The Nicholson 32 Sailboat

The Nicholson 32, a heavy displacement long-keeled masthead sloop, was designed by Charles Nicholson & Peter Nicholson and built in the UK by Camper & Nicholson Ltd.

A Nicholson 32 sailboat moored on the River Tamar near Plymouth, UKA Nicholson 32

Published Specification for the Nicholson 32

Underwater Profile: Long keel

Hull Material: GRP (Fibreglass)

Length Overall: 32'0" / 9.8m

Waterline Length: 24.0" / 7.3m

Beam: 9'3" / 2.8m

Draft: 5'6" / 1.7m

Rig Type: Masthead sloop

Displacement: 12,200lb / 5,534kg

Designer: Charles Nicholson & Peter Nicholson

Builder: Camper & Nicholson Ltd (UK)

Year First Built: 1962

Year Last Built: 1981

Number Built: 369

Owners Association: The Nicholson 32 Association


Published Design Ratios for the Nicholson 32

1. Sail Area/Displacement Ratio: 14.2

  • 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: 55.7

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

3. Displacement/Length Ratio: 394

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

4. Comfort Ratio: 36.9

  • 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: 1.6

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

read more about these all-revealing numbers...


Summary Analysis of the Design Ratios for the Nicholson 32

1. 1. A Sail Area/Displacement Ratio of 14.2 suggests that the Nicholson 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 55.7 means that the Nicholson 32 will stand up well to her canvas in a blow, helping her to power through the waves.

3. A Displacement/Length Ratio of 394, tells us the Nicholson 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 36.9 suggests that crew comfort of a Nicholson 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 1.6 tells us that a Nicholson 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 Nicholson range include:

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