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jb1528 04-28-2011 06:44 PM

Bristol 32 performance
I sail Puget Sound and recently sold my Catalina 27. I'm not new to sailing, but had been out of it a while and my new wife had never sailed. She loves it and we move on. In the new boat, we wanted to improve things that weren't related to sailing performance, but we want good sailing habits too.

I have had an offer accepted on a Bristol 32 and the sea trials are soon. I've read conflicting reports on the performance of these boats. I know this design is bread to heal, settle in and go given the right conditions. I've read that they go to weather like "a scalded cat" which I assume means fast, and other reviews that they are slow.

Those of you that own one, what is your experience? Is motoring at 6 knots reasonable. Does sailing at 6 knots on the wind at 12-15 apparent happen. Better? Worse? What happens in the real world.

What can I expect? I know sail set, sail condition, genoa size, sea state, point of sail etc etc affects speed.

I love everything about this boat, but have not sailed it yet. People seem to keep them a long time so there must be a reason and I hope that a reasonable amount of performance is part of that reason.

Please chime in. I hope to be one of the Bristol family soon.


Exile1 04-29-2011 10:05 AM

You may be interested in the story of this B32 that was sailed across the Atlantic:

S/V Kestrel

jb1528 04-29-2011 12:09 PM

thanks for the reference. I did see that and found that interesting, including the modifications. He chronicles the journey which he should, but I didn't see much about how the boat sails.

I have never spent time on a design like this. What are they like to sail on inland waters. I don't race, I cruise and daysail like most folks. I want to know what owners love about how they sail and what they don't like.


FloridaWriter 05-14-2011 10:31 AM

I sail a Bristol 29 which has a slightly longer waterline and is slightly faster, and I would say motoring at 6 knots is certainly possible since the theoretical hull speed is 6.2 knots; sailing at that speed closehauled in 12 to 15 is very possible given good sails. Like all CCA designed sailboats, they extend their waterline a lot as they heal which makes them much faster than that limited by their LWL.
Good luck with her,

jb1528 05-14-2011 01:29 PM

We did the sea trials two weeks ago and it went well. Hull speed was easily reached. The main is 1 1/2 yrs old and the headsail just one year older. Both North sails. I think she'll be fine!

We are completing the deal today. Whoo Hoo!


MarkSF 05-27-2011 05:10 PM


Originally Posted by jb1528 (Post 730320)
We did the sea trials two weeks ago and it went well. Hull speed was easily reached. The main is 1 1/2 yrs old and the headsail just one year older. Both North sails. I think she'll be fine!

We are completing the deal today. Whoo Hoo!


Cool - did you take delivery yet?

tempest 05-27-2011 06:02 PM


I owned a 29.9 for many years, I loved how she sailed. If the 32 sails anything like the 29 you'll be very pleased. I do remember her taking a reef early, but once everything was balanced she tracked beautifully.

Good luck with your 32!

jb1528 05-27-2011 11:22 PM

We did take delivery two weeks ago. We spent the weekend on her in Anacortes last weekend then took her around Cypress Island in the San Juans. We motored most of the way, but did unfurl the headsail in about 12 apparent and made 5.5 or so. Not bad. It was raining pretty good and I didn't want to get the main wet for some reason.

I love this boat already. She has great lines, funky upholstery and a great patina on the cabin sole. Her cabin is cozy, her decks are wide and her motion is gentle. I think she sails just fine. What's not to love.

I think she will take us anywhere in the Northwest we care to go. We are bringing her to her home port Sunday, about 40 nautical miles or so.

Her survey showed an iffy fuel tank so I will change that. I have the new tank and I really really hope my measurements are correct. I'll have to remove the hot water tank to get the old iron tank out. Fingers crossed!

I'm going to need a recommendation for new roller furling as the original Hood furler is not long for this world either, but it is still servicable.

Fair winds


jb1528 08-04-2011 07:24 PM

very happy
I posted earlier that I wanted some input as to the performance of Bristol 32s.

I have to tell you that I am now very pleased after finally getting some air over the sails of my '75.

The other evening, after setting my crab pot and with just the headsail up in about 18 apparent I hit 7 through the water on maybe a quarter reach. The next evening with both sails and about the same wind, I hit 7.5 for a moment.

Soft ride, solid, healing a lot. I loved it. I also reduced the headsail and still made 6.5. I am still experimenting. I have a fairly two year old North main with a full top batten and standard lower battens. The genny is a year older.

I love it.


Dcneuro 10-10-2011 07:52 PM

I was sailing back to our yacht club very hard on the wind with an 04 benneteau 343 right behind me. I had always assumed they could point higher then my Bristol 32. Perhaps they can, however, so much ground was lost to leeway that my boat actually outpointed the benneteau!

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