How to sail/buy racing trimarans in cruising modus ?

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by Skip JayR, Sep 30, 2015.

  1. Skip JayR
    Joined: Sep 2015
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    Skip JayR Tri Enthusiast

    Our forum member rogerf brought up an interesting statement within our discussion about an "old racing boat" built in 1982. You can read about the 60 foot Trimaran "Spirit of Ireland". This boat was built in 1982 as racer, and since 2006 it is sailing as cruiser for circumnavigation. Actually it is for sales. Is it worth to buy it ? - Or is our forum member and experienced multihull sailor Richard Woods right giving some warning critics: "Not a good boat even when new, probably one to avoid now" ?

    This boat (just as an example) as many other boats of the 70th till 90th had been built as racers, for different purposes, e.g. round island races, single transatlantic races, speed records whatever.

    Nowadays these "old boats" are in the market for sales. Very often being refitted (with modern rotation wing carbon masts and sails wardrobe)... and little bit modified... sailing mainly as cruisers (day charter, long distance sailing, round the world circumnavigations).


    Today "as old" we might see boats in the range of 20 years and more. Some call them the "GOM - The Golden Oldies Multihulls". You can find some few on the specific website here:

    So what to do with such "old boats" if one want buy them nowadays ? - Is rogerf right with his statement: "A racer is always a racer, even in cruising modus" ?

    It is an interesting (hyo)thesis and maybe a provocative one, too. :) I have not thought yet about it, very deeply. Personally I'd start from scratch to understand the designer's philosophy, and cluster multihulls/trimarans specifically into four categories:

    1. racing design
    2. racing-cruising version (of the original racing design)
    3. cruising version
    4. cruising-racing version (modification of 3. to be competitive in regattas for amateurs)

    Most important aspect by an individually analysis for me would be:
    is the boat still seaworthy (in bad weather / at maximum speed) ? - Proofing some technical aspects: E.g. crossbeam connection between mainhull and outrigger (ama), uplift/righting moment of the amas (bow section), trimming units (foils, daggerboard, (T-)rudder)) and mast/rig configuration (rotation wing mast, size of sails area), total weight/displacement (boat length, boat building method/materials).

    Hope for some interesting and valuably input for people who are in the situation to think about seriously to buy one of these "old boats", born as a racer and sailed as a cruiser ? Or shall they always keep a racer ?

    Tks in advance for a lively discussion.
  2. hump101
    Joined: Oct 2004
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    Location: Brittany, France

    hump101 Senior Member

    What Roger said was that racing boats should always be SAILED as racing boats, in cruising mode or otherwise. In my limited experience he is right. Racing multihulls are (or should be) lightweight, and have hullforms to match their racing weight.

    If you cruise and are able to keep the weight down to the racing weight, then even with reduced sail the performance will be such that the crew will have to be respectful of the capabilities.

    If you cruise and have increased the weight significantly, then the overloaded platform will be equally dangerous as there won't be enough buoyancy to support the new righting moment and load, even if the structure is increased to cope with the higher forces, so the crew will still have to be on their toes.

    That said, if you derive any pleasure at all from the actual sailing when you are cruising, and you can keep it light, an old racing boat will give you the same thrills it did to its racing crew. If those thrills were fear due to fundamental design limitations, then that is what you'll get. On the other hand, if you have a good one, you'll never lose the grin.
  3. Skip JayR
    Joined: Sep 2015
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    Skip JayR Tri Enthusiast

    An unfinished Formula 40 Trimaran...

    After hump101's excellent "summary" about the princips lets go into something concrete. Tks humb101 :)

    I have a sales offer for a Formula 40 Trimaran. I just got the infos from the broker.

    The "green boat"is an orphan, actually has no owner, as he demised shortly.

    It was the 2nd owner who bought her in 2013, but didnt complete the project. The first owner = amateur boat builder didnt finish it under deck: No interieur !

    From the French designer Phillipe Cabot I just got the infos that he didnt know at all about this boat. He only overhanded ~15 years ago a sheet of drawing and then never heard anything about. Neither he consulted the project nor controlled the boat building process.

    I like Cabot's Trimarans. Different ones of 40 and 50 Foot length have been built (more here about).

    So in consequences we can say about the "Greeny" (more pics see attached):

    • it is a boat built by an amateur
    • year of building is not clear
    • The hull was built in strip/epoxy. The cross beams and amas in epoxy/
    • weight is round ~3 tons for now
    • no interieur (under deck) / no accomoation for now
    • The 2nd owner has replaced in 2013/214 the mashine (30 hp), new sails (sails area unknown) and rotation mast.
    • As attached pictures show, it is ready for "day sailing".

    The sales prize compared to regularly built boats is reduced, but not too heavily for a boat which was built 10-15 years ago I would say.

    First questions I would start with thinking about to use this boat for "long distance cruising" (and short distance racing):

    • Is it a racer as the original "Formula 40" targets at ?
    • Is the given weight of ~3 tons not already too heavy ?
    • How much extra weight we have to expect from the interieur design (saloon/galley, Navi, Bathroom/toilett, accomocations (single / double berth) ?

    • Can this boat be sailed safely offshore as a racer (on amateur level) after the project is completed under deck ?
    • Or is it more kind of sportive cruiser (for weekend sailing without strong seaworthyness) ?

    Attached Files:

  4. Stumble
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Stumble Senior Member

    The boat looks grossly overweight to me. Both the main hull and ama are riding far below designed wl, and in the pictures it looks like the main hull has a scum line six inches above the bottom paint. Which is indicative of a boat that has been spending a lot of time deep in the water.

    Personally I would never buy a high performance boat without a known build history. Worse this boat doesn't even have a design history. The NA did a line drawing, and everything else you indicated was figured out by the builder... Again we don't know who the builder is so...

    The most I would consider buying this for would be the scrap value of the pieces. Then I would spend the money to have a multihull designer figure out if the scantlings as built are suitable. If not I would either scrap her, or sell her off with the disclosures of what I knew.

    Right now I don't consider this a boat, more of a boat shaped object.
  5. Skip JayR
    Joined: Sep 2015
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    Skip JayR Tri Enthusiast

    The shiny glamour world of Brokers.... the reality is differently.

    I didnt want hear that.. but yes, I wanted hear it/read it, as this had been my own thoughts already. :(

    The project has some tremendously risks (related to the investment of some ten thousand Euros).

    And as I know since 1/2 hour it looks worser than it should be, as seen in some latest photos I just got some minutes ago by email, see attached.

    The broker's comment: "These are the photos he got snapped by the widdow last week." - Who want believe that ? :!: (Rec.: I suppose he kept the "ugly part" secretly to push the prize up. )

    Interesting aspect... how to calculate the material value for such a F40 Tri ? As it is old materials mostly, I'd say something between 25-30 Thousand Euros ? (Rec.: We remember the latest owner invested 2 years ago new motor, new sails and new rotation mast.)

    I suppose another 30-40 Thousand must be invested... at least to bring that chaos into order.

    I am not really shocked about what we see "under deck". Many boaters can be really messie chaos guys as they are more sailors. I didnt expect a "cable plan" for the electric/electronic part. All must be done newly.

    What is shocking are the latest photos on deck and cockpit. Really looks terrible compared with the photos from the sales proposal.

    This boat is suffering... and crying for help.

    haha... nice wording... new for me. Yes, I called it a "boat project". Probably you are right that it is much less.

    I dont have the time for such a wrecky boat... best is to take 6 months a "sabbatical break", and concentrate fully on a complete refit. And have in total 150,000 on bank account to be on the safe side.

    Not my world.

    At the end I suppose beside the sales prize of 20-30 Thousand Euros it needs another 80-100,000 Euros to bring this "messie chaos" into an excellent and seaworthy shape fulfilling the IMO/SOLAS standard.

    Attached Files:

  6. Stumble
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    Stumble Senior Member

    I wouldn't bother pricing out the little stuff, and I don't care what it's worth new... What could I sell the engine for today used to a broker, same with the mast, winches, other major pieces. If it isn't $1,000 or more I wouldn't count it, the cost to rip it off and sell would be too high.

    The NA work could likely be done in stages. A quick once over can probably tell you if it's junk but not if it's any good. Then you go for a more detailed inspection that would cost more. How much more I couldn't even guess.
  7. Skip JayR
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    Skip JayR Tri Enthusiast

    I see, I see... you know how to deal :) Sounds like "Turkish basar"

    Yes I know the procedure.... and prizes. Actually for a 20 meter wooden boat which is very work intensive for a surveyor we pay roughly 7-800 Euros in central Europe. - It is a fully inspection herefor the boat must be taken out of the water to give sight onto the underwater ship segment.

    Not too costly. Some surveyers offer a 50-50% cost sharing. So it is a very objective analysis, the survey will be overhanded to the seller + buyer.
  8. Corley
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    Corley epoxy coated

    I wouldn't be too quick to dismiss an amateur built and designed trimaran. If the price is right have a NA look over the boat and confirm the scantlings are safe. Keep it light and confirm it's build quality you could have a decent boat. It might not be optimal but many amateur built boats copied scantlings from similar multihulls and are safe. The weight looks like a problem in this case but you don't know how much gear is onboard remove a heavy diesel for example and things might improve markedly.
  9. cavalier mk2
    Joined: Mar 2010
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    cavalier mk2 Senior Member

    My suggestion for a sailor looking for a liveaboard trimaran racer is...... a Farrier or Corsair and a tow vehicle. Even a F-27 will have as much room as a formula forty. The tow vehicle will be great for land errands and travel saving the hassle of rentals.

    From observation if such sailors are talking about the Atlantic coast of the US and Canada the Pacific Coast is probably higher up the list. Surely they know Atlantic boats get hauled for the winter?

    So why not keep all the options open? Instead of a boat that can do 10-15 knot averages on passage you have one that can do 60mph passages. Hurricane coming? Skip the mangroves, drive out of town. Sample the Sea of Cortes or a Northern lake. Use a regular slip with power hookups in the marinas for those work days. Have faster resale and a more stable value. There is a large owners group, a built in audience.

    Still stuck on old racers even though vintage appeal wasn't on the list? Join Golden Oldies, they are a fun bunch of people with great gatherings. What better way to experience lots of boats, even if they are French?

    Sailors named Skip need not reply.
  10. ThomD
    Joined: Mar 2009
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    ThomD Senior Member

    You have a point about an F27 the issue there is the initial cost. Depends on how one finances things, you want to get in and out, F-27 is your deal, if you have the float, or can finance. You want to spend as little as possible and keep for ever, get a legacy project or build a KHSD.

    So I sorta skipped through this thread and am lost at to whether the OP wants to buy the boat for racing or cruising or both. If you don't fancy yourself as the next gift to singlehanding, a boat that is cruising weight, but not so heavy that misses on payload you can tolerate + weight = displacement, can be an advantage.

    When A local 50 foot cat pitchpoled in the St Lawrence, I think it was Jim Brown who wrote it weighed less than an equal volume of styrofoam. You can make a trimaran as wide or long as you want, if it weighed zero it would have zero stability. We may not be working with lead ballast but weight is still key to sail carry and stability.

    Then there is the rig, a racing rig is hairbrained on a cruising boat, and not cheap to switch out, Maybe it could be shortened, and sails recut.
  11. redreuben
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    redreuben redreuben

  12. redreuben
    Joined: Jan 2009
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    Location: South Lake Western Australia

    redreuben redreuben

    Attached Files:

  13. Skip JayR
    Joined: Sep 2015
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    Skip JayR Tri Enthusiast

    Suprise, suprise....

    aha... never heard of these Trimarans, RedReuben. Many tks... will have a lurk over it. :)

    Have a good day !

    Skip JR
  14. Pammie
    Joined: Dec 2015
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    Pammie Senior Member

    Hi all,

    though discussion is going on for a few months I decided to join and answer.

    In my experience you can cruise with a racing multi but you have to be aware of its power. You have to know what you are doing. If not: better be careful and take some years to get experience. Not only in chosing the right sailcombination, but also in speed. Cruising at 5 knots or 15 knots is certainly something different!

    About prices of "old" multi's: In my experience 50 k could a reasonable asking price for a F40 tri. Why? I have been calculating what it would cost to build a new one. I think a selfbuild would not come under 120 k € (of course a little dependant on the material). And yes: a boat of 50 k has its issues. Has to be seen as a base from which to build further.
    3000 kg seems not to much if its "ready to sail" weight. A roomy main hull has it's price on weight. Also depends on mastlength/ sail area.

  15. Skip JayR
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    Skip JayR Tri Enthusiast

    No problem with you come on board for discussion. Has no hurry... as most of us have a daily business to handle. :)

    The F40 is something special I would say... as it has the potentials of going around 20 knots. So physically fitness is an urgent need I would say.

    Definitly regularly its not a boat for living on being measured to what we call "modern life". Its something kind of "normality" for the purists and folks who experienced cruising sailing in the 70th/80th.

    Last: I cant imagine to call any F40 main hull as "roomy". Does it exist ?? :) Show me pls. ;-)
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