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      Abbreviated rules   07/28/2017

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Robert

Westsail 32 sailboat-is it ok for Great lakes?

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My neighbor just selling his 1980 Westsail 32 beauty. Boat is in the very good condition and price is right. But I wondering if it is right boat for Great Lakes. I  think -  with  displacement about  20000 lbs this boat will need 10 knot wind to move (if I'm correct). What do you think guys, is it enough puffs  to sail this beauty ?  In the close future planing to move to Michigan Traverse City area.

Thank You for any input . Robert   

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Might take more like 20 knots of wind. They are notoriously slow, and not very enjoyable to sail. They're built like a tank, and look 'salty' sitting at the dock. That's their General appeal. 

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We won our class in the 97' Bermuda One-Two that took 6 1/2 days to complete.   Light air from start to almost finish.  Having grown up in Long Island Sound you learn how to make things go in little to no wind.  It went.  With patience it went.

Great cabin config on this one and set up well by the owner.  

Many were backyard builds, so even though its your bud's boat get some history and a survey.

So while it's reputation of needing 10 or 20 knots of wind to move may be valid, I submit its basis has much to do with the sailor than the boat.

I am sure there is a Westsail 32 association.  Talk to them.  You will get a more objective and deeper opinion by owners than you will get here by non-owners.

I liked it.  Good luck

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If all your destinations are reaches, then you will likely be able to sail there.  If upwind, you simply won't get there.  

My biggest objection - other than sailing performance - to Westsails and similar boats (Tayana) is that the cockpits are so small that there's no room for four people to relax without banging knees and that there is no visual or verbal connection to anyone below decks...say in the galley.  Once below you're in a very cozy but deep hole.  And, I would think in the Mid-west air circulation would be an issue.  lots of ports with screens required.

Once went tandem cruising with another couple.  They were on their Tayana 37 and we were on our 39' IRC raceboat.  We assumed that the socializing would be on their boat.  It turned out that everybody preferred to stretch out in the cockpit in our plastic boat and that the folks below in our galley were all part of the party and could see out into the world.  Plus, when we sailed to the next port, we made it in 60% of their time....every time.  

So, unless you love being surrounded by teak and that "nautical" feeling, there are much better options for comfortable cruising.

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thank You guys for all input. I also considering Tartan 37 CB 1979. Very good shape , all essentials redone or upgraded, own caring owner. A little of classic look. What duo you think about?  Probably better choice for Great Lakes . Thanks again. Robert M.

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29 minutes ago, Robert said:

thank You guys for all input. I also considering Tartan 37 CB 1979. Very good shape , all essentials redone or upgraded, own caring owner. A little of classic look. What duo you think about?  Probably better choice for Great Lakes . Thanks again. Robert M.

The Tartan will sail far better. I don't think a CB is necessary on the Great Lakes, but that's not a deal breaker. CB maintainence in fresh water is less than salt. Although the rigging will last much longer up there, if it's original 1979 rigging you'd probably want to replace it. A survey is highly recommended.

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On 11/15/2017 at 6:45 PM, Robert said:

But I wondering if it is right boat for Great Lakes.

Do you like to motor? With the wind?

Friend had one couldn't make headway through steep seas to leave harbour.

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2 hours ago, Robert said:

 I also considering Tartan 37 CB 1979. Very good shape , all essentials redone or upgraded, own caring owner. A little of classic look. What duo you think about?  Probably better choice for Great Lakes . 

Way better, the ends are actually pointy!

Tartan 37-2 (S&S) photo on sailboatdata.com

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I wouldn’t consider a Westsail on Lake Michigan, way to many light air days. It’ll be fun for a few blustery (maybe rainy) days in early Spring or late Fall, but Summer is mostly light air - you’ll just be swatting flies and motoring all Summer. Westsails have a great classic look, but they’re designed for much more wind than Lake Michigan usually provides. IMO light air boats are best on Lake Michigan, you can always shorten sail when the breeze is up...

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The problem with the Great Lakes in summer is - if you are trying to get somewhere - you are going to be motoring no matter who made the boat. I'd be comparing the condition of the motor in the boats you were looking at, rather than their sailing ability. If you mostly just go out and day sail, then one is as enjoyable as the next, depending on what you like. 

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I found some 1996 Hunters 336 and  1989 Hunters Legend 37.  What do think about it ? Much younger than Tartan 37 1979. Do you have any expierence with the Hunters? do they better performers for Great lakes than Tartan 37 ?

I appreciate it any input. Thank you again. Robert M. 

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The Tartan is in a different league than Hunters in terms of quality. I had a Hunter 31 and a friend has had a couple of bigger ones (340 and 38). They are perfectly good coastal boats and very comfortable to stay on but they are "price boats" and IMO designed and built to appeal more to women - comfort & convenience over sailing ability.

My deep keel '84 31 was a surprisingly good performer but the bigger, later ones with wing keels aren't unless you are reaching. They're butt ugly too. The Legend series are the best looking Hunters IMO.

Unless there is a very big difference in condition I'd go with the Tartan, no question.

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Sloop is right. The early Hunters (70s Cherubini) are pretty solidly built and have a cult following. Former boss had a 37 that he sold to get a Lagoon 42. He liked the cat, but grew to miss his old 37.

80s and later Hunters aren't built as solidly. They're fine for daysailing and coastal hops, but not offshore boats. At least I wouldn't attempt an ocean crossing. But a friend has a 335 that sails reasonably well and has a ton of room below. Yes, they're designed to appeal to wives. 

The Tarten is the 'best' boat you've mentioned. But keep in mind that asking peep what boat to buy is like asking them what woman you should marry. Everybody has a different taste. All you can do is look around until you find one you like and can afford. Boats and women.

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1 hour ago, Robert said:

I found some 1996 Hunters 336 and  1989 Hunters Legend 37.  What do think about it ? Much younger than Tartan 37 1979. Do you have any expierence with the Hunters? do they better performers for Great lakes than Tartan 37 ?

I appreciate it any input. Thank you again. Robert M. 

I have a Legend and it would be fine for the GL. The 37 or 37.5 would be on my list for affordable, fast family cruiser.

There is a well kept 336 across from me. They both have a lot of space for the size. There are a few to choose from and you get the stern access. Sails well enough for cruising but not racing. Plus 1 for the other comments. You have to like it when you row away.

 

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Tartan 37 is a nice quality boat.  Just be sure that there isn't any corrosion on those 38 year old keel bolts and that none of the previous owners ever ran it hard aground.  

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Robert, 

It seems that you're looking at significantly different boats that would afford very different experiences. I think that a more systematic approach that considers the kind of sailing you anticipate doing (daysailing, cruising, racing), your aesthetic preferences, type of sailing experience and budget would lead you to a boat you will enjoy more than one you stumbled upon. I've sailed on the Great Lakes my whole life, and am in the process of setting up a consulting business to help people find the boats that will be right for them (among other things). If you're interested in some help with your search, PM or email me (bjamesparker at gmail.com).

Generally, I agree with what everyone else has said; don' t buy the Westsail and the Tartan is hands-down the best boat you've mentioned so far. 

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10 hours ago, JoeO said:

Here you go  - tall rig/deep keel, already a freshwater GL boat. Just get rid of that dodger/awning crap and you can go sailing for real.

 

Tartan 37 on LM

Damn fine looking vessel!!  Yeah, lose the canvas when the weather is copasthetic, but it's damned handy to have, when that is not the case!!

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The main thing to think about- what do you want to do with the boat? Westsail 32s are not fun to sail. Yes they can make good passages, but the point is that they can get there, not that it's enjoyable. The people I know who have them (and similar very heavy, old-fashioned boats) all make a big point of passage making ability (ven though rather few of them have done so) and heavy-weather ability. Frankly, IMHO surviving a hurricane at sea is a fucking stupid thing to brag about, but to each his own.

There are a lot of boats around that are more comfortable and much -much- more fun to sail. If you want to be the guy who brags about how you're going to sail around Cape Horn in a hurricane, then buy the Westsail. If you want to enjoy the sport of sailing and do some local cruising DO NOT buy it.

FB- Doug

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22 hours ago, JoeO said:

Here you go  - tall rig/deep keel, already a freshwater GL boat. Just get rid of that dodger/awning crap and you can go sailing for real.

 

Tartan 37 on LM

Oh yes, I'd take the deep keel over the centerboard any day, especially on the Great Lakes where a centerboard is like an human appendix-  Not necessary.

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If I can weigh in here, a Tartan 37 is going to be the best boat IMHO of your choices. They really can make any offshore passage a Westsail 32* can make that anyone would ever want to do for fun as well as being a lot more fun to sail and cruise.

* The Westsail design is a takeoff on either a lifeboat or a North Sea pilot boat or a mix of those. They really do seem to excel at bobbing around in horrible weather. The one that went through the "Perfect Storm" did fine even with no crew. So if your goal is to float around in incredibly bad weather not going anywhere, this is your boat ;)

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How do, Robert?  From my experience specifically with the northern Lake Michigan/Lake Huron cruising grounds anything with 6'5" draft and less won't really limit your options if you are anything less than a gunkholer. If you really like to tuck in it does open up more options, especially now that Michigan municipalities are in charge of their own dredging operations.  If the Tartan is on your radar maybe a Sabre 36 would work?  Looks like there are a few on the lakes at a similar price point to the Tartan JoeO listed above. The boat has another 3'+ on the LWL which will come in handy under sail and power.

And under power, as other posters have rightfully mentioned, is how we spend most of our time on passage in the summer months. Here's an example delivery from TC to Port Huron last season: Day 1) motorsail from TC to Mackinac City in 12ish hours, Day 2) sail from Mackinac City in an northeasterly 20-25 until Presque Isle in 12 hours (ouch), Day 3) wait for conditions to improve at Presque Isle,  Day 4) motorsail 16 hours from Presque Isle to Harbor Beach, Day 5) motor 9 hours from Harbor Beach to the Black River. Call it 300 nm, 20% under sail.

TC puts you in reach of the North Channel and St. Mary's River. Not to mention single day passages to places like Door County, Beaver, Lake Charlevoix, Little Traverse Bay, the Manitous and Leland, the Fox Islands. Love that area;) So, install a cabin heater, an enclosure and a good anchoring set up to boat with decent tankage and you'll have the spring and fall to yourself, adding another month or two to a short sailing season. Most people recognize that there's a sweet spot when the traffic dies down and marina's haven't winterized and also when they come back to life but the weather still sucks.  For example, the DNR website lists Northport's harbor master on duty form 5/15 to 10/31. Few people take advantage of this, however. Kids and school, onset of winter storms and the threat of the freeze over sends boats to storage pretty quickly.  90 days of summer isn't much time to soak it all in.

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2 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

If I can weigh in here, a Tartan 37 is going to be the best boat IMHO of your choices. They really can make any offshore passage a Westsail 32* can make that anyone would ever want to do for fun as well as being a lot more fun to sail and cruise.

* The Westsail design is a takeoff on either a lifeboat or a North Sea pilot boat or a mix of those. They really do seem to excel at bobbing around in horrible weather. The one that went through the "Perfect Storm" did fine even with no crew. So if your goal is to float around in incredibly bad weather not going anywhere, this is your boat ;)

Yes, the Westsail is a clone of a Colin Archer North Sea pilot boat. They were designed to comfortably heave-to in North Sea storms, not to sail well in moderate to light weather. 

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The Colin Archers are usually referred to as "rescue boats" but they would be better termed "sailing tug boats" - their primary function was to tow disabled boats back to harbour more than to take crew off sinking boats.

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4 hours ago, Steam Flyer said:

The main thing to think about- what do you want to do with the boat? Westsail 32s are not fun to sail. Yes they can make good passages, but the point is that they can get there, not that it's enjoyable. The people I know who have them (and similar very heavy, old-fashioned boats) all make a big point of passage making ability (ven though rather few of them have done so) and heavy-weather ability. Frankly, IMHO surviving a hurricane at sea is a fucking stupid thing to brag about, but to each his own.

There are a lot of boats around that are more comfortable and much -much- more fun to sail. If you want to be the guy who brags about how you're going to sail around Cape Horn in a hurricane, then buy the Westsail. If you want to enjoy the sport of sailing and do some local cruising DO NOT buy it.

FB- Doug

Sail around Cape Horn slowly, wet and uncomfortably!  Not big on bragging rights.  Good performance makes for good passages although you are lake bound.  I second the Tartan 37 or something like it.  Sold my Express 37 to a Michiganer who headed to the big water and at last report was in the Med. after the Caribbean, Bermuda etc.

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20 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

They also derived from an era where a tiny cockpit was assumed to be required for offshore work.

The CCA rule and others like it had maximum cockpit volume limits (if IIRC) and a minimum time to drain the cockpit through what were typically 1" or so diameter cockpit drains - which always sucked down a jib sheet tail when needed and so became useless.  The "old salts" in the club bar insisted that 20,000# 30'ers were constantly being "pooped" by waves offshore and thus needed a tiny cockpit to survive.  They were terrified of open transoms and light-weight passage-making boats.  

We have come far.  

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On 11/18/2017 at 8:20 PM, Robert said:

thank You guys for all input. I also considering Tartan 37 CB 1979. Very good shape , all essentials redone or upgraded, own caring owner. A little of classic look. What duo you think about?  Probably better choice for Great Lakes . Thanks again. Robert M.

The Tartan is a better choice but I would go for the full keel if you can find one.  The Westsail is very slow and overbuilt for great lake use.

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Centerboards are great for those that need them.  OP had not made any mention of a need for a CB.  Without need for one I wouldn't bother with it, if it were me.

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9 minutes ago, Beer Can said:

Centerboards are great for those that need them.  OP had not made any mention of a need for a CB.  Without need for one I wouldn't bother with it, if it were me.

Agree... not needed in the GL, even in the North Channel or other "cruising grounds" (e.g., Beaver archipelago). The better upwind ability which will be more useful in getting you where you are going, and reduced maintenance, are pluses.

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1 hour ago, Beer Can said:

Centerboards are great for those that need them.  OP had not made any mention of a need for a CB.  Without need for one I wouldn't bother with it, if it were me.

Centerboard boats are usually less close winded to their full, or fin keel brethren.  So, if you don't really need shoal draft, for the waters you are plying, it's advisable to opt for the non-CB version....

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Dang it all, get the Westsail and be a real sailorman, like these salty dogs on a gigantic Westsail!

Grow your hair and moustache long and 1970s-esque, get a classic blue and white striped Mediterranean sailor shirt and a Greek fisherman's cap, and go sail the Seven Seas, man, not a lake! :-)   That's what the Westsail Way was, as originally envisioned.  This lady did - to Polynesia - and where there's one gal, there gotta be more!  Go for the gusto beyond the lake!  (And bring lots of varnish and brushes for all the teak work.)

All that said, the Tartan is a way better boat for the Great Lakes. 

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I don't think I have even seen a deep keel T-37. Anyone around here would want the CB version. If you are sure you don't, then the deep keel will sail better and not need repairs to the CB. If you have plans to ever go down the ICW or head to the Bahamas, you would want a CB.

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did a 3500 mile delivery on a Tayana 42,  something like a Westsail not a Great Lakes boat IMHO, needed 15 + to move, would not go to weather and only motor at 5.5.

Br 

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