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Old 09-11-2012, 13:11   #31
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Grand Rapids MI
Boat: 1973 Easterly 36
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Re: Bruce Roberts offer too good?

In comment to you statement about fiberglass loosening up I'll share with you my experiences with my 51 year old fiberglass boat. I bought a 1961 Columbia 29ft full keeled sailboat. The boat after all these years of use is still solid and dry. The former owner took care of it but also actively used it to cruise the Great Lakes with his family of 5. I've done mostly cosmetic work to the decks and wood work, but otherwise the boat shows no signs of degrading in the slightest. Since I've owned her I've really put it through its paces with several sails in 30-45knt winds and 12ft Waves and pounding the crap out of myself, crew and the boat for 14hr. 12ft waves on the Great Lakes aren't the same as a 12ft swell on the ocean, think much closer together and steeper. Anyways she's come through with no shifting tabs and no flexing of the hull whatsoever. Although being a 1961 it does have a solid hull and hand laid glass, before the years of bad production runs ect. Just thought I'd voice my experiences. Though my thoughts might be different after I bounced off an uncharted reef! Get ahold of Astrid on here she has a nice steel boat and does most of her maintenance as well.

"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea." Antoine de
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Old 09-11-2012, 13:48   #32
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Re: Bruce Roberts offer too good?

As a steel boat owner I'll join those that say there is not a big difference between steel and fibreglass. With steel the maintenance must be done sooner rather than later. Over time there would be little between them.

What is missing from this discussion is that 57' is a big boat in any material. It's going to be very expensive to keep.

When I say expensive I mean expensive. The boat will need fixing/upgrades/maintenance. Think $100,000 p.a. over an extended period of time. Yes, I did count the '0's" right.

If there isn't that much in kitty then go for a smaller fibreglass boat, but do your homework first.

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Old 09-11-2012, 14:50   #33
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Re: Bruce Roberts offer too good?

Pluses & minuses for every type of boat material and every type of design. There is always a compromise somewhere......

Regarding the "bumping into coral heads, uncharted reefs" comment, yes a solid & properly built steel hull will bounce off and live to sail another day IF it's a coral head. But there are thousands of square miles of uncharted reefs in some places in the Pacific (most notably around Solomons). If you're sailing along at 5 or 6 knots and go hard aground on one of these reefs in the middle of the night in a remote area - well, it doesn't matter what your boat is built from you will be most likely abandoning ship and leaving her to become eventual fish habitat! There's no 1 800 SEA TOW out there to drag you off and if the reef is a trade winds lee shore, you will be pushed further into the reef and there she'll stay.

As always in debates about which safety equipment, yacht design, hull material, GPS, etc, etc - at the end of the day, overall & long-time SAFETY comes down to the person(s) sailing the vessel. Good sailing practice & procedures and seamanship are always going to save your bacon much more than any other factor.

If you plan to be sailing in waters where the charts were last surveyed by Captain Cook or were never surveyed effectively in the first place, that's great and can I come ....... but seriously, extreme caution in route planning, plotting extra large Danger Circles, never attempting to make landfall at night, keeping proper lookout with every available eyeball on board for sudden breaking waves & changes in the water colour, getting local knowledge from islanders, other sailors in the region, etc, etc. etc - in other words good Seamanship in those poorly charted areas is the most important thing, not what the hull is made of.

If you want to get a steel hull, great! But make sure it was built properly and has been looked after. But plenty of posters have covered that. What I will say is, check how she was ballasted! Some older (70's & 80's) built steel hulls used concrete or metal scrap concreted in the bilge or keel. With this method, there is no way to check for rust except drilling core samples from the outside! Expensive and purposely putting holes in a hull is never a good thing....

Good luck with your search for a yacht.


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bruce roberts, offer

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