Suitability of Westsail 32

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  • April 15, 2012 2:11 PM
    Reply # 890263 on 888394
    Deleted user
    If you were going to re-power what engine would you choose? I spoke to some owners and they advised a Beta Marine 38hp.  Is this big enough?  Their is nothing more scary then trying to motor out an inlet and stalling or being pushed to the lee shore by the wind.
  • April 15, 2012 2:52 PM
    Reply # 890278 on 888394
    Deleted user

    As for reversing into a slip, it's all I can do to reverse out of a slip, and then using only short bursts of engine rpms.  I suppose I could try reversing in, but in my experience, the W-32 does not reverse well under power.  Too much prop walk and consequently too little control using only short power bursts.  Anyway, I value my rudder too much.  If anyone does this on a regular basis, I'd be interested to learn how.


  • April 15, 2012 7:56 PM
    Reply # 890449 on 888394

    Reversing the W32 is a bit of a debacle.  She'll back out of a slip pretty well but there is considerable prop walk and you cannot expect the boat to turn on a dime.  It turns on the dinner plate radius.  That is the down side of the full keel.  All that said, I've never had problems getting in and out of slips.  A little practice in open water goes a long way with getting to know the feel of the boat.  I once "parallel" parked our boat between two million dollar boats in a spot only 45 feet long.  (We are 43 foot overall.)  

    Don't sweat the transition from wheel to tiller.  The tiller provides great feedback and you'll get used to it quickly. 

    Engine... We repowered with a Beta 38 and we've been very pleased with it thus far.  Seems to be plenty of power. It might be a long slog to read through but you can see our engine replacement project here: 

    The head is more than big enough for a composting toilet.  We installed an airhead and it fit just fine in the spot where the old Lavac was. You can see our own head saga here: 


  • April 15, 2012 8:44 PM
    Reply # 890478 on 888394
    Deleted user
    Just my opinion, but we've always considered the 32 somewhat of an enigma. That is it's small enough to day sail yet strong and large enough to sail around the world.  I know of quite a few larger boats that are day sailed. We have a friend who sails his Hunter 41 two to three times a week, many times single handed. True the Hunter is easier to handle than a Westsail, but we don't think a Westsail is really that difficult to handle in most conditions. After all most Westsails that get used are probably day sailed.

    Due to the rickety docks we have we like to be stern in most of the time we so often back in.  Sometimes it can be difficult but most times it's not a big deal.  If we need to turn the boat around when in the slip we tie a line to it, shove it out of the slip and pull it back in. 

    We hope the Airhead is as good as many owners say it is. Duke/Denise of Amable and we just ordered two at the Oakland boat show.    

    The Westsail is truly a voyaging boat but can easily be day sailed, although probably not the first choice for someone not thinking of going offshore.  

  • April 16, 2012 12:39 PM
    Reply # 891023 on 888394
    Deleted user
    Hi guys - I have to wade into this one!
    I'm a 5 ft 4" girly girl and I can back my W32 out of my med mooring where it is crammed between a 24 ft Shark and a C&C Ontario 30, past my mooring ball (without running over the lines) using SPIN, DRIFT and prop walk in most conditions under 20 kts. I know that anyone on the visitor's dock behind me shudders and runs for a boat hook (like that would do them any good!) when I start in reverse. It seems inconceivable to many of the older guys around that a "little" girl can manage such a big boat.It's a bit stressful but  I haven't hit anyone yet - nor have I wiped anyone's stanchions or rigging out with the 'sprit thankfully.

    Having said that, I try not to take her out in a north wind (blowing me back into the slip) of more than 15 kts as my old Volvo Penta MD11C could not handle the task. Next week we are repowering to a Beta 38 with Bud's help so I am excited at the possibility of not being limited by the wind direction and strength.

    We sail up and down the St. Lawrence River and around Lake Ontario - I hardly ever have to motor instead of sail - some of my sailing pals make fun of my boat speed but I can tell you, when it's raining, when there's cocktails to be had or when they want to raft up to someone, Kibitka's the most popular boat around.
  • April 16, 2012 10:24 PM
    Reply # 891352 on 888394
    Well for 2 more cents, we day sail our w32 often and take 2 to 4 day vacations regularly. As far as sailing, we regularly tack into wind and current in channels around pine island sound. I am happy to get out and sail for 2 hours if thats the time available.

    We did live aboard for 3 years so maybe that helps, mostly i think i just love to be out on the boat. She just feels good to sail and fun to sail as well.

    P.S. we have a 55 nissan for power and I would gladly trade down, she seems overpowered for us and as little as it gets used, we are considering an elec. power option.
  • April 17, 2012 8:19 AM
    Reply # 891619 on 888394

    A Westsail 32 is "suitable" in all weathers, venues…and then some.

    And, in response to the questions asked in this thread: (1) on docking, get a feel for the vessel's rotation point, go slow, and use the wind and vessel's inertia as an aide; in reversing, throttle back and let the rudder do it's thing…repeat as necessary. (2) we re-powered with the 40 h.p. Yanmar 3JH4E and find it perfect as a W32 auxiliary and easy to maintain. (3) we installed a Lavac head:  it simply works and it is easy to maintain.


  • April 17, 2012 9:07 AM
    Reply # 891646 on 888394
    Deleted user

    As far as windward performance, in light wind and small waves (less than 2'), the W32 does just fine. Despite the bluff bow above the waterline, it has a relatively fine (slightly concave) entrance at the waterline. If I need to sail as close to the wind as possible I run the yankee sheets between the upper and lower stays for a flatter trim angle. Even with the genoa one gets a decent trim angle as you must consider that the bow sprit essentially gives you the same angle you could achieve on a 40' boat of the same beam. For any light air sailing you want to have genoa and/or drifter and a spinnaker.

    Here's a video of my W32 sailing to windward (single-handed) in 10-15kts keeping pace with a Mason 33 (modified full keel cruiser) and then manuvering through an anchorage under mainsail (no motor).

    If I must get to windward in steep, short seas greater than 2' (the bluff bow above the waterline really hinders performance in those conditions), I will motor-sail. Otherwise I just ease off a few degrees and she sails fine. Bashing to windward in a boat that can do it well, while fun for a while, gets tiring quickly and is hard on boat and crew. Considering that a W32 exells (fast and comfortable) on all other points of sail in most any weather, I can live with motor-sailing when needed.

    This boat heaves-to very simply by simply backwinding the staysail and tying the tiller off to leeward. Few boats of it's size (and price) would be as comfortable in heavy weather.

    I'll second Norm's experience with being able to drive great distance in reverse with ease(occaisionally that is usefull). It can be a challange manuvering in tight spaces especially with significant wind or current. With the full keel, you really need to develope your skill using a blast of prop wash on the rudder to kick the stern around. I can essentially spin the boat around in place using that method.

    I mainly sail weekends and 1-2 week cruises on Lake Superior.

    Also, installed a Nature's Head 2 years ago and it really is great on extended cruises on the north shore where pumpout facilities are few and far between.


    Last modified: April 17, 2012 7:25 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • April 17, 2012 5:36 PM
    Reply # 891969 on 888394
    Deleted user
    When you first purchased your Westsail did it have a pressurized water system or did you install it later?  How difficult was it to install?  Does W32 boat have a 30 amp dockside power system? Thank you for your previous posts.  I am learning a lot. 
  • April 17, 2012 7:39 PM
    Reply # 892035 on 888394
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Joe:  Pygmalion has a pressurized water system - can't say if it came with the boat and is an accumulator tank and water pump - plus the water lines...

    She also had a 30Amp 120v GFI protected system as well as multiple 12V recepticals.

    The Beta 38hp 1505 fits very well in her engine room ... and under way ... very nice..

    The speed was not corrected for the ebb tide/following current.



    Last modified: April 17, 2012 7:42 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
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