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Old 02-16-2018, 12:04 PM   #1
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Steel vs Solid Fiber vs Sandwich

As a newbe, I need to understand the differences between these hull technologies as they affect durability, maintenance, cruising comfort and probably a lot more variables that I cannot think of.

Any help will be very much appreciated!
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Old 02-16-2018, 12:47 PM   #2
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Have you had any luck using the search function? Google will help you also....
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Old 02-16-2018, 01:09 PM   #3
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Your asking people to write a book for you. The question is too broad.
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Old 02-16-2018, 01:51 PM   #4
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Actually, all I am asking is for people to comment on their own experiences, those who have being exposed to the problem. I have read a lot in the net, and all I could find is reports that steel corrodes, but I never got an opinion on other parameters.
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Old 02-16-2018, 02:00 PM   #5
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Steel rusts, Fiberglas blisters and laminated cores rot. Does that help?

Seriously, if you want to learn more, go to David Pascoes yacht survey site.....
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Old 02-16-2018, 02:02 PM   #6
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My opinion only. Steel is OK, but you have to stay on top of it to keep corrosion at bay. Cored is OK above the waterline, like for decks, coring material is a consideration, preferably something that doesnt rot because leakage through the deck to the coring material can happen. I would stay away from a cored hull below the waterline for the same reasons as above (just my personal preference even though there is a well respected Brand out there that has a cored hull below the WL where some of them have had to have a peel and repair ). Solid FG is the easiest to maintain, although there can be issues with it as well if the original layup was not good. I have owned wood, steel and FG boats.
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Old 02-16-2018, 02:07 PM   #7
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I had at least one of each but you forgot Al.
Steel and Al corrode,they require maintenance.
Good foam core is fine (Airex, Corecell, not balsa).
Single skin glass is heavy but no maintenance. Check for blisters before buying.
My ideal material would be heavy single skin below the waterline, no wooden cored stringers or transom, everything above = foam core. The foam sandwich provides great insulation, less condensation, easier to heat and cool.
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Old 02-16-2018, 05:13 PM   #8
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Old 02-16-2018, 05:55 PM   #9
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Steel is for ice breakers, fiberglass is for cruising boats, core is for race boats.
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Old 02-16-2018, 08:20 PM   #10
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Are you thinking of building a boat? You left out plywood.


https://www.devlinboat.com/wordpress...3/czarinna-30/
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Old 02-16-2018, 09:46 PM   #11
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I have thought about this quite a bit in an attempt to rationalize choices I have made. My conclusion is that these are unanswerable questions in light of the dearth of objective evidence available. The advance conclusion for the diatribe that follows is that all boats are poison in regard to your questions, pick your poison and you will do fine with it.

Regarding durability (one of my main reasons for driving steel): Too early to tell is my conclusion though I think there will be a reveal on this question coming over the near term. FRP is a relatively new technology in the history of boat building and there was rapid evolution between solid and cored as well as types of core technology as FRP emerged as a material for boat building. There is a pretty massive number of early FRP boat builds that are turning 30 to 40 years old and we are about to find out if we can sustain their most common points of failure which are related to water intrusion of hull, deck, and house. I am only qualified or interested in buying older boats since I prefer real build quality and the combination of build quality and recent vintage is beyond my tolerance for financial indiscretion. I believe this approach to asset acquisition often leads to valuation after 50 years equal to or greater than valuation at purchase given diligent care. Selection of classic quality of design/material and prideful/expert workmanship is a well proven ownership methodology I think. I like nice stuff and do not care if it is old. Durability is at the top of my list among your questions
During both of my buying experiences over the last decade I surveyed both FRP and steel boats. I experienced survey failures with vaunted brands of FRP boats to include Krogen, Defever, and Californian due to intrusion issues that I was not willing to face. That was not the case with steel. Steel has different issues that I am willing to face and that will vary from individual to individual depending upon prejudice. People always refer to the liability of corrosion in steel. Relentless, uncompromising selection and application of coatings and electrical protection preclude corrosion so your have your choice of spending lots of money and energy to avoid corrosion or same to address corrosion. The former is my choice.
Maintenance: certainly no expert here, but again we are relegated to mostly opinion as there is not a high integrity data pool relating to this question.... so lore is our basis. My assessment is that steel is expensive on a consistent basis to maintain and that FRP gives you some peace early and then failures get really expensive. Over forty years I expect there is not material variation. But, if you are buying thirty year old FRP that has not yet crossed this bridge, perhaps you should consider keeping a very big checkbook handy. It is my view that if I had purchased the 30 year old Krogen that I had a failed survey with, I would have spent an amount equal to the purchase price to deal with intrusion at hull, deck, and house. Not saying that would not be reasonable in terms of value, just not my cup of tea. I like boating better than projects. Some are reverse of that and I really respect them.
Cruising comfort: Probably more related to hull shape than hull material? Any material can be insulated whether inside the sandwich or inside of the hull. I experienced interest dampness which I do not like in most of the FRP boats I looked at but not in the two steel boats that I own. I doubt that was related to build material but more related to insulation, climate type, and heating/cooling need and method. I live in damp cool climate and heat by combustion which is a drying force. In terms of interior sound, I do not own a decibel meter but my boats are quiet.
I have owned and operated metal and FRP watercraft for 40 years and prefer steel. Another individual with the exact same experience could reasonably prefer FRP.
Thus my view that this is not answerable, which view would result in the advice to buy the boat that lights your fire on other issues and not agonize much over this one.
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Old 02-16-2018, 09:52 PM   #12
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Klee wick, I think I would like steel provided that I could actually inspect at get at the interior of the hull. I would worry about a spot that I can’t see creating erosion issues over time. I have never owned a Al or steel boat, so I have no practical experience.
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Old 02-16-2018, 10:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhays View Post
Klee wick, I think I would like steel provided that I could actually inspect at get at the interior of the hull. I would worry about a spot that I can’t see creating erosion issues over time. I have never owned a Al or steel boat, so I have no practical experience.
Hi neighbor Dave,
I consider it a common misconception to worry about areas you cannot see in a steel boat unless the designer was a dunderhead. Is not corrosion risk related to longer term exposure to electrolytes or current? If design is adequate, water can only collect to provide exposure in areas designed to collect water. If I can see the bilges and the thru hulls along with pathways for conduits of liquid I am fine. I do not consider that I need to see behind a cabin wall for example. If there is chronic water exposure somewhere, the material covering the steel will point it out to you. Example, if a window leaks, the wood will show you before the steel is at significant risk is my view.
Risk is from the outside where you have completely adequate view. If you have water on the inside of your boat, that is not a steel problem and I think the steel will be fine unless it is seeing chronic exposure which should be hard to miss.
For me, this ignorance had been my bliss so far.
In terms of grounding I think steel is easier than other materials to understand in that regard. You should be completely aware of dissimilar metals in contact with each other to be sure but potential over the hull seems easier to measure with steel and if problematic, the hunt should be straightforward.
Repeat: to each his own.
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Old 02-16-2018, 10:50 PM   #14
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Great points, thanks. All my experience has been with wood and FRP boats so I am pretty ignorant when it comes to metal boats.
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Old 02-17-2018, 12:13 AM   #15
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I spent 5 years reading before deciding on my Kadey Krogen.
At the time, if all else was equal, I thought if I could have had my KK in steel, that would be ideal. This belief was in part because:
1. in planning to travel the world, steel is the most abundant and easy to repair.
2. I had looked at a lot of boats in the Netherlands and the Dutch are experts in steel.

Now, after using the Krogen for 5 years, I realize the error of my ways.
James Krogen knew what he was doing.
My KK has a cored GRP hull using some closed cell plastic foam stuff. If it gets wet, it doesn't deteriorate, though if it stays wet, it can cause delamination eventually (as I understand it).
But for me, the positives outweigh the negatives:
Virtually no condensation inside the boat (and that's after being in cold, northern waters for 3 years.
The coring adds buoyancy to the boat
The coring also adds strength AND resiliency to the hull, that came in handy when I hit a few massive objects, one, a submerged rock being unmovable. I was able to spend the next three months and 2,000 nm being oblivious to any damage since I had no water intrusion. (See my blog for details).

So all in all, I'm quite happy with my choices and for my life it's the right choice.
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Old 02-17-2018, 04:35 AM   #16
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Thank you all for the very thorough texts.
Another question to my patient forum colleagues: Two Engines or one engine plus a get-home. In my ancient boat education I was instructed that one engine protected by the keel is a better choice, but does it really matter in a boat were the propeller is so deep down located. On the other hand, the old adage: "if you have two, if have one, if you have one you have none."
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Old 02-17-2018, 05:47 AM   #17
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You will be purchasing a USED boat , so the reputation of the boats assembler is more important than the solid vs cored vs steel theory.

If decks are known to rot , windows leak and the overhead collapse is more of a concern .
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Old 02-17-2018, 08:57 AM   #18
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Example of solid FRP hull strength.Click image for larger version

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Old 02-17-2018, 12:51 PM   #19
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thete are some glass boats approaching 70 years old from WWII vintage.

steel has proven its merits through the years, but the biggest issue is the interior of yachts...they tend to make simple steel maintenance difficult.

build the interior of a steel yacht right, and its strengths seem to overcome the now lessened weakness of syeel.

but for many, living with dirt and mildew behind cabinetry beats ripping it apart to chase rust.
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Old 02-17-2018, 01:53 PM   #20
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I spent a lot of time on steel ships and shipyards. Steel is my preference because of its strength. It requires a really good initial painting and proper maintenance. The best is a zinc coating after sandblasting. It lasts just about forever. But steel is more maintenance than fiberglass. It's easier to do a really strong repair in steel, make hull modifications, and so on. Many steel commercial fishing boats get widened or lengthened later in life for larger capacity or a change in fishing methods.
Years ago, in Newport, OR, a large, single screw, steel commercial boat was leaving the harbor and lost steering. The swells caught it near the end of the breakwater and set it stern first on the rocks and then pounded it for 45 minutes before the Coast Guard could get a line to the boat and tow it back in. The rudder was ripped off. The propeller shaft was bent 90°. A lot of hull plating was badly dented and later replaced. But the only leak was where the shaft seal was distorted from the bent shaft. I saw it out of the water.
Wood would have been pieces, fiberglass holed, etc.
Most people don't experience events like that or go to dangerous places. And most owners don't really do proper maintenance on any hull type. So that makes fiberglass the better hull for recreational uses.
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