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Old 15-10-2011, 12:02   #1
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Steel or GRP for Bluewater Cruising

Our next sailboat is going to be 42-48' for live-aboard and blue-water cruising.

I need good advice on what to buy.

I think I prefer steel, considering all the crab that is floating around. And the reeves off-course.

So:

Steel or plastic?
Sloop/cutter or ketch or maybe scooner?
Furling main or slab reef?

I should add that we are going to sail short-handed some of the time, the wifey and I.
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Old 15-10-2011, 12:21   #2
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Re: Steel or GRP for bluewater cruising.

There are allot more fibreglass than steel boats to chose from, both have their problems, cutter is my choice but I sail a big sloop.
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Old 15-10-2011, 12:52   #3
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Re: Steel or GRP for bluewater cruising.

IMO- Steel is fine over 45' if it's fairly new or well preserved. But you may want to do research into the construction methods on which is proper, & not.

New FG are fairly maintenance free for the first few years but does require up-keep of the gelcoat if one wants to keep them spiffy.

But if your worried about hitting stuff (reefs up North) then it would be advisable to take some courses in navigation. Floatsam is usually close to shore , in which, one should be on the lookout anyway. The open seas (off shore) are pretty clean.

Also, different kinds of keel boats take a grounding/hit more or less serious. So that is something to consider as well.

BTW- I vote for sloop w/solent stay (second removable jib) with a slab reef system for off shore. But ketches are good too. No scooners!
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Old 15-10-2011, 13:18   #4
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Re: Steel or GRP for bluewater cruising.

Aren't most cruisers more worried about whales or sharks than crabs? Although I do hear rowers complain about "catching a crab" now and then. (grin)

Where will the original poster be sailing? Is condensation a possible issue? If different materials are being considered because of safety, shouldn't the design and construction of the boat also be a strong consideration?
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Old 15-10-2011, 13:40   #5
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Re: Steel or GRP for bluewater cruising.

What about aluminium ?
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Old 15-10-2011, 13:48   #6
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OK I see what you mean, crab-crap. I should have used the correct term, ****..

We have loads of nav courses, and have been sailing for many years. But some waters are not too good charted, and there is allways the risc of a drifting anchor in heavy weather. Never mind the reason, wouldn't you prefer hitting anything with a steel hull, rather than with a GRP one?

We plan to go South from Denmark, cross the Atlantic for the Caribbean, and then we will see.

I especially have noticed the Amel Meltem yacht from late 70's. Any opinions on the Amel boats?
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Old 15-10-2011, 13:51   #7
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Yes, aluminium is nice. But then there is galvanic corrosion. How big a problem is this?
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Old 15-10-2011, 14:06   #8
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Re: Steel or GRP for Bluewater Cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by BentP View Post
Yes, aluminium is nice. But then there is galvanic corrosion. How big a problem is this?
Less of a problem than the rust with steel, or the core rot/ delamination/ osmosis problems with fiberglass.
No boat building material is perfect but aluminium combines the puncture resistance of steel with the maintenance free aspect of fiberglass. It seems the ideal materal to answer your requirements.
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Old 15-10-2011, 15:26   #9
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The grass is always greener...

As a steel boat owner The things I don't like about steel are:-
1) The designs are mostly older style. Boracay has long overhangs. When using the dinghy I'd love a sugar scoop stern. Swimming off the boat is almost out of the question. The equivalent Oceanis to Boracay has almost 6 ft more of waterline length. We have a draft of 2m (6'6"), most equivalent fibreglass boats are 5'6" or less.
2) Maintenance seems never ending. There's more both in and out of the water.
3) Most steel boats are amateur built. They're more difficult to sail and equipment often often ends up being installed in a less than perfect place. The builder may have made construction choices that could be better.
4) The framing reduces the interior space available.
5) Those stunning wood interiors of the better fibreglass boats are very time consuming to achieve.

All the above said I'd love an Oceanis 423 or similar. I'd just have to pay three times what Boracay has cost.
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Old 15-10-2011, 16:19   #10
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Re: The grass is always greener...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boracay View Post
The designs are mostly older style.
I like the older design of my steel boat...
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