I don't have a horse in this race, but here's tidbits to keep this 9 year old discussion running... errr... beam reaching.
A good read for those that haven't caught up: Sailing Vessel 'Satori' : 1974 Westsail 32
Unreated to the above...
I've always admired the looks of the Westsail 32 and was lucky enough to spend some time with my Contessa 26 in the slip beside another fellow's W32 this summer; Both of us having a similar story of delivering our respective boats home via the long way through the Great Lakes. Over the few days, we compared notes and swapped stories over lunches, wine and sweets. We had visited the same ports, experienced the same weather and sailing conditions and taken roughly the same route.
We had wine and sweets on their boat; The cockpit is larger but much less comfortable than my own. The W32 interior was gorgeous; Woodlined, warm, welcoming and cavernous. We never reciprocated because our cabin is too small and jammed full of everything we needed for a 6 week journey.
Their capacity allowed them to pack more 'necessities', were they necessary? Perhaps. More clothes, an oven, rigging cutters, plenty more tools and spares... all things to make life nicer and perhaps a bit safer that we simply can't bring with us on the Contessa. They had a classic rowing dinghy rigged for sailing up on deck, compared to our inflatable, deflated and stored in the v-berth; It required using a boom to get it back onboard, I can lift mine up on deck by its painter. His companion was requesting roller furling for their headsails as a Christmas present, my budget easily permitted roller furling. His engine had seized enroute and was stranded, unable to find a crane in that area large enough to haul out his boat to put it on a truck... My Contessa would not have had such constraints.
Because I admired the W32 quite often during those few days, my wife asked me if that was going to be our next boat (yay! She thinks we're going to get another one some day!!)... but I had to think about it. I certainly admired it for all of the beauty, and character and so-on, but I was quite content to sleep in my barebones Contessa that night; I couldn't imagine having to haul such a big boat around with me, or how I would manage to fill all that space below decks or why I would need to... I'm sure the fellow thought the same thing about my boat; He admired her looks but I can imagine them saying, "How do they live in such a small space? Where do they store ____? How do they cook on a single burner?" etc.
At the end of the day, you have to understand your boat's strengths and weaknesses and determine if they fit your lifestyle. At the end of the day, if you want a light boat, buy a Melges or some Farr design. If you want a classic double-ender, then buy a Westsail 32. If you want plastic? Pick one of many production boats. *shrug*
p.s. As a side note, we compared speed figures; My Contessa, in my clumsy hands, easily makes hullspeed at 6.3+knots under normal conditions (we've hit a maximum of 15.6kn SOG during a BFS with 14' short/steep waves on Lake Erie). The Westsail was quite happy to achieve over 6kn and was definitely working to push that figure over (up to?) 7kn - they were faster than us, but not by much. The difference is not the top speed but how long you could keep it there and how hard it was to reach it. We both admitted we were the slowest boats on the Lakes. :-)