She’s been unfairly described as a ‘floating caravan’, yet she's nimble, lively and roomy – which is what most of us want in a boat, says Dick Durham
Westerly Konsort review
See the July 2017 issue of Yachting Monthly for the full test
What’s she like to sail?
The Westerly Konsort seems to be a bigger boat than she really is. At a fraction under 29ft in length, her appearance is deceptive because of her generous volume. It’s not until you take the helm that you realise you are not really sailing a 34 footer, even though it may look like it!
She is light on the helm, super responsive but by the same token she’s not directionally stable. She has a superbly secure cockpit for offshore sailing: easy to use solo, yet with buckets of room for a full crew.
She may be a little under-canvassed but her hull, which has little wetted surface, is easily driven in light airs. When the wind pipes up, reefing is not necessary until winds reach the top end of a Force 4.
Her voluminous sprayhood can take half a knot off your boatspeed upwind, so it’s often worth folding it away if you have a long beat to windward and it’s not too cold.
What’s she like in port and at anchor?
She’s a cinch to manoeuvre under power and goes astern almost as predictably as ahead – handy if you’re between the tightest of marina finger pontoons. You might want a step fender or soapbox to step off from the deck to the pontoon as her topsides are rather high, and there is no bathing platform for easy stern access.
With a single bow roller, there’s no second roller available for mooring lines, and with her anchor deployed she will sheer around in a breeze, her high windage overriding her wetted area. But as with all bilge-keel boats she comes into her own drying out up some lonely creek or settling on a half-tide beach.
Her long cockpit benches are comfortable for lounging and there’s space for sunbathing on her wide, flat cabin top. She has a transom-hung ladder for bathing.
Her big cockpit lends itself to a removable enclosure, which can offer a ‘conservatory’ for sheltered sailing in foul weather and on warm nights, two extr crew could bed down on the cockpit seats.
Would she suit you and your crew?
She’s not a fast passage-maker, but she’s lively, nimble and responsive. She’s an eminently practical boat for coastal cruising with plenty of living space and ample room for a family, or even a full crew of five adults, including oodles of stowage. Not that you’ll need a crew – she’s also an easy boat to sail singlehanded, with all sail controls to hand.
If you’re a keen cook, you may find the Konsort’s basic galley restrictive and lacking in workspace. That and the rudimentary heads are drawbacks for those seeking luxurious comfort. However, the huge volume below decks more than makes up for this. You get 6ft standing headroom pretty much throughout; comfortable, wide and long berths – even the quarter berth can take two adults at a push – and a saloon table that could hold a banquet.
Twin-keel and drop-keel Konsorts are well worth considering if you want to save money on mooring fees, as they’re ideal boats to keep on a cheap, drying mooring.
FACTS AND FIGURES
Price £12,000 to £25,000
LOA 8.78m (28ft 10in)
LWL 7.77m (25ft 6in)
Beam 3.27m (10ft 9in)
Draught 0.99m (3ft 3in)
Displacement 3,862 kg (8,516 lb)
Ballast 1,451 kg (3,200 lb)
Ballast ratio 37.6%
Sail area 47.65 m2 (513sq ft)
SA/D ratio 19.7
Diesel 67 litres (14 gal)
Water 120 litres (26 gal)
Engine Diesel 30hp
Transmission Shaft drive
Designer Laurent Giles
Builder Westerly Marine Construction
Owners’ Association www.westerly-owners.co.uk