I have to agree with Jeff in that Westsails invoke strong opinions, both for and against. I've never understood the intensity of the detractors though - most of which have never owned one.
Over 800 boats were built, which is no small number for a production sailboat, and a much larger run than most models. 40 years later a huge number of those boats are still sailing and circumnavigating.
I owned a Westsail for 4 years and sold it only because I had to relocate to the East Coast. The Westsail 32 was our first boat. Before that the biggest boat we had sailed was a Catalina 25. The learning curve was steep on the 32, but the boat was forgiving and not too difficult to handle. Although, coming in or out of the slip was sometimes exciting. No, she wasn't going to win races in light air, but she was built like a tank and inspired confidence when the wind picked up.
If all I wanted was a coastal cruiser I would probably get something else for less money. However, if I wanted to cross oceans on a budget you could do much worse than a Westsail.
However, don't you think this is really just a case of personal preference? It is sort of like arguing whether sport bikes are better than Harleys.
It comes down to what you want in a boat. Personally, I think the modern spaceship looking raceboats are ugly. I don't really care that they will sail circles around me, or point higher, or back into a slip easier. Speed is not at the top of my priority list. What I liked about the Westsail is that I felt safe on it, knew that it was tougher than I was, and liked her traditional look. Most importantly, it made me smile everytime I sailed her or saw her sitting in the slip.
Brian & Marya
Pacific Seacraft 34
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