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Basilboy 07-15-2006 12:29 PM

What's Better Than a Westsail 32?
So here’s the dream. Sailing around the Pacific Northwest for a year or so to get our sea legs and then sail down the coast to Mexico and perhaps lands beyond. Who knows where the lust for distant places will take us? But we have to get the boat first. And become a lot more comfortable with our skills. We have sailed a few years learning on our wonderful old Thunderbird, but are looking for something a lot more comfortable and substantial (and less tender).

I don’t know if either my wife or I could stomach the offshore stuff, but I would like to try at some point. But the clincher is that my wife is very nervous about the idea of being more than a stone’s throw from shore, and to help her with her anxiety I want to be able to reassure her that the boat we are in is as safe as possible! Not that some folks have taken it offshore, not that the odds are in our favour, but that this boat is up to anything we would likely run into as we sail down the coast.

Given that, I have been looking at Westsail 32s, not only because they seem bulletproof as far as seaworthy goes (the Satori was abandoned in the same storm highlighted in the novel the Perfect Storm and yet weathered the storm fine all by herself – I like that – I can have the heart attack or fall off the boat or pulled off by a giant squid :eek: and my dear wife will still be taken care of) but they also fit in with my own personal philosophy that smaller is better. However, I am concerned by several comments and reviews that I have read that describe the boat as an anachronistic slug. A tank with a big flag fluttering above it. The owners don’t seem to think so but everyone else does.

There are legions of production boats available that everyone also argues about, but I couldn’t look my wife in the eye and tell her we are as safe as we would be in anything in our newly-acquired Catalina or Hunter. So what about something in between - a very seaworthy boat that can take a lot more than I can, and yet sails better than the Westsail, has a reasonable amount of space inside for cruising, is under 36 feet, costs well under $100,000, is very well built, comfortable at sea and anchor and there were more than ten made and so the odds are that one would be available. It should have a high angle of vanishing stability, point well, track easily, and be comfortably handled by two.

A fast Westsail 32 would be about right;) Any advice on this would be much appreciated. It seems that boats are most often made for performance or seaworthiness but if you want both you are looking at big $$$$.

Surfesq 07-15-2006 02:25 PM

Sometimes I think that Adminstrator just types these questions under a fake name to occupy the old

PBzeer 07-15-2006 03:22 PM

If you are on the PNW now, check into the Ontario 32.

pigslo 07-15-2006 04:03 PM

Morgan 38 comes to mind if you can go bigger. Fuji 32 or Mariner 32. Tayana 37. Freedom series with the unstayed mast.


sailingdog 07-15-2006 04:14 PM


Originally Posted by Surfesq
Sometimes I think that Adminstrator just types these questions under a fake name to occupy the old

That would explain why they're always first posts... ;)

Gene T 07-15-2006 06:34 PM

Surfesq could be right. They're trying to start an argument.

Basilboy 07-15-2006 08:09 PM

This is an honest-to-golly-real question, not intend to cause a dust-up or anything like that. And I know that the question gets asked a lot, but everyone has slightly different reasons for what they are looking for, and as we all know, boats are pretty specific in terms of what they were built for.

While of course we could get by in terms of a typical coastal cruiser, we have to have something more seaworthy than what we would actually expect to experience; perhaps a bit silly, but that’s the contract I’m working under and I don’t got a lot of leeway with it.
As an example, with the Ontario 32 suggested, the fin keel/spade rudder bit along with relatively low angle of vanishing stability and light displacement – I could not honestly tell the boss that this is an excellent seaworthy design, even though many use them for exactly what our plans are.

In another post JeffH commented that he can’t understand why in the world people buy heavy offshore boats for coastal work, and my wife is a perfect example why! It’s the only way I can get her out there.

There are a lot of good smaller, 70s era sailboats that meet the seaworthiness and size criteria (I have the book Twenty Small Boats to Take You Anywhere) but most of these designs are too small. I know narrow beam contributes to seaworthiness all things being equal, But I need the kind of space that the Wetsnail 32 gives. I also want to avoid the Tiawanese boats because importing them into Canada is very expensive.

Surfesq 07-15-2006 09:31 PM

Just ignore JeffH. He hates everything except his precious Farr. I wonder if he will admit that the Farr designs for the most part proved to be inferior designs in the Volvo Ocean Race?

SteveCox 07-15-2006 09:43 PM

I'm not sure I understand. Is importing a Taiwanese boat into Canada expensive because it originally came from Taiwan or are you talking about a new boat direct from Taiwan? One option might be to look at a Mariner 32 or 36. These were built either in the US or Japan so I don't think they would have your import issues.

PBzeer 07-15-2006 10:08 PM

One thing to remember, most boats will take far more than the crew can. I would suggest, if you are in the PNW, that you go around to some marinas and talk with people there who regularly sail that area and see what they sail. Also, I think you would be doing yourself...and your wife, a service by having her take a sailing course. Reading about what is "seaworthy" and actually experiencing it can be worlds apart. Or, to look at it another way, would you buy a Hummer, just to drive a few miles back and forth to work? That's basically the point JeffH is making. A good solid coastal cruiser would be more than capable for what you want to do, and, I believe, in the long run, give you more enjoyment. The thing is, to not get too caught up in a "numbers game" of ratios and formulas, and deleve into real world experiences with different boats. Otherwise, just say the heck with it and get a Westsail.

Remember though, it's YOUR boat, and you have to get what feels right to you, not to anyone else. All anyone here can do is give you their opinion, you have to make the decision.


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