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Thread: Steelboats

  1. #1
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    Default Steelboats

    I had a steel hull and deck built which I fitted out.Fairly inexpensive way to get afloat but the hull. And deck are only 25% of the whole thing still if non yacht type materials used in interior fit out and. A keen eye kept on boat jumbles a proper seaworthy boat can be got float.Fertan was an initial error and so where built in tanks.Interior treated with car underbody stuff that worked and interior rust was not a problem.Decide what standard you want to achieve the less yacht finish the cheaper and quicker.Sold the boat and itís still going 30 yeRs on.

  2. #2
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    Mar 2007
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    Atlantic
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    Default Re: Steelboats

    Nice to hear that properly made and maintained, that they will last.

    It does seem though, that all over the world, so many marinas and anchorages have elderly rust buckets rotting gently away and are iredeemable.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Steelboats

    You need to hook up with Brent Swain (http://www.ybw.com/forums/member.php?48191-Brent-Swain), he is the universally acknowledged expert in all things steelboat.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Steelboats

    Brent who?

  5. #5
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    Dec 2010
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    South Oxfordshire, Gosport and Wellington New Zealand.
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    Default Re: Steelboats

    After the previous steel boat thread and the Island Packet thread where our erstwhile steel boat evangalist chipped in I decided to take a look during a 5 mile trip up Portsmouth Harbour to Wicor.

    I looked for steel yachts on moorings, alongside on mid harbour pontoons and on half tide berths. I saw 12. I suspect there were more, but First Mate needed to keep to the channel and three old RN supply ships are moored in the upper harbour and each masks up to 40 or so boats.

    In the same distance there must have been five or six hundred GRP yachts. Two of the steel yachts were in very good order, no rust streaks, shiny topsides and hulls. Five were OK'ish, some rust streaks, tatty paint and a general air of neglect/lack of TLC. The remaining five were, in my view-and I have plenty of experience with steel boats-fast becoming not worth the candle.

    The GRP yachts were also a mixed bag. Some, just splashed and put on their moorings were like new-polished, new canvas, teak trim dollied up and were a credit the the hard work that had kept them in top order. The majority were good, many showing fresh antifoul and clean hull waterlines, tidy without being exeptional.

    About forty were neglected-green with algae-especially the canvas- dirty bootlines and weed encrusted hulls, gentily shabby with neglect and a lack of
    TLC.

    Around a dozen were not long for this world, abuse and years of not being used and maintained was clearly showing.

    What can we glean from this purely subjective study?

    Well, it is very clear that GRP yacts do much, much better without care and attention. Many of the GRP yachts we passed on our harbour tour were approaching 30 years old, some even older. old Colvic, Westerly and Moody models which are easily recognisable. I have no idea how old the steel yachts were.

    To sum up, if you mix steel and seawater you will, to some degree depending on the quality of finish inside and out, get rust and corrosion. If the yacht is in use daily as a floating home the opportunities for maintenance are good-things can be dealt with quickly and easily. After all, steel is a forgiving material. If, as is clear from my observations, this maintenance is neglected, things go downhill fast. Possibly to the extent where it is not worth the time and effort to restore the vessel.

    GRP, however, does not corrode. Even after severe neglect it can be polished to a good finish, or if the gelcoat has gone beyond that, it can be painted. Per capita, far fewer GRP boats were in the " last legs " category.

    Another major point which has been bought up by others is that when the hull and superstructure of a yacht-of any material-is built, it is not even halfway finished.

    Steel boatbuilders who build their own vessels and fit them out with used bits scourced from other yachts need not crow about how cheap their boat was, because it is not like for like.

    Not everyone aspires to a home made steel yacht. I did, I have one in NZ.

    Compared to my GRP yachts the maintenance keeps me very busy indeed..............................
    Last edited by rotrax; 14-04-18 at 22:26.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Steelboats

    Yes plastic boats are far better , for leaving on a mooring. When you consider full time use in rugged conditions, or collisions with hard stuff at night in mid ocean, or uncharted reefs, steel does far better . I have put together over 3 dozen of them, and have done many Pacific crossings in mine( a Pacific crossing can be the equivalent of over 3 Atlantic crossings, both in distance and remoteness). I have lived aboard , cruised in, maintained and and built steel boats for over 40 years.
    Yes, teak is a big mistake , and a maintenance time bomb.
    Yes get it right, and steel can be very low maintenance ,get it wrong ,and it can be a night mare.
    On my first arrival in the Marquesas, I met a steel Aussie boat finishing a circumnavigation. I asked them about maintenance. They said, before Durban, it was a night mare.In Durban they blasted her, and gave her a heavy buildup of epoxy tar. After that ,maintenance was minimal.
    Around here, home made is usually of far higher quality than commercially made.
    Search origami boats yahoo groups. Then pick home, origami boats for many photos of "home made boats."
    Last edited by Brent Swain; 14-04-18 at 23:58.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Steelboats

    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Swain View Post
    Yes plastic boats are far better , for leaving on a mooring. When you consider full time use in rugged conditions, or collisions with hard stuff at night in mid ocean, or uncharted reefs, steel does far better . I have put together over 3 dozen of them, and have done many Pacific crossings in mine( a Pacific crossing can be the equivalent of over 3 Atlantic crossings, both in distance and remoteness). I have lived aboard , cruised in, maintained and and built steel boats for over 40 years.
    Yes, teak is a big mistake , and a maintenance time bomb.
    Yes get it right, and steel can be very low maintenance ,get it wrong ,and it can be a night mare.
    On my first arrival in the Marquesas, I met a steel Aussie boat finishing a circumnavigation. I asked them about maintenance. They said, before Durban, it was a night mare.In Durban they blasted her, and gave her a heavy buildup of epoxy tar. After that ,maintenance was minimal.
    Around here, home made is usually of far higher quality than commercially made.
    Search origami boats yahoo groups. Then pick home, origami boats for many photos of "home made boats."

    We dont need you banging on again about the attributes of steel as a material for boatbuilding.

    This forum has heard it all several times before and it is becoming to be repetetive.

    I accept your views on the durability of steel boats. Of course they are correct. It is also correct to say that for the majority of boatowners who live a different lifestyle to your chosen one, steel is a liability. That is why they choose an alternative material, one that does not rust and corrode. Why belittle this choice Brent, when, for their use it is eminently sensible?

    Trouble is Brent, you retired at 20 to sail around the Pacific and dont build steel boats to your exacting standards for others to purchase and enjoy.

    When a prospective owner asks a yard to build one of your designs you go ape shit about the estimated cost. Between what you are able to do and what a yard must charge is the commercial reality.

    A reality you appear unable to to grasp.

    Two further points. In the West side of Canada, the truth about home made against pro fabrication might be true. After all, it is not sailings prime location is it? Around here, just Portsmouth Harbour must have over 2000 small craft in the several marina's, swinging, trot and drying moorings.
    Plus the associated services that go with this amount of craft. Within a few miles are Langstone Harbour, Chichester Harbour, Bembridge, Cowes, Southampton Water with the Hamble, Itchen and its own moorings and marinas. 20,000 small craft perhaps? And we are not down to the West Solent yet with as many craft again.

    If commercial services were not up to the mark in one of the worlds top yachting venues, our draconian consumer rights laws would soon-as they have in some cases already-put those who dont do a good job out of business. Of course poor work happens, but if you use these forum's for anything other than banging your personal steel boat preference, you will see it is not much of an issue for most. The cost, however, is another thing....................

    As I have repeatedly told you, it would be almost impossible to do what you do in building a steel boat in our heavily regulated Health and Safety mad country with ever increasing Eco standards. Landowners who might allow you to rent a bit of land and build a boat on it would be liable should H&S or Eco rules be broken, as well as the builder. So, pretty much a non starter. Not only that, the pissing rain which sometimes happens 24/7/365-or it appears so-would make the use of electrical tools a hazard and would not do much for starting the build off if corrosion proofing was a priority.

    As for one Pacific crossing equaling three Atlantic crossings, that would be in distance only.

    The clue is in the name.

    Pacific. Peaceful. IIRC it was Drake who named it so. After leaving the Atlantic the new sea was-peaceful......................

    But I will let others who have spent substantial time on both oceans give an authorotive opinion on that!
    Last edited by rotrax; 15-04-18 at 09:17.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Steelboats

    Quote Originally Posted by rotrax View Post
    We dont need you banging on again about the attributes of steel as a material for boatbuilding.

    This forum has heard it all several times before and it is becoming to be repetetive.

    I accept your views on the durability of steel boats. Of course they are correct. It is also correct to say that for the majority of boatowners who live a different lifestyle to your chosen one, steel is a liability. That is why they choose an alternative material, one that does not rust and corrode. Why belittle this choice Brent, when, for their use it is eminently sensible?

    Trouble is Brent, you retired at 20 to sail around the Pacific and dont build steel boats to your exacting standards for others to purchase and enjoy.

    When a prospective owner asks a yard to build one of your designs you go ape shit about the estimated cost. Between what you are able to do and what a yard must charge is the commercial reality.

    A reality you appear unable to to grasp.

    Two further points. In the West side of Canada, the truth about home made against pro fabrication might be true. After all, it is not sailings prime location is it? Around here, just Portsmouth Harbour must have over 2000 small craft in the several marina's, swinging, trot and drying moorings.
    Plus the associated services that go with this amount of craft. Within a few miles are Langstone Harbour, Chichester Harbour, Bembridge, Cowes, Southampton Water with the Hamble, Itchen and its own moorings and marinas. 20,000 small craft perhaps? And we are not down to the West Solent yet with as many craft again.

    If commercial services were not up to the mark in one of the worlds top yachting venues, our draconian consumer rights laws would soon-as they have in some cases already-put those who dont do a good job out of business. Of course poor work happens, but if you use these forum's for anything other than banging your personal steel boat preference, you will see it is not much of an issue for most. The cost, however, is another thing....................

    As I have repeatedly told you, it would be almost impossible to do what you do in building a steel boat in our heavily regulated Health and Safety mad country with ever increasing Eco standards. Landowners who might allow you to rent a bit of land and build a boat on it would be liable should H&S or Eco rules be broken, as well as the builder. So, pretty much a non starter. Not only that, the pissing rain which sometimes happens 24/7/365-or it appears so-would make the use of electrical tools a hazard and would not do much for starting the build off if corrosion proofing was a priority.

    As for one Pacific crossing equaling three Atlantic crossings, that would be in distance only.

    The clue is in the name.

    Pacific. Peaceful. IIRC it was Drake who named it so. After leaving the Atlantic the new sea was-peaceful......................

    But I will let others who have spent substantial time on both oceans give an authorotive opinion on that!
    We don't need you constantly banging on about plastic being one's only option.
    I have often stated that for occasional use marina queens, plastic is the best choice , something you refuse to read, while accusing me of stating the opposite.
    What I have stated is that steel is afar better choice for full time cruising off the beaten path, as a way of life.I have never suggested that everyone should choose this way of life , ( once again, you putting words in my mouth, so you will have something to argue against) ,only that steel is a better choice for those who do.
    Figuring how to semi retire in my mid 20s is "trouble"?
    Not or me it isn't, nor for those who aspire to , who wisely refuse to get their advice from defeatists , but prefer advice from those who have actually accomplished their goals.
    Hiring a pro to build a boat in ones own building site, is definitely a way to save a huge amount of money over having a business handle everything, the only option for those who cant afford the latter.
    The energy minister once told me "Brent , why don't you set up a shop, and mass produce your boats?"
    I responded "Then you would have rent, replacement of equipment, bureaucracy , and be paying all the expenses, whether there was boat in progress, or not, and who ever you built a boat for would be saddled with those expenses. That would exclude many of my clients from ever owning a good steel boat, and further the benefit gap between rich and poor .I get a sense of accomplishment out of accomplishing the opposite, and narrowing the gap. On some boats the, owners have borrowed a welder from an uncle and a torch from other relatives, etc ,etc, and paid as little as $20 a month rent . A business doesn't have those options.
    No ,you open up a shop , and I will send you postcards from my favorite destinations, being a living example of what can be accomplished ."
    So what is your " better "alternative for those who cant afford the latter, enjoy building their own stuff, and don't want plastic, but want a new boat with all new material and custom gear?
    Abandon the dream forever?
    You tell them that. Their response would not be printable here!
    Several of my boats have been built by home builders in the UK and EU, Australia ,the US, Argentina ,etc etc, no problems, so your defeatist attitude doesn't fly, in the real world. Those who listen to defeatists , sail nowhere interesting. I encountered plenty of them, when beginning to build my first offshore cruiser, at the age of 20 . Sure glad I didn't let them influence me, or I would have had a very boring life, and cruised nowhere !

    The 'Peaceful" Pacific includes approaches to Cape Horn ,the entire southern ocean, the Aleutians ,Hecate Strait in November and the Oregon Coast in winter, as well as the hurricane ravaged western potions like Fiji , Vanuatu and Niue, recently wrecked by devastating hurricanes. So try it in the storm seasons, then tell us it is all peaceful, or tell the people ravaged by hurricanes that it is a "peaceful "ocean.
    I have done the Oregon coast in late October, anything but "Peaceful."
    Last edited by Brent Swain; 29-04-18 at 20:58.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Steelboats

    I have heard it all before from you Brent. You are a one trick pony.

    Well done for your achievements. Well done for your lifestyle choice which has worked for you, and allowed you to fullfill YOUR dream.

    Is it everybodys dream? Of course not. Your choice is not a popular one, as the material you choose for a boat is not a popular one.

    There are, of course, reasons for both the above. If you opened your mind to anything other than the narrow focus that you have, you might realise what they are.

    In a simple, easy to understand sentence, I believe the following to be true:-

    " Although steel has some significant advantages over other materials for small boatbuilding, for most leisure boat owners, steel boats are a maintenance liability. "

    As for the Pacific, of course it can get hairy. But, by comparison, the North Atlantic is noted for the far more regular incidence of storms.

    Of course, for a Superhero in his Origami steel boat, everything is possible.................................

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Steelboats

    Quote Originally Posted by rotrax View Post
    I have heard it all before from you Brent. You are a one trick pony.

    Well done for your achievements. Well done for your lifestyle choice which has worked for you, and allowed you to fullfill YOUR dream.

    Is it everybodys dream? Of course not. Your choice is not a popular one, as the material you choose for a boat is not a popular one.

    There are, of course, reasons for both the above. If you opened your mind to anything other than the narrow focus that you have, you might realise what they are.

    In a simple, easy to understand sentence, I believe the following to be true:-

    " Although steel has some significant advantages over other materials for small boatbuilding, for most leisure boat owners, steel boats are a maintenance liability. "

    As for the Pacific, of course it can get hairy. But, by comparison, the North Atlantic is noted for the far more regular incidence of storms.

    Of course, for a Superhero in his Origami steel boat, everything is possible.................................
    As I have pointed out many times, which you steadfastly refuse to read, plastic is better, for most people, who leave their boats neglected in marinas 95%of the time. For a boat in full time use , in rugged conditions steel is less maintenance and far safer ,as nothing breaks loose nor leaks when welded down. Maintenance liability is only a problem when you do things wrong.
    Get it right and, for full time use, steel will be less maintenance, especially of you cruise in areas of uncharted rocks, ice, and big logs.
    No material is immune to screwups. A plastic boat tied to my mooring has 4 big holes in the deck, where the bow pulpit was bolted down. It looks like 1/16th inch thick plastic .Others have rotted out balsa cores. Many have chain plates bolted to rotten bulkheads ,and sun bleached plastic thru hulls you can knock off with the palm of your hand. So much for your theory about plastic being immune to screwups!
    Trimming all outside corners with stainless can reduce maintenance by up to 80%, as that is where the paint chips the most easily. My current boat requires less maintenance after 34 years than my last one did after 10 years ,due to what I learned on the last one.
    The southern ocean, Cape Horn , the western Pacific in hurricane season, and the Aleutians being "Peaceful", compared to the Atlantic ? Give your head a shake!
    One of my 36 footers just came back from rounding the Horn . 35 knot winds are almost steady down there.
    Last edited by Brent Swain; 30-04-18 at 18:04.

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