Should someone avoid buying a cruiser that was used for racing - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 23 Old 07-26-2013 Thread Starter
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Should someone avoid buying a cruiser that was used for racing

I have been in the market for a Catalina 36 MKii, and have found several in my price range but the one I am most interested in at this time was used primarily for racing. My question is; should I avoid buying a cruiser that was used for racing? The rigging has been replaced it has extra sails both main and genoa's. Can you recommend what kind damage I should look for on boat that has been raced?

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post #2 of 23 Old 07-26-2013
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Re: Should someone avoid buying a cruiser that was used for racing

Assuming the motor and electronics are in acceptable order, I would think it all depends on how the boat was raced and for how long. I think the old saying "it's not the years, it's the miles" probably holds up in that regard. Think about all the stuff racers are hard on- hull deck joint, deck hardware and fittings (or essentially anything with a deck penetration such as stanchions and chainplates) should be checked thoroughly for leaks (especially if the deck/cabin top are cored) and anything else that may be suspect- rudder post, prop-shaft and all associated bearings. The less important things you may also consider- condition of shackles, halyards and sheets... I know it takes a lot of time to sniff all of that out, but you will save yourself a ton of your own time and money down the road if you weed that out first.

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post #3 of 23 Old 07-26-2013
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Re: Should someone avoid buying a cruiser that was used for racing

To keep a boat in race shape usually requires keeping up with the upkeep of the boat. While it's true the hull/deck will get more abuse, the rigging (running and standing) likely was upgraded, and replaced more frequently... Also the sails are likely in BETTER shape than you'd find in a cruiser.

Given that we are talking about a Catalina, my bet is the hull/deck is fine.

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post #4 of 23 Old 07-26-2013
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Re: Should someone avoid buying a cruiser that was used for racing

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Originally Posted by hwy1sail View Post
Can you recommend what kind damage I should look for on boat that has been raced?
There is a reason why insurers charge a premium for sailboats that are raced, or exclude coverage for racing - collision damage. Starts and mark roundings are often crowded and it is not unusual for racing sailboats to collide, sometimes lightly. Look for hull repairs or damage to the bow, transom, quarters. You would likely see different colored paint, different inner hull conditions, or newness in particular areas.
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post #5 of 23 Old 07-26-2013
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Re: Should someone avoid buying a cruiser that was used for racing

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Originally Posted by jameswilson29 View Post
There is a reason why insurers charge a premium for sailboats that are raced, or exclude coverage for racing - collision damage. Starts and mark roundings are often crowded and it is not unusual for racing sailboats to collide, sometimes lightly. Look for hull repairs or damage to the bow, transom, quarters. You would likely see different colored paint, different inner hull conditions, or newness in particular areas.
With all due respect, I don't know who you are insured with, but my experience is that insurers have not charged more for racers in decades. I did not get a discount when I told my company that I stopped raing Synergy. I once asked an underwriter about that, they said that racers are usually better sailors and have fewer claims, but when they have claims they tend to be big ones.

I think that the prior posters hit the nail on the head, racers are no different than any other segment of the sailing community in that they do not come in one standard model and there is no single rule that you can apply. But as a broad general rule, racers tend to upgrade deck hardware, sails, rigging and strategic electronics. They tend to eschew things which add weight and windage such as TV antenas and sometimes cruising systems are not maintained.

Personally I typically try to buy former race boats. When I bought my current boat the propane system, 110 volt wiring, anchor rode and anchor, and water heater were all either undersized, awol or scarily no longer anywhere near legal and none of the prior owners noticed or cared. On the other hand the winches were upsized, there were 17 sails, every thing that it took to sail the boat worked perfectly. Structurally everything was in great shape and in some places was beefed up.

Its all a trade off and the real answer lies in the specifics of the boat in question.

Jeff
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post #6 of 23 Old 07-26-2013
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Re: Should someone avoid buying a cruiser that was used for racing

School and Jeff are right. The race boat has probably been kept up better than the all cruising equivalent. You can't win races with a poorly maintained boat. The race boat will most probably have better gear, more thought out rigging and better sails. I'd take the boat that has been raced hands down any day.

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post #7 of 23 Old 07-26-2013
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Re: Should someone avoid buying a cruiser that was used for racing

17 sails Jeff? Wow.

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post #8 of 23 Old 07-26-2013
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Re: Should someone avoid buying a cruiser that was used for racing

In General you will reduce the cost of your investments if you buy a boat which has been used the same way you intend to use it: racer, daysailer, coastal cruising, bluewater, dock condo.

Buy a racer to coastal cruise, and you'll get a mess of sails of no use, and end up buying a bimini, dodger, second anchor, etc. all new.

Vice versa. refitting a boat for a different purpose will have costs well beyond getting one already equipped for your intended use.
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post #9 of 23 Old 07-26-2013
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Re: Should someone avoid buying a cruiser that was used for racing

The major points have been hit upon. Mostly, you need to be aware that there could be repaired hull damage. Also, filler on the deck as the racers went to the latest greatest sheeting blocking cleating arrangements to stay competitive. That would require moving cleats/winches - whatever to new spots on the deck. More of an issue on a J boat than a big Catalina but something to look for. Also, the big boats i've raced on the interiors took more of a beating. Wet people/sails/equipment stored below where ever there was space. Kinda the difference between how one might treat an open top Jeep Wrangler versus their Lexus. Not really abusing it, but not exactly concerned about it either.

I agree that most racing boats are upkept to a high level. I also believe their race history makes them worth less to a non racer. And, even if you are a racer, the boat's winning resume means nothing when it goes across the sales block.

Last edited by TJC45; 07-26-2013 at 12:01 PM.
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post #10 of 23 Old 07-26-2013
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Re: Should someone avoid buying a cruiser that was used for racing

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Originally Posted by Jeff_H View Post
With all due respect, I don't know who you are insured with, but my experience is that insurers have not charged more for racers in decades.
I have 2 policies, one with Boat/US and one with Progressive. The application for my Boat/US policy in the "WHERE" Section asks "Is Boat used for Racing?"..."If Yes, approximate % of racing"..."Types of races..." The Boat/US policy does not exclude sailboat racing from coverage (but does exclude powerboat racing), but that does not mean it does not charge a premium for it in underwriting. A Google search will reveal some threads where sailboat owners have experienced a surcharge for racing, or a denial of coverage.

My Progressive policy excludes the following: "4. bodily injury or property damage resulting from, or sustained during practice or preparation for: (a). any pre-arranged or organized racing, stunting, speed, or demolition contest or activity;..."

The other clause an insurance company may try to use to deny coverage is the standard provision excluding activities in which you assume the risk, which a racer does when signing up for a race through the organizing body.

All questions on insurance applications are relevant to underwriting, risk assessment, and risk allocation. If, for instance, someone does race, but does not reveal it on the application, that would be a basis for denying a claim.

My experience in the insurance area leads me to believe most folks do not read or understand their insurance policies, and rely on their agent, a saleperson who does not evaluate claims, for information. The legal field is ripe with litigation over claims coverage and denial, and many folks are not entirely honest in applying for insurance, thinking a little fudging wouldn't come back to bite them later.

While I would agree that racers are generally more skilled in handling their boats than cruisers, racing does expose a boat to additional risks. I suspect the precise issue is not often addressed, because of fudging and paying for damages out of pocket.

You should have received a discount when your risk was decreased by not racing. I would not rely on the oral statements of one underwriter. It may be that your particular boat model is frequently used for racing, has higher claims as a result, and therefore the additional premium is built into your boat type. That would not be true for a Catalina 36.

Last edited by jameswilson29; 07-26-2013 at 12:39 PM.
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