You can add Westsail 32s to the deck stepped mast boats. Might want to read the perfect storm. Sartori, a W32, survived the storm quite well despite a rebellious crew. after several months sailing around the North East with no one on board ended up on a beach in NJ completely intact. it was refloated and is out cruising again, IIRC. Another one lost
its backstay on an attempt to round Cape Horn. The mast stayed up but the septuagenarian single
opted to abandon the boat. Think if he'd used running backstays
, he could have sailed it to a port. Being in the southern ocean with a crippled boat and 70 plus years old, exiting the field to fight another day is something I can't second guess.
The only reason for a keel
stepped mast on a cruising boat is if you like fresh water
running down inside the mast whenever it rains and rotting out any wood in the bilge
. If a mast loses an upper shroud
, it will almost always fold at the lower shroud
whether it's deck or keel
stepped. If a lower shroud goes, the whole stick will normally go over the side. With a deck stepped mast, you pull the pins and jettison it over the side or if you can, and it's doubtful, you haul it back on deck. With a keel stepped mast, you will have to cut the mast in two at the partners to free it so you can jettison it, if you are lucky. If you are unlucky, it will mess up the deck at the partners tearing a large hole in the cabin
top. Gets a bit wet below decks after that happens.
A keel stepped mast can get by with slightly lighter mast extrusion and narrower shroud angles. That's a big deal for the racer
who demands the lightest and flimsiest stick possible and a few degrees better pointing ability, safety
be damned. I'm sure all cruising boats with deck stepped masts are designed with proper mast wall thickness, extrusion size and shroud angles to equal or exceed a suitably strong keel stepped mast. The best argument for deck stepped mast in your case is the nearly 50 years your boat has been sailing and apparently still has the original stick.
Have you bought your self steering
All the parts
you need to keep a healthy A4 running are pretty cheap
. Mainly ignition parts
. If you get to Europe
, the Carribeab or SoPac and something major goes wrong, it's probably time to stick in a diesel
. Will deplete the cruising kitty a bit but it's money
you won't have spent before you leave. The cost of a diesel
will set you back at least a years cruising budget
. More importantly, depending on your financial condition and income
will delay the beginning of your cruise
a significant amount of time. It's really easy to put off leaving getting every last little thing perfect before you go. Some people have spent decades doing that and die before they think they've gotten the boat ready. The hardest part of going cruising is untieing the dock
lines. Those who've said do the minimal to get underway and experience the reality of what you really need and don't need. Then add those must haves as you go along.