Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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I think we probably need more information (such as year of manufacture) because C&C designed or built at least three different 32 footers, the most common being the C&C 32 of the early to mid 1980''s. I am assuming that you are looking at this early to mid 1980''s model. That model came in a deep keel, shoal keel, keel/centerboard and I vaguely recall that there may have been a wing keel version at the end of the production cycle (I could be wrong on that).
These boats are neither stiff nor tender meaning that they have comparatively little form stability and have reasonably good ballast stability. (The deep fin versions have substantially more stability than the centerboard or shoal draft fin versions and I would recommend against the shoal draft fin versions if you care about performance at all.) These are boats that sail quite well for a performance cruiser of that era. Yes these boats can be single-handed or double handed except that it is a bit of a nuisance to single-hand a wheel model that has the cabin top mounted traveler since the mainsheet and control lines are at the forward end of the cockpit. Also the sail plan proportion (huge jibs and tiny mainsail) is more difficult to sail short-handed than a more modern and moderate sail plan proportion.
These were well constucted boats, probably at the C&C''s quality high point. That said I believe that these boats have a cored hull and should be carefully surveyed. Also the late 1970''s and early 1980''s was the worst period for blister problems although I can''t say that I ever heard of a 32 having blisters. During this period there were a lot of optional equipment so these boats vary quite widely in hardware quality and how their decks were laid out from being barely equipped to be able to be sailed to a full blown racing set up with nice sized winches. Some of the deck hardware of that era, like the old style cam type halyard locks should probably be replaced with safer modern style positive release halyard locks.
I am not sure that I would say that these are especially good heavy weather boats. They were made to be raced by pretty large crews. The large headsails that are needed for light to moderate winds are too large to be furled far enough and still maintain a decent shape for a real blow, and sail change is more ideal but time consuming. The mainsail is too small and too far aft to permit you to sail through a blow under mainsail alone and the jib is too large and too far forward to allow you to sail through a blow under jib alone (unless you are able to run off for a very long distance.
In summary these are very nice boats for their day. They are reasonably fast and weatherly. They tend to vary quite a bit from boat to boat and be a little expensive for what they are but for the most part would be fine for what you want to do with the boat.
Perhaps as a contrast you might compare the C&C 32 of that era to a Dehler 101 or Farr 1020 of that same period, both of which offers a similar price, seaworthiness and build quality, but both are substantially faster and should be easier boats to single-hand.