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Old 26-04-2011, 00:15   #1
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Ex-Racer to Long Term Cruiser

So after posting about buying a cruising boat in Australia(or US and sailing home) which opened a lively discussion about fit out and what people felt was required to 'make' a cruising boat within my price range... I am now going to ask whether anyone thinks it would be unwise to get an ex-racer:

australiawide : boats for sale in Australia

... and spend the rest of my budget fitting it out to be a comfortable cruiser. I imagine I could pick this up for $30k which would leave $30k - $40k for fit out.

Any opinions? I know a lot of people conciser cold molded wood to be a fine blue water hull material with the 'warmth' of timber and the easy maintenance of GRP.

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-Zak
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Old 26-04-2011, 00:17   #2
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Re: Ex-Racer to Long Term Cruiser

I do see that it doesn't have a lot of displacement for it's size... that might be a killer.
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Old 26-04-2011, 00:42   #3
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Re: Ex-Racer to Long Term Cruiser

It's what I did... for the story go here:
Making Ex-Racer My Cruiser . . . Am I Mad ?

It has, pretty much, worked out for me, but it does invlove a fair amount of sweat equity, and assumes basic carpentry and epoxy skills. It's a lot of boat for the money (in fact, it looks pretty similar to what I bought), and provided it is basically sound and the engine is running, I'd say GO FOR IT!
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Old 26-04-2011, 01:56   #4
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Re: Ex-Racer to Long Term Cruiser

Thanks Weyalan.

I had come across your thread a while ago (although to be fair the 17 pages seamed daunting and I didn't read the whole thing).

Upon reading it again, I gather that most folks answered your question - you *are* mad. That said... the descriptions and photos of your work look fabulous. While quite handy working with wood on land - I doubt I could do as nice a job as you without help.

I guess I just threw this post out there because most folks told me I couldn't buy a cruiser in Australia within my budget ($50k - $70k) without substantial fit out cost on top... so I thought perhaps I could have it both ways - get a nice (empty) 39' boat and have enough money leftover for a good re-fit.

Perhaps this racer is just too different though.
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Old 26-04-2011, 01:56   #5
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Re: Ex-Racer to Long Term Cruiser

There is a reason cruising and racing boats are built differently start with the cockpit. I do not think many will want to spend long hours of cruising in a racing cockpit. On the other hand if your desperate enough?
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Old 26-04-2011, 02:08   #6
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Re: Ex-Racer to Long Term Cruiser

Cold moulded is good, but that cockpit looks uncomfortable and offers minimal protection.
The draft at 2.2 is getting up there and would rule out a lot of the East Coast of the US and Bahamas and maybe some other places.
Looks like triple spreaders in line with at least two sets of runners, not ideal for a cruiser.
I'd keep looking, there are plenty of good boats out there in your price range that could be made to suit
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Old 26-04-2011, 03:12   #7
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Re: Ex-Racer to Long Term Cruiser

While never really a racer my boat was built under the IOR 1/2 Ton rule/s, it did 4 Sydney - Hobarts and many other offshore races before I bought it. I spent mostly time - not huge money - making it into a comfortable coastal cruiser - easily handled and very well behaved. I could never afford a purpose built 30 ft cruising yacht - but I have sailed past a few of them when the conditions have been tough!
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Old 26-04-2011, 05:14   #8
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Re: Ex-Racer to Long Term Cruiser

Another thing on this that could be a concern cruising is the engine. 18 HP Bukh diesel, needs some work, claims 6 kts cruising.

First I think you might get 6 kts in a dead, flat calm. Trying to motor against any sort of headwind and waves you might get half that. Then trying to manuever into a slip or around any tight areas with any sort of wind or current you would not have much power to keep control.

Then "needs work". If the engine is going then you could drop USD$10-15 for a new one. Maybe a lot less if you find a good used.

From the photos it looks like a no interior racer. I would think months of full time work to build cabins, bunks and such; an awful lot of work.

Then looks like a flush deck with no seating in the cockpit. That could be a bit tricky as well.

If you have way more time than money it could be a go. On the other hand, if you took the hundreds of hours you would spend rebuilding this boat and worked at a paying job you would have a lot more money (and time) to spend on the boat.
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Old 26-04-2011, 19:47   #9
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Re: Ex-Racer to Long Term Cruiser

Skip has some good points about being underpowered. Our J/36 (from a firm not known for cruisers...) has a 22 hp engine. 18 seems woefully inadequate. You may need to repower. The one good thing about this hull may be that it has essentially no interior accommodations. You'll be free to create whatever setup you want. On the other hand, putting in all the furniture you will want will add weight that may make this boat sluggish, and put pressure on points that are not built to deal with it. It also looks like she's set up to be handled by a crew of about ten. How big is your cruising family? A hefty old racer, like perhaps a Peterson 37, built by Whitby in Canada, might be better suited to a cruiser conversion than this apparent lightweight zipster.
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Old 26-04-2011, 19:51   #10
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Re: Ex-Racer to Long Term Cruiser

Yeah... it's not seaming very likely. I think I'll hold out until I can find a cruiser within my budget. (psssst- anyone seen any for sale around their marinas?)
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Old 27-04-2011, 20:35   #11
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Re: Ex-Racer to Long Term Cruiser

A freind of mine owns an IOR 40 footer (Dubois 1980 design). It has a 19hp Yanmar in it, but that seems to push it along quite nicely at 6.5 knots or so. Sure, it would be slower in decent chop or swell, but that is, in my opinion, more about the under-size, 2 blade folding prop than the engine.

Our IOR 40 footer (Vandestadt 1980 design) has a 28hp Volvo in it, and we used to really struggle to motor against a decent seaway and headwind, but since we changed the prop (from a worn-out 2-blade feathering to a new 3-blade folding), our motoring performance has improved dramatically.

Bottom line, if you look hard enough, you will always find reasons not to buy a particular boat. I'm sure that there are plenty of reasons not to buy the Davidson 39 under consideration - most of them similar to the reasons not to buy the boat that I did (engine too small, rig to big, running backstays & checkstays, too tender, not enough tankage, too much draft, IOR tenderness dwonwind, etc.) but none of these reasons are in and of themselves show-stoppers... you ahve to weigh up the downsides against the positives (mainly a lot of boat for the money, and being able to start sailing NOW, rather than waiting for years to save up for a "proper" boat.

I chose to buy the boat that conventional wisdom said I shouldn't... I still have that boat, and love it. No regrets here (but it wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea).
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Old 27-04-2011, 21:04   #12
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Re: Ex-Racer to Long Term Cruiser

That boat has been on boatpoint ect for about 12 months. so I expect the owners to be keen to see it gone. On the other side of the coin, it is the type of boat that will require a good crew and someone at the helm who knows what they are doing as it is certainly a performance boat and although you can sail with reefs in, it will be a lot flightier than your average cruiser. (faster too of course).

The rig appears to have runners or check stays,, which are a pain in the ass when tacking short handed. You may want to get a quote on changing the rig configeration to suit a cruiser.

Also you will only have a limited cabin space as racers are designed with big uncomfortable cockpits and less cabin room. having said all that.. The price looks good

keep us posted.
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Old 27-04-2011, 22:11   #13
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Re: Ex-Racer to Long Term Cruiser

Basic question to start with is how good a sailor are you? In bad conditions a purpose designed cruising boat will do a lot more to take care of you and will require less effort. If you have the skills and experience it could work fine.

The boat is deep which will require accomodation in where your choose to go.

To me an undersized motor is not a big deal, I go out to go sailing. If there is not enough wind to sail into a chop or to sail as fast as I want, I motor-sail. Generally taking the attitude that sailing trumps schedules keeps me from starting the engine. The only places being underpowered would be a real problem would be in places with a consistent heavy current against you such as trying to go up a river or into or out of a lagoon in unfavorable wind or surf conditions. With the attitude that fuel efficiency trumps speed the smaller engine is a boon, you can run it at lower load, which is more efficient without running it at such a low RPM that you start to have increased wear issues due to carbonation.

On the other hand if the motor is not cheaply repairable, then there should a further discount in the price as major repair or replacement is going to run some serious coin.

Given that it is a racing boat intended to have lots of rail meat, you may need to consider using your freshwater tankage as water ballast. An added expense and complication.

The rig could probably do with a few modifications. Without seeing the boat up close the ideas that occure to me are:
A) Double lowers.
B) Anchoring the running backs to ballbearing tracks running on the side deck rather than fixed points at the back of the boat. This has always struck me as an easier, handier, faster way to set the running backs, but I have not been on a boat when they were in use so I couldn't say for sure. Certainly there would be less line floating around loose in the cockpit.
C) A removable inner forestay, if only to stabilize the mast in bad weather, but conceivably to set a staysail.
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Old 28-04-2011, 01:53   #14
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Re: Ex-Racer to Long Term Cruiser

Would you buy a cruising boat and turn it into a race boat? So why buy a race boat and spend a lot of money converting to cruise boat and thats before you do the normal boat maintenance/repairs etc.
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Old 28-04-2011, 02:37   #15
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Re: Ex-Racer to Long Term Cruiser

Hmm, there is one other consideration here. If you bought that boat, and were happy with a spartan lifestyle, you could go sailing tomorrow (engine aside).

Assuming you're not wanting to sail around the planet short handed and only considering gunkholing to QLD and back, you could leave immediately and put up with the boats shortfalls, space rig etc. Over time you could add berths, cupboards, doghouse etc. But you would actually be out there enjoying the wate albeit livng a spartan lifestyle.
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