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  Topic Review (Newest First)
03-21-2011 08:53 PM
tdw Minnewaska,
Agreed. It is the point I have been trying to make. My belief is that when you take into account the weight of the material itself it is questionable whether steel is a good choice of material.
Given that it is a high maintenance material I don't quite see the point.
As for hitting shipping containers how many steel boats return to port each year with harrowing tales of encounters with containers ? Precious few I'd guess. Its a beat up methinks.
03-21-2011 05:57 PM
Minnewaska Not to be trite, but the Titanic was steel. Is steel really as necessary as some believe? I've also seen fiberglass sailboats that were rammed in a race and still sailed home all busted up. No doubt that steel is more durable, but I wonder if there is a false sense of security. I suspect a submerged ocean container could rip a hole down the side of a steel vessel as well.
03-21-2011 05:49 PM
sweet rides

those pics above are some sweet rides.

My only experience with steel boats is working on my friend's older steel hulled houseboat. It's not that you worry about it rusting through from the outside, but they rust through from the inside in hard to reach places. You need to religiously check the anodes and stay on top of any rust ASAP. Good chance that if you find a used one, the owner will be looking to get rid of it because the rust is getting out of control, and will try to hide the worst spots.

If you do find one get a surveyor with steel boat experience.

IMO an aluminum hulled sailboat would be the bees knees. Still electrolysis is a major problem on aluminum boats, but I think making sure the bottom is painted and touched up is what you worry about and not that it'll rust from the inside out.

Back to houseboats on fresh water, most boatyards won't touch a steel hulled one because their hulls get real thin in spots and can't support their weight on the slings when they get pulled out. Owners are reluctant to let you take it out of the water for survey because of that, and so will you when it comes time for you to sell and get a bigger one(there will come a time).

Pro's....sweet boat, unique, strudy, seaworthy
Con's...expensive, more difficult to maintain, very hard to finance(if you need to), insure, and triple hard to sell, oh and Rust Never Sleeps.

By the way, just finished "Cape Horn to Starboard" about a guy who sailed around Cape Horn against the prevailing winds in a Contessa 32 and it was a great read. A Contessa 32 might be right up your alley too!
03-21-2011 03:45 PM
tdw Properly maintained their should be no inherent problems with maintaining a steel boat its true, but generally speaking they do require more work than plastic.

Even then if you have a serious problem one of the glories of a steel boat is that problem areas can be cut out and replaced. If you can weld then hey presto, if not, welders are not all that hard to find, even in remote locations.

Aptly named that Bulldog. Looks a solid wee beastie. Not a half bad interior for 30'. All the essentials, good galley, good berths. No need to bugger about with a wheel, tiller more than adequate on a boat that size.

These are from Ted Brewers site. Nice boke Ted. Gave me lots of advice when I was thinking of buying one of his.

As a comparison these are pics and layouts of our boat, the VDS34.

Image files of "Van de Stadt 34" from

Van de Stadt Design

I still emphasise that we bought Raven despite the fact she was steel, not because of. I seriously doubt we would ever buy another steel boat unless as with the Womboat we found what we wanted and she happened to be steel. My choices from top to bottom would be Aluminium, Cold Moulded Timber, Plastic, Steel, Traditional Wood Construction, Floating Footpath.
03-21-2011 08:17 AM
SVTatia I have built a steel boat and and cruised extesively (over 40K nm) with no maintenance problems - the boat was built right and with the correct coating systems.

The boat was designed by Ted Brewer (Bulldog 30) and I can attest to its sailing capability and lievaboard comfort.

Please check Ted's site at

This is an aluminum design, but Ted redid it for steel. Wonderfull boat.

Good luck.

03-17-2011 09:47 PM
tomperanteau Thanks for the response.

I've always been intrigued by steel boats but shied away from them because I perceived the maintenance to be as high as a wood boat. That was the reason for my question. Not sure that we are on our last boat, so our options are still open. Although Ferro is tempting, what I have seen and read has caused us to steer clear of them.
03-17-2011 08:46 PM
Originally Posted by tomperanteau View Post
What can you that have owned a steel boat tell me about maintenance? Is it true that the boat needs to be hauled yearly for paint?
Not sure which 'you' you are referring to Tom but in essence yes, or at least every 18 months but its more to do with anodes than paint.

We've hauled Raven every year since we bought but I'm stretching it to 18 months this time cos I want to change the time of year we haul. Anodes were still good when I had a diver give us a rub down late last year.
03-17-2011 08:08 PM
tomperanteau What can you that have owned a steel boat tell me about maintenance? Is it true that the boat needs to be hauled yearly for paint?
03-16-2011 09:39 PM

Years ago we bought a 28' steel-hulled dutch sloop from Anne Wever builders of Hertogenbosch Holland. Ot was absolutely gorgeous and sailed wonderfully. Everything was so solid and the interior was a masterpiece of joinerwork. Since then, Ron Holland in the United Kingdom has built Trintellas, although most are bigger, but it's worthwhile exploring on the used-boat market.
Unfortunately a used one was recently scrapped by the yard due to lack of interest in the boat. What a shame.

Manfred Orlow
Dayton OH
03-16-2011 09:25 PM
Originally Posted by PeterSailer View Post
This is my father's Cal 34, I've been sailing with him for 6 year now and I will soon join the Canadian Forces and I need a sailboat... I also bought my self a nordica 16 a few year ago ( i know i know, but I was working part time at mc Donald's after school hours ) and I'm sick and tired of sailing a very small sailboat without a self baling cockpit... after all, i'm used to sail a 34 footer.

I never really like the Roberts either, I like narrow, low free board sailboat way better.

Can I ask you why you wouldn't go back to a full keel?

If I end up without a full keel, I you have some thing like a Contessa 32, I think they're great boat.
It just seems to me that the purported advantages of a full keel are somewhat illusary. Our fin keel VDS is no more difficult to sail in any of the conditions we have been in than our old full keeler, she is certainly every bit as directionally stable in any wind as the older girl while the fin keel has several advantages over the full such as overall better performance particularly to windward, downwind in a following swell and of under motor in reverse. Of course she is skegless. If she had a skeg the motor thing would not apply as much but our old full keeler was utterly uncontrollable in reverse.

Contessa 32 ? Fine and dandy. One of my favourite boats from way back then. Bit tight for this tired old body to squeeze into for long term cruising but for a young bloke, why not. That presumes of course you realise she is not fast compared to modern designs but I'm guessing you know that.

I'd much rather a Contessa or the like and run the risk of whacking that floating container than be forced to put up with a slow old tub like a Roberts TT. Maybe I am kidding myself but I somehow feel that the semi submerged container is waiting for you scare is just another bogey man sent to spread panic amongst the women, children and small furry marsupials.

I'd still love to know what is was that clobbered Gringo.
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