Steel Sailboats - Opinions of Owners and Others
Since steel sailboats are not very popular in the U.S., I seldom see them or have a chance to talk with steel boat owners.
Steel sailboat owners on this forum -- tell us how you like owning a steel sailboat. How would you compare the pluses and minuses to owning a fiberglass sailboat? How much problem have you had controlling rust?
I would especially be interested in hearing from any owners of Topper Hermanson built boats, and also steel sailboat owners who have used their boats for cruising.
Non-Owners of Steel Sailboats -- OK, since we probably will not hear from many steel sailboat owners given there are so few, let's hear any opinions of you non-owners too.
Here's the boat which I have considered buying that got me started researching steel sailboats (need to cut and paste into your browser since Sailnet will not let me post a link yet):
Here it is for ya:
For more see: Chance Christiaan 33
I was chatting to a friend yesterday that owns a steel VAN DE STADT 34. Boat about six years old. Was just back in the water after the annual haulout. In the discussion his issues with rust, general repairs etc were pretty similar to the osmosis, general repairs to my fibreglass boat.
One comment that stuck with me though was on the next boat. It was definitely going to be a fibreglass boat.
On rust the main comments were any nicks / scratches had to be repaired immediately and problems with inaccessable spots. On his yacht there was a problem with accessing the deck above the chain locker and he was concerned the area was rusting out.
All boats require maintenace. It really comes down to do you prefer mucking around with chemicals / epoxy or welding? Scraping / sanding metal or fibreglass? If you have any skills / experience in welding that would be a big plus.
I followed a 36 foot Topper Hermanson named Golden Echo for a few months, hoping it would be around when I could buy it. It sold before I had the down payment saved. The research I did on the boats at the time lead me to believe they were well built. I've only owned frp boats, but have always wanted a good steel sailboat. There are being some great breakthroughs with coating systems. You have to also be careful of electrolysis. In my opinion a well cared for steel boat will outlast any frp boat. Not to mention the strength advantage. If you don't buy this boat I would be interested. I've seen it before but I believe it was sold when I inquired about it.
I recently purchased a steel sailboat. and love it. Of course, I haven't used it for cruising...yet...but being a 1968 she is in remarkable shape. About a year ago, some of the bilge plating was replaced and I need to sand and preserve that. There are areas of light rust that I can see peeking through, mainly in areas where there are joints. I think it is due to the difficulty in getting in to those hard to reach areas (I am thinking needle gun). I intend to haul the boat this summer and give her a complete paint job. I think that will tell me a lot as to how much maintenance she will require between major refits.
As for sailing, she is heavy and slow, but rides the waves like a duck and the gaff rig doesn't point to wind well. Then again, I am not in too big a hurry.
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