“Small World” 

Westsail 42
1974 Fiberglass Cutter

History: (Bud Taplin) Of course I do have memories of the first of the Westsail 42s, since I could probably be referred to as either the father or the mother of those boats. In late 1973 I was tasked with supervising the construction of the plugs and molds for the hull and deck of the boats. An excerpt regarding this is attached as it was part of the history of Westsail that I wrote and published in my book, Westsail the World.

After the first of the hulls and decks were laminated in January of 1974 the owners of the company decided they no longer needed my services, so I was fired.  As a result I never did get to know how their interiors were designed or built, nor when the boats were finished and launched.  

I did however have the opportunity to build a number of them in my own custom boatbuilding yard by purchasing the laminated hull, deck and rudder from Westsail, and having an owner sign a contract with me to complete the design and construction of the interior and exterior.  I believe there were five or six of them that I completed, including one that was rigged as a schooner.

Westsail laminated a total of about 32 of the W42s in 1974, and at the end of the run in March of 1980 number 116 was laminated.  Westsail Corporation filed for bankruptcy in March of 1977.  The production manager that replaced me when I was assigned to the construction of the W42 plugs and molds had moneyed backers that purchased the company out of bankruptcy in late 1977.  They used Westsail International as their company name until late 1979.  A few more were laminated after that by Don Jones, DBA Jomarco, who purchased the molds of the W42 and W43 after Westsail International shut down in 1980. 

Here is the ownership history of W42 #1 that I have:

1. Al Hoffman in FL and the boat was named Gentle Bird.
2. Ken Zimbel, and the boat was named Consort.
3. George Bissell in NY and he kept the name Consort.
4. Todd Duff in 2011 in MD and the boat name was changed to Small World
5. Craig and Krystle McMaster 2014.

From Bud Taplin email to Craig McMaster 1/19/2024 DJB - with some edits. 

Todd Duff chapter in Westsail the World by Bud Taplin

Small World Refit

  During the summer of 2011, after a couple of years of cruising our 64’ brigantine One World in the Caribbean and Pacific, we were approached with an offer on our little steel ship which we could not refuse.  Having had the desire for a smaller, two person, boat for a while, the prospect of downsizing and of no longer needing a large crew in order to cruise had us excited about searching for a more modest vessel.  It seemed that the time was right for sailing a more manageable and more economically sensible boat and so, after years of sailing our various schooners and our brigantine with crews of up to nine, we began to define what it was that was most important to us, and what we could do without.

  For us, it seemed that with age beginning to take its toll and the realization that we were no longer as fit as we were in our thirties or forties, the idea of having in-mast furling seemed attractive. While ‘horror stories’ often circulate about in-mast furling, the fact is that tens of thousands of these systems have been sold and the majority of the charter fleets in the world feature this type of sail handling on a large percentage of their boats. Oyster, Beneteau, Amel and many other builders all offer this option on their yachts and it has proven to be for many the difference between easy, fun sailing and a grueling ordeal. After having sailed a gaff, square rigged schooner for several years, it sure seemed like a great idea.

  Another thing we wanted was a fiberglass hull. While we have had wooden and steel boats in the past, and have seriously considered aluminum, the simple fact that fiberglass boats are well proven, economical to maintain, repair and modify and most of all, the sheer number of fiberglass boats out there on the market means that with diligence, a good one can surely be found in almost any price bracket.

  We also wanted a traditional hull form with moderate to heavy displacement. While we have sailed on many light and even ultra light displacement vessels, and for racing and weekending, a spirited light boat can be exhilarating and fun, for cruising to off-the-beaten track places, in waters that are far from calm and far from help should problems arise, a heavy duty cruising boat seemed like what we should be looking for. That having been said, we didn’t want a tub that couldn’t get out if its own wake! After many tens of thousands of miles of offshore cruising, we realized that while the comfort, livability and sea kindliness of a heavy displacement traditional vessel is nice for strong winds and rough seas, many times there are days or even weeks when the winds fail to climb above ten knots and so owning a boat that could do well in light air was also important to us. Lastly, we wanted a boat that was pleasing to the eye, easy to single hand should either of us fall ill or be hurt, and most of all, one that we could afford to maintain on our limited writer/photographer and marine surveyor budget.

  As we began our search, we were focused on some of the really well made boats from the mid 70s through the early 90s. We looked at Tayana 42s and 48s, Bristols 41s and 45s, CT 47s and 49s, Passports 40s and 42s, Hylas 44s and Stevens 47s, Vagabond 42s, a couple of Frers Dawn 48s, two Perry 47s, two C&C 48s, a couple of Cooper 41s, a Spencer, some Corbins, a Monte Carlo 43…  and several Westsail 42s and 43s.

  After several weeks of traveling all over the eastern seaboard inspecting many vessels, we arrived at a sensible agreement on a boat we had been looking at online for months. Ultimately, we chose a very well maintained Westsail 42 ketch. Hull number one actually; built in 1974 and set up with a tall rig, Hood Stowaway in-mast furling main and mizzen in the late 80s, a newer engine, tanks and systems and that had been a New England boat for most of its life; hauled out each winter, rig taken down and stored inside. While older and in need of some significant upgrades and refitting, the feel of the boat and the overall simplicity and proven seaworthiness of the design appealed to us. Designed by Bill Crealock and representing the best attributes that we felt an offshore cruising vessel should exhibit, the Westsail 42s have proven themselves on countless major passages to virtually every corner of the earth. It is arguable that a finer offshore cruising design has ever been mass produced. Because of the perception of many people in the modern boating world, these fine vessels are largely overlooked by the general boat buying public who instead often choose much less substantially built, albeit newer boats over these incredibly sturdy and seaworthy yachts. Because of this, we found our boat to be a tremendous value.

  Settling on a new name was easy. Small World. Since our early cruising days in the late 70s and 80s, and all through the 90s and 2000s, we have met many hundreds of other cruisers and as time goes on we have realized that the more sailing we do and the more places we go, the more often we run into other people we have met before, or who know friends of ours, or have a connection with places we have been. After all of our years of cruising, we feel like it is a very small world indeed, and of course, the world feels as if it is growing smaller every year through technological advances like the internet, cell phone communications, satellite navigation and mass media.

  The boat we chose was in North Carolina and in need of much refitting and work to prepare her for long distance offshore cruising. With the autumn rapidly progressing, the first order of business was to get our new home out of the northlands before the weather turned cold. After ten days of preparations, we took her a few hundred miles down the coast to North Florida to begin her refit. The trip south was beautiful and interesting and was punctuated by a couple of pleasant, short offshore jumps which gave us a taste of the fine sailing we expect to revel in over the coming years with our new cruising home. This easy shakedown cruise helped us create a to-do list that would keep us busy for weeks!

  For our refit, after much researching on the internet and via the cruiser’s grapevine, we chose Green Cove Springs Marina, possibly one of the last very inexpensive ‘Cruiser friendly, do-it yourself’ boatyards on the East Coast. We hauled out in early October and had the bottom peeled, dropped the rudder for replacement, tore into a dozen other major projects and rapidly settled into life on the hard. Twelve weeks later saw us re-launched with a dry, sealed bottom, new steering system including rudder and bearings, new topsides paint and refurbished teak decks. We had remodeled the interior a bit to suit our needs with added storage lockers, new upholstery and lots of painting and varnishing and added some offshore equipment like a self steering vane, watermaker, solar and wind generators, aluminum davits and updated electronics to bring the boat up to more contemporary cruising standards.

  Immediate plans have us taking a more extensive shakedown cruise to either the Bahamas or Central America with a return to Panama where we will retrieve the rest of our possessions that we left in storage at Shelter Bay Marina when we sold our schooner One World. We hope to re-transit the Panama Canal in late 2012 and plan to continue our wanderings for the foreseeable future.

  Adjusting to our new smaller cruising home took only a few weeks and we are excited to be back out there, rendezvousing with old friends, meeting new ones and exploring lots of new places on our beautiful, Small World.

Todd Duff – ex-owner W42 #1 Small World, and a number of Westsail 32’s.

5 photo(s) Updated on: January 19, 2024
  • Craig and Krystle McMasterowners as of 2024
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