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Old 02-03-2016, 05:29   #16
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Re: Steel Vs Fibreglass

All GRP boats are not built like that Dehler, some are in fact flimsy, some are not.
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Old 02-03-2016, 06:39   #17
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Re: Steel Vs Fibreglass

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Originally Posted by Rustic Charm View Post
Yes, if you can alfford it go for aluminium.

If its your first boat you might consider steel as its more resisitent to damage. I would not say its safer, but it will take grounding and bumping things without significant damage. A glass boat will almost always require minor repairs after dings.
I don't have the budget for aluminium, and I think steel will give me that extra sense of security, especially when I'm exploring the Great Barrier Reef and pacific islands. I tend to be a bit adventurous in the things I do so maybe some times I'll end up with a scrape or two!
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Old 02-03-2016, 06:50   #18
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Re: Steel Vs Fibreglass

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We've had the steel in +33 and -10 and with the fans going / hatches open or diesel heater, it's comfortable. Our hull is insulated by 1" / 25mm closed cell foam panels and I could access it by removing wall panels. In saying that, the interior of the boat has 6 coats of epoxy primer paint on it so I don't expect it'll need a de-rust for another 10-15 years

Any boat in extreme temps should be insulated and you'll need a heater and fans / plenty of hatches. Just think of it like a car, if that helps.

n
I'm still leaning towards steel I think the extra sense of security will give me peace of mind particularly considering I am a relatively novice sailor. I'm with you the regarding the maintenance of steel, I work in an industry where steel is predominant and harsh environment exists, when steel coated properly with quality material it can maintain its integrity for many, many years. Also I prefer to work with steel and fibreglass. The key issue is determining the condition of a old secondhand steel boat! Thanks for the info regarding insulation. I'll add that to the checklist along with ability to remove panels.

Cheers Daz
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Old 02-03-2016, 07:17   #19
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Re: Steel Vs Fibreglass

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All GRP boats are not built like that Dehler, some are in fact flimsy, some are not.

Was so impressed by the video I looked up Dehler 31 expecting to find exceptionally massive construction.

Turns out it's actually light displacement for a 31 footer at only 3200kg.

Obviously well-built but guessing lightness of damage will partly be due to lower momentum/inertia of a lightweight hull.

Video seems to show it being deflected upwards by the rocks - the other "targets" were relatively light.

I've never believed light displacement necessarily guarantees flimsiness and I don't expect a64pilot does either.
Even so, that boat did bounce some didn't it?

Still prefer steel. Never know when a whale will bum a ride.
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Old 02-03-2016, 07:33   #20
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Re: Steel Vs Fibreglass

If you look at it statistically and eliminate broken thru hulls and other issues not related to the hull material...there just isn't much to gain.

One issue with maintenance is you have to seperate keeping it looking good vs keeping it from sinking. A few light rust marks on the cabin side are likely cosmetic but they look horrible. Getting to the point where a steel hull is like to go down takes a lot of ignoring. A fiberglass hull if you wash it occasionally and give it a wax once or twice a year will look pretty good.

Now if you want to play crash up derby or you want a really big boat, go for steel but otherwise, fiberglass makes the most sense (as born out by the sales numbers).
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Old 02-03-2016, 08:38   #21
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Re: Steel Vs Fibreglass

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Originally Posted by ausnp84 View Post
I'm curious... Have you ever owned a steel sailboat? As it doesn't sound like it.

Ally is a great material, but a bitch to repair, is a nightmare with corrosion and needs anodes dangled off it whenever in a marina.

The "breakeven" for steel boats is 40ft, but yes, a brand new Beneteau / Jenneau / etc will still outperform it. Still, I'd trust the steel boat more than a new plastic one.

Steel boat maintenance? I don't know where the rumour came from that steel boats need more maintenance. ANY boat needs maintenance - period.

N
No, and contrary to you I don't own a steel boat but a close friend of mine, on the same location, built one 20 years ago and still has it and I sailed a lot with another close friend that had a big two masts steel ketch, so yes, I am well aware of the maintenance a steel boat needs and I even helped with it.

Regarding the breakeven in what regards performance for a steel boat and a fiberglass boat I don't know were you get that idea. A typical 40ft steel boat displaces about 13/14T, a mass production main market, like Oceanis or Sun Odyssey displaces about 7.5/8.5 and a medium weight boat like a Halberg Rassy or a Najad displaces 11/12T.

Sure, from some years now it is available a very expensive special type of steel with whom it is possible to make steel boats with displacements not very different than aluminum ones even if not with the low maintenance that is typical of aluminum boats, but we are not talking about that type of steel boat (that is not usual) and that is only available in recent boats.

Regarding the maintenance of aluminum boats you are way off and if interested you should look for more information.

Regarding maintenance of steel boats I said that if they are well built and epoxy primers and paints are applied when news they can give almost a decade free of problems, but we are not talking about new boats and old steel boats need maintenance in what regards maintaining them rust free and expensive one in what regards the interior since some parts are not easily reached.

A fiberglass or Aluminum boat in what regards hull and cockpit material, if well built, does not need any special maintenance, even after several decades. Even if one wants to paint the boat to make it nicer the preparation to due that is much less expensive and takes much less time than on a steel boat.

That expensive maintenance on steel boats is what makes their used value to be low when compared to fiberglass boats (regarding their initial cost that is high) and also leads to many steel boats being abandoned, at least on the med, were you can find many on those conditions.
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Old 02-03-2016, 08:38   #22
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Re: Steel Vs Fibreglass

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Originally Posted by Daz1964 View Post
I'm still leaning towards steel I think the extra sense of security will give me peace of mind particularly considering I am a relatively novice sailor. I'm with you the regarding the maintenance of steel, I work in an industry where steel is predominant and harsh environment exists, when steel coated properly with quality material it can maintain its integrity for many, many years. Also I prefer to work with steel and fibreglass. The key issue is determining the condition of a old secondhand steel boat! Thanks for the info regarding insulation. I'll add that to the checklist along with ability to remove panels.

Cheers Daz
Hey Daz,

Just thinking about it - having bought a wreck of a steel boat and rebuilt it from scratch, I came up with a checklist for steel boat buying for my brother who was looking to buy a boat in Adelaide.

Let me see if I can dig it up and I'll ping it across to you.

n
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Old 02-03-2016, 08:52   #23
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Re: Steel Vs Fibreglass

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Originally Posted by Daz1964 View Post
I'm still leaning towards steel I think the extra sense of security will give me peace of mind particularly considering I am a relatively novice sailor. I'm with you the regarding the maintenance of steel, I work in an industry where steel is predominant and harsh environment exists, when steel coated properly with quality material it can maintain its integrity for many, many years. Also I prefer to work with steel and fibreglass. The key issue is determining the condition of a old secondhand steel boat! Thanks for the info regarding insulation. I'll add that to the checklist along with ability to remove panels.

Cheers Daz
Check out also the interior structure looking for rust created due to water from condensation.

If you think a steel boat is what you want and need go for it. If you look well you will find many on the market that can be bought cheaply and only need a lot of work and not a difficult one, to be on good condition again and that is an advantage if you have the time and don't mind to do the work.

Regarding choosing the boat try to keep away from boats built by amateurs (many) and try to find one built by a reputable shipyard. Probably the best quality will be find on the ones that come from Dutch shipyards.

Dutch had a special taste for steel voyage boats and many were built there till few years back. Regarding the boat designers Dutch ones are also among the best: Koopman (father and son), Dick Zaal and Van de Stadt are good bets.

Try to have a design as recent as possible and don't forget....being built by a reputable shipyard is very, very important.
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Old 02-03-2016, 08:59   #24
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Re: Steel Vs Fibreglass

ever heared of: don't feed the troll?
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Old 02-03-2016, 09:04   #25
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Re: Steel Vs Fibreglass

Each material has its drawbacks and advantages.

Personally my favorite is steel. Why?

Steel is strong, steel can be cut with an oxy acetylene torch and it can be welded with a stick welder on a beach in some 3rd word despot somewhere.

When it comes time to paint the bottom, you can use dustless blasting on steel, which is blasting media sprayed through a pressure washer specially designed for blasting.

With dustless blasting you could strip a 50' boat completely bare in half a day above and below the water line. You can't do that with a FRP boat.

Now when it comes to FRP, there are some advantages there too, the first of which being you won't have rust issues, and FRP is very strong to a point.

When FRP breaks it delaminates, meaning the layers of glass separate from each other. This can be a royal pain to repair, if not impossible.

FRP gives you great strength verses weight however, by weight it is stronger than steel, but in order to match the strength of steel you have to go much thicker.

I have mixed feelings about aluminum. On one hand it is strong and it is light, but aluminum is a material that likes to stress fracture. IF you have an aluminum joint that always takes a beating, eventually it is just going to crack in two.

Also on Aluminum plate that makes up the hull when it takes a beating and flexes it is also prone to cracking. And when it cracks it an be a real pain to fix.

If I found an aluminum boat I really loved would I not buy it? certainly not, but id be aware that these are issues I could have and plan accordingly.

Being light weight aluminum lets you have much more payload in the same size boat. I think that is a huge advantage.

You can also use dustless blasting on Aluminum but you do have to be more careful because if you over do it, you will burn a hole right through the metal.

The one advantage steel really has is that it can be fairly easily welded while still in the water if you know what you are doing.

Does that need to happen often? no.

Is it likely you will ever have to do it? no.

But it is nice to have the option say if you are 1500 miles from land in the middle of the Pacific with a hole in your boat, Being able to weld that hole shut would give me a lot of comfort even if I was just scabbing a plate over the top to get me back into port to do it right.

I hope like hell I never have to do that, but I will be prepared to do it if I do.
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Old 02-03-2016, 09:17   #26
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Re: Steel Vs Fibreglass

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Each material has its drawbacks and advantages.

Personally my favorite is steel. Why?

Steel is strong, steel can be cut with an oxy acetylene torch and it can be welded with a stick welder on a beach in some 3rd word despot somewhere.

Wouldn't it be easier to take an angle grinder and a couple gallons of epoxy and some fiberglass cloth rather than an oxy acetylene torch and a welding unit for repairs on the beach in some 3rd word despot? (what's a 3rd word despot maybe that will change my answer)

When it comes time to paint the bottom, you can use dustless blasting on steel, which is blasting media sprayed through a pressure washer specially designed for blasting.

With dustless blasting you could strip a 50' boat completely bare in half a day above and below the water line. You can't do that with a FRP boat.

Just use ablative and slap another coat on every year or two. How often do you have to blast the bottom of your boat?

Now when it comes to FRP, there are some advantages there too, the first of which being you won't have rust issues, and FRP is very strong to a point.

When FRP breaks it delaminates, meaning the layers of glass separate from each other. This can be a royal pain to repair, if not impossible.

Huh? You grind out the bad and lay on new. Short of complex composites standard fiberglass is easy to repair.

FRP gives you great strength verses weight however, by weight it is stronger than steel, but in order to match the strength of steel you have to go much thicker.

Sort of. Depends on the failure method. If you keep the weight the same as a typical fiberglass hull, the steel hull will be little more than sheet metal and easily punctured. You have to make the steel thick enough to avoid puncture and by that point, it's far heavier than fiberglass (at least when discussing typically sized cruising boats).

The one advantage steel really has is that it can be fairly easily welded while still in the water if you know what you are doing.

Does that need to happen often? no.

Is it likely you will ever have to do it? no.

But it is nice to have the option say if you are 1500 miles from land in the middle of the Pacific with a hole in your boat, Being able to weld that hole shut would give me a lot of comfort even if I was just scabbing a plate over the top to get me back into port to do it right.

I hope like hell I never have to do that, but I will be prepared to do it if I do.

If you punch a hole in a fiberglass boat, there are ways to seal it in the water also. Most don't bother because it's such a small likelihood.
There are alternatives that address pretty much all your concerns.
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Old 02-03-2016, 09:33   #27
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Re: Steel Vs Fibreglass

Nothing is stronger than steel. Resale is not that good though. My impression is maintenance is higher and a bit more difficult. Doesn't blister though.
A good fiberglass boat is very durable. If you don't buy a cheap lightweight fiberglass boat it's plenty strong.
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Old 02-03-2016, 09:41   #28
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Re: Steel Vs Fibreglass

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There are alternatives that address pretty much all your concerns.
Tit for tat really, you're making a mountain out of a molehill.

I just said why I like steel. I never said I don't like FRP. Good chance ill be buying a FRP boat at the end of the summer.

That being said in a couple of years ill be building my dream boat, and it will be steel.
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Old 02-03-2016, 09:55   #29
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Re: Steel Vs Fibreglass

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My impression is maintenance is higher and a bit more difficult.
This is the sort of off-hand comment that I don't understand.... Did a steel boat owner tell you it was higher and more difficult? Have you had a steel boat? Or is it just someone's friend's brother's uncle mentioned it?

I'm not having a go specifically at Cheechako - I've just heard this line so many times but never from a steel boat owner.

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Old 02-03-2016, 10:12   #30
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Re: Steel Vs Fibreglass

I think aluminium's a great material for boats but I do have a worry - don't know whether it's even a real issue though.

A young woman who bought an old aluminium boat found a lot of small holes below the waterline while scraping the hull during her refit. Luckily the boat was on the hard and she was able to find someone to weld them.

I don't know the cause of all the little holes but they looked coin-sized to me and had no hull thinning around them.

Galvanic/electrolytic corrosion's a concern for all metal boat owners but if pocket change in bilges due to a single drunken de-trousering can sink the boat...

Even I would prefer a more sensible explanation please?
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