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post #1 of 28 Old 03-22-2019 Thread Starter
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Question Boat purchase concerns

We will be looking at four different sailboats this weekend. One of the boats is a Catalina 34 MK 1.5. It seems this boat has been very well taken care of (although electronics seem outdated). Here is our concern....she has been used for racing quite a bit on Lake Michigan. Should we be concerned about the fact that this boat has most likely been pushed to it's limits many times? Of course, we would have a survey done to make sure that things are sound structurally. Any thoughts, concerns, or things that we should be looking at specifically would be appreciated.

Thank you for your time.
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post #2 of 28 Old 03-22-2019
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Re: Boat purchase concerns

What does pushed to its limit actually mean? Use will mean wear items age. Rigging fails usually from when the slack shroud flexes. Sails get stretched out. Moving parts wear. A frequently used boat will show more "wear" than a less used one.

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post #3 of 28 Old 03-22-2019
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Re: Boat purchase concerns

I wouldn't be concerned just because it was used for racing. Boats suffer at least as much from neglect as they do from hard use. A boat used for racing has probably been sailed regularly, by people who have a pretty good idea what they are doing, and who want the boat to always be in top sailing condition. Sounds to me like a recipe for a well taken care of boat.
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post #4 of 28 Old 03-22-2019
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Re: Boat purchase concerns

Boats that were raced often have a lot of sails and useful gear. I would look very closely at chain plates, rigging, keel to hull joint, keel bolts, through hulls. And of course get it surveyed.

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Re: Boat purchase concerns

Hello,

i would not be concerned with the effects of racing on the rig, rudder, keel or other structural components. The boat is designed to be sailed, and in all kinds of weather. Where I would expect to see more wear and tear is on the cosmetic parts. Racers are not exactly kind to the boat when racing. Winch handles get dropped on deck, crew step on anything in the way, wet sails get dragged below, coolers can tip and spill, crew run all over the boat, etc.

On the other hand, the race boats I have been on have all received lots of tender love and care regarding maintenance and upgrades. Winches get serviced on a regular basis, you will find nice things like backstay adjusters, jib car adjusters that work, upgraded travelers, higher quality sheets and halyards, etc.

Good luck,
Barry
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Re: Boat purchase concerns

I agree, having been raced is not necessarily a negative. If any hardware is going to break, it will break when pushed hard, and when it does break racers tend to upgrade it rather than just replace it with whatever is cheapest. The sail inventory is likely to be better as well. Old dacron cruising sails just won't do for racing, so they have likely been upgraded, and it should be equipped with a spinnaker and all the associated gear that many cruising boats dont have.

Having said all that, you dont really know how seriously it was raced. Catalinas aren't exactly the first choice of serious racers. Any boat can be raced, but once someone gets the racing bug and wants to get serious they are likely going to seek something higher performance than that. Who knows, maybe that is why it is on the market.

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Re: Boat purchase concerns

The only thing I would assume is aged beyond its years are the sails. A cruiser will reef or not pull that sheet in quite as hard. Most all used sailboats will need new sails, unless they were just installed anyway. It's often one of the expenses that are being avoided by the PO. The point about cosmetics was a good one too. If owned solely for racing, they are often put away wet.


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Re: Boat purchase concerns

I was joking with a friend of mine who races about how hard he pushes his boat. He joked back "If you see my boat for sale, don't buy it!"
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post #9 of 28 Old 03-22-2019
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Re: Boat purchase concerns

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Originally Posted by mbfrau View Post
We will be looking at four different sailboats this weekend. One of the boats is a Catalina 34 MK 1.5. It seems this boat has been very well taken care of (although electronics seem outdated). Here is our concern....she has been used for racing quite a bit on Lake Michigan. Should we be concerned about the fact that this boat has most likely been pushed to it's limits many times? Of course, we would have a survey done to make sure that things are sound structurally. Any thoughts, concerns, or things that we should be looking at specifically would be appreciated.

Thank you for your time.
I'm going to disagree with most of the other posters here, nothing new about that.

First there are different sub species of racers. I worked with Derek Hatfield on Spirit of Canada. Anything less than perfection was simply not acceptable to him and the boat was gone over with a fine toothed comb every time it returned to harbour. This is a rare breed of racer at a very elite level.

Another racer species i.e. the Tuesday night club racers (most of them) seem to know little about rigging stresses, structural elements, diesels or electrical or mechanical systems. They fire her up, full throttle out of the harbour, shut her down, circle the cans then again abuse the diesel on the way back to the bar. The majority of Tuesday night warrior boats I've surveyed (probably close to 700 out of almost 5,000) are among the worst I see.

What you have going for you on the Catalina is that it's not a boat admired by the Tuesday night warriors for it's racing prowess. If it was raced it most likely was the Monday night white sail races where the old guys get together for a relaxing evening on the water.

Marine Survey 101 may help show you how to inspect her
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Last edited by boatpoker; 03-22-2019 at 06:11 PM.
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post #10 of 28 Old 03-22-2019
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Re: Boat purchase concerns

Dont buy a race boat unless you plan to race it.

Buy a boat whose owner used it the way that you plan to use it: daysailer, weekender, coastal cruising, liveaboard, bluewater cruiser.

Otherwise you pay for a lot of gear you wont need, and end up buying new other gear that would have come with the right purchase.

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