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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking at a circa 95 Van De Stadt 40ft steel hull from a liveaboard perspective.

Will definitely arrange a pro survey prior to purchase, but would love some pointers on key snags to look out for during the preliminary 'informal' inspection.

My experience is with powered fibreglass (about a decade) - I know zilch about masted steel hulls.

Any and all tips welcomed, and sincerely appreciated.
 

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do you have complete access to the hull inside and out?

here is one scenario where I wouldnt buy in the water unless the owner is willing to haulout...if he is the price can be arranged into the selling price
 

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Link to listing?

VdStat is a recognized and prolific designer in that genre, but you need to find out more about the builder - I imagine a number of these may have been 'home'built or from relatively unknown builders. Not necessarily a bad thing, depending on attention to detail.

While there's no disputing the strength of steel, and with today's coatings maintenance can be much less work than in days past, I fear that what may be making this boat of interest is it's low asking price? For me, you'd have to be planning to sail in areas where those pros of a steel structure are more likely to come into play - serious offshore, remote reef-hopping, high latitude sailing and such. Living with a steel boat for the usual coastal cruising that most of us do wouldn't make sense to me.
 
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V d Stadt is a wellknown designer. As he was situated in The Netherlands, many of his designs were made for steel - which is immensely popular there.

As with some of the recognized sailboats designers it was not just a one-man operation, more of a office.

Some of the v d Stadt designs are very good, while some others are not, in fact some are not at all.

Building in steel requires a lot. Take a look on the internet, and you are likely to find all sorts from very crudely build to those that are very competitive - in many ways.

Many steel boats rusts from inside and out, not always that hauling out will tell so much of the real state of things. Inside is often insulated, hiding nasty things. Before buying ... get a careful look in the inside.

Do not disregard steel just because of rust issues, but be certain that all parts can be inspected.

Notice that a steel boat that has not been cared for has a life time of max 20 years.

/J
 

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x2 jaramaz some of the designs are excellent some are quote frankly damn ugly

as with any steel boat you need to be able to inspect inside and out...if you cant it could be seconds or years or decades before you sink! jajaja

for what its worth I cruised extensively on a spanish built french designed steel boat and have some experience with specific maintenance items

now for a a liveaboard what you need is sound plating to keep the water intrusion at bay
 
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While a good survey is important, I think tp the really best survey is the one you do yourself. Get a good light and knee pads and take a couple of days to go over the boat very closely inside.

It's those really hard to get to places that will have rust.

Ultra sound is OK, but it can also miss a lot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
*update*

First, thank you to everyone who has chipped in with advice and suggestions.

I can now confirm the boat is a home-build. As many have pointed out above, this does not automatically condemn it. However, the part of the world I'm located in is reputed for a wide swing in qualifications, expertise, experience and adherence to best-practices - esp. given the minimal regulatory oversight. In other words, this could be a complete disaster at the hull level.

I don't know the builder but that's the next step of inquiry.

Any good news? Well, it appears to have been owned by the builder from the beginning. Which would imply that he would have built it the best he knew how, and that he would have got rid of it years ago if it had problems. Not that this means anything without establishing the builder's credibility.

I'm thinking maybe this purchase would be ill-advised.
 

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Stick with what you know. Boat this size is a major investment of time and money. Unless you know what it takes to keep a steel boat in good shape, you will be in for a major surprise. There are hundreds of decent fiberglass boats that size which are reasonably priced and much easier to maintain.
 

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Seems to me that for what the OP wants steel is not the right answer. Then again a well built VDS40 (presuming one of their better designs) is a damn fine boat.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Update 06 December

Thank you to everyone for pitching in. The boat's size, price and condition is attractive - I personally have nothing against fibre hulls, but this one just happens to be steel.

The preliminary bunch of quotations from surveyors were all superficial visuals. I explained I would feel more comfortable with a more invasive hull inspection. Now receiving estimates for thickness gauging etc.

Will be seeing the boat myself sometime this week, meeting the owner etc. That should help firm things up. Then finalise a surveyor, lift her and get it done.

Will post some pics if I can.
 

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wish you good luck...please post pics!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Update 28 Jan 2015

Sorry for not updating earlier but it's been a busy start to the year.

I visited the VDS40 and spent about an hour or two aboard, talking to the owner (a well-sailed individual with many a fun story to share) for awhile before he left us (I was there with a friend who recently picked up a beautiful twin-hull from Tunisia or someplace like that) to get on with our preliminary inspection (I had the professional inspectors lined up if I decided to go ahead).

I had two questions to answer:
- What condition was the vessel in?
- Would it suit my intended liveaboard plan?

Despite her age the vessel was in great shape. He'd kept up with maintenance, had photos from when her hull was last lifted and painted etc. There were a few rust spots, and I wasn't thrilled at the condition of some of the thru-hull areas, but nothing major as far as I could tell. We were able to lift up the boards wherever we needed to and that was a big help.

However, and sadly, there was no way I could consider her as a permanent or semi-permanent home. There was just not enough space. One head/shower and a large berth in the bow, and two independent berths at the stern. Mid-section was the usual saloon/lounge, galley area and navigation table layout.

I came home and spent a day or two trying to make the space work for me, but it just wasn't happening.

Have posted some photos below. Thank you to everyone for the advice, suggestions and encouragement.

Ta!
 

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Those who know me will undoubtably chime in that I am not normal, but I lived aboard a Catalina 27 in Los Angeles for a few years and a Catalina 22 for about 6 months in the winter in Seattle. (It was just me)

Living aboard a small boat is a real different lifestyle.. You can't accumulate ANYTHING, and having good facilities ashore for showers, etc is real important.

I guess the point I am trying to make is that you can't directly map your existing lifestyle to "fit" on a boat. It won't. For me, the real question is are you willing to dramatically modify your lifestyle and priorities to become a liveaboard....

Thanks for the followup, and posting the pictures. I truly wish you the best in your search.
 
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A few photos of the VDS40, built 1995, 10,000 kg.
That's a pretty nice looking boat, esp for Steel.. and the layout looks OK to me, though perhaps a bit tight for 40 feet esp compared to today's 'fat-butt-barges'.

Should work out for somebody. Thanks for the update.
 

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very nice boat and modern tweaks are nice...as said before check whats important...plating, frames and rust
 
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