I owned a Wauquiez Gladiateur for three years. So, this is not dispassonate advice.
The W is better built that the other three. I have been on HalbergRassy. The W is better built than HR too.
The W is a great sailer. Her only debit in that department is in short steep seas found in shallow bays she once (and only once) got hobbyhorsing on me--from that pretty IOR stern. But conditions were so ugly that day (we were the ONLY boat out and even we turned around) that I'm not totally convinced it was the boat's fault. I managed to spear a wave up to the mast
, twice, until we turned around and ran.
tankage is very low, stock, something like only 17 gallons. That's fixable.
I grew to love the saildrive
. The boat was quiet and bone dry below. Spiders and webs in the bilge
. I miss that. Oh, not that it's needed, but she does have a real bilge
from the keel stub.
She has an IOR rig. Big foretriangle. I didn't have roller furling
. It was managable. BTY, with the 100% jib
in 25 knots that boat is a thing of beauty. She loves windward in anything over 6 knots, but especially over 17 knots when I could put the genoa
of the quarterberth is your seat for the nav station. Ergo, in the rain the quarterberth head gets wet from nav work. That's fixable. Cover it.
Tracking: not an issue. She has a skeg and plenty big enough rudder
. Windward, I could lock the wheel
and go five miles (no ****) without touching the wheel
Ws were imported into this country during the early to mid-1980s when the Frank fell against the Dollar, big time. It was a high end boat, sold at a realistic price
because of the currency situation. When the currency corrected, the importation stopped. She is one of those rare finds, a dislocation in the market place.
I have been told that in the 1980s Lloyds of London had an internal ranking of boat yards wordwide. Wauquiez was number 5. None of the American builders were in the top ten. Not Morris, Hinckley, Shannon, Pacific Seacraft, etc.
Practical Sailor did a rather glowing review of the Pretorian, the 35' big sister to the Gladiator. I met a guy who owned both, first a Gladiateur and later the Pretorian. He claimed that the Gladiateur was the better sailor.
After being boatless for six years, I was seriously thinking of another Wauquiez when I found the steel
boat I have now. I would do another W in a heartbeat if I hadn't found current
boat. Few boats that size can match W to windward. Plus, she has no real bad habits, so the design is solid, and the build is top ranked. Easy call from my perspective.