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Old 02-07-2013
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Re: van de stadt

I have a VDS designed boat and they are well known for strong, comfortable passagemakers. Be aware that VDS is the designer and not the builder. VDS is a very well known Dutch naval architect. Owners buy their designs and have boats built from them. If the boat was built in Holland chances are it was done in a yard with experience in steel boat construction. It would be worth your while to determine where and by whom the boat was built.

I would recommend you find a surveyor who knows steel boats -- most likely to be someone who surveys commercial fishing boats and the like rather than one who specializes in yachts. Be sure you have your surveyor carefully inspect the interior of the boat. Steel boats usually rust from the inside out. Careful maintenance of the interior surfaces is key to the long life of a steel hull. If the boat was professionally built you're much better off than if it was home-built from the VDS design. Amateur builders usually aren't as experienced in how the structure goes together. They may be professional welders, but there's a lot more to it than welding things together. And then there's the painting -- again something for professionals to do because tehy have all the right gear for it. For example: I've had problems with rust in the limber holes, primarily because it was difficult to spray paint all the surfaces. I've been told by an experienced surveyor that the builder knew what he was doing, but the painters probably created the problem. Had the painters hand painted the limber holes I'm sure the problem would not be as significant. Another little detail I just discovered this time the builder's fault -- the builder of my boat used threaded steel pipe welded to the hull (in and out) as the base for the seacocks, which are SS ball valves. I recently had to replace one of these seacocks because of the need for more raw water for a new engine. When we cut the steel pipe flush with the inside of the hull we discovered that we had lost approx 50% of the pipe wall to corrosion over the last 17 years. As a result I'm replacing many of the thru-hulls with Marlon fittings as a precaution. It's details like this that can make all the difference in how long the boat will last.

Again, the designer has little or no impact on things like this -- they may specify that things be done a certain way, but there is no guarantee that their spec was followed by the builder. Again, professional builders experienced in steel construction will probably be much more likely to follow specs than an amateur builder (who after all is building the boat because they don't have enough money to have it built professionally -- and hence, is much more likely to cut corners and to make mistakes because as they say, "he don't know what he don't know".) You need to know both the reputation of the designer (in this instance very good) AND the reputation of the builder.

Exterior maintenance is easier in many respects, but still requires attention. I"ve said in other posts that steel boats are a labor of love. If you keep after the rust they will last a very long time. If you don't you'll have big problems.

You should inquire about the paint schedule they used in repainting the boat. New paint can cover a lot of rust and you won't see it for a year or more. If the boat was well preped (all rust ground out, treated, primed 2X, filled and faired, primed again) and then and only then, finish painted chances are you will get 7-10 years out of the paint job. Don't be fooled it they say it was Awlgrip-ed. Awlgrip and Awlcraft (which I use) are great paint systems, but they will not last unless the undercoating was done correctly.

Good luck in the purchase. I love my steel boat (even more after hitting a few hard things through the years), but I've seen some real steel hulled disasters. New paint and new engine is nice, but it's only a small part of the equation.

PS -- Just read your last post and looks like tha advice above is a tad late. Re the frig/freezer -- make sure you touch base with Cleave at SeaFrost in NH. He's a good guy, really knows he business and builds some very good systems -- I have two aboard.

Last edited by billyruffn; 02-07-2013 at 01:00 PM.
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