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Old 06-09-2013, 19:22   #1
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New-to-me 1983 36' Steel Cutter Abrasive Blast and Epoxy in FL, AL, Gulf

Greetings sailors!

After several months searching from Canada to Florida I took the plunge and bought a 1983 Bruce Roberts Spray 36A steel cutter. The entire inside is visible and looks sound. I had a thorough survey done by Dave Huffman - excellent! I learned so much in 8+ hours of sweating in a 110*F cabin and engine room.

After a week living on the boat, sleeping in the cockpit with mosquitos and Florida heat, I have returned to finish out my third summer in my suburban permaculture homestead in Kirksville, Missouri. Suggestions are welcome in regards to preparing the house and car for winter storage.

I am having fun trying all the canned and dehydrated food I can stand. I intend to return to work on the boat at the end of this month (September 2013) and sea trial the Bahamas this winter (November 2013 - June 2014). The Plan is to sail clockwise around the Gulf of Mexico, around Florida's Keys, then up the western Atlantic and across to the Mediterranean and/or Britain and Scandinavia.

Long range plan is to pass through the Panama Canal, enjoy the South Pacific islands, NZ, AU, and across the Indian Ocean to S Africa or, if I really feel solid, round the Capes non-stop saying "arrrh!" the whole way. That would be something to write about.

Well, back to the present, the boat has blisters. Yep. Though the inside of the hull is spotless the surveyor's sonogram showed 20% metal deterioration in places. Naturally, I have had my moments of sheer terror and buyer's remorse a-go-go. Just this morning in fact.

I'm handy and like DIY projects but, after 47 years of intermittent exposure to unthinkably toxic products I am willing to pay others that I might live a few extra days in apparent health. Steiner Shipyard in Bayou La Batre, Alabama (near Mobile) is the only yard from St Petersburg, FL to Mobile, AL that seems obviously competent quoted $4,700 to sandblast to bare metal and spray 2 coats of PPG primer and 2 coats of bottom paint. They are a union shipyard so no chance of any DIY here. $600 to haul and block. $3300 to blast and paint.

Sterling Marina in Hernando Beach, FL is DIY only. They could not be closer to where the boat is now. And they are the most affordable. $175 to haul and block and relaunch. $10/day to work on the boat. And just good people.

By the way, the alternator was not charging. Every shop I called and visited wanted to sell a new one, $250 - $750 for a Perkins 4-108 72 amp alternator. Dave Huffman, the surveyor continues to coach me along the right path. He assured me it was probably a hundred dollar repair, a burned diode. Advanced Alternator in Clearwater proved him right - what a relief and sense of accomplishment.

I appreciate the threads I've read so far on: steel boats, engines, jacklines, sails, the Bahamas, buying boats, guns and gear - keep up the good effort!
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Old 06-09-2013, 20:01   #2
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pirate Re: New-to-me 1983 36' Steel Cutter Abrasive Blast and Epoxy in FL, AL, Gulf

Rock On mate....
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Old 30-09-2013, 21:30   #3
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Re: New-to-me 1983 36' Steel Cutter Abrasive Blast and Epoxy in FL, AL, Gulf

Aloha and welcome aboard!
Did the yard say anything about repairing the blisters?
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Old 30-09-2013, 22:03   #4
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Re: New-to-me 1983 36' Steel Cutter Abrasive Blast and Epoxy in FL, AL, Gulf

Welcome aboard, any pictures would be great
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Old 30-09-2013, 23:01   #5
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Re: New-to-me 1983 36' Steel Cutter Abrasive Blast and Epoxy in FL, AL, Gulf

Nice to see another good looking steel boat welcome buddy.
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Old 08-10-2013, 19:04   #6
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Oh my! In the yard a week tomorrow and feeling like I have not yet begun the work ahead. Photos, yes, thanks for the reminder. No glamorous "at the helm" shots any time soon. Reading, "Metal Corrosion in Boats" by Nigel Warren. Finally found an easy formula for zinc anode sizes and numbers (Chapter 9). Email exchange with naval architect Bruce Roberts was disappointing, vague and elusive. Looking forward to sailing, anchoring and free diving ASAP.
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Old 08-10-2013, 19:16   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiprJohn View Post
Aloha and welcome aboard! Did the yard say anything about repairing the blisters?
The yard birds at Sterling Marina have limited steel hull experience. Mostly GRP boats. The blister story that sounds most likely is when sea water sneaks through the barrier coat and meets a zinc primer the primer galvanizes. This is good in preventing unsightly rust stains. Below the waterline the intrusion spreads under the paint barrier and lifts an odious blister.

Plan A: Grit blast, Red Hand putty any pukas, 5 mil aluminum-rich epoxy primer covered with 5 mil epoxy barrier (2 coats each with 3/8" nap roller) then bottom paint.
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Old 17-10-2013, 04:40   #8
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Re: New-to-me 1983 36' Steel Cutter Abrasive Blast and Epoxy in FL, AL, Gulf

Nice to have another Steel Boat owner on the forum. Got my 40 year old Dutch built Steel Kotter (ketch) about ten months ago and slowly getting to grips with her. Not very familiar with the steel boat scene in the US , but here in Holland and many other parts such as Germany, Belgium and Scandinavia often in the Marina's, Steel boats outnumber GRP boats. She was nicely refurbished in and out, the only thing left now is the also 40 year old Ford Lehman 120..........

Good luck keep us posted on the progress, I plan to have the Zeemeeuw lifted out next winter to have "her bottom done".

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Old 17-10-2013, 04:50   #9
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Re: New-to-me 1983 36' Steel Cutter Abrasive Blast and Epoxy in FL, AL, Gulf

Hello fellow steelie
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Old 17-10-2013, 04:54   #10
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Congratulations Trentz and good luck with the engine and bottom.

Preparing this boat with circumnavigation in mind is a sobering commitment in time and money.

I'm reconsidering holding off on re-coating deck, topsides, and hull until Trinidad, Venezuela. Maybe she can have more work done for the same expense and I'll get sailing sooner.

I ordered a Monitor wind vane - freedom!
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Old 17-10-2013, 05:02   #11
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So that's how...

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Old 17-10-2013, 11:12   #12
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Re: New-to-me 1983 36' Steel Cutter Abrasive Blast and Epoxy in FL, AL, Gulf

Hehe, classic respirator photo

Beautiful boat, good luck with the boat work.
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Old 20-10-2013, 18:20   #13
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Re: New-to-me 1983 36' Steel Cutter Abrasive Blast and Epoxy in FL, AL, Gulf

Hi there Buddha
Congrats on your steely mate. Wy wife and I bought a Roberts Mauritius a year-and-a-bit ago and have been basically rebuilding it since. Firstly...why a steel boat? It's one of the criteria for long range cruising in my view. All this hooey about hitting containers etc...distracts from the real issue - that's taking to ground - rocks, reefs etc . Anyone who is doing serious exploration of foreign shores and who expects not to give Mother Earth a decent thump in that time is dreaming. I met a bloke just the other day who had his steel boat scull-dragged off a reef he ended up on due to a dragged anchor. He was pushed 20 yards across the shallow reef in the storm. He pulled it out, cut out a couple of square yards of plate and sailed another 10,000 miles without issues. He was out of the water for two days!
We've blasted and painted the hull professionally and we did the deck and cockpit ourselves. Being a 1984 built boat we decided to remove every bit of paint down to bare metal and blast and kill every active pit and inspect every seam/weld. We bought a 50cfm diesel compressor and fitted out with a decent needle gun and a small sand blaster. Here's some pics of our fun over the period (thats my wife killing the deck pits with the hand blaster).
We learned a lot from a great bloke at the yard where we had the boiley work and painting done. The key is to use a marine epoxy primer (such as a Jotun or International primer) after a careful blast back to white metal. Make sure you know if the sand blast is dry or wet. Unless it's in a shed many places now do wet which is fine only if you are using a wet-blast suitable primer that can tolerate light flash rust. The price you have for the blast looks reasonable as long as it's a good job and a dry blast (I'd expect a shed hire in that). From what I learned, the blast and the primer IS the paint job. You can even do your top coat by roller but it's so important to get an airless dump of the primer onto the wet or dry blasted hull. The 'state of the art' marine paint no longer has any metal content for mild steel applications. Just various epoxies.
Make sure you epoxy paint first and fill after.
Oh dear...this is sounding like a 'how to suck eggs' dissertation. I didn't mean it to be. Good luck with your adventures..Mike
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Old 20-10-2013, 21:21   #14
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Nice work, Mike. I absolutely agree with both points - why steel? Grounding. Blast to white metal and recoat the whole boat. My boat is in a yard where they are uptight about abrasive blasting. The rigs I've used are inadequate pressure. At this point I plan to grind and touch up as best I can to tide her over through the winter cruising months. I'll haul and get help in Trinidad where I intend to strip off all of the old coatings and recoat the entire hull and deck. Thanks for sharing the inspiring photos.
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Old 20-10-2013, 23:02   #15
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Re: New-to-me 1983 36' Steel Cutter Abrasive Blast and Epoxy in FL, AL, Gulf

Some of you folks should try our ship yards down the bayou!! They do steel shrimp boats all the time! for way less then your talking about !! One about a mile from us paints some mitey pretty boats !!! Just a thought if you are on the gulf it's not a big sail to Louisiana
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