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Advice on an F. Dekker & Son 1963 custom steel boat

2476 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Triumphant
Hello everybody,

I am new to the forum, so maybe I should start by introducing myself. My name is Mark, I live in France, and am a young man, mostly acustomed to travelling around. I have been sailing for quite a few years, and have "boat-hiked" around the med quite a bit, and across the Atlantic once.
I am here today on the forum for a specific reason: a friend's father is selling his sailing boat, which I am considering to purchase, and I am looking for information, and advice about her.

The boat is a dutch built sloop from 1963, with a steel hull. It has a plate in it that reads : "Jachtwerf F. Dekker & Zn Diemerzeedijk Amsterdam Holland 1963". There is no reference to a specific model or series, and from my research I would have to conclude that it is some kind of custom build.
It is a little under 8m LOA, narrow beam (but I didn't measure her), weighs in at 6 tons, with 1 ton of ballast. It is a long-keel, steering is double: there is chain-driven wheel, and an ordinary helm. Halyards are steel, look like 4mm to me. The sail complement is good: main + spare main + storm main; two genoas (and two mainstays to hoist them in butterfly for downwind sailing), a large jib, a medium jib, and a storm jib; a large spinnaker. Most are new, and all the "old" ones have been to the sailmaker in the last year. They are well kept, away from the sun, in the owners home when not sailing (except the main which is bagged).
The current owner was given the boat a little over a year ago (he works in the shipyard here in Marseille harbour). Since then he has done extensive work on it, himself:
-He stripped the deck which apparently was leaking, and replaced it with 12mm marine-grade plywood, coated with epoxy. The deck is finished but still needs painting (the paint is on board and sold with the boat). The tekk around the cockpit is old and damaged, but new wood, screws and sikaflex is also sold with the boat to replace this.
-He hauled it out, sand blasted the hull, and re-painted with multiple coats, including anti-fouling under the waterline (I don't know the exact details of the re-painting, but I would trust his craftsmanship on this, as I do with the work on the deck).
All in all, this is supposed to have cost him 6000€ (the manpower being his own or free help).
Prior to all this, the boat is supposed to have been re-rigged in 2009. The steel on the riggin all looks in fine condition; the mast is aluminium. The engine looks in fine condition, it is a 23 horse power, diesel, 1990s Volvo Penta (I don't have the exact model ref. with me right now).
I have uploaded some photos here : if you care to take a look.
At first, the owner wanted the 6000€ that he has invested in the boat as a sale price, and I didn't really consider the offer as there are many similar and much "younger" boats for sale at comparable prices in Holland. But it seems he is intent on selling it, and is now asking 4000€, which seems more acceptable to me.
I would be buying the boat to live aboard it and sail continuously, mostly alone, maybe with one or maximum two other people. It really is quite small for such a project, but that doesn't really bother me too much.

Firstly, my question to anyone who would care to help me out with this project is: do you know anything about the shipyard/designer "F. Dekker and Sons"? Do you know if this boat is anything like a standard model they have produced over the years, or is it a "one of its kind" boat?
Next, I would love to hear advice about the deal itself. Do you think this is a fair price? Do you expect I will have to invest much in this boat in the next few years to keep it sailing (for instance, it has no form of auto-helm not wind-steering, which will cost at least another 1000€ probably)? Any and all advice/opinions will be much appreciated.

Don't hesitate to ask me for more details if I have forgotten to mention anything important.
Kind regards to all.
Thanks in advance,
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Personally I would not get involved in a 26 foot steel boat. Not quite big enough to really take advantage of the benefits of steel but will have all the disadvantages. That is quite old for a steel boat, and if the deck was leaking it may have a lot of rust on inside. If you do think about going for it, have a surveyor, or metal specialist check on the thickness of the hull. Often steel hulls will rust constantly and become quite thin. If the boat was three and a half meters longer, I might consider it if the hull was very sound. No matter what an old steel hull will be more maintenance than a fiberglass one. Granted steel hulls do tend to take abuse better, but only if at it's full thickness. In exchange for the strength you get weight and that will make the boat much slower than fiberglass or wood.

The decks look from the photos to look like they need some work. The Volvo is the worst diesel as parts are very expensive and hard to come by, at least in the US and in most cruising grounds.

Where are you planing to cruse? The boat looks to be made for high latitude sailing (cold rough waters) not the Med, Caribbean or other islands. If you are gong to stay in the Med I would look for a bigger more comfortable boat. But if going around Iceland and the northern North Sea is in the plans then go for it.
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How does the steel look on the inside? Is she spray foamed? Where wood meets steel is usually a problem. A whack with a centre punch and a hammer will dent it if it is corroded too thin. Check out low points in the hull that way. If you cant dent it that way, you have enough steel thickness, at that point.
Roughly 8 meters in steel has worked out well on my 26 footer. She sails well.
4mm sounds a bit thin for rigging wire.
The decks look from the photos to look like they need some work.
In theory, from what the owner told me, the only step left as far as the deck is concerned is to slap the paint on, which is sold with the boat. But I agree, it doesn't look anything like good on the photos does it!

Where are you planing to cruse?
Well, right now the boat is in Marseille, so med would be the immediate answer. I would like the boat to be sufficiently "all round" to be able to make a choice of where to sail based not solely on the boat itself, which I am not sure this is, the small size of course being the main concern there. It is not insulated in any way, and I'm not sure what seems to point to a "northern seas" sailor for you, but in my mind, it looks like the kind of boat which will take on quite a bit of water in rough weather, and so I'm not sure I'd like to be out in too cold conditions with it.

How does the steel look on the inside? Is she spray foamed? Where wood meets steel is usually a problem.
The inside is surprisingly clean white paint over the steel. As a matter of fact the bilges are impeccable, and the small amount of water in them (fresh, btw) was crystal clear.
There are a few places where wood meets the steel, notably the deck, and I can see how that would be a problem, indeed. I guess lots of epoxy and paint would be the best protection, or is the junction of the two going to store moisture and cause rust even with a good exterior protection?

4mm sounds a bit thin for rigging wire.
The standing rigging is more than 4mm, more like 8 I would say, it is the halyards that I would say are 4 to 6 (rough guess). I have never used steel halyards, and am not sure what to look at or how to evaluate them. They seem quite supple which I remember surprised me.
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Before you buy it get an ultrasound survey. It is 51 years old. There are not too many 51 year old steel boats still sailing.
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Thanks all for the advice. Just for info I thought I'd let you know I decided not to buy this boat. I just hope the owner will find somebody else to take it off his hands!
Hello Marc,

I'm Guilhaume and I have a ship who seems yours about you talk, in Marseille.
It is a steel boat about 9.3m from Jachtwerf Dekker & Zn too, 1967.

Do you have photos ?
You can call me if you have any information 0664142326

Before you buy it get an ultrasound survey. It is 51 years old. There are not too many 51 year old steel boats still sailing.
+1 from another steel boat owner
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