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Old 08-05-2016, 03:35 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Brent Swain View Post
The first 36 ft steel boat I built spent 16 days pounding in up to 12 ft surf on the west coast of Baja, and was pulled of thru 12 ft surf ,being lifted and dropped that distance on hard packed sand, every wave for a quarter mile, with no serious damage. Another pounded across 300 yards of Fijian coral reef in big surf, and was pulled back the same distance, thru the same surf, with no serious damage. She later collided with a freighter near Gibraltar with no serious damage. One hit a steel barge at hull speed, with only a scratch.
One recently hit a rock at 6 knots with only a scratch on her keel resulting. I just met an Australian steel boat with the same experience and results.
Here in BC we often hit huge logs in the night, with zero damage, as long as your boat is steel.
How would a plastic boat fare in the same conditions?
My boats have often made the distance from BC to Hawaii in roughly 2 weeks , better than many plastic boats. I have made the distance from Hawaii to BC in 23 days twice , in my heavily loaded steel 31 ft twin keeler.
Had the Sleavin family been in a steel boat instead of plastic, they would have probably all survived.
With everything welded down , nothing works loose, nothing leaks . Welding is the strongest, most reliable bedding compound ever invented.
In the disaster at Cabo in 82 moat plastic boats broke up quickly, but steel ,with a plastic boat landing on top of her, still sails.
Steel for a bare shell of a 36 is around $9K, plastic; many times that.
In many South Pacific anchorages , steel equals or predominates among European boats. In my last anchorage, 40 % were steel.
That is why we choose steel.
You have me chuckling and thinking "do not sail with this guy--too many serious groundings and incidents."
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Old 08-05-2016, 07:28 PM   #22
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The more you cruise, the greater your odds of having an "Incident." I have been cruising full time for most of the last 40 years.
"If you aint been aground you aint been around."
Many avoid"Incidents "by rarely leaving the marina. Is that how you avoid the problem?
How many months a year have you been cruising over the last 40 years?
When hitting something has zero consequences , you tend to be less careful
and thus tend to bump into things more. So if there are zero consequences, who cares?

Cruising in a steel hull drops the stress and worry level drastically, and thus increases the enjoyment ( efficiency , if you define "efficiency" in a pleasure boat as the maximum enjoyment for the minimum of stress and worry).
Pleasure being the goal, efficiency is relative to the goal intended)

Another advantage of steel is , if you use welded in stainless pipe nipples and stainless ball valves for thru hulls, you eliminate thru hull problems to zero.
With minimal equipment , I have pulled together a 36 ft hull in two days, and the shell, ( hull, decks, cabin, cockpit wheelhouse, rudder and skeg and keel ) in a week. Without a female mold, you couldn't even come close to that time, with fiberglass.
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Old 08-06-2016, 10:03 PM   #23
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For a good comparison between cruising in steel read Bernard Moitessiers books " Cape Horn the Logical Route" and "The long way"
He has less trouble rounding the horn and circumnavigating in the southern ocean than most stock boats have in a tropical cruise. Nothing broke, except for a bent bowsprit ,easily straightened, after a collision with freighter.
Read Jimmy Cornel's book . "Modern Ocean Cruising" in which he interviews several circumnavigators, 8 out of ten who say they would choose a metal boat for next time.
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Old 08-22-2016, 09:40 PM   #24
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I just met another fibreglass boat which had hit a rock, and had major water coming in.
That makes 4 so far this summer. Luckily, I had an under water epoxy stick to prevent him from sinking, something every plastic boat should have aboard. I plan to carry several from now on, to save peoples plastic boats. I don't expect to ever have to use them for my steel boats.
My book "Origami Metal Boat Building" is a manual on steel boat building, by the quickest, easiest and most practical and modern methods so far. I try to include as much information as possible, to be of use to any cruiser, in any kind of boat, metal or otherwise, such as how to build a jib furler for under $150, anchor winch for under $75, 540 gallon per day watermaker for under $1,000, composting head for under $50, windvane self steering for under $50, engine driven welder for under $75, woodstove, hatches, aluminium dinghy,etc etc.
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Old 08-23-2016, 09:51 PM   #25
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Great post!
Yes for 95% of what most boats are used for , two week summer cruises, and occasional weekend cruises , plastic boats are perfect.
For such rare use,especially in warm dry climates their lack of insulation and their deck leaks are of no consequence.
They have never been cheaper. For such rare use, it makes no sense to build from scratch out of steel.
My boats are aimed at full time cruisers, for whom a boat is a way of life. In that use, steel is far superior.
Most of my clients come from having tried a plastic boat for the above use, and would never consider going back to plastic.
In over 45 years of mostly full time cruising, I have seen a lot of horrendously bad welds on steel boats. I have never seen nor heard of such mild steel welds breaking on any small steel boat. They are very strong and forgiving.

In Auckland, I once saw a plastic boat on which the inside ballast had broken away, in a clean break where the top of the ballast ended. I was told the 5,000 lbs of ballast was still out on the reef.
Perhaps an argument could be made for putting floors and keel bolts into inside ballast.
In most of the damaged boats I mentioned, doing a bit of the layup in the leading edge of the keel, then putting a half section of sch 80 pipe in, before doing the rest of the layup inside that ,would have minimized the damage.
A stainless bolt ,welded to the pipe and connected to a zinc elsewhere would eliminate the corrosion problem . Something similar on the bottom of the keel would help there.

Yes, my boat has sometimes served as a transition house- women's shelter for abuse victims. Puts a good distance between them and their abusers, (altho I prefer to leave such abusers in no condition to attack anyone)

Your reluctance to introduce welders to your parents is an indication that one does not have to be a genius to figure out how to weld.
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Old 09-19-2016, 07:55 PM   #26
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I got my hookah compressor to do some sandblasting, very slow at 90PSI.
I checked out air needle scalers, and found they only need 90 PSI at 2,5CFM, and only cost from $40 to $100 ,while electric ones are around $1,000.So I am ordering one.
I can also hook it up to the second stage on a scuba tank, for about120 PSI. As 2.5 CFM is a lot of time from 80 cubic feet of air, and each rust spot takes only a second to get to white metal with the needle scaler,
it should last me a long time on a fill. That will drastically
reduce maintenance time , to brushing a few dabs of epoxy
on several times a day. It also lets me clean any rust
inside , without the dust of sandblasting
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Old 08-02-2017, 05:36 PM   #27
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Hello sailors!
Topic of steel boats: I have a steel ketch, which I'm very happy with, strong, comfortable and sails well. I'm currently sailing in European waters, but I would like to cross the Atlantic and spend some time in the Caribbean. My concern is weather my boat will be too hot there, she has a steel deck and coach roof, insulated with one inch polystyrene (styrofoam). Will I cook in the Boca de Toros?
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Old 08-03-2017, 08:00 PM   #28
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Hello sailors!
Topic of steel boats: I have a steel ketch, which I'm very happy with, strong, comfortable and sails well. I'm currently sailing in European waters, but I would like to cross the Atlantic and spend some time in the Caribbean. My concern is weather my boat will be too hot there, she has a steel deck and coach roof, insulated with one inch polystyrene (styrofoam). Will I cook in the Boca de Toros?

I have done many trips to the South Pacific in my steel boats. When my decks were beige , here in BC, it was no problem. I could walk barefoot on them any time, even in summer heat.Not so in the tropics. Last trip to Tonga, I had beige decks going down. Coming home, I had painted them white, and it was like adding air conditioning. Huge difference !
Any colour added will make them too hot.
Paint everything white ,and you will have no problem.
Any insulation will make a big difference.
Dark colours are far better in cold climes. Keeps the lockers much drier.
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Old 08-03-2017, 08:05 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Swain View Post
I got my hookah compressor to do some sandblasting, very slow at 90PSI.
I checked out air needle scalers, and found they only need 90 PSI at 2,5CFM, and only cost from $40 to $100 ,while electric ones are around $1,000.So I am ordering one.
I can also hook it up to the second stage on a scuba tank, for about120 PSI. As 2.5 CFM is a lot of time from 80 cubic feet of air, and each rust spot takes only a second to get to white metal with the needle scaler,
it should last me a long time on a fill. That will drastically
reduce maintenance time , to brushing a few dabs of epoxy
on several times a day. It also lets me clean any rust
inside , without the dust of sandblasting
The needle scaler ,at 90 PSI, works great. Leave it on one spot, and it gets cleaner and cleaner,until it looks shotblasted.
No dust, which lets you use it inside.
I sharpened the needles on mine, which makes it work quicker ,and gives a better surface for paint adhesion.
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