Westsail Owners Alliance - Thread: "32 Versus 42"
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Thread: "32 Versus 42"

12,268 posts on 2,444 threads   •   From Mar 07, 2004 - Jan 08, 2012


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32 Versus 42

still dreaming (Guest)


I'm dreaming about cruising. I am currently just learning to sail at long beach California and enjoying it. I don't own a boat yet, and so far I've sailed on smaller boats a hunter 23 and a (something else) 25 feet.

I find myself reading a lot on the internet about cruising, and I feel myself slowly moving in the direction of wanting to become a real sailor with my own boat.

I'm imagining sailing up to seattle and seeing killer whales, or down to Panama and into the Carribbean, and possibly much further. I could see myself sailing with one or two family members or friends, or maybe finding an adventurous partner for longer voyages, and possibly alone on short trips.

So my question is this, if at some point I decided to buy a westsail boat and money were not a problem, what would be the advantages and disadvantages of a 32 versus a 42?

Frank Butler (Guest)

My wife and I "wandered about" for 12 years on our W-32 WSSK 0825 and it was just fine. I think that you will need many more $$ to cruise on the 42.
PS We did sail with the killer whales in the Seattle area and the whales in Scamlon (sp?) Lagoon and cruised Australia and the Agean etc, etc. Fair Winds.

still dreaming (Guest)

Thanks for the information Frank. Why many more dollars, (beyond the initial cost of the boat)?

still dreaming (Guest)

Thanks for the information and recommendations.

Mike McCoy

Simply speaking, because there is just more of it. As a general rule of thumb, the bigger the boat, the more it costs to operate/maintain.

For example, most (if not all) marinas charge you by the length of the boat. So a 42' boat will cost '10 feet more' than a 32' boat. Same thing with boatyards. It cost more to haul/store a 42 footer than a 32. Ditto with Customs/port entry fees (a 32' boat costs $150 to enter the Bahamas, anything over that is $300). It takes more bottom paint, varnish, even cleaning supplies. Sails & fittings (blocks, cleats, winches, etc) are larger therefore more expensive if/when you have to replace them. All the rigging is longer (and possibly larger) so if/when you have to replace it you need to buy more than you would for a 32' boat. You need bigger anchors, more rode/chain, etc.

Also the larger the boat the harder it is to handle. Bigger sails, ground tackle, etc. mean 'exponentially' larger forces are at work. I'm sure there are 42' sailboats being short crewed/singlehanded but I wouldn't want to do it (It's hard enough on a 32 footer ;). Personally, I believe the ideal boat length for 1-3 people falls into the 28-32' range.

Finally, I might recommend reading (and re-reading) a couple excellent books on the subject of cruising:

The Voyagers Handbook by Beth Leonard

Sensible Cruising: The Thoreau Approach by Don Casey.

Both offer 'real world' advice about what it takes and how to get started cruising.

Dan Thompson (Guest)

Carpenter, cleaner, wax applier and sailor seeking a boat to maintain in exchange for use. I can deliver the boat if needed. I can install anything that you need. I live in Ballard so I am able to check on the boat in inclement weather. Contact me if you are interested.
Dan Thompson
1116 NW 83rd ST.
Seattle, WA 98117
(206) 784-8015

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