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Old 31-12-2007, 09:15   #1
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Advice sought from those with experience...

Greetings,

I've sailed and lived aboard a Columbia C36 for six years, all of my experience being in the Chesapeake Bay area. I'm now looking for a Liveaboard crusing boat that can be used for bluewater cruising. I have a total budget of $150,000 and am capable of doing most repair work. I would appreciate any and all advice. Boats to look at, ones to stay away from, the adequacy of my budget, steel, fiberglass, fero-cement. I don't require speed or style, just a solid seaworthy vessel.

Thanks and very best,

Paul
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Old 31-12-2007, 11:42   #2
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I paid $59K for my Hans Christian. Probably $3K worth of work per year on her to keep her in great shape (including me doing a lot of the work for free). I'd absolutely get a cheaper boat if I were you (in the < $75K range), and keep the difference for sailing adventures.

If you've been sailing and living aboard I'm sure you have some solid opinions of your own, but I'll certainly chime in with Hans Christian, Union Polaris, and (if you can stomach the price) Valiant.
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Old 31-12-2007, 15:34   #3
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Location: Pelican Bay, Great Sandy National Park
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Them thar Columbia C36's look to be a real yarn craft...

Whats wrong with your Columbia C36?

They look pretty good from over here, if a little old.

If you could tell us why the Columbia does not suit we could better discuss alternatives.
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Old 02-01-2008, 08:49   #4
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Thanks for responding,

I bought the C36 from a salvage yard and restored it in order to learn about boats and sailing. I now liveaboard with my girlfriend and it's a bit cramped, we've also saved up $150K not just for something bigger, but nicer. I love the way the Columbia sails, however, as a home it's kind of more akin to camping.

I'm assuming that a sizeable portion of my budget would be set aside for repairs and upgrades but I have little experience with larger cruising boats. I also have no experience with blue water. I am in no great hurry and am trying to be open to all options.

Thanks again,

Paul
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Old 02-01-2008, 09:44   #5
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metal hulls

Boracay,

I've been looking at several Roberts boats and a couple of Colvins. What are these steel boats like compared with sailing fiberglass of comparable size? I've read in a couple of places that steel boats are incredibly slow, true? or perhaps exaggerated or uninformed opinion. There are many things that seem attractive about a steel hull.

Thanks again,
Paul
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Old 02-01-2008, 18:50   #6
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If I could get the sails up I'd know how fast...

I don't know how fast my Roberts 44 Offshore is but from previous experience with a 32' ferro I'd think it will come in some where between very slow and abysmally slow when compared with a good fibreglass boat.

Good fibreglass boats are either derrived from top wooden boats or designed by the top designers or both.

Now you know why I put in a large reliable engine...

At the moment the prop is way over pitched so I am getting 7 kts max from 1700 rpm which is about 45 hp. The designed waterline length is 32'11" which gives me a theoretical top speed of 8 kts.

I like the steel as it is within my skill level to upgrade and maintain it. Scratches and gouges just go on the "to do" list. A nice fibreglass boat would be wasted on me.

Budget wise I'm getting a 44' steel for the price of a 36' fibreglass.

If I had wanted a fast fragile boat I would have brought a multi.
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Old 02-01-2008, 20:16   #7
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Depending upon how much work you want to do yourself, there are some remarkable deals out there on steel boats. One of our other posters is now running around southern florida on a 45 footer dutch built steel ketch he paid 5k for...yeah that's right, 5k Took him 7 weeks to get it in the water.

Steel boats can be very good, or very bad. Here's the deal. If it was taken care of, i.e. well painted with the right coatings and watched for accumulation of water etc. in the bilge, they can be very good. If not, depending on whether you're willing to spend a few weeks learning to weld steel plate, they can still be pretty good, or abysmally screwed up.

A properly coated steel boat has a lot of advantages. The weight distribution makes for a nice blue water ride, generally they are strong as the dickens, watertight (no hull/deck joint) and have good survivability with groundings, scrapes against various things , including reefs...and will 'win' an altercation with a fibre or wood boat.

On the other hand, you want to keep a couple of chemicals on board hehehe First is a rust converter type, I like "The Right Stuff" , you can get it at autoparts stores. You get a scratch on the hull? dab this stuff on and you have months to get around to doing your primer and recoating. No kidding, months. Amazing stuff. Second thing you want is toilet bowl cleaner called "Snowbol" or something similar. Get it at the dollar store. Its hydrochloric acid in concentrations of 14 to 20 percent. This stuff cleans organic stuff off of other stuff really well You can also take a rusted bolt and soak it in this stuff and get down to clean metal. Don't let it run onto your bottom paint cause it eats copper but you can use it on deckstains that won't come out any other way, rust stains, dirt, whatever. Get some Baking soda to neutralize it when its done its thing and rinse away.

ok, with steel you need to watch your zincs, you want good ones at all times, and lots of them. Once the boat is properly coated and painted, having owned both, I think they require less maintenance than fibreglass.
Some are built so smoothly you wouldn't know they were steel, others more industrial looking hehe. Make sure you watch for water in the bilges.

Speed wise, I think you'll find *generally* not as fast in light airs as lighter boats, but can usually carry on longer in heavier seas with greater comfort than lighter boats...as a cruiser..take your pick heheheh.

Other than that, hard to generalize other than If you get a steel boat, consider opening up the interior and two part fire retardant foaming the inside of the hull. Helps with three problems. First, steel boats are like drums...you can really hear what's going on in the ocean, all the time LOL. Foaming solves 90 percent of this. Second, steel will drip condensation like a faucet in the northern lats when cool. Foaming solves that problem too. Lastly, what happens to steel is that they rust from the inside out, from the moisture trapped inside and poor coatings. You need galvanized primer, then a few coats of epoxy paint, then foam. As a final touch paint over the foam with some cheap latex paint and the fire retardant factor goes way up. Do your hull this way and you won't have water coming into contact with steel, inside of the boat stays amazingly dry, electronics last much longer, life is much better on board, hell even your clothes quit smelling so musty. Leave the bilge under the engine unfoamed, just double up on the epoxy.

Lastly, in a lightning storm, you're inside a faraday cage.

The biggest thing tho, and what motivated me to move to steel was my father's incident with my previous boat. He took it out alone, forgot to turn on the fuel valve, lost power, put it into a rock jetty at about 3mph and knocked a hole thru the bow big enough to crawl thru. Fortunately it was above waterline and there were no seas running. The commercial ship surveyor who went over my current brewer designed steel boat told me the steel in the bow "looks like a damned ice breaker" heheheh

oh, one more thing, if you go fibreglass, I'd STRONGLY advise staying away from a cored hull, or cored decks for that matter. Here's why. I don't care what ANY builder says..and I mean ANY!!!!,,, fibre boats 'work' in a seaway, they twist, they flex, that core starts to separate, then all those neat little fittings screwed into the hull, the deck etc. start to move, then a tiny little air leak happens,, now when the hull flexes you have a pump...if its wet outside, you get water sucked in, that water migrates, the core separates some more. I've seen older coared boats actually squirt water like a geyser out the hull deck joint.....then, there's blisters....

Don't get me wrong, there are some serious solid fibre hulls out there, generally older as the incentive to build light in the name of 'enhanced performance' has the amazing coincidental effect of lowering builder costs (funny how that works) as in boat building, weight equals money. Some of those older hulls are way overbuilt, and as solid today as the day they left the mold. Can be had for songs.

If you have some cash, and you're mortgage isn't an ARM, this is a damned good time to be looking for a boat, and a nuts good time to be looking at steel.


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Old 02-01-2008, 20:17   #8
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When we bought our boat, we had looked for about 5 years using the criteria we had laid out.. we know we would spend a good number of hours at anchor or tied to a dock so the livibility or the room inside was a must.. I'm a nut for a navigation station and the wife wanted a galley she was comfortable in..
One of the boats we fell in love with was a HansChristain 42 triditional.. and that perticular lay-out was what stuck in our minds.. Then we went out and sailed one, nice boat but it takes 20 knots of wind to get her going and a quarter mile to turn her around..
Most of our sailing, we figured would be in lighter conditions but the boat must have the ability to put up with total crap if by chance we were caught in it.. So we decided to look for a boat designed for abuse, and able to move well in light air..
Our first choice was the Beneteau First 38 but after a year or so Of looking we happened across a First 42...
We moved onto it 4 years ago and havent turned back sence.. We've had many people over and they're supprised how livable and comfortable the boat is... When sailing, she's a dream and the harder the wind blows, the easier it is to sail..
I dont expect the First 42 to be the boat you chose but you may want to use our way of deciding which boat to buy... Bucause your living on the boat, it has to be a comfortable place to be.. somewhere you can streach your feet out and kick back...
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Old 03-01-2008, 16:48   #9
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Rebel Heart,

Thanks for your reply. I'm going to look at a HC 43 on Saturday. Any advice on what to look for in these boats. Are the Teak overlay decks problematic? I've heard this about some boats.
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