The hull material debate is a flame thrower, no doubt. It's especially annoying when a newbie (such as myself) sheds an opinion about it
However; I've been hard at work for months trying to figure the angle of every dangle. It's complicated, and that's an absolute certainty. I'm slowly piecing it together, with help from the internet
such as this one are good starting points, but it helps to wander around a bit, and to read the logs
of sailors, the ones often written out on blogs and dedicated web sites. I look for such logs
, but especially for the ones dedicated to trips involving the part of the world where I intend to spend retirement
My reading tells me I NEED a steel boat. I've read far too many horror stories involving reefs
and fiberglass hulls. I've read many a happy story involving steel hulls, reefs
, and a couple of dents that the skipper
will take care of someday ...
In searching for a steelie, I've found that most of them are in the South Pacific
(go figure). They use steelies and cats, and once in a while a fiberglass jobber that stays away from the reef like a mosquito from deet.
Along the US coastlines, the fiberglass boat reigns supreme. The weekend seafarer does well with these boats, which don't rust and can be left in the marina all the weeks (and months) that their skippers are too busy to float around the intercoastal waterways.
A materials decision is really going to be fiberglass, most of the time. For a few areas of the world, this newbie's not-quite-educated opinion is that only steel is for real ...
As for steelies in the US, I think the upper great lakes
seem to be a good place to look. Those are likely to have retained most of the hull ....