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anneminix 10-12-2001 05:06 PM

westsail 32
we are looking for a liveaboard cruser sailing now a 25 catalina it seems a westsail 32 would fit pocket boot and size for coastial sailing.and maybe beyond. hoping to hear from others with experence and some advice tks anne

walt123 10-12-2001 06:02 PM

westsail 32

walt123 10-12-2001 06:06 PM

westsail 32
you will find the difference in sailing between a catalina 25 and a Westsail 32 disapointing. While the Westsail is a rugged vessel its lines and weight render it a slug. Your Catalina 25 will sail rings around it. It takes 15 knots plus to make a westsail move decently and then it will only go to weather poorly. It does have lots of room and if it has a decent engine and tankage makes a nice costal motor sailor. Yes I know that many have sailed westsails arould the world..slowly...if you enjoy the sailing you should look at more modern hull configurations you will find that much more enjoyable...My apologies to Westsail owners you are a unique breed and I mean no offense but this is 2001 and cruising designs have come a long way from Colin Archer type boats.

Jeff_H 10-13-2001 06:10 AM

westsail 32
While Westsails are certainly venerable cuising boats, they are very much a mixed bag. They are really terrible in light to moderate air. Generally needing 12 to 15 knots of air in order to move at a reasonable speed. Even at that they tend to be quite slow making for long, slow passages.

As a result, conversations that I have had with distance cruisers with Westsails suggest that they spent huge percentages of thier time motoring.

Then there is the issue of build quality. The factory built boats were simple and pretty nicely built but a large number of Westsails were owner built. This results in a wide range of builder errors getting incorporated into the boat. Some of these are quite serious such as poor electrical installations, improperly glassed in bulkheads and other structural elements, improperly sized and attached deck hardware, improper through hulls and seacock installations and so on. A lot of these boats were assembled by the sailing equivilent of the 1960''s era hippies. Intermittantly, I watched one being built by a such a guy. He had almost never been sailing in his life and thought that the boat would somehow save him form harm. In hindsight the boneheaded moves on this guy''s part were amazing.

One of the most serious build quality issues that can occur with a home built boat is under ballasting using iron scrap metal and concrete. This problem is related to a serious consequence of being as heavy as they are. These boats have a very hard to drive hull form and a huge amount of wetted surface. As a result you need to carry an enormous amount of sail area compared to a lighter boat to go at all. To carry a lot of sail area you need a lot of stability. Since these are round bilge boats all of that stability comes in the form of ballast. When you look at the relative weight of the ballast to overall weight on these boats, as designed they don''t carry a lot of ballast. While the bowsprit and cutter rig let you carry the large sail area closer to the water which helps with stability issues a little, it is important that these boats have the full amount of a high density ballast placed as low as possible in the water. Those boats that have some owner/builder improvised ballast are short on the kind of ultimate stability that these boats really need to be able to sail in moderate to heavy winds. There is really no easy way to tell on a home built what was done for ballast but I do know of a fellow who ended up jackhammering out a lot of concrete and iron pellets and putting in his own lead ballast on one.

Then there is the motion. Westsails are famous for their slow rolling motion. There are two factors that affect the comfort of motion of a boat, the speed at which the boat naturally wants to roll or pitch and the size of angle that the boat wants to move through. The slower the roll or pitch weight rate and the smaller the pitch or roll angle the more comfortable the motion. In the case of the Westsails, they rotate quite slowly but through comparatively large angles of pitch and roll.

In U.S. Navy studies of motion sickness,it was found that individuals have differing degrees of tolerance to roll speed and roll angle. In other words, there are individuals who cannot tolerate motion at all, and others that can tolerate a lot of motion but can''t tolerate a snappy roll rate, and still other individuals that can tolerate a snappy motion but can''t accommodate to large roll angles.(I tend to fall in this last category.)

If you fall in the first or last category, the large roll and pitch angles of the Westsails would be a problem for you.

Now I must admit to certain biases here. I am a big fan of boats with more easily driven hulls for cruising short handed. One aspect of that is spreading the displacement over a longer hull form. In all studies of safety at sea in extreme weather that I know of, the one single conclusion that seems to come through is ''nothing succeeds in extremely bad conditions like hull length''. With all of the stuff hung on a boat like the Westsail you pay all of the ownership costs of a much bigger boat without the advantages in terms of comfort at sea, safety, speed, or space of the larger boat. You pay for price for big slips (because of the bowsprit and boomkin), or bottom paint(because of the surface area of the bottom), or heavy duty gear, or cost of sails for a much bigger boat than you actually end up with. You are handling the huge sail loads of a bigger boat. Operating the boat requires all of the strength and energy requirements of a bigger boat, but its is crammed into a small package making it all the more difficult to operate and live with. Viewed that way, the Westsails are not even all that cheap. At least that is how I see them.

I also like, have owned and have spent a fair amount of time sailing on traditional boats. They have thier own aesthtic which is its own reward. The Westsail is an Atkins designed ''Eric'' with minor changes. The ''Eric'' was designed in the 1930''s and was based on larger Colin Archer designed Victorian era rescue/pilot boats. These were great boats for the day but they required big strong crews to handle them. They were workboats. Even Colin Archer designed offshore yachts did not look like these boats. Much has changed since the Victorian era. We have better hull, rig and sail materials; we have a better understanding of how the sea behaves and taking advantage of 100 plus years of development, are able to design and build better offshore boats than were concieved of back then. To me the Westsail is a throw-back that neither benefits from the lessons of the past century nor offers the full advantages of the either past or the present design principle.

I know there is a lot of people who own and love their Westsail 32''s and if you live in a venue like those found in some areas of the Carribean where the winds are consistently above 12 knots, they make reasonable boats, but for most people these boats make little or no sense at all.


DICKWATERS 10-13-2001 06:36 AM

westsail 32
Interesting to read your comments on the Westsail. Are you familiar with the Passport 40. If so could you give me a rundown. How does it compare to the Valiant. I am considering the purchase of a 1984 Passport 40.

Jeff_H 10-14-2001 07:43 AM

westsail 32
Thanks for your kind words. I don't have a lot of first hand experience with the Passport 40 boats. I have seen them out sailing and have been aboard a quite a few, helped a fellow who was building one out, but do not have sailing time on them.

They do have an excellent reputation and seem to be a very nice design in most respects. They appear to represent a nice balance between moderately high displacement and traditional hull lines, and modern foils and rig. They have a good ballast to weight ratios so should be good boats in a wide range of conditions. Watching them underway, they do not seem like great light air boats but do seem to handle lighter air pretty well for a cruiser of this type. With a New England PHRF rating of 138, the Passport 40's are not especialy slow boats.

They were completed with a very wide range of configurations and equipment, some quite reasonable and others quite bizarre. Personally, I do not like the layout that was at the Annapolis Boat Show some years ago where the head is forward of the owners stateroom. I really dislike that layout either under sail or on the hook.

They had a deep and a shallow keel version. If I were going offshore I think I would try to find a deep draft version. With only 4 inches or so between the two the slightly deeper draft would be more stable and have a more comfortable motion.

They also came with a turbo-charged Yanmar diesel. I am not a big fan of turbo charged engines on sail boats. The way that sailboat engines are used is a living hell for a turbo and when things go wrong they go wrong in a big way.


StarrySky 11-17-2001 03:13 AM

westsail 32
Like any other boat, a Westsail has certain advantages and disadvantages compared to other designs. The key to properly choosing ANY boat is to make an honest assessment of how you cruise, where you cruise, and your personal sense of aesthetics.

You mentioned in your post that you were interested in coastal cruising predominantly, and if this is true the Westsail would indeed be a poor choice. Nobody in their right mind would buy a WS to race around buoys on Long Island Sound, the Chesapeake or any other body of water characterized by light and possibly non-existant winds. That''s what Catalinas, Hunters and their like excel at. Having sailed a Seidlemann 29 up here on L.I. Sound for four years, I can personally attest to this.

Westsails excel in other areas. For instance, I live on my WS32. I don''t bitch about how "slow" she is in light winds, because for the way I cruise having 120 gallons of drinking water and 60 gallons of diesel are more important. Try that in many 32 foot boats! I don''t complain about not being able to point as far upwind as in the Seidelmann because it''s more important for me to have spacious, workable decks, a roomy interior and enough storage capacity to last for months on a long voyage. Sure, she''s heavy as all hell, but is that really a bad thing? Personally, I like knowing that there''s an inch of fiberglass near the keel and that the whole boat is over-built in terms of its hull and rigging. Perhaps these are negatives is for your needs, but not for mine. When offshore, I prefer to feel a strong, heavy boat under me that has a slow riding motion through the seas, rather than popping up and down like a cork on a light displacement racer-cruiser.

If you''re going to cruise for a week or two at a time along the coast, and the speed of getting "there" is more important to you than getting there in comfort with a high degree of safety, the Westsail would probably be a poor choice.

However, if you plan to live aboard and cruise, and I''m not talking about sailing out to Block Island and Nantucket for two weeks either, then check out the Westsail Association on the web, it''s easy to find.
Additionally, you might consider doing some research on the ultimate stability (mathematic formula)of various sailboats and see how the WS32 compares to some others.

Why all this badmouthing about Westsails, anyway?

SV:HERON 09-21-2006 06:16 PM

Westsail 32
I love reading about negative comments regarding the "infamous" W-32. Surprisingly, most of those who criticize the Westsails have never been on one.

I have owed a Ranger 33, Ranger 28, Pearson 33 and now a Westsail 32. I was also fearful about the reputation of these boats but knew a couple good friends who owned them and loved them. My goals were to find a strong, seaworthy vessel for long distance sailing for six months at a time. I certainly looked at many boats but the Westsail just met all my needs at an affordable price (not cheap however).

After two years of ownership, my Westsail does very well under most wind conditions. At 8 knots of wind I am able to make over 4 knots by GPS readings. A bit less dead down wind. At under 5 knots, I don't move much at all, perhaps 1.5 knots. My sails are a fully battened main and a 110 jib 90% of the time.

Often, I pass other vessels along the way and they always ask if my engine is is NOT. Even on a light air day (about 5 knots) I passed a lovely Albin Vega wing on wing with just my mainsail up.

When the wind does blow around 10, I can easily keep up over 5 knots of boat speed. I winds around 12-15, I can beat at 6.3 knots and reach about 6.8 knots. It sails wonderfully from 15 to 40 knots with hull speed over 7 knots and my fastest speed was 7.75 knots.

Given her weight and waterline length, I don't really know what everyone is talking about. One weakness is tacking this vessel which takes some practice. It took me many outings before learning how to tack efficiently without loosing too much speed. For this reason, she is not a "round the boueys" racer.

Here is what I can say about my W-32. It is the best vessel I've ever owned thus far. She has tons of room inside, has the safest decks than any boat out there, looks salty as hell, and can keep you alive and safe under just about all situations. Don't try this with your Catalina!

micoverde 01-30-2007 01:50 PM

westsail 32 comments
Wow - some really good info from people here (and some of the usual stuff from people who don't know the W32 very well).

Bottom line: yup, a "mixed bag." Not as slow as you think - just sailed ours from Vanuatu to Bundaberg Australia and turned two back to back 175 nm days (Ok, we were in a Hurricane - TC Xavier). :) A new mainsail for everyday use and a-spinn for light stuff make a big difference.

Checkout our cruising site here:
SY Mico Verde

sailingfool 01-30-2007 03:46 PM


Originally Posted by micoverde
....Not as slow as you think ...

Yikes, why resurrect this one.

Slow is of course relative, but Jeff above quoted a PHRF rating of 238 which puts the Wetsnail 32 right up there with a Rhodes 19.

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