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Old 05-09-2013, 01:22   #1
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A racing boat for cruising?

Totem has posted a blog-entry about using a racing boat for cruising. What are your experiences on this? I am looking to buy a cruising boat, but racing boats do tend to be faster (and cheaper), but more prone to breaking?

The idea on our trip is to see the world (it happens to be by sail), and have some of the solitude, but it would be nice to do a 30-day passage in 15-20 days.

The article is here: S/V Totem - a family sailing the world: What makes a good cruising boat?
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:02   #2
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Re: A racing boat for cruising?

I'm certainly no expert on racing or cruising, but hey, ignorance has never stopped me from offering opinions before!

I've always thought that a boat that points high and moves decently under light or heavy air is important from a safety point of view. I want to know that the boat can tack itself off a lee shore with no motor. Typical heavy cruising boats can't do this, typical racing boats can. Regardless of whether you actually plan to race, or whether that extra knot or two is important to you, I see the safety factor as good reason to make sure your cruising boat has a little racing blood in its veins!
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:29   #3
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Re: A racing boat for cruising?

Depends on the raceing boat!! Some of them with there stripped interiors, pipe berths, and even bucket heads, leave a lot comfort behind! And to redue the interior for cruiseing might be a little high ! I would think the mast hight, and sail size might need a bunch of changes and a little more crew ! Just my 2 cents
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:30   #4
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Re: A racing boat for cruising?

I delivered a racing boat Florida to St Thomas, crew of 3 strong guys...We had to run safety lines inside just to put our pants on, we were wet all the time and when we got off the consensus was that we had just spent 8 days in a washing machine.

Same trip and conditions on my cruising boat, which can work off a lee shore, with just my wife was a lovely trip reading all the way while the auto pilot did the steering.

Trip took 48 hours longer!
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:52   #5
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Re: A racing boat for cruising?

There's another thread on this subject: "Am I Mad?" by Weyalan. It chronicles his decision to take their race boat, and to begin to modify it for cruising. Over the period of a few years, the boat has become more habitable, and only slightly slower. Crafty Lisa and Weyalan still win races with her. The boat is a Van de Stadt 40, and, to me, not a suitable cruising boat; yet they've done a really nice job, and done short cruises in her, and had a great time! So you pays your money and takes your choice.

Perhaps the OP would consider something like a J-35 or 130? We have friends who cruised their 130 extensively and loved it. There are some very pretty New Zealand performance cruisers, as well.

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Old 05-09-2013, 11:00   #6
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Re: A racing boat for cruising?

Once you load a racing boat up for cruising for which it was not designed for, it may or may not be fast.
These folks did just that WORLD TOUR STORIES Alex and Taru sailing around the world.Travel blog. Lifestyle blog. Sailing blog.
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Old 05-09-2013, 11:01   #7
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Re: A racing boat for cruising?

I like the old blues song that goes something like this: I am built for comfort baby I ain't built for speed. You're going to be spending a lot of time aboard going from place to place... I would rather be comfortable.
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Old 05-09-2013, 11:13   #8
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Re: A racing boat for cruising?

Not exactly pertaining to racing vessels but a good read about speed and cruising
http://www.bethandevans.com/pdf/200mile.pdf

A lot of folks compromise with a racer/cruiser. But I think you should seriously think about a multihull
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Old 05-09-2013, 11:52   #9
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Re: A racing boat for cruising?

My wife and I took our J40 cruising from Seattle to Mexico as far south as z-town, up into the Sea of Cortez, and back to San Francisco during one year. Loved that boat because it sailed well in both light air and in rough weather. But here's the thing, when you are cruising, you want to be comfortable. So when the conditions are rough you are going to slow the boat down so the motion is more tolerable. This is not as much a consideration when you are racing with 5 other guys.
In our experience, most of the conditions we have seen are light air ones so we want a boat that excels in that 7-15 knt range of wind so we don,t have to run the engine.
We did do a passage from Mexico to the Marquesas on a Gulfstar 50 ketch. Approx 2800 miles and very windy. We spent most our time slowing the boat down to take strain off the rig and autopilot to say nothing of ourselves. Took us 19 days and change. It would not have been worth it to have a race boat get us there 2-3 days earlier and risk rig and equiptment failure. Just our opinion.
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Old 05-09-2013, 13:16   #10
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Re: A racing boat for cruising?

Folks seem to be hung up on the idea that if you take a race boat cruising it will fall to bits because it is "light".

I firmly believe that no cruising couple (or small family) could possibly put the stresses on a boat that even moderate racing does. Successful race boats have to stand up to being wildly overcanvassed as a routine, with a half ton of rail meat adding to the stiffness, crashing to windward at speeds seldom attempted whilst cruising. The cruising life will seem like a retirement home environment to the ex-racer and gear failure will be infrequent.

The issues of ex-racers being spartan below decks and often having cockpits better organized for several active watchstanders besides the helmsman are, however,quite real. If you have followed Weyalan's saga of "cruisifying" his ex-racer, as related here on CF, you will get an idea of the work involved in making the transition below decks. I can personally attest to the work done in converting Insatiable I's (our previous cruising one-tonner) *cockpit to enable good single handed management of steering and sail controls. Further, many raceboat cockpits are pretty damn uncomfortable for seating and lounging activities!

Adding furniture, tankage and storage is usually required and can be costly, but the upside is that you can design it the way you want it without having to filter it through the marketing department of a production boat factory.

So it is not a slam dunk kind of decision, but if you enjoy spirited sailing and are willing to undertake the conversion, race boats can indeed be excellent cruisers.

For those with the budget, there are a few "performance cruisers" out there that actually do perform better than the typical production boat... but they ain't cheap and do not often appear on the used boat market.

Anyhow, different strokes and all that...

Cheers,

Jim

* This may be a bit confusing, since both Weyalan's boat and our previous boat are called "Insatiable", and of course our current ("performance cruiser") is Insatiable II. Not too damn original, eh?
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Old 05-09-2013, 15:19   #11
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Re: A racing boat for cruising?

The reason I ask is because a very-well priced ex-racer (45ft) has come up in a local small-ads website. By well-priced I mean 25k asking price.

From the pictures I can see that some work has been done to make her more of a cruiser. A fixed dodger has been installed. A rail for mounting radar and windmill and a some steps off the stern of the boat.

Also the interior is not quite as spartan as most racers seem to be, or am I possibly mistaken?

The tubing is enormously annoying, but also very good for hand-holds when in rough weather.

She seems to be more of a classic sailboat shape than the modern 'surfboards' although I have not seen her out of the water, so I need to confirm this. If this were the case, she might be quite comfortable in ocean waves, as she might plough through them rather than bang on them with the flat bottom.

Here is a rough translation of the specs:
Quote:
One off racer or 45 composite poly / foam / poly construction yard Woof Boats Exeter designed Steven Jones England in 1982.

Perkins 35hp diesel intercooler, screw max-prop, boiler 2006, diesel heater 2006, wind generator 2006.
Robertson autopilot, radar 16 miles JCR 2001, B & G compass, wind, depth gauges and two on the mast, gps, etc. Aries vane big wheel.
Ship center cockpit and aft deck, 2 inputs, 4 large center cockpit winches which 2 Lewmar Winch Coffee Grinder, total 10 Lewmarlieren to operate in either vats double spy trees.
Hydraulic backstay tensioner and mainsail outhaul and boom vang, backstays mast rigging is solid.
Bamar double roller cams 19:50 and 15 m vertical clearance 22 metres. Wide 4,55m Depth 2.70m weight about 11 tons of which ballast 6000 kg very stable by high ballast ratio.
Mainsail, various sailing and spinnakers, loose blocks and blocks on dekrails
Interior inner tube construction for extra rigidity and ship rigging height 1.90, there is one twin cabin double bed, shower room with toilet sink, separate clothes closet space.
Large table, navigation area, workbench / card table, kitchen with gas oven, grill and storage.
Several times sleeps 2 double bed, 4 hanging cages etc. lots of storage cooler double sink.
Stainless steel water tank 300 liters, 2 times total stainless steel fuel tank 150 liters.







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Old 05-09-2013, 16:00   #12
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Re: A racing boat for cruising?

G'Day Campr,

Interesting boat, and unusual with the internal "skeleton" to stiffen the hull and presumably take rig loads. May imply that the hull scantlings are on the light side. Engine is on the small size for size/weight of the boat.

But the cockpit arrangement is a perfect example of what I wrote about: the helm is isolated from all the controls and winches. This makes it difficult for one person to usefully be on watch if any hand steering is required (and sometimes it is). The "shape" is not what I would call "classic sailboat' but rather late IOR racer... and that is not a particularly desirable hull form, but not a deal breaker in itself IMO.

so, if you like what you see in the pix, it would be worth a visit to determine how much the ad distorts reality!

Hope that it works out well for you if you jump in!

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Old 05-09-2013, 16:51   #13
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Re: A racing boat for cruising?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wristwister View Post
I'm certainly no expert on racing or cruising, but hey, ignorance has never stopped me from offering opinions before!

I've always thought that a boat that points high and moves decently under light or heavy air is important from a safety point of view. I want to know that the boat can tack itself off a lee shore with no motor. Typical heavy cruising boats can't do this, typical racing boats can. Regardless of whether you actually plan to race, or whether that extra knot or two is important to you, I see the safety factor as good reason to make sure your cruising boat has a little racing blood in its veins!

It partly depends on what you demand in the way of creature comforts. A racing boat is going to have a stripped down cabin. The last one I was on had double berths on each side. Where the vee berth would have been was completely dedicated to sail storage. Ports didn't open.

But one could have cruised on it quite comfortably, and as the previous poster said, I don't want to be so comfy that I can't get off a lee shore in a storm. I also think it makes sense to go fast when cruising. But then, I just like to go fast!
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Old 05-09-2013, 17:00   #14
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Re: A racing boat for cruising?

There are plenty of guys (and gals) who have made a racing boat into a cruising boat.

As mentioned by Jim and Ann, above, I bought a 1985 "1-ton" IOR 40' racing boat about 7 years ago and have been slowly converting it into something more closely approximating a cruiser. That process is detailed elsewhere on this site, if anyone is interested

Making Ex-Racer My Cruiser . . . Am I Mad ?

The attraction, for me, at the time was that old racing boats are so damned cheap in comparison to "proper" cruising boats. But the reality is that by the time you have gone through the conversion / refit process, you will have spent an decent chunk of money (even assuming that you do most of the work yourself).

Looking back now, with 7 winters of refit work under our belt, would we have been better to have not bought the (cheap) racer and saved until we could have bought a (more expensive) cruiser? We have spent well over $50,000 on the refit (and it ain't finished yer), plus hundreds and hundreds of hours of work. On the other hand, we have used the boat extensively every summer, and those experiences of cruising (and racing) have been some of the best of my life. It would have taken me several years to have saved the money to buy a "better" boat. I've learned a heap about boats and boat work, carpentry, fibreglass work, rigging, splicing, plumbing, etc. And I probably wouldn't have met and subsequently married the most wonderful girl in the world.

I'm rambling. But I guess my point is that there is no "right" answer to your question.
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Old 06-09-2013, 02:43   #15
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Re: A racing boat for cruising?

The conundrum is this: Take something like an Ohlson 38 (also around 25k for a similar condition) or tend more to the 45ft racing one-off with tube frame and deep keel? I guess the question is: Do I want to go around the world fast or slow/comfortably?

Maybe some background information. We (me and my wife) would like to sail around the world leaving somewhere in the summer of 2015. We intend to sail from Holland (or The Netherlands if you prefer) to round cape Horn in ~December (southern summer). Visit some friend in Chili for a couple of months, maybe have a child and then continue on around the pacific, North Australia, possibly India and then down around the African cape and then back past St Helena and west-africa back to Europe (more detailed planning is available, but that is the nutshell version). Oh, and we are also hoping to go diving extensively during the trip.

Some major things against the racing boat:
  1. The keel of the racing boat is 2,70m deep, the Ohlson just 1,70. That will keep us from going into some small harbours and sheltered lagoons. It also means I have to stay further from shore incurring more dingying (and more discomfort due to less protection from wind/waves).
  2. The tube-frame worries me somewhat. It leads me to doubt the structural integrity of the hull. Or is it just a trade-off in endoskeleton/exoskeleton department? I've been car-racing before, and in a car it helps add rigidity as well as protect you from impact. It is similar? Would it be a cruiser without the frame and because of it's competition use require to have a frame? I'll have to see if the frame is attached to the rigging to make an
  3. We have a boat-yard 500m from our home, but it's a small affair (10 ton lift) and along the 'Spaarne' canal which has a maximum depth of ~3m. So working on the boat during the winter is then more difficult (and more expensive as the boat has to be berthed at a marina).
  4. Due to the increased length and height of the boat, everything is more expensive. Berthing, sails, painting, anti-foul, you name it.

Some major thing for the racing boat:
  • The length and the internal space resulting from it is excellent. We are intending to take a baby (to be produced along the way) and two more people (possibly several months) along. The increase in space will be welcome (a case of 7-foot-itis?).
  • Greater stability in heavy seas due to the increased size of the boat.
  • Better sailing performance (lee shore and speed scenario).
  • Better re-sale value on our return, should we decide to sell.

One could build the interior up while waiting for the baby to pop in Chili. We will be able to take some of the materials and all of the tools required to do the work. Some if the interior work could be done while underway in far off lands where labor is cheap (trying to find a good carpenter abroad could be difficult, I summize).

Is it a major chore to modify the deck to make one long seating/steering/working are instead of two? I guess it would mean moving the winches and other deck-based infrastructure. Possibly even a modification of the internal beam-structure. Then removal of the second entryway to the back of the boat, and making sure the structural integrity of the deck is sufficient still to bear the loads of crew/sail. Reducing the number of winches from 10 to something more manageable/usable and removing the coffee-grinder would also be in the plans (thus transforming her into a cruiser/racer rather than a racer/cruiser).

One could also modify the keel to have less draught, at the expense of sailing prowess. Either a lifting or tilting keel came to mind, but one would need to approach a boat-designer for this. This would allow entrance to the shallower bits of the world. But probably prohibitively expensive.

Sounds like it would be a lot of work to modify a racing boat to serve as a cruiser. Sounds like Weyalan has taken the difficult route, but in the long term the more rewarding one if you want the speed of a racer.

Difficult decision. Think I might have to go see the boat.
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