I, as an owner of a Westsail 32, am in the "in favor of" catagory. I don''t have any strong comments - I love my boat and offer no applogies for it. I have found that many people who have opinions about them have very little experience or direct knowledge of them.
If you want styling and performance, the Westsail isn''t the boat for you. Contrary to Jack''s analogy of German enginering and Japanese styiling, I would guess there is a lot more engineering in a Westsail than there is styling. A Westsail is WAY over built. No doubt about it, she''s heavy. But, that is what drew my wife and I too her to begin with. We wanted a boat that was bullet proof, and it is hard to beat a Westsail for the money.
Also, each and every boat is different, so when looking, look at lots. Our layout includes all the niceties of home (shower stall, frig, stove/oven, tons of storage, etc.) and the layout adjusted more for comfort of living aboard - as a mater of fact, the previous owners lived aboard for 10 years. Our roomy layout fits me, my wife, and our daughter very well, with out all the overhead and added expence of a larger boat.
A lot has been done to make these boats sail better and faster. Kern Ferguson, formerly of Westsail Corp., supports these boats through his So. Cal. company, Kern''s Sails, and has helped to revolutionize the sail plan to greatly improve performance.
Plus, after being out of production for 20 years, there is still aftermarket support for these boats. WorldCruiser Yachts supplies parts and the owner''s association is very active.
We''re on the hard right now restoring our good ol'' boat. In a few months, we hope to move aboard and cruise down the east coast, chesapeake, and the ICW to points south. I think the point is that we will be doing it aboard a safe and sturdy boat that will take all the abuse we put it through for a lot less money. We hope to "live the dream." I think that our Westsail is the perfect boat to do it on.