I have built a steel boat and and cruised extesively (over 40K nm) with no maintenance problems - the boat was built right and with the correct coating systems.
The boat was designed by Ted Brewer (Bulldog 30) and I can attest to its sailing capability and lievaboard comfort.
Please check Ted's site at tedbrewer.com/sail_aluminum/bulldog.htm
This is an aluminum design, but Ted redid it for steel. Wonderfull boat.