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  Topic Review (Newest First)
07-25-2006 09:56 PM

Copper/Nickel is a nearly ideal metal for boat building.

Except for the cost! Just a few have been built.
07-25-2006 03:37 PM
sailingdog Some of the newer boats have a steel hull and aluminum deck/superstructure. The join is via strip of laminated steel, titanium and aluminum. I personally like the idea of a copper/nickel alloy boat...but the metal is far more expensive than steel or aluminum.
07-25-2006 03:32 PM
dawndreamer In 2000, we bought a Dutch steel cruising yacht built in 1972-73 for rivers, canals and Mediterranean. During our six years of exploring the 7500 kilometres of inland waterways in France, we met dozens of fellow canal boaters on steel vessels built in the 1890s and early 1900s. There are also hundreds of newer canal boats dating from the 1920s and 30s. We sold our comparatively very young 33 year-old steel boat this spring for substantially more than we had paid for her.
07-25-2006 01:59 PM
Steel: 15 years and counting

Our project is a steel boat that was built in 1990 and only the places that were severely abused and neglected need attention. As long as moisture was not allowed to sit/puddle for years the blasted and painted steel looks as good today as did when it was built. The design needs to minimize 'puddling places' and maximize access for inspection and maintenance if needed. Not easy to do but possible. There are some construction methods that eliminate longitudinal stringers that are the main 'puddle places' and these methods are well worth examining. (1) old fashioned dutch rolled 'fair/rounded' hull with only transverse frames. (2) Origami/Fairmetal hull construction.
Jimmy Cornell "Mr. Round the World" has a shallow draft aluminum hull with bilge keels that I think is a 'Fairmetal' hull.


Did you know that steel boats usually die from 'interior rust'. Little puddle pockets. The hulls are very fixable at that point but the interior needs to come out generally and who wants to bother.
07-24-2006 11:40 AM
Dewey Benson Back to Steel. I rather like the stuff. For the most part it is strong, malleble, ductile stuff. Properly prepped when new I believe it can exceed 30 years without major refinising if appropriate care is applied. Special interests of maintenence will included electrolisys prevention, and interior plumbing. Small plumbing leaks can become big problems as water (both fresh and salt) will collect along seams of frames and rust the hull from the inside out.

If you are purchacing used see how much access one can gain to the inside of the hull to inspect any area where water can collect. It's pretty easy to see the exterior condition when hauled. Areas that cant be poked and prodded or seen very well inside should have a lot of ultrasound attention by way of those spots.

A nice thing about steel is a good welding shop can be found in even the less industrial areas of the world, and reasonable repairs be affected. Maintainence must be done quickly and responsibly. Schatches digs dents sould have their coatings attended to at first opportunity.

Hope this helps.

07-24-2006 11:24 AM
Dewey Benson Is the Mooshuloo (or perhaps mushulu) still afloat? Last I heard she was a Resturant on the east coast. I know much of her hull was filled with sand. Some folks I knew were considering spending a large fortune on sailing her again. After some initial exploration, they figured that she was too far gone.

Ther might be another one or two in the Falkalands. There is a collection of rotting and rusting old square riggers there, many still float, but most are wood.

07-24-2006 11:18 AM
Dewey Benson
Originally Posted by sailingdog
I'd be curious to know what cast-iron-hulled ships from the 1800's are still afloat. Can you name one?
The "Star of India" The last sailing East Indiasman in the world. Located on the San Diego Waterfront and operated by the Maritime museum here.

She sails once a year and causes quite a crowd out on the water. Lots of boats vieing for a view! Square rigged the crew handles sails the traditional way. Up the ratlines ye scurvy dogs! It's quite a show.

07-24-2006 08:44 AM
Jeff_H I don't think that he means cast iron, but there are a few 19th century low carbon iron ships around. Iron behaves a lot differently than steel, especially when it comes to rust and ductility.

There is a very big difference between the lifespan of steel ships and small steel yachts. No matter how thick a steel plate is, for any given alloy it rusts at a pretty constant rate. If you lose a 3/32" per decade of 1" thick steel plate used on a small ship, that is far less consequential than losing an 3/32" of 3/16-1/4" steel plating used on a yacht.

Back in the 1980's when I was working designing steel yachts, we generally thought of yacht quality steel boats as having somewhere around a 20 to 30 year lifespan with proper maintenance. It was not that we considered these boats beyond salvage at the end of this period, because steel hulls can almost always be replated and restored, but we felt that the cost of doing the major rebuild involved would way far exceed the value of the boat in question once restored.

07-24-2006 07:30 AM
sailingdog I'd be curious to know what cast-iron-hulled ships from the 1800's are still afloat. Can you name one?
07-23-2006 05:07 PM
hellosailor Well, there are cast iron hulled tall ships from the 1800's still afloat. Is that long enough for you?

You've not doubt heard the story about George Washiington's hatchet, "the handle has been replaced three times and the head twice, but it's still the original hatchet". Steel boats are like that. Keep a coat of paint on them so they don't rust, and they can and will last literally forever. Bang a hole in them, and you can always weld in a new bit of metal, welding fuses it seamlessly so anything can be replaced and made new. Sandblast it or abrade it too thin, or let galvanic action eat it, and likewise you can always replace a place or add some on.

With proper maintenance? Forever. Same thing on a wooden boat, you just need new wood from time to time.
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