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Old 25-03-2009, 16:50   #1
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Aluminum racing yachts to cruisers

I have been looking for sailboat to travel the world starting slowly in FL then E Caribbean then worldwide when I'm capable. Can I convert a 80s aluminum racing yacht into a cruiser? I have some questions and I'm sure there is more. I'd like your input.

1. Is the boat strong enough to sail anywhere? Obviously the Titanic went down so.... Someone told me they have been known to break in two or suffer catastrophic failure in heavy seas. Are they generally strong enough to be sailed around the world (not Antartica) safely? I've looked at a Nelson/Marek, Peterson and Palmer Johnson so far.

2. The tankage is way too small. How can you put tankage in to get to the normal capacities for long passages keeping balance and cosmetics as well as mechanics?

3. They've been rode hard. Do they often need more than advertised to get them safe to cruise worldwide? Is their metal often fatigued? Masts have long life left or sublty bent and/or twisted? Rigging stressed too much?

4. Does it take a lot of rigging to get them ready for singlehanded sailing?

5. Are they insulated well enough or is that even necessary in an aluminum boat? Are they cold? Wet?


I want to get on a boat now. I don't want to cruise with others yet. I will take seasoned crew on to help me and teach me as well as learn from. I have the time and money to make a boat what I want within reason. I don't have 100K sitting around doing nothing. I would rather not get a loan but I will. I'm afraid there may be too many conditions after a lien and insurance.

Obviously a lot of this is money and not just determination and learning sailboats.

Or am I outta my freaking mind?
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Old 25-03-2009, 17:15   #2
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Yes,you are out of your freeking mind.You would only go that route if your real interest was taking on a boat building project.If you really want to sail/cruise you wouldnt touch an old racer with a 30ft barge pole.
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Old 25-03-2009, 17:45   #3
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The beauty of aluminum is you can change anything if you want to bad enough. Whether it's strong enough depends on how it was built and if it was built with the right scantlings. If it was built to beat a rating rule (ie:IOR etc) it may roll terribly etc. A lot of questions are needed to answer your questions. BTW: most French owned boats I saw in the carribean were aluminum.
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Old 25-03-2009, 18:41   #4
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A lot of the old IOR boats were very capable boats that were actually built to cross oceans as they actually did that back then,they were known for getting squirrelly downwind but that was when they were pushed with the kite up,there is a couple who have been cruising for years on a peterson 43,they just use a smaller headsail.Lot of volume in those thing too.
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Old 25-03-2009, 20:26   #5
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Thanks all. I don't want to have more money in one than I could buy but I'm structured financially to spend less up front and more monthly.

I'll ask them if it is capable of transoceanic passage. I've gotten back legalese and vague responses. Go figure. I think this is where I need to start. Any way I can contact your friends on the peterson, Steve?
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Old 25-03-2009, 21:10   #6
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Quote:
Can I convert a 80s aluminum racing yacht into a cruiser?
You can't change the displacement value of the original design. Being aluminum means nothing now. If you add the tonnage you'll need to cruise you will have over stepped the boat design. An overloaded boat is no longer fast and perhaps no longer safe.

That may still leave it fine but it sure won't be a performance boat after you add tanks and the associated gear required to cruise. The performance of the boat will be as it will be and only you will know what it really is. No serious racer would race a boat loaded as you would require to cruise.

All things being equal the pickup truck is better than the sports car for cruising. The sports car is not a sports car when overloaded but a lightly fill truck will go faster more efficiently than a truck. There is an upside possible in a truck.
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Old 25-03-2009, 21:28   #7
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You can't change the displacement value of the original design. Being aluminum means nothing now. If you add the tonnage you'll need to cruise you will have over stepped the boat design. An overloaded boat is no longer fast and perhaps no longer safe.

That may still leave it fine but it sure won't be a performance boat after you add tanks and the associated gear required to cruise. The performance of the boat will be as it will be and only you will know what it really is. No serious racer would race a boat loaded as you would require to cruise.

All things being equal the pickup truck is better than the sports car for cruising. The sports car is not a sports car when overloaded but a lightly fill truck will go faster more efficiently than a truck. There is an upside possible in a truck.
Advice I'll take seriously. I'm extremely fickle right now as I'm on such a steep learning curve.

BTW, this looks like a good boat for me: http://www.yachtworld.com/core/listi...g_id=75191&url=
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Old 25-03-2009, 21:33   #8
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BTW, this looks like a good boat for me:
Sure could be, but it's a long way away from an aluminum racing boat...grin.

You have had some good advice so far.
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Old 25-03-2009, 22:23   #9
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Sure could be, but it's a long way away from an aluminum racing boat...grin.

You have had some good advice so far.
And I'll heed it.
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Old 25-03-2009, 22:32   #10
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Originally Posted by Pblais View Post
You can't change the displacement value of the original design. Being aluminum means nothing now. If you add the tonnage you'll need to cruise you will have over stepped the boat design. An overloaded boat is no longer fast and perhaps no longer safe.

That may still leave it fine but it sure won't be a performance boat after you add tanks and the associated gear required to cruise. The performance of the boat will be as it will be and only you will know what it really is. No serious racer would race a boat loaded as you would require to cruise.

All things being equal the pickup truck is better than the sports car for cruising. The sports car is not a sports car when overloaded but a lightly fill truck will go faster more efficiently than a truck. There is an upside possible in a truck.
BTW, I don't see it as being a fast boat after adding tankage. Could the mast be cut down or does that throw all the geometry of the spreaders off as well as other standing rigging? Trying to learn here even if I go with wood or fibreglass.

I see it as an aluminum boat which I like a lot more than fiberglass. But I like steel better, too. I don't want the hassel of it though. But I also think fiberglass is a better boat for me right now.
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Old 26-03-2009, 02:40   #11
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The IOR rule was the heyday of aluminum boat building. The rule encouraged heavy boats, in relation to todays lightweight flyers. That makes adding gear less of a problem as your are adding way less weight in comparison to their racing weight to get them ready to cruise. The keels are long enough that they may even have a sump to keep any water that gets below from soaking everything in the boat. The IOR boats sail best to windward and are somewhat challenged on a reach because of their small mainsails. An Asymetrical chute would probably get a lot of work. The IOR boats were notorious for being squrielly downwind. It was a combination of the pinched ends and carrying way too much sail in racing conditions.

If I had the money, would definitely go with aluminum construction. It gives the strength of metal construction without the corrosion problems of steel. It does have a problem with galvanic corrosion but that can usually be contained. Look closely at the water line of any boat that you consider. Galvanic corrosion will usually show as bubbling paint. It is easily fixed, though not inexpensively, by anyone with aluminum fabricating skills.

As far as converting a hardcore racing boat to a short handed cruising boat, it depends. I've got the ex 'Eclipse', 2nd place finisher in the 1979 Fastnet race, in the slip next to me. I've thought about buying it but I look at the way the boat is set up and can't see an easy/cheap way to redo the deck layout to make it suitable. The large foretriangle would be perfect for converting to a true cutter rig which would make sail handling a breeze. The problem is that there are winches scattered all over the place and the cockpit is just that, a pit with no coamings. Practically every control line would have to be rerouted to accomodate coamings and short handed sailing. The stick is also enormously tall, more than 10' taller than the Cal 40 on the other side. The stick requires running backs to properly support it. Not a big thing as the short boom doesn't require that they be undone and made up just to tack but do need to be handled. To be fair, this is a boat that was set up for Grand Prix level racing with no thought to short handed cruising or daysailing. It's a machine that is built to take anything that the ocean can throw at it and sail very fast doing it. It's just that it was set up to do that with a crew of 6 or more. The owner says it takes a minimum of 3 people just to go sailing.

Many of the ex racing boats weren't built quite as spartan or with such a single minded purpose and deck layout. So it's going to depend on how the particular boat was set up initially and how easy to make it easier to sail short handed. I wouldn't automatically discard an ex racing boat and would look very favorably at aluminum, but the cost and enormity of the task of converting it to a short handed cruiser could be daunting.

BTW, seriously thought about buying Ted Hoods old 'Lightnin', an aluminum 37' S&S design that he won the SORC with. Still kicking myself for not doing it. The boat wasn't that radical to modify the deck layout and the flushdeck design had loads of room below.

Aloha
Peter O.
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Old 26-03-2009, 03:09   #12
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The IOR rule was the heyday of aluminum boat building. The rule encouraged heavy boats, in relation to todays lightweight flyers. That makes adding gear less of a problem as your are adding way less weight in comparison to their racing weight to get them ready to cruise. The keels are long enough that they may even have a sump to keep any water that gets below from soaking everything in the boat. The IOR boats sail best to windward and are somewhat challenged on a reach because of their small mainsails. An Asymetrical chute would probably get a lot of work. The IOR boats were notorious for being squrielly downwind. It was a combination of the pinched ends and carrying way too much sail in racing conditions.

If I had the money, would definitely go with aluminum construction. It gives the strength of metal construction without the corrosion problems of steel. It does have a problem with galvanic corrosion but that can usually be contained. Look closely at the water line of any boat that you consider. Galvanic corrosion will usually show as bubbling paint. It is easily fixed, though not inexpensively, by anyone with aluminum fabricating skills.

As far as converting a hardcore racing boat to a short handed cruising boat, it depends. I've got the ex 'Eclipse', 2nd place finisher in the 1979 Fastnet race, in the slip next to me. I've thought about buying it but I look at the way the boat is set up and can't see an easy/cheap way to redo the deck layout to make it suitable. The large foretriangle would be perfect for converting to a true cutter rig which would make sail handling a breeze. The problem is that there are winches scattered all over the place and the cockpit is just that, a pit with no coamings. Practically every control line would have to be rerouted to accomodate coamings and short handed sailing. The stick is also enormously tall, more than 10' taller than the Cal 40 on the other side. The stick requires running backs to properly support it. Not a big thing as the short boom doesn't require that they be undone and made up just to tack but do need to be handled. To be fair, this is a boat that was set up for Grand Prix level racing with no thought to short handed cruising or daysailing. It's a machine that is built to take anything that the ocean can throw at it and sail very fast doing it. It's just that it was set up to do that with a crew of 6 or more. The owner says it takes a minimum of 3 people just to go sailing.

Many of the ex racing boats weren't built quite as spartan or with such a single minded purpose and deck layout. So it's going to depend on how the particular boat was set up initially and how easy to make it easier to sail short handed. I wouldn't automatically discard an ex racing boat and would look very favorably at aluminum, but the cost and enormity of the task of converting it to a short handed cruiser could be daunting.

BTW, seriously thought about buying Ted Hoods old 'Lightnin', an aluminum 37' S&S design that he won the SORC with. Still kicking myself for not doing it. The boat wasn't that radical to modify the deck layout and the flushdeck design had loads of room below.

Aloha
Peter O.
And the other side of the coin lands up now.

I'm so confused.
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Old 26-03-2009, 07:01   #13
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If you are new to all this you really do not want a project boat. Your talking about rigging changes and on and on. Don't go that way, chances are you will loose your investment.

The 44 CSY is an awful lot of boat at 37k displacement, broken gear will be expensive and it sounds like you budget will be tight. To re-rig the boat may set you back $10k, is this ok with you?

Since you are new, try to stay with something that is under 24k displacement and maybe talk with riggers, sailmakers, mechanics,.... get prices for everything on the boat you believe may need replacement. This will give you a good idea of operating costs. My budget is 1-2% of new replacement cost annually. So if the "new price" of a CSY 44 is $800k figure $8 to $16k annual maintenance to keep the boat safe and ship shape. This does not include your insurance, beer, bimbo, bar, and baloney costs..... If the boat has deferred maintenance yo will have bigger upfront costs then those shown above. Like if you have to replace all the standing and running rigging and all the sails. $$$$$$$$$
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Old 26-03-2009, 08:04   #14
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If you are new to all this you really do not want a project boat. Your talking about rigging changes and on and on. Don't go that way, chances are you will loose your investment.

The 44 CSY is an awful lot of boat at 37k displacement, broken gear will be expensive and it sounds like you budget will be tight. To re-rig the boat may set you back $10k, is this ok with you?

Since you are new, try to stay with something that is under 24k displacement and maybe talk with riggers, sailmakers, mechanics,.... get prices for everything on the boat you believe may need replacement. This will give you a good idea of operating costs. My budget is 1-2% of new replacement cost annually. So if the "new price" of a CSY 44 is $800k figure $8 to $16k annual maintenance to keep the boat safe and ship shape. This does not include your insurance, beer, bimbo, bar, and baloney costs..... If the boat has deferred maintenance yo will have bigger upfront costs then those shown above. Like if you have to replace all the standing and running rigging and all the sails. $$$$$$$$$
Actually just got off the phone with the broker for the CSY 44. Boat had previous owner for 10 years then the Big D forced sell to present owner. He's had it for a year. Flew from England and ended up buying this boat. Girlfriend then came and couldn't go to sea for all the usual reasons. They went back to England after he spent 6K to rebuild the present Perkins. Maybe he should have gotten rid of the girlfriend.

The standing rigging is supposedly good. Some of the running rigging needs replacing specifics not gotten into. Cosmetics and bimini needs refinishing and replacing. Blah blah blah. Supposedly she will sail as is in the islands which can give me a month or so to get to know her and learn to sail.

Just one of a lot of options out there. BTW, why is 37,000 lbs too much and 20,000 not too much. Obviously docking will be out of the question for me for awhile esp one handed.
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Old 26-03-2009, 11:03   #15
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On advice here I've looked at a 38 IP which needs running rigging and replacement of a chain plate on the bow sprit (5k??). Not sure yet of other problems but at asking 79900 is this worth looking into. Another 38 IP at 61K but 'rough' no particulars yet.

Still no answer as to why 20,000 and not 34000 tonnage other than the obvious I can figure for myself. Still tryinjg to stay away from loans but starting to look like I may have to. Don't really want to liquidate things to do this.
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