Tips on buying a Pre-Owned RS Elite (Submitted 2011)

Generally buying a pre-owned RS Elite is a reasonably safe bet.

A brand new RS Elite will cost in the region of £30k, a second hand elite can cost as little as £10500. However, prices for pre-owned boats depend largely on the extra accessories like racing instruments, trailer / cradle and the amount and condition of sails, etc.

It's unlikely that you will find an Elite below £10k, and probably as economic conditions improve second hand prices will rise due to supply and demand and bearing in mind the cost of a new one.

At the time of writing only a few second hand Elites are available, you should expect to pay around £18 to £20 k for a 3 year old outfit, with full kit, Trailer etc. you would pay less for the older boats, we currently don't know of any below £10750.

So far approximately 90 Elites have been built all from the same mould. However, the same mould has been used by different builders, the first 39 in the UK, then numbers 40 - 54 in Brazil and thereafter from 55 onwards in Thailand.

Despite being built in three countries the boat speed remains the same across the fleet.

In a recent UK Nationals, older boats, mid numbered boats and new boats all had good results with very few points separating them.

Things to look out for:

All newer boats have been fitted with Harken fittings; check cleats, blocks, etc, to see if they need replacing.

Check the spinnaker hatch cover for wear and tear, if its tired don't worry as a new one costs around £30 and is easy to fit.

Look in the forward tanks for any water, the tanks should be dry. If they show any signs of water, then the boat may have a leak, if this is the case look carefully at the self bailers and check for damage especially the under side, small hair line cracks can cause water ingress. Again this can be easily remedied, also look in and around the Rudder stock, and Speedo and check that the seals are OK.

Check the Keel for chips and knocks, the Keels in Elites consist of one stainless box section steel rod from the boat down to a lead bulb all encased in fibreglass. If you tap the sides of the keel you will find that it is hollow, don't worry that's part of the design however in some cases you may find water has got in, again this is easily fixed.

Mast: Check the mast for any signs of adhesive tape having been used in the past, in some cases either for transportation or for winterisation tape may have been used, once removed tape can take a thin layer of coating from the Carbon mast, if left in this condition UV can damage the integrity of the Carbon over time. Again this is easily fixed with a coat of varnish, but get advice before starting this job or have it professionally lacquered. If the mast still has the original halyards, you may find them a bit neat. Any replacements you should add an extra couple of feet to the Selden spec. Spinnaker poles, some boats are fitted with a twin pole system while others have a single pole. Your preferred choice can be easily adopted one way or the other.

Tacktick: Most boats will be fitted with a Tacktick system, for Boat speed, compass and depth, this is a wireless system and generally works quite well, boats fitted with a solar back up tend to be more satisfactory. On some of the older boats the system is fitted in the starboard forward tank and will have a 9v battery, this battery will need changed every season and sometimes twice a season and it's a wee bit fiddly. If any water has ever got in here you may want to check the wiring for any signs of corrosion. In later boats the system is fitted to the Starboard Bulk head beside the shroud plates and is much easier to access. If you have any concerns phone the Tacktick boys they are very friendly and helpful.

Stern damage: Look along the ridges around the aft deck for damage, this is normally where collisions occur as helms tend to forget how much stern is behind them or an opposing boat on the opposite tack hasn't allowed enough room! Likewise look at the bow for the same reason.

Inside the boat, it should come with an anchor and warp, 2 paddles and a bucket. Most boats will be fitted with a spinnaker shoot, and 2 forward pocket bags. Some newer boats have stern bags as extras. Check the middle foot rest bar, it should be tight and should not have been used for any mooring ropes as it is not load bearing it is only screwed to the floor. [Believe it or not someone did try to lift a boat tied to the bar rather than the lifting point!]

Sails: The original boats had Batt Sails the supplier was changed in 2007 to Hyde. Sails on the Elites are pretty good and in club sailing you should expect to get 4 years out them although you may want to replace the jib a bit sooner.

Trailers: The Trailers on the Elites vary some of they early ones have proper cradles fitted, in a few cases the aft cradles sit higher than the self bailers and has been known to cause damage to the bailers, these can be modified for a better fit. Some owners who have bought newer boats have kept the cradle type trailers because they liked them so much. Newer trailers have support pads and some come with event boxes.

If you plan to travel to Events with your boat [and we strongly recommend that you do] make sure that the Trailer is up to the job, it might be better to spend an extra say £300 on your trailer for piece of mind.

The above will hopefully give you a better idea of a pre-owned Elite. As one of the fastest growing keel-boat fleets in the UK, you will find a very friendly bunch in the class and we will be only too glad to help you and hopefully welcome you!


A Guide to Costs:

All costs below are approximate and are based on figures supplied August 2011 and include VAT. Occasionally winter deals are available for sails, be careful as most sail prices exclude delivery.

Insurance:         £360ish    (Full racing). But shop around.

New Main £1230            Halyard Lengths

New Jib £ 719                 Main Halyard: 27m of 5ml [Maffioli evolution race]

New Spinnaker £ 823                                         Jib Halyard: 12m of 8ml

Hawk £30                                                 Spinnaker Halyard: 25m of 5ml

Hatch Cover £28