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Old 10-07-2007, 13:37   #16
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So what *is* a standard hull maintenance schedule for a steel boat, anyway? I am not clear on this at all.
See rust!?! paint it!!!
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A 40 footer takes about a month to glass over, fair and paint.
If the hull ios getting past it's use by date and has "issues" then by all means glass it. But if the hull is good, DON'T touch it. Glassing a planked vessel is a major job. Firstly it has to be thoroughly dried so as the timber shrinks. Count on a good solid summer to do so. the rest is rather obviouse. A good solid hull will be just as good as anything, thats why they are commercial boats.
As Andy has just stated above, wood moves. I have to say that the big issues of severe movement were usually due to the timber not being allowed to thoroughly dry and shrink. When it shrinks enough, you will see through between the planks. If you allow it to really get dry, then fill the gaps between the planks, the hull remains very stable. Another method used on these old commercial boats was to sheath them in Cement. There are many hulls still working today that were sheathed this way. However, using glass is easy and can result in a beautiful finish if the effort it put it. It makes a very strong long lasting hull and personly I would prefer it over steel. There are many boats in the marina here that are glass over timber and a local builder still builds with this method. That's glass over Timber not ply. He make solid ocean going commercial and private vessels from small to well over 100ft with this method.
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Old 10-07-2007, 14:24   #17
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Andy:

By no means did I take your post as an attack. I also appreciate the time you took in the other posts to advise, as I do apprecaite this post as well.

I didn't quite appreciate a little post just restating what I had said with question marks and going "Ha ha ha." That is not productive, nor a very good post, know what I mean? Where's the contribution in that?

So I'm not trying to get in a fight here... just trying to keep the thread moving along with some degree of intelligent contribution. Your last post wasn't very informative to say the least, even though your others have been very good.

No explaination is wasted, as I don't fashion myself an expert at all. I just know what I know, and I will disagree with you about the concept of glassing over wood. Have you done it? Inspected boats that have had it done CORRECTLY with mechanical fasteners?

Are there many boats in Marina DelRay that are constructed like this? I'm surrounded by scores of them here in Maine that are out working every single day pulling up Maine lobsters, longlining, and urchin diving. Many were wooden boats from the 40's. Many had glass jobs done in the 70s and 80s. You sound like those people who first doubted the Gougeon Brothers when they proposed building boats out of plastic.

Take a look at the method and resulting success stories before just passing judgement. Again, the guy who invented it is Allan Vaitses. And yes... a lot of people have heard of him.

I suppose nobody on here really knows what I'm talking about (fiberglass over wood) and also that nobody on here really knows the maintenance schedule of a steel boat's hull. (My guess is that Louis Reil would know)

Yes, wood has a mositure content and does move. No question about it. However, the mechanical fasteners don't allow the movement to take place. They keep the wood in place. If the wood were to move, the fasteners would break the glass and the boat would crack. This doesn't happen (as evidenced by 30 years of service live on the vessels done properly) And no work is needed on the wood internally. It acts as a framing and that's it.

I am definitly no expert on wooden boats or on steel boats. I posted to try to absorb a glimer of opinion on what the pros and cons are between the two materials, without getting into a debate about the materials themselves. I view them as equally viable materials, except I suspect there might be less work involved in a fiberglass over wood boat than a steel boat, but that's only a suspicion since I still don't know what the steel boat maintenance schedule is in salt water.

All arguments about fiberglass over wood aside, we have two hull materials with pros and cons (ignoring structural issues). I am trying to get to the bottom of the pros and cons and see if I missed any.

Make sense?

I didn't mean to start a "thing." I've had enough "things" on this board wasting my time and energy. I meant to clarify the process.

So sorry if it came across wrong.

WHEELS:

Good advice. Thanks. Do you know how often the dreaded haul and sandblast is needed? Is it simply just a matter of scuffing off the rust and repainting on steel boats? How about bilges? Especially bilges with condensation from cold COLD waters... do you need to be down there all winter, or just touch up once a year?

Also, you're absolutlely right about needing to dry the boat. That's an important part of the process.

And... yes... we are definitely talking about glass over timber here. Not glass over ply.


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Originally Posted by Terra Nova
Yo Sean,

my post was not in any way an attack on you. And I took the time, in my previous two posts, to give you the benefit of my decades of experience as a boatbuilder. However you seem to already be an expert on wooden boats, particularly those with fiberglass on them. Has anyone ever heard of Alan Vaitse?

Perhaps you have heard of the Gougeon Brothers? They invented the W.E.S.T. System, and have built many boats themselves. Their manual on boatbuilding is my manual of arms, and has been for over thirty years. Now I feel as if I am wasting my time explaining anything to an expert, such as yourself, but let me point out a few things that should be obvious to someone with your expertise.

Wood in boats is NEVER dry. It ALWAYS has moisture in it. That moisture content changes over time, and the wood MOVES because of it.

I have to wonder why a person like yourself, an expert on wooden boats, would even consider a steel boat.

best, andy
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Old 10-07-2007, 14:57   #18
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Rick, the main reason that fiberglass has become the prefferred method of construction is ease of construction and cost. Metal boats that are properly insulated are more comfortable in the tropics than fiberglass boats. A steel boat that has been properly insulated is quieter than a fiberglass boat. Granted, a foam cored boat is warmer and quieter than a solid glass boat. I think that, as has been said earlier, all methods of building have some pros and some cons. There is no perfect way to build a boat.

Condensation inside of a boat has little to do with the material of the hull. A solid fiberglass hull will have condensation problems in the winter if it is not insulated and properly ventilated. Cored fiberglass boats will be warmer and drier than a solid glass hull. Most metal boats are well insulated and can be very warm and dry. But all boats require a dry source of heat in the colder climes, some insulation and proper ventilation. In the warmer climes all boats still need proper ventilation and are more comfortable if they are insulated.

Uncomfortably hot decks are more a result of finish than construction material. A teak deck can be very uncomfortable in the tropics, while a pleasure in cooler climes. A white finish will go a long way towards keeping the deck bearable, if not comfortable in the tropics under the mid day sun.
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Old 10-07-2007, 15:01   #19
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Sean, the August issue of Passagemaker has an article on turning a fishing boat into a cruiser by an Austrailian couple. Not much in the way of technical detail but you may find it interesting.
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Old 10-07-2007, 15:57   #20
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I will commence this post that I am most definitely not an expert in...well... anything, nor do I claim to be!

Personally, I think that a major conversion or refit is going to be, if done properly, expensive. Even if you do the conversion yourself. And, if costing the work, you should make a reasonable estimate of the time and then calculate how much you would have earned if you had spent that time working in your primary field.
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Old 10-07-2007, 17:03   #21
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Phil,

I disagree with your comments on my post, although you might have misunderstood what I was saying.

Here in Florida metal hulled pleasure boats are not that common for the reasons I stated. Even Steve Dashew designed his Aluminum hulled vessel for cruising in higher latitudes. His design spec for insulation was for an ambient temperature of 68 degrees F.

Anyone in the tropics who has varnished brightwork or painted surfaces knows how the sun down this way affects hull/deck maintenance cycles. If you stay in higher latitudes I don't this this matters much, but here it wouldn't be as good a choice as Fiberglass over planks.

While we're on the subject, have you ever brushed against a shiny piece of metal that's been in 95 degree heat and direct sun?

Rick in Florida
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Old 10-07-2007, 17:33   #22
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About the noise of steel... on automobiles you often see asphault strips covering portions of panels to cut down on resonance. Is there a reason why a steel boat wouldn't have the same effect?

The idea is that the asphault adds mass to the panel that absorbs the vibration. Like putting your hand on an oil can and hitting it vs the ring they make without your hand.

Figuring that most steel boats have sprayed in foam, it probably wouldn't work... but I'd bet 5-6 rolls of roofing asphault strips would do the same thing as on a car. (Mines a vw bus... finally can have a conversation in it on the highway!)

The other... also roofing material, is a rubberized goo called koolseal. The stuff feels cool even in direct sunlight. I'm not sure how it works, but perhaps it'd work for equatorial (is that a word?) sailing?
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Old 10-07-2007, 20:00   #23
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Koolseal

Hi,

Just to hijack the tread a bit. Has anyone used the Koolseal stuff? Is it the same as truck bedliners that get sprayed on? Come to think of Iit I will post a new thread. Thanks very much

Brian
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Old 11-07-2007, 00:50   #24
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Boat building materials are always going to be as controversial as the passion that people have to love or hate them.............
Back to steel boats and maintenance scheduals. It depends........!! If the boat is badly prepaired and painted and your going to leave it like that, then you are going to be up for a ship load of work.
If you blast and repaint with a good steel boat paint system, apart from the usual knocks and scratches (see Alans steel boat manual above : ) ) then 20 years is a reasonable expectation. As mentioned before the inside should be of the same high standard as the outside. (This is nothing to do with anti fouling)
Without question.....a timber boat, particulaly if it has lots of varnish is far more time consuming. They dont look the same though, so does this aspect of boat ownership matter to you ? In the end its simply a case of matching your skills, dollars, desires, and luck that will determin what you end up with. .....and regardless of what it is ..........the only reason that you have it is to ..........ENJOY IT !!
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Old 11-07-2007, 00:53   #25
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WHEELS:

Good advice. Thanks. Do you know how often the dreaded haul and sandblast is needed? Is it simply just a matter of scuffing off the rust and repainting on steel boats? How about bilges? Especially bilges with condensation from cold COLD waters... do you need to be down there all winter, or just touch up once a year?
Well I think the initial point to make is that Steel is not as bad as you seem to be thinking. (Brent is going to love me saying that;-) Providing the hull was prepared and painted properly to start with, (I am talking internals here) then the inside should last as long as the paint itself. So a good paint system should return 15 to 20yrs internaly. Where the issues arise are following.
Damage due to a bad knock where the paint has been damaged. The remedy is to patch it ASAP before corrosion begins.
Poorly prepared before painting. Usually this is in the sand blasting stage. It is very hard to sand blast internaly, especially in corners and under gussets etc. Plus the sand covers the internals and by the time it is cleaned out for painting, corrosion can already have started. Just enough to cause an issue later on. So the best cuase of prevention is in the design at the beginning. Do not allow water to be able to sit on anything. This means good drain holes everywhere so as all water gets down into the lowest area of the bilge quickly for pump out. Ensure that all corners and edges are well coated with a good paint system. The primer is one of the key points to the paint system. A good anti-corrosive primer is essential as the base coat. There are many manufacturers that have very good systems. I suggest a "system" is the way to go.
As Deepfrz stated, all materials have condensation issues. Good ventilation or a Dehumidifier is the only way of stopping condensation. But I have always found Steel and Aluminium as the worst offender as the hull temperature changes and and conducts heat rapidly from the surounding water. Once again, not an issue if the boat is desing to cope. But it does mean great care is required in using protecive coatings like heat and noise insulation. Water must NOT be allowed to be trapped between the insulation and the hull. This causes fast breakdown of the insulation and major corrosion issues that can go unseen for a great length of time.
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Old 11-07-2007, 01:11   #26
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Very interesting discussion. I have no opinion one way or another but I was given the opportunity to sail with a guy this last weekend who has just spent 4 months squaring away his steel boat.

The boat was built in the 70's and is 55 LOA and about 40 feet LOW. It is a great hull shape and my son says it looks like a pirate ship. Ketch rig with two foresails.

The owner, a friend in his 60's has had lots of boats over the years. He best advice is don't buy a boat from a poor man as he talks about his refit.

He bought the boat in Australia and sailed it here with a crew. Upon arrival they put it in docks and changed a couple of hundred square feet of steel plate. Aside from some bad areas in the hull, he added about 8 feet of afterdeck overhang to increase deck/entertaining area.

I asked him about why the steel was in such bad shape and he said something like, "This stupid owner never looked below decks, there was trapped water everywhere and the hull was rusting from the inside out."

Not germaine to the hull question but in addition to the hull work he has replaced the airconditioning had the genset and the main propulsion engine overhauled and is now replacing the refrigeration.

The boat, when I boarded it, was in fabulous shape. The teak decks are beautiful and the below decks were very comfortable. it is usually +30DegC here and the below decks was cool and comfortable. Contrasting with every fiberglass boat I have been on here is hot and uncomfortable. The implication here is that in cold waters this might become a cold boat?

There was very little noise below decks other than a periodic cycling of the autohelm. I found it a great boat and if one were in good shape i wouldn't shy away from it. he is very confident that now he has it squared away he will live out his days with it.

Bottom line however is that he paid in the neighborhood of US$90k for it and has dropped more than US$100k fixing it.
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Old 11-07-2007, 01:14   #27
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....further.......Jotamastic Alluminium (by Jotun) is an aluminium solids , 2 part epoxy primer....it is designed to go on difficult to perfectly prepare surfaces , this stuff is thick......having said that the aim should always be a high standard of "white metal" blast with the right angular profile. Have a look a the spec sheets on the jotun web site. Of course there is other brands out there too......... Lots of steel boats DONT insulate below the water line......The bigger problem is , like with any boat, the tempreture differential between the inside and outside air tempreture.........
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Old 11-07-2007, 02:33   #28
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Steel boats are great!! A well designed and built steel boat will:

Sail well - just look at the many birdsail yachts out there that outperform the glass rivals.

Don't need regular maintanance - a well prepared hull that is sandblasted corectly, built with corrent drainage and limber (sp) holes and most importantly are built using the right method will not require regular maintanance. Of course the paint system used is paramount, as is liberal use of stainless steel in troublesome areas.

My brothers yacht is a Dennis Ganley Pacemaker, he built it in 1990 from Cortan Steel and it's still on it's original paint job. It now has a complete circumnavigation under it's belt. It's never had ANY hull paint applied, only the topsides have been resprayed. Mind you, he welds up Alloy hulls in Australia for a living so he is very very fussy and a very experienced welder and fitter & turner.

There are cheap steel boats for sale and expensive ones. Guess which ones don't have rust problems!!

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Old 11-07-2007, 16:54   #29
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A dash of drama and then the thread explodes into the most useful and well written primer on steel boats vs fiberglass in cold (and warm) climates!

Excellent!!!

Thank you to everyone who has posted. As soon as (read if I EVER - I'm not the most patient guy when a new project is looming) I sell the Hirsh Gulfstar, I'll post up photos of the boats in question. In this thead. Could be a month or more away.

I am now leaning toward the steel, since I have always had a soft spot for steel boats and if the paint/epoxy systems you can apply last a good 20 yrs with only touchups in between, this sounds right.

We always *always* keep our boat as dry as possible since I have problems with mold/mildew. I can't have any aboard. We run the dehumidifier often and heat with a nice, dry wood stove supplimented by electric sometimes at the dock.

Thinking about the bilges, I am doing more unconventional stuff there. I'm going to get another Yanmar diesel genset (I'm building it myself to be a DC genset) and I'm locating it below the deck, in the bilge (commercial boat, remember - large area). The Yanmar runs about an hour a day, and is air cooled. This means it should heat up the bilge area to about 70-90 deg F during its run as it blows warm, dry air around down there. (Exhaust is to be piped upward along side existing dry exhaust outlet) I'm hoping the air movement (they throw a lot of hot air - like me! ha ha) should be enough to keep the bilge nice and dry, with proper limber holes, of course. All that hot air and circulation can't hurt.

So, taking what you all have said about steel boats into account and knowing I'll have a lot of sources of hot, dry air on board (genset, wood stove), I think the choice is made. Steel sounds too good to resist!

Thanks again for the insightful and helpful posts. The thread really came together and has helped me overcome some of my fears of steel maintenance I always hear about.

I mean I have to see it like this - would they make commercial (for profit) boats out of steel if it didn't work or was outrageously expensive? Probably not. One case *for* capitalism.
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Old 11-07-2007, 21:55   #30
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Good that it has worked for you.......remember that all the warm dry air in the world wont help unless you have good ventilation. Surface condensation happens because of the differance in tempreture between the (colder) surface and the (warmer ) air tempreture.
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