Join Date: Aug 2012
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Re: Pros and cons of steel sailboats
FWIW I have done a lot of boating in the last 60+ years and I have hit floating and semi-floating objects VERY HARD in traditional wood boats, contemporary composite wood boats (cold molded West System), solid glassfiber boats, balsa cored glassfiber boats and an aluminum boat. Never took a drop of water in any of the incidents.
Speeds involved were:
Aluminum 35 knots (powerboat)
West System 20 knots (powerboat)
Solid Glass 8 knots (sailboat)
Cored Glass 8 knots (sailboat)
Wood 7 knots (sailboat)
From what I have read composite construction can be stronger than steel pound for pound. Of all of the incidents I have experienced the West System boat felt the strongest.
I am sure steel is strong, but given all of the other issues with steel it would not be my first choice for a boat building material. I think when taking all aspects of boat building material into account I would always chose some sort of epoxy composite material (as we have done on the Francis Lee project.)
People vote with their dollars on boats, having owned and/or operated vessels built of just about every boat building material there is, I vote for epoxy composite construction.
You are of course free to vote however you so chose.
(The only time I ever hit something and took on water was when I ripped an outdrive off hitting an unseen submerged object. That was the only insurance claim I have ever had in 60+ years of boating.)