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Old 25-10-2005, 07:19   #1
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motor sailor: steel or GPR hull?

Hi Everyone,

because of my family situation I had to sell my sailing boat. Now I am looking for a nice, heavy motor sailer in order to be able to sail the European inland waterways as well as the Baltics and the Med.
I have found 2 used boat which seem to suit my needs but I am not so sure which one is better:

1) steel hull motor sailer
itīs a 40 foot, 20 tons boat from 1969, build like the old Norh Sea fishing boat but with only 1,2m draft and a centreboard (2,4m)
Needs some work (pilot house, change some interiours), but besides that it seems to be in good shape.



2) GPR-hull motor sailor
40ī, 13 tons, 1,55m draft from 1980
pretty good shape



boat 1 has more space and a better lay out for the family cruising.

Now my questions:

a) in long terms which boat needs more work/ money on maintenance?

b) Has anyone expirience with a steel hull and a centrebord?
As it is hard to reach I am concerned about corrosion in the casing.

c) What about the sailing capibilties of this type of boat. I know itīs not a racer, but will they move at all?

thanks for your opinions

Volker
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Old 25-10-2005, 21:30   #2
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Well I never thought I would say these words, but... Choose the fiberglass boat.
Due to the age, and considering the pictures, as well as your description of interior problems, the steel boat looks scary. Center board trunks are a problem area on any boat that has one.
As for the GRP boat, 1980 is not a bad year. they were still overbuilding at that point. Check for gel coat failure, and blisters are very likely in a early 80's boat. Both designs look good.
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Old 26-10-2005, 12:23   #3
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Kai Nui I don't agree. I think you need more info before you decide. Steel does not go bad with age. A simple ultrasound (auido graph) test will tell you the condition of the steel. If the steel is sound, that changes the picture. To me, the decision is based more on what use the boat will see. If you plan on exploring (which often means hitting the bottom now and again) I'd go with the steel if it's in good shape. Blisters and delamination can be a nightmare. So, were it me, I'd look a little deeper before I made up my mind.

Regards,

TJ
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Old 26-10-2005, 15:55   #4
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In a general sense I would agree with Kai Nui regarding the steel motorsailor. Steel boat building technology has come a long way since 1969. The coatings and metals have improved a lot. Work boat style boats build built during that era tended to be a pretty rust prone high carbon steel. When you talk about a 44,800 lb 40 foot boat, the stresses are enormous and so work hardening can become a serious problem. While careful maintenance (including replating and reframing when necessary can extend the life of a steel boat almost infinitely, during the 1960's steel boats of the that era were seen as having a 25 to 30 year lifespan depending on their scantlings.

By the same token the 1980 fiberglass boat was built in the heart of the worst period for blisters. It was also a period when the quality of glasswork was still very low. Large amounts of resin accellerator, and non-directional reinforcing fabrics were used producing hulls that were brittle and fatigue prone. Fabrics were routinely folded prior to layup and laminates were routinely resin rich further aggrevating the fatigue and brittleness problems. In other words, this boat may not be as sturdy as its weight might suggest and with all due respect to Kai Nui, I do not believe that there ever was a period when production boats were routinely 'overbuilt'. The poorer materials and handling combined with the lack of internal framing meant that these boats, while heavier than boats of today were in no way over built.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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Old 26-10-2005, 21:38   #5
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Thumbs up I vote for the GRP

The steel boat looks like a roller with very little ballast.

But, yeah! check the contruction of the GRP hull. But from the picture it looks like a good design..............._/)
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Old 26-10-2005, 22:05   #6
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TJ, for the reasons that Jeff so eloquently stated, I stand by my "opinion". Had interior problems not been mentioned, I might be a bit more positive about the steel boat, but if there are seen interior problems, you can bet the worst ones are not seen.
And Jeff, you are not wrong about the 80's boats, but the early 70's did produce some good hulls, and a few were made well until as late as 1980. Boats from about 77 to the late 80's were especially prone to blisters. I mentioned this fact, as well as gelcoat deficiencies. Again, that is only a guess, as I do not know this design. The sheer thickness of the hull on my boat is representitive of the quality by way of overbuilding as opposed to quality by way of design. Again, just an opinion, but it is my opinion.
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Old 27-10-2005, 06:09   #7
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Kai Nui,

I think that we are substantially in agreement in our posts above. I also agree that there were many reasonably well built boats during the 1977 to mid-1980's era. Where I think we may be in disagreement is in the assumption that a heavily constructed hull is a well constructed hull. During the period in question thick hulls were achieved by using resin rich laminates employing large quantities of non-directional fabrics (either mat or chopped glass). During this era mat was considered a perfectly legitimate way to achieve a thicker hull. We now know better.

Since that time, it has been learned that mat really is not a very good laminate in several ways. There have been two pivotal studies that have brought this out. The US Naval Academy did a study of impact resistance in preparation for the design of the current generation of the NA 44's. The tests revealed that using mat in the laminate greatly reduced impact resistance. It seems that the fact that the fibers are not woven means that on impact the mat layers within the laminate split apart similar to the way that wood fails on impact.

The other study was an insurance industry study. Insurance companies had noticed that they were experiencing much larger impact damage in older boats than would be expected given the thickness of their hulls and the sometimes minor nature of the collision. In the study actual sections of older hulls were tested for bending and impact resistance and compared to the calculated values that would have been expected. What was found was that a combination of industry-wide poor material handling techniques, widespread use of non-directional materials, and resin rich laminations meant that these older boats had a greatly reduced strength over what they would have had originally and lacked the strength of much lighter modern laminates.

Of course all of the above is a broad generality which may or may not apply to any specific boat in question.

I also really disagree with the myth that early fiberglass boats were built as heavily as they were because designers did not know how sturdy fiberglass was. If you talked to designers from that era and look at the literature that came available during the 1950's, designers of that era knew exactly how strong fiberglass was, but they also know exactly how flexible and fatigue prone early fiberglass was. There was a move in early fiberglass boats to avoid the use of internal framing. In the absense of internal framing designers knew that the hulls had to be much thicker to distribute the loads, fight flexure and attempt to reduce fatigue. These boats are not stronger, they are merely thicker.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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Old 27-10-2005, 11:15   #8
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Thanks for the answeres. I will be in Holland the next 2 days having a closer look at both boats.

@ Kai Nui: the interiour problems are because of a leaking deckhouse. This I will have to rebuild completly anyway (but the boat is also 1/3 lower priced than the GPR- boat). Beside this the interiour is in a perfect shape as it seems.


Anyway in a few days I will have a much better impression on the boat and probably come with more details and of course more questions back to this forum.

Volker
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Old 27-10-2005, 17:36   #9
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Remember,

There is no free lunch. Whatever you save in the initial purchase price of the boat will be spent to bring it up to grade. I would not consider either boat. Each is wrought with problems. There are thousands of sound boats on the market within your price range without resorting to the pain you will feel when you realize that you should have done more homework.
Don't rush into a venture you will regret when the dust settles and the work begins.
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Old 30-10-2005, 14:21   #10
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@ Jentine: Whatīs wrong in watching some boats?
I went there, took a look at the boats and I think I learned quiet a few things.
But if there are thousands of boat like that out there you might have a good idea what other boats might meet my requirements?

@ delmarrey: You where right about the Kuiper kotter. It is a roller. I test sailed it. Actually it sailed surprisingly good but I wouldnīt want to take it out in rough wether. -> not this one!

The Dartsailor actually looked quiet good. Does anyone has experience with Dartsailors?

Do you know any similar boats?
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Old 30-10-2005, 14:37   #11
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Jeff, I agree with what you are saying. I think we were both generalizing initially, and that usually ends up missing the point. I have far more experience with wood boats. I have done quite a few repairs on fiberglass, but nothing really extensive, and only one structural on the hull. I have to admit mat is basicly worthless. I have a box of the stuff that I have not been able to use for the past 3 years. I think I am going to use it for a propane locker. Not good for much else.

Hasenmann, Got it on the interior issues. I am not surprised about the rolling. Sounds like you are well on your way to an informed decision. Good luck.
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Old 06-11-2005, 11:15   #12
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New alternatives

Kuiper Kotter is out of the race, so ...

1) Dartsailor 38 might still be interesting.

As I have taken a look at a couple of motorsailors there are 2 more that might also be interesting:

2) Fisher 37

3) Nautor Swan 39DS

Do you have any experience with/
know of any weaknesses of those boats?

Volker
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Old 06-11-2005, 12:11   #13
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i have never seen the swan over here, but there are plenty of fishers. fishers can be found all over the globe. that tells you something.
when i was thinking i was ready for a live aboard, i looked at fisher 37. they sail pretty well for what they and they are 70's boats so maintenance is key. they are popular with older sailors not ready for or interested in power. considered to be safe and sturdy. there is a fisher 46 in ft. lauderdale. listing says new to market, but she has been on for a year. now thats my idea of a live aboard.
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