thing to look for. The centaur has a compression post inside taking the load from the coachroof to the keel. lay a steel rule on the deack next to the mast step & unless it's been fixed which few have, you will see the coach roof compressed. I haven't done mine yet but may take a look next winter. It certainly shows signs of compression so I'm just keeing an eye on it.
4. The original place for the gas bottle was in the stern locker. Any leakage would go to the bilge which is of course a real fire hazzard. You can get a modification kit to put a locker under one of the cockpit seats. But this takes height form the quarter berth. When I got mine the gas install was a mess. The simple fix for me was a spirit burner. The Origo 3000 is a perfect fit. There may be some who have sealed the stern locker from the bilge & added a drain. IMO, that's better than losing height in the quarter berth.
There are certainly lots of things that can be done to improve the boat. The biggest performance improvement I made was new sails & slab reefing rather than the original boom roller. I just added a track on the boom to take the reefing lines & cleats at the tack end.
Last edited by wooslehunter; 22-03-12 at 13:51.
I always wanted to learn to spell "engineer". Now I are wun.