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Old 17-12-2006, 14:42   #1
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Glass Vs. Alloy etc.

Why is it that American's hate metal sailboats? I think these things are really cool but when looking for an aluminum boat on yacht world i found about ten in the U.S. and 15 pages worth in europe. I love the idea of the tough construction, but do people think these are ugly boats? Does anyone have an opinion on steel vs alloy? I was surprised to find that alluminum was actually a more efficient metal when it comes to boat design. For more on this check out http://www.kastenmarine.com/alumVSsteel.htm
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Old 17-12-2006, 14:52   #2
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Everyone has an opinion on steel v alloy v fibreglass v vement. It has been discussed, at great length, in various threads on this site. A quick search will reveal more than you ever wanted to know on the pros & cons of each material.
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Old 17-12-2006, 15:29   #3
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I'm sorry maybe I didn't make myself clear. I meant this thread to primarily be about why Americans don't like metal sailboats and why europeans do.
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Old 17-12-2006, 17:00   #4
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I know it's a stereotype that Americans are all about money, but ... for me, it was all about money -- I didn't have enough of it.

I like the structural properties of aluminum, but it always cost more than fiberglass. I looked at used boat for quite some time, but never found one that 1) I liked, and 2) was affordable. I ended up with new fiberglass because it was affordable and in good condtion.
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Old 17-12-2006, 18:08   #5
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I am a bog fan of Alloys in the workplace but in the words of a truly great captain. When the world ends in fire and ice two things will still be here roaches and fiberglass boats.
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Old 17-12-2006, 18:26   #6
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Galvanic reaction due to sloppy use of electrics in American marinas is my reason for not liking aluminum hulls.
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Old 17-12-2006, 20:26   #7
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I'm sorry maybe I didn't make myself clear. I meant this thread to primarily be about why Americans don't like metal sailboats and why europeans do.
I think it comes down to you really can only buy the boats that are for sale. Even if you care to argue one is better most of the boats for sale in the US are not of metal. Actually most of them in the EU are not metal either. Most people could be wrong, but I don't see you starting up a big argument on Cruisers Forum about it.

If you ram a reef you'll sink just as fast.
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Old 17-12-2006, 20:33   #8
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I dont like how an aluminum boat sounds when you live in one, it's like living in a beer can, it is cold or insanely hot unless it is well insulated and it sure is easy to whip out some glass and epoxy when you want to change or fix something.

I think maybe why there are more aluminum boats in Europe is that aluminum in dollar terms is very expensive but when purchased in Euro's... it isnt so bad. Aluminum is a comodity, fiberglass is not. The dollar does not buy as much as it use to and the Euro buys a lot more than it did when it was first issued so some things to us that pay in dollars are expensive and some things to those who pay in Euro's are cheap. Basically... they can afford it.
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Old 18-12-2006, 01:05   #9
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Neglectfull...

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Old 18-12-2006, 01:43   #10
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I really don't think you can conclude that the US has less alloy boats than europe purely based on one brokerages selling list.
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Old 18-12-2006, 02:26   #11
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If one had to make a general statement then guess price is the reason.

In Western Australia aluminium is relatively cheap so no wonder they've built a local industry building superb alloy boats - sail and power.

I've had both and prefer GRP for looks etc, but would actually prefer aluminium if I expected to hit the bricks.

Contrary to popular belief as stated above - aluminium tends to bend before it breaks. GRP does not.

If you want to think about a comparison - go fire up the outboard and go ram a reef in a GRP dinghy. Then do the same with an aluminium dinghy.

I'd guarantee the first would sink and the second would dent.

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Old 18-12-2006, 04:16   #12
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In Western Australia aluminium is relatively cheap so no wonder they've built a local industry building superb alloy boats - sail and power.
I'm not sure I can believe the cost of aluminum is cheaper than fibregalss any place just on a cost of materials basis. It's not like you can use any old grade of aluminum either. That says nothing about the boats made in Western Austrailia. I doubt they are a quality boat only because they get the aluminimum cheap.

Also

Quote:
Aluminum is a comodity, fiberglass is not.
Sorry, just because something is a comodity does not make it cheaper. We would all like to think so but it's not true. In a pure sense fibreglass could be considered a comodity. Anything that trades on a large market is a comodity. Fibreglass isn't one pure thing. It inclides the resins and other materials that comprise a fibreglass hull. Aluminum is compreside of a very large number of alloyed and heat treated materials and each of those trades in it's own small smaller market.

This whole idea that aluminumm is cheap is not true.
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Old 18-12-2006, 06:46   #13
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It does seem like metal boats are a little cheaper in europe. Here is a cool article which will help to solve the price argument; at least for Australia Designing for Offshore Construction
Is everyone in agreement that Metal boat are a little more volitile than glass when it comes to up-keep?
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Old 18-12-2006, 08:09   #14
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Is everyone in agreement that Metal boat are a little more volitile than glass when it comes to up-keep?
Not really. I think that when you generalize the material of a boat to this level there isn't much I would agree on at all. Metal is not the same as fiberglass is something I do agree on. To the extent they are different I don't see is an advantage to either. I can identify numerous fiberglass boats that really are quite poor, but I'm sure that the fact that they are fiberglass isn't why they are poor. Poor boats usually have many things wrong with them but the actual base material can be all the same.

A fiberglass boat really isn't all 100% fiberglass. The process and methods of construction become part of the materials and part of what makes some better or worse for specific purposes. Even then it's just the hull not the whole boat. The same is true with metal. No one uses pure aluminum or pure iron. They all use alloys. The debate on alloys will head into advanced metallurgical discussions.

The link you posted is a sales advertisement for building boats in New Zealand vs the US. It seems the company feels they have a financial advantage based on monetary conditions that are unique. That is the only thing they discuss. They then go on to say that one off boats are just as good and a lot of other generalized BS. The article says nothing else about the process let alone the boats.

It's also 2 1/2 years old so monetary differences are not the same as May 2004. It may also say something else. If the article hasn't been updated in 2 1/2 years it may mean they were wrong. I sure don't know based on what I read.

If I disagree on anything else it may be that just because a boat is built in one location or another isn't an argument we really are going to resolve. French boats better than US boats, AU boats better than NZ boats, or similar discussions don't really go any place important. The idea that one country of location is somehow uniquely better gets no place. Over simplified comparisons are not very significant.
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Old 18-12-2006, 08:43   #15
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Originally Posted by unbusted67
Why is it that American's hate metal sailboats?
who said americans hate metal boats? during my search I found one old steel boat but was not interested due to age and condition. what exactly do you have against plastic boats anyway?
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