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Old 26-04-2014, 09:34   #1
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Advice on Buying Steel

Good Evening
This is my second post, my first being on a Swanson double ender, and I received some great advice.

I am still looking for a yacht, still considering a Swanson double ender, but my first choice is steel. I am not interested in how fast I can get there, comfort, safety and fittings are higher on my list.

Now I know for some reason people do not like motor sailer's, however I kind of do I have been considering a John Pugh 36, and wondering about peoples thoughts on these??

Also a steel Boro Temptress 36, these look fairly seaworthy vessels.

Any good tips on what to look for when buying steel would also be appreciated. Apart from the obvious rust of course. Although where I may find rust would be a help, and how to spot any tell tale signs, even if the boat is in the water.

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Old 26-04-2014, 10:56   #2
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Re: Advice on Buying Steel

Hmmm.... steel boat ??? you'll find rust everywhere ... you don't have to go looking for it. Start at the bottom and work your way up. Why do you think they call them "rust buckets"?
First choice GRP/FRP solid, no core .. I know, there are some good cores out there but good that's a whole 'nother box of worms.
Second choice wood ... I know, wood rots but most people/yards can replace wood. Do you know how to bend, roll, fabricate, & weld?
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Old 26-04-2014, 11:58   #3
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Re: Advice on Buying Steel

Try using the google custom search option on this forum

Steel boats and rust
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Old 26-04-2014, 12:24   #4
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Re: Advice on Buying Steel

Every few years a "new" system for preventing steel from rusting comes out. That probably means that the previous "new" system didn't work so why would anyone think the current "new" system would be better?
Remember "rust never stops".
JMHO
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Old 26-04-2014, 13:04   #5
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Re: Advice on Buying Steel

Well, we have two steel boats and are happy enough. Our rudders don't break off nor do the keels!

The first bit of advice is to look for a professional built boat. Not that amateurs are no good or that pros can't be bad, but statistically the pros are better at it.

That will eliminate many of your choices.

Then let's talk specific boats.
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Old 26-04-2014, 13:57   #6
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Re: Advice on Buying Steel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chasing Summer View Post
Hmmm.... steel boat ??? you'll find rust everywhere ... you don't have to go looking for it. Start at the bottom and work your way up. Why do you think they call them "rust buckets"?
First choice GRP/FRP solid, no core .. I know, there are some good cores out there but good that's a whole 'nother box of worms.
Second choice wood ... I know, wood rots but most people/yards can replace wood. Do you know how to bend, roll, fabricate, & weld?
More yards can do steel work than wood plus steel is cheaper material and dosen't have to dry to work with it.I repair my steel boat myself and I never worked with steel before I bought it .Not that hard to learn welding.

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Old 26-04-2014, 15:15   #7
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Re: Advice on Buying Steel

We love our steel boat. Would not have it any other way. It takes us about 30 man-hours a year to maintain it, but the rewards are tremendous. The sense of security on offshore passages. She is Strong! we have run aground several times, partly because of our slightly adventurous cruising. We have banged bottom the ICW, sat on that bloody reef in Current Cut Bahamas, been blown onto rocks in massive squalls, and just carried on without any fear, and only cosmetic damage.
Every boat is a compromise, all you have to do is learn the material and how to care for it.

In the photo attached, there are 12 boats in the frame, only the steel ones survived, you can't even see the remains of the others. The GRP and few wood ones were pulverized to small pieces. 34 boats sank in that storm, they were all plastic or wood. There are more photos on our web page, and also on youtube search for "Sturm Andratx"

Every boat is a compromise...
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Old 26-04-2014, 15:56   #8
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Re: Advice on Buying Steel

Thanks so much for the replies so far, actually very helpful. I was fully expecting some very strong thoughts either way, people do have a personal choice, either through personal experience/research/advise etc:

My feeling in heading towards steel is very similar in attitude to 'sy_gilana'.
I have actually owned a 27ft dynel over ply yacht, this was easy to repair as some mention, but an absolute nightmare once the rot sets in, also up north if moored in shallows and your yacht is continuously sitting in mud at a low tide there is always a danger of worms boring in. I have seen this happen to a mates timber yacht and it was a right off (can't be repaired). I would not travel down the timber yacht path.

As mentioned by 'sy_gilana' steel is far more forgiving, I have also read recent articles in 'Cruising Helmsman' as to why people have chosen steel, and one point was simply that there is someone everywhere in the world who is able to weld steel, however finding someone who is proficient with fiberglass is always a little more difficult.

I have a liking for, and have been looking at Boden Germaine, Boro Temptress and John Pugh Motor Sailers, or any Motor Sailers (I like them) I am not sure if they are predominantly steel, but the ones I look at online always seem to be steel, and these all look like very solid ocean going vessels.
I certainly am not only interested in steel, but it is my preference, knowing that like all yachts, steel has it's issues (mainly rust)

Thanks again for the input, it is actually very helpful
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Old 26-04-2014, 16:53   #9
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Re: Advice on Buying Steel

Hmm... didn't take long for this to become a steel v the others debate

As to the OP's original question, let me say:

Look hard, very hard, on the inside of the hull for rust. Especially in the hard to see, hard to reach areas. Take a small (and medium sized) inspection mirror on an extendable handle along with a good torch to really inspect those "hidden areas". The type aircraft inspectors use when looking for problems deep inside a wing or whatever.

The problem rust will only be in hard to find, hard to access areas. Rust found elsewhere is simply not a problem because if it is easily accessible, it is easily fixable.

Look to see it the internal furniture has been designed to be removed (piecemeal) or if it has to be seriously damaged to remove it because one day there will sure to be serious rust behind a "permanently fitted" interior.

Amateur built boats are interesting in this aspect. IME, they really do fall into two distinct camps w.r.t. interior fittings. Some interiors are just chucked in with no concern to latter maintenance requirements behind them - at the best, they might put on another coat of paint . Others go the n'th degree to ensure everything can be pulled apart (without damage) to ensure good access to the base steel. Professional interiors seem (again IME) to fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum.

Look for anywhere inside the hull where water can collect. This is water from above, not from below (ie bilge). Condensation collects and runs downside the hull, look for anywhere it might collect before it finds it's way to the bilge. A well built steel boat has all these points eliminated in the original build.

Look for boats with insulation (removable) above the waterline. You sound like you are in QLD; if so, you will appreciate insulated decks and cabins. I'm told that insulation below the waterline in good in cold climes but I have no experience to back that up.

I know that after I added insulation (above the waterline) to my 30' steel Starfire (Boro?), life aboard in QLD was much better .

FWIW, I have seem great examples of amateur build boats, far better than the average built professional boats, but these have been outnumbered by poorly built amateur boats. In fact, it could suggested that older built amateur boats are a safer bet than recent ones in so far as serious rust problems only so up with age. A poorly built old one will easily show it's true colours.

Summary: Steel boats rust from the inside out, not vice versa.

Lastly, remember the old advice about buying wooden boats also applies to steel. Be wary if the boat has been recently repainted and be wary if the boat hasn't been recently repainted .
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Old 26-04-2014, 17:35   #10
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Re: Advice on Buying Steel

Thank you so much for that advice on buying a steel yacht 'Wotname'. Very much appreciate the detail to look for on inspection. And yes, LOL, I kind of expected steel V others debate, but that's okay, any information is valuable once looking past personal opinions.

Lucky I am not looking at buying Ferro I may receive a pasting LOL
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Old 27-04-2014, 06:08   #11
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Re: Advice on Buying Steel

"Steel is totally unsuitable for boatbuilding if it were not for coatings"

That quote was lifted from a book on steel yachts-----Klingel, I think.
Any broker will tell you that a steel boat looses 1/2 its price after 10 years.
That said, I spent many happy years ricocheting off of reefs (charted and uncharted) concrete docks,and third world fishermen ,all without significant harm to any of us. My material of choice for world cruising.
But, my friend, get a boat that can really sail so that your love for her will run deep (no pun). From steel I learned bravado, from fiberglass I learned finesse and navigation.

………………….luv you all…………………mike……………………………………...
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Old 28-04-2014, 07:54   #12
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Re: Advice on Buying Steel

Spend $200.00 on an inspection camera. You will be able to look in the hidden areas for problems.

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Old 28-04-2014, 08:07   #13
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Re: Advice on Buying Steel

You can get a very good USB powered borescope for around or less than $50, just uses your laptop or tablet as the display, but you get a real good big display that way too.
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Old 28-04-2014, 13:17   #14
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Re: Advice on Buying Steel

I picked up a standalone unit from Home Depot for $100.

But the USB solution looks good also.
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Old 28-04-2014, 13:36   #15
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Talking Re: Advice on Buying Steel

Quote:
Originally Posted by gbanker View Post
Remember "rust never stops".
You mean "Rust Never Sleeps" who knew Neil Young was a sailor, eh?
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