As much as everyone would like to think it, stainless steel does not last forever. It is very subject to corrosion, especially crevice corrosion, when exposed to salt water or salt spray. We have heard of instances where the chain-plates have started to deteriorate on the backside where they meet the hull, due to water being trapped there, and crevice corrosion starting. Of course, you should also check all of the other stainless steel fittings on the boat, especially the swaged ends on the standing rigging.
If you are preparing for a major voyage, it would be a good idea to remove at least one chainplate, in order to be able to inspect the backside, and also check the condition of the carriage bolts. The top end should also be checked periodically for signs of cracks at the bend, or around the hole the turnbuckle attaches to. If the top of the chainplate has been bent from hitting a piling or seawall (by a previous owner, of course), you might want to carefully clean the chainplate with a Scotch-brite pad, and inspect it with a magnifying glass, and maybe some dye penetrant.


Leaks are a constant source of annoyance on any boat, and coupled with the possibility of rot on any wood that becomes soaked with fresh water, they are something that needs to be attended to if you are going to properly maintain your boat, and want to prevent some very costly repairs. Since most of the Westsail boats are getting to be over 20 years old, it is only reasonable to assume that it is now time to recaulk all of the deck hardware. Caulking does not have an indefinite life, and since the 1970's there have been improvements in the types of caulking available, it is only reasonable to assume that it is now time to renew the caulking on most of the hardware installed on the boats.
There is always the potential for rot on any wood other than teak, and this includes the bowsprit, sampson posts, rudder cheeks, and boomkin on the W-28 and W-32. The plywood in the deck and cabintop core is also subject to rotting if it gets wet, as well as the plywood used on the main sliding wood hatches. The best method found to prevent this rot is to use a saturating epoxy resin, such as 'West System' Epoxy, or 'Git Rot' Penetrating Epoxy.
If it has never been done before, you should remove the portlights, stanchions, and hawse pipes and renew the caulking under them. If you have the 2" spun brass deck scuppers, they should be caulked in place, as they cannot be removed without destroying them. If you do remove them, we have fiberglass tubing available to replace them, which is installed with epoxy putty for a permanent replacement. The caulking should be renewed around the sampson posts on the W-32, and around the caprails. Using masking tape on the caprails, you should be able to get a good seam on both sides to help prevent hull to deck leaks. Check for rot, or soft wood, on all of the fittings attached to the bowsprit and boomkin. A sharp pocket knife pushed in around each fitting should give you an indication if there are any problems here.
The wood cheeks on the rudder also are prone to rotting, but that is not a structural problem, as there is a metal box under them that takes the rudder to tiller loads.


Westsails have not experienced a severe amount of underwater blistering of the hull, however I have seen some boats with blisters. I firmly believe that all fiberglass boats will eventually blister, and that sometime in the life of the ownership of your boat, it would be a good idea to apply a protective barrier to the underwater surface to prevent the possibility of moisture getting under the gelcoat and causing blistering. Because the hull is solid fiberglass and the layup is so thick, and not cored with a thin outer skin, some surface blistering, of up to 1/8" to 3/16" deep, would not be considered a structural problem.
If you do not have blisters now, I would not recommend doing anything to the bottom except painting. Quite often the pimple type blisters are in the bottom paint only, and do not affect the gelcoat. Try scraping off some bottom paint to see if the gelcoat is still intact. If you do have extensive blistering, and decide to protect the entire bottom, the current accepted procedure is to remove all of the bottom paint, then let the hull dry out. The bottom paint can be removed with a chemical remover, sanding, or sandblasting. If you do sandblast, be sure the operator is experienced, and does not sandblast so much as to remove all of the gelcoat and rough up the fiberglass so as to cause the necessity to fill and fair the hull again. This is an extremely labor intensive process, and can get very expen-sive. It usually is not necessary in most cases. The gelcoat peeling machines also require extensive re-fairing of the hull, and I would not recommend that being done except as a last resort for extremely severe blistering, and only upon recommendation of a competent marine surveyor.
Depending on you location, it might take being put into a heated building, or tenting the boat and using a portable heater to properly dry the hull. During this drying out process, which may take many months, break any large blisters and clean them out. If you have very small, pimple type blisters, sand the hull with a disc sander with a soft pad to open them up, and clean the hull with acetone. Clean out the bilges of any standing water, as it is necessary for the hull to dry out from the inside also. Check the moisture content of the fiberglass with a moisture meter, and when it is down to the recommended moisture level, the coating process can begin. After the hull is dried, and all blisters cleaned out, coat the blistered areas with two layers of an epoxy resin, then fill with an epoxy putty. The hull should then be covered with a minimum of five coats of epoxy resin, rolled on with rollers. We prefer using a color tint in the resin, alternating with a light and dark colors to be able to visually see that the coatings are covering evenly. Gudgeon Brothers, in their West System epoxy treatment, also recommends an aluminum powder additive to create a more water resistant coating. After the epoxy treatment, apply the bottom paint best suited for your area. Be sure to coat the bilges with at least two coats of epoxy paint.


I have been doing quite a number of surveys these past years, as the boats have been changing hands, and also many of the insurance companies are now requiring an updated survey to reinsure or change the valuation. The market value has been steadily going up on the Westsail boats over the past few years, and you might want to evaluate the amount of insurance you now carry to be sure it will replace the boat in the event of a total loss.

We have found termite infestation on a number of boats. Yes, the wood eating flying termites found in most houses do love to go sailing once in a while and feast on plywood and fir that is not kept sealed with varnish or paint. They normally do not attack teak, but will go for mahogany. We have found termite damage in the plywood on the main sliding hatch, on the sampson posts and chain locker bulk-head, the boomkin, and the rudder cheeks. In an extreme case, they got into the wood trim on the interior of the boat. If you do find the telltale droppings, or holes in the wood, you need to seal and fumigate the boat to be sure and get rid of them. If they are only on the exterior wood, then a treatment with one of the insecticide sprays, and sealing the wood with saturating epoxy should take care of the problem.
The paint on the mast on most boats will show some bubbling after all of these years, especially around the stainless fittings and stainless screws. This is linear polyurethane paint, and stands up very well to the elements, but after fifteen to twenty years the paint does degrade. In many cases, you can scrape the worst of the places, prime with a zinc chromate primer, and touch up with a one part urethane or epoxy paint. After all of these years, if the mast has never been removed and properly serviced, then you might consider taking it down, removing all of the hardware, and refinishing the paint, replacing all of the wiring in the mast, and lubricating the sheaves. If you do decide to tackle this job, and need any parts, contact me and we should be able to get them.

Most of the masts were made by LeFiell, and they are still in business. The other mast builders were Sparcraft, Superspar and Royal Marine (not in business, but some of the other mast builders parts are interchangeable). If you have a fixed base on the mast, as opposed to the tabernacle, a potential problem area is with water collecting inside the mast at the base, and causing degradation of the aluminum at the bottom of the mast, or rot in the plywood core of the boss on deck that supports the mast. There should be a small hole drilled in the side of the mast about 1/2" above the base to let water drain and air inside to keep it dry. Stick a coathanger in the hole from time to time to be sure it is clear.
If you have noticed cracking of the gelcoat on the centerline of the hull at the bow and stern, do not be too alarmed as this is cosmetic and not structural. Since the hull on most of the boats was made in two pieces, and centerbonded together from the inside while the boat was still in the mold, the structural integrity is there, but the seam on the outside needed to be ground smooth, filled with putty, and touched up with gelcoat. This putty tends to harden and not flex with age, and the gelcoat cracks or lifts. If you have noticed this condition, and it is prevalent on most boats, and want to cosmetically repair it, then fill the cracks with an epoxy putty, and touch up the gelcoat.


This article is devoted to what I consider to be a series of "musts" to have on a proper cruising boat. Some of the "musts" are small ones, to make life more comfortable, and some are large "musts", that you should not cruise without. These are of course my opinions, for what they are worth, and others might disagree with me, or have their own list of "musts".


As a result of numerous surveys during the past few years, we have noted that the selling prices on all models of the Westsail boats has gone up, and are continuing to rise. There is a real shortage of well built cruising sailboats that are easy to restore and bring up to top condition. The Westsail line happens to be a favorite of smart Yacht Brokers when knowledgeable buyers are looking for a good cruising boat. With about 1100 boats built by Westsail from 1972 to 1982, there are always a fair number of boats on the market at any one time. The selling prices have averaged about a 3% to 5% rise every year for at least the past 5 years. The actual market value, or the cost of replacing the boat in the event of a total loss, is usually more than the insured value if you have owned the boat for five years or longer. You might want to consider taking a close look at your insurance policy, and checking to see if you will realize enough in the event of a total loss to replace the boat and all of her equipment.
The Westsail boats are one of the few lines of boats that are worth as much or more now, at 15 to 20 years old, as they were when they were new during the 1970's.


We have copies of the original construction manuals for the kit boats. It is a total of about 500 pages for the W-32, and about 300 pages for the other boats. We can make up a complete set for you, for the cost of having it printed and collated, or $ 40.00, including shipping cost. We also have blueprints of the sailplan, and the hull profiles. The blueprints cost about $10.00 each to duplicate.


We have copies of the shop manuals for the Volvo 2 and 3 cylinder engines, and for the Perkins 4-108. These are approximately 50 page manuals, and detail the disassembly and rebuilding of the engines and transmissions. We will be happy to make copies of any of these manuals if you need them, for the cost of the reproduction, which in most cases is about $10.00.


Due to many kind donations from other owners, we have available copies of instruction manuals for most of the equipment installed on the early Westsail boats. These include the Shipmate stove, Hi-Seas diesel cabin heater, Ritchie compass, Sayes Rig wind vane, etc. Contact Worldcruiser if you need information on the equipment aboard, and you do not have a manual.


Worldcruiser offers the following survey services to all Westsail owners and prospective purchasers.


A seven page form is used to inspect and inventory the entire vessel, carefully inspecting all of the construction of the boat, noting the make and model of all equipment, the methods used in the installation, current condition, and suitability for this type of vessel.
A five to six page report is supplied, as well as a copy of the seven page inventory sheets for the condition and equipment surveys.
A report of the damage, vessel condition and repair procedure, along with cost estimates to affect the repairs, is supplied for the damage survey.
The time required to complete this type of survey is approximately five hours, and it is customary to have the boat hauled out for the bottom inspection for this survey.
The cost of these types of surveys is $200.00, plus any travel expenses incurred.


If you want the complete set of information sheets from Worldcruiser, please send for your copy of the master catalog of all of the available information sheets. It can be purchased from Worldcruiser for the sum of $20.00. Call to place your order for the WESTSAIL SERVICE MANUAL. Only a brief and shortened description of the information contained in each individual information topic is included in this brochure.
This very complete service manual is a compilation of information regarding the Westsail line of boats garnered over the life of the construction of the boats. There are over one hundred topics covered, and over 200 pages of information. They describe the warnings of potential problems, fixes, and upgrades to make the boats safer and more comfortable. There are also reprints of some of the magazine articles that have been written about the boats and the company that started this revolution in heavy displacement cruising sailboats. The manual is published in a loose leaf format, so that additional pages can be inserted as time goes by. Contact Worldcruiser and we will gladly send a copy to you. The cost of this WESTSAIL SERVICE MANUAL is $20.00, which includes the mailing.



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