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post #1 of 12 Old 11-09-2006 Thread Starter
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Steel Hull and Rigging Question

Hey guys,
Can anyone recommend any good steel hulled boats for some serious ocean cruising? I want something that is very strong, seaworthy, has a good turn of speed, and traditional looks. Also what rigging would you recommend for a single-handed sailor? I am very taken with the schooners and ketches but I feel that is more my heart then my head making the decision! Please give me some direction!

* I really like the traditional look of designer: Colvins gaff rigged schooners (42ft Gazelle and 36ft Saugeen Witch). Anybody have any opinions on these boats? Any other suggestions? Tell me please if it is a crazy dream to single-hand one of these boats!!!

Last edited by RunawaySkeleton; 11-09-2006 at 04:48 AM.
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post #2 of 12 Old 11-09-2006
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You do realize that strong steel hulls rarely give a good turn of speed, mainly due to the weight of the boat.

It would also help if you said what your budget was and what size boat you were looking for. Another important thing to say is what your intended use for the boat is.

For instance, if it is going to be used for coastal cruising, a steel boat is generally not very well suited to that—unless you're sailing in extremely high latitude waters.

It is generally unwise to ask for advice with out giving as much context as is possible. Without proper context, no advice is worthwhile.

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post #3 of 12 Old 11-09-2006
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If you're thinking of buying used, just one more point: rust never sleeps.
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post #4 of 12 Old 11-09-2006
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http://www.metalboatsociety.com/forum.htm
If you are seriously interested in metal boats you will find more real experience here than any other forum. You can register free for a trial period to check it out.
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post #5 of 12 Old 11-09-2006
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Silver Raven is a 34' Van de Stadt sloop. Good mover in medium to heavy winds, bit slow in light despite a relatively modern underwater design. Mind you she is carrying a pretty decent load of fuel and water. Nonetheless I'd happily recommend the design. Overal I think VDS design a good boat. Survey is very very very important when buying steel and remember that steel boats do not rust from the outside in but from the inside out. A dry bilge in a steel boat is a religious duty not to be neglected.
Also be aware that as with ferro, many steel boats are amateur built . While this is not the end of the world it can have a negative effect on resale value and can make for difficulties with insurance. At least that is the case in Australia. Steel is generally also cheaper (used) than plastic so don't be conned by a sales pitch that compares plastic to steel dollarwise. Nonetheless it has it's advantages. Not the least being that wonderful effect you can have on a fleet of racers on port tack. One well placed " no problems we're steel" and it's aftereffects can brighten up your entire afternoon. ;-)

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post #6 of 12 Old 11-10-2006
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Not the least being that wonderful effect you can have on a fleet of racers on port tack. One well placed " no problems we're steel" and it's aftereffects can brighten up your entire afternoon
Evil...evil..evil..but funny.

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #7 of 12 Old 11-10-2006 Thread Starter
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My intended purpose is to liveaboard and cruise for an extended period of time. I first want to sail down South America as I have a research job lined up in belize starting in August for one year. After that I would like to keep traveling south to Patagonia and beyond. The idea is that I sail until the kitty runs low and then drop anchor and work awhile. So I want that boat that everyone wants, that perfect boat. It should be below 40ft easily single-handed and fit my budget of around 40,000. I know this is somewhat low but I want to have more than enough to update/refit the boat and still have a lot of money in the kitty.
I feel like I am going in circles looking for a boat. I started off only looking at Multihulls but I got the impression that under 40ft they are not for bluewater cruising. So after reading an article about how practical steel is for long passages I started to look at them. Obviously multihulls to steel shows just how confused I am! I appreciate you guys and all the help you give me!!!

*Have any of you sailed or have any opinions of Colvin sailboats? I really like the 34-36ft Saugeen Witch. The two I have seen have been in my price range...Not always a good sign! Haha! Ok let me know what you think or steer me in another direction!

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post #8 of 12 Old 11-10-2006
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Can I suggest you spent a little time with charts (maps). Belize is in Central America, western Caribbean. From there the only real option to get to Patagonia is through the Canal. That is not a low budget trip.

The down side of steel boats is the dramatically increased maintanence demands. Rust stains start showing very easily if you don't keep up. Pretty soon you start to look like a 1950's movie set in the S. Pacific. You trade initial cost for maintanence costs. And the maintanence is always several times what you estimate.
Check out what the serious long distance cruisers use (e.g. www.yachtfiona.com). Its almost always plastic (with the occasional aluminum or even wood non-conformist)
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post #9 of 12 Old 11-10-2006
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One of the few long distance cruising yatchs that I can think of is Alvah Simon, which was featured in his book, North To The Night. He also, recently, wrote an article on the re-fitting of a steel boat, and how much work and cost it was.

The best low-maintenance hull material is a copper/nickel alloy..but it is very expensive... It is used on some research and fishing vessels. It never requires anti-fouling paint and doesn't really corrode to any degree. It does cause galvanic corrosion on attached stainless, aluminum and bronze gear though. I've only heard of one sailboat that was made of the alloy, mainly due to cost.

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #10 of 12 Old 02-28-2009
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Colvin's are designed to carry a lot of cargo/weight. So you would be able to fit a lot. Good for extended cruising and you can't beat the strength and assurance of mind of having a steel hull.
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