I had a ferro boat under me when I hit the reef in Fiji, my first offshore boat. Broke up like a watermelon dropped on a sidewalk. Steel would have suffered little, if any damage in the same conditions.One 36 footer of my design pounded on a west coast Baja beach for 16 days, in up to 12 ft surf, and was pulled off thru 12 ft surf, with minimal damage. Another pounded across 300 yards of Fijian coral reef leaving Suva, and was pulled back of thru the same big surf, with minimal damage.
I switched to steel after losing my first boat, and would not consider anything else.
My 540 gallon per day watermaker cost me around $700. I built it myself.Wolf Berg
( wolfwatermakers.com) who put me onto it, said the main source of problems with watermakers is electric drive .Mine simply uses a V belt of the main engine.
On my last trip from BC to Tonga, and back, I didn't have my watermaker yet, but took no water from ashore.I caught all I needed off my mainsail and decks.
My mainsail lazy bag , held up by lazy jacks, caught a lot off it at sea. In squalls, it poured out the front end, and into a bucket.
Below the waterline , my steel boat needs little maintenance, as the zincs protect it. Being a twin keeler, which spend weeks at a time drying out on every tide, the bottoms of my keels have rarely had any paint on them, in the last 32 years , but are in perfect condition. Any time I see any rust , I weld another zinc on and it disappears ,never to return ,unless I let the zinc disolve. So I weld another on and the rust washes off and doesn't get replaced.
A steel hull under you is a huge safety factor, even more important when you have family aboard.
The Sleavin family would have had far better chance of surviving, had their boat been steel.
One client I built a 36 for, who had sailed his fiberglass boat from BC to New Zealand and back, said the improvement in peace of mind his steel hull gave him, sailing at hull speed on a dark foggy night, was huge.
( Search Silas Crosby)