WS32 on a lake?

  • August 12, 2012 7:20 AM
    Message # 1044935
    Hello everyone!  My hubby and I have loved Westsails for well over 30 years.  Finally, at this stage in our lives we have the time and resources to own one.  However, we live in Montana near Flathead Lake.  We have done a lot of snooping and found out that it is possible to launch a 20,000 pound boat into the lake.  My question is, do folks sail them in lakes or are they only "blue water" boats?
  • August 12, 2012 9:38 AM
    Reply # 1044991 on 1044935
    At one time there were 3 W32's on lake Mead I believe. Go for it!
  • August 12, 2012 10:24 AM
    Reply # 1045038 on 1044935
    Thanks, Gary.  We have been looking and have inquired about 3 WS32s.  The very day we asked about them, they were sold, so we just haven't found that special "little, fat boat" yet.  I admit, I dearly love them.
  • August 12, 2012 1:30 PM
    Reply # 1045139 on 1044935
    Don't know much about your particular lake, but some thoughts... 

    What are the depths in the lake?  Make sure the draft of the W32 is okay in the waters you want to cruise.  

    Are there travel lifts/ cranes along the lake so that a boat can be hauled/splashed their easily?  Bigger lakes usually have marinas that can accommodate you. 

    What are your goals for cruising the lake?  Do you ever plan to move beyond the lake?  

    If you want to someday take the boat out of the lake and put it in the sea, that is fine.  The W32 is a great boat that excels at comfort and safety at sea.  She is tough.  In a lake, those might not be the greatest advantages.  If you plan to cruise the lake in fair weather mostly you might prefer a more spacious boat for the calmer waters.  Many of the more modern styled fin keel boats have more maneuverability, are faster in calm lake waters, and provide a better layout for living/entertaining and can be found cheaper/abundantly.  

    Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love our W32, but I'm a huge proponent of using the right tool for the job.  Think long and hard about what your top priorities are.   If you want a romantically styled double ender that is tough and comfortable in sea states that send some of the lighter boats running, that is great, but you may find that you don't need the high stability, or tons and tons of storage, or the hassle of sailing a very heavy boat in protected cruising grounds. 

    Let us know how it goes either way.  And good luck.   =) 
  • August 12, 2012 4:49 PM
    Reply # 1045199 on 1044935
    "Flathead Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River in the contiguous United States[3][4], taking Red Lake (Minnesota) and Lake of the Woods to be north of the Mississippi River, rather than west of the river. With a surface area of between 191.5 sq mi (496 km2)[1] and 197 sq mi (510 km2), Flathead Lake is slightly larger than Lake Tahoe.[2] The lake is a remnant of the ancient inland sea, Lake Missoula of the era of the last interglacial. [5] Flathead Lake is 27.3 mi (43.9 km) long and up to 15.5 mi (24.9 km) wide. Its known maximum depth is 370.7 ft (113.0 m),[1] making it deeper than the average depths of the Yellow Sea or the Persian Gulf. The lake was raised 10 ft (3.0 m) by Kerr Dam.[6] It is one of the cleanest in the populated world for its size and type.[7]

    Tate, this is for you.  I thought you might find this interesting.  It's always fun to learn something new. :)
  • August 12, 2012 7:21 PM
    Reply # 1045325 on 1044935
    Deleted user
    Christine, I'm glad you're a Westsail fan.  Tate has covered it well and made excellent points.  I've been to Flathead lake and it's large enough for a Westsail.  That said, I think it would be a poor choice.  Something like a Catalina or Hunter would be a better fit. Make no mistake we love Worldwind, but if we weren't cruisers or at least coastal sailors we would go back to something like a Catalina which we had before. They're easier to maintain, sail and roomier which can be important if you like to have guests. I'm a believer in getting a boat for the type of sailing you're currently doing now, like Tate's "the right tool for the right job".  

    If you still think the Westsail is the boat for you, then great and welcome aboard.

  • August 13, 2012 3:45 AM
    Reply # 1045610 on 1044935
    Deleted user


    My hubby and I have loved Westsails for well over 30 years.

    I think you’ve answered your own question. Although I believe Jim and Tate make valid points from the practical side of the decision, my views trend more towards the romantic side. My love affair with Rhapsody has spanned some 16 years and shows no signs of abating. For me it is the boat itself and not the purpose. I still look over my shoulder for one last look before I leave the dock.

    I prefer ocean sailing; however I find that over the years much of my sailing has been in the confined waters of the Upper Chesapeake, the Indian River of Florida and the Florida Keys. An afternoon sail idling along at 3 knots or short tacking back to the dock is as much pleasure as clocking 120 miles a day on an ocean passage. (Well, almost.) As I said, I think you’ve answered your own question.


  • August 13, 2012 4:29 AM
    Reply # 1045623 on 1044935
    Deleted user

    We have sailed Bloodhound (sporadically) on Lake Texoma for 5 years now and it's been a great training ground for tacking and sail trimming skills because you can't go far between tacks and that means resetting sails every time (like every 5 or 10 minutes).  But there's just not the room to use self steering etc. and frequent resetting of sails can get a bit tiring.  Bloodhound is moving to PEI, Canada next year and we're really looking forward to ocean sailing (Gulf of St. Lawrence, Northumberland Straight, etc.).  So if you plan to move your boat to the sea at some time in the future, lake sailing will give you a good start.  But if it's lake only, a heavy cruiser may not turn out to be your best choice.  All depends on "what floats your boat" and how long you'll enjoy really actively sailing her.


  • August 13, 2012 7:22 AM
    Reply # 1045751 on 1044935
    Thank you all for your kind and insightful comments.  I really appreciate y'all taking the time to respond.
  • August 13, 2012 3:53 PM
    Reply # 1046178 on 1044935
    Deleted user

    I agree mostly with the other guys but here are two things on the + side for the west sail and a lake up north.

    1.) The deadhead log is more likely to poke a hole in a catalina
    2.) Depending on the situation, the haul out could be done to a private beach with pilings and a rail,  a little easier than it would be for a fin keel but ?

    Lastly: I do plan to do mostly lake sailing here on the sf bay for the next 2 - 3 years (it just a lake with a 2 mile wide hole that leads out to the sea) but it is kind of like a lake.+/-