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Old 12-10-2002
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Bristol 32'''' full keel

I am looking a Bristol 32'' full keel and would like to hear from owners about things to check out, weaknesses ( good points too). It has a westerbeke diesel 25hp.
thanks
John
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Old 12-10-2002
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Bristol 32'''' full keel

First of all, who ever is claiming that a Bristol 32 is a full keel boat is being a little disengenuous. The Bristol 32 has a deeply cut away forefoot and a trailing edge that is quite far forward. By the traditional definition of a ''fin keel'' (i.e. a keel with its bottom being less than 50% of the length of the boat) the Bristol 32 is a fin keel with an attached rudder. This set up has few of the advantages of either a long keel or a fin keel but all of the disadvantages of both.

The Bristol 32 began life as an extreme CCA racing rule beater. This meant giving up a lot of speed, and seakindliness for a good rating.

While I am not an owner of a Bristol 32 I hae spent a fair amount of time around and on board them. Even by the standard of thier day these were slow, wet, poor in light air and not very good boats in a chop or a blow.

The Early 32''s were not all that well constructed but construction quality improved over time. Even for their day, they had tight interiors and the early ones featured acres of wood grain formica and non-marine plywood. The formica can trap moisture promoting and obscuring rot.

While I am generally not a fan of boats of this era, the Bristol 32 is a poster child for what was wrong with that design fad. I suggest that if you must have a CCA era boat, there were much better designs that offered more whole sailing ability and comfort. Some better examples from that era would be a Morgan 34, Cal 34, or Galaxy 32.

Respectfully,
Jeff

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Old 12-13-2002
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Bristol 32'''' full keel

As an owner of a Bristol 32, let me say that, as with all boats, it is important to fit the vessel to the owner, the type of sailing to be done, and lastly, finances. My sailing is coastal and island, in Buzzards Bay Massachusetts. Consistant winds and chop make for exciting passages even on the good days. My Bristol 32 is more than capable of handling the 5 foot chop and 15-20 kts of the prevaling southwesterly breeze.
Asthetically, and this is very important to me, is the look of the boat. In an admittantly biased opinion, the Bristol 32 is just about as beautiful a boat as I can think of, with "classic" lines. Certainly, there are faster boats, more expensive boats, but dollar for dollar, pound for pound, foot for foot, this boat can, and does, do the trick. It is a testimony to the quality of the boats built by the company, that so many of them are still around.
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