Westsail Owners Alliance - Thread: "Is It Really That Bad?"
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Thread: "Is It Really That Bad?"

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


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Is It Really That Bad?

Julie (Guest)

You might check out the PNW rendezvous in Poulsbo over Labor Day weekend for some firsthand looking, Q&A, and maybe even snag a test ride...

Rod Lawson

Nathaniel, I am a very INEXPERIENCED sailor having bought my W32 just 2 years ago. It was the first boat I had ever sailed and have now only sailed 1500nm. Every person who has been on my W32 has commented on how well it sails. I regularly sail at 6.5knots and have had her up to 7.2knots. I know of another westsail currently sailing 120nm days crossing the pacific. In regard to pointing, she sails up to 30 degrees which I understand to be quite acceptable. I've sailed her for hours on end on 30-35 degrees using my ST60 instruments. The more I learn about sailing and sailors, the more I realise that people will go spend another $100,000.00 for a "fast" boat ie: a boat which will sail a knot faster than a westsail, but in reality if they spent $100 on a few sailing theory books they would get that extra knot they just paid $100,000.00 for. I consider myself very objective and researched thoroughly my boat options and I am still convinced I got the absolute best boat for the money for my purpose.
The only way to find out for sure is to take one for a sail.
Rod "El Viajero"

Nathaniel (Guest)

I really like the safety/design/aura/size of the W32. I really like everything I?ve heard about them except for the performance issue. I?ll be frank in that I may never take one very offshore, but my wife is intimidated by the open ocean and safety at sea is her first concern, and I can?t find a safer boat in the W32?s class.

But the reputed?sails like a tank with a big flag on top? is disappointing, not to mention that the W32 is supposed to point as well as wilted celery. While one is leery about querying those who obviously truly love their boats, I would like to ask how much of this is real? Obviously her design is quite old and it will take a lot of air to get ten tons moving, but how often do folks actually run into this as a problem? How close will she point? There is a published plot of wind speed vs hull speed for the Fantasia, and is there something equivalent for the W32? I?ve heard claims that she would be forced to run under iron jenny of the time if compared to a modern design. The idea of wallowing while everyone else is sailing doesn?t sound like a lot of fun.

We live in the Pacific Northwest and when we decide on what kind of boat to purchase we plan on sailing down the coast to the Caribbean and after that it?s anyone?s guess. A Catalina 36 would get us there likely just as well, but not with the same sense of security.

Norm Rhines

Good day Nathaniel:

I see you are looking to others for your information. In doing so you are getting it second hand which is always second rate.

I have a couple of comments.
1.) gentalmen don't sail to weather. That said, I have had the bird inside the blocks more than I would like = 30 off the wind also = stupid skiper due to lack of planing. Also if you like sailing to weather you could save a lot of $$ and just have some one beat you for your required time and required thrill.

2.) You can look at my log across to Hawaii www.imagine (dot) ws/hawaiitrip.html, with 12 + knots of wind 151Kt+ days are my standard. A couple less than the 36 which should show 162Kt/ day +/- on the sailor. On the other hand I was grateful for the w32 during the storm we had to run through.

3.) The bashing on the w32 is not all deserved, alot of the bad rapp, comes from folks who load ther boat poorly, sail it poorly, or have an extra 3 tons of stuff on board. ( I am guilty of 1.5) As for a wet boat I had a racer crew with me across, and he noted how dry my boat was compaired to his (of course he first started the voyage calling her a wetsnail) I also had to restrain him from puting up more canvas because my trip was a cruise not a race and her hull speed is 7.2 or 7.4Kts after which the rudder starts to load up.

4.) Some folks have won races with the w32, I am not one of them, as I am not into beating every thing and everyone to death. But for a 32' boat she is in my oppinion, as good as any in regard to cruising.

5.) If I do get another boat she will be 86 feet or longer with my own custom designed underbody. But of course this will require 2M + on my part.
not there yet.

6.) So my advice is sail one (ck the water line is below the front tang and below where the top gunon touches the hull. make sure the anchor chain is pulled back and not in the bow, make sure you could lift the contents of the stern locker) then take her for a sail (wind vanes are a great things to have.)

Best of luck:

Don and Margaret Lacoste

Hi Nathaniel,

I have only owned my W-32 for two summer seasons. I previously owned a Ranger 33, Pearson 33 and now the W-32. The Ranger was the fastest boat I owned but pounded hard in lumpy seas. The Pearson was also a good sailor but too light for any real weather.

I am still learning about my W-32 but so far the critics comments are unfounded. The only real hassle is tacking the W-32 due to the inner forstay. I have learned to leave the jib backsheeted while coming about until the wind really grabs it and then release the sheet. Much better tacks that way.

As for performance, I accidently entered a local club race a few weeks ago. The boat was loaded up with gear, diesel, water, ground tackle, etc. There were 11 boats in the race and the course was only 1.5 miles long with three round trips to race. We were still tied to our mooring when the first warning was sounded trying to get the boat ready. By the second warning, we were motoring to the start line and finally cut the engine just seconds before the start and came through the line in 10th position.
By the first rounding (upwind)1.5 mile leg, we had picked up 7 positions. On the downwind, we had no spinnaker and just the 110 jib and full main and lost NO ground over the spinnaker boats, sailing along at 7.25 to 7.75 knots in 16kt winds. We made some critical mistakes on some of the roundings (there were only 2 of us on board)and on the last lap, the apparent wind dropped to 4 knots on the downwind home stretch. We still came in 5th position.

Our competitors were J boats, a fleet of Ranger 26 and 29s, some Pearsons. Needless to say, we earned a lot of respect from our fellow competitors who were taking this race seriously with crews of 4 to 5 people per vessel.

In general, I am really loving my boat and consider it the best boat I've ever owned. I single hand the boat at least three times a week on Penobscot bay and everywhere I go people admire the boat and the condition it is in. Our long range goals is to cruise 6 months a year.


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