Saturday, 26 May 2012

Westerly Warwick

One of the boats that I thought I might be able to afford the other day, was a Westerly Warwick. Her price and name are both attractive. In fact, anything from the old Westerly Yacht Company is worth looking at.They had a fantastic reputation in their day. I scrambled aboard a Westerly Centaur a few weeks ago and was impressed by many aspects of the design but sadly she was a trifle too big for my needs and I didn't feel that the mast could be lowered and raised easily enough without use of a crane. So, back to the search and consideration of a smaller boat from the same stable. One good thing about Westerly boats is that they have an almost fanatical group of owners and a very active owner association which publishes anything they can find about their beloved boats and the old Westerly company. With regard to the Warwick, here's what I found:

After the success of the Westerly Centaur, the Westerly Company decided to extend the range of products with similar boats in a variety of sizes, hence the arrival of the Warwick 21 and Pageant 23 in 1970.

Both the Warwick and Pageant looked just like the Centaur, and it is said that it is difficult to tell them apart at 100 yards. Purchasers of the Centaur had reported that they particularly liked the roomy interior, safe cockpit and decks and big diesel engine, and so the priority for Warwick and Pageant design was to maintain these attractions. Not so easy, to achieve that with a 21½ footer. So in designing the Warwick the starboard forecabin berth was shortened to make room for a heads compartment, and the starboard saloon berth became a hybrid of quarter berth and saloon table double. In effect, you can use it as one or the other, but not both. This gave space for a full-length quarter berth, a cooker and a hanging locker to port, which still left 6 feet for the cockpit.

Headroom was 5ft 10ins. The Westerly Association states that the sailing performance is astonishing for such a boxy shape.This is achieved by constructing her with a really long waterline and a tall rig, which goes well with her 45% ballast ratio and broad beam, to make her stiff and faster than seems possible. So, while she is not a racer, her performance is far better than her looks indicate.

To keep the price competitive she was originally offered with an outboard as standard, but with the option of an inboard at extra cost. The engines offered were the Vire 6hp petrol and the Petter Mini 6. The Vire is wonderfully small and light, which means, it can be lifted out and taken home for winter. The Petter, I understand can be temperamental as an alloy head on an iron block can spell trouble if not properly serviced. Apart from that it seems that the Warwick offers all the advantages of a Centaur and I guess all the vices too. Dodgy bilge keels perhaps, if she's spent her life on half tide moorings or stored out of the water in winter? 

The Warwick was in production for seven years, during which time 207 were built, so there are plenty around. An example would be well worth considering if she came up for sale locally.