Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

View Poll Results: Do you prefer steel or fiberglass?
Steel 7 24.14%
Fiberglass 22 75.86%
Voters: 29. You may not vote on this poll

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 21-02-2013, 16:26   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 777
Steel vs. Fiberglass

Hello folks,

Steel or Fiberglass? What do you gals and guys prefer and why? Thoughts, input, opinions encouraged...

Also, vote on the poll, even if you don't want to post. Curious to see how this turns out.

I'm guessing that glass will come out on top, let's see....
__________________

__________________
GalaxyGirl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-02-2013, 16:42   #2
Registered User
 
Panope's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Washington State
Boat: Colvin, Saugeen Witch (Aluminum), 34'
Posts: 1,593
Re: Steel vs. Fiberglass

If I can be absolutely assured that a steel boat was built and corrosion protected to the highest standards, then I would go steel.

I think fiberglass is more forgiving. A less than perfect fiberglass build will still be acceptable.

As a non-expert of either of these materials, I think it would be easier to find a properly built fiberglass boat.

Steve
__________________

Panope is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 21-02-2013, 16:46   #3
cat herder, extreme blacksheep
 
zeehag's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: furycame alley , tropics, mexico for now
Boat: 1976 FORMOSA yankee clipper 41
Posts: 17,779
Images: 56
Send a message via Yahoo to zeehag Send a message via Skype™ to zeehag
Re: Steel vs. Fiberglass

each has its advantages and drawbacks--i like both. i have fiberglass.
zeehag is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 21-02-2013, 16:58   #4
CF Adviser
 
Bash's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: sausalito
Boat: 14 meter sloop
Posts: 7,260
Re: Steel vs. Fiberglass

The larger the boat, the more I like steel. The smaller the boat, the more I like fiberglass.
__________________
cruising is entirely about showing up--in boat shoes.
Bash is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-02-2013, 17:12   #5
Registered User
 
micah719's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Somewhere in Germany
Boat: OEM, proportional
Posts: 1,439
Re: Steel vs. Fiberglass

For a boat?

Over 30 feet, steel (compared to alloy). Better galvanic corrosion resistance, better as-welded strength, better toughness and more forgiving failure modes, easier to find good quality material, easier to work. (Compared to GRP and/or wood) Fire resistant, much tougher, more durable, easier to modify. Also, I hate the GRP itch and stench but don't mind the weight and heat and dreck of steelworking. Was once deputy vice acting sub-assistant lance chief petty lackey (temp) in charge of bilge booze and bait on LCT's, LARC's and slugboats in a certain royal hunting club, so diesel-soaked rust has mutated my DNA and both my surviving neurons (one passed away, the other three deserted). Mind you, if I never see an engine again I'll be happy, gimme a stick and a rag any day...if only I had had more experience with those. Yes, I'm a luddite.

Under 30 feet; clinker plywood saturated & sheathed with glass/epoxy. Mainly cost reasons, but also for construction/maintenance (no mold of whatever gender persuasion), weight, and subjective aesthetics. Guess I have to live with the GRP heebiejeebies as I'm not and probably never will be a proper wood-only boat artiste, and am too lazy and cowardly to eschew the advantages of a leak & rot resistant low(er)-maintenance wood boat.

Last but not least...I've had three GRP boats and am happy to leave it at that. Helped refurb a mate's classic wooden motorcruiser and while it was fun and a lovely boat to pamper and use, I am not that much of a masochist. Other friends had a ferrocement ketch, kudos to them but it never got my seagiblets tingling. Carbon...imho, leave it in the sky, on the racetrack or under the ground, where it belongs. Titanium....oh very well, I'll reluctantly accept your unwanted trashy titanium boat to relieve you of the worry of such a patently unseaworthy material, you poor thing. Cor-ten? Cor blimey, ok, I'll have a bit of that too.
__________________
Ps 139:9-10 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
micah719 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-02-2013, 17:47   #6
Senior Cruiser
 
roverhi's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Kona, Hawaii, Carlsbad, CA
Boat: 1969 Pearson 35 #108 & 1976 Sabre 28
Posts: 6,006
Send a message via Yahoo to roverhi
Re: Steel vs. Fiberglass

The problem with a steel boat is corrosion. Even a well built boat will require constant vigilance to keep the rustermite at bat. A steel boat just recently pulled into our harbor, They spent much of the time here chasing down the rust around hatches, fittings on deck, and dings from normal wear and tear of dropped winch handles, etc. For me, in the usual cruising environment, steel is just too much maintenance. Having said that, If I was going to high latitudes and/or other challenging sailing areas like the three Capes, a steel or aluminum boat would be the only one I'd want to go in. Their ability to live through groundings and collision damage makes them nearly unsinkable as long as the rust is held at bay.

FRP is more than strong enough to sail anywhere and maintenance to the glass is virtually zero. They have other issues like hull to deck joint and other hardware leakage. These can be handled but can be expensive to take care of you if your boat has them.
__________________
Peter O.
'Ae'a Pearson 35
roverhi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-02-2013, 17:51   #7
Senior Cruiser
 
hpeer's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Philadelphia
Boat: Murray 33-Chouette & Pape Steelmaid-44-Safara-both steel cutters
Posts: 3,902
Re: Steel vs. Fiberglass

Got two steel boats. Guess that was my real vote.
__________________
hpeer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-02-2013, 18:26   #8
Registered User
 
Stingo's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Cruising the seven seas
Boat: Maxim 380
Posts: 133
Send a message via Skype™ to Stingo
Re: Steel vs. Fiberglass

And then there's the tale told by Paddy, his real name and a regular on the forum under a different user name... He was tapping off rust in his bilge. He tapped away industriously and in a very reminiscent way to that stupid forumite known as Stingo, who drilled a hole in his FRP boat below the waterline, Paddy tapped a rather large hole in his boat below the waterline. The only difference in the tale is that Stingo had a screw in his other hand that fitted the hole exactly. Paddy had a thumb which he pressed over the odd shaped hole. Then he tried using his foot to reach his cell phone to call for help. Sadly, that effort was in vain. He then tried the other foot. Then he ran out of ideas and leapt across the cabin to grab his cell phone, which wasn’t where he thought it would be, so he leapt about the boat in flat panic with a regular visit back to the hole, which, in the murky waters of the Thames River or some such cold and manky place in the UK, was getting more and more difficult to locate as the water rose in his bilge. To make matters even more interesting, it was stupidly cold water. He eventually grabbed the last of his freshly laundered tea towels (which broke his heart because he knew he’d now have to head off to the laundry for a second time in a week) and stuffed it into the hole. In the end, quick set epoxy and an unplanned laundry bill saved the day.
__________________
Stingo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-02-2013, 18:39   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 3,949
Re: Steel vs. Fiberglass

I think if you built the boat yourself or had it built for you steel is great, assuming it is done right and maintained. The problem I see is that after 20 or 30 years steel is usually a big headache that becomes progressively harder and harder to deal with. Some friends of mine had a Dutch-built steel trawler that always looked spectacular. They got hauled out once and one of the yard guys put his hand through the bottom of the hull. It turns out there was a built-in sewage tank there, so it was a double bottom at least, but the steel had rusted out from the inside. Yes, I know fiberglass has its problems too, but for most people they take neglect better, which is what most boats get.

Actually, my favorite construction is wood-epoxy.
__________________
Kettlewell Cruising
Kettlewell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-02-2013, 19:10   #10
Registered User
 
micah719's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Somewhere in Germany
Boat: OEM, proportional
Posts: 1,439
Re: Steel vs. Fiberglass

Tsk tsk, Paddy! Shoulda knocked another hole next to the first, to let the water out again....
__________________
Ps 139:9-10 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
micah719 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-02-2013, 19:27   #11
Registered User
 
sww914's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Punta De Mita
Boat: Vagabond 39 Hull # 1
Posts: 1,842
Re: Steel vs. Fiberglass

Fiberglass requires the least work. I act lazy because I'm trying to keep my weight up.
__________________
Steve
http://www.landfallvoyages.com
sww914 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-02-2013, 20:38   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 777
Re: Steel vs. Fiberglass

Great info. Makes steel seem like a maintenance nightmare.
How about foreign ports. Which is easier to get repaired if in a foreign port or small island? or would both be equally easy or difficult?
__________________
GalaxyGirl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-02-2013, 21:56   #13
Registered User
 
Iskoteo's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Campbell River BC
Boat: Roberts 434 pilothouse
Posts: 18
Re: Steel vs. Fiberglass

Our boat is steel, we trust her, she looks after us and we look after her, just like a fibreglass boat owner would do if he loved her.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	port Oct 25 2012.jpg
Views:	182
Size:	307.7 KB
ID:	55433  
__________________
Iskoteo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-02-2013, 08:01   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 777
Re: Steel vs. Fiberglass

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iskoteo View Post
Our boat is steel, we trust her, she looks after us and we look after her, just like a fibreglass boat owner would do if he loved her.
Your boat looks like a nice. How is your maintenance on her? Do you have to chase rust like everyone says? What does chase rust mean exactly anyhow?
__________________
GalaxyGirl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-02-2013, 08:04   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 777
Re: Steel vs. Fiberglass

Is steel generally better for world travel folks?

Steel boats are heavier? Do they consume more fuel because they are heavier, or does it not matter if you have the right hull shape and engines?
__________________

__________________
GalaxyGirl is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
fiberglass

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:01.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.