There is a big difference between an ocean race boat and a cruiser. Number age experience and fitness of crew for a start. These factors plus the anticipated duration of the race/cruising would also influence the degree of discomfort tolerable.
They may not wait out bad weather, but many also end up retiring.
They don't in fact return from Hawaii against the trades. The usual route is to go North and try to pick up favourable winds.
The full keel etc etc may not be absolutely necessary but a boat designed for comfortable shorthanded cruising may well be preferable in the long term for long distance cruising, just as a racer may be more suitable for racing.