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Old 12-05-2010, 09:21   #1
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Tell Me What You Think About this Westsail 32

After hassles with financing. Saving money for a year. A missed offer on a boat and a year later finally locking in an offer on the same boat, we've gotten to the survey. I wanted to share what the survey has revealed to us so far and see if the communal wisdom of the forum can see any deal breakers I am missing.

Its a 1974 Westsail 32. It is a "project" boat and we offered and had accepted a price that is well below the market value. The boat is rigged up pretty well for cruising. Things we are concerned about:

1) Engine has 2500 hours but it ran well while motoring for around 4 total hours. Diesel survey happens today. Perkins 4-108.
2) The bottom paint is blistered pretty badly. When the boat was hauled the surveyor, broker, another w32 owner and the guys at the boat yard all agreed it wasn't a big deal. We probably popped twenty blisters and none were under the gelcoat. All just paint bubbled up. What do you guys think? Boat yard quoted 1800 for the bottom job to "fix" it.
3) The electrical on the boat is stupid. If we buy it, I'm tearing it all out and starting over from scratch. I've never seen such a rats next. This might be my biggest overall concern.
4) I think the jib track on the port side is leaking. I've read a lot of blogs about cap rail/jib track leaks on westsails and it seems fixable. The cabinetry on the port side was wet at the bottom, which leads me to suspect this. However, we could not find any drip lines along the hull/cabinets leading down that way. Good news is no mold though.
5) Up on the foredeck just in front of the cabin top I can see little black circles that look like screw holes faintly through the awlgrip. Not sure what these old holes were for or if I should be concerned about them. Deck does seem solid. I will get more info out of the surveyor soon. He spent a while tapping around up there. I believe at one point it was teak decked. Are these the holes that someone might have failed to correctly fill when they removed the deck? Or something else?
6) The current owner didn't have the boat rigged for sailing so no sea trial was conducted. However, it has been rescheduled for Saturday. So I'll be doing that then.
7) Kerosene stove. Good? Bad? We don't know squat about kerosene stoves.
8) Has a Monitor windvane (good!) that looks like it may have been the first one ever made (bad). However, it comes with a lot of parts and the surveyor said it looks good and would probably work fine if we changed the gears. They had some play in them.

Some things we liked about it:
1) We fell in love with the boat when we saw it.
2) The cockpit layout and deck layout fit us very well. We're used to sailing on a HC33 and thought it would be near the same, but we found they're very different and we enjoyed what we found.
3) It handled a lot more easily than we thought, easy to steer. Love having a tiller.
4) The price is right.
5) Has a huge sail inventory. Has a storm trysail track. Cutter rigged.
6) Multiple big compasses. That was nice and unexpected.


One thing that was pretty funny is that onboard is an outboard motor branded "Eska". The broker said it was an old Sears model. This thing had "SOLID STATE" written on it proudly. How long has it been since anyone advertised anything was solid state? I can't believe this thing is still around. Amazing.

Would love feedback. Not really looking for debate over if we should get a new style boat or something out of a charter fleet or any of the other heeps of advice we've seen and considered about our other options. We're looking at this boat, and I'm curious what you guys have to say about this particular boat. Assume you loved it too and tell me if you think what I've seen would put you off the deal.

Thanks!
Tate
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Old 12-05-2010, 09:34   #2
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If the boat makes you(and the boss) happy, you think(know?) you can do all the needed work and the price is what you want to pay there is no question you should buy it. I have more money and time tied up in my little boat than makes any sense but it makes me happy. I know if I won the lotto I would probably buy a bigger boat. Would it make me any happier than this one? I doubt it but my wife would like a bigger boat. So I keep buying tickets. I figure it keeps me in a boat I like.......m
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Old 12-05-2010, 09:49   #3
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Originally Posted by cantxsailor View Post
If the boat makes you(and the boss) happy, you think(know?) you can do all the needed work and the price is what you want to pay there is no question you should buy it. I have more money and time tied up in my little boat than makes any sense but it makes me happy. I know if I won the lotto I would probably buy a bigger boat. Would it make me any happier than this one? I doubt it but my wife would like a bigger boat. So I keep buying tickets. I figure it keeps me in a boat I like.......m
Luckily the future admiral agrees with me that this is the biggest boat we want to try and handle.
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Old 12-05-2010, 09:57   #4
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You might already know about the forums over at the Westsail Owners site but you might pose your questions there as well.
WOA Web Site

Good luck!
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Old 12-05-2010, 11:07   #5
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We built #163 from a barehull. They are great open ocean boats and a lot faster when sailed properly than their detractors would have you believe. One thing they won't do is beat into a chop in light air. That's what the 4-108 is for.

If the boat had teak decks, make sure your surveyor did a good job. The teak decks had a reputation for leaking. The decks are plywood cored and long term leaks will rot the core over a large area. Sounds like your surveyor was aware of this and used his rubber hammer to good advantage. Don't know what the blemishes in the paint are but shouldn't be a problem as long as the paint surface is intact. If there is any sign of cracking or degradation of the paint film in that area, you might need to dig into the blemishes and be sure the deck is sealed.

Other long term problems with the W32 are the water and fuel tanks. Westsail used steel fuel tanks for some of their production and doubt these would have survived this long without some impending failure issue. They also had stainless steel water tanks in the bilge. With the tanks sitting in a constantly wet area, they are prone to getting pin hole leaks where they contact the bilge. If yours has SS water tanks, I'd pull them out and inspect the bottoms. That's not that big a deal as it's basically disconnecting the hoses and pulling them. The fuel tanks are a major problem as you have to remove the engine to get at them. Fortunately, pulling the engine is easy as the cockpit sole over the engine is removable.

The bowsprit and boomkins are prone to rot. Look very closely at them to be sure that there isn't anything lurking there.

The hours on the engine are actually quite low for a diesel in normal operation. Unfortunately, sail boat engines don't operate in normal conditions. Most fail not from use but from neglect and disuse. Sounds like this one has been used relatively regularly so may have escaped the disuse deterioration. Have a mechanic take a look at it and give you an evaluation. Change all the ziincs and other preventive maintenance measures so you know where you are starting out.

I'd consider the wiring to be a plus. It would force me to rewire the boat with tinned wire larger gauge wire. After all these years, the wiring is going to be suspect. Learning the wiring and redoing it is great kowledge to have.

Most of the workers at Westsail had no idea what sailing the big ocean was all about. They had a job to do without much idea why or what their efforts would face. A lot of times you had to second guess what they'd done to be sure it was done right to last in a marine environment. Fortunately, these boats have been seasoned so any errors in construction should have shown their ugly faces by now.

The leaks in the hull to deck join area could be just poor caulking of the genoa track or worse. It's really hard to get up under bulwarks to get at the nuts on anything bolted to the cap rail. Be sure you can get at the nuts to R&R the track. We installed a deck reinforcement that was in the early construction specs so had no access to the area under the bulwark and had to live with a niggling leak in the chain plate area. The factory dropped this reinforcement early on so that area should be accessable on yours. Hopefully it's not a hull to deck joint leak as that's a major problem to cure. Unfortunately, that's the Achilles Heel of all FRP boats so you'd have plenty of shoulders to cry on.

FWIW, really miss a lot of the little things that were inherent in the basic design of the W32. I dropped more stuff overboard in the first week of ownership of my current boat than the entire 10 years we owned our W32. The bulwarks keep a lot of things on board that go over the side on a boat without them. They also make getting around on deck when things get interesting way safer. Even though the boat does not turn like a fin keel boat, the rudder has real bight. We were never able to stall it out with the spectacular round up that that engenders. We had ours healed so far over I was afraid of getting pitched into the ocean yet was able to keep the boat on course. The boat will only sail on it's own to weather but the vane should handle it easily on all points of sail. We had an Aires, which Monitor is a copy, and it steered the boat if the boat would sail. In over 10,000 miles, never hand steered under sail unless I wanted to. Probably didn't have more than 10 total hours at the helm in more than 10,000 miles of cruising. The galley has a ton of storage as does the rest of the boat. Ours was 5 inches down on it's lines fully loaded and seemed to sail better the more we piled on board. Do try and keep weight out of the ends, however.

FWIW, don't buy the boat if you looking for a day sailor/racer. These boats are ponderous and steady, not 'fun' to sail. That's a real plus for a long distance boat but frustrating for those that want dinghy type handling. Other than their problems with going to weather in a chop, they sail quite well but won't win any light air races. Once you crack off they come to life and will embarass most other boats with a similar water line length on a reach with a bit of wind.
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Old 12-05-2010, 13:15   #6
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If the engine runs good and appears to have been cared for it is a plus, not a minus. I really liked my old Perkins 4-108. I abused it and it just kept on starting and running for me. If the blisters appear to be in the paint and not into the gelcoat then $1800 is not an outrageous price to "fix" it and have a new coat or two of bottom added.
Good luck with your new Westsail. They were "the cruising boat" of their day and very sought after for all the reasons Roverhi mentioned. A lot of people still love the boat and its design.
regards
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Old 12-05-2010, 13:22   #7
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All just paint bubbled up. What do you guys think? Boat yard quoted 1800 for the bottom job to "fix" it.
3) The electrical on the boat is stupid. If we buy it, I'm tearing it all out and starting over from scratch. I've never seen such a rats next. This might be my biggest overall concern.
4) I think the jib track on the port side is leaking. I've read a lot of blogs about cap rail/jib track leaks on westsails and it seems fixable. The cabinetry on the port side was wet at the bottom, which leads me to suspect this. However, we could not find any drip lines along the hull/cabinets leading down that way. Good news is no mold though.
5) Up on the foredeck just in front of the cabin top I can see little black circles that look like screw holes faintly through the awlgrip. Not sure what these old holes were for or if I should be concerned about them. Deck does seem solid. I will get more info out of the surveyor soon. He spent a while tapping around up there. I believe at one point it was teak decked. Are these the holes that someone might have failed to correctly fill when they removed the deck? Or something else?
6) The current owner didn't have the boat rigged for sailing so no sea trial was conducted. However, it has been rescheduled for Saturday. So I'll be doing that then.
7) Kerosene stove. Good? Bad? We don't know squat about kerosene stoves.
8) Has a Monitor windvane (good!) that looks like it may have been the first one ever made (bad). However, it comes with a lot of parts and the surveyor said it looks good and would probably work fine if we changed the gears. They had some play in them.

Some things we liked about it:
1) We fell in love with the boat when we saw it.
2) The cockpit layout and deck layout fit us very well. We're used to sailing on a HC33 and thought it would be near the same, but we found they're very different and we enjoyed what we found.
3) It handled a lot more easily than we thought, easy to steer. Love having a tiller.
4) The price is right.
5) Has a huge sail inventory. Has a storm trysail track. Cutter rigged.
6) Multiple big compasses. That was nice and unexpected.


One thing that was pretty funny is that onboard is an outboard motor branded "Eska". The broker said it was an old Sears model. This thing had "SOLID STATE" written on it proudly. How long has it been since anyone advertised anything was solid state? I can't believe this thing is still around. Amazing.

Would love feedback. Not really looking for debate over if we should get a new style boat or something out of a charter fleet or any of the other heeps of advice we've seen and considered about our other options. We're looking at this boat, and I'm curious what you guys have to say about this particular boat. Assume you loved it too and tell me if you think what I've seen would put you off the deal.

Thanks!
Tate


A "Wetsnail" is what it is, and the folks who love 'em won't let go of 'em. So if it does what you want at the price you want, grab it! When you do the seatrials, remember that a it CAN sail through a tack, you just need to make sure you have enough way on so you don't fall into irons. Then you can place sucker bets with all the folks who say "Oh, but it can't tack".
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Old 12-05-2010, 16:33   #8
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Thanks for the feedback guys.
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Old 12-05-2010, 16:41   #9
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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
"1) Engine has 2500 hours but it ran well while motoring for around 4 total hours."
The survey may simply say "average engine, average condition, another 2500 hours to go before overhaul". You might also want to send out an oil sample for analysis, about $25 on the web or a local engine shop to send it out. The analysis will tell you if there is contamination in the oil, if the oil is degraded, if there are metals indicating failures to come, and so on. IF the owner just changed the oil--the analysis can be worthless since it is only looking at new oil.

"2) The bottom paint is blistered pretty badly. " But since it popped clean off the gelcoat and the gelcoat itself is not blistered--that's great. It just means someone has to clean off the mis-applied paint without damaging the gelcoat (it is easy to get overambitious, soda blasting is probably the best route), then start from scratch, possibly with a barrier coat, but definitely with an all-new bottom coat with paints chosen and applied exactly as the maker instructs. $1800 could be reasonable, it all depends on what they are doing.

"3) The electrical on the boat is stupid. " Great price point! I'd rashly assume you've read up on all the wiring threads, or have the rights tools and skills to make proper crimps and all.


"4) I think the jib track on the port side is leaking. "
I only have faith in one way to find leaks. Seal up the boat, place heavy cardboard in one port or cabin board. Insert a shop vac exhaust or leaf blower to pressurize the cabin. Now swab the decks with soapy water. The leaks will blow bubbles! And they blow where the water intrudes, not just where it found a way out down below.
Warning: This will make your decks dangerously slick. Don't ask me why I know that. And it also gets them clean, if you have a scrub brush.(G)



"5) ...little black circles that look like screw holes faintly through the awlgrip. " Sounds like your guess is right and whether this is a problem depends on what it is, just telegraphing, or bleeding through, or not adhering with another awlgrip job to result, or not.

"7) Kerosene stove. " Love 'em or leave 'em. They cook, the fuel is easy to get. TO some of us kero/paraffin/diesel simply stinks and I like no part of it. I like propane or cold food. If you don't like the smell it makes--but a new stove.

"8) Has a Monitor windvane (good!) " Gears should always be available, at worst, they can be made new, or someone may be supplying them.


"4) The price is right. " That can be compelling! (G)

"How long has it been since anyone advertised anything was solid state? " late 60's early 70's ? If it works, great. If it gives up the ghost...modern engines aren't all so bad either.(G)

A "Wetsnail" is what it is, and the folks who love 'em won't let go of 'em. So if it does what you want at the price you want, grab it! When you do the seatrials, remember that a it CAN sail through a tack, you just need to make sure you have enough way on so you don't fall into irons. Then you can place sucker bets with all the folks who say "Oh, but it can't tack".
Hellosailor, your post was screwed up so I thought I'd quote what I think is the "real" portion of it and put what you had to say in Bold since I think you've offered me some good advice and I want to make it easier for everyone to see.

Also, the diesel survey includes the cost of oil samples.
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Old 12-05-2010, 16:50   #10
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Tate,
Since you called it a project boat and say you got below market value - you can't really say too much about the issues you have brought up, all to be expected. One thing to consider is how bad will the survey look. You may not be able to get insurance without fixing all the recommendations on the survey, something that may be too expensive to do initially.

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Old 12-05-2010, 16:50   #11
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Heh. Thanks, Target, it looks like I've been targeted by the same hackers that took down the Stock Exchange last week. (Either none of the genuises that designed the software protections actually gamed them--which is unthinkable incompetence--or there was a major attack on the exchanges, because everyone claims everything else has been eliminated as a cause, and they are very strangely silent on those two possibilities.)
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Old 12-05-2010, 16:58   #12
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Tate,
Since you called it a project boat and say you got below market value - you can't really say too much about the issues you have brought up, all to be expected. One thing to consider is how bad will the survey look. You may not be able to get insurance without fixing all the recommendations on the survey, something that may be too expensive to do initially.

Paul L
Paul,

This is a great point and one I hadn't really fully considered. I'm guessing the wiring will be the biggest gotcha on that front.

I've never dealt with a survey for insurance purposes. What are they mostly gunning for? I got a quote with BoatUS and was intending to go with them unless someone has a better recommendation.

I believe all the thru-hulls/safety stuff onboard looked good. I know the liferaft needs a repack, but if it presents a regulatory issue we can just pull it off until we can get it done.

Thanks,
Tate
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Old 12-05-2010, 17:05   #13
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Tate,
When I first started using BoatUS they required a survey. They gave me 30-days to fix all suggestions on the survey. It is one of the issues you have deal with on a project boat. You pay a surveyor to get as much info as you can on the boat, but for insurance purposes you don't want them to recommend too much.

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Old 12-05-2010, 17:34   #14
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Heh. Thanks, Target, it looks like I've been targeted by the same hackers that took down the Stock Exchange last week. (Either none of the genuises that designed the software protections actually gamed them--which is unthinkable incompetence--or there was a major attack on the exchanges, because everyone claims everything else has been eliminated as a cause, and they are very strangely silent on those two possibilities.)
Blasted hackers, ruining it for all of us....
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Old 12-05-2010, 18:15   #15
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1) We fell in love with the boat when we saw it.
Well, so if you can fix / change the things you do not like (and I would think a Westsail can be a very fix-able boat), then just do your maths well and decide.

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