Family of four living within 32 feet?

{Note: This post has been reworked with some better pictures of the boat}

On paper, 32 feet is the smallest we think we could fit our family on. Or could we? After a break in the bad weather (we better get used to that) and a lot of back and forth between the listing broker, we were finally able to see the Contest 32 CS last weekend.

For 32 feet, it is actually quite spacious below.

When you come down the companionway from the cockpit, the galley is on the starboard side.  There are storage areas behind the stove, an ice box, and vintage orange laminate countertops. Only one drawer and cabinet to the right of the stove, but there is a locker next to it. Underneath the sink is a small cabinet.

Aft of the galley is a companionway leading to the aft cabin with two hanging lockers in between. The the clearance is 5’6″, exactly my height.

The spacious engine room is accessed by a small door (right).

The aft cabin with two berths. One a single berth, and the other not quite a double berth. Each side has two shelves and two lockers. I find the sink in the middle a bit odd, but that can be reconfigured, maybe into a small dresser (the rudder post is further below the sink). Also, plenty of open storage underneath both berths.

Coming out of the aft cabin.

Moving forward of the galley is the starboard side salong. Lots of lockers above the L-shaped settee. A double-gimbaled oil lamp overhead. Underneath the settee is a tank–only the small L part of the settee has any storage.

Here you can see how deep some of the lockers are. And also V reaching for her favorite part of the boat. Ding! Ding!

The V-berth is just forward of the salon(it’s filled with sails).

Here’s a close up of the vee-berth with insert (a different sister ship). There are small shelves above and somewhat open storage below. With the door closed, the only standing room is where the filler piece is located. There are no lockers in the vee-berth.

To port side from the companionway (from the cockpit), there is a tiny head with an on-demand hot water heater.

The port side has 2 fewer lockers because of the drop down navigation station.

There is another tank under the portside settee, so there’s precious little storage space under them.

On deck, there is quite a deep cockpit storage area under the bench on the port side.

Contest 32 CS Layout

Can we fit? The kids are still small, so maybe we can purge a lot of their toys (mostly V’s)  and they can share the vee-berth, and when they’re older, they can share the aft cabin. The galley is a bit small, but at least Serena can reach all the cabinets without a step stool.

So we think it’s possible. Not ideal, but definitely possible. Now how does she sail?


14 Replies to “Family of four living within 32 feet?

  1. The only consideration with small children is are they safe – they’re pretty good at finding adventure without toys. For us that meant making sure they could be contained away from harm if necessary, and looking at where the heating sources are (hot stuff) Your children look old enough to understand the risks, and that looks like a lot of storage space.

    We love playing family games now, and snuggle down to watch DVDs together. Quality v. quantity. (WE filled a charity shop when we moved)

    I can put my hand on my heart and say that whilst space inside is a luxury, the children being able to find spaces to run around closer to nature is worth a million times more.

    You’ll love it!

    1. whilst space inside is a luxury, the children being able to find spaces to run around closer to nature is worth a million times more.

      I agree! Part of the attraction of boat life is bringing the kids closer to nature. That and warmer weather…(sigh)

  2. I love that aft cabin for the kids, of course I am biased. What does she look like on deck? I’ve heard that the center cockpits are a wetter ride, so you probably want to have a nice big dodger up there to hide behind. You might like that sink. Having a place close to the berths to brush teeth is quite nice.

    1. Good point. It does have a cockpit dodger. I’ll let Tig chime in about on-deck, since he took all the pictures and posted (gotta figure out the author thing on WordPress). The aft cabin is definitely a plus, and what makes it attractive. This is the “Go Small. Go Simple. Go Now.” type boat. From what we’ve heard, it’s also the Go Slow boat.

  3. Doesn’t buying a boat for your home make it seem easy when you were looking for a house?

    Perhaps the best thing you can do is to listen to that little voice in your heart, or your gut, or the back of your mind or wherever your little voice is located. You’re smart people, you’re doing good research and you’re thinking carefully and clearly. I know you’ve probably researched her characteristics, like capsize ratio, etc. with a view to how you’ll use her, i.e. coastal v bluewater. If you can imagine a happy life on her and you think she’d be fun to sail…

    1. Yes, it’s looking like buying a house is easier! Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether I’m hearing a little voice in my heart, or a little seductive demon : ). We’re still doing our due diligence, though, and will keep you posted.

  4. Every boat is a compromise. The good news is kids are super adaptable and can put up with all kinds of stuff. I think it’s a fine looking craft and a great choice. Definitely want to read more!

    1. Thanks White Raven. I just took a peek at your blog and am excited for you! Will be living vicariously until we get our boat.

    1. Hi Lauren, The washing up before bed sounds convenient…we were just wondering if we wouldn’t want the storage more, is all. Thanks for the links, we’ll take a look at it. I agree the layout is as roomy as some of the 35′ boats we’ve seen.

  5. I like it! It’s am amazing use of space for such a small boat- you could always upgrade over the next few years (easier said than done, I know), but I am firm believer in the Go Now. attitude. We had a lot of that dark woodish stuff on our last boat and painted over most of it, and even used big sheets of laminate countertop to cover the bulkheads. It made all the difference in lightening the interior, making it seem bigger! I think you could fit- and the engine room access seems a bit unparalleled for a 32! If we get a warm streak and can air the lockers out, we’ll have you down for a peek inside-

    1. Ellen, we’d love to. I don’t think the wood bothers me, but then again, I haven’t lived in it on a cloudy day. Am definitely in agreement with you on the “Go small, go simple, go now,” philosophy.

  6. I love the idea of sailing/cruising with kids. My wife and I both admire you guys for making it happen. We currently live in Marsh Harbour, Abaco, and have plans to bring our boat here once its ready to live aboard. We’ll be following you along on your adventures via your website. Have fun in Maine, Penobscot Bay is a lovely place to sail if you get the chance.

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