As a former yachtbuilder, I read with interest the discussion on the Westsail 32. When I was building the Acapulco 40''s I used the same laminator (Crystaliner) as Westsail and therefore had the opportunity to observe their construction. I have to say the fiberglass work was excellent and the boats that were factory finished were good. As to how they sailed, that may be open to interpretation. I must admit I have never been a fan of double enders. The ends are too symetrical and they generally have very slack bilges. I have to agree with a statement Robert Perry made some time ago: "hobby horses belong in the nusery". Yes, I have sailed Westsail 32''s.
While I have never gone bonkers over fin keel/spade rudder cruising boat designs, I do feel a proper cruising yacht will have pleasant overhangs, ample reserve buoyancy in the ends, good performance to weather and the ability to hold a course downwind. There are, of course, additional attributes such as decent light air performance and the ability to sail somewhat "on her lines". I believe these things are necessary requirements for a safe cruising boat. It is possible to design a low wetted surface, semi-full keel/attached rudder boat that meets this criteria. I used to build them. Your comments are most welcome.
Garry L. Powell