Centaur – Katie L II – a boat for the rough stuff


Jill and I went down to the south coast today and took a look at this 78 B layout Centaur with a nice 18hp inboard - too nice to remove so I will fit a big outboard bracket on the back and take the Tohatsu with me just in case of lobster pots or breakdowns. So I have a boat for the rough stuff around the top - room for four adults and Maggie










keels look okay - they weep a bit - but not much


I can pivot the mast to drop it myself



engine looks good - so she is staying - the well idea is dead - sorry chaps






big cockpit - Jill wants to get rid of the Treadmaster



forward cabin



Maggie chooses her spot



lobster pot catcher



quarter berth



quarter berth



rusty rigging screws - trouble?





roller reefing



saggy headlining





keel bolts





squidgy foredeck



grubby - but easy to clean

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86 Responses to “Centaur – Katie L II – a boat for the rough stuff”

  1. 2 February, 2014 at 10:21 pmroger says:

    Nice one fella. looks the business!

  2. 2 February, 2014 at 10:51 pmDavid says:

    I take it the deal is done? All looks good to me. Keelbolts look good, roller reefing looks a bit of a mess, but may be better in the flesh. Sorry if this will disappoint other ktl’ers but I have had quite a few boats (including some classic ones) and I am glad Dylan is sticking with an inboard diesel.

    !. We can hear what he is saying.
    2. I so love that diesel chug
    3. The diesel engine in the slug wasn’t representative, Modern engines will live 35+ years if looked after.

    I also hate the noise of a small outboard. I help Sailability sometimes and when helping in the sailing boats the noise of the engine is horrendous. When in the rescue boat it’s virtuality silent – WHY??

  3. 2 February, 2014 at 10:52 pmIan Simpson says:

    Liking the engine – looks as if it belongs there :-). Looking forward to your arrival in Scotland and your adventures.

  4. 2 February, 2014 at 10:54 pmdylan winter says:

    I am still going to put a bracket on the stern and carry the 6hp Tohatsu long shaft with me

  5. 2 February, 2014 at 10:59 pmPaddington Bear says:

    Thank god and amen to all the nonsense, perhaps we can get back to your fantastic video blog soon.

  6. 2 February, 2014 at 11:17 pmdylan winter says:

    it will be good not to have to do all that work – but it did open the door to a much larger range of boats – this one came along as a result of my talk to the RAF club the other week….there is still a fair bit of work to do…but I am very lucky to have her.

  7. 2 February, 2014 at 11:26 pmWarren says:

    Nothing like being a multi boat owner!
    Look like the ticket

    And most of the work is doable in stages

  8. 2 February, 2014 at 11:28 pmdylan winter says:

    terrible – owning two yachts – that is so baaaad

  9. 2 February, 2014 at 11:36 pmSpudmore says:


    I can’t describe the relief

    Now you can get down to the series business of conversion to junk rig.

    Thanks for the good work

  10. 2 February, 2014 at 11:37 pmSpudmore says:

    whoops – serious

  11. 2 February, 2014 at 11:58 pmMark the Skint Sailor says:

    Very nice. The keels look respectable and its got an inboard cabin heater! Are you going to work on it there or are you taking it down the coast to Chichester Harbour like you originally planned?

  12. 2 February, 2014 at 11:59 pmMalcolm Sparks says:

    Looks like you found a good boat for the northern part of the adventure and further. What are the sails like and have you had the engine running don’t forget diesel not petrol lol.

  13. 3 February, 2014 at 12:02 amPaul Mullings says:

    So I take it this is now your South Coast base for the DP and bird thing?

  14. 3 February, 2014 at 12:05 amPaul Mullings says:

    P.S. And the pub looks close too!

  15. 3 February, 2014 at 12:16 amtony corcoran says:

    I managed to lower the mast of my 1978 Centaur ashore using the boom as a gin pole. The boom gooseneck base can pivot on the vacant hole at the front of the mast step T bracket. You will need to radius the top corner of the T to stop it fouling the inside of the goose neck base as the boom comes vertical. The T is aluminium and it’s easier to hand file that than get the gooseneck fitting repaired…

  16. 3 February, 2014 at 6:51 amJes says:

    She looks great, been waiting for you all this time. We’re looking forward to some new KTL sailing footage once the weather warms up.

  17. 3 February, 2014 at 8:06 amPaul says:

    Woo hoo. Congrats D. Very nice, Reckon you will have her a sweet boat in no time. How much did you pay for her??? Even better you don’t have to bother with the well…

    Must admit, the thing I’v missed about the slug is all the problems you had to sort out, guess we are in for a treat now!

    So what do you need do then – a bracket o the stern, sort out the squigy fordeck, and a bit of a tidy up – anything other jobs to do to her?

  18. 3 February, 2014 at 8:20 amdylan winter says:

    I shall leave well alone – junk rigged Centaur – I should coco

  19. 3 February, 2014 at 8:21 amdylan winter says:

    It has to wait for the crane for the other boats

    I will contact Thornham see if they will take me for a while – or nip around to the Medway

  20. 3 February, 2014 at 8:21 amdylan winter says:

    sails look great – I shall use my old Sonata spinnaker when the wind is light

  21. 3 February, 2014 at 8:22 amdylan winter says:

    The Arun is the second fastest flowing tidal river in the Uk apparently – so not good duck punt territory

  22. 3 February, 2014 at 8:24 amdylan winter says:

    good tip – thank you – I was wondering about lowering the mast – I need to manage that

    how did you catch it as it came down?

  23. 3 February, 2014 at 8:25 amdylan winter says:

    I am currently putting up the east coast journey – and am going up to Anstruther in two weeks time

  24. 3 February, 2014 at 8:26 amdylan winter says:

    keels, foredeck, stern bracket, headlining, standing rigging…..

  25. 3 February, 2014 at 8:41 amHenrik Scheel says:

    Congratulations, if the deal is closed? Looks like it could replace Katie L since the mast can come down on the move? Look forward to the first ‘live’ coverage of the Wessel and the new beast.

  26. 3 February, 2014 at 9:07 amtony corcoran says:

    I have just had a closer look at your mast step photo. You may not have a vacant hole at the front of the T bracket. It may be possible to fabricate an aluminium collar to achieve the same object; mounting for boom/gin pole. This could be positioned. 10cm above the mast foot and give space underneath for a cross beam (?fender board) for lateral support.

    We had the jib Hal yard attached to the clew end of the boom which rested on and extended about 0.5m beyond the pulpit. A further line led from that to the tow ball of a car which was reversed slowly. All under control, I wasn’t that brave. However there appeared to be less load on the jib Hal yard and further line than anticipated. There is a YouTube clip showing someone lowering a Centaur mast manually so it can be done. Despite the above, there is enough load to push the top corner of the T through the thin aluminium in the base of the goose neck fitting on ithe boom…
    Lateral support was from main and spare Hal yard down to the horizontal fore and aft beams of a cradle the boat was sat in. These gave a pivot point near enough in line with that of the mast. Without the cradle I planned to use a bridle made up from the base of the Stan ch ions.
    Good luck.

  27. 3 February, 2014 at 9:09 amPhil Sitch says:

    Good luck.
    Looking forward to more photos and video of the work going on, do not forget we will buy DVDs of all the work…


  28. 3 February, 2014 at 10:39 amJulian Fisk says:

    One question though Dylan, how many feet of boats do yours add up to now and how big a problem does that equate to ? :-)

  29. 3 February, 2014 at 11:37 amdylan winter says:

    centaur 26, katie L 23, Duck Punt 15, Tender 8 feet – bad….. very very bad

    I am ashamed of myself

  30. 3 February, 2014 at 11:59 ampotter says:


    Thank God on two counts:

    1. You’ve finally got a Centaur!
    2. Your going to keep the inboard and NOT replace it with a nasty outboard

    Good Luck!

  31. 3 February, 2014 at 12:33 pmdylan winter says:

    nasty outboard…..pah…but the outboard on a bracket will be Plan B – always have a plan B – it helps to avoid you becoming an RNLI statistic

  32. 3 February, 2014 at 12:53 pmApplescruffs says:

    LIttlehampton ?

    That’s a geographical enquiry….not a personal one !


  33. 3 February, 2014 at 1:26 pmJ. Peter Haliburton says:

    Congratulations on finding a boat. I’m looking forward to seeing your work on her, as well as the voyage she will take you on.

  34. 3 February, 2014 at 2:17 pmdylan winter says:

    is there a joke involving Littlehampton – I tried looking on the web….

    would you care to share the Littlehampton story with us…

  35. 3 February, 2014 at 2:43 pmApplescruffs says:

    Something to do with the ‘Gentlemans area’……

    Rhyming slang..Hampton Wick

    I’ll get me coat !

  36. 3 February, 2014 at 2:49 pmdylan winter says:

    I thought it might have been an anatomical reference


  37. 3 February, 2014 at 3:57 pm133hp says:

    I’ll ask – how much, magic 2K?

  38. 3 February, 2014 at 3:57 pm133hp says:

    looks good by the way

  39. 3 February, 2014 at 4:42 pmRon says:

    That’s the way to do it !

  40. 3 February, 2014 at 5:30 pmdylan winter says:

    he has asked me not to say….I would be quite happy to tell you


  41. 3 February, 2014 at 6:00 pmJonathan sharman says:


    Great news and congratulations. Two good points I can see from the photos

    1) forward bad reverse are clearly labelled, I have never understood why the lever is at right angles to the direction it indicates, not good when you are in a panic to reverse

    2) Looks lik you already have a mounting point for Ray the autohelm.

    Looking forward to seeing your refurb photos.


  42. 3 February, 2014 at 6:03 pmDavid J says:

    Is it UK practice to make an agreed upon offer on a boat subject to a professional survey both on land and underway?

  43. 3 February, 2014 at 6:13 pmdylan winter says:

    not at this price level

    as seen

    any surveyor would make a real meal of it

  44. 3 February, 2014 at 6:14 pmPeter Truelove says:

    New car and new boat and all in a week. Busy man and about to get busier. Congratulations on the outcome of your epic search.

  45. 3 February, 2014 at 6:18 pmPhil Barron says:

    Congratulations Dylan, you have finally found one. She looks a treat. Looks like the keel area has been strengthened, that’s good news, as Centaurs are notorious for dodgy keels. If the bolts are slightly weaping take them off one at a time and clean up, put some sicaflex behind the plate and reseal. Don’t tighten down for 24 hrs. Should do the trick. Just finished the bolts on my westerly 33. Phil

  46. 3 February, 2014 at 7:35 pmspysteve spysteve says:

    I trust that you will join the Westerly Owners association now. (£15.00 pa and worth every penny)
    I am sure they will welcome you now that you are not going to deface one of there’s/our’s/mine!

    good luck and out with the jet wash next weekend


  47. 3 February, 2014 at 7:38 pmRivercruiser says:

    Congrats on the find! Much saner IMHO than the well. We use an outboard on one boat and a diesel on another. Love the diesel!

    Regarding lowering and raising the mast;
    I use two home made cable bridles, one on either side, attached to the toe rail to steady the mast laterally. Halyards and blocks to raise and lower by hand using boom as gin pole. I would never use a vehicle as a mule because the raising and lowering must be done very slowly to avoid snagging the rigging and tearing something loose. A vehicle, even a ricing mower, cannot feel any resistance.

  48. 3 February, 2014 at 7:43 pmspysteve spysteve says:

    How did you get maggie up on deck ? can she climb ladders?
    My lab (all 28kgs of her) is a night mare to get on the boat.

  49. 3 February, 2014 at 7:45 pmdylan winter says:


    I was a member while I was looking for a replacement for the slug but was overcome with inboardophobia and chickened out. I am really a two outboards sort of guy rather than placing all my faith in one engine – but we shall see if I learn to trust the volvo 2002

    I am looking forward to hearing it fire up

  50. 3 February, 2014 at 7:46 pmRivercruiser says:

    Just looked again at your pics.

    Has Harmony’s transom already been drilled and a doubler installed for an outboard motor bracket?

    The two rows of fasteners look like it might have been done for you.

  51. 3 February, 2014 at 8:01 pmdylan winter says:

    it does

    all I have to do is to identify the right bracket and seek one out

    she has had an engine replaced at some stage so she has been through a period of motivational inconsistency

  52. 3 February, 2014 at 9:10 pmdylan winter says:

    I just lifted her and she climbed aboard

    getting her down I called her over and she stepped into my arms

    trust you see – and she likes boats

    being a strong bloke probably helps with lifting aboard

  53. 3 February, 2014 at 9:12 pmRon says:

    Love that phrase – “motivational inconsistency”.
    Just have to find some way of using it in day-to-day conversation.

  54. 3 February, 2014 at 9:19 pmjeremy johnson says:

    Great news Dylan – she looks good – the engine and keel bolts look just the job and the outside will come up a treat after just a jet wash. . I was amazed at how even mucky old looking green covered 16 plait rope looked almost new and so soft after several rinses in a bucket and then a wash with warm water and clothes detergent. On the squidgy fordeck : I was told by someone in the States, but never witnessed it myself, that the way several people had tackled the problem was to drill a series of holes evenly spaced over the surface of the thinner inside backing skin and then put a bent nail in the chuck of a drill and whizz it around in the gap between the two skins. The resulting debris can then be sucked out fo the holes with a vacuum cleaner. I believe the core material concerned may have been balsa wood but assume that it would work in the same way with foam core too. WIth the void nicely aired from the holes it can dry out properly – then refilled with expanding foam, glassing over the holes after trimming excess. What I’m not sure of is whether the expanding foam bonds to inside surfaces of the glass skins. Maybe it does well enough because the surfaces are still nicely roughed up.

    ANyway best of luck and looking forward to the coverage of the work on KTL II – and of Chichester Harbour from Duck Punt level. The song of the curlew on the mud, and .the skreech of the terns at the entrance are I find, very evocative.


  55. 3 February, 2014 at 9:44 pmJon says:

    How bad was the squidgy fordeck?

    What are your thoughts on this at the moment?

  56. 3 February, 2014 at 9:49 pmGiles says:

    Just picked up on this… Congratulations!

    She looks great – welcome to the neurotic Centaur Owner’s Group. I spend my life worrying about our lobster pot fields off the Essex coast – especially when under power. You do have the slight advantage of having the later style rudder with a skeg, I believe there is less chance of a snag with this.

    I am in the process of fitting a bracket to the transom of Drift. I intend to have my Mariner 4 as a standby/auxiliary motor. It easily powered my old Vivacity through all sorts of weather – choppy seas too – albeit with some cavitation. I expect it will at least give me steerage in an emergency and, most valuable of all, it will give me close water flexibility by being able to vector when coming alongside.

    I’ll be interested in seeing how you are going to drop the mast. I haven’t had the courage to do that yet, but I have seen somewhere some chap dropping a Centaur mast using the boom, not an ‘A’ frame – scary…

    The keels look OK and I don’t think the spongy deck is a serious safety issue, but I would replace those rusty bottlescrews and every split pin. No real cost there…

    I have stuck with the old roller reefing system for the present. It works after a fashion, but you do have to send someone to the mast to turn the twiddler thingy and guide the sail into neat rolls which is interesting when pitching in a North Sea Chop.


  57. 3 February, 2014 at 9:58 pmdylan winter says:

    I think that having my trusty Tohatsu on board will make me feel happier

    it will also charge the batteries if I run out of juice for the starter – always a worry

  58. 3 February, 2014 at 9:58 pmdylan winter says:

    well it moves under my foot – not structurally critical but it needs to be made waterpoof – I will try the caravan rot cure stuff


  59. 3 February, 2014 at 10:15 pm133hp says:

    I get the impression you cant still quite believe you’ve found one – and now own it !:)

    remind me of the plan, transport it or sail it? when will the Scottish adventure start?

  60. 3 February, 2014 at 10:20 pmdylan winter says:

    a month fettling ashore

    a month fettling afloat

    then the plan is to sail straight up to Scotland in one hit with a three or four man crew of KTLers

    then in June when my kids finish university they will come up to Scotland and we will head up towards Orkney and possibly Shetland

    it should be a great adventure


  61. 4 February, 2014 at 3:54 amJ. Peter Haliburton says:

    I’d love to be one of the delivery crew, if it were only possible.

  62. 4 February, 2014 at 7:54 amRoland Marriott says:

    Does this mean promotion to Commodore Winter?

  63. 4 February, 2014 at 8:30 amdylan winter says:

    more fleet captain than Commodore at this stage – I have bought some red trousers, a lovely blazer and a pair of £500 Dubarry’s though.


  64. 4 February, 2014 at 8:51 amGiles says:

    Careful with the fettling. That’s the very word I heard Griff Rhys Jones use last Sunday night when he described the maintenance he carried out on ‘Undina’ after a trip to the Baltic. He took her in to the Suffolk Yacht Harbour for a quick fettle – she was there three years…

  65. 4 February, 2014 at 8:58 amdylan winter says:

    His vessel fell into the hands of marsh pirates

  66. 4 February, 2014 at 9:29 am[email protected] says:

    As all us sailors know, it is an established fact that the optimal number of boats one can own equals N+1 where N equals the current number of boats owned.

    I am sure therefore that we can come up with a constant k that turns N+1 into an equivalent optimal length.

  67. 4 February, 2014 at 9:33 amPaul Rogers says:

    Well done for buying a strong boat for what may be a rough trip. This area looks a lot different to the coastal cruising you have done so far. Will you visit the Faroes? That’s inside the Arctic Circle isn’t it? Make sure you have a good (diesel ) heater in the boat.

    Best Wishes
    Paul Rogers

  68. 4 February, 2014 at 10:11 amdylan winter says:

    get behind me satan – what I have to do is to avoid having two yachts on the water at the same time

    that would be very, very, very bad.


  69. 4 February, 2014 at 10:13 amdylan winter says:

    Faroes is too far – probably for me the boat and…..

    for maggie – the labrador will have to learn to use astroturf

    although she does have a 28 hour bladder

    when it is raining she just stays indoors and does not want to go out

    Shetland perhaps if we hit some nice reather

    but I am sure that Jill and Ell will not be that keen on hearty hard sails north into the arctic circle

    – heating is by origo heat pal


  70. 4 February, 2014 at 5:58 pmAlex says:

    Nice boat!
    Look out for fuel tank rust- after my first tough sail I started to get clouged fuel lines, the rust flakes were so big they blocked the pipe before reaching the filter!

  71. 4 February, 2014 at 6:49 pmdylan winter says:

    I was going to drain the tank into some demi-johns (shhh don’t tll Jill) and then see what it looks like

    diesel bug is really frightening – I promised myself I would never go back to an inboard – and here I am going down the old diesel route. I will feel a lot better once have got a few hours in rough seas on her – the boat has not moved very far over the past few years so although she has been well looked after I have no idea what the future holds

  72. 5 February, 2014 at 3:59 amDave says:

    Congrat’s Dylan. Looks like a diamond in the rough, and not even that rough. I’m looking forward to seeing her cleaned up and on the water. It’s always great to see the transformation. I went from a Tohatsu outboard on my old 22 footer to a diesel on the 25 footer and I’ve had no regrets. Both motors have served me well. You can’t go wrong with the backup outboard, and of course backup sails.

  73. 5 February, 2014 at 6:30 am[email protected] says:

    Am real proud of you. You done good. She’s a sweet charmer of a keeper. Have a ball.

  74. 5 February, 2014 at 8:30 amdylan winter says:

    as long as she keeps us safe for the summer – that is the main thing

  75. 5 February, 2014 at 8:31 amdylan winter says:

    I will feel more secure with a bracket on the back and an outboard ready to roll – I would hate to be towed into harbour – with a Tohatsu in the quarter berth I feel that I will stand a much better chance of avoiding a humiliating rescue by the RNLI

  76. 5 February, 2014 at 8:14 pmoldfatgit says:

    Well done, a great relief. Keep the treadmaster as it is a sod to remove, just paint it with treadmaster paint, makes it look new.

  77. 6 February, 2014 at 9:41 amBill Wardroper says:

    Try Paynes Boatyard next to Thornham. Great owner (Mark) and a bunch of really interesting and friendly people

  78. 6 February, 2014 at 9:44 amdylan winter says:

    I went there when searching for a centaur – do they have drying pontoons with lekkie?


  79. 7 February, 2014 at 8:21 pmDianne says:

    Marine 16 treatment will keep the bug at bay. i’m delighted you won’t be vandalising the Centaur..

  80. 7 February, 2014 at 8:49 pmdylan winter says:

    If the engine goes zip then plan B will have to come into action

  81. 8 February, 2014 at 7:06 pmBill Wardroper says:

    I put a well in a mcwester Rowan with an 8hp marina outboard I made sure ithe prop was in the same position as the original prop. It worked very well, the additional benifit was that if I ever reinstated an inboard I could put a cover on the well but if I ever got a rope round the prop I could clear it from the cockpit, it all worked

  82. 8 February, 2014 at 10:11 pmGrenville Houser says:

    Glad we were able to help in some small way! It was a mighty fine evening – thank you – and you are always more than welcome at the RAFYC – as are any of the KTL’ers who came along that evening. I hope they all had a good time.

    All best..

  83. 10 February, 2014 at 10:56 pmSimon says:

    Is that roller reefing one with a swivel, or does it have a halyard on it and that spins too? If so, we have one like it and can help if you have any problems.

  84. 10 February, 2014 at 10:59 pmdylan winter says:

    I dunno

    I have not even looked at it yet

    through hulls first, engine second, electrics third, then the sails

    – what do you think of the rr

    and what are the problems


  85. 15 July, 2014 at 6:35 pmrichard le sauteur says:

    I have watched your progress avidly over the past month or so, and enjoyed the scenario very much.. I think you should be congratulated on getting a Centaur, I have had three since 1974,doing most of the refitting myself, sailing them ( mostly singlehanded) for about 15 years, and then selling them – always regretted the sale afterwards. They are about as big as one can manage singlehanded, I am 83 and still sailing. I prefer the B layout, more room below. During the 40 years I haven’t changed any inboard engines, although I have had to keep them in repair. They are an “honest” boat, rugged and built to old fashioned specifications.Performance wise, they are quite good upwind, but slow downwind

    There is a great deql of guff written about their weaknesses ( there are some which are well known) but I have always prevented rather than cured and replaced where necessary on a rolling programme.

    My guess is that you wont want to dispose of Harmony when the time comes.

  86. 15 July, 2014 at 9:10 pmdylan winter says:

    cheers R,

    as for missing the boat I certainly shall miss her

    there is a big difference between 4 tonnes and one tonne when it comes to dealing with the sea. However, all the time I am on her I am worried about the engine and lobster pots.

    I know that I can be tootling along at five knots one moment and the engine could go bang – and my £8,000 boat is suddenly worth £1500.

    However the accomodation on board cannot be beat and she sails much, much better than her reputation. We have had some cracking sails in her.


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