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Old 08-01-2014, 18:09   #1
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Buying a boat that's been raced

What advice would folks have about buying a 33' 1980s boat that has done a dozen MAC races? I'd have a survey certainly, but is a boat so generally stressed after such usage that it's best to pass?
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Old 08-01-2014, 18:43   #2
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Re: Buying a boat that's been raced

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What advice would folks have about buying a 33' 1980s boat that has done a dozen MAC races? I'd have a survey certainly, but is a boat so generally stressed after such usage that it's best to pass?
Who says its stressed? Many of the older boats were solid glass and as strong as new. Boats raced on the Great Lakes have about a 4-month season - max. They are usually well cared for on the hard. No rust. Often, they go out in good weather only. Races are 2 to 6 hours per week. Do the math. The average live-aboard cruiser sees more use in a year than most of these see in 10. They usually come with a huge inventory of usable but not race-worthy sails.

I raced with a team for 12 years HARD on a Heritage One Ton (Morgan 37) and its still racing and winning under new owners. That particular model is sought after for world cruising because it was so well built.

Ask around the race yards & clubs. See if others know about the boat. Ask about repairs.
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Old 08-01-2014, 18:52   #3
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Re: Buying a boat that's been raced

I don't believe that a boat having been previously raced says anything in particular about its current condition. If the previous owner(s) have looked after the boat and been diligent in their maintenance, a raced boat will be in better condition than an un-raced boat who's previous owners were slack or negligent with their maintenance (and vice versa).
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Old 08-01-2014, 18:53   #4
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Re: Buying a boat that's been raced

Racing is usually a lot less stressful on a boat as the crew should know their stuff !
Rather a race boat than one sailed by a weekend warrior . We bought a 34 foot ex-race and lived and sailed her for thirteen years all over the Carib.
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Old 08-01-2014, 19:01   #5
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Re: Buying a boat that's been raced

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Who says its stressed? Many of the older boats were solid glass and as strong as new. Boats raced on the Great Lakes have about a 4-month season - max. They are usually well cared for on the hard. No rust. Often, they go out in good weather only. Races are 2 to 6 hours per week. Do the math. The average live-aboard cruiser sees more use in a year than most of these see in 10. They usually come with a huge inventory of usable but not race-worthy sails.

I raced with a team for 12 years HARD on a Heritage One Ton (Morgan 37) and its still racing and winning under new owners. That particular model is sought after for world cruising because it was so well built.

Ask around the race yards & clubs. See if others know about the boat. Ask about repairs.
Thank you for the feedback. "Stressed" is what I imagine could happen, but am not knowledgeable enough to know what would be considered usage that fatigues a sailboat structurally in such a way that its future life is reduced prematurely. I'm thinking about chainplate attachments, deck/hull flexing under repeated exposure to heavy conditions that might be encountered in many long distance MAC races on the Great Lakes, more than normal stress on the standing rigging, winches, etc.
I hear you about the shorter season, that's one reason prefer the idea of a northern boat. And that cruisers are in more regular use, hadn't thought about that, it's a good consideration. Also, I would expect that a skipper who participates in a long race like the MAC would be very diligent about the condition of the boat. I guess my question is basically do multiple long races under possibly heavy conditions shorten the long term life of the boat, typically.
Thanks again for the reply.
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Old 08-01-2014, 19:02   #6
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Re: Buying a boat that's been raced

Forgot to mention, this particular boat has a cored hull.
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Old 08-01-2014, 19:19   #7
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Re: Buying a boat that's been raced

What brand?
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Old 08-01-2014, 19:42   #8
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Re: Buying a boat that's been raced

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Originally Posted by AndyJR View Post
Thank you for the feedback. "Stressed" is what I imagine could happen, but am not knowledgeable enough to know what would be considered usage that fatigues a sailboat structurally in such a way that its future life is reduced prematurely. I'm thinking about chainplate attachments, deck/hull flexing under repeated exposure to heavy conditions that might be encountered in many long distance MAC races on the Great Lakes, more than normal stress on the standing rigging, winches, etc.
I hear you about the shorter season, that's one reason prefer the idea of a northern boat. And that cruisers are in more regular use, hadn't thought about that, it's a good consideration. Also, I would expect that a skipper who participates in a long race like the MAC would be very diligent about the condition of the boat. I guess my question is basically do multiple long races under possibly heavy conditions shorten the long term life of the boat, typically.
Thanks again for the reply.

Most racing is in dud weather. Summers in the Great Lakes means light wind. I raced a Mac. I raced for 18 years on Erie, Huron and Michigan. Probably only 5 times out in really big blows and nothing ever broke. (Heritage One-Ton) For most boats & most Macs the wear is harder on the the crew than the boat. With no salt, the stays & chain plates last a very long time. The exception to the whole discussion is if the boat was an original 'ultralight' with balsa cored everything. If it has a solid glass hull, that will not be an issue. Look for wet decks or blisters, check around and get a survey.

My Lewmar winches are 30 years old, been around the world once & two hurricanes. I disassembled them in a solvent tank at work and found them totally without visible wear despite the dirty ancient grease.
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Old 08-01-2014, 19:51   #9
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Re: Buying a boat that's been raced

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Most racing is in dud weather. Summers in the Great Lakes means light wind. I raced a Mac. I raced for 18 years on Erie, Huron and Michigan. Probably only 5 times out in really big blows and nothing ever broke. (Heritage One-Ton) For most boats & most Macs the wear is harder on the the crew than the boat. With no salt, the stays & chain plates last a very long time. The exception to the whole discussion is if the boat was an original 'ultralight' with balsa cored everything. If it has a solid glass hull, that will not be an issue. Look for wet decks or blisters, check around and get a survey.

My Lewmar winches are 30 years old, been around the world once & two hurricanes. I disassembled them in a solvent tank at work and found them totally without visible wear despite the dirty ancient grease.
The boat is a Tartan 33, I believe the hull is cored rather than solid glass like the C&C 35-2 I'm also looking at.

Thanks again Nicholson58, your feedback is encouraging. I do know surveys are important, I've had 2 boats under contract last summer, both of which I turned down due to surveys, saturated deck, mast step problems etc.

I'm a first time sailboat buyer and am trying to make a well founded, informed decision. I appreciate the feedback and advice from everyone.
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Old 08-01-2014, 22:17   #10
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Re: Buying a boat that's been raced

A Tartan isn't one of the boats I would worry about being worn out. There are a few classes that would raise flags with me because I know what the owners did to them, and there are some boats that just weren't built very well then had racers beat them to death, but this wouldn't be one of them.

A J-35, for instance, with a long racing pedigree would be concerning.
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Old 09-01-2014, 04:23   #11
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Re: Buying a boat that's been raced

If it works out you will love her- fun "littler" boat.

Be sure to check where the chain plates go through the deck. This area is prone to rot. If it is not too bad it is an easy fix. Also check the genoa tracks - for some reason my port one had some issues , but not the starboard. If it has original portlights, unless you feel the need to spend money, DO NOT buy new ones. I had great luck replacing the lenses with new ones from Beckson and cleaning the gaskets and frames. FYI the starboard water tank is prone to leak so fill it 100% as part of the sea trial.

Should you buy her, join the Tartan group on yahoo. It is a treasure trove of Tartan info.

Feel free to PM if you have questions - I own hull 33 of the Tartan 33 line.
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Old 09-01-2014, 05:42   #12
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Re: Buying a boat that's been raced

I sailed a dozen Macs in the eighties. In general I would tend to disagree with most of the comments so far.

True there were a few drifters in there, but I can think of a few total blow-outs as well. One particular race that comes to mind we went to weather in sustained winds in excess of fifty knots for two hours with peak gusts which I observed at 83 knots.

That particular race saw about a dozen boats retire where a half dozen of them lost their rigs including a Santa Cruz 70. I would assume the boat you are buying was in that fleet.

Keep in mind the Chicago to Mackinaw race is over three hundred miles and takes most boats at least two days to finish. Which means you see all kinds of weather and if you are serious about racing you don't just go home if it starts to blow more than 15, or 25, or 35, etc. If there is lighting you don't just stop sailing if you are forty miles offshore.

Mac races aside, I have seen plenty of racing boats rode hard and put away wet. Racers go out and race on a schedule in all types of conditions from the early spring to the late fall. They race to win. They push their boats to the limits, things break, boats collide, damage gets done and sometimes gets properly repaired.

Personally I would look closely at any vintage racing boat. A boat like a T-10, which happens to have had an amazingly competitive One Design fleet on the Great Lakes, I would look that much closer.

Then of course, it's a thirty year old boat. Might be time to think about replacing the standing rigging and all that other fun stuff.

T-10 great boat BTW. I remember as a kid looking at the ads in the sailing magazines when they first came out, I was in love.
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Old 09-01-2014, 06:16   #13
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Re: Buying a boat that's been raced

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I



T-10 great boat BTW. I remember as a kid looking at the ads in the sailing magazines when they first came out, I was in love.

The tartan 33 is very different from the T-10. Unless it is a T-33r- that is a different animal also
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Old 09-01-2014, 06:32   #14
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Re: Buying a boat that's been raced

Opps, my bad maybe. I hear Tartan, 33 feet, and dozen Mac races. I think t-10.
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