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Old 03-02-2010, 21:58   #46
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I have to agree. I taught welding for a while (and worked in steel myself for twenty years) and ussually within 15 minutes had students laying horizontal beads with finnes. In a day, if they were motivated and at all inclined, up. down and overhead. Sure, it would take some time to learn about distortion, but that rarely effected weld quality. And even the remark about the sledge hammer, probably wouldn't effect the welds. Could dent the crap out of it (but then again, Bren't boats are extra thick skinned, no framing, and probably a little heavier because of it). In steel, Corten or mild, what is normally used for boats, your welds are (theoretically) 100% as strong as the parent material, unlike aluminum. If by some strange reason you are using steel with appreciable carbon content, then it is true that temperature can severely affect the surounding material, but you certainly shouldn't have to worry about that in building a boat! One instace where you might want to prehat would be in joining steels with large thickness differences. But again, probably wouldn't be in your normal boatbuilding scenario.
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Old 05-02-2010, 10:05   #47
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ignorance is bliss

At one point in my life, I would agree that back yard welding is good enough.. I was rased on a ranch where I knew what the different ID numbers on the welding rods by the time I was 10.. Running an "overhead" weld was necessity and not just a sport, and bought my first TIG when I was 14.
Even after 20 years as a certified welder, working in the trade and and a member of Local 3, I still thought I knew what I was doing..
And then I went back to school to find out what really happens to metal when its welded, and its properties.. Doing "Non Destructive Testing" on welds was enough to change my mind.. Using different types of testing from sound waves to Ex-Ray, you can breal down the different layers of a weld showing its falts, Its not just under-cuts and carbon pockets..
Theres a reason that Bridges and buildings are bolted together and ships are rivited. It allows movement in the material.. movement you dont get when welded..
You can believe what you want, and build your steel boat in your back yard.. But I hold a title as an ICC - Special Inspector in Structural Steel with a number of attachments.. And you wont catch me in one of your boats..
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Old 05-02-2010, 12:00   #48
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Hey Randyonr,

I'm convinced. My Plastic boat is 2 1/2 inches of solid plastic at the waterline. I've been aground on rocky reefs and it got scratched on the keel. If it was holed, by say the corner of a free floating container, i have plans and protocols arranged and tools and materials in a bag to deal with the problem.

If a steel boat was holed, it is a much different and more difficult problem to fix at sea (i believe).
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Old 05-02-2010, 15:08   #49
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A steel boat probaly wouldn't be holed and if it were, the hole would be much tinier. I could goop it up , which is probably what you would do with a small hole in a fibreglass boat at sea anyway , only you'd have a much bigger hole. In port I can weld anything up with my 100 amp alternator.
I know several 3/16th plated 36 footers which caught the sharp corner of a grounded steel barge at hull speed, without holing or any major damage. I don't believe a floating container has a hope in hell of holing my hull.
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Old 05-02-2010, 15:17   #50
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I know several 3/16th plated 36 footers which caught the sharp corner of a grounded steel barge at hull speed, without holing or any major damage.
I think we would all like to hear the story of how several different boats, all of the same construction, happened to hit the same barge on the same corner the same way...
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Old 05-02-2010, 15:21   #51
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Originally Posted by Randyonr3 View Post
At one point in my life, I would agree that back yard welding is good enough.. I was rased on a ranch where I knew what the different ID numbers on the welding rods by the time I was 10.. Running an "overhead" weld was necessity and not just a sport, and bought my first TIG when I was 14.
Even after 20 years as a certified welder, working in the trade and and a member of Local 3, I still thought I knew what I was doing..
And then I went back to school to find out what really happens to metal when its welded, and its properties.. Doing "Non Destructive Testing" on welds was enough to change my mind.. Using different types of testing from sound waves to Ex-Ray, you can breal down the different layers of a weld showing its falts, Its not just under-cuts and carbon pockets..
Theres a reason that Bridges and buildings are bolted together and ships are rivited. It allows movement in the material.. movement you dont get when welded..
You can believe what you want, and build your steel boat in your back yard.. But I hold a title as an ICC - Special Inspector in Structural Steel with a number of attachments.. And you wont catch me in one of your boats..
So what kind of boat would you go to sea in, a fibreglass boat ,which tend to get a huge hole in them every time they hit something made out of what you consider "poorly welded" steel? You certainly wont find a steel boat made to your fantasy world, prima dona specs. They simply don't exist. With the tens of thousands of backyard steel boats out sailing the seas of the world, your prediction of a steel boat tearing itself apart hasn't happened yet . Not much chance of it ever happening. You have a better chance of being hit by a meteorite than of having that happen. Do you have your meteorite insurance? Better run along and get some , so you can sleep well tonite.
What you advocate is putting steel boats far beyond the financial means of anyone but the super rich. So would forcing them to go to sea in fibreglass boats and wooden boats make them safer?
I've made two trips from Hawai to BC in my steel 31 footer in 23 days each time . On one trip south . I was south of Hawaii from BC in 14 days, best daily run 175 miles . Several of my 36 footers have made it from BC to Hawaii in under 15 days, shorthanded .
Not exactly slow boats.
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Old 05-02-2010, 15:27   #52
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I am not quite sure where all these rivetted boats are that you speak of. As far as I know even the big ships are mostly welded these days. Have you ever even heard of steel boat having problems because of a weld issue? There are plenty of problems associated with steel boats but I haven't heard of welds being a problem. As for holing at sea, is there any material that is as strong or less likely to be holed? With most steel construction there are longitudinals every foot and transverse frames every three or so. Sure it will dent with enough force but to get it to tear in a small boat of 10 to 15 tons would be prety hard. I believe Brent uses 3/16 and 1/4 un his hulls. A man with a pickaxe couldn't get through if he tried all day.
Dented Yacht - Shows how resiliant steel can be in a collission...... Cruisers & Sailing Photo Gallery
I don't think fiberglass would have survived a center mass T bone like that and sailed back to tell about it!
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Old 05-02-2010, 15:40   #53
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Many , like the Sleavin family, who were all wiped out, but the mother, off the North Island of New Zealand in a similar collision, would have survived, had their boat been steel. How many more lives has disinformation about steel boats cost? How many more will it cost , if such disinformation is not challenged at every opportunity? Failure to challenge such bullshit is irresponsible.
Great posting ConradG. Thanks.
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Old 05-02-2010, 16:50   #54
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I am not quite sure where all these rivetted boats are that you speak of. As far as I know even the big ships are mostly welded these days. Have you ever even heard of steel boat having problems because of a weld issue? There are plenty of problems associated with steel boats but I haven't heard of welds being a problem. As for holing at sea, is there any material that is as strong or less likely to be holed? With most steel construction there are longitudinals every foot and transverse frames every three or so. Sure it will dent with enough force but to get it to tear in a small boat of 10 to 15 tons would be prety hard. I believe Brent uses 3/16 and 1/4 un his hulls. A man with a pickaxe couldn't get through if he tried all day.
Dented Yacht - Shows how resiliant steel can be in a collission...... Cruisers & Sailing Photo Gallery
I don't think fiberglass would have survived a center mass T bone like that and sailed back to tell about it!
ships being rivited.........by the thousands in years past and still being done so.. and welds breaking on steel boats... yes, as I said, I'm am inspector, and more times than I can count, I've sat at the drydocks in south San Francisco at China Basin or over in Alameda, and held Quality control on patch work on a steel boat.. steel boats used in the commerical industry are always being repaired..
As for steel ships, yes they are welded.. and they also have a life of just a number of years befor they are salvaged..and if you have the chance to get up close to a comerical barge or ship, they are littered with patches.
Its interesting that the most common reason given by someone wanting a steel yacht is that it will take longer to break up if drivin upon a reef or in a collision at sea.
This is probably correct but ones whole cruising life should not be based on this rare possibilty, after all, we dont all drive Sherman tanks rather than cars on the road in order to survive collisions better!
Furthermore, it hasnt occurred to them that because steel yachts are so heavy they are far more difficult to break free after a grounding and this fact alone could lead to a permanent loss.
There is a place for steel yachts and for them to be built.. and thats in a controled enviorment by qualified personal under strict inspection..
And Brent,
there's a good reason why the Special Inspection program was created and the Certified Welding inspector was added to the program..
There were to many people that thought that they were qualified to be a welder only to have the project fall apart..
If its that easy, why is it that our state and federal government requires not only certification but also years as an inspector befor you can inspect a state or federal job..and hospitals require you to be certified for more than 5 years in the trade before working within.. It all has to do with "Quality Control" and Safety......
You can find this under ICC or International Code Council.. the primary reason for inspection is "Safety" thats Public Safety... and thats why the cost of a steel boat is so High..
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Old 05-02-2010, 17:53   #55
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Again, quite a bit of missinformation. Steel boats are not generally any heavier than the same boat built of a different material. Yes it can be hard to design for steel below 30 feet because of the weight of the material, but the same Hull built of steel, aluminum or pastic will be weighted to a given displacement by design. A steel Van de Stadt will pull off a reef with the same force as an aluminum one. But won't suffer the same abraission. As built, the aluminum one would have an ultimate strength a little greater than the steel because it is built to different standards inherant to the material. There seems to be a bunch of crossed signals here. Barges and commercial ships of steel are used quite differently than yachts. Heck, they don't even consider other materials. What other material could take the beating? Yes, there are problems associated with steel, ussually to do with impropper coating (or scars from commercial use) and rusting inside. But to suggest that a steel cruising boat's welds, even if done by a "back yard" welder are a problem? And then to say that the cost of a steel boat is high? In what material can you get a custom hull with anywhere near the durability of steel for less? Even if built by a yard. The reasons for metal hulls are many but primarily for safety. They aren't for everyone. But don't spread stuff that just isn't so. What's the oft used quote? "50% of the boats cruising the south pacific are metal, the rest are from north america". Over here the production plastic has a big financial hold and money talks. Mass produced hulls are cheap. It doesn't mean they are best. Those decissions need to be made by each of us and will be made on different criteria. My uncle sailed a Pearson Invicta for years. A solid, thick fibergalss tank of a boat (beautiful too!). A few years after he sold it, she went down off of Long Island, Didn't hit anything, just broke apart in the pounding. Does that mean all fiberglass boats shouldn't be considered? of corse not! Anyone have an account of a metal (cruising) boat being holed or breaking apart? That sort of information would be helpfull to the originator.
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Old 05-02-2010, 18:31   #56
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Hey Randyonr,

I'm convinced. My Plastic boat is 2 1/2 inches of solid plastic at the waterline. I've been aground on rocky reefs and it got scratched on the keel. If it was holed, by say the corner of a free floating container, i have plans and protocols arranged and tools and materials in a bag to deal with the problem.

If a steel boat was holed, it is a much different and more difficult problem to fix at sea (i believe).
Sorry,you do not have a 2 1/2" thick solid glass hull, ive been a boatbuilder for 35yrs and ive never seen a hull that thick,nor would it be a desirable feature desirable,many times over the years i have read of boatowners quoting ridiculous hull thicknesses like its a badge of honor,even a cored hull is nowhere near that thickness.
Steve.
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Old 05-02-2010, 19:05   #57
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If the originator wishes to get an informed idea about metal boats, I would suggest starting with the websites of Thomas E Colvin and Michael Kasten. Both naval architects who have designed for all materials and with good information about different materials. They also speak to what makes good blue water cruisers from a design standpoint There are many good metal boats out there, designed by these and others like Ted Brewer or Spakman and Stephens. Most have been built by yards but each of those designers will say that often the "back yard" boat is built with more care and attention. (After all, wouldn't you be pretty sure about what you were doing if building your own boat? Unlike some yardworker looking for friday!) There are "production" boats also that come from across the pond mostly, Van De Stadt, Ovni. There are also many, many other things to consider besides hull material!
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Old 05-02-2010, 19:20   #58
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Liberty ships...

The only boats that I am aware of that sank with the cause being attributed to inappropriate welding were some Liberty ships.

However the Liberty Ships Wikipedia entry suggests the causes were much more complex than a simple weld failure.
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Old 06-02-2010, 07:47   #59
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I think that comparing ships that are hundreds of feet (and tons!) to blue water cruisers isn't a good thing. The stresses and factors that produce fatigue in those simply don't exhist in small craft built with this material. It is one of the strongest points about steel for a small boat. You can take cardboard and make a very strong structure that can support your weight. Take the same material and try to support the same weight over even a six foot span and it starts to become a chalenge. It is hard to design a steel boat under 30 feet (with any corrossion factor) because of the weight of the material and techniques apropreate to it's use. Over that the material starts to shine and at about fourty feet it starts to end up being lighter for a given strength. when you reach hundreds of feet there just aren't other viable options. You can use other materials (large wood ships of old for instance) but to build to the same strength is nearly imposible. Even without building to the same strength there is more weight to the structure and therefore less balast (cargo, engine, munition, whatever) can be carrieid. When you are designing to the structural needs of the ship and are the limmiting factors are in the methods used it is quite different than using steel in small craft where the nature of the material prevents those very stresses, where those streses aren't the limmiting factor involved. Like the cardboard. It is the same reason why aluminum can end up being stronger than steel in most respects (other than abrasion resistance) in certain aplications. The designers limmiting criteria for the material are different because of the materials properties. But back to welds on a small steel blue water cruiser, of course they need to be sound, as a seam in fiberglass does, but the process isn't rocket science and the welds aren't a limmiting factor in the design (other than being sound). With aluminum and it's as welded properties (welds being 80% or less the strength of the material-which gains much of it's strength properties from a controlled alloying process and environment in it's manufacture) things are different but again, in small boats and the relatively large thicknesses used, not a big concern.
And Boracay, seing your boat listed, how could I forget the website of Bruce Roberts! Again, a designer for many materials with great information.
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Old 06-02-2010, 09:41   #60
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Hello,

I've just got the urge to cross an ocean a few days ago. Typically the ocean isn't my thing, but my last trip was a backpacking trip across 7 countries of Europe and now I want to spend some time off land!

Slowly I've been doing research and plan on taking my 101, 103, and 104 courses. My biggest problem is my budget in conjunction with my requirements.

Honestly I don't know what models to look into that are blue water able. Catalina is about the only thing I've seen mentioned. Currently my budget is about $10,000 for a boat purchase. My only real requirements would that it is very safe and could comfortably sleep 3 or 4 people.

I know that a Catalina 27 isn't going to cut it, but are there any comparable models that are blue water able?

I do not plan on doing this right away, but I do plan on making it a goal within the next 5 years. However, if I could get into something sooner rather than later I can make all the necessary adjustments it may need and get my sea legs out on the Gulf. I was thinking maybe a good start would be to take a trip from Galveston out to the Carribean....preferably across open water.

All I'm looking for is a little guidance here. What models should I look into that would be sturdy enough for crossing the Atlantic or Pacific? I definitely would like to have a 30 footer at least, but if it's spacious enough I'd even go as far down as 27. Safety above all!
I think the Niagara 31 I have for sale would be perfect.
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