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Old 22-03-2013, 12:29   #1
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Contessa 32 question

Are all the Contessa 32's in England? I have been trying to find one here in mid-atlantic USA, or eastern canada, etc. for sale to look at but can't find any. Do any of you have experience with this boat and any comments on its rarity here? Is there always such a dearth of them listed for sale or is this unusual?

Also, I read about how great they sail...they seem awesome. Has anyone sailed one that can comment. How would they be to live on for 2 for a month or so? I am only 5'5" tall. (or short)

Lastly, I'm sure it sails better than an IP27 but has anyone ever sailed on both the Contessa and the IP who could compare the two? For sailing on the Chesapeake, Intracoastal to Florida/Keys, Bahamas, Carribean and Mexico sailing and living aboard for two?

Thanks for your comments!
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Old 22-03-2013, 12:35   #2
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Re: Contessa 32 question

John Kretschmer sailed one around Cape Horn. He wrote a book about it called Cape Horn to Starboard.
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Old 22-03-2013, 12:55   #3
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Re: Contessa 32 question

I owned a Contessa 32 for a couple of years a long time ago. At 5'-5" you are the perfect size for that boat. I haven't sailed on the Island Packet 27 although I did sail on a larger IP but the two boats are quite different. From a pure sailing experience the Contessa 32 will sail rings around it but the IP's are large boats and very cruisy which is quite attractive as well. Yes Kretschmer did sail it around the horn "against" the wind which is very seldom done but the Contessa 32 is a tough little boat. The boat was designed and built in Britain and it was also built under license in Canada, its little Sister the 26 also has a history of sailing around the world and it was also built in Canada. These boats have a very devout following and if you find one in nice shape you will not be getting bargin prices. When I sold mine it was gone in 3 days and purchased by the first person who looked at it for full asking price. Market is different today but most owners keep these boats. When the Yachting world experienced their worst disaster with the Fastnet Race way back when the Government even got involved, there were large IOR boats that had turned turtle and many sailors were lost at sea when Britain experienced hurricane force winds during the race. The Contessa 32 were in their own class during the race as there were lots of them and they all finished and returned. The Contessa 32 became the "benchmark" boat in the study that all other boats were compared to. Pretty little bugger, great sailer and you can take it anywhere your heart desires. I sure wish I had been 5'-5" when I owned mine rather than 6'-1" I'd proably still have it.
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Old 22-03-2013, 13:05   #4
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Re: Contessa 32 question

Here is the story of S/V Assent a Contessa 32 from the stormy Fastnet 1979 race:

Fastnet 79 - The winner's story | Yachting World
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Old 22-03-2013, 13:28   #5
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Re: Contessa 32 question

I forgot to answer one of the posters questions: Is the Contessa 32 livable for a month or two.
Yes of course it is, it has all the normal things you need for extended cruising. The Canadian version had a Bukh diesel, you could hand bomb it with a crank if you lost power and I did it several times as a showoff. It has a tiller which to my mind is the perfect steering for a 32 footer. It also makes it real easy for windvane steering. Its not a big 32 so the stores are on the smaller size but I could easily cruise it for a couple of months or years for that matter. There is(or used to be) a yard in England that will completely restore the Contessa 32, its what they do and many of the original boats have been through the factory and came out new again.
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Old 22-03-2013, 14:32   #6
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Re: Contessa 32 question

"Are all the Contessa 32's in England?" Nah there are two in NZ, both sailed here. Mine after some years in the USA. There were roughly 800 made and production has resumed.
It is an excellent sea boat and sails well. Less room than more modern designs that carry their beam aft, but okay for a not too tall couple for cruising. The v berth is designed for those about to become close friends.
There are a couple of similar designs here in NZ eg the Lidgard 32 and Cavalier 32 both of which have been used for long distance cruising.
I daresay there are similar US designs, but not having strong class associations they are unlikely to be as well equipped and maintained. However if you are going to be mainly in sheltered areas you have a wider choice of capable boats.
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Old 22-03-2013, 15:03   #7
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Re: Contessa 32 question

Note: the 26 and 32 are very different designs.

also there is another Contessa 30's make out there that is a different brand race boat and NOT this 32 cruiser we are talking about here.
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Old 22-03-2013, 20:31   #8
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Re: Contessa 32 question

Your probably thinking of the 35 or 36
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Old 22-03-2013, 21:37   #9
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Re: Contessa 32 question

Quote:
Originally Posted by robert sailor View Post
Your probably thinking of the 35 or 36
yes indeed: 34 1980 Contessa OOD34 Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
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Old 22-03-2013, 21:40   #10
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Re: Contessa 32 question

Ya thanks, I was out by a foot or two. its a Doug Peterson design so you know it will be quick and point good and high.
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Old 22-03-2013, 21:47   #11
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Re: Contessa 32 question

Quote:
Originally Posted by advocate777 View Post
Are all the Contessa 32's in England? I have been trying to find one here in mid-atlantic USA, or eastern canada, etc. for sale to look at but can't find any.
From time one comes on the market in U.S. or Canada, for example: Contessa 32 for sale - Mississauga / Peel Region Sailboats For Sale - Kijiji Mississauga / Peel Region Canada.

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Do any of you have experience with this boat and any comments on its rarity here? Is there always such a dearth of them listed for sale or is this unusual?
She's very small for a 32 footer, interior volume more like a typical American 28 footer. For this reason they were never very popular. J.J. Taylor in Toronto built 80+ boats using the original molds from Jeremy Rogers in UK. A few JR Contessas were imported to US. But they were never as popular here as they are in the UK where there is an active Contessa 32 class association and a very competitive racing program.

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Originally Posted by advocate777 View Post
Also, I read about how great they sail...they seem awesome. Has anyone sailed one that can comment.
She's a great fun to sail. But she's not as fast as a more modern rocketship like a J30.

Quote:
Originally Posted by advocate777 View Post
How would they be to live on for 2 for a month or so? I am only 5'5" tall. (or short)
My wife and I have cruised for a month at a time. In the past we had cruised for a couple of weeks with 4 people on board, but it's a lot more comfortable with just two. I am 6' tall, by the way. There are a few spots where I need to bow my head down: in the head and the forward part of the main cabin. I can stand completely straight in the after section of the main cabin and the galley. At 5'5" you would have no problem anywhere.

Quote:
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Lastly, I'm sure it sails better than an IP27 but has anyone ever sailed on both the Contessa and the IP who could compare the two? For sailing on the Chesapeake, Intracoastal to Florida/Keys, Bahamas, Carribean and Mexico sailing and living aboard for two?
I haven't sailed on IP27, but I suspect the CO32 is a lot more nimble and close winded. The interior space might be about the same.

If you have any more questions about the boat, I'd be happy to try to answer them. Another CF member, mrohr, also has a Contessa 32, and I'm sure he'd be happy to help as well.
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Old 22-03-2013, 21:52   #12
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Re: Contessa 32 question

Yikes, this one has a wheel..
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Old 22-03-2013, 22:25   #13
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Re: Contessa 32 question

Most of the Canadian boats were built with a wheel.
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Old 22-03-2013, 22:28   #14
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Re: Contessa 32 question

Well there you go. Mine had a tiller and I think most of the Brit boats were tillers as well but I just learned something, thanks.
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Old 22-03-2013, 22:48   #15
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Re: Contessa 32 question

There's some on the west coast. I looked at one for a client in CA about 5 years ago. Sadly it been raced hard, put away wet, and the decks were absolutely shot. They are great boats but as others have said very small inside.

I used to own a Ranger 33 which is a pretty nice boat in that size range.
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