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Old 21-09-2012, 22:15   #1
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Steer me away from a steel hull?

What are the downsides of a steel hull that I'm not thinking of?

I've made a good number of extended passages in capable fiberglass boats, not surprisingly, but something about the steel sings to me now that I'm finally looking to buy my own at the end of this season.

Thanks, all.
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Old 21-09-2012, 22:38   #2
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Re: Steer me away from a steel hull?

Rust.
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Old 21-09-2012, 22:55   #3
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Re: Steer me away from a steel hull?

Rust, and the fact that most self respecting yachty marinas and haul-out yards don't like you doing what needs to be done to fix the problem properly.. (grind and sandblast).

For the same reason, making modifications to any steelwork can be hard, any welding needs the interior stripped out nearby, then grinding, welding, sandblasting and many coats of paint. hard to do with neurotic white tupperware boat owners about (can't say I blame them!)

Ohh and paint often doesn't stick too well underwater, maybe due to overprotection with to many anodes, tricky to get it just right.

Good Insulation and internal paint system is a must.

But it is a nice feeling at sea, to be surrounded by such a tough metal hull!
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Old 21-09-2012, 22:59   #4
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Re: Steer me away from a steel hull?

Too few boats to choose from.
Fiberglass hulls maybe aren't quite as resilient as steel in an impact or as good in thick ice, but other than that the only negative to fiberglass is blisters which are non-catastrophic. Everything else has a built in catastrophic problem- rust, cracks, rot, electrolysis, something.
Yes, you can deal with it. You can deal with an ugly wife, too, if you want to but I wanted a pretty one instead.
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Old 21-09-2012, 23:02   #5
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Re: Steer me away from a steel hull?

You can't hide from 'the man' and they track you with their space radars.

High cost of equipment? And size, most decent welders are HUGE, and small welders are spensive

That said, the materials to do a repair are cheaper, I know nothing about metal and I can already make a better repair than I ever could with glass. It's also fun whereas Glass is unfun to work on (imo)

Poor resale value? A lot of people are scared of steel, but OTOH you might find a great boat cheap.
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Old 21-09-2012, 23:22   #6
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Re: Steer me away from a steel hull?

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High cost of equipment? And size, most decent welders are HUGE, and small welders are spensive
I did all the welding on my boat with a cheap ($300) inverter welder (stick welder) that is small enough to chuck over my shoulder and and take up the mast!

Snowpetrel Sailing: Welding stuff for your boat

The new inverter welders are fantastic, great duty cycles, small and light and run on the end of 50 meters of extension cable hooked into some dodgy lighting circit at the end of a wharf.
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Old 21-09-2012, 23:29   #7
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Re: Steer me away from a steel hull?

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I did all the welding on my boat with a cheap ($300) inverter welder (stick welder) that is small enough to chuck over my shoulder and and take up the mast!

Snowpetrel Sailing: Welding stuff for your boat

The new inverter welders are fantastic, great duty cycles, small and light and run on the end of 50 meters of extension cable hooked into some dodgy lighting circit at the end of a wharf.
Good to know. I really wanted a 'do it all' welder so I went with Mig, for small size I was thinking Miller STH or the like for the TIG abilities. Maybe I should not have discounted the stick side of it so quickly

drool!!!!!!!!!! http://www.millerwelds.com/products/...p?model=M00361
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Old 21-09-2012, 23:40   #8
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Paint. Paint. And more paint. Painting never ends. Other than that, steel is wonderful, provided you have the skills to maintain it. It is nearly indestuctable, but will not put up with neglect even for a short time.
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Old 21-09-2012, 23:58   #9
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Re: Steer me away from a steel hull?

I have built 3 steel boats. 2 of my own. I have seen hundreds of them. In my opinion, more labor intensive than even wood. Unless you need an ice breaker, you're wasting your time. My friend in Mx just had his hull corrode through into his integral water tanks. magine the shock when drinking water and tasting that. Unbeknownst to him, the harbor he was in was really hot electrically. On their best behavior, you are chasing rust streaks constantly.
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Old 22-09-2012, 00:12   #10
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Re: Steer me away from a steel hull?

Regardless, my boat is steel.

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Old 22-09-2012, 00:14   #11
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Re: Steer me away from a steel hull?

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Unbeknownst to him, the harbor he was in was really hot electrically.
There's more to that story.
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Old 22-09-2012, 00:58   #12
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Re: Steer me away from a steel hull?

Have built 20 or so steel/aluminium yachts and motor boats up to 35 metres in round bilge and chine.

Repairs structurally are very few, it's a waste of time carrying welders around simply because most slipways these days reserve the right to do repairs on slipped boats because that is the business they are in.

Australia has many metal boats, downside is maintenance more so in dropping heavy things like shifters on decks etc.

Never go for inbuilt water or waste tanks thats not clever unless the whole lid removes because they will give you trouble.

We have retired to a production FRP boat simply because it's easier this way, besides a steel 440 might be a slug!

Truly sailing and living aboard is what its about, unless you are an enthusiast leave metal alone.

It's amusing a thread like this usually says "i don't know how to weld but i'm keen to learn then i can make a living repairing steel boats for other yachties"!!!!!!! at least your not going down that line......Or are you?????

Anyway FRP leaves you to tend to the other maintenence issues that all boats have regardless of their material....

Cheers Frank.
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Old 22-09-2012, 01:03   #13
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Re: Steer me away from a steel hull?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewEnglander View Post
What are the downsides of a steel hull that I'm not thinking of?

I've made a good number of extended passages in capable fiberglass boats, not surprisingly, but something about the steel sings to me now that I'm finally looking to buy my own at the end of this season.

Thanks, all.
Where are you going? Long distance cruising the arguments for steel get a bit stronger, weekend coastal stuff possibly hard to justify.
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Old 22-09-2012, 01:34   #14
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Re: Steer me away from a steel hull?

Nope, I would just tell you to learn to weld! Having a steel boat has saved my arse a few times now. I should repay her with a bit more paint and some new anodes.
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Old 22-09-2012, 02:29   #15
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Re: Steer me away from a steel hull?

Steel's fine, often cheaper than fibreglass, as most people feel more comfortable with the herd.
Make sure you buy one that has been built by someone that knows how to do it, and have it surveyed by a competent steel boat surveyor.
You should also be prepared to do your own maintenance, but that is true of any boat.
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