Here is a couple of fresh water boat dealers on Lake Michigan.
http://www.torresen.com/ --as well as good diesel parts and info.
ALL Quoted information----"It''s aluminum. Here''s why:
Aluminum combines light weight, high strength, easy workability, and acceptable cost in one package. Steel is less expensive as a raw material, but by the time the extra dollars associated with handling it, forming the plates, etc., are factored-in, much of that advantage disappears. Steel takes longer to weld than aluminum an increases labor costs. It must be sandblasted before priming and painting, another expense; it''s high- maintenance, which translates to increased operating costs; and it''s heavy, so less displacement is left over for the 1,001 other things that must go into a first-class yacht-- things like engines, systems, and fuel. Steel isn''t a serious player in this league--leave it for only the largest yachts or commercial boats.
Fiberglass usually means a skins-and-core composite that creates panel stiffness without excessive weight. Cored composites are relative newcomers in the custom- yacht field and vary in quality from excellent to abysmal. Trouble is, you don''t know which level you''re getting because it''s impossible to analyze a composite laminate thoroughly without destroying it. You have to rely on the reputation and track record of the builder, and hope that everyone is having a good day when they lay up your hull.
In the hands of expert craftsmen working in climate-controlled shops, using high-tech autoclaves, post-cure ovens, and exotic fabrics, cores, and resins, composite FG produces a strong, light laminate. The aerospace industry uses lots of carbon fiber and epoxy; supersonic fighter planes, airliners,and the Stealth Bomber soar on carbon. Laminate costs soar, too, often 20 times higher per pound than boat-builders are willing to spend, and yacht buyers willing to pay, for marine composites.
And you get what you pay for: Composites assembled by even the best yacht builders can suffer delamination, incomplete cure, resin starvation, water absorption and heat deformation. Finish your hull in Flag Blue or another dark color, and it can lose up to 75% of its strength under the hot Florida sun. According to one classification-society engineer, it''s likely that cored-composite yachts built with bottom-of-the-barrel raw materials like E-glass fabric and polyester resin will have water in the core within five years. Even more troublesome is secondary bonding: the attachment of bulkheads, stringers, floors and other structural members to the cured hull. Secondary-bonding failure is a major cause of composite boat owner''s headaches. Composite fiberglass is floating Russian roulette--do you feel lucky?
Boat-building in aluminum doesn''t involve luck. It''s a straightforward process using easily tested, time-proven materials and methods. On a weight-for-weight basis, aluminum alloy is stronger than steel. Strength-for-strength, it weighs about half as much and is 10 times more resilient. Collisions that would puncture steel or composite hulls often just dent aluminum ones. Rather than starting the pumps, the skipper has the yard cut out the dimple and weld-in a new plate the next time its'' there for routine maintenance. Nobody takes an unplanned swim, nor does the yacht suffer any downtime.
Aluminum, as defined by SOLAS standards, is non-flammable and non-combustible. Because of this, aluminum yachts can be made to comply to new, more strict I.M.O. commercial boat rules that are nevertheless appropriate for all oceangoing vessels. These rules demand structural fire protection (containment of fire in a particular compartment by the vessel''s structure only without help from firefighting systems) and multiple watertight compartments. While watertight bulkheads can be built in composite yachts, structural fire protection is problematic, since composite cannot meet the relevant standards. While these new rules are mandatory for high-speed commercial boats in international service only, a yachtsman planning long cruises far from land can see the advantage of a yacht that''s sink-and-fire-resistant.
The 5000-series alloy used to build modern aluminum boats consists of aluminum and magnesium, with a trace of silicon. Sailboat masts and spars are usually anodized 6061 alloy and contains a little copper, as well. Copper increases strength but reduces corrosion resistance: The copper in the 6061 reacts with the aluminum when salt water, or even salty dampness, is present to serve as an electrolyte. This causes bubbles to form wherever there''s a break in the paint film and salt gets underneath. The result: Lifted paint, powdery white corrosion pockets, and other maintenance nightmares. Unfortunately, many yachtsmen carry this image with them when they think about building an aluminum boat, but the 5000-series alloys are much more corrosion- resistant because they contain no copper.
At Palmer Johnson, a 78-year-old custom yacht-building firm in the tight-knit community of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, they insulate every dissimilar metal fitting and fastening from the aluminum with bushings and pads of Delrin or another inert plastic. Preventing direct contact between the metals is the key to defeating corrosion. Below the waterline, an array of sacrificial zinc anodes will prevent galvanic corrosion; their service life is predictable, and replacing them becomes a part of regular maintenance. Owners especially concerned about galvanic corrosion can specify an on-board metering system that constantly measures corrosion potential. Checking the meter daily will immediately warn the crew of unusual circumstances underwater. However, most aluminum boats enjoy a corrosion-free life after decades of service, protected only by zinc anodes.
The earliest modern aluminum hulls, built right after World War II, were riveted. When thin plating is