Our friends have this little 22 foot Westerly Cirrus they are willing to sell for a very low price. Andrew is considering buying it so I thought we’d review this little boat here. The boat has been sitting in the marina for many years, so it needs quite a lot of sprucing up, and it also has some wood rot in the cross member amidships. It may not be structural, but it needs repairing. There is also substantial water damage to the wood panel that lines the bulkhead to the companionway. The entire panel needs to be replaced.
The hull looks to be in decent shape with good sails and hardware, and rigging that has almost not been used. The boat was a salvage and the current owner replaced the hatch cover and has also made a number of other nice repairs inside the boat. All the work he has done is really good and makes this vessel worth considering, in spite of its age and general condition.
Looking from the rear you can see that the cockpit needs some work. (Also, the owners haven’t started that engine in several years.) The covers to the lazerettes are wooden and need to be replaced. Likewise the grate at the bottom of the cockpit needs replacing.
On the other hand look at the shape of that boat! It has a ‘sea’ hood and the cabin top is designed to drain water away. It has decent hardware that looks almost new, even though the boat is better than 40 years old. The non-skid is in decent condition. If you look at the ‘bones’ of this boat, there is sauciness to spare.
The boat has a new tiller, fabricated by the current owner who apparently knows quite a bit about woodworking. It’s very nicely done.
Inside the boat needs to have everything removed and washed down with bleach water. It’s been sitting for so long that just cleaning it up is going to make a big difference. There is enough head room that Andrew, who stands just at 6′, can stand up easily. The ports are large enough to let in light, but they do not open. More’s the pity on that one.
Inside there is a small, tidy galley to port and a dinette to starboard. The galley has a brand new sink and small faucet with an icebox behind that. There is adequate space to put an alcohol or camp stove. Also to port is a quarter berth, and to starboard a storage area. Continuing to the front of the boat there is an enclosed head to starboard with a small hanging locker to port. The V berth has sleeping for two average sized adults. In general the boat has a lot of storage for a boat this size. In addition the surfaces would be easy to clean.
The v berth is much better than one would think for a boat this small. The current owner had to repair the overhead hatch and he used lexan or plexiglass (not sure which) and that lets in quite a bit of light. Plus the hatch does not appear to leak.
The layout of the rig is simple and workable. The only issue there is that the mainsail has to be fed onto the mast each time you raise it, and that’s actually a bit difficult and works best with two people. There is likely a simple fix to this, and it does make the main easy to remove for maintenance. The mast is hinged for going underneath bridges, or putting this baby on a stout trailer and storing it at home.
Doing research on this boat I found that these boats have quite a following. It’s a Westerly, so you know it’s well built and is made to withstand conditions in the North Sea. I found that at least one of these has been sailed around the world. It has amenities that are hard to find on a boat this small: a decent galley, and an enclosed head. So it’s a boat that you could definitely sail up to the islands for the summer. The number one thing people complained about was that it is slow for its size. Probably the fact that is weighs better than 3200 pounds and has over 1400 pounds of ballast has something to do with that. Compare this to the Catalina 22 which weighs 2490 pounds and has only 800 pounds of ballast. Guess which one is faster?
So it’s slow but steady. If this little boat were cleaned up and repaired, it would be a great starter sailboat. It wouldn’t win any races but it would get you there safely, and you could cook dinner when you arrived. This boat may be a little more of a ‘fixer’ than Andrew is interested in, but he is still considering it while he looks at what else is out there. It’s hard to turn away a boat that, with a bit of effort, would be quite a stunner and able to take him just about anywhere. At this point he is more interested in sailing than working on a boat, but we’ll see what happens.
Update: July 5,2012
After looking at other boats, we decided this little Westerly, while worthy, was simply too much of a project for a first boat. Andrew decided on a turn-key Ericson 25. I hope my friends sell this boat to someone who will love it and restore it to its original condition. It’s a great little boat.