Fiona’s History

FIONA is a Westsail 42. My wife, Edith, and I saw the first hull of the series under construction at Costa Mesa, California in 1974. The salesman was very pressing and for a small deposit we arranged to have a hull delivered in 1975. We had sold our beloved Dutch boat, IONA, a couple of years before. On that boat we had cruised the Caribbean with our son Colin, then 3 years old, for 15 months in 1968-69. Both IONA and FIONA have the old-fashioned long keel of the genuine ocean cruiser and when Edith first saw the Westsail 42 on the stocks she exclaimed, “My God, another f-ing IONA!”. This is how FIONA got her name.

Our daughter Brenda arrived on the scene in 1971 and it was clear our cruising days were over for a while. When I saw the Westsail 42 I figured I could complete her in about 3 to 4 years. In fact it took 8 years; she was launched in 1983.

The interior is mostly mahogany and teak. The head liner and most bulkheads are made of white Formica glued to plywood. I added some structural re-inforcing in the form of 1 ½ inch diameter stainless steel poles between the hull and cabin top. These are also very handy to grab for when the boat rolls unexpectedly. The engine is an 85-hp Perkins diesel. The engine room is lined with 1/16 inch thick lead sheet for sound-proofing. There is an engine-driven cold-plate freezer . Eric originally built this using the compressor off a Chrysler Newport air conditioner but in 2004 he installed a ‘Sea Frost’ freezer kit which uses the newer R134A refrigerant. Electric power is generated while sailing by an alternator coupled to the propeller shaft. 

Fiona rides at anchor in the San Blas Islands, Panama, March, 2007


 Fiona — Vital Statistics
LOA (Not including bow platform)42′ 9″
Clearance Length, Panama Canal49′
Draft6′ 3″
Displacement, empty37,000 lbs
Internal ballast (in keel)11,000 lbs
USCG Net Tonnage24 T
USCG Gross Tonnage25 T
Sail Area, working Main470 sq. ft.
Sail Area, Genoa Jib500 sq. ft.
Sail Area, Staysail150 sq. ft.
Sail Area, Storm Main310 sq. ft.
Sail Area, Yankee Jib280 sq. ft.
Sail Area, Spitfire Jib40 sq. ft.
EnginePerkins, 85 horsepower
Fuel Capacity
   Center tank85 gallons
   Port tank50 gallons
Water Capacity
   Port tank50 gallons
   Center tank100 gallons
   Starboard tank50 gallons
Mast, Aluminum (deck stepped)4 x 7.5″ x 50 ft.
Air clearance59 ft.
   Headstay and backstay3/8″ 1×19 stainless wire
   Forestay and 8 each shrouds5/16″ 1×19 stainless wire
Ground Tackle
   Chain7/16″ x 280 ft
   Fisherman Anchor65 lbs
   CQR Anchor45 lbs
   Danforth Anchor45 lbs
   Danforth Anchor25 lbs


Please contact Eric Forsyth via email at

If Fiona is at sea you can contact the ship here: