Jim, I think you''re correct that the topic will generate strong comments in both directions. I don''t think of myself as biased to/against the W32 per se, but the boat is heavy and with a deep full keel - not choices I would make for the Chesapeake''s light winds and shallower secluded anchorages, nor when needing to motor long distances (ICW). I''ve found some (many?) W32 owners have them because of the romance of the design and its intended purpose, and in spite of how the owner. actually use them. I guess for that reason, any choice can be considered a good one.
I think it helps to keep in mind just how big a W32 is, as this relates to cost & weight of gear, demands on a crew, difficulty in maneuvering, etc. We sail a Pearson 424 and, when rafted to some dear friends'' dock and their W32, I noticed our masts were the same height (except I have a 2nd one), we have the same draft, same LOA, and almost the same beam. Our displacements are within one ton of one another (design data, tho'' this probably also applies to the boats when fitted out for cruising). We turn in half her length, are faster in almost all conditions, under both sail & power, have one additional, spacious cabin for guests, a stand-up shower stall, a bigger more functional U-shaped galley and every cabin plus the cockpit is more comfortable, more spacious and better suits (IMO, of course...) living aboard.
I''m not intending to brag about our boat, altho'' I think very highly of her. Our friend''s W32 is nicely kept, well suited for offshore work for a couple (tho'' only one sea berth due to the dinette), has a good deck to work on and a suitable offshore sail plan (tho'' a horrid cockpit for offshore sailing, again IMO). It''s just that I have to wonder what having all that extra displacement, draft, drag and lack of maneuverability is giving the crew.
Perhaps we (sailors) are a lot like U.S. car fans. Germans love the engineering, while we and the Japanese seem to love the styling. Image is king and that''s no doubt true for W32 fans, as well.