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Old 06-11-2012, 00:28   #61
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Re: Steer me away from a steel hull?

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Ive owned a steel boat ( for a short while). It was Dutch built. I am in a yard currently with a lot of steel boats,

My conclusions

(a) Proper cosmetic repair of anything above the waterline , is way more difficult and expensive then GRP. Yes you can "slap on a patch" but if you want an invisible repair, its more easier to do it on GRP. Steel requires far more work, requires a good skill level and you can be faced with a complete boat repaint. Its just like damaging your car,

(b) The skills to do this type of repair are not commonly available in most boatyards, yes youll get a guy who works on trawlers, but that isnt what you want, if you have a 2-pack LPU finish, you may need a proper paint bay. these are not common.


(c) GRP repair people are readily available anywhere there is a reasonable boat industry, the materials are common and a good ( not neccessarily perfect) repair can be made by an amateur, leaving aside matching coloured Gelcoat, its not a particular skilled operation


(d) While the ultimate strength of steel itself as a material is far stronger , Having seen the type of construction of steel vessels I would have my doubts, In my experience impact damage on steel causes weld lines to fail and it is a skilled job to restore such damage to pristine. Often the interior has to partly or fully removed, unlike in a GRP job.


(f) Rust of course has been talked about already, Its not unusual to see 5 year old steel vessels look like 25 years old and 25 year old GRP vessels to look new

(g) steel is very difficult to do simple modifications,I wanted to put in a small oddments locker, in my GRP boat , that required a Jigsaw, some basic GRP components and a pre bought locker. IN my steel boat I would need a plasma cutter, lots of grinding, a rework of the 2 part LPU finish around the opening and still the rust would start under the ope, and streak


In conclusion, if you want a workboat, and its going to take punishment, you dont mind rust streaks and it can be patched by a dodgy stick welder, buy steel.

If however you want a "fine yacht" steel is way more trouble then its worth.

Re: Steer me away from a steel hull?



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Re: Steer me away from a steel hull?
I mostly disagree with every point you made and home builds in any material can be both good and bad but if you compare prof built boats then the maint is about the same.

1)To fix a steel boat remove inside fittings if welding is involved (heat) (plenty of grp boats have to do the same.

2) Cut out offending part (same as Grp boat)

3)Fit new part by welding on steel boat (by gluing or whatever on Grp boat)

4) Sand and fair using epoxy (same as Grp boat)

5)Try and match paint systems etc (same as large amount of painted Grp boats)

6) admire work (same as a Grp boat)

Welders far more common then Grp specialists.

I think the work is about the same the problems slightly different. I think your generalizations are inaccurate.
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Old 06-11-2012, 00:32   #62
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Re: Steer me away from a steel hull?

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Re: Steer me away from a steel hull?
I mostly disagree with every point you made and home builds in any material can be both good and bad but if you compare prof built boats then the maint is about the same.

1)To fix a steel boat remove inside fittings if welding is involved (heat) (plenty of grp boats have to do the same.

2) Cut out offending part (same as Grp boat)

3)Fit new part by welding on steel boat (by gluing or whatever on Grp boat)

4) Sand and fair using epoxy (same as Grp boat)

5)Try and match paint systems etc (same as large amount of painted Grp boats)

6) admire work (same as a Grp boat)

Welders far more common then Grp specialists.

I think the work is about the same the problems slightly different. I think your generalizations are inaccurate.
I guess that a steel boat fan is going to be hard to swing away. But having had Timber, steel and Plastic, my own experience is the following

Timber looks wonderful when your not busy re-varnishing.
Steel it strong and hardy when your not repairing rust .
Plastic is the boat you sail while the other guys are fixing their rust and varnish.
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Old 06-11-2012, 00:46   #63
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Re: Steer me away from a steel hull?

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I guess that a steel boat fan is going to be hard to swing away. But having had Timber, steel and Plastic, my own experience is the following

Timber looks wonderful when your not busy re-varnishing.
Steel it strong and hardy when your not repairing rust .
Plastic is the boat you sail while the other guys are fixing their rust and varnish.
So how come i see lots of Grp boats in the yards being fixed and maintained next to my steel boat when i am fixing and maintaining it? I just think that a well built boat in steel or Grp has about the same maint issues. The paints for steel boats now are much improved.

I curse my boat about 2 times per day when in the yard and about once a week when on the water, but about once every year for a peried of about 4 hours i cant think of anything to fix or maintain. I do enjoy that 4 hours.
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Old 06-11-2012, 01:10   #64
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Wink Re: Steer me away from a steel hull?

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So how come i see lots of Grp boats in the yards being fixed and maintained next to my steel boat when i am fixing and maintaining it? I just think that a well built boat in steel or Grp has about the same maint issues. The paints for steel boats now are much improved.

I curse my boat about 2 times per day when in the yard and about once a week when on the water, but about once every year for a peried of about 4 hours i cant think of anything to fix or maintain. I do enjoy that 4 hours.
I think plastic boat owners get a little more that 4 hours per anum ;-)

I guess that a good way to put it is that a plastic boat can live for 20 years without a touch of paint (aside from antifoul). A steel boat cant.

When it comes to rigging and machinery etc its all a much of a muchness. But not when talking about hulls and decks.
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Old 06-11-2012, 02:20   #65
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Re: Steer me away from a steel hull?

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I think plastic boat owners get a little more that 4 hours per anum ;-)

I guess that a good way to put it is that a plastic boat can live for 20 years without a touch of paint (aside from antifoul). A steel boat cant.

When it comes to rigging and machinery etc its all a much of a muchness. But not when talking about hulls and decks.
If you have a plain white boat and never touch anything, then yes, I think FG is less maintenance.

But a boat of any color, I think it's the same amount of maintenance or maybe even less. All of the finish work is the same, but ctual repairs are FAR easier with steel:

Most FG boats have painted or covered decks, for example. I recently totally reconfigured a hatch Total steel cost was MAYBE $10. I spent like $50 in epoxy on the wood trim alone. I honestly have NO CLUE how I would have done it in glass, but I know it would have looked like hell. (and I have NO metal skills. Running a grinder is NOT hard)


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Old 06-11-2012, 05:49   #66
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If you have a plain white boat and never touch anything, then yes, I think FG is less maintenance.

But a boat of any color, I think it's the same amount of maintenance or maybe even less. All of the finish work is the same, but ctual repairs are FAR easier with steel:

Most FG boats have painted or covered decks, for example. I recently totally reconfigured a hatch Total steel cost was MAYBE $10. I spent like $50 in epoxy on the wood trim alone. I honestly have NO CLUE how I would have done it in glass, but I know it would have looked like hell. (and I have NO metal skills. Running a grinder is NOT hard)


Great repair job btw. But you kinda made my point. If it was FG, you wouldnt have had to to it
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Old 06-11-2012, 06:35   #67
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Re: Steer me away from a steel hull?

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I think plastic boat owners get a little more that 4 hours per anum ;-)

I guess that a good way to put it is that a plastic boat can live for 20 years without a touch of paint (aside from antifoul). A steel boat cant.

When it comes to rigging and machinery etc its all a much of a muchness. But not when talking about hulls and decks.
When i had a glass boat i had to wax the boat hull maybe twice a year i dont do that on my steel hull. I did a hull paint in 2010 the prior paint was from 1995 and looking tired . Have not done any hull treatment accept to fix damage caused by myself and others which includes one dent and three knocks out of the bog and all fixed in the same way you fix a glass boat. picture in my album on new repaint. In queensland the sun is hard on paints and gel coats. The thing that gives me the most maint is the timber on the boat where it meets the steel.
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:15   #68
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Re: Steer me away from a steel hull?

I was just going to say that glass boats with owners who don't polish and wax their boats have shoddy looking boats. Glass boats often have deck core damage or core damage around the port-lights that are difficult and costly to repair. Scratches, dings and dents need repairing on plastic boats too. Basically all of the equipment on board is the same and requires the same type of maintenance or it just falls apart from the inside.
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:45   #69
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Re: Steer me away from a steel hull?

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Great repair job btw. But you kinda made my point. If it was FG, you wouldnt have had to to it
Again, not true.
The repair was a leaking hatch, FG boats have hatches don't they?

The new replacement was a different size than the old one, again a common problem with any boat.

however this hatch also had a removable board that had been glued in many years prior, and at one point it it's life had a teak sliding hatch cover. Again, plenty of FG boats have similar arrangements, and doing a complex change like that to glass would have been very difficult and very costly.

And not for nothing, but this boat was built in 1937, even in a state of disrepair it was pretty functional. I think it's highly unlikely anyone would have a glass boat from the 60's or 70's without myriad similar issues.
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:11   #70
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Re: Steer me away from a steel hull?

My opinion, A well built (not homemade) steel boat would be hard to beat for strength, durability and length of service if maintained very well. However,
* there may be fewer places to do your work (welding , sandblasting),
*or they may be priced for large commercial craft.
*You need to learn how to maintain a steel boat and fewer people will be around that know how to help you learn.
*A messy interior fiberglass boat (under the floor, behind cabinets, in the engine room etc) is just messy. A steel one may be rusting from the inside out.

Bottom line I think is that the boat must be very, very good shape when you buy it, keep it that way, then you've got a helluva boat! (I've never owned one though!)

Beautiful job Xymotic! That boat looks bigger than 36 feet... love those high bulwarks.
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Old 07-11-2012, 03:33   #71
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Re: Steer me away from a steel hull?

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G'Day all,

Leaving the maintenance issues for a moment, one other thing that might influence your decision is weight. You may be in the "heavy is good" school of boat design, but if sailing performance is of importance, steel has drawbacks in the size of boats most of us are involved with. May not matter to you, but when Ann and I were in the search for our current boat there were simply no steel boats that were anywhere near the SA to D numbers that we wanted.



I know that our opinions do not align well with the mainstream cruising philosophy, but they have worked well for us for a lot of years and miles.

Cheers,

Jim
A very good point and i think up to about 35 feet the weight of steel is a down side, but over 35 ish feet a steel boat can be as light as a FG boat. People do tend to over build in steel but if they had followed the designers plans they would have had a far faster boat.

Also wanted to say hello to you both as we met you in Morton bay about 3 years ago and enjoyed your company.

Andy
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Old 07-11-2012, 03:51   #72
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Re: Steer me away from a steel hull?

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I guess that a steel boat fan is going to be hard to swing away. But having had Timber, steel and Plastic, my own experience is the following

.
I was going to say i have owned boats in timber, steel, aluminum, copper, Kevlar, ferro, silver, gold etc to add weight to my argument but i haven't so i cant.

We should start a thread "Steer me away from a GRP boat" then all us steel owners can haunt that one and the GRP owners can keep going with this one.
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Old 07-11-2012, 04:11   #73
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Re: Steer me away from a steel hull?

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What are the downsides of a steel hull that I'm not thinking of?
You never learn to spell “osmossis” properly...
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Old 07-11-2012, 04:18   #74
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Re: Steer me away from a steel hull?

foam core and fiberglass will float, somewhat, as a sheet of material. Steel will sink. Give me fiberglass with foam core, insulation, any day.
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Old 07-11-2012, 05:23   #75
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Re: Steer me away from a steel hull?

A sheet of steel wont sink if you have it boxed in the right way,

6 feet X 3 feet X 25 feet sealed box in your hulls will float your 12 ton boat above the water line,

or, 6 feet X 3 feet X 12.5 feet if you have a multihull, Half in each hull,

Or any other combination of these figures, which is a total 470 cubic feet of displacement,

The Egyptians used a barge 50 foot wide by 10 feet deep and 150 foot long to move their 2000 ton blocks of stone,

And if you hit a reef at full speed with a steel boat, you have scratches and dents and still be afloat, probably a head ache as well where you hit your head with the sudden stop,

All other plastic and wood boats have sunk,
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