Re: Pros and cons of steel sailboats
Disclaimer: I own a steel boat
I'm not about to get into a debate about which is better, I'll just describe my experience. As wise person told me the best boat is the one that when you look at it from your dinghy you smile.
I'm on my second steel boat, both Waterlines.
The previous owner of the first boat had hit a whale, it bent the rudder shaft and broke the skeg free of the boat. He made it back to port without any water in the boat. Fast forward a couple of years, I've bought the boat, sailed it from San Francisco to the Puget Sound, and brought it back to Waterline for a check up. They found some cracks in the plating around the rudder post, not seen or fixed after the whale. Fast forward again, a couple of months, new rudder skeg and plating, thinner wallet and all is good. I think you'll agree after looking at the photos that this would have sent most boats to the bottom.
In the six years I've owned the boats I haven't done any more preventive maintained then my fellow harbour mates, those that keep their boats looking good.
Waterline flame zincs above the waterline. On the first boat I had some exposed steel in the cockpit coaming for two years before fixing it, from a poorly lead furling line, not a speck of rust.
In a bad winter storm two years ago a fender popped which allowed the boat to pound steel to the dock for 36 hours before it was fixed. It rubbed the paint off a 25*50 cm area. I used the boat most of the next summer before fixing it, again no rust, just some prep work and paint and all is good as new. I don't know how other boats would have fared but my steel boat did very well.