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
. 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.