Re: Steel boats - things to watch for?
A hammer and a centrepunch will find any thin spots. Whack any doubtful point with a centre punch, and if it doesn't dent severely, you have plenty of metal there. Check the low point of the keel and any sealed areas, such as ballast etc. Check for adequate paint under the spray foam insulation. Folks and Fehr boats had zero paint under the foam, which gave steel boats a reputation for rusting from the inside out. Foam is not adequate protection by itself. Three or more coats of epoxy tar is the only thing which works.
Patches are a bad sign.
10 guage is common, but I prefer 3/16th and less framing. With the huge amount of excess framing in a Tahiti, you could go frameless and 3/8th plate and she would be lighter. They have a totally ridiculous amount of framing. Yesterday I saw a Fehr boat which had so much framing in the bow, with 10 guage pate,you could have used quarter inch plate and no framing and she would have been lighter, and far tougher. Hit a sharp rock and thickness will save you from holing, framing wont, and framing will in fact increase the chance of holing.
Tahitis are slower than a bureaucrat's brain.
You can always find me on the origamiboats site ( yahoo groups) a good source for anyone considering a steel boat.
Brent Swain, Boat designer, Builder, and author of "Origami Metal Boatbuilding"