Foam cored fiberglass
made with Vinylester.
. No structural wood anywhere. Very little wood even for decoration.
is in some ways superior to vinylester, the advantages are small, the disadvantages are more clear: its easier to repair and make secondary bonds with Vinylester, and epoxy is more expensive on every level (material cost, process cost, labor).
Polyester is a very poor resin, and should be avoided: its brittle, its heavy, its weak, its not waterproof (leading to boat pox). Barrier coats only deal with the waterproof issues, it does nothing for the fact that since polyester breaks before the glass, polyester boats actually look perfect as they structurally decompose at a microscopic level (the bonds between glass fibers and resin breaks deep inside the laminate). You can be perfectly OK with a polyester boat IF you barrier coat the bottom to fix/avoid the pox, AND if the boat is never ever "driven hard" so the stresses on the structure stay very far below the designed strength of the vessel.
While Balsa seems like a good material, its actually too stiff for structures (prevents load from being distributed, leading to local failures), its heavier than foam (not just the core
weight, but the glue needed to bond the core
to the laminate and the amount of resin that gets uselessly absorbed by the balsa) and it does rot
All other materials are inferior: more expensive to build, more expensive to maintain, less comfortable, and in nearly all cases, far less attractive visually except for those first moments where its just been finished. There is a reason almost every boat that looks good in a marina or at anchor
is simple fiberglass.
If you ever own or work on a boat built of aluminum, or you just pay attention to what happens to your aluminum spars or T-tops etc., you will know that the unpainted aluminum is both ugly and dirty, and painted aluminum is high maintenance
and bad for the aluminum. Its also much more expensive and heavier than foam cored vinylester fiberglass.
Carbon is simply inappropriate for hulls and decks: its expensive, very little weight savings is every actually realized, is very brittle and therefore much weaker than fiberglass, and its NOISY AS HELL underway. Its great for little things like masts and spars and rudders. Its bad for big stuff. Just like you can throw a shot glass through a plate glass window, small things can be made out of brittle materials, while big things... not so much.
Steel has some advantages in that you can always tell where its starting to rust: you can't miss the orange streaks. So at least you know exactly what you are going to be chipping, grinding, filling, and repainting today, and most every day. Unless you want your boat to look like a garbage scow of course.
Wood is simply idiotic, unless done purely for the aesthetics. There is no possible rationalization for wood construction: its substantially more expensive, wildly more labor, much weaker, far more failure modes, outrageously more maintenance, heavier, weaker, more flexible, less room inside, leaks
all over the place that move with weather
and sea conditions, ... But wood boats sure can look beautiful!!!!! Of course, wood boats usually look like hell, as a stroll through any marina will clearly demonstrate. And, of course, wood smells very bad: moldy, damp, like a mushroom farm.