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Old 13-07-2011, 14:26   #16
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Re: Fiberglass vs Steel Hulls

Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
Steel hulled boats get magnetised going through the water and so when you get to an anchorage and throw the anchor over, it jumps straight back up and sticks to the hull.

Have you ever considered a plastic anchor then?


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Old 13-07-2011, 14:31   #17
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Re: Fiberglass vs Steel Hulls

Is this not dead horse # 11..........

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Old 13-07-2011, 16:43   #18
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Re: Fiberglass vs Steel Hulls

I think your choice of hull construction depends on several factors.


1 Are you building the boat yourself? If you will complete a welding course at your local community college, you can build the boat yourself, outdoors. Unlike aluminum or fiberglass, outdoor construction is no problem. With aluminum or fiberglass, you'll need a shelter of some sort to build under, even if it's just a big tent.

2 Where do you plan on cruising? If you want to go to either of the poles, or most of your adventures will take you into rock or coral shallows, I'd look at a metal boat.

3 If you have a major accident, and really tear your hull up, most places in the world can repair wood or steel boats. Major repairs on a fiberglass boat in some parts of the world could be problematic.

4 For pure toughness, you can't beat steel. I realize this is not a usual problem to consider with a yacht, but look at this photo. Loaded with 50 tons of military dynamite, the boat took a direct hit from a Viet Cong mortar round, which ignited the load, and the subsequent fire could not be extinguished. The boat was considered a total loss, but it never sank. If you had a terrible fire at sea that gutted your boat, you could conceivably take to your raft and wait for the fire to stop, the boat to cool down, then reboard your boat later. I'd rather have SAR personnel looking for me onboard a large steel hulk at sea, than in a raft, anytime.


1 As mentioned, you'll need your compass in a binnacle, and have it compensated by a competent adjustor. Not a big deal; look at all the steel hull working boats around...........not to mention you'll likely be using a GPS.

2 Yes, it will need paint maintanance........not as hard as maintaining a nice varnished wooden boat, though.

3 Yes, it can sweat inside, but so do aluminum and fiberglass boats.

4 In smaller sizes, the steel boat will be heavier than fiberglass.

If your foremost need is safety, a metal boat is tough. Rocks, collisions, long term abrasion on a beach......metal is best.

If you're going to stay close to home, where a quick rescue is likely, in the event of a serious accident, any material will serve your purposes, in my opinion.
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Old 21-06-2013, 16:34   #19
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Re: Fiberglass vs Steel Hulls

Originally Posted by Celestialsailor View Post
It is totally true about the magnetism. Why...I had a steel boat that was so magnatized...I no longer needed sails to go north. Just weigh anchor and away she would go to magnetic north...amazing!!!
I just about died laughing
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Old 21-06-2013, 19:29   #20
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Re: Fiberglass vs Steel Hulls

Moderators!!!!! WE NEED A SUB-FORUM FOR METAL BOATS. There is so much information, and (OH GOD) opinions on metal boats the we need a sub-forum for the metalically (sp?) demented among us. How about it????____Grant.
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Old 21-06-2013, 19:58   #21
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Re: Fiberglass vs Steel Hulls

rust never sleeps.
Bahamas this winter.
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Old 21-06-2013, 20:10   #22
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Re: Fiberglass vs Steel Hulls

I've owned four fiberglass sailboats and one beautiful steel 48ft ted brewer cutter. We put over 10,000 miles on our steel boat and I will never own another steel boat can not beat it.
The maintenance and the toxic paints and primers that you have to use to try to keep ahead of rust is just not worth it. We currently sail a 37 foot tartan in the Caribbean and love the boat..Also most steel boats have a low displacement to ballast ratio because there is so much weight just in the materials to build the boat.
One steel boat was enough for me....I mean are you really going to go sailing where you might hit icebergs????
just my thoughts from 8 years of cruising a steel boat
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Old 20-08-2016, 21:00   #23
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Re: Fiberglass vs Steel Hulls

That was so helpful! Especially the last comment from the guy that owned both fiberglass and one steel boat! We have a beauty in mind, but have been worried about the maintenance and your response really hit home. We have been cruising for 2 years and want to continue for another 10 to 15. There is enough maintenance, Thanks for all of the great answers!
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Old 20-08-2016, 22:07   #24
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Re: Fiberglass vs Steel Hulls

There's no lack of steel boat threads here on CF. And this one's fairly recent Steel boat heaven or hell?
I asked a few questions in it, as the material is of interest to me. Though I also spent several years in the US Navy, including a few in a ship yard, doing a refit on a Cruiser. So I have less illusions about steel's weak points. Like the so called "ease of repair", being "fire proof", or "reasonably heavy". Most of which I mention & explain in the above thread.

Pretty much, I think that if you're going sailing where there's a higher than average chance of bumping into something, then steel makes sense. Especially if the boat's over 40'. Otherwise the drawbacks tend to lessen it's perks.

For some interesting & educational reading, you can see what Snowpetrel did to his steel cruiser, in terms of both prep, & general upkeep. To some it may seem a bit extensive, others not. But too, she was used as a high latitudes semi-polar cruiser.
Snowpetrel Sailing: Snow Petrel..The boring details

PS: His current boat's aluminum. And his blog's excellent!

The Uncommon Thing, The Hard Thing, The Important Thing (in Life): Making Promises to Yourself, And Keeping Them.
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Old 20-08-2016, 23:31   #25
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Re: Fiberglass vs Steel Hulls

Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
Steel hulled boats get magnetised going through the water and so when you get to an anchorage and throw the anchor over, it jumps straight back up and sticks to the hull.

That doesn't happen with FRP.
Up in the northwest of Australia there are islands that are almost all iron. I was overnighting and dropped off to sleep. When I woke up I plotted my position and found I had only travelled about 1/4 of a mile. Checked the chart and found the boat had been motoring around a magnetic anomaly for an hour and a half. Would not have happened in a steel boat.

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