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Old 11-19-2009
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Were I to win a lottery, aluminum would be my first choice, followed by epoxy cold molded construction. Maintenance of aluminum is virtually as low as it gets, especially if the topsides are bare. Strength is best of all materials, allowing for the aluminum hull to be thicker than steel for less weight. Layout is flexible as bulkheads are not in as fixed locations as fibreglass. Watertight bulkheads are not a problem to build in. Steve Dashew's designs have a large forepeak for sails and anchor gear separated by a watertight bulkhead and only accessible from on deck, and the same at the stern for the engine compartment, leaving the middle untainted by either. Probably the most unique reason is the bilge should be truly dusty and dry. There are no holes required on deck for any attachment and that's a huge plus. Ac and dc systems require care, but that's a small price to pay. The French love aluminum, a lot of them having multi chine construction and several with lifting keels. In the early 90's I was given a tour of Beowolf, the Dashew's 67' ketch when they stopped in Victoria on the way back from Alaska - bare aluminum outside, very finely crafted woodwork inside, and capable of going anywhere.
Brian
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