i have seen brand new steel
boats that size advertised for sale
and they have been proud of the fact that the hull is 3mm, brand new. have you tried to damage steel that thick? it is strong stuff!
my boat took years to build too. it is dutch. reason? because it was originally commissioned as a sailboat...the buyer lost
interest...the next buyer specified it as a trawler
...what's the problem? i'd regard the fact that your boat took six years to build as a positive. it means that for six years of its life it wasn't sitting in salt water
how many spots on the hull did your surveyor
measure? how does he know where the stringers are? if they are horizontal, and if there are no limber holes, then where does the condensation
go? no limber holes means no drainage, so the water
just collects there and stays there, it lifts the paint
, and then corrosion
starts. if some salt water
got in there too then that is a bigger problem. make sure he takes lots of measurements. as the excellent scott fratcher says, badly corroded steel can be just a few millimeters from healthy steel. so it can be easily missed by a surveyor if he isn't taking enough readings.
have you looked at your portholes? any sign of rust there (on the inside)? are the seals
in good shape? another important thing, go and look at the inside of the chain locker. look at it yourself. how does it look? remember that a salty wet chain has been dumped there repeatedly. where did the salt
water go? are there drainage holes through the hull beneath the chain? or does it drain into the midship bilge
there are surveyors and there are surveyors. i originally found this excellent site as a result of an article written by a guy who bought a steel boat that came with a clean bill of sale
by a surveyor. it turned out that the boat was a wreck, absolutely rusty all over, and he had to rebuild
a friend of mine has been looking for a steel trawler
here in europe
for almost two years. we've been down to gibraltar
to look at an amazing boat built back in the 1960s out of steel. down in the engine
room i found a 10" x 10" piece of corrosion probably caused by vibration caused by a bad engine
mount. this was covered up by some pads and some heavy containers of engine oil
. coincidence or cover-up?
when i crawled into the space under a cabin
floor i found 12" of sitting water and strum boxes on the bilge pump
pipes that had completely corroded away. scary.
i'd really advise you to put some old clothes on and take a good look around yourself, just to be sure. there are surveyors, and surveyors.
if you do buy the boat then you will learn that steel is easy to work with, and with the right methods of corrosion treatmentand prevention, e.g. phosphoric acid, epoxy paint
, etc., that you will have a super strong boat that could potentially last 100 years or more.
if the boat has lived in fresh water for a good part of its life then that is a good thing too.