I owned one for 15 years. In full disclosure I now own a Westsail 42. Most everything said so far is correct. A couple of slanted comments though on the sailing.
She's definitely not a round the buoy boat. She takes some work to sail. Work in setting her up, not work in the steering
. If she's rigged right and the spar is set correct she'll balance well and you'll be more comfortable in her than most other boats. She will in bay chop, even the GOMEX under the right conditions hobby horse. If you get enough power into her though; like in the video above, she'll punch though happily for hours and days. In spite of the Wetsnail slam she sails very well but can't point as high as a round the buoys racer
. Once you fall off from beating to any kind of reach she finds her legs and can really move. The motion is kind to the body and inspite of one poster saying he was tired after sailing a day, she got us to ports
generally in fine shape without our teeth having been knocked loose. We sailed her 25k miles, about 10 k offshore
and the rest coastal. We had an Aires wind vane
that steered almost all the time. The key to moving the boat is having the right sails and large enough. I believe she first earned her snail slam because the boats shipped from the west coast
to the east had sails designed for California
and not the finicky winds we have on the east coast
. We used for 90% of our sailing on the east coast
the 130 Genoa
, the staysail and well built main. In the trades we changed to the Yankee, keep the staysail furled and then a reefed mainsail
Look for one that has at least the 36hp Volvo
or larger. The 25 hp put her as underpowered and that's the engine
we put on her. Thank you Lynn and Larry P for that purchase
. It was the only purchase
on the boat I really regretted.
As for factory built vs owner: Look the boats over closely. I'd say of all the owner built boats I've looked at about 1/2 are significantly better then the factory built and 1/2 are worse. By now after almost 40 years most all boats have been owner modified enough that everyone is custom.
There were I think 3 deck
mods so make sure the year you're looking at is what you want. The earlier boats had a large teak
, the next mod was a center skylight, and the following was putting stanchions bases molded in, a flush lazzerette, a cockpit
locker a molded in shim fo rthe bowsprit
(that may have been in the second mod) and a cockpit
locker. We had the last mod.
If you want to sail around the world or do some serious offshore stuff the boat will stand up to anything you can handle. There is more room than you'll generally know what to do with. (We had over 50 lockers storage
areas). She isn't however a condo at the dock
. There is room for stuff and things and not for playing charades down below.
All that being said I think a well found one is the best bang for the buck in todays market. If you price
boats by the pound (that's how builders figure much of the cost) then you're easily buying
a 40- 50' boat in a small effecient package.