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
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.