I''m sure this must have been discussed in the past and I''m certain it will elicit strong opinions both pro and con.
Let''s talk about the Westsail 32 as a liveaboard vessel for the Atlantic Coast, ICW and Chesapeake Bay.
What say ye?
Jim, I think you''re correct that the topic will generate strong comments in both directions. I don''t think of myself as biased to/against the W32 per se, but the boat is heavy and with a deep full keel - not choices I would make for the Chesapeake''s light winds and shallower secluded anchorages, nor when needing to motor long distances (ICW). I''ve found some (many?) W32 owners have them because of the romance of the design and its intended purpose, and in spite of how the owner. actually use them. I guess for that reason, any choice can be considered a good one.
I think it helps to keep in mind just how big a W32 is, as this relates to cost & weight of gear, demands on a crew, difficulty in maneuvering, etc. We sail a Pearson 424 and, when rafted to some dear friends'' dock and their W32, I noticed our masts were the same height (except I have a 2nd one), we have the same draft, same LOA, and almost the same beam. Our displacements are within one ton of one another (design data, tho'' this probably also applies to the boats when fitted out for cruising). We turn in half her length, are faster in almost all conditions, under both sail & power, have one additional, spacious cabin for guests, a stand-up shower stall, a bigger more functional U-shaped galley and every cabin plus the cockpit is more comfortable, more spacious and better suits (IMO, of course...) living aboard.
I''m not intending to brag about our boat, altho'' I think very highly of her. Our friend''s W32 is nicely kept, well suited for offshore work for a couple (tho'' only one sea berth due to the dinette), has a good deck to work on and a suitable offshore sail plan (tho'' a horrid cockpit for offshore sailing, again IMO). It''s just that I have to wonder what having all that extra displacement, draft, drag and lack of maneuverability is giving the crew.
Perhaps we (sailors) are a lot like U.S. car fans. Germans love the engineering, while we and the Japanese seem to love the styling. Image is king and that''s no doubt true for W32 fans, as well.
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.
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