I would say that very few top NA are designing steel boats, not even big steel yachts. Big steel yachts used to be made of steel and brands like Perini or Jongert used to build in steel but not anymore. The turning point happened for the more conservative brands, like these two, around 2000.
List of large sailing yachts - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
You can look at this list and you can see clearly the abandon of steel has a building material for hulls at around 2000. After that almost all big hulls are aluminium.
The last famous one in steel was this one:
But that's because they used reused an old 1989 steel hull.
Older boats from Jongert or Perini have steel hulls, like these yachts:
Now these two shipyards, even on classic boats, use aluminium:
and obviously on the modern ones too:
Regarding small sailingboat's hulls advantages in steel or aluminium, Berckemeyer gives a good explanation:
YACHT TYPES, ROUND BILGE / HARD CHINE:
Generally, we prefer round bilge yachts for their better looks and performance (no sharp corners to create turbulence). Metal hard chine hulls may be 15-25% cheaper than round bilge ones of the same material, however, since with a custom built yacht the hull represents only about 30% of the value of the complete boat, the hard chine saving is only approx. 5-8% of the overall value, but the resale value of the whole yacht may be reduced by 25 % or more, compared to the round bilge counterpart.
BOAT BUILDING MATERIALS:
Metal boats are the safest for serious long distance cruising, since unfortunately there is a lot of debris floating around, even lost containers. When you hit one of them with a GRP boat, you are in trouble. ...
Aluminium nowadays is the most popular building material with custom built long distance cruisers. You can leave it unpainted. Claims about electrolysis problems with Aluminium hulls are mostly exaggerated, however, this aspect should be observed and proper protection installed.
The following comparison will show the pros and cons of Aluminium versus steel:
Weight: Aluminium is lighter than steel for the same strength. Hence the available displacement can be utilized for carrying water, equipment and provisions, rather than a heavy steel structure.
More stable and faster: Due to their lighter weight, Aluminium boats have a lower centre of gravity and are therefore more stable and faster.
Appearance: In order to keep the weight of steel hulls down, plating is thinner than with Aluminium yachts. Therefore, over the years, steel hulls will often acquire a buckled appearance, with reduced resale value.
Labour saving: Light weight means labour saving during the construction of the hull. Also, Aluminium can be cut abt. 3x as fast as steel and it can be cut with normal woodworking equipment. Aluminium welds approc. 2x as fast as steel, even considering the thicker plating to be welded in the case of Aluminium construction.
Safety: Aluminium deforms or stretches beyond its elastic limit more than steel before rupturing. This is of particular importance when hitting floating objects ( it is estimated that approximately 10 00 containers are going overboard annually ).
Safety: Aluminium is non-sparking and non-magnetic.
Price of material: Aluminium is more expensive than steel, however, it does not require a very elaborate paint system for corrosion protection and the resale value of Aluminium yachts is the highest of all boatbuilding materials.
Steel is the traditional material for metal boatbuilding. However, in spite of all claims that steel can be 100% corrosion protected, it still needs care and when you see a rusty spot on an exposed surface, you will have uneasy feelings about the hidden parts which will rust away undetected. Moreover, steel adds approx. 20% to the displacement as compared to Aluminium hulls, which could be better utilized by way of supplies. The resale value of steel boats is low
Today Nas that still design sailboats in steel do that almost exclusively for amateur boat builders. Steel is harder to cut but much more easier to weld than the aluminium and for the low budget boat builder, that are not going to spend a lot on a good interior, good mast, good winches and good sails the difference in price will be important. Not to a shipyard where the cost of the hull only represents 30% of the cost of the boat and the difference in price between using aluminium of steel only a small fraction of that.
The designs that are made for amateur boat builders have not as main objective pure efficiency in what regards hull design but easiness of building and generally the designs offered on the market are old and have one or two dozens of years or more. Not properly the top of the crop in what regards hull design