Start of the Westsail Owners Association

by George Bachman, ex-owner Westsail 32 #699 Seagirt, and co-founder of the Westsail Owners Association.   

  It began when my wife and I started going to the Annapolis Sailboat show in the 1970’s.  Most times we went to look and dream!!   Over the years, Westsail’s caught our eyes but never enough to move us…however towards the end of the “show addiction”, we purchased a Westsail 32’ hull and deck kit.  It was delivered to a Maryland marina.  As the truck pulled away and the two of us gazed upon our dream—reality hit.   NOW what????

  It was during the early building of Seagirt that we understood help was needed.  I do not remember the sequence of events, but soon we began to seek out other Westsailors---at any location.    One theme came up, no matter who we spoke to---after the Westsail demise, answers were hard to get.  

  To shorten this tale, I began thinking ways to get help—and after talking with other owners, it was obvious that they were the answer.  If it were not for great friends and owners, the owners association would never have gotten off the ground.

  WINDBLOWN was the paper newsletter that went to all the members.  This simple form allowed all to ask questions and share information.  At the end we had around 200 members; some owners, some dreamers, but we all enjoyed sailing and Westsails.  Although I do not remember the number, there were international members that joined along the way. 

  After the word got out about a grass roots owners association, the rest is truly history, and a great time.  Along the way other people came forward to assist:  Bud Taplin and Kern Ferguson to name two of them.  They knew the boat and where to obtain parts.  People like me, who needed all types of help, were assisted in making process easier.

  Finally, you added the owners to the mix, many experienced sailors, and all the pieces of my puzzle came together.  Once the newsletter was established, rendezvous were set up so owners could meet and share knowledge.   These became very popular. 

  OK so that is it, however this tale would not be a good one if it were not for great friends and owners.  I would like to thank everyone who took part in this experience.  It was the highlight of many years for me.  WOA was lucky enough to have Doris and Abel Dominguez as members.  They donated their house each month, to fold and put labels and stamps on the newsletter.  So picture the three of us sitting around a table, many newsletters, printed labels and books of stamps with great conversation.  Doris and Abel provided insight for me to make the publication better.  Also Bud and Kern were key in helping owners with parts or just providing guidance.       To the many owners that I met and had a friendship with, they were the glue that kept it together.   

  My wife and I did build the boat, and sailed her in the Chesapeake Bay. Through the process of building, I went from a “know nothing” to an expert on items for Seagirt.  I installed Bud’s bronze ports, Kern’s roller furling, both fuel tanks, cut the hole for the prop shaft and installed the engine.  The experience I would not trade for anything.  However, sometimes life plays tricks on you.  I began to think less of sailing as a pastime. 

  Divorce came up on a port tack.  Importance in my life changed.  Sailing had left me, almost as fast as it came into my life, but I will never forget the people I met.  They touched me more than they will know.  There is not a month that goes by where some WOA fact, story or picture crosses my mind.  

Westsail the World !!!!!

George Bachman - via a document from the Bud Taplin collection (4/19/20)