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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good day guys,
Ive spent so many hours reading these forums but this is my first post so hello one and all.
I thought I would ask the heads wiser than my own out there a bit of advice. Myself and my partner have a plan for an extended voyage in the next few years. Last year in N.Z I bought a 24ft Achilles sloop and began learning how to sail, we have since moved to Australia and are undertaking RYA courses. I see undertaking a voyage a bit of an apprenticeship, Ive learned the basics of sailing, I read as many books as I can get my hands on to increase my knowledge and try to learn as much about the different styles of boats as I can, and gradually we are building our knowledge and experience. Ive done the return leg of the Brisbane to Gladstone race, We have plans to crew on an off shore trip next year and have chartered a bareboat which was awesome.
While looking at 'boat porn" as my missus calls it I have came across a Bruce Roberts 36 steel Bilge keel. It was professionally built apparently, there is minor rust (mostly surface) from what i could see on a quick crawl about but it had good access. The rig looks in decent shape, there is a volvo 33hp diesel which has has the gearbox removed for recon (done but not installed) but the guys assures me the motor is good and is happy to re install the gearbox if I pull the trigger so to speak. It is pretty rough inside and out mainly cosmetic but it very much bare bones. He is keen to move it as he's moving interstate and its cheap, dirt cheap. But I know cheap can quickly escalate into a bloody headache. I do not mind a project, ive estimated what I think i will need to spend and added 50% and I think its still cheap.
My goal for this boat is just to get out on the water until the budget and timing allows me to find the boat of my dreams. I dont think the Bilge keel is what I want for my long term plans, but I want to be sailing and I think a bit of a project would be a good basis for fixing things later on as my mechanical knowledge is in its infancy.
Does anybody know much about the Roberts 36 Bilge keel? Ive read about the pros/cons of the keel design but cant find much info about this particular model.
I think I might take a punt but dont want to buy a tub.
Any advice / input would be great.

Cheers,

Mark
 

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Once known as Hartley18
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Hi, Mark - welcome to Sailnet. :)

From your description of the sort of sailing you'd like to do and the condition and circumstances surrounding that boat, I'd suggest you run away very quickly before you get become emotionally attached to an extremely expensive headache..

There are far better boats out there for the two of you to enjoy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi, Mark - welcome to Sailnet. :)

From your description of the sort of sailing you'd like to do and the condition and circumstances surrounding that boat, I'd suggest you run away very quickly before you get become emotionally attached to an extremely expensive headache..

There are far better boats out there for the two of you to enjoy.
Thanks for your input, and you are probably right, I maybe just needed to be told, but I do like a punt. I was thinking I could slap a coat of anti foul on and have a couple of years fishing and diving for very little money, im not bothered about the cosmetics and love a bit of camping on the water. If it was a long fin keel version I would probably have bought it by now.

Would love to here from any one that has one???
 

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Mark, it is not the design which is a problem here, but the condition of the boat and the fact that it is a steel hull. A neglected steel boat presents a huge risk to a buyer. A lot of serious structural problems can only be identified by a very professional survey including a detailed ultrasound survey, or they will only be discovered once repairs start. A neglected steel hull can keep on corroding very fast even after getting painted with good paint unless you prep all of the surfaces 100% correctly. Sure, anything can be fixed, but a boat like that would be very expensive to bring back.
In your case, forget steel, forget wood. Get a decent fiberglass boat and have fun sailing, not slaving away fixing old rusty boat.
 

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I had an old steel boat, I bought it for little money and sailed it for seven years. I think I was lucky in that it was a corten steel hull which is a little more corrosion resistant. Before I bought it I looked hard INSIDE the boat because steel boats die from the inside.

So either pay a pro to do an ultrasound or buy a scope and go pry into it's bowels.

Bruce Roberts boats are many things but fast is not an adjective usually used to describe them. Add to that the handicap of bilge keels and you have to decide if you can live with a slow boat that does not go to weather. I cruised very happily on my 4ktsb but you have to decide if you can put up with that.

By the way I don't know the Aussie market but in the USA and close by it is a buyers market. a 42 ft fin keel steel ketch in sailable condition was sold for less than 10k US.

So unless it is very very cheap AND the hull is reasonable AND you can put up with everybody else passing you on passage I would keep looking.
 

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You say you don't want to buy a tub?

'Nuff said. ;)

A bilge keel Roberts would fit the definition of tub pretty closely.
 
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Once known as Hartley18
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Thanks for your input, and you are probably right, I maybe just needed to be told, but I do like a punt. I was thinking I could slap a coat of anti foul on and have a couple of years fishing and diving for very little money, im not bothered about the cosmetics and love a bit of camping on the water. If it was a long fin keel version I would probably have bought it by now.
Mark, the issue with that plan becomes (a) where and how you dispose of a boat that nobody wants at the end of a couple of years and the costs involved with that, coupled with (b) the money you'd need to put into the engine and other systems on the boat simply to make it safe for the two of you to live on without needing the CG to come pick you up off of the reef...

You really are better advised to buy one of a multitude of fibreglass fin-keeled cruiser-racer type yachts similar to one you've chartered or raced on (even an ex-charter yacht would be a better proposition - ask the charter company you were with if they know of anyone selling up).

..and make sure you post pics of your new boat here for us all to admire! :)
 

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There is nothing wrong with a bilge keeler they are very practical you can beach them easily it saves you slipping fees and a bit of surface rust is no bother either just wire brush it off rust kill it then smother it with a good primer and topcoat.I own a fifty year old steel boat and if you keep on top of the rust it is not a problem.
 

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But is it a tub? That is the question, not whether it's steel or has multiple keels.

My first boat was a bilge keeler - a Vivacity 20 - it was a tub but I didn't know any better then. :D

A steel, bilge keel Roberts design might have many virtues but sailing performance will not be among them.
 

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They may not sail too flash but for a barrier reef cruiser they have a lot of good points and it would be better to learn your skills in a forgiving boat than a paper thin ex racer.There are lots of roberts designed boats around here and they get used a lot.
 

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I would agree with the majority of comments here. I used to own a Roberts 45 Ketch and would not buy a Roberts again. Roberts + steel and I would definitely keep looking. A big issue at the moment in Oz is resale value. If you did purchase this yacht and spent $20-50k on fit out / fixing up it is likely that you would not recover this money when you sold.

Ilenart
 

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For banging around coral waters, steel is far superior to plastic, and far more forgiving of mistakes. They will survive for weeks in conditions that will destroy a plastic boat in minutes.
Without you posting photos or connections, it is hard to comment on an individual design. Read Jimmy Cornell's book "Modern Ocean Cruising", in which he interviews several circumnavigators, who said they would by far, prefer a metal boat for future cruising. Some had already started metal boats. It is often the preferred choice of experienced cruisers. Most of steels critics are armchair critics, with no personal experience in the material, or little long term cruising experience .
Two of my 36 footers, one with a single keel ,and one with twin keels , had a race. They were matched on all points of sail except to windward, where the single keel had only a slight advantage. The owner of the twin keeler, having just returned from a cruise around Cape Horn and the Aleutians , was very happy with his decision to go twin keels and a steel hull. You can do a search under Silas Crosby to find his blog, a great read.
 
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Hi Mark,
I want to sell my Robert's 36'steel yacht. It has a full length keel and is cutter rigged.
Here are some pearls of wisdom. Steel is strong and if maintained will last as long as a fibreglass boat. Steel can be easily repaired if you acquire basic steel working skills eg welding and using an angle grinder. As a first boat it is a good option as you are more likely to run aground etc. As far as bilge keels go, the advantages are shallow draft ie more anchorages accessible and a less rolly ride. Disavantage is it will be a slug to windward, hence the need for a large reliable engine. ( Gentlemen don't go to windward anyway!)
In my Robert's 36'my wife and offsprings have crossed Bass Strait 6 times,cruised around Tasmania and been as far north as Broken Bay. The long keel gives good directional stability i.e easy to steer and we always feel safe.
Hope this helps,
Cheers,
Rob.
 
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