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Sue & Larry 09-12-2001 08:00 PM

Steel Hulls—Pros and Cons
<HTML><!-- eWebEditPro --><P>I'm trying to find out what is better in the long run regarding hull types: wood, fiberglass, or steel?&nbsp;For bluewater boats, in cold waters, steel seems to be is the way to go.&nbsp;Does warm, tropical water have any effect on&nbsp;steel hulls?&nbsp;Regarding maintenance,&nbsp;I figure that steel would be easier to repair (welding cracks/holes) rather than wood or glass.&nbsp;Can you tell me about the insular properties of steel and if steel hulls suffer from&nbsp;condensation problems&nbsp;compared to wood or glass?&nbsp;</P><P>Also,&nbsp;is it fairly simple to remodel the interior of steel hulls?&nbsp;What is&nbsp;involved in doing a retrofit?&nbsp;</P><P><STRONG>Sue &amp; Larry respond:</STRONG><BR>Steel hulls are generally accepted as being extremely strong and relatively easy to repair.&nbsp;For this reason they are chosen by a number of cruising sailors.&nbsp;But no material is perfect, and that is certainly true of steel.<BR><BR>You may not think it at first, but steel hulls require diligent maintenance.&nbsp;Any nicks or dings in the paint must be immediately repaired, or rust and corrosion can become a problem.&nbsp;A major concern with steel boats is the rust that you don't immediately see.&nbsp; This can occur in places such as under cabinets, behind lockers or underneath a leaky head and the boat can literally rust from the inside out.&nbsp;The warmer the temperature, the greater and more rampant the corrosion and the higher the potential for problems due to electrolysis.&nbsp;Steel hulls also provide little protection against heat and cold.&nbsp;Unless sprayed with an insulating agent, condensation on the inside of the hull can be a major concern.&nbsp; <BR><BR>As for remodeling the interior of a steel boat versus a wood or glass boat, let us just say that it is an extremely difficult task on any boat. Nothing is square and you're always dealing with strange angles or curves.&nbsp;If you're boat shopping, our advice to you is to choose a boat that has an&nbsp;interior layout that you can live with.&nbsp; Focus on cosmetic upgrades or changes, while leaving the basic interior layout intact. Good luck.<BR><BR></P></HTML>

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