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Displaying items by tag: Contessa 32

Some boats are just boats, but the Contessa 32 is a statement writes W M Nixon. If you have a Contessa 32, you’re telling yourself - and everyone else too, if it comes to that - that some day you might just be minded to sail off towards the far horizon “and other places beyond the seas”.

That’s how the resonant phrasing of old maritime law used to have to it, and it certainly evokes images of boundless possibilities which today’s dry legalese doesn’t quite capture. “Other places beyond the seas…..” With the PC overheating in front of me and the grass outside needing mowing yet again, who wouldn’t think of sailing away to other places beyond the seas? And with a well-found Contessa 32, you can confidently contemplate doing so.

This example of a 1974 Contessa 32 is down Galway Bay way, and owner Pat MacSweeney is selling her privately. While the basic boat is 1974, the good news is that the engine was replaced in 2007 with an 18hp Yanmar 2GM20F with just 120 hours on it, while in recent years at least, the boat has been only lightly used.

At a boat show among contemporary 32-footers, you’d hardly notice the Contessa 32 – she’s only a slip of a thing. While the saloon/galley area is very comfortable, it’s not enormous, and the forecabin is decidedly limited in space. Thus the recommendation is that the Contessa 32 is at her cruising best with not more than three adults on board. But as the more crusty of us can just about get along with just one other adult, that’s no great problem.

So what, apart from her restrained good looks and lack of vulgar bulbousness, is the Contessa 32’s USP? Oddly enough, it is that very lack of a high-volume hull which is what attracts the serious ocean-going sailor. No boat type emerged better from the analysis of the 1979 Fastnet Race disaster than the Contessa 32. For although with their slim hills and relatively low freeboard they may have had the seas sweeping over them, unlike high volume craft they weren’t chucked about like balloons on the bouncing sea. They not only came through with credit, but one of them - Assent sailed by Alan Ker - was winner of Class IV.

That same Assent was subsequently cruised by her owner, Alan’s father the legendary Willy Ker, to some very other places beyond the seas. Thousands and thousands of miles he sailed. But two or three years back, the great Willy Ker finally swallowed the anchor, so the Rogers family of Lymington, who built the entire Contessa range, took the boat in for a complete restoration, and she’s now as good as new.

But a new Contessa 32 costs the earth, as this is quality stuff. Thus a 1974 Contessa 32 in reasonable order at €19,250 is well worth a look. I fact, I can think of someone who recently had a serious maritime setback down in the Galway Bay area who should be having a look at this boat, for it’s time to get back in the saddle. Check out the full advert on Afloat boats for sale

Published in Boat Sales