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Old 17-03-2008, 20:00   #1
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Opinions on Bruce Roberts designs

I am looking for information on Bruce Roberts designs. I have recently seen alot of them for sale in some for of completion. Are these the new ferro-cement? They look beamy, with too large of windows, shallow draft, BUT, steel hulls, decent lines, if finished usually well laid out below deck. Anybody have one, sailed one or have an opinion backed up by more than air? Thanks.
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Old 17-03-2008, 20:28   #2
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44 Offshore

Boracay is a steel Roberts 44 Offshore. I brought her as an almost bare hull with new mast and rigging, secondhand sails and an almost kaput engine.

Some initial thoughts:-
I am almost 2000 hours into the project, it has cost more and taken longer than I anticipated.
A new engine is very nice.
Some owners lavish care and money on their pride and joy and others sail them hard, put them away wet and leave them neglected on a mooring for years.
The price of a amateur built boat in really good condition can be a fraction of what it costs to get a poor boat into that condition.
Steel is a good strong material but rust is an ongoing concern.
Steel must have internal drainage (limber holes etc.) so that water never pools inside the boat.
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Old 17-03-2008, 20:47   #3
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Our old boat was a Roberts 40. They are cruising boats, and do that pretty well, with decent amounts of room for their size. The size of the windows is really up to the builder - some might be on the large side, many won't.

Bruce Roberts has been working with steel for long enough to know how to design boats that work. As long as the builder has followed the plans properly they are good boats.

There have always been unfinished projects for sale, and not just in ferrocement or steel. Building a boat is a huge job, and many people underestimate just how much of a commitment it is, in both time and money. Or their circumstances might change.

Buying a partly completed boat could be a real bargain - as long as YOU don't underestimate what it will take to finish the job. Some people sell part finished boats for just the material costs or even less.
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Old 17-03-2008, 21:26   #4
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In the very early days, Roberts actually desinged FC. But most of his designs in recent years have been designed and built for steel. That isone of the key's. They are Designed to be built in steel. There are many on the market because there were many built over the years. They are not rocketships, but are a fantastic Cruising boat. Like any home built boat, you are never going to see one the same as another. Each will have unique fitouts.
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Old 18-03-2008, 02:21   #5
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Bruce Roberts has some great designs,I have seen two 25fter's set up for coastal cruisin for 2 people.But I like the "Sprey's",Mudnut.
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Old 18-03-2008, 06:33   #6
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Never have built a BR vessel, although I carted around the plans and scrounged parts for a 53’ for many years – just never got to where I could pull the trigger… The vessels themselves are a good or bad as the builder – often as not a do-it-yourselfer, although occasionally a small yard will build one…

There is no reason a builder should have to guess a whole lot about much during construction as the plans are about as detailed as they can get – probably more thorough than many to support his more amateur oriented clientele – so inadequacies are on the builder not the designer… He’s been doing steel for several decades – never particularly liked the appearance of multi-chine steel, so I’ve not cared for the esthetics of his steel renderings for the most part… Probably pretty well known for his Spray series, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I think the more intriguing series is his Tom Thumb series which he added 15 or so years back – sort of a cross between Whitholz and Hess to my eye – assuming one is in the market for a modest sized steel vessel…
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Old 18-03-2008, 19:58   #7
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I thank you all for your answers, are there any other resources I might be able to find with reviews or comparisons, perhaps an independent bio of Mr. Roberts?
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Old 18-03-2008, 20:19   #8
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Aloha Rex,
The only thing I don't like about most BR designs is that they call for a center cockpit. All else is good in my opinion.
Kind Regards,
JohnL
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Old 19-03-2008, 00:23   #9
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A lot of BRs designs had the option for both CC and aft cockpits as well as sloop or ketch. A review I read of the offshore series a few years ago said "the most remarkable thing about the offshore series is that there is nothing unremarkable about them" "This makes them ideal cruising boats as none of their proportions are exaggerated". This may make them a bit slower compared to very modern designs , but it also means that they may be a bit gentler in a slop.Click image for larger version

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Old 01-04-2008, 08:39   #10
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Not All Steel

Not all Bruce Roberts designed boats are steel, the construction material is left to the builder in most cases. I personaly have an Offshore 44 built from glass and have seen plenty of others built from the same material. I have also heard of them built using timber as well as aluminium. Whilst my offshore 44 isn't as fast as present day cruisers it does behave well in rough conditions and boy does it have some room below decks (well compared to my previous boat, a 34' centre cockpit).
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Old 01-04-2008, 12:10   #11
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Resposeidon,

If you are considering a steel Roberts design, you may wish to check on the Metal Boat Society website - as I recall, there were one or two of his designs where the skeg was inadequately supported by framing and the result was catastrophic failure offshore leading to at least one reported sinking.

Brad
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Old 01-04-2008, 13:12   #12
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Bruce Roberts made some great designs but I doubt he actually built any of them himself. There is the design on the one hand and the construction on the other. Not all of them were built that well and many of them were home built so you can't really know how well the design was executed.
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Old 01-04-2008, 15:14   #13
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Bruce Roberts designs are middle of the road cruisers often with centre or aft cockpit versions.they are sound designs, the unknown of course is the ability of the builder. Though I have seen many that were built to a higher standard than I would have expected to get from a commercial operation.
In most cases they have acceptable sailing abilities and are capable of reasonable daily runs. They are more motor sailers than true sail boats but that is what you need for cruising.
You will find that the 43 through 45 foot designs, Norfolk, Mauritius, Offshore 44,Roberts 45 and Classic 45 all have the same hull lines, the differences being in the transom, keel and bow configuration, and of course the rig variations, this is probably the same for other models with similar overall dimensions. I have built 2 roberts hulls that were based an amalgamation of the Mauritius and the OS 44 in steel.
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Old 01-04-2008, 21:52   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boracay View Post
Boracay is a steel Roberts 44 Offshore. I brought her as an almost bare hull with new mast and rigging, secondhand sails and an almost kaput engine.

Some initial thoughts:-
I am almost 2000 hours into the project, it has cost more and taken longer than I anticipated.
A new engine is very nice.
Some owners lavish care and money on their pride and joy and others sail them hard, put them away wet and leave them neglected on a mooring for years.
The price of a amateur built boat in really good condition can be a fraction of what it costs to get a poor boat into that condition.
Steel is a good strong material but rust is an ongoing concern.
Steel must have internal drainage (limber holes etc.) so that water never pools inside the boat.
There is a lot of truth here and very wise advise. I have had 2 steel projects and realized too late that I should have saved my money for something closer to turn-key. Like you say...steel is strong but oh my gosh the maintenance if you let it get away on you. Unfortunately a little paint can hide problems on a used boat for a season.
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Old 02-04-2008, 06:07   #15
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We have friends with a Bruce Roberts design steel sailboat. IIRC this was one of the first hulls welded together by Kanter (Kanter Yachts Flash Launcher) almost 30 yrs ago. Fresh water boat lightly used but has made some extended cruises. From what I can tell it's a well built boat, incredibly strong but as mentioned seems to require almost constant attention.

The interior is massive with a grand aft (owners) cabin.
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