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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking for input comparing the Bristol32 and Contessa 32. Primary use would be for short (7-10 day) cruises around the islands near St. Maarten in the winter when winds are generally strong and can be fairly rough & rolly. Both boats look like they are up to the task and there are some bargains out there. I don’t want to invest a lot in the boat as actual use will be fairly limited.

Thanks for any help you can provide.
 

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Both would do it, but you have two boats there that are completely different in terms of design, construction and performance.
I'd take the Contessa, suits my idea of performance sailing more. In reality I'd prefer a design 20 years newer.....
An older boat also isn't always a cheaper boat. Take a long look at what will need to be repaired then bank on the cost of a professional repair even if you THINK you can do it yourself. Also take a long look at the cost AND availability of replacement parts. Big one to remember is it's 2018, something replaced in 2010 is not new anymore. Electronics that old may work fine and keep working BUT if there are problems don't expect help from the company. Legacy support seems to last about 5 years then you pretty much need to buy new...
 

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Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
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I would agree with Tanski and suggest that the Contessa 32 is a better boat in all ways, sailing ability, ease of handling, motion comfort, performance, and build quality. There seems to be a slight preference for the Canadian built version with its more extensive molded interior elements which add stiffness to the hull molding and has lower maintenance. The downside of the Canadian boats is that some of them have Buhk engines which can be expensive to maintain and for which parts can be harder to obtain.

Both boats tend to have a pretty rolly motion, with the Contessa being less so than the Bristol which is miserable in a chop or steeper seas. As Tanski recommended, if I were sailing in the Caribbean I would want a later design with more initial stability than either of these boats and with a proportionately larger mainsail and smaller jib than either boat.

Jeff
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the input. I thought they were very similar designs in LOA/LWL/overhangs/beam, etc. The Contessa still has good support from the original builder.
 
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