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Old 15-06-2011, 00:18   #1
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Wet Westsail 32

Just returned from an 8 day trip down from Victoria to San Francisco at about 100 miles offshore in Westsail 32. Very solid boat, we had good strong broad reaching conditions for most of the trip, so the speeds were ok (though trying to beat out of the straight of Juan de Fuca was a losing battle. We ended up motor sailing.

But wow is that a wet boat!! I now know what to look for when evaluating how wet a boat will be. That boat must have been specifically designed for crew dampness. I think the cockpit was full of water at least half the time when we weathered a gale. Like knee deep in water. It's small enough that it doesn't really matter to the boat, but it does to the crew!

Here are the key design "features":
- No bullwarks at nose or tail so that a huge scoop is created to ensure water can get aboard from either of these routes.
- Foot high bullwarks all the way down each side so that any water that gets on to the side decks will stay on the side decks and shoot down to the cockpit the next time the bow is raised. Note that these don't seem to keep much water out, though. Many waves sloshing over the lee rail.
- no coaming at all on the cockpit so that all that water on the side deck comes shooting down the side deck, wraps around the corner and douses the crew, partially filling the footwell.
- By the fact the bilge pump fired off whenever the footwell filled, water then leaks past the gasket on the removable cockpit floor and showers the engine with salt water.

The perfect design for maximum wetness!
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Old 15-06-2011, 03:45   #2
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Re: Wet Westsail 32

The W32 has a beautiful hull design, and it's a good looker too, such a shame she's such a wet boat. Quite a few have done circumnavigations! My first 'proper' boat was a Javelin 30, the same, beautiful to look at and quite quick for her age, but boy, in heavy weather it was like sailing a submarine!

Great to see you still made it and had fun to boot. Btw, Niagara 35 looks an excellent boat, I almost bought one just before I got my present boat, I loved the inside layout with the saloon forward, cabin aft, and galley/heads in the middle.
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Old 15-06-2011, 06:46   #3
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Re: Wet Westsail 32

My Ingrid is similar. It most certainly is a wet ride in rough seas, although I don't have a problem with the cockpit leaking into the engine compartment. (or anywhere else)

I have a pilothouse so can retreat inside when it starts getting too wet. Being of the same hull design as the Westsail 32, I'm not surprised that the westsail ride is a wet one as well. I don't mind the wet ride personally (i kinda like it actually) , that's what the gods have made good boots and wet weather gear for.

I can see how it would be hell on crew on a long ride though without the pilothouse to retreat to.

Victoria to SF is a great run at the right time of year, 100 miles off shore is perfect for it. Not many places to run and hide anyway so ya may as well go offshore.

I've always wondered if other Ingrids and Westsails were wet rides as well. Does anyone else know if this true with all of them?
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Old 15-06-2011, 07:49   #4
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Re: Wet Westsail 32

congrats on completing the passage. but i was always troubled by a hatch in the cockpit and it did exactly what i was afraid of .. leaked salt water on the engine .. i also wondered why the wet snail did not continue the bulwarks around the bow and stern.
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Old 15-06-2011, 13:41   #5
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Re: Wet Westsail 32

Quote:
Originally Posted by pillum View Post
The W32 has a beautiful hull design, and it's a good looker too, such a shame she's such a wet boat. Quite a few have done circumnavigations! My first 'proper' boat was a Javelin 30, the same, beautiful to look at and quite quick for her age, but boy, in heavy weather it was like sailing a submarine!

Great to see you still made it and had fun to boot. Btw, Niagara 35 looks an excellent boat, I almost bought one just before I got my present boat, I loved the inside layout with the saloon forward, cabin aft, and galley/heads in the middle.
Yes, the W32 is certainly beautiful, especially with tanbark sails as this one has. It was great to have a trip on such an iconic boat. It was also great to return to my Niagara 35 with a new view of some of the advantages she has! At some point in the not too distant future, I hope to be doing the exact same route in the N35. It will be very interesting to compare and contrast.
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Old 15-06-2011, 14:18   #6
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Re: Wet Westsail 32

The leaking cockpit sole hatch was because it wasn't properly sealed. Ours was done with LifeCaulk originally and redone with same after some engine work without any leak problem. Tell the owner to pop the hatch and use LifeCaulk to reseal it. God forbid if some silly twit used sillycone to seal the hatch. It will take forever to get that crap off so it can be sealed properly.

The boat scooping up water on the lee side and sending it back to the cockpit is an issue. We had a self steering vane so never had to sit with our feet in the cockpit well and it didn't bother us. Found the boat to be extremely dry on deck other than that. Very little spray came in over the windward side and cockpit stayed dry except when driven hard with lots of heel.

Putting in cockpit backrests is actually a pretty easy proposition. I made up a set of teak cockpit backrests to solve the water sloshing into the cockpit issue. They were going to be fastened to cabin side with a cleat, reinforced by a SS bracket on the winch mount, and a contoured cleat where the cap rail turned down aft. Wasn't a bid deal to fabricate and don't know why more people haven't done it except possibly because it's so seldom needed. Never got around to installing them before selling the boat. Strangely, the new owners didn't install them either, despite them being fitted and ready to screw in, and they sailed the boat twice to SoPac.

Current boat has nice comfy dry cockpit but It scares me to think what could happen if the boat was pooped. The cockpit would probably hold more than a ton of water until it either sloshed or drained out which would take minutes through the drains. The Westsail would drain almost immediately even if completely submerged by a stern wave. The second owners had that happen running before a hurricane near Fiji. Said the boat just popped back-up and soldiered on till the storm passed.
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Old 18-06-2011, 12:13   #7
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Re: Wet Westsail 32

I haven't had our Dreadnought out in anything that snotty but once and I believe that the flush deck helped keep me pretty dry aft. The foredeck has the same propensity to scoop water because of open the bulwarks forward but because of the flush deck cabin top with raised whaleboards as oppossed to combings and huge scuppers aft in the foredeck bulwarks no water makes it back at all and the Dreads are blesed with reasonable combings. The cockpit insert above the engine on mine was badly sealed with silly con so I have a job in front of me to correct that . I wonder if the old Kendall flush deck Westies are a bit drier. The transition up onto the flush deck is dicey comming out of the cockpit... plenty of exposure there but the deck area is huge for hanging out.
On older boats... particularly fishing boats I often see scuppers in size and number porportiate to combing height and the Pardey's inspired me with the whaleboards... made sense not only for taking seas but for rainwater drainage... keeping the freshwater from seeping into screwholes ...
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Old 28-06-2011, 10:33   #8
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Re: Wet Westsail 32

The primary place Westsails leak is in the Caprails...Bud Taplin told me this when I first got my boat. Coming over from Hawaii in two storms with 50 knot plus blows, quickly exposed that. I personally don't like "lifecalk at all", but 4200 or 5200 works brilliantly. But you have to very patiently seal the inner and outer caprail in detail...two plus coats to really fill and seal it. I used 4200 on the inside and 5200 on the outside. When seas break and the gunnels are flooded thats where most of the water come in to the interior including the engine room, but its a bugger to trace it all down, so once again it has to be done very patiently, methodically and properly. I was able to reduce it down to a minor dribble which I only noticed during heavy rainstorms for days when water would sit in the gunnels and would only notice the occasional teardrop after that. I personally never minded the water in the cockpit or on deck and don't have a dodger, its just the interior when it starts geting soaked up in the cushions that make it miserable, and f course water on the engine is no good. Westsails are remarkable off shore boats, especially on a beam reach or down wind...but awful going to wind. I love both Westsails and Ingrid 38s...wonderful vessels. Best of luck.
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Old 28-06-2011, 10:48   #9
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Re: Wet Westsail 32

Hadnt heard this about the Westsail...makes sense though. I went down that coast in my little Rawson 30 (much lighter boat than the WS, but full keel) many years ago. One of the driest boats I've ever owned, and a good thing with the huge cockpit! Guess I just got lucky...would have bought a WS if I could have afforded it at the time...it was their heyday!
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Old 28-06-2011, 12:28   #10
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Re: Wet Westsail 32

At least you don't have dirty decks, get washed for free..
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Old 28-06-2011, 15:29   #11
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Re: Wet Westsail 32

Yea the 70s was when they were popularised, kind of dated now. One of the design faults is their teenie scuppers for such massive gunnels that collect so much water. A superior boat is the (Samuel Morse) Bristol Channel Cutter which is nearly flawless in
design IMO, but is in an entirely different price range.
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Old 28-06-2011, 19:03   #12
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Re: Wet Westsail 32

I cant really visualize the side deck/ cockpit interface..but seems you could add a shield accross there pretty easy..then a big hawse hole or two just forward of that for the drain....
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Old 28-06-2011, 20:28   #13
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Re: Wet Westsail 32

Strait Shooter, I took an Ingrid from Vancouver to SF in 1980 and took the same route as the OP. Had a marvelous downhill run and only failure was a broken whisker pole, as I recall. She stayed dry and tracked beautifully with her full keel... loved that boat and only reason i sold her was a guy walked down the dock and said, 'I want to buy her, name your price!' Wish all my deals went as smooth... Capt Phil
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Old 26-07-2011, 08:37   #14
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Re: Wet Westsail 32

Quote:
Originally Posted by cwyckham View Post
Just returned from an 8 day trip down from Victoria to San Francisco at about 100 miles offshore in Westsail 32. Very solid boat, we had good strong broad reaching conditions for most of the trip, so the speeds were ok (though trying to beat out of the straight of Juan de Fuca was a losing battle. We ended up motor sailing.

But wow is that a wet boat!! I now know what to look for when evaluating how wet a boat will be. That boat must have been specifically designed for crew dampness. I think the cockpit was full of water at least half the time when we weathered a gale. Like knee deep in water. It's small enough that it doesn't really matter to the boat, but it does to the crew!

Here are the key design "features":
- No bullwarks at nose or tail so that a huge scoop is created to ensure water can get aboard from either of these routes.
- Foot high bullwarks all the way down each side so that any water that gets on to the side decks will stay on the side decks and shoot down to the cockpit the next time the bow is raised. Note that these don't seem to keep much water out, though. Many waves sloshing over the lee rail.
- no coaming at all on the cockpit so that all that water on the side deck comes shooting down the side deck, wraps around the corner and douses the crew, partially filling the footwell.
- By the fact the bilge pump fired off whenever the footwell filled, water then leaks past the gasket on the removable cockpit floor and showers the engine with salt water.

The perfect design for maximum wetness!
Sounds like you were over canvassed. What kind of sail configuration did you have up and what were the weather conditions?
As others have noted, the leaking cockpit is due to poor maintenance, not poor design.
In full disclosure, I own a W32 and love it. It is not wet except when driven hard to windward or over canvassed. In 20 to 25 k the boat will cruise along happily at 6.5 k with staysail and single reefed main.
I have also found that it is easy to have to much sail up as the W32 handles it well, but it does not make the boat go faster and the lee rail will be in the water.
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Old 27-07-2011, 08:55   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GWB

Sounds like you were over canvassed. What kind of sail configuration did you have up and what were the weather conditions?
As others have noted, the leaking cockpit is due to poor maintenance, not poor design.
In full disclosure, I own a W32 and love it. It is not wet except when driven hard to windward or over canvassed. In 20 to 25 k the boat will cruise along happily at 6.5 k with staysail and single reefed main.
I have also found that it is easy to have to much sail up as the W32 handles it well, but it does not make the boat go faster and the lee rail will be in the water.
We had enough water coming down the side deck on rare occasion to be annoying on about 25 knots of wind broad reaching with staysail and single or double reefed main. I don't believe we were over canvassed.

It became absurdly wet broad reaching in 35 ish knots with staysail and double reef. We were certainly over canvassed then.

It was never really a matter of the rail being in the water. It was the sloppy, confused seas peaking up in a pyramid of water that would slop over the rail. Once it was over the rail, the lack of a cockpit coaming would bring it into the cockpit. Certainly something that could be modified.

I have one week of experience on this boat, and will obviously defer to those who say our conditions were somehow unusual. However, it was a wet week at times!
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