Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: British Columbia
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Re: Pros and cons of steel sailboats
Issue for me is you finally got your act together and are out long term cruising. Do you want to spend that time being concerned about hull maintenance, electrolysis and rust? If you brought a used boat regardless of review of the scantlings and the above discussion with it's delightful math do you have any idea of what's under you after a few years? Either you put years of sweat equality or the fruits of years of grinding out that paycheck into your boat. What's that boat worth when you hang up your spurs? What kind of shape is it going to be in? What will it take to keep it in that shape?
Brent can say what he wants but believe when you fall off that wave at hull speed or better on to the corner of a semi submerged container you're going to get a hole. Unless it's forward of a watertight bulkhead or you're in an ETAP you're in big trouble. For me the lack of performance and the maintenance concerns make steel problematic. Modern coatings are great. I'm 3 slips down from a 62' crewed trawleryacht as I write this. Gorgeous design in steel. I'm sure it was flamed zinced and has unobtainium epoxy up the whazoo. Painted white and pristine until you get real close and see the rust streaks.
You are not going to fall off a wave faster than hitting a steel barge at 6 knots, which my boats have done with impunity. My boat is 29 years old with her original paint job , in excellent shape.
It takes a tiny amount of steel to make a rust streak, or a huge amount of rust. Seconds with muriatic acid eliminates them quickly.
Brent Swain, Boat designer, Builder, and author of "Origami Metal Boatbuilding"