Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
Thanked 426 Times in 356 Posts
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can it be?
I guess it depends on the particular design of the boat. There were some good cruisable boats built that meet that desciption. For example when you say that the boat is "is an 80''s vintage. Cold moulded/cored. Bendy,frac rig" it sounds like a wooden Farr 38 that I looked at, and which had been cruised down through the Carribean. Carrying that example furtehr my Farr 38 had been single-handed from CapeTown, South Africa to the Chesapeake Bay and other sisterships have also done a lot of successful offshore single-handed miles, so a boat of that general description can work as a cruiser if properly designed.
But many old race boats really were not designed for that kind of abuse. Even if you can modify the boat to be more suitable it is not as simple as just doing the things that you suggest. Often the rig is so flexible and fragile that the boat cannot be tacked and jibed single-handed without bringing down the rig. Often the internal structure of these older designs were designed for the comparatively light loadings of a fractional bendy rig. When you shorten the rig and reconfigure it so that it will stay in the boat during a crash jibe, the rig becomes stiffer and so can overload the boat substantially.
As I read your list of work you are really altering this poor old girl a lot. Raising the boom will potentially give the boat a lee helm. Midships travellers on big fractional rigger mainsails make it hard to shape a big mainsail without big winches or a lot of purchase with means a lot of friction. The way that you sail a big fractional rigger you almost need to have the traveller in the cockpit to get enough sail shape control.
Then he is talking about cutting down the keel. IOR era boats tended to be quite tender requiring a large crew on the rail to stay on their feet. They also were pretty small in area for the speeds that the boats normally sailed. When you reduce sail area, you reduce boat speed and in theory need to add keel area. Reducing keel depth and area can only result in a very tender boat with poor windward performance.
When you talk about adding all of the other stuff, I really have to think that this guy bought the wrong boat, because when he is done all that he will have left intact is the hull and the hull form of a 1980''s era IOR boat, while better than earlier IOR hull forms was still a pretty lousy shape for a boat.
As anyone who has followed my posts know, I am a major fan of modern boats for cruising. By this I do not mean IOR era boats which to a great extent is what gave modern boats such a bad reputation as cruising boats. He would be much better off selling what he has and buying a non-IOR design from the same era. They are a little more expensive to buy but in the long run they will need less modifications and be a better boat for cruising.