Chartering a Bayfield 32

I’ve been meaning to post some pictures from this sailing charter trip we did a few weeks ago, out of Scarborough. We chartered a Bayfield 32 for 4 hours for an evening picnic cruise, which took us out to Pickering and back to the Scarborough Bluffs. This was really an attempt to glean information about the Bayfield 32 model, which we were looking to purchase at some future date. This trip would give us an idea about how it sails, and what to expect with the boat.
The weather was great for sailing: clear, 15 knot winds, with gusts to 25 knots. Smaller boats might not handle as well in these winds, but they were perfect for the Bayfield 32, which are said to handle poorly unless given a strong wind. This rumour has some good grounding, since the Bayfield (this Bayfield, at least) has a shorter mast than one would expect on a boat this size. The Bayfields are traditionally cutter-rigged, but this one was sloop-rigged, with a 130% Genoa. The boat had a lot of weather helm with this rig, and it wasn’t until the main was reefed that it started balancing properly. I imagine having the staysail in place would have balanced it out. Even with the reefs in place, we were able to get a good 7 knots on our return trip. Don’t listen to anyone who says these are sluggish boats.
We packed a picnic basket (yes, a picnic basket) with cold cuts, cheese, and antipasto. We made our own sandwiches in the galley, to test out the functionality of the living quarters while underway. The owner had extended the cupboards so that access to the icebox was a little difficult, but we managed quite well given the heel of the boat during gusts.
The captain was more than happy to get us helping out with the boat duties; he was generally not used to having experienced (heh) skippers on charters. We helped in the raising/lowering/reefing of the sails, and assisted in driving the boat under power and sail. We also took her out and docked the boat with little problem. One point of note on docking: you really get a feel for the disproportionate LOA versus LWL, as the Bayfield has an enormous bowsprit (making a boat that’s 24′ at the waterline 32′ long overall). During docking, we were able to get the bowsprit to completely block the walkway on the marina dock. Some clever adjustments got it nestled in its proper place.
Using the head while underway was a bit of a problem for us. Apparently while the boat is on a starboard tack, and heeling in high winds, the head is impossible to flush. I had to level out so the head could refill with water. I’m not sure, but this may be a problem for boats in general.
We had a great time on the boat, and were impressed by its solid handling. R’s pretty convinced that this is the boat to get, but we’re shopping around for a proper marina space first, so we’ll have a place to put it. Kitchener’s not known for its ready access to the Great Lakes.

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