bristol sail emblem

Bristol 32
Built by Bristol Yachts

Production 1966-1983
Number built ~322

Copyright 1997- Douglas H. Axtell

Last update 08/08/2011


The Bristol 32 gets her extra go from America's Cup Designer, Ted Hood's fine line design. Her look, like her big sister the Bristol 40, is classic. Some of this boat was drawn by
Dieter Empacher who at that time was employed by Hood design group. This boat is built more heavily than most current production sailboats. With the narrow beam, short waterline and long keel, she faces more of a handicap than most on the race course. But these factors give her a nice ride and this makes her a comfortable cruiser. The spoon bow and gently flairing end sections give a gentle feel as she comes down into a sea. The stern is so narrow, that she is nearly a double ender. Many feel that the Bristol 32 is one of the most beautiful boats designed.

Night Magic



Links to other High Quality photos:
1970 Sloop "Glad Tidings"
1979 Ketch "Ariel"
1978 Sloop "Con Te Partiro"
Bristol 32 #3 "Intrepid" built for Ted Hood

With a waterline length of 22' and a beam of 9' 6", the Bristol 32's proportions are about typical of the cruising/racing sailboats built between the 1930's when CCA (Cruising Club of America) rule was conceived to 1970 when CCA was replaced by IOR (International Offshore Rule). For those 40 years about 30% of a boats length was in her overhangs. Although the Bristol 32 is not "Fast" compared to today's 32 footers, the design still has its strong points. The long overhangs let her sail above the calculated hullspeed when she is heeled, as the water "sees" a longer boat. Because of her narrow beam compared to a more modern design, she will be tender initially and harden up as she heels. This is because of relatively shallow draft and stability borne of ballast rather than a dingy like hull shape. Like many CCA boats, the Bristol 32 is a good reaching boat. One of the strong points of the narrow stern is it lacks the rounding up tendency of the modern full-width stern design.

Because the Bristol 32 was in production over a long period, there seem to be several variations. Initially she was gasoline powered with the Atomic 4. However as diesels became the norm a variety were offered. There were two versions of the deck produced as well. The first had the traveler at the aft end of the cockpit, and only one hatch on the doghouse. (see sloop photo) The second had the traveler just forward of the wheel in the cockpit, and there were two hatches on the doghouse, one amidships. (see ketch photo) There were two hull designs offered as well, you could order a full keel version (deep draft) or for shoal draft, a keel-centerboard version with slightly less draft.

Bristol Yachts went thru many changes over the years. Bristol Yachts was founded by Clint Pearson, one of the first production fiberglass boat builders. Some Pearson and Cal models are currently being built by Bristol and the company is once again headed by Clint Pearson. Current Bristol Yachts fill the semi-custom builder niche, but earlier Bristols were aimed at the "mass" market and were finished accordingly.

With very little modification she can be singlehanded, so shorthanded cruising with the family is not out of the question. The addition of Roller furling gear, and the lines lead aft can keep you in the large comfortable cockpit. The Bristol 32 sleeps 5-6 fairly comfortably for short periods, with fewer guests your cruise can be extended.

This is a reproduction of an older sales brochure

Bristol brochure Speed and Comfort! The Bristol 32 gets her extra go from Ted Hood's fine line design. Her look alike big sister, the Bristol 40, is consistently in the money.
But comfort is what we are really after. And an extended trunk provides really comfortable accommodations for six in the centerboard or full-keel models.

Check the price! For those who know yachting values ... check out the Bristol 32 feature by feature. Go aboard comaparable boats in this catagory with a critical dollar-versus-value eye and find out what real value means when you compare them with the Bristol 32. After you've compared value compare performance. After you compared performance, compare accommodations. After that, what? Compare the reliability of designer and builder. After this it's up to you!


Bristol 32 Standard Equipment

A Geat Cruising Package

All hand laid construction with full length keel and attached rudder. No built-in pot catchers or bucking bronco steering.

Hull & Deck: Molded high-impact fiberglass reinforced polyester resin ... largely woven roving ...hand laid up,strongest material available and the best construction available. Hull and deck thicknesses vary to suit structural demands. No fillers are used. Deckhouse,deck and cockpit are integrally molded. Deck clamp and cove stripe molded with hull. Deck is mechanically bonded and sealed to deck clamp in hull to prevent leaking. Full length non-skid molded into the deck, seat, cabin top and in walkways. Teak toe rails. Dorade boxes molded onto trunk cabin. Opening forward hatch (translucent) with molded gasket receptacle, hatch lock, and hatch adjuster. Hinged lazaret hatch. Molded seahood for main hatch ...With spray rail. Mounting base for companionway dodger.

Cockpit: Molded as part of deck. Seat level enough below deck level to provide high coaming for comfortable backrest. Self bailing cockpit. Cockpit drains fitted with seacocks. Molded cockpit seat hatches, completely scuppered to prevent leakage, are fitted with security hasps. Coamings and other trim ... first quality teak.

Deck Hardware: All deck hardware are highest grade stainless steel, satin finished chrome-plated bronze or special corrosion resistant aluminum alloys. Many itmes are custom-made to our own designs. Custom cast manganese-bronze, chrome plated stem head with integral chocks. Two docking cleats fore and aft. Bristol-type winch bases ... with handle storage in bases. Main sheet traveler. Edson wheel steering.

Bristol 32 Standard interior looking forward


Underside of the deck in main cabin finished with smooth fiberglass "headliner".
Main cabin is equipped as follows: Pull-out 42" berth port.
Berth (starboard) has pipe berth over with mattress ... sleeps two.
All berths have 5" poly-foam mattresses with breathable covers
(removable for laundering.
Lockers and cabinets behind and above berth in forward and main cabins.
Cabin sole is scoured teak plywood.
Interior wood trim is satin-finished mahogany.
There is generous drawer and locker space throughout.
Doors are paneled and fitted mahogany. Bulkheads are available in stain finished Honduras mahogany or muted shades of easily maintained Formica.

Bristol 32 interior looking aft


Located starboard aft ...contains gimbaled four (4) burner alcohol stove with oven, and slide away cover. Molded icebox (styrofoam insulation) is on port side. Space for dishes, pots, pans and canned goods is outboard of the icebox. Additional lockers are located behind the stove and sink. Stainless sink (14"x 10" X 6")is equipped with high capacity self priming pump... with swing-away spout. Sink outlet is fitted with 1 1/2" seacock. All galley countertops are Formica. A hanging locker (wet locker) is conveniently located near the companionway. Toilet room (located athwartships) contains large linen locker and counter with stainless steel wash basin. Outlet leads to seacock. Towel bar, mirror and hooks are conveniently located.

Bristol 32 with 2-burner stove (oven optional)

Forward Cabin: Contains two full length berths with 5" foam mattresses. Each has drawer and storage bin built in under. Full length shelves run over each berth. Sides of hull are sheathed with mahogany ceiling strips.

Engine Installation: Atomic 4 is the standard motor with options for a diesel. A bronze propeller shaft runs in Bristol-type rubber mounted shaft connected to engine. Water temperature, oil pressure, and ammeter gauges are located on aft side of cabin house. Two bladed solid sailboat propeller. Engine room exhaust blower .. as well as natural forced draft ventilation (Coast Guard Approved). Engine compartment is easily accessible .. with all switches and shutoff valves close at hand.

Electrical System: Heavy duty system using alternator on engine and two 12-volt marine batteries with four-way switch. Bow, stern and side running lights. Interior lights (7), courtesy night light in main cabin. 110-volt shore power ... with 3 outlets.

Tanks: Two monel water tanks 35 gallon capacity under the v-berth, and 55 gallon capacity in the bilge. Fuel tank (monel) 25 gallon capacity.

Spars & Rigging: Anodized aluminum mast. Stainless steel standing rigging. Stainless steel wire halyards. Geared roller reefing with internal outhaul at gooseneck. Main boom downhaul.

Colors: Owner may specify colors (from standard color selections) to be molded into hull and deck and choose from a variety of available colors for boot-top, anti-fouling bottom paint, cove stripe and mattresses.

Night Magic heeled over in a fresh breeze (2006)

Bristol 32 Specifications(1970)

L-W-L 220" L-O-A 32'1"
Beam 9'5" Draft (keel) 4'8"
Draft (CB-up) 36" Draft (CB-down) 7'6"
Ballast 4000# Displacement 11,300#
Sail Area (sloop) 491 sq. ft. Sail Area (ketch) 505 sq. ft.
P=35.1 P2=40.0 B=13.8 J=12.58
Halyards are 7/16" diameter and 94 in length. Fore stay, aft stay and upper shrouds are all 1/4" 304 type stainless. The lower shrouds are 7/32". All upper shrouds are 1/2" turnbuckles, lowers are 7/16" turnbuckles.

The prop shaft is 7/8" diameter with a 7/8"x 3 1/2"x 1 3/8" cutlass bearing.


Bristol 32 Specifications (1976)

L-W-L 22' 0" L-O-A 32' 1"
Beam 9' 5" Draft (keel) 4' 7.5"
Draft (CB-up) 3'6" Draft (CB-down) 7'6"
Ballast 3900# Displacement 10,800#
Sail Area (sloop) 464 sq. ft. Sail Area (ketch) 505 sq. ft.
P=33.05' P2=38.5' B=13.48' J=12.58'
This version seems to carry a bit less ballast and therefore would be more tender. Although Practical Sailor says that boat specs from this time are not very accurate, and that ballast was added until they sat on their lines correctly.

PHRF Ratings:
In a PHRF number lower generally means a faster boat, although these numbers also reflect the performance histories of each boat type. This means that a number may be slightly higher or lower based upon the abilities of the mean of the that boat type. (crew performance)

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Input from anyone is welcomed and we will publish items submitted with the author's permission.

This page was developed with the idea of exchanging information between Bristol 32 owners, if you want to know how to do something or have any other questions this will provide a means of contacting others. Additionally if anyone has suggested links or information which they feel may benefit others, feel free to contact me.

Last modified 7/3/05