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Old 18-08-2011, 16:53   #31
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Re: Remind Me Why this Is a Bad Idea

In the used budget boat business, the maxim is "never buy used steel." The reason is that usually the owner lost interest in the boat and it has been sitting in the water somewhere rusting away with water in the bilges and chipped paint on the outside.
- - But just like ferrocement, there are a few great deals out there in used steel where the owner has been diligent in keeping the boat dry and protected. Finding them is the big problem.
- - Building from scratch with something like a Roberts design has been quite popular over the years and you see a lot of Roberts done in steel and even aluminum. However, as mentioned by "Randyonr3" a lot of the boats are built in back yards by novices. Welds and choice of metal can have a significant effect on the integrity of the boat. There are steel designed for use in the marine environment and steels that are not designed for use in the marine environment. It takes a bit of education and a willingness to pay for the better/proper steel.
- - We had a steel boat that was built in Latvia by a local welders and the owner sailed it across the Atlantic to Florida. It took a little over six months to make the trip and by the time it got to Florida the steel plating was "eaten" through by electrolysis to the point where you could jab a screwdriver through the hull. The boat was built and painted with copper bottom paint without benefit of a primer or sealing coat. The boat was cut up and put in a dumpster.
- - Time after time I see "used steel" boats come into the boatyard and after blasting and examining the owner sits down and cries as the hull plates are shot. Re-plating a whole boat is not easy nor inexpensive.
- - FRG on the other hand neither rusts nor is subject to electrolysis. Delamination and other blister problems can be fixed and the boat brought back to seaworthy condition a lot easier - IMHO.
- - Bottom line, if you can afford to buy a properly done metal hull by proven boat builders then fabulous. Nothing better. But if you are a budget boat buyer FRG is the best way to protect your investment - unless - you can find one of those "jewels" done properly and kept up properly by the owner.
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Old 18-08-2011, 18:25   #32
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Re: Remind Me Why this Is a Bad Idea

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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
Bottom line, if you can afford to buy a properly done metal hull by proven boat builders then fabulous. Nothing better. But if you are a budget boat buyer FRG is the best way to protect your investment - unless - you can find one of those "jewels" done properly and kept up properly by the owner.
My thoughts exactly. Good to hear them confirmed by someone with experience.
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Old 18-08-2011, 18:55   #33
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Re: Remind Me Why this Is a Bad Idea

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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
- - Bottom line, if you can afford to buy a properly done metal hull by proven boat builders then fabulous. Nothing better. But if you are a budget boat buyer FRG is the best way to protect your investment - unless - you can find one of those "jewels" done properly and kept up properly by the owner.
But..............thanks to the general bad rep steel gets even these boats can be had for a reasonable price.

And you won't have to worry about your deck or leaks.

Personally, I like steel, but that is just my fetish. You like glass, ditto.

Saw a guy buy a lovely glass ketch and sail it up from Florida. He hauled it and found a 'few small blisters." Three hard years later he was almost ready to relaunch.
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Old 18-08-2011, 19:03   #34
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Re: Remind Me Why this Is a Bad Idea

blisters are overrated. Even the really bad cases are rarely life threatening.

Just remember: rust never sleeps.
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Old 18-08-2011, 19:26   #35
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Re: Remind Me Why this Is a Bad Idea

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Originally Posted by sneuman View Post
blisters are overrated. Even the really bad cases are rarely life threatening.

Just remember: rust never sleeps.
......buta bad case is like diabetes, always coming back and always on the worry list.
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Old 18-08-2011, 19:53   #36
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Cat - Fibreglass mono - steel mono - ...

Isn't it all about the price?

When I was looking a fibreglass mono in the same condition as Boracay was 3 times as much, and a cat, seven times.

I have been way ahead it it weren't for that darn GFC.

If there are facilities in your area to fix steel then its worth considering.
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Old 18-08-2011, 20:18   #37
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Re: Remind Me Why this Is a Bad Idea

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fiberglass and composites float, steel and lead sink.
At the risk of spoiling a good story...fibreglass sinks. It's not hard to prove - just drop a piece overboard and watch it fade away. Truth is, the only common boatbuilding material that floats is wood.
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Old 18-08-2011, 20:51   #38
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Re: Remind Me Why this Is a Bad Idea

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. . . Saw a guy buy a lovely glass ketch and sail it up from Florida. He hauled it and found a 'few small blisters." Three hard years later he was almost ready to relaunch.
Gee that was a quick repair. My FRG boat surveyed out with 18 blisters and after gelcoat removal had 184 of them including several areas of serious delamination. Only took me 10 years to repair and re-hull the boat and relaunch it. I'm jealous of that guy.
- - I looked for steel for over a year but could not find anything that wasn't rusted out and not worth repairing.
- - But then halfway through my saga, a steel Roberts came into the yard on a DEA drug confiscation and a friend snapped it up. Good clean steel with no rust anywhere. Boy was I pissed, but then again happy for my friend.
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Old 18-08-2011, 21:13   #39
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Re: Remind Me Why this Is a Bad Idea

I'm an old welding ex-spurt myself and I think steel is a great construction material - cheapish and easy to work (if you know what you are doing).

But to buy an older one, you gotta pick the right boat as there is so much variable quality of construction. The worst steelie I ever saw looked like it had been put together by pre-schoolers (Chicken poop welds, warped hull plates etc etc) and the best was so well built - down to stainless steel inserts at every corner where the paint could possibly be easily rubbed off - that it was difficult to even pick it for a steel boat at 10 paces.

Even though poor construction does not necessarily doom a steel boat, it usually implies that the more important aspects such as the protective coatings may also be poorly applied and poor construction + poor protective coating = heartache.
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Old 19-08-2011, 05:44   #40
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Re: Remind Me Why this Is a Bad Idea

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Originally Posted by Reefmagnet View Post
I'm an old welding ex-spurt myself and I think steel is a great construction material - cheapish and easy to work (if you know what you are doing).

But to buy an older one, you gotta pick the right boat as there is so much variable quality of construction. The worst steelie I ever saw looked like it had been put together by pre-schoolers (Chicken poop welds, warped hull plates etc etc) and the best was so well built - down to stainless steel inserts at every corner where the paint could possibly be easily rubbed off - that it was difficult to even pick it for a steel boat at 10 paces.

Even though poor construction does not necessarily doom a steel boat, it usually implies that the more important aspects such as the protective coatings may also be poorly applied and poor construction + poor protective coating = heartache.
Agreed.
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Old 19-08-2011, 06:21   #41
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Re: Remind Me Why this Is a Bad Idea

Whether or not a steel boat is right for you depends on your knowledge and skill working with steel. I have a 323 Pearson fiberglass boat now but with all the years of having worked in metal fabrication shops and Iron Working I always feel that I would be better off with a steel boat. But then I also worked in a shipyard so repairing and fitting a steel hulled boat to me would most likely be easier then repairing a fiberglass boat.
Just remember that no matter what with steel you are going to get a few burns here and there, get covered with grinding dust and rust, plus always be digging out steel slivers.
I think that if you can weld, fit-up, and afford the cost of repairing a steel boat that steel is great material to work with but you will always have to keep a tin of paint on board.
Also if you have to keep the boat on the hard for several years then I would personally forget it and save for something that I didn't have to do a lot of repairs on so I could start to enjoy the boat sailing shortly after I purchased it.
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Old 19-08-2011, 10:23   #42
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Re: Remind Me Why this Is a Bad Idea

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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
- - Time after time I see "used steel" boats come into the boatyard and after blasting and examining the owner sits down and cries as the hull plates are shot. Re-plating a whole boat is not easy nor inexpensive.
- - FRG on the other hand neither rusts nor is subject to electrolysis. Delamination and other blister problems can be fixed and the boat brought back to seaworthy condition a lot easier - IMHO.
- - Bottom line, if you can afford to buy a properly done metal hull by proven boat builders then fabulous. Nothing better. But if you are a budget boat buyer FRG is the best way to protect your investment - unless - you can find one of those "jewels" done properly and kept up properly by the owner.
If you have to spend 25000 on a FRG, then another 25000 repairing the hull, not to mention the cored deck, it would have been cheaper to buy the steel boat for 25000, and spend 10000 on repairing the hull and deck with new steel. Repaint with a good epoxy, inside and out. If you avoid grounding the hull of the boat with your electric, electrolysis is minimal.

IMHO, I can put a portable welder on board, and use it as a generator or a welder, or both at the same time. With the proper equipment, I can keep the self shielding flux cored wire on the wire feeder and any repairs can be made quickly and easily.

The real bottom line is, if you are a decent welder and can recognize good welds from bad welds, you pretty well know what to look for. If not, you should, more than likely, stick with the old FRG. A good welder can pretty much tell how much work it will be to get a steel boat back into the water in good shape. A fiberglass worker can do the same with the old FRG hulls.

My view is to go with what you know. Or not.
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Old 19-08-2011, 10:31   #43
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Re: Remind Me Why this Is a Bad Idea

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Originally Posted by Reefmagnet View Post
I'm an old welding ex-spurt myself and I think steel is a great construction material - cheapish and easy to work (if you know what you are doing).

But to buy an older one, you gotta pick the right boat as there is so much variable quality of construction. The worst steelie I ever saw looked like it had been put together by pre-schoolers (Chicken poop welds, warped hull plates etc etc) and the best was so well built - down to stainless steel inserts at every corner where the paint could possibly be easily rubbed off - that it was difficult to even pick it for a steel boat at 10 paces.

Even though poor construction does not necessarily doom a steel boat, it usually implies that the more important aspects such as the protective coatings may also be poorly applied and poor construction + poor protective coating = heartache.
When I was living aboard in Annapolis, prior to a carribean cruise, I met a family of 5 Canadians who bought a 51 foot steel boat for something like... $17k..? It was essentially a new boat (Roberts 51?) that was mostly complete. Interior was marine ply floors with carpet over etc. but it was well constructed, rigged, diesel engine and even had an icemaker!. It worked out great for that family and what a deal!
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Old 19-08-2011, 11:18   #44
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Re: Remind Me Why this Is a Bad Idea

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If you have to spend 25000 on a FRG, then another 25000 repairing the hull, not to mention the cored deck, it would have been cheaper to buy the steel boat for 25000, and spend 10000 on repairing the hull and deck with new steel. Repaint with a good epoxy, inside and out. If you avoid grounding the hull of the boat with your electric, electrolysis is minimal. . . .
Your cost numbers are well off by magnitudes of order. Point is for the budget boat buyer without expertise in either technology, buying used steel is and has been - in reality - a bad deal except for the rare exceptional jewels - just like ferrocement.
- - If the buyer happens to be an experienced "expert" in one technology or the other, naturally staying within their realm of expertise is wiser.
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Old 19-08-2011, 11:22   #45
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Re: Remind Me Why this Is a Bad Idea

Steel is all about having the right surface preparation and the right coatings. It's a great material if it is done right. It's a nightmare if done wrong.

Remember that most of the vessels on the ocean are steel.
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