Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: British Columbia
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Re: Roberts 36 Bilge Keel....good or bad buy?
For banging around coral waters, steel is far superior to plastic, and far more forgiving of mistakes. They will survive for weeks in conditions that will destroy a plastic boat in minutes.
Without you posting photos or connections, it is hard to comment on an individual design. Read Jimmy Cornell's book "Modern Ocean Cruising", in which he interviews several circumnavigators, who said they would by far, prefer a metal boat for future cruising. Some had already started metal boats. It is often the preferred choice of experienced cruisers. Most of steels critics are armchair critics, with no personal experience in the material, or little long term cruising experience .
Two of my 36 footers, one with a single keel ,and one with twin keels , had a race. They were matched on all points of sail except to windward, where the single keel had only a slight advantage. The owner of the twin keeler, having just returned from a cruise around Cape Horn and the Aleutians , was very happy with his decision to go twin keels and a steel hull. You can do a search under Silas Crosby to find his blog, a great read.
Brent Swain, Boat designer, Builder, and author of "Origami Metal Boatbuilding"