In many respects a Snapdragon 26 is similar to a Westerly Centaur*. Their internal volumes are roughly identical, the Westerly displacing 6,700 lbs and the Snapdragon 4,500 lbs. Both offer comparable caravan-type accommodation. The main difference between them is the configuration of their keels. The most popular version of the Snapdragon has bilge keels; others have fin keels. Either way, the keels are encapsulated, unlike the Centaur’s, which are of cast iron bolted to the hull. The Snapdragon’s keels are upright, but the Centaur’s are splayed. The latter are more efficient for windward sailing; however, when it comes to settling in mud, splayed keels are subjected to unfair forces tending to push them apart. In some cases this has caused leaks where the keel bolts pass through the hull. Snapdragon keels are not fault free, because over time, the GRP becomes worn at their bases, necessitating them to be shoed.
Snapdragon 26s were designed by L. Wakefield, and about 200 of them were built between 1966 and 1969 by Thames Marine at Canvey Island, Essex, England. If you are looking for a cheap family cruising yacht, good value ones can be found for as little as £3,500.
Snapdragon 26 Sailboat Data.com
Centaur 26 - Sailboat Data.com
Thames Marine UK
Snapdragon, Mirage and Invader Association
The Island Sailing Club – Canvey Island (Where Snapdragon, Mirage and Invader Association events are held.)
1968 Snapdragon 26 Fin Keel Version for Sale in Kent £3,450
Snapdragon 26 Twin Keel version for Sale in Devon £3,950
Snapdragon 26 – This boat has been sold, but good photos.
Snapdragon 747 – Smaller sister to the 26