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.