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  #3091  
Old 01-07-2014
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Re: Pros and cons of steel sailboats

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Originally Posted by NCC320 View Post
Brent,

Thanks for the first part of your story. Was the first boat Origami style or more conventional steel construction? Hope you will continue with the remainder of the Brent Swain story. When and how did you get into designing the other boats and doing it for others? How many designs, how many boats, etc? Also, building of the designs?

Years ago, here in coastal NC, especially down on Harker's Island, there were old time boat builders who built trawlers and fishing boats of all sizes in wood. I am told that these people would build from a set of simple formulas. The first frame had a certain angle/size, the next a little different, the next still different. I have read that they would sometimes work out the frames (and consequently the design) on the back of an old envelope. The boats were rugged and would last many years (however, steel construction seems to be replacing the old wood construction). How to do the calculations was just passed down form generation to generation. These guys built successful boats, but their skill seemed to center around carpentry more than it did in understanding the forces and stresses working on the boats. I'm guessing that over time and through the generations, they knew, from trial and error in the field on their and other's boats, that a boat of a certain length/beam, needed frames and planking of a certain size. Most of those builders are now gone.
My first steel boat was a 29 footer built in 1979 using traditional construction. My second was an origami boat a 26 footer , most of the steel work done, including detail, in 21 days.
Herreschoff's book "The common Sense of Yacht Design." gives far simpler ways and logic for basic calculations.
  #3092  
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Re: Pros and cons of steel sailboats

Bob
I thought of a very simple way to eliminate the inevitable leaks on your wooden toe rail as well as other plastic boat deck hardware. You could zip cut the bolts of below decks, flush with the nuts, and glass over them with a 2 inch round of matt. It would be a two man job ,one glassing and another with a heat lamp, kicking the resin off before it landed in the bilge. Having done overhead glassing, I know how easily that happens. With the nut locked in fibreglass you can use a screwdriver to undo the bolts if necessary, and the FG will hold the nut. This is a pain in the ass job , but far less of one in the building stage, rather than later and far less so than rebedding stuff every few years .
  #3093  
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Re: Pros and cons of steel sailboats

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Originally Posted by bobperry View Post
In the interest of accuracy it's "Colvins" not "Covins". Tom Colvin is a very well respected and successful designer, known the world over for his work in steel boats. I can't imagine dismissing his work so quickly based on his interior layouts. Almost anybody can rearrange an interior. It sounds very much to me that BS had no idea at all what Stan Huntingford was trying toi tell him. Stan was a very good designer who understood the basic elements of naval architecture. BS does not now understand the basdic elements of naval architecture i.e.182 degree positive RM? and certainly did not know them back then. I'm sure Stan was happy to see the backside of BS leaving his office.
Whatever you do with a Colvin, it is still a very cramped space, with no sitting headroom under the side decks of a 34 footer , and a huge amount of boat length wasted on cockpit. His comments about a small steel boat sagging or hogging if it doesn't have transverse frames, ( like suggesting a corrugated hose will sag or hog more if it doesn't have transverse frames ) displays an abysmal lack of understanding of basic structural principles. What Stan Huntingford was telling me was that he hasn't the foggiest idea of the problems of a wooden deck on a steel hull, in the practical world, and he didn't have the foggiest idea that a 4 inch layer of water will not stay level on a deck heeled 25 degrees.
Here's how the world top designers design a boat
Things change quickly during sailing competition. [VIDEO]
Funny thing! None of my boats has ever done that! I guess I MUST be doing it all wrong ( according to the worlds top experts, who designed this boat)
And you say I should serve an apprenticeship under these types of experts, so I can get it RIGHT, the way they do ?
No thanks!

Last edited by Brent Swain; 01-07-2014 at 10:26 PM.
  #3094  
Old 01-07-2014
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Re: Pros and cons of steel sailboats

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  #3095  
Old 01-07-2014
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Re: Pros and cons of steel sailboats

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Swain View Post
Bob
I thought of a very simple way to eliminate the inevitable leaks on your wooden toe rail as well as other plastic boat deck hardware. You could zip cut the bolts of below decks, flush with the nuts, and glass over them with a 2 inch round of matt. It would be a two man job ,one glassing and another with a heat lamp, kicking the resin off before it landed in the bilge. Having done overhead glassing, I know how easily that happens. With the nut locked in fibreglass you can use a screwdriver to undo the bolts if necessary, and the FG will hold the nut. This is a pain in the ass job , but far less of one in the building stage, rather than later and far less so than rebedding stuff every few years .
Sounds good but doesn't work. It seals the joint from leaks but you can't pull the fasteners later - they just spin.

Check out Lackeysailing.com - he just experienced that exact thing.
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  #3096  
Old 01-08-2014
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Re: Pros and cons of steel sailboats

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Originally Posted by SloopJonB View Post
Sounds good but doesn't work. It seals the joint from leaks but you can't pull the fasteners later - they just spin.
It might seal the joint from leaks, but it also traps any moisture that gets in from above via normal working of the fitting around the bolt thread and deck core itself with no way of escape (no 'tell-tale leak') - and that could be a bad thing.
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Last edited by Classic30; 01-08-2014 at 01:29 AM.
  #3097  
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Re: Pros and cons of steel sailboats

Sealing metal inside glass is a pretty poor idea in all cases that I've seen.
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  #3098  
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Re: Pros and cons of steel sailboats

I'm with JonB on that. It works for a while but can cause big problems over time.

Good old video BS. It was interesting when it was new. But I don't see your point. Are you really comparing your crude steel boats to a cutting edge composite AC boat? If you are you are truly a myopic fool. For the record none of my boats has ever done that either but then I don't design AC racing yachts. It's not at all relevant. BS, your work speaks for itself loud and clear.

We'll have FRANCIS LEE launched and sailing soon. I'll post many pics of it sailing. It will be a very beautiful boat with planty of sitting headroom under the side decks. I'll let Francis LEE speak for itself.

We live and work in very different worlds BS. I think we have almost nothing in common. I think NIGHT RUNNER, with it's impressive record of offshore cruising and succesful racing while looking beautiful makes my point succinctly.
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Last edited by bobperry; 01-08-2014 at 07:59 AM.
  #3099  
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Re: Pros and cons of steel sailboats

There aught to be more than a few people willing to wax and buff NIGHT RUNNER just to be near that lovely ship.
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  #3100  
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Re: Pros and cons of steel sailboats

Cutting edge is as cutting edge does. A boat which comes even close to being able to break in half, is not as good a cruising boat as one which could sail right thru such a boat, without suffering significant damage. How close to being able to break in half are your boats, based on the same calculations?
It looks like they paid their full attention to the tension on the centreline, while ignoring the compression on the decks. Cutting a huge section of this out, by taking the cockpit to the rail, cut out a huge part of the decks ability to resist this compression. That is where she broke.
A hex nut cast in solid fibreglass doesn't turn easily. Bronze may be better able to resist corrosion, than stainless, in such a sealed environment .Or you can simply accept a whole lot of inevitable deck leaks there.
Or you can build a metal boat and have zero deck leaks, and sleep in a dry bunk( Novel thought for those who have only plastic and wood boat experience.)
My first boat had varnished cabin sides ,toe rails, hatches , cockpit coamings, etc. No one could convince me how dense that was on a cruising boat. Many tried . Only experience could . Another friend, Dave , had a similar set of priorities. Al had a boat which had not a speck of bright work. In Victoria , I was maintaining my bright work, while Dave was maintaining his. Al was sightseeing and golfing. When we got to Frisco bay, I was maintaining my brightwork, while Dave was maintaining his. Al was sightseeing and golfing. When we got to Auckland, I was maintaining my brightwork, and Dave was maintaining his , while Al was sightseeing and golfing. When we got to Vanuatu , I had major work to do, maintaining my brightwork, as did Dave, while Al went snorkeling, golfing and sightseeing. Lost that boat in Fiji , came home and built another, with not a stitch of brightwork anywhere.
Sailed to Maple Bay, where I found Dave . He had canvased over his teak decks and painted all his brightwork. I said
"After watching Dave have all that playtime, while we had nothing but work to do, I guess we arrived at the same conclusion at roughly the same time. Took along time to sink in. Man was that dense!
Dave agreed."

Last edited by Brent Swain; 01-08-2014 at 02:22 PM.
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