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Old 24-06-2024, 13:44   #1
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Hull type vs year of vessell

So it seems my potential purchase of a 1976 corten steel boat is not going to progress and I have started to look at alternatives.

Originally I was set on a steel hull but my options are very limited inNew Zealand. I have therefore included GRP in my potential list and dropped my requirement from 40feet to 35ish feet.

The idea is to liveaboard on mooring and coastal cruising only for now.

Any vessel I will look at will be subject to survey but assuming any survey shows no issues....

My question is would you consider a steel hull of the 70'/80s or a GRP hull from the mid 90s rather? or even a GRP hull from the 80s?
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Old 24-06-2024, 14:25   #2
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Re: Hull type vs year of vessell

A GRP boat needs a "Good" survey.
A steel boat needs a "Real Good" survey.
Especially as they get older, steel boats tend to show their problems on the inside in the areas/places that are difficult to near impossible to access.
No matter the material though, it's the deck leaks that cause most problems over time.
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Old 24-06-2024, 14:41   #3
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Re: Hull type vs year of vessell

If you don't know the answer go GRP. Only steel boat nerds should own steel boats. They are great but need more maintenance in the long run and skills too. GRP can be much less maintenance. Get the steel boat when/if you know enough to know that is the boat you want.
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Old 24-06-2024, 15:02   #4
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Re: Hull type vs year of vessell

Gonna give a plug for steel boats here.

Most people that opine on steel boats have never owned one.

I've owned my own steel boat for years, and I have gotten to know many others.

While rust can be unsightly, no need to run for the door at the sight of it.

Even rusty steel is extremely strong. Let me repeat that " extremely strong"

As stated above, get a good survey done by someone that knows what they are doing.

Next, do yourself a favor and buy a metal thickness gauge. Many varieties around. Search online. Something around $300 will get you a good one. With this in hand all you have to do is press it against the hull and deck anywhere you want it and will read the thickness of the metal. Done deal.

You'll be surprised at the results.

Maintenance, sure, but no more than any other boat. A variety of paints and rust neutralizers, etc, are available for touch up work.

Many, many tests have been done on steel in a marine environment. It's a well known topic. I speak as a retired structural marine engineer.

If steel is your goal, get back on your horse again and look some more.

As an aside, I built my own steel boat back in the 70's. It's now on it's third owner and still going as strong as the day built it. 45 years old now...'jes sayin'

Lemme tell you, a steel hull is very forgiving, You can bounce a steel boat of a rockpile and keep on sailing. Try that with a GRP boat.
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Old 24-06-2024, 16:30   #5
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Re: Hull type vs year of vessell

My GRP from the 60s is still doing fine.Currently getting refreshed in the boatyard.
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Old 24-06-2024, 20:13   #6
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Re: Hull type vs year of vessell

Quote:
My question is would you consider a steel hull of the 70'/80s or a GRP hull from the mid 90s rather? or even a GRP hull from the 80s?
Usually, when you buy a boat, there's more there than just a hull. Me, I would look at GRP, because our friends with steelie's all carry paint brushes in their pockets. They are forever, renewing surface coatings where chipping has occurred. Part of your pre-survey is to assess how the interior coatings were done, and how the steel is where dust has gathered to hold moisture near the welds. You're also concerned with plate thickness. And, honestly, it can be tricky to find a surveyor who's good with steel boats 50 yr. old and older.

I'd prefer GRP. It's almost inert. And, surveyors are more familiar with it. But, do understand there are some who are very good, and some who are middling, and a few who are terrible, so it's a good idea to ask a wide variety of boat owners who they've heard of locally to your location of the boat, who frequently get satisfied customers. Take a look at this link: https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...1-a-78671.html It should give you some food for thought.

Consider the boat as a whole entity; and choose the best conditioned one of your finalists. Things like engines, rigs, new electronics, and suits of sails are the most expensive and cost of new where required should be deducted from your offer. Remember you'll need a dinghy, too.

Ann
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Old 29-06-2024, 14:46   #7
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Re: Hull type vs year of vessell

I'd like to bring up my previous comment again, in that many people that have never owned a steel boat, sailed on one, etc, yet have firm negative beliefs about owning one, without any substantive evidence or experience.

While it's true, that one comes across a rust bucket from time to time, there are many examples of steel boats that have successfully sailed around the world and elsewhere.

If GRP was such a wonder stuff, big ships would be made from it, but they aren't, instead, usually ALWAYS built from steel.

Don't want to harp on the matter, but if steel is on the OP's radar, am here to provide my support and my 2c on the issue, as one that has happily owned a steel boat for a decade or more.
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Old 29-06-2024, 17:47   #8
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Re: Hull type vs year of vessell

Quote:
Originally Posted by MicHughV View Post
I'd like to bring up my previous comment again, in that many people that have never owned a steel boat, sailed on one, etc, yet have firm negative beliefs about owning one, without any substantive evidence or experience.

While it's true, that one comes across a rust bucket from time to time, there are many examples of steel boats that have successfully sailed around the world and elsewhere.

If GRP was such a wonder stuff, big ships would be made from it, but they aren't, instead, usually ALWAYS built from steel.

Don't want to harp on the matter, but if steel is on the OP's radar, am here to provide my support and my 2c on the issue, as one that has happily owned a steel boat for a decade or more.
'instead, usually ALWAYS built from steel' ... And they usually go to the breakers when they fail their 20 year survey.
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Old 29-06-2024, 18:04   #9
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Re: Hull type vs year of vessell

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If GRP was such a wonder stuff, big ships would be made from it, but they aren't, instead, usually ALWAYS built from steel.
If steel was such a wonder stuff, airplanes would be made from it, but they aren't, instead usually ALWAYS built from Aluminium. Equally valid argument IMO.*

But IMO the real problem with buying someone else's steel boat is knowing of what product and how well applied the original internal coatings were done. This is a critical stage in construction and hard to determine well after t he fact.

And no, I've not owned a steel yacht myself. This is largely because of the many friends who HAVE steel yachts that have shown me the pitfalls that often (not always) are involved in such vessels, and this has discouraged me from seeking out one for myself.
Additionally there are few designs in steel that offer the performance that I have sought, but that is not true for all of us.

Jim

* In case it was not obvious, "equally valid" in this case means that neither argument is valid.
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Old 29-06-2024, 19:43   #10
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Re: Hull type vs year of vessell

Silvrav my experience is you pick your hull material and just accept the issues that may arise. Every material has issues, and you can learn how to fix most of them.
I have surveyed plenty of steel boats and are yet to find one that gave me a 100% access to all the interior hull skin. The other issue is that just about every steel boat I have surveyed has never had a coating inspector go over the final paint work to inspect for pinholes and coating thickness. After inspecting hundreds of kilometers of steel gas pipeline you have no idea how important this is. Which leads me to the point that lots of older steel boats I survey are now failing from the inside out and need some serious work. Which involves removing the interior sand blasting and re-installing the interior. Thats the other point, finding a yard that can and will let you carry out sand blasting on their premises.
MicHughV when a steel boat is well built it's a great material. Just last week I surveyed a 30-year-old steel Boden trawler. Great boat except for the bilge which was a rusty mess thanks to a leaky packing gland seal. But even there the steel had only lost 1mm of thickness.
Hugh on a side note my friend had some rusty spots on his deck. Other clients of mine have had good luck with Super Cheap Auto rust converter. He ground and sprayed the rusty areas 8 months ago they still look good even without topcoat protecting them. It's become like an experiment now to see how long before they start to rust again.
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Old 30-06-2024, 06:34   #11
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Re: Hull type vs year of vessell

On a whim I was perusing the internet with regards to steel hulled sailboats and there is a surprising number of them around.
The Dutch, in particular have been building them for decades.

Earlier steel boats were a bit of a hit and miss thing, the majority being built by some or other amateur boat builder in his backyard. The design of these boats was also a bit of mystery to many, with the result that earlier models, were being designed and built like wood boats, with plenty of ribs and stringers, etc. All unnecessary, all this and other factors led to steel getting a bad rap as a hull material.

Not to mention the welding prowess of any amateur welder.

Lastly, the fact of the matter is that the key to any successful steel boat building project is the sand blasting and painting process. Unfortunately, this is where many home built steel boats also fell short.
Then too, early steel paint was somewhat lacking in performance.

Much, if not all of this has changed over the years. Steel hulls can now be ordered as "kits" and so on.
For those that are intent on building their own boat, steel is invariably the material of choice.

So there is much to consider here and one can't brush the entire steel boat industry with the same brush.

On a separate note, I visited the Miami/Homestead area several years ago after Hurricane Andrew demolished the place, and came across an area, where countless barges were tied up together. All of them holding countless 100's of destroyed fiberglass boats, hulls having been pierced by pilings and other damage. Fiberglass for all it's glossy finish, etc, falls short in the structural department.

I'm a retired structural marine engineer by profession and get intrigued by how, why and when things happen. Besides building my own steel boat, I have been on countless others, so am trying to offer a more informed perspective than simply branding any steel boat as a rust bucket.
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Old 30-06-2024, 07:34   #12
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Re: Hull type vs year of vessell

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Originally Posted by MicHughV View Post
Lemme tell you, a steel hull is very forgiving, You can bounce a steel boat of a rockpile and keep on sailing. Try that with a GRP boat.

You mean, like these guys did?

https://youtu.be/YIglL5vks4g?feature=shared

GRP can be made very strong. A lot of fishing ships for example are GRP, and these boats have quite a hard life...
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Old 30-06-2024, 07:41   #13
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Re: Hull type vs year of vessell

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The Dutch, in particular have been building them for decades.
Some friends of mine owned a professionally built Dutch steel trawler. She was a beautiful small ship, and very well built. The owner was also a marine professional with all the skills (he rebuilt his own engine). But, at one haulout someone put their hand through the bottom of the boat where an integral tank was on the inside. The hull had rusted through from the inside in a place impossible to inspect. Steel has the many wonderful properties mentioned in this thread, but owners must be meticulous and relentless at maintenance.
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Old 30-06-2024, 10:01   #14
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Re: Hull type vs year of vessell

but owners must be meticulous and relentless at maintenance.

true of any boat....
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Old 30-06-2024, 16:05   #15
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Re: Hull type vs year of vessell

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For those that are intent on building their own boat, steel is invariably the material of choice.
Simply not true. Around here there are numerous wooden boats being built and zero steel ones.

Jim
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