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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Steel Sailboat Maintenance
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Thread: Steel Sailboat Maintenance Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
04-28-2008 11:05 PM
Stillraining Must of had a little rust problum on the trailer.. Glad it turned out ok..
What does she weigh?
04-28-2008 10:14 PM
billyruffn
Quote:
Originally Posted by stipakb View Post
How hard is the maintenance of steel sailboats? How hard is it to keep interior rust under control? How about problems with rust in hard-to-see and reach places like under framing members?

Any owners, past owners of steel sailboats, tell us how hard you found the maintenance.
Stipakb,

What kind of steel boat are you considering? Professionally built or home built. If it's home built it will probably take more hours and money than you can imagine to keep it in Bristol condition. If professionally built, you need ot know how many steel boats does the yard build in a year and for what purpose are they built (working boats or yachts)? The knowledge, experience and reputation of the builder are critical. With a professionally built boat maintenance is still an effort, but it's more likely to be manageable.

See my post at http://www.sailnet.com/forums/sailbo...ruction-3.html The entire thread is related to your question and there are probably others here at SailNet.

Send me a PM if you have specific questions. I've owned a steel boat for 8 years and have found the trade-offs of maintenance vs strength to be very acceptable. Below is a photo of what happens to a well made steel boat when you hit a big rock at six knots (the damage was only cosmetic). I think the impact of this rock strike on a fibreglass boat would have been much more tramatic to boat and crew.

Send me a PM if you have specific questions.
04-28-2008 06:02 PM
Giulietta Hey he has a Gori prop...the man knows what is good....
04-28-2008 05:52 PM
Valiente Yes. The masts had already been pulled from the boats and laid out on the concrete. The first tipped over boat wasn't too bad, but the others....

The culprit was probably this crappy home-built cradle, I think, but staking down the cradle to spikes would have helped, also.



That whole winter, only one small bucket blew off my deck...probably because everything else was tied down!
04-28-2008 05:46 PM
Giulietta Hey Val....have you noticed that 3 sailboats fell off their stands???
04-28-2008 05:44 PM
Valiente
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilenart View Post
Val, good to see that the idiots were thinking ahead. They left the fenders hanging over the side, just in case
Ha-ha. Seriously, that was me. I deployed them midwinter after an 85 knot gale knocked over a row of boats.




A big but much lighter cabin cruiser was screening me on one side, and if it had tipped, the exploded fenders would have kept it off my rails...
04-28-2008 05:33 PM
Valiente
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hartley18 View Post
BTW, Val.. How ever did they rescue your boat? Lot's of cranes and a new cradle perhaps? ...and why were they moving it with the mast up??
They brought in a 35 tonne Travel Lift, removed the forestay, and put the slings under the cradle itself. The accident happened because some idiot forgot to put the retaining bar between the two "tines" of the trailer "fork", on which the cradle rides. They took a corner, and the variable speed of the trailer wheels caused the "tines" to spread, and "boom!".

No, really. The sound was "boom!" We thought we would crap ourselves. The cradle itself was brand-new, and yes, I am endorsing their product. The only damage was that the pad screws sheared underneath that dented plate. The dent itself was surveyed and essentially popped out of its own accord. No structural damage evident other than the cracked paint.

As for having the mast up, Toronto's Outer Harbour Marina is one of the few places where this is allowed over the winter here. We only went there because we bought this boat in summer 2006, and my club couldn't make room for it that winter. In the winter just finished, I sat at the end of a row with the other big boats, and with my mast in a rack. We launch at my club with slings beneath a square frame beneath a giant crane hook (100 tons or something), and there is no way to keep a mast up unless you have a Travel Lift launch.

If so, you launch into a deep slip, back the boat off the cradle, and then the Travel Lift raises the empty cradle back onto a tractor trailer for storage.
04-28-2008 11:03 AM
Jeff_H When it comes to rust on steel boats, my sense is that exterior rust will make the boat look bad while interior rust will reduce its strength.

When I worked for Charlie Wittholz in the early 1980's we figured that steel boats had a useful lifespan of 20-25 years or so, depending on build quality and maintenance, before they needed sufficient replating and reframing as to be of negligable value. At that time we were calling for the interior of the boats to be sandblasted white and coated with zinc rich, coal tar epoxy. The zinc was supposed to greatly improve the adhesion of the coating and the coal tar epoxy was very hard stuff that would stand up to abrasion very well.

Over the past ten years I have been aboard a number of the steel boats that were built from plans prepared during the period that I worked for Charlie.

In several cases I had a chance to examine the interior skin of the boat. In all cases I found that there was as significant rust along the stringers, in places as much as an 1/8" of the plating rusted away, which is not the end of the world on the bigger boats (over 40 feet) that had 5/16" plating, but was certainly not acceptable on the smaller boats with 10 and 11 gauge (roughly 1/8") plating where the strength of the panel was pretty much shot.

At least one of the boats that I saw had the interior removed and had been partially replated, sandblasted and recoated. Two years later the rust was back and growing. The broker told me that the seller of that boat had spent more than his asking price to remove the interior, do the plate repairs, sandblast the interior of the steel and recoat it and was now frustrated that the rust was back so quickly. Even discounting for broker hype, the cost of replating a 20-30 year old boat is a very significant number.

My problem is not with the small amounts of routine maintenance that has been described above. That kind of work is no different than say maintaining teak oil on the deck trim. You get a routine, and simply do it and its done. My problem is with this insideous rusting of key structural components and connections, and the long term impact on the boat's strength.

Jeff
04-28-2008 08:25 AM
Ilenart Val, good to see that the idiots were thinking ahead. They left the fenders hanging over the side, just in case
04-28-2008 03:36 AM
Classic30 Val's post remined me that, in any good discussion of the merits of Steel boats, one shouldn't forget Concrete... sorry, "Ferro-cement".

I'm sure there are a few of these creatures still left that, if made well, are the lightest and lowest-maintenance "steel" hull form you can get, but if you hit something, like a reef, it's a swim for sure(shore).

BTW, Val.. How ever did they rescue your boat? Lot's of cranes and a new cradle perhaps? ...and why were they moving it with the mast up??
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