Paragon in the Sea of Abacos

Westsail 42 Cutter

We researched our ideal cruising boats for a couple of years before purchase and found the internet a great tool for this. Originally we restricted our search to Europe but as the dollar fell against the pound we widened the net to include the U.S.A. and in January 2005 flew to Florida for a three week recce.

What were we looking for?

A sail boat at 40 to 46 feet, solid and reliable. Age was immaterial but condition was important. Our cruising time was for about two years and although we felt we were capable of restoring a boat the time it would take would have eaten into the sabbatical we had taken.

We saw a couple of dozen boats as we toured from Cape Canaveral down to the Florida Keys and up to St. Petersburg on the Gulf Coast.

The boats we saw re we set sail. Our digital camera came into its own as the number of boats viewed grew and our memory within our price range varied tremendously in condition and we were resigned to have to do some work before shrank!


In St. Petersburg we met Paul from Bill Browning Yacht Sales by chance. We were wandering along the marina and saw a boat that had come untied. Unable to get access to the dock we yelled at the only person we could see – who turned out to be a yacht broker!

After showing us several ‘maybes' he took us to see ‘Paragon'. As always happens she was a little outside our budget but we were smitten! By the time we flew back to England contracts had been signed and sealed! In April 2005 we were back for good and moved aboard.

So what is Paragon?

S.V. Paragon is a Westsail 42 Cutter. Designed by Bill Crealock and built in California in 1976 she is a solid bluewater cruiser.

The guided tour

Length: 42' overall and 33'4” on the waterline   Beam: 13'

Draft: 5'8”

Displacement: 31500 lbs
Ballast: 11000 lbs Mast Height: 59'

She has an 85 hp Perkins engine plus a 6 hp Kubota generator.

So why did we buy her?

We hadn't heard of Westsails but we did a lot of internet research and talked to a lot of people and found that they are well thought of as cruising boats. Very sturdy and reliable, in fact we found out that in the real life ‘The Perfect Storm' the only boat to survive was a Westsail 42!

She has a centre cockpit with high sides and as such we stay very dry in high seas. She can sleep eight: one private stateroom with private head aft; one double and two singles in the salon and the table opposite the galley converts into a double.

Internally we think she is beautiful!

The original owner had the cabins custom finished with teak, white ash, & holly. Even the clothes lockers are lined with cedar. The ports are bronze and are quite large in the salon keeping the interior light. The height is good and Andrew at 6'2” doesn't even brush the ceiling. The forward head is quite large, again timber finished and with shower facilities. There is so much overall storage space that even after living aboard for a year we still have empty lockers. The previous owners had all been cruisers & liveaboards so not only did it come with lots of goodies it had been constantly maintained, this is one of the things that set it apart from the other boats that we saw and something we continue to do.

The spacious galley has a fridge and a freezer cold enough to keep ice for the G & T's! A double sink, 3 burner stove and oven plus a microwave. There is also added bonus of a water maker. We have supplemented our cooking facilities with a guardrail mounted gas barbecue which is great when it gets to hot to stay in the galley. As far as electrical equipment went we only had to buy a chart plotter as the boat came with a G.P.S, radar, S.S.B radio, V.H.F radio with a remote in the cockpit, autopilot, forward looking sonar, depth sounder, wind speed & direction, four solar panels, c.d. player and a T.V.! Andrew particularly likes the engine room as it gives very easy access to the engine and generator, he even has a small workshop!

Deck fittings include a saltwater wash near the anchor – we now have four - 65 lb C.Q.R, 75 lb Danforth, 22 lb Danforth and a 37 lb Fortress. Fortunately we also have an electric windlass! A fresh water shower is great when we've been swimming and the swim ladder goes right into the water. As far as sails go we have a full wardrobe. Apart from the mainsail we have a yankee, 130% Genoa, club staysail, cruising spinnakers and a yet unused (thank heavens) storm trysail. The Two head sails are on roller furling so can be controlled from the cockpit.