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Old 18-05-2022, 10:26   #1
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Aluminum Boats

I am seriously considering buying an aluminum boat (sailing yacht is more like it). In the words of J. Kreschmer, she and I have been "conversing." I cannot seem to get her out of my mind.

I would appreciate any suggestions, do's, don't do's, look for's, tips, comments, advice or just "are you nuts" from anyone who has owned or owns an aluminum boat. Pro's, con's, watch out for's, likes, dislikes, anything. If you are willing to talk, please PM me.

I thank everyone in advance for their informative comments.
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Old 18-05-2022, 11:34   #2
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Re: Aluminum Boats

Go into it with a good, solid understanding of corrosion. Particularly galvanic corrosion. Aluminum boats are particular about their cathodic protection. While you can't really over protect a fiberglass boat you can overprotect an aluminum one. Aluminum is also very anodic, it's one of the most anodic metals with the exception of zinc or magnesium. Park it next to a steel boat and you become the anode.
Understanding this, they also have some advantages and can make great boats if maintained properly.
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Old 18-05-2022, 16:10   #3
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Re: Aluminum Boats

Many friends with alloy boats, most of whom have had favorable experience with them. One common issue is that the available aluminium-safe antifouling paints are not very good and bio-fouling is a problem that leads to more frequent slipping for repainting.

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Old 18-05-2022, 16:17   #4
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Re: Aluminum Boats

Aluminum is a terrific boat building material but one stupid electrical installation mistake can do tremendous damage.
Take the ABYC Marine Corrosion course before buying an aluminum boat.
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Old 18-05-2022, 17:20   #5
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Re: Aluminum Boats

Mulder Favourite 1700 All aluminum Yacht. Stunning build. It has proper aluminum primer so bottom paint sticks fine. Mulder builds massive yachts with Aluminum as do several other builders. You can powder coat or anodize. Its actually water proof vs glass
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Old 19-05-2022, 01:06   #6
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Re: Aluminum Boats

The Metal Boat Society ➥ https://metalboatsociety.wildapricot.org/
Issues a great publication, “Metal Boat Quarterly”
MBQ Index - Kasten Marine Design

Including articles by Michael Kasten ➥ Metal Boat Society - Kasten Marine Design
Such as:
Aluminum For Boats ➥ Cruising World Article - Aluminum For Boats
Corrosion Prevention For Metal Boats ➥ Corrosion Prevention - Kasten Marine Design
Marine Metals Reference ➥ http://www.kastenmarine.com/_pdf/mbqMetRef.pdf
Corrosion, Zincs and Bonding ➥ http://www.kastenmarine.com/_pdf/mbqCref.pdf
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Old 19-05-2022, 04:50   #7
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Re: Aluminum Boats

https://stanleyboats.ca/

Stanley showed up in the 80’s as one of the only boats to service Georgian Bay. They are a small little company but consistent. Their reputation in Georgian Bay exceeds all brands of boats. The don’t depreciate and they are never for sale.
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Old 19-05-2022, 05:33   #8
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Re: Aluminum Boats

By a good one, keep it clean - especially the bilge - and you're golden. Just don't try to bring back one from the dead.

And get a Ag/AgCl half cell and learn the basics of using it.
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Old 19-05-2022, 09:06   #9
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Re: Aluminum Boats

I thank everyone for their responses and advice.
I am following up on every suggestion.

Again, thank you all.
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Old 19-05-2022, 10:12   #10
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Re: Aluminum Boats

I have managed an aluminum boat building shop.

I had friends with a beautiful 48 ft Perry designed Cutter built by a famous NE boatyard.
We sailed the Caribe together and they kept on for 10 years. They had the boat painted 3 times in 10 years. They can be difficult to keep paint on if offshore cruising for sure. At a dock with lot of fresh water and a maintenance crew is not so bad.

My advice is that aluminum is often more work and more troublesome than fiberglass. Just know that going in. There are some great examples out there though.

Yes, be careful of electrical installations. I have seen a 3 year old boat with a hull that had holes the size of golfballs in it. (boat sank).
I have had to tear the stern out 2 aluminum powerboats under warranty on which the marine aluminum corroded rapidly. Investigation discovered the alloy mix on the marine aluminum was off but the plate was shipped anyway.
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Old 19-05-2022, 10:34   #11
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Re: Aluminum Boats

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Johnson View Post
...And get a Ag/AgCl half cell and learn the basics of using it.
Matt would you please expand on this statement. Even a link to what you're talking about would be helpful. And unlike my usual experience Google has not been my friend, but just gives me links to a Ag/AgCl reference cells.

I am sure others will be interested too, especially those of us with aluminium boats.

YThanks
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Old 19-05-2022, 11:34   #12
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Re: Aluminum Boats

I'll be following this thread with interest as the owner of an aluminium yacht. My boat, like many such boats has a hull that is unpainted above the water line. There are pros and cons, but mostly pros. As I see it, my boat has all the advantages of steel; strength, ruggedness but (mostly) without the problems of corrosion. And that special advantage, I can weld stuff on, not just bolt it on. But I have no expertise, other than owning such a yacht.

And the reality is boat constriction materials are one of those endless no win arguments: mono vs multi, fin vs full(ish) keel, wheel vs tiller, cutter vs sloop vs ketch, and more and more today, diesel vs electric.

But this topic has a great many discussions, books and youtube vids and bloggs out there. But quite a number of youtube vloggers in particular I've found to be biased, and/or just lack knowledge and expertise.

As I guess a watcher/reader of many of these over the years I have developed a view that aluminium boats are popular (or unpopular) somewhat geographically. So it has struck me that in the great and huge North American continent it's not a favoured boat building material (grief NA people can't even spell the word correctly: it's ALUMINIUM not ALUMINUM, and pronounced with both i's too). Where as in say Western Europe, particularly France and Germany many very high quality brands build with aluminium. Especially boats intended as expedition vessels in high latitudes.

And as a member here on CF for a few years now, it has struck me that perhaps because of the forum's (seemingly) very high proportion of North American members, then aluminium isn't much favoured as a boat construction material. Certainly at least from those that regularly post their views. I would encourage other members to perhaps provide stats on this. My 'gut feel' may be very wrong.

That popularity (or lack of) thus also governs the attitudes. So say (I don't actually know this, just hypothesising) that in Victoria Australia (yes it's a State) there has never been an aluminium boat builder in the last 50 years or so, then there'll be limited knowledge and experience but the boat building industry in that area. So most in that past of the world would steer any prospective buyer away. But if you were in say France where aluminium is much more widely used then there is considerable expertise and the resulting knowledge base much higher from the people on the ground working with the stuff every day. A boat builder trained in GRP isn't going to luck a job at a yard turning out aluminium boats nor vice versa.

And where I live down under, if you're going to build a work boat, ie fishing vessel, barge, ferry, river boat etc, then way more likely to be aluminium than anything else. It takes the knocks, doesn't rust, if you drop your dive tanks in the cockpit say then the worst that might happen is a little dent (oh in the dive tank, not the cockpit floor). The stuff they build boats from is very strong and incredibly hard wearing and it really takes the knocks.

So what prohibits more boats being built in aluminium, besides lack of expertise, knowledge and experience? Cost, aluminium is a relatively high cost building material for a boat. Far more suited to one off designs than production runs with moulds.
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Old 19-05-2022, 12:59   #13
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Re: Aluminum Boats

Two must have products:

1. Corrosion reference electrode: https://www.boatzincs.com/corrosion-...electrode.html

Some boat even have an installation with an alarm that sounds when something is wrong.

2. Isolation transformer: https://www.victronenergy.com/isolat...-3600va-7000va

Whatever they tell you to do with this, make sure that the shore power ground conductor is only connected to the transformer input and not connected to the output nor anywhere else aboard. Use a multimeter to make sure.
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