As both Jeff_H & Mike (owner of the WS32 Sannyasin) know I just purchased a WS32 so view my response as someone with a bias toward these fine boats.
But maybe my ''decision tree'' of why I decided on a Westsail vs a different boat might help.
1. resale value - Westsails are holding their value extremely well (some say they''re even appreciating 3-5% per year). In the mid 70''s Westsails sold for roughly $50-60K. Today, 25-30 years later they''re selling for roughly (avg) $50-60K. You do the math.
2. ''Ergonomics'' - Even tho interior layouts were essentially the same I found other boats ''cramped'' feeling, lacking ''elbowroom'' & ample storage, with absolutely terrible engine access. One Westsail owner used the expression "lost on board" for things he couldn''t find, but knew he had. Obviously the roominess of the WS comes from its heavy displacement, full keeled hull. For me, as a liveaboard, comfort (roominess/storage/access, etc.) was more important than acceleration (as Mike says, it''s not hard to attain hull speed, it just takes longer than a more modern design). My Westsail is like Mikes (berth/settees to port & starboard) and I agree the centerline drop leaf dinette can get in the way at times moveing fore/aft in the cabin. However, I (personally) preferred this arrangement over the sbd setee/port dinette version as it seemed useable storage/space was less efficient and/or would be uncomfortable trying to sit athwartships when underway & heeled. YMMV
3. Seaworthiness - As a rusty singlehanded sailor I wanted a solid, forgiving boat that is safe & easy to sail. I prefer the high bulwarks to those dinky toerails (gives a safe feeling on deck), outboard chainplates (no ducking under stays when moving forward), Simple tiller steering, low cabintop profile, 1" thick hand layed solid fiberglass at keel (1/2" at deck/hull joint), etc..
4. Asthetics - As knowledgeable as Jeff is we pretty much disagree on everything except for one point: ''Beauty is in the eye of the beholder''. I prefer more classic lines and think the modern boats look like the inside of a refrigerator. As another Westsailor recently said "Life is too short to sail an ugly boat". One drawback to owning a Westsail is all the people that interrupt you at the dock to tell you what a great looking boat it is.
Finally, a slight correction to Jeff''s comments about the Ballast (according to Bud Tapin, ex-GM of Westsail and owner of Worldcrusier Yacht Company, whos sole purpose is to provide a single source for info, parts, etc. for Westsails).
"Concrete was never used to my knowledge in any of the Westsail 32''s, unless some home builder decided to use it, against the construction manual directions. Most of the kit boats went out with the ballast already installed, as the home builders did not have the equipment to handle the weight."
Otherwise, Westsails were ballasted with encapsulated lead/steel punchings or (as an option) lead/lead shot. Later (around ''75'') another option of a 3-piece block lead ballast was offered.