Re: Pros and cons of steel sailboats
Another variable not fully explored in this thread is where you sail and expect to service your boat. As Brent said "plastic" is a dime a dozen. Virtually all yards have much experience with it as do most sailors. Wood in it's various techniques is most unfortunately be coming a lost art although IMHO cold molded wood/epoxy or strip plank with appropriate skins maybe the best material for the sailing most of us do. Similarly, skilled workers in Al are limited and you run the risk of someone not familiar with the material doing a modification that may degrade the integrity of the vessel. But it is probably the best material for long term cruising off the grid, especially high latitude.
Large vessels are built to the economic reality of a "service life". Many never come out of the water or undergo the extensive refits that we subject our "true loves" to.
We all have many 50+ year old wood boats and "plastic" boats in our harbors being actively used and enjoyed. Don't see that many metal boats of that kind of age being sailed unless they are of extraordinary pedigree.