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Old 28-04-2014, 16:23   #16
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Re: Advice on Buying Steel

For inspection purposes, the interrior surface of my hull is divided into 28 sections fore and aft. Each section is further divided into the "A" top chine, "B" middle chine, and "C" bottom chine, port and starboard. Each area can easily be viewed, and I have a maintence log with a box to check and date. This way I can be sure not to overlook an inspection. One area (13,P,C ) needs a mirror to see under the head. The boat is not splashed yet ( I wonder how long I'll actually keep up with the maintenence log? lol)
Plastic boat owners dont get to enjoy this part of owning a boat...
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Old 28-04-2014, 16:54   #17
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Re: Advice on Buying Steel

I have worked on vessels made from FRP, steel and wood. Currently I am reconstructing a 70y/o wood Alden ketch, 47'. I own a 1962 Pearson Triton - bullet proof early fiberglass sloop. In a previous life I was a welder in a shipyard in NE Wisconsin where, along with 1500 of my closest friends, I built 1000' Lake Freighters. That yard also repaired old straight deckers, the last of the 100 y/o boats is right now being converted into a barge. The first nuclear powered aircraft carrier was in active service for over 50 years. All built of steel.

You're going to be fine. Read up on everything you can about rust prevention in ocean going vessels (anybody heard of a plastic jumbo tanker?) and do a good inspection now and regularly. Cutting steel plate out to get at rusted frames is straightforward, unlike on wood or even FRP. The only challenge is if you have to replace a sizeable section of hull - you will find shaping those multiply variable curves to be difficult. If the plate is rolled rather than chined it is difficult to recreate that.

The only reason I am doing my ketch in wood is that I am not right in the head!
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Old 28-04-2014, 19:32   #18
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Re: Advice on Buying Steel

Boracay is steel so I thought I'd throw in a few thoughts.

First line up your insurance company (make sure they "understand" steel) and start looking for surveyors on their "acceptable" list that "know" steel. Have a chat with your proposed surveyor before making any decision.

When buying a boat steel can have two really big advantages. First any trace of rust will send most buyers running for cover (so they can be cheap) and second, because they're cheap you can get a lot of boat for your money.

So my first suggestion is to go for a 40' (or 12m) boat. More marina berths, some lower costs.

Second, look for a boat with a big engine. Steel is going to be heavy and most likely slow under sail. Even if you need to repower it's better to have a big engine in to start with.

Next study up on steel boat construction. Turning up at a boatyard with a heap of rust and expecting them to fix it is going to need a very large bank balance. It could be a very good idea to familailise yourself with the locations of abrasive blasters. Welders can be found in the classifieds (can be expensive) and small but powerful welding machines are available for less than extortionate.

And in the same vein be realistic about how long it's going to take and how much it's going to cost. Boracay took over 4,000 hours and 5 years and cost about $100k (or more - in the end I stopped counting), but I had the use of the boat for all of that time and almost every part of the boat is new or in top condition.

Finally the real time takers on a steel boat (and probably on any boat) are the interior furniture and the exterior stainless. If these are good (or easily rebuildable) then it may be worth paying a lot more.
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Old 04-05-2014, 04:12   #19
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Re: Advice on Buying Steel

Well, I'll add my ten cents worth. I've had my 36 foot steel ketch for almost three years. I've now clocked up close to 5000 miles, not much I know but I'm proud of it. When I first started considering purchasing a boat I decided, intentionally to go for a steel boat. Part if the reason was because a descent fiberglass boat was out of my price range and secondly because as others have said, steel,can take a battering and then only need some panel beating.

Mine, was 30'years old and not n good condition. But I didn't me know that when I first purchased her. A survey was a waste of money and said only minor superficial rust but that wasn't true. However, what rust she did have was far from fatal and was easily rectified. In November last year I had a required insurance survey done and I had increased it's value by $15k, after spending close to $30k doing it up.

The most major rust was around the toe rail which had a wooden nudge bar bolted into it. Wherever the bolts went on it had rusted through.

Under the kitchen cupboard at about 18inches under the water line I found a patch of rust which was about 6 inches long by 4 inches wide. I put a scrapper through the hull preparing to paint it. I had to slip it the next day and my boiler maker then cut out a stringer of about a 3 feet by 6inches. Cost $800 to repair, so no big deal. Why it rusted in that one spot I could never work out.

Under the engine near the engine mounts was another place prone to rust but I got to that before it was too late.

Now, in 2014, I'm left with one hole in the starboard side 6 inches down from the toe rail. This rust was created by a leaking hf through hole fitting in the deck, which they obviously didn't bother to stop leaking. The water then collected on the spot where the rust was.

The most rust I found was in the sole around the entry hatch which had to be rebuilt. They had used household batts as insulation. When it got wet it stayed wet and then rusted the roof.

The insurance assessor commented that it's in very good condition for its age and with very little rust he said.

So that's my boat. I completely disagree that all steel boats are rust buckets. You can find owners out there, like I am that are very conscious of rust. Once you have it in hand, then it's not that hard to keep rust from becoming a cancer.

12 months before I purchased mine. I was interested in a 34 foot sloop I found in a harbour two hours away. Being sold by a boat broker. Three times I went to have a look at it until I became suspicious of the brokers. They simply would not give me time to give it a good going over. On the third visit I pulled a draw out of the gally and put my hand up underneath. I touched the edge if a chime and noticed it was heavily rusted. I grabbed one of the stringers and about 12 inches broke off in my hand. At that the broker wouldn't let me look any more. I walked away. Looked terrific on the outside, but I suspect she was beyond repair on the inside.

I'm not at all anti wood, plastic or concrete. But I wanted mine insured so I had to bypass concrete boats. But steel are good as long as they are good. Mine will travel as fast as 12 knotts and 4-6 is common on a min wind. If you want a cruiser then your not wanting to go anywhere fast so I don't think weight should be a problem. Size of engine depends on size of boat obviously. But then you need to consider fuel and tank size.

That's my two cents worth.
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Old 05-05-2014, 03:24   #20
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Re: Advice on Buying Steel

I sailed a pugh 36 from Opua to Tonga 4 years ago it was a very stable safe boat that could track along at 7 knots with enough wind,They look a bit chunky but it makes for a lot of room down below a very good live aboard.The one I was on carried on to asia and hasnt made it back to new zealand yet they are having too much fun.A very good cruising boat.Rust isnt a problem on steel boats if you keep on top of it I have a 50 year old dutch steel yacht and it is still in good condition.Modern paints make it a breeze.
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Old 05-05-2014, 04:42   #21
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Re: Advice on Buying Steel

Looking at a few steel boats the biggest single problem (in my opinion) in a few of them is that they have a poorly constructed pilot house and/or steering position.

I've seen on or two that must have been close to unusable for this reason.
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Old 05-05-2014, 04:59   #22
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pirate Re: Advice on Buying Steel

If possible find out/test what type of steel was used for construction... known some to cut costs with cheap mild steel..
Looks great for a while.. but soon becomes a nightmare.
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Old 06-05-2014, 18:29   #23
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Re: Advice on Buying Steel

I owned a steel sloop for about 3 years, and because it was amature built, it had some very good points and some real junk. The original paint system was awful, but I discovered that you can have a hell of a lot of ugly rust without any structural damage. The single biggest problem was the compass. I had it swung before leaving for Bermuda, and discovered that having it swung while motoring upright didnt make a bit of difference as soon as we set sail and heeled. The compass would change 10 or 15 degrees every time the angle of heel changed. I ended up going up to the mast and standing as tall as possible, and calling the course from my hand bearing compass to the wife who would tell me what the main compass said. We would know what course we were on as long as the angle of heel didnt change. This was a tiller steered boat , so the compass was mounted in the footwell, and had the big compensating balls. I think it would have been somewhat different with a wheel and pedestal mounted compass. Would I own another steel boat??? Yes, but I would want an alloy deckhouse and cockpit. Oh yes, I was aware of compass problems, so I had mounted a remote compass with the sensor at the spreaders. It lasted one day at sea. So much for magic electronics!!! Just my 2 cents worth. _____Grant.
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Old 06-05-2014, 19:09   #24
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Re: Advice on Buying Steel

Quote:
Originally Posted by gjordan View Post
I owned a steel sloop for about 3 years, and because it was amature built, it had some very good points and some real junk. The original paint system was awful, but I discovered that you can have a hell of a lot of ugly rust without any structural damage. The single biggest problem was the compass. I had it swung before leaving for Bermuda, and discovered that having it swung while motoring upright didnt make a bit of difference as soon as we set sail and heeled. The compass would change 10 or 15 degrees every time the angle of heel changed. I ended up going up to the mast and standing as tall as possible, and calling the course from my hand bearing compass to the wife who would tell me what the main compass said. We would know what course we were on as long as the angle of heel didnt change. This was a tiller steered boat , so the compass was mounted in the footwell, and had the big compensating balls. I think it would have been somewhat different with a wheel and pedestal mounted compass. Would I own another steel boat??? Yes, but I would want an alloy deckhouse and cockpit. Oh yes, I was aware of compass problems, so I had mounted a remote compass with the sensor at the spreaders. It lasted one day at sea. So much for magic electronics!!! Just my 2 cents worth. _____Grant.
Yes, I had the same problem. A compass suitable for a steel boat is close to $1000 in Australia. I rely on an electronic compass, but I have a cheaper desk mounted one on my nav table that seems to remain accurate, but if I'm heeling it's hard to read. I also have a hand held one just in case. My fluxgate compass is 1800 above the deck on the mizzen mask. That works well.
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Old 06-05-2014, 20:00   #25
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Re: Advice on Buying Steel

I live on a wood boat. I would rather it was steel and for several times the money it could have been. With any material it comes down to maintenance. One nice thing about steel, you can sandblast and have a new rust free surface. Any good steel surveyor has an instrument that can gauge the thickness of the hull and any steel plates you have access to. If you do proper maintenance, use quality paints and sealers and repair paint cracks, etc., right away, a steel boat can be rust free. It takes a long time to get deep rust pits.
Several years ago a steel commercial fishing boat was leaving an Oregon port and lost steering. Large waves pounded the boat against the rock breakwater for an hour. The rudder was torn off and the propeller shaft bent 90 before the Coast Guard could get a line over and tow them to safety. The only leak was a small one thru the packing gland. Repairs had to be made, but the boat and its' crew survived. My wood boat would have been match sticks. I doubt fiberglass would have survived. Steel is strong.
Hats off to the Coast Guard, we're lucky to have them.
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Old 07-05-2014, 06:32   #26
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Re: Advice on Buying Steel

You're getting a lot of realistic advice here, so I will only add that as a steel boat owner approaching the end of a restoration (well, it's in sight, at least), you can scan through my blog for tips and observations, and you can read this book, which I have found specifically very helpful to my efforts.
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Old 07-05-2014, 18:39   #27
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Re: Advice on Buying Steel

hello guys I am looking at a Koopmans custom 41 , any thought about them or Koopmans in general? what kind of reputation they have ??

cheers

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Old 08-05-2014, 07:04   #28
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Re: Advice on Buying Steel

Neil Young IS a sailor. His boat, W N Ragland, was up for sale resently. It is wood.
Keep an eye out on newer builds for steel hulls with an aluminum house (or various other mix and match metals). This can lead to its own problems, not always occurring at the joint of dissimilar metals.
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Old 09-05-2014, 23:20   #29
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Re: Advice on Buying Steel

Old joke but..

Q. "Why do they build ships out of steel?"

A. "Because whales bounce off of them."
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Old 10-05-2014, 12:15   #30
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Re: Advice on Buying Steel

Each material used to build a boat has it's own pluses and minuses. Metal oxidizes, wood rots, GRP delaminates - and so on.

It's all about preferences. If I hadn't fallen in love with a wood boat I would seriously looked into steel. But I just had to get this ketch.

The whale bit is true - bounce, heh heh.
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