The Bristol 32 Sailboat
Specs & Key Performance Indicators

The Bristol 32, an ultra-heavy displacement sloop, was designed by Ted Hood & Dieter Empacher and built in the USA by Bristol Yachts Inc.

A Bristol 32 sailboat at anchorA Bristol 32

Published Specification for the Bristol 32

Underwater Profile: Long keel

Hull Material: GRP (Fibreglass)

Length Overall: 32'0" (9.8m)

Waterline Length: 22'0" (6.7m)

Beam: 9'6" (2.9m)

Draft: 4'8" (1.4m)*

Rig Type: Masthead sloop**

Displacement: 10,800lb (4,899kg)

Designer: Ted Hood & Dieter Empacher

Builder: Bristol Yachts Inc. (USA)

Year First Built: 1966

Year Last Built: 1983

Number Built: 322

* Centreboard version also available, drawing 3'6" with board up and 7'6" with it down.

** Also available as a ketch or yawl


Published Design Ratios for the Bristol 32

1. Sail Area/Displacement Ratio: 15.3

  • Less than 16 would be considered under-powered;
  • 16 to 20 would indicate reasonably good performance;
  • Over 20 suggests relatively high performance.

2. Ballast/Displacement Ratio: 36.1

  • Under 40: less stiff, less powerful
  • Over 40: stiffer, more powerful

3. Displacement/Length Ratio: 453

  • Under 100: Ultralight
  • 100 to 200: Light
  • 200 to 275: Moderate
  • 275 to 350: Heavy
  • Over 350: Ultraheavy

4. Comfort Ratio: 33.3

  • Under 20 indicates a lightweight racing boat
  • 20 to 30 indicates a coastal cruiser
  • 30 to 40 indicates a moderate offshore cruising boat
  • 40 to 50 indicates a heavy offshore boat
  • Over 50 indicates an extremely heavy offshore boat

5. Capsize Screening Formula: 1.7

  • Under 2.0 (the lower the better): Better suited for ocean passages
  • Over 2.0: Less suited for ocean passages

Read more about these Key Performance Indicators...


Summary Analysis of the Design Ratios for the Bristol 32

1. A Sail Area/Displacement Ratio of just 15.3 suggests that the Bristol 32 will need a stiff breeze to get her going. In light conditions, unless you've got plenty of time on your hands, motor-sailing may be the way to go.

2. A Ballast/Displacement Ratio of 36.1 means that the Bristol 32 is likely to benefit from being reefed early to keep her sailing upright in a moderate breeze.

3. A Displacement/Length Ratio of 453, tells us the Bristol 32 is firmly in the ultra-heavy displacement category. Load her up as much as you like and her performance will be hardly affected, not that it was ever startling. Few if any sailboats are built to this displacement category these days - but they remain popular with some long-distance sailors.

4. Ted Brewer's Comfort Ratio of 33.3 suggests that crew comfort of a Bristol 32 in a seaway is similar to what you would associate with the motion of a moderate bluewater cruising boat - a predictable and acceptable motion for most seasoned sailors.

5. The Capsize Screening Formula (CSF) of 1.7 indicates that a Bristol 32 would be a safer choice of sailboat for an ocean passage than one with a CSF of more than 2.0. 

Other sailboats in the Bristol range include:


Recent Articles

  1. Used Sailing Equipment For Sale

    Nov 30, 22 01:59 AM

    Here's where people with sailing equipment for sale advertise their stuff entirely free of charge. If you're looking for used sailing gear or other used boating accessories, here's where to find it!

    Read More

  2. Are Heavy Displacement Hulls the Best Choice for Offshore Cruising?

    Nov 27, 22 06:38 AM

    Increasingly, offshore sailboat skippers are choosing moderate displacement hull forms in preference to heavier vessels when planning for an ocean crossing. And here's why...

    Read More

  3. Popular Cruising Yachts from 35 to 40 feet Length Overall

    Nov 22, 22 05:09 AM

    Medium sized cruising yachts like these are often the sailboat of choice for short-handed crews, and if properly equipped and maintained, will take long offshore voyages in their stride.

    Read More