Thought I had posted something yesterday on this but seems that post has gone a roaming.
The Womboat is a steel Van de Stadt 34. (Van de Stadt Design - Van de Stadt 34
) Do we like her ? Yes we do. Would I go out of my way to buy another steel boat ? No I wouldn't. In fact we bought her despite the fact she was steel, not because of it.
Van de Stadt do design a whole range of quite desirable boats that can be built in steel, wood or aluminium. Beth Leonard and Evans Starzinger (Beth & Evans
) built a VDS47 in aluminium.
Especially with smaller craft the advantages of steel are ultimately overwhelmed by it's weight. Compared to the aluminium or wood versions we displace nearly 1t more yet carry 200kg less in the keel. I'd never pretend that Raven is a fast boat though she is no sluggard. However her non steel sisters are generally speaking going to be faster.
Now the VDS34 is a relatively modern design. Her limitations brought on by steel construction detract from what is an essentially good design. Go to something like a Roberts Spray and you are going to end up with a sailing brick, particularly if you go for a small one.
As for maintenance, there is really no denying that a steel boat is maintenance intensive and you have to be constantly on the alert for potential problems. That said, provided the basic construction and materials are good I don't think steel is as bad as traditinal timber planked.
PeterSailor ... what where the two options you mention ?