Owner experiences with Westsail 32 sailing performance up wind - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 23 Old 11-08-2009 Thread Starter
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Owner experiences with Westsail 32 sailing performance up wind

Hi everybody

I've been browsing this site for a while but have never posted. I'm currently visiting Australia, but hopefully planning to buy a Westsail 32 when I get back home to Canada. I have already searched around for comments regarding their performance, but was hoping for some more input from people that have sailed Westsail yachts along with other comparable models.

Just how bad are they going up wind?

Do they really "hobby horse" all the time when doing so?

Can they make good progress upwind without the motor running?

Would you consider a Westsail 32 to be a "motor-sailor"?

I don't want to stir up controversy or insult any owners with these questions. No disrespect is intended. It would just be great to hear more real world accounts.

I'm aware of all the great things a Westsail can offer, I just don't want to waste my time looking at them if they can't sail up wind.

Kind regards

Tom
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post #2 of 23 Old 11-08-2009
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Its been 30 yrs since I have been on one, but it did go up wind......granted I only was on one in puget sound and lake washington.......

But I do recall one opening day here in seattle about 77 or 78 when it blew 40-60 knots, we had a single reef and staysail up, and was doing 6 knots in 3-5' seas.

My question would be, where to do you plan to sail? if local, ie local here in pugetsound up to BC where I am at, find a fin keel boat of decent quality and you will probably be happier. But if sailing the world, then it would work well, if you want a boat that needs a lot of wind to move it! IIRC the Westsail has more lead in it than my 30' Jeanneau weighs empty! ie about 6500 lbs.

Marty

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I drives me dinghy!
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post #3 of 23 Old 11-08-2009
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They are better off the wind or downwind from what I understand. The design is good; but many of these hulls were "kit" boats so build quality is variable. That aside (assuming the boat you are considering was well built); many people who own them are happy with the boat and defend the somewhat poor sailing performance with the "seaworthieness" of the design.
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post #4 of 23 Old 11-08-2009
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A fellow who cruised a CS36T for five years, and authored a book about his experiences Travels with Yeti discusses in a chapter his cruising boat selection process. FWIW, he mentions that he specifically eliminated the W32 fromn consideration due his experience with inability of the design to sail to windward in a rough sea..such a weakness being potentially fatal off a lee shore...

Now not my opinion...just read the book if interested.

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post #5 of 23 Old 11-08-2009 Thread Starter
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The kit boat thing doesn't worry me in the slightest. It seems easy enough to find kit boats of great quality, or well maintained factory ones. I'll be sailing coastal mostly with plans to set off for far away places.

Sailingfool: Now, that's one of the issues that nags at me. A sailboat that can't sail well enough to save itself.

Almost every Westsail owner seems really happy with their choice. I often wonder if they've just come to terms with the negative aspects of the boats, and prefer to not worry about it. Do these people motor-sail often? The conversation seems to go like this: "How do they sail in to the wind?".. Owner: "they're very seaworthy and I can fit my whole apartment inside. Have you heard of Satori?".

I've often heard on forums that they sail really well in to the wind with the engine just a notch over idle. However, that's not sailing.

I know I can take one for a sea trial, but that doesn't give nearly enough time to get a real feel for the boat. I just don't want to make a bad choice and end up with a boat that sails poorly.

I love these Westsails, especially their looks. I'm conflicted, and would love to hear more from owners who sail regularly (especially ones with experience on other boats).

Thanks for the info so far.

Tom
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post #6 of 23 Old 11-09-2009
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Doug's 1998 trip

Quote

"The Boat...

Ah yes, there is that issue about the windward performance (or the
lack there-of) in my boat. Spirit has been a good boat for me.
I wanted a boat building project, and she filled that need, for
as many years and as many thousand dollar bills as I wished. I
wanted a beautiful, traditional looking boat, and she filled that
need. I wanted a strong, roomy liveaboard boat, and she filled
that need. But, I feel a need to try to do less motoring and
more sailing, and I think the answer to that may be a higher
performance sailboat."


The boat in the story is W28. It is not W32, however they are identical in all aspects but size.

Last edited by CrazyRu; 11-09-2009 at 06:05 AM.
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post #7 of 23 Old 11-09-2009
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Tom - You might try googling W32 blogs and asking owners directly. I've personally read several cruising blogs about W32's over the last couple of years. Additionally, try searching for "Westsail" on Sailblogs.com and Blogspot.com.

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post #8 of 23 Old 11-10-2009 Thread Starter
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I've done as much reading on the subject as possible. Bottom-line appears to be: They're down-wind boats, or motor-sailors, depending how harsh you want to be. From the owners I've talked to, it sounds like even they've accepted the fact that they'll be motoring in more situations than other boats.

How well would they survive purely sailing, without an engine? perhaps not so well (although at least it might take out some weight).

Despite how much I like them, I'll be looking for something that can sail better. They're a floating apartment when it comes to displacement per foot, so I knew it was all too good to be true. Sounds like they'd be great for living at anchor, and they must be good for the trades because there's tons of people out there on them.

Hope I'm on the right track here. I'm thinking modified full-keel, or partial full is a better choice, and a bit less displacement. More of an all-rounder, but still seaworthy. W32 is out. Any suggestions guys?
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post #9 of 23 Old 11-10-2009
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There's a reason there called wet snails. They are pretty, they are stoutly built, they will hold lots of gear, they don't bounce around alot when it blows. They don't sail to windward very well. David

Last edited by Faster; 11-11-2009 at 11:57 AM. Reason: remove commercial link
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post #10 of 23 Old 11-10-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cortez5 View Post
Any suggestions guys?
If you still want classic style, solid construction and bluewater capability with better sailing ability, you might consider the following:

Baba/Tashiba/Panda: These Perry designs feature a cutaway forefoot/modified fullkeel but still maintan a salty look. You'll find them from 30' to 40'.

Tayana 37: Ditto the above remarks.

Pacific Seacraft Mariah: Quite similar to the W32, though I've read they sail a bit better.

PSC 34: A nice sailor with plenty of bluewater prowess, though I find them a bit small down below because of the longish bow overhang and relatively narrow beam.

Island Packet 31: Not a racer by any stretch, but still probably goes to windward a bit better than the W32.

Hans Christian 33t: A favorite of mine because of the very salty, double-ender look and great cabin layout featuring a pullman berth. However, HC33's are pricey.

Hallberg-Rassy Rasmus: Nice twin-cabin design, though a bit dated nowadays.

Cabo Rico Tiburon 36: Nice salty boat with scroll boards and a clipper bow. Most I've seen have been quite rundown, however.

Willie 8-ton: Very similar to the W32 and may not be a better sailer. I like what I've read and seen, but admitedly that is very little.

I can go on and on because I have a 30-something-foot salty bluewater cruiser fetish. Let us know if you need more ideas!

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Last edited by kwaltersmi; 11-10-2009 at 12:10 PM.
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