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Old 04-11-2019, 03:17   #1
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Unhappy Into the ice with plastic or 100% ONLY with metal?

Hi folks,



I am into the market for a 40-50ft steel ketch for high latitude sailing and (one day) going into icy waters.


So far I have only been looking for steel, because to my humble opinion it is the only choice for poeple who are not suicidal cruising nw passage.



BUT there are ... during 2 month of search ... exactly NILL yachts which meet my checkbox list and are with my budget (80k USD payed) without mayor(!) work to be done.


In my dispair I started looking at "plastic" boats, as Aluminium is in most cases out of budget anyways.
So far I have norrowed down the choice to fisher and nauticat. I hear how sturdy they are and see (in some refit threads) wall thicknesses of 1-1,5 inch handlaid material. Displacement is more or less equal to steel boats.


So I am asking myself - are these yachts "suicidal" to go into icy and loggy waters (hitting deadheads in canada with 7knots is also no fun) or is it worth to take a look at these "plastic" boats?


Please help - I am not sure anymore if I am sensible or overcautious...
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Old 04-11-2019, 04:01   #2
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Re: Into the ice with plastic or 100% ONLY with metal?

Ralph,

Two books to read to help you decide:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Northwest-P...2864919&sr=8-1

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Frozen-Fron...2864990&sr=8-2

If you have not heard of David Scott-Cowper, he has spent a life time voyaging in the Arctic as well as a couple of world circumnavs.

In his second book he doesn't mince his words or views on plastic boats. Given that he has complete all 8 possible variations on traversing the NWP, perhaps worth listening to.

I read his first book over 20 years ago and found it inspiring.

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Old 04-11-2019, 04:06   #3
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Re: Into the ice with plastic or 100% ONLY with metal?

Iíve got a Fisher 37 and can tell you that the bow is over 2 inches thick (best not ask how I know). Very solid boat but I donít think I would want to be bashing through sea ice in it for days on end. I think the difference with steel and aluminium is the way they will respond to a knock; more likely to deform than crack/split. I think a Fisher is a great high latitudes boat, warm and dry, but into the ice....I suspect I would go with your first thoughts.
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Old 04-11-2019, 04:21   #4
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Re: Into the ice with plastic or 100% ONLY with metal?

Couple of boats close to budget:

https://www.yachtworld.co.uk/boats/2...dard%20listing

https://www.yachtworld.co.uk/boats/1...nced%20listing
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Old 04-11-2019, 04:27   #5
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Re: Into the ice with plastic or 100% ONLY with metal?

Thanks - I ve ordered the books.


On the cover of "fronzen frontier" I see a motor vessel.
Interesting.

I have been thinking about that as well. Is there a NEED to sail?
Motorvessels have a dramatic advantage: reach your destination by plan on time. Even at displacement speed they are usually much faster because you can go hull speed all time and without leaving the optimum direction.
No cost for sails and rigg... is the sail "version" realy dramatically better?
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Old 04-11-2019, 04:34   #6
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Re: Into the ice with plastic or 100% ONLY with metal?




The first one looks like a great candidate for the ice adventure indeed.
But the ice is only a "dream" and will - if at all - make less than 1% of our cruising miles. thus I want a comfortable boat for mid to low temps (but with pilot house) able to accomodate freinds and family. In addition to that is should be "ice capable".
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Old 04-11-2019, 04:43   #7
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Re: Into the ice with plastic or 100% ONLY with metal?

No real wisdom on the question, but if youíre interested in something a bit smaller, but purpose-designed and outfitted for Arctic travel, you might want to check out: Kuan Yin.
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Old 04-11-2019, 04:58   #8
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Re: Into the ice with plastic or 100% ONLY with metal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibetitsthisway View Post
On the cover of "fronzen frontier" I see a motor vessel. Interesting.
David has owned a yacht in the past but choose power for many of his adventures. He discusses it in one of his books. I guess manoeuvering through ice needs an engine therefore why not do the whole lot under power.

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Old 04-11-2019, 05:33   #9
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Re: Into the ice with plastic or 100% ONLY with metal?

Love Fishers, great boats. 2 years ago a 37’ Fisher hit a rock at about the same time I did. Getting off I knocked my rudder on another rock and pushed it past the limits. So I had to take that apart, move the rudder back, and carry on. At the end of the season I had a pretty good dent in the leading edge of my keel. I sanded it down and filled it in with weld metal. About an hour.

The Fisher got off the rock but had a pretty bad leak. The called a Mayday and got a CCG escort in. I’m not sure, they may or may not have gotten an additional pump from the CCG. They didn’t sink, got hauled and spent 10 months drying out the hull. I think the hull keel joint was disturbed? Not sure. When I talked to the owners Wife, who seemed knowledgeable, they were somewhat mystified.

All that said steel is no guarantee when it comes to ice. Pushing around in some surface ice or light brash is one thing. But when you pull up to some small growler to take a look and the realize it’s the same size and much heavier displacement than you l, well you get religion, fast. So I KKK at steel as some sort of small additional insurance. Best not to test it.

There is a nice 39’ Robert’s sitting in my yard. I figure $30k-$40k to bring it back plus about 800 hours if you do the work yourself. Pilot house, big reflex heater. Good layout for a couple. I thought about it but don’t have 800 hours to put into it.
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Old 04-11-2019, 06:12   #10
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Re: Into the ice with plastic or 100% ONLY with metal?

It's that plastic (fiberglass reinforced) is fairly stiff and brittle as compared to metal. It'll crack when metal bends.

Certainly motor vessels are at the advantage here. If you don't like sailing, you don't need to do it. Plus imagine all the extra diesel you'll have to stay warm.
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Old 04-11-2019, 06:28   #11
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Re: Into the ice with plastic or 100% ONLY with metal?

I’m guessing “pilot house” is the killer option. That really limits the number of boats you have to choose from.

We really wanted a pilot house in our big boat but didn’t get it. We did get a center cockpit cutter with an inline master bunk in the aft cabin. Trade offs. The pilot house is nice but I can imagine it would be a retraction in the tropics, perhaps a deal killer because of the heat. I’m on the hard in Grenada, I had to do some painting in the fore peak. The insulation was out, I could not lay on the hull it was that hot. I had to put pillows down to keep from burning my back.

Unless you are mostly sailing in northern waters I would open my criteria to look at boats without a pilot house. You can always add a hard dodger. Lots of high altitude boats don’t have pilot houses but DO have hard dodgers.

FWIW here is my idea of sweet porn.

https://www.boats.com/sailing-boats/...dard%20listing
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Old 04-11-2019, 06:41   #12
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Re: Into the ice with plastic or 100% ONLY with metal?

Well, Iím sorry to be the negative guy but what set my alarms off was 40 to 50 ready to go expedition vessel for $80K.
Iím sorry, but for that price and size, it doesnít exist, either your going to have to spend way more money and or a LOT of time refitting, or I suspect both.
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Old 04-11-2019, 06:48   #13
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Re: Into the ice with plastic or 100% ONLY with metal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chotu View Post
It's that plastic (fiberglass reinforced) is fairly stiff and brittle as compared to metal. It'll crack when metal bends.

Certainly motor vessels are at the advantage here. If you don't like sailing, you don't need to do it. Plus imagine all the extra diesel you'll have to stay warm.


While Iíve never sailed high latitudes and never will, Iíve flown up there, and if I were in a boat, Iíd want two engines with two different drive systems (sometimes itís not the engine but the prop, shaft or transmission that breaks)
If you had a sailboat, Iíd expect to not sail much, of course it could be done, many explorations were down in sail, but many wintered in too.

The good weather windows well North of the Arctic Circle in Summer have pretty much zero wind.
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Old 04-11-2019, 06:57   #14
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Re: Into the ice with plastic or 100% ONLY with metal?

Well... 80 is the planed wish price. If it is 90 it wount be a game Stopper.
But i dont want to spent 120 plus... Eh.... Engine refit for example.

I do have the experience That boats can realistically sell for 30-50% off the asking price... Thus i am looking for up to a Max of 150 asking price.
But Please.. Lets Not get into a pricing Debate before i even dont know where to turn Material and sail wise.

... Deep in my heart i know... Fishers and alike Are great rough water cruisers...but wrong Material for ice and Rock contact...
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Old 04-11-2019, 07:44   #15
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Re: Into the ice with plastic or 100% ONLY with metal?

Look here:
http://www.bobshepton.co.uk/

He sails a modified GRP Westerly 33.

Also
http://scottsboatpages.blogspot.com/...n-vega-27.html
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