I think the reason you get such polarized opinions on these boats was the dramatic variation in quality of build. Ive seen some that were structurally unsound when brand new and some that were rock solid.
As I understand it, the builds were subcontracted out. So it likely depends on who the individual boat
was subbed to and how well they were supervised.
This could I suspect also affect sailing performance in terms of both speed and pointing ability. Some critize the boats as being slow and not pointing. My W35 is certainly not a performance boat
(especially not in "cruising trim"...AKA overloaded!), but we still cruise
along most of the time at 5 to 7.5 knots depending on conditions under sail only (below 5, I fire up the iron gennie...at least one of them). A bit faster, like 8-8.5, in very favorable conditions (the sweet spot is 15+ knots apparent at about 120d AWA). Highest reasonable under sail only speed is about 10 knots, but thats not a sustainable average. Boat breaks into a surf VERY easily (not always a good thing) maybe due to its wide beam, have surfed to 15 knots. Pointing ability is good, it will happily sail along at 40-45 AWA and will pinch higher if needed (with a drop in speed of course). No strong tendency to round up when pointed high. If motor
sailing very close to wind
I can get some drive from the sails
starting at 30d AWA. The boat will maneuver under sail in light air just fine, but not very quickly.
For a small cruising cat, under sail performance is certainly acceptable. However, with twin MD2020s (rated HP of only 18), performance under power
is less than stellar. Power
only, static conditions, speed at about 2,200 RPM
is 5.5-6.0 knots. Note that 2,200 is lower than Volvo's recommended cruising RPM
, but a good compromise in my experience for this boat/engine combination. A bump in HP to an MD2030
or equivalent I think would make a big difference...especially for motoring into bad conditions.
Quality of build on mine was pretty good. Glass work
was good except for some gel coat voids...which after 16 years have all been discovered and repaired. Glass work
, even in hidden areas, was good. Didn't like the original fuel tank
install so replaced with new. Electrical
work was very well done. Engine
and sail drive install well done. Rigging
and related hardware
all major brand name and installed properly. Most deck
cut outs (for hatches etc) did have the core edges sealed, but not all of them (which Ive corrected). The only spots where Ive had wet core issues were my, or subcontractors, fault. Core on my build stops at water
line...well...the design water
line anyway. 😉 No delamination
Low bridge deck
clearance is the biggest, and unfixable, negative.
Overall the boat has served my uses (cruising, charter
, live aboard) just fine. Its not the ultimate cruising cat, but it only had one comma in the price
Bottom line, as suggested in other posts, be very careful about buying
a used one and survey