There are some problems with the W32 but not what you've been told. I can only think they are people who've never sailed on a W32 and/or are jealous.
The boats are not wet. I had the distinct pleasure of beating into strong tradewinds and 6' plus waves for 4 days. The motion was as comfortable as it could be under the circumstances. Boat was dry with almost no water
coming over the bow. It essentially steered itself which it would do on the wind
in every condition we encountered. Oh, it averaged 125nm per day for the 4 days under those lovely conditions..
As far as fast, we averaged 118nm per day through the water
. No boost from currents or whatever, it was measured by a Walker Log backed up by a B&G knotmeter/Log. Included two crossings of the doldrums which gave us new apprecitation for Coleridges 'Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner'. Used the engine
only for battery charging
and getting in and out of port when we couldn't sail out. Best days run was 177 nm, did 185nm on another W32. Did 900 miles in 6 days. Also had a 15 mile day ITC and 4-5 days of 50+ average crossing the ITC on the way back to Hawaii
. Did all this with the boat either self-steering or the Aries
at the helm
. If the boat sailed, I wasn't doing it.
The w32 is not a good light air boat. Boat will sail but will not win any races. in under 5mph winds, any fin keel
boat will literally sail rings around a W32 and any other full keel boat, for that matter, because of the wetted surface. The biggest negative was the poor performance beating into a chop in light air. The boat would hobby horse and literally go sideways. In the onr or two instances that we encountered these conditions, we motor
sailed with the engine ticking over just above idle and pointed higher and footed faster than any IOR boat. The w32 is not a boat you try and pinch up in. We found the secret for speed was to keep the boat moving. Falling off a few degrees made the track over the ground way higher and the VMG way better.
As far as being tender
initially, yep But all full keel boats that aren't total pigs in light air will be tender inititally. To cut down on wetted surface, full keel boats are designed with slack bilges. Instead of the flat bottoms of the fin keel boats, full keel boats have a gentle slide from the watrer line to the keel. It makes them initially a bit tender but also makes the motion slower and less violent. It also means they harden up as the angle of heel increases and have much greater ultimate stability. You know, the kind of stability that saves your ass when the **** hits the fan.
They will sail to weather without a hand on the helm
. As the speed increases there is significant hull
induced weather helm sailing off the wind. They will not balance, but then I've never been on a boat that would except low aspect ketch
rigs that gave new meaning to slow. Since the Aries did all the steering
, the weather helm was never an issue and certainly didn't hurt performance.
The W32 is an FRP variant of the Atkins 'Eric/Thistle' design. Don't know how much work Crealock
did in making the conversion. One thing I heard was moving the prop into an aperture in the hull
instead of mostly in the rudder
and the deck
design when Westsail took over the hull molds. The W32 was originally built by a guy named Kendall in the flush deck
Thistle variant of Atkins design.
As far as headroom, there were differences in the deck molds. Early boats, like our #163, had an error in the mold
that produced a lot of sheer in the cabin
top and cut head room down by at least 2". We are not headroom challenged so it didn't bother us and actually considered it an improvement as it looked better. Later boats had a deck without much sheer in the cabin top and a lot more headroom. Also, the deck beams that were options on the W32 were strictly cosmetic. They can be removed with impunity to increase head room by 1 1/2", if they are present. You might want to check out a couple of different W32's, especially one's after around #225 to see if they might have the headroom you want.
As far as being fun to sail, the W32 is a bus. It is not quick on the helm or light on it's feet. That's anathema to the around the buoys, inshore types. For long passages, it's a godsend, however. It's the difference between going cross country on a 998 Ducati or a motor
home. The Ducati may get you there sooner, if you don't get arrested by the CHP, your butt and back hold out and you take nothing with you but a change of underwear. The motor home will get you there at or above the legal
speed limit with all the things you need to live with for long periods though the drive may be a bit boring.
I'm not familiar with the Baba 30. It looks like a good small boat capable of doig what you intend, though a little cramped. Correct me I'm wrong, but wasn't the Willard 30 hull also offered as a trawler
. It would lead me to believe that's it a motor sailer. Doesn't seem like it would be an improvement on the sailing abilities of a W32 and probably a goodly step behind.
By the way, I don't have a dog in this hunt. We've long since sold our W32 which has gone on to cruise
for another 50,000 miles. After a long hiatus from sailing, thought about buying
our old W32 back. Since I'm strictly going to be coastal cruising decided it was too much boat. Bought a Pearson
35. It's probably a better boat for coastal cruising but it's not a boat I'd want take where we went in our W32.
Don't listen to the detractors of the W32, most haven't gone anywhere and certainly not in a W32. Yes there are better boats but none for the price
of a W32 that are built as strong, sail as well, and carry as much as the W32.