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Old 07-06-2006, 18:58   #1
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Westsail Boats

I would be interested in hearing members opinion of the sailboats built by the Westsail Company. Input from individuals who have owned or sailed on these boats would be appreciated.
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Old 08-06-2006, 07:32   #2
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During our search we viewed at least three Westies. Each was different - because as I understand it, most of these were bought as "do it yourself Kits." I think the hull was provided and the buyers were left to finish the interior.

Based on the boats we saw, you could get decent quality IF the boat was finished in a yard. The owner-finished ones we saw were pretty scary.

Kinda like the Yorktowns - build quality will vary widely due to the skills of the place / people that put it together.

Hope that helps...
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Old 08-06-2006, 10:59   #3
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Wet Snail?

Our last boat was built by BUD TAPLIN the WESTSAIL GURU.

Although our boat was a 1978 model and marketed as a "World Cruiser" I was very impressed with the personal customer support offered by Bud.

Need chainplates, drawings, or bronze castings? Bud has 'em and will help you fix it better than original.

The owner / factory finished vessels can easily be identified by the VIN number. Go to www.westsail.com for details and an idea of what you can expect in terms of support after you've bought one.

Bud actually helped me sell our boat... even though I'd never bought anything from him during the ten years we owned his creation. We sailed her 25,000 miles across three oceans and NOTHING failed.

Walter Cronkite owned a Westsail 42 and you'll find Westsail 32's in remote places all around the world. They can handle anything... except, perhaps, line honors at the races.

Kirk
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Old 08-06-2006, 12:06   #4
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Email these folks. They're in the South Pacific but I'll bet they get back to you quickly. Somewhere on their site they say they have a list things to look for when buying a Westsail.
http://www.micoverde.com/
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Old 08-06-2006, 12:45   #5
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Kirk and Brian, Thanks for your replies. I already own a Westsail 32. I am in the process of recommissioning her. One year into a two year project, a true labor of love. To my mind the Westsail line represent among the best cruising boats ever built. Considering this 30 year old line of boats are appreciating in cost and releative to the construction quality in most boats today the Westsails represent a true bargin for some one looking for a blue water boat. It is nice to hear other peoples experience with these vessels.

Cheers,

CB
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Old 30-06-2006, 03:04   #6
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I have a 1970 Kendall (the predacesor to the westsail exact same hull but a flush deck, which I feel is superior to a cabin top) and a 1973 hardin force 50. I am trying to decide which one to keep. The force is a floating apartment and would be nice if my family grows or we decide to live aboard for a spell. What I dont like is the large cabin top and windows(weak points in a storm), it also has wooden spars (no teak decks-thank god) and I dont trust a wheel over a tiller. My Kendall is built like a tank. It is very well put together, with such things as cast lead ballast, and well laid glass. People have been giving me mixed information on which one would fair the best in a storm, which is important to me. I know my Kendall is built well, but I have heard coments that a good 50 footer would do better in storm than a 32 footer. Im not quite sure of the quality of the force 50 ( It was recently passed down to me).
Any help is appreciated, I dont have the time or resorces to own two boats. One has got to go.
Thanks.
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Old 30-06-2006, 03:48   #7
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Sorry to steal your thread, I am new to this. I will try to get you back on track, I moved my thread to mono hulls discussion.
I own a Kendall 32 which is basically a westsail or viceversa. The only negative thing you will hear people say about westsail is that they are slow, "wetsnail" they will say with their noses in the air-some people are rude and dont know how close they have come to almost getting popped in the nose. I do a good job of keeping my cool and reply "that is why a westsail won the West Marine pacific cup in 1988, and first in class pacific cup 1990-Westsail 32, Saraband, owner David King of King Marine"
None the less it is a great boat, especially for the money. You also cannot go wrong going to Bud Taplin's website and also talking to him. He is very nice and extremely helpfull. I think he can also survey a westsail for you, not a bad idea at all. One remark that was said about the boats that were not factory finished- yes you have to be very carefull, but I have seen some work out there on kit westsails that blows the factory away- done by real craftsmen. The first thing I ask about is if the ballast is cast lead (lower center of gravity, quicker righting moment-safer boat, and more space under cabin sole) most factory boats I believe had scrap for balast then glassed over(not as good as cast lead), some home builts only have cement-scary. Then start checking for quality from there up. That is why you want Mr Taplin to inspect a prospect westsail. You can tell if it is kit or factory from the numbers and letters on the stern. I think a kit will have a letter "k"- talk to Mr Taplin, for all the facts.
You will never regret owning a well built westsail, good luck.
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Old 30-06-2006, 06:37   #8
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This is a draft of an article that I had written for another venue. I apologize that it may have previously been posted in this forum.:

"One thing that you can say about the Westsail 32's, they are not all that easy to discuss in an objective way. They have a strong following amongst those that love them and they are the butt of jokes by people who don't. There is so much hyperbole and derision surrounding these boats that it is hard to really tell where the truth starts and the emotion ends. Here's how I see them.......

To begin to understand the Westsails you need to look at where they came from. In a general sense, the Westsail 32 pretty were closely based on the Atkin's designed 'Eric'. The 'Eric's' were a 1930's era design. They were heavily constructed as wooden boats with gaff rigs. Atkins was a master of adapting various burdensome (able to carry large loads) working craft designs, into smaller lighter yacht forms. He was a master of modeling hulls so that these extremely heavy vessels (even for their day) sailed reasonably well as compared to a what you would have expected in that era from a boat of this type. In the case of the 'Eric', In turn, Atkins based his design on one of Colin Archerís sailing yachts, which in turn was based on Colin Archerís own the world famous Rescue Boats. The 'Eric's' carried enormous sail plans and really took some skill to sail. To stand up to that enormous sail plan, the 'Eric's' were heavily ballasted with external cast lead ballast. That combination gave them reasonable performance (for a heavy cruiser of their day) in a pretty wide range of conditions.

There are varying stories about how the Eric design was adapted to become the Westsail 32. William Crealock is credited with drafting the adaptation. When the 'Eric's' were adapted to fiberglass there were a number of changes made. To begin with the fiberglass hulls actually weighed more than the wooden hull of the Eric. This was partially because the freeboard was raised and a high bulkhead included as a part of the fiberglass work. They were also not quite as strong and stiff as the wooden hulled 'Eric's'. To help the boats float on their lines, the Westsails had less ballast than the 'Eric's'. This made them comparatively tender and as a result their sail plans were reduced in size dramatically from the 'Eric's', which is not to say that they have a small sailplan, just that they have a small sail plan for thier drag.

This ballast and sail plan change had a dramatic affect on the sailing ability as well. Although the Westsails still carry huge sailplans compared to most 32 footers and or most boats with their waterline length, they are next to useless as sailboats in winds under 8 or so knots. They are also not as good as the 'Eric's' in heavier conditions either. This is because the Westsails still have equal hull drag through the water, but they have greater windage, a higher center of effort in their sail plans. To over come that resistance they need to carry essentially the same sail area as the 'Eric's' but since they have comparatively less ballast that means that they end up heeling more than the wooden Erics.

This ballasting issue is further complicated by the fact that the Westsails had internal ballast (which reduces the volume and depth of the ballast) and that many had lower density ballast in the form of iron set in concrete, which further raised the center of gravity pretty dramatically. Even further exacerbating this situation is the fact that many of these boats were factory-built, but a lot were sold as kits and some were sold without ballast. The kit built boats varied hugely in terms of ballasting. The factory boats varied a little less, but there were ballasting options with the factory as well.

They also varied quite widely in terms of layouts down below and the quality of workmansip being done. This variation resulted in a pretty wide range of sailing characteristics and a pretty wide variation in the amount of weight in gear and tankage that the boats can tolerate.

I know that there are strong proponents of this venerable design, but in my mind they only make sense in some narrow range of venues and for certain types of owners. While a bit of breeze brings these boats to life, even in 15 to 18 knots of wind they are slow compared to more modern designs. While they have a slow motion, they are real rollers. Personally I would rather accept a little quicker motion with less rolling. (When you talk about motion comfort there are two factors at play, the speed of accelleration at each end of the roll and the angle of the roll. In US navy studies of motion comfort, about half of the people in the studies preferred a slower roll through a wider angle, and the other half preferred a perhaps snappier motion through a narrower angle. If you fall in the slow roll camp then the Westsail would be a comfortable boat for you. If you fall in the 'can't deal with large roll angles (like myself) then the Westsail probably is not an ideal boat for you.) If you are looking at a Westsail for coastal cruising in most US east coast venues (comparatively light winds) then a Westsail in probably not an ideal choice. BUT if you live in an area that has predominantly high winds or you plan a lot of offshore passages then the Westsail might make sense for some.

Lastly, no mater how you look at it, the Westsails are slow by any objective standard. With a PHRF rating of 222 to 253, by any objective basis these are wildly slow 32 footers. Since they are not routinely raced, if you carefully prep them, and happen to race in race where the wind dies near the finish, stopping the leaders dead in their tracks, and then fills in from astern, you can win a distance race, as was the case with the widely quoted Pacific races. In normal real life, better designs will point higher and will sail faster on all points of sail.

These are brawny boats to sail. They carry a lot of sail area for a 32 footer and most have lousey sail handling gear, making them a real workout to sail in coastal conditions were conditions are far more changeable and there is often less chance to ignore these changes. Frankly as much as I enjoy sailing traditional wooden boat designs., I really donít enjoy sailing these boats.

The Westsail design is based on thinking that is well over a hundred years old. While the ocean has changed little in 100 years, our understanding of what makes a boat safe, fast, easy to handle, durable and comfortable has changed dramatically in the past 20 years. Most people would not use a car with a 100 year old design as a daily driver. Neither would we chose to make cross country flights in 100 year old aircraft designs. I personally donít understand why some people think that a 100 year old sailboat design makes sense today, but maybe that is just me. Even if the generally historic ideas reflected in the design of the Westsail appeal to you, there are other designs, similarly priced, that offer a lot better sailing performance, ease of handling, and equal seaworthiness. "


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Old 30-06-2006, 06:50   #9
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Originally Posted by Gallivanters
Our last boat was built by BUD TAPLIN the WESTSAIL GURU.

They can handle anything... except, perhaps, line honors at the races.

Kirk
Hey, I heard one won the race to Hawaii once, or was that a rumour started by Westsail owners.
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Old 30-06-2006, 08:43   #10
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'Tis true. I met him at a Westsail rendezvous. Cant' recall his name now. But I think he works on Westsails up and down the west coast. He is quite good at squeezing maximum performance out of Westsails.
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Old 30-06-2006, 09:06   #11
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if you sail in northern or southern lattitudes and need to break thru a lot of ice .. a WS32 might be a good choice if you are looking for a boat that can move with the wind you might want to consider a more recent design
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Old 30-06-2006, 09:43   #12
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Gonesail has a good point. Ted brewer proved that modern designs with cut-away forefoot without a full keel and properly designed skeg hung rudders can yield preformance waaay better than the old traditional designs with full keels and outboard rudders. The newer designed underbodies are stable and track very well in a seaway without the weather and lee helm problems presented by the old designs as the angle of heel changes. Of course there are other designers who have demonstrated similar advantages and benefits to deviating from the old design epitomised by the Westsail 32 (and others).

No one pointed out that the Westsail 42 is not much like the 32 in terms of design and performance. The 42 will actually sail instead of meandering along hoping for winds over 30 knots to get somewhere faster.
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Old 30-06-2006, 19:49   #13
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118nm per day through the water average over 10,000+ miles, two passages through the doldrums, with virtually no engine time. That ain't slow if you check the averages people REALLY achieve in the real world of long distance passages. We knew of no other boat, within 5' of our waterline length, that made faster passages or had a higher average. Those are through the water averages, btw, measured by a Walker Log and verified by a B&G knotmeter. We actually had a 200nm day over the bottom, a number of 170nm+ days through the water and once averaged 900nm in 6 days. We also had a 15nm day thrown in and other less than 50nm days. The boats love a reach and there is a world champion One Ton boat that we left in our wake to attest to this. But all our sailing wasn't off the wind. We beat into strong trades laying the Marquesas for 5 days and still averaged over 100nmpd. We also didn't have state of the art, brand new, light air sails. Our Reacher/Drifter came off a Morgan 35 and we almost never used the spinnaker from the Morgan.

Westsail 32s are not fun boats to sail, however. It's like driving a motorhome compared to a Porche. Different vehicles with different purposes and uses. The long keel and weight mean they don't react quickly to wind gusts or seas, then again they don't throw you all over the place or track like a squirrel. They will sail in light air but with all that wetted surface, a boat with a higher sail area/displacement ratio and radically less wetted surface will sail away. That doesn't mean the W32 won't sail, they just won't keep up with boats optimized for light air sailing. What the Westsail won't do is go hard on the wind into a chop. They begin to hobby horse and lose way. To sail them to windward effectively, you have to crack off a bit and keep up boat speed. You're deluding yourself if you think you are gaining anything by pinching up a W32 will just result in reduced forward and huge leeway. If you really have to go HARD on the wind in a chop, turn on the engine run at just above idle and motorsail. We were accused, more than once, of using our engine when we weren't, after having left more modern designs in our wake.

The more weight, the better they seem to sail, in my experience. There were large variations in ballast as Jeff H. pointed out. Early boats had an all lead in ingots or lead and boiler punchings option. Later boats had cast, form fit ballast. Our boat had lead and punchings but we had an extra 1,000#s of lead and probably a 1,000#s and more total ballast. We were down several inches on our lines than a typical factory boat of our era (#163) and down nearly 6"s in cruising trim. The later boats ballast was carried more compactly and lower so should have a salutorious effect on sailing ability.

As far as sail area, don't see where Jeff is coming from claiming the W32 had a cut down rig from the Eric. The Eric was originally a gaffer and designed as a double headsail ketch rather than as a double headsail sloop rig. Marconi rigs were also part of the design but they weren't lofty, high aspect ratio designs. Perhaps some of these boats were modified in light air areas to carry more sail but they weren't the norm. Gaff rigs can carry a whole lot of sail area in various combinations but they aren't particularly easy to handle, aren't very efficient and typically don't have tall masts. The Marconi rig gets more power out of less sail area but taller masts. Personally, I couldn't see a taller mast or carrying any more sail area than the stock W32 rig. We tucked a reef in fairly quickly and made our best passages with a double reefed main, staysail and jib. We did have a larger, slightly overlapping staysail and larger than standard jib as working sails.

As far as the design, the Westsail was originally adapted from Atkins' Thistle design and built by a guy named Kendall. He lost his business and molds, in a tax auction for a few thousand dollars, to the Vick's, who founded Westsail. The Thistle design was an identical hull to the Eric but higher freeboard with a flush deck instead of a trunk cabin. Don't know whether Crealock did the original change over from wood to FRP construction but he did design the trunk cabin design of the W32. Crealock based that design on Kendalls Thistle mold which is where the higher freeboard came from. I heard, though have not verified, that the only hull change, from Atkins original design, was cutting into the dead wood more than the rudder for the prop placement.

We lived aboard for over 4 years and cruised more than 10,000 miles on our Westsail. The basic layout, optimized for function and storage, worked great for us. In fact, so well we felt cramped and did not have as much storage in our first house after the W32. Are they as much fun to sail as a lightweight flyer, no way. Tried living aboard and sailing long distances in one of these light boats?? ARE YOU A MASOCHIST?? One of the problems with the light boats is they are very adversely affected by added weight which is a fact of life for a cruising boat. Load them up and they aren't so sprightly or fast anymore and may even become dangerous especially if we are talking multihull.

Would I buy a W32 for daysailing and infrequent coastal cruising, no way. But if I was serious about going places and/or wanted a commodious liveaboard, it would be my first choice, FOR THE MONEY. When I started thinking about getting another boat for extensive coastal cruising and possibly further, I actually talked to the current owner of our old boat about buying her back. Eventually decided we didn't need that much boat and bought a Pearson 35.

If money wasn't as issue there are other boats I'd consider. For the asking price of very well equipped W32s, I find it hard to justify buying another boat if you are seriously thinking about making passages.

A w32 supposedly won one of the Bermuda races just a few years back.

Aloha
Peter O.
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Old 30-06-2006, 21:13   #14
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The Ultimate Westsail

Take a look at www.yachtfiona.com

eric forsyth has put over 200,000 blue water miles on her including a few circumnavigations ,trips to the antartic, etc. CCA blue water medal recipient.
he is about 72 and has just set off on another trip to the Antartic
fair winds
eric
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Old 01-07-2006, 16:04   #15
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"One thing that you can say about the Westsail 32's, they are not all that easy to discuss in an objective way. They have a strong following amongst those that love them and they are the butt of jokes by people who don't. There is so much hyperbole and derision surrounding these boats that it is hard to really tell where the truth starts and the emotion ends. Here's how I see them.......


Just curious here... Have you ever owned one? How much sailing do you have on one?

To begin to understand the Westsails you need to look at where they came from. In a general sense, the Westsail 32 pretty were closely based on the Atkin's designed 'Eric'. The 'Eric's' were a 1930's era design. They were heavily constructed as wooden boats with gaff rigs. Atkins was a master of adapting various burdensome (able to carry large loads) working craft designs, into smaller lighter yacht forms. He was a master of modeling hulls so that these extremely heavy vessels (even for their day) sailed reasonably well as compared to a what you would have expected in that era from a boat of this type. In the case of the 'Eric', In turn, Atkins based his design on one of Colin Archerís sailing yachts, which in turn was based on Colin Archerís own the world famous Rescue Boats.

One point I would like to make about rescue boats; they had to be fast - and hold up well; as those with slow boats couldn't make a living getting to the people or boats last was not good enough to pick up anything left of value.



This ballast and sail plan change had a dramatic affect on the sailing ability as well. Although the Westsails still carry huge sailplans compared to most 32 footers and or most boats with their waterline length, they are next to useless as sailboats in winds under 8 or so knots.

I beg to differ here. I owned a 32 in Fl for 20 years and found with the right sails she would hold her own with many boats. That's not to say win any races but if you flew a Genny or; god forbid a spinnaker she would move quite well. Many people confuse a poorly sailed boat with a slow boat. The Westsail when they were first brought to the finniky winds of the East coast were shipped with sails for the westcoast. Understandingly the boats couldn't sail well simply because they didn't have the correct sails. Put sail area on and she'll sail.


They also varied quite widely in terms of layouts down below and the quality of workmansip being done.

This is true. You can find great variation in the workman ship but I would almost guess that over half of the owner finished boats are of better quality than the factory. - Just my quess from what I've seen in the 30 years I've been involved with Westsails.


I know that there are strong proponents of this venerable design, but in my mind they only make sense in some narrow range of venues and for certain types of owners. While a bit of breeze brings these boats to life, even in 15 to 18 knots of wind they are slow compared to more modern designs. While they have a slow motion, they are real rollers. Personally I would rather accept a little quicker motion with less rolling. (When you talk about motion comfort there are two factors at play, the speed of accelleration at each end of the roll and the angle of the roll. In US navy studies of motion comfort, about half of the people in the studies preferred a slower roll through a wider angle, and the other half preferred a perhaps snappier motion through a narrower angle. If you fall in the slow roll camp then the Westsail would be a comfortable boat for you. If you fall in the 'can't deal with large roll angles (like myself) then the Westsail probably is not an ideal boat for you.) If you are looking at a Westsail for coastal cruising in most US east coast venues (comparatively light winds) then a Westsail in probably not an ideal choice. BUT if you live in an area that has predominantly high winds or you plan a lot of offshore passages then the Westsail might make sense for some.

Wow, there is so much to comment on here. Not sure exactly what your talking about with the slow rolling stuff. Again I'm curious how much you've sailed on one. The worst motion I've ever had was on a trawler in the ocean. The second worse was a fin keeler for 1,000 ocean miles. I will admit that often the waves length in the the Gulf of Mexico seems to equal the waterline lenght of the 32 and she will hobby horse in those conditions. My guess is that any boat with wavelengths of waterline length will hobby horse. Haven't been there so I can't really say on the others in that situation.


In normal real life, better designs will point higher and will sail faster on all points of sail.

In real life; who the hell want's to beat into the wind all the time and work the boat to pinch up as high as you can. In real life if you want to go to windward all the time I suggest you get a 747. Then all the above it moot.



These are brawny boats to sail. They carry a lot of sail area for a 32 footer and most have lousey sail handling gear, making them a real workout to sail in coastal conditions were conditions are far more changeable and there is often less chance to ignore these changes. Frankly as much as I enjoy sailing traditional wooden boat designs., I really donít enjoy sailing these boats.

As you pointed out above it really depends on how the boat is setup. You can take any boat and make it easy or difficult to sail. If you can't I sure can.



The Westsail design is based on thinking that is well over a hundred years old. While the ocean has changed little in 100 years, our understanding of what makes a boat safe, fast, easy to handle, durable and comfortable has changed dramatically in the past 20 years. Most people would not use a car with a 100 year old design as a daily driver. Neither would we chose to make cross country flights in 100 year old aircraft designs. I personally donít understand why some people think that a 100 year old sailboat design makes sense today, but maybe that is just me. Even if the generally historic ideas reflected in the design of the Westsail appeal to you, there are other designs, similarly priced, that offer a lot better sailing performance, ease of handling, and equal seaworthiness. "


I almost laughed out loud hear. Man has been flying for 100 years and yes who would want to go back to the Wright brothers. Same with a car. But; humans have been sailing and building boats for far longer. It seems quite myopic to me that we want to believe only now do we understand fluid dynamics; only now and because of computers. You don't like 100 year old sailboat design; so what are you doing with your sails? How old is sail design? Spar design? Gee; I wonder what shoes you wear? They're quite old too. I am continually amazed at how people get on boats that travel at the speed of a bicycle they want to know how fast they go, how high they point, and how many can they sleep? They rarely ask is it comfortable? Is it safe? How many stores can it carry.

As pointed out in some of the following posts, it really depends on what purpose you have on what boat to get.
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