Comox backwater, Jack??
The undeniable inherent strength of steel has to be a big comfort at sea and in rock-hopping scenarios.
With today's advanced coatings the maintenance issue is probably much reduced relatively speaking. Repairable anywhere.
But, (no offence, Brent) they're not always pretty and most are hard chine, which is OK but something you need to 'like'.. Soft chine metal boats are usually much more costly to have built.
It's not a quick easy way to build a boat, esp compared to 'plastic' so steel boats will always be in the minority in 'yachty' circles...
With a skilled owner and good tools, I've put together a 36 ft hull in two days or tacked together the shell( Hull, decks, wheelhouse, cabin, cockpit keel and skeg ) in 6 days. My methods have reduced the time in building a shell, to 1/10th the time of traditional steel boat building, and the cost to far less than building a new fibreglass shell.Once the shell has been built, the ability to fabricate and weld, rather than bolt down fittings,further drastically reduces the cost of building in steel .
When the cost of steel to build a 36 was around $4K ,the cost of aluminium to build the same boat was around $20K, and aluminium welding equipment was far more expensive . You can only weld aluminium outside in a dead calm, in dry weather. Aluminium welds are only 60% the strength of the surrounding metal, whereas steel welds are 100% , demand far less skill, and are far harder to screw up on.
It's extremely hard to find effective antifouling which wont react with aluminium.
When people ask me about corrosion, I tell them steel has far more problems above the waterline ,where you can easily see it and deal with it. Aluminium has far more trouble below the waterline, where you don't see it, it is harder to deal with ,and happens far more quickly when it does..
On my steel 31 footer, maintenance cost has averaged around 2 hours a year, and less than $50 a year. Trimming all, side corners with stainless and fabricating all your cleats, handrails and details with scrap stainless can reduce your maintenance by 80%, as the main chipping of paint is on outside corners, rarely on flat surfaces. If you have rust problems on flat surfaces your epoxy is probably not thick enough. The thicker the better.
Weight problems on steel boats are largely caused by outdated building methods, with tons of uneeded and irrelevant framing. I remember one steel boat made out of 1/8th inch plate. They let carpenters put the interior in. They lined it with one inch plywood then an inch of teak, which combined, weighed many times the weight of the steel .
It's not displacement alone which makes a boat too slow .It's the displacement to sail area . Heavier boat, more sail.