Better Sailing

Pros and Cons of Steel Sailboats

Pros and Cons of Steel Sailboats

What is better, a Steel or a Fiberglass sailboat? This is a common question that does not have an easy answer. Both Steel and fiber have their advantages and disadvantages and depend mainly on the size and use that we will give to our boat.

Pros and cons of Steel boats versus fiberglass boats (Glass Reinforced Plastic or GRP):

Steel sailboat hulls are much stronger than fiber or GRP boats. In general, Steel allows stronger structures to be equal in weight. A Steel boat is much more robust, and its structure is more rigid, so a Steel boat will better withstand bumps and rubs. In the event of an impact, the Steel bends while a fiber boat breaks, this as long as it is not a very violent or large blow. Steel has a high ductility or ability to withstand permanent deformations without breakage, and in this way, a Steel boat can be stranded on a beach, resisting the chafing of these abuses.

Steel hulls, if the right alloy is used, resist saltwater corrosion better than steel boats and do not require any special paint. They also suffer from galvanic or electrolytic corrosion that can be avoided with a well-insulated electrical installation and placing sacrificial anodes. Fiber boats do not suffer the effects of corrosion, although they can be affected by the phenomenon of osmosis and suffer from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

Steel is a lighter material than fiber, this makes the construction of a Steel sailboat a lighter vessel. Therefore it will be faster and will need less power/wind to move the same distance as a fiber boat, which also means a lower consumption boat.

Manageability

Fiber boats being heavier are also more stable and solid at high speeds, and when the state of the sea begins to get choppy and complicated. A Steel boat at high speeds can feel more nervous and rough with a choppy sea.

Steel boats are louder than fiber boats, especially at high speeds and with bad seas. It is is a better transmitter of temperature, and therefore and if it is not well insulated in its construction with a thick layer of polyurethane or other insulators, it will be hotter in hot and cold places in the winter. Steel boats also suffer from condensation problems more than fiber boats. Therefore a fiber boat can be somewhat more comfortable than a Steel boat.

  • Maintenance

Steel boats because of corrosion require greater maintenance, a problem to be monitored are the galvanic pairs of material, a corrosion effect that occurs when pieces of different metals are put together. We must be careful with the quality of any part or screw we use as it could cause us a serious problem. We must also clean the boat thoroughly with fresh water after each use.

Fiber boats do not have rivets, welds, or corrosion to worry about, although possible osmosis problems must be monitored every year, which, if not treated in time, can cause serious problems. However, osmosis problems with the new resins can be. They have palliated a lot with respect to helmets of 20 or 30 years ago. The anti-fouling that is a painting that is given to the live work of the boats to prevent different types of algae, barnacles, and snails from being embedded in the hull, is much more expensive for Steel boats than for boat fiber.

Small dents in a Steel boat are easy to repair, but when the damage is in large areas of the hull, repairs are more difficult and expensive than in fiber boats. Welding in Steel is a very specialized and complicated job, finding professionals trained to repair fiber is easier and cheaper. However, a large and partial repair in a fiber hull does not guarantee the original strength since the structural tension will no longer be the same at all points.

Fiberglass boats have a more beautiful, polished, and shiny finish. The surface finish of the Steel boats leaves the marks of the interior reinforcements marked. For these boats to look good, it is necessary to paint them with special and very thick paints. They are actually covered with putty to hide the inevitable buns and construction defects. This layer of putty must be polished by hand so that it is finished with a good finish and should be done in a controlled environment with dust extraction. It is definitely a complicated process, very expensive, and that greatly increases the price of this type of boats.

It is true that the GRP burns faster and easier, so in the event of a fire, a Steel boat will always be safer. Fiber or GRP boats are built with petroleum products and therefore are combustible. Also, before an impact with a rock, it is easier to make a waterway in a fiber boat than in a Steel one.

Residual Value

The wear and tear of fiberglass boats are greater over the years, exposure to sunlight and osmosis do not affect Steel boats. They also better resist the encrustation of seaweed and marine crustaceans. The greater rigidity and structural strength also make Steel ships stand up better over the years, and for all this, they depreciate less than fiber boats.

Fiber boats allow serial construction from a first mold or design, this leads to faster manufacturing and lower construction costs. For this and as we have explained before, Steel ships are generally much more expensive than GRP ships.

Pros and Cons of Steel Sailboats – Summary

In general, Steel allows for stronger structures, but it is much more expensive to build than in GRP. For small boats, which is the case of recreational boating, in which there is no need for large structural resistance, the GRP is undoubtedly a good choice. As the ship grows in size, the thing gets complicated, since the GRP is not able to give the required resistance to the ship without an already significant weight gain.

Peter

Peter is the editor of Better Sailing. He has sailed for countless hours and has maintained his own boats and sailboats for years. After years of trial and error, he decided to start this website to share the knowledge.

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Sailboat Hulls: Steel Vs Fiberglass

Sailboat Hulls: Steel Vs Fiberglass | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Jacob Collier

August 30, 2022

For decades, sailors and boat owners have been having hotly contested debates about the merits of steel hulls vs fiberglass hulls in sailboats.

The major benefits of boats with steel hulls are that they are very strong, durable, and can be repaired easily. On the other hand, a fiberglass hull offers your boat a smooth and sleek look that is very pleasing. They are also lighter, faster, and require less maintenance than steel boats.

Whether you are building your own sailboat or thinking of buying one, getting the right material for the hull is of paramount importance. Your choice of material should depend on consideration of multiple factors, including its durability, stability, maintenance, repairs, weight, comfort, safety, and cost.

We have a team of sailing experts who have spent decades on the water and have set sail on boats built of all types of materials available. So who better to walk you through the pros and cons of steel and fiberglass hulls?

Table of contents

‍ Steel Hull vs Fiberglass Hull: Top 10 Factors to Consider

Let us take a look at some of the major factors that can help you determine whether a boat with a steel hull or fiberglass hull will be a better choice for you.

Sailboats with steel hulls are much more durable and stronger than those with fiberglass hulls. Steel sailboats have a more rigid structure and are quite robust so they can better understand grazes, rubs, and bumps when out in the open water.

In case of impact, a steel hull will bend and may become dented; however, a fiberglass hull has a higher possibility of breaking. That’s because steel is more ductile and can withstand strong blows without losing its toughness.

Fiberglass is a lighter material than steel, making  fiberglass boats  lighter. Many people prefer this quality since it means that the boat will travel faster on water and will require less power and wind energy to move than a boat with a steel hull. This means lower fuel consumption and more savings. However, a fiberglass boat will be more prone to be buffeted by the winds since it is lighter.

Anti-Corrosion Properties

The sailboat manufacturing industry now uses state-of-the-art technology and makes use of the best quality materials to make the hull. Steel corrodes when exposed to the atmosphere. However, if the right alloy is used for making the hull, it will resist saltwater corrosion, without even needing special paint.

Steel boats also experience electrolytic or galvanic corrosion, but they can be avoided with the use of insulated electrical connections and sacrificial anodes.

Fiberglass does not corrode. However, it can still suffer from osmosis if the fiberglass had air bubbles at the time of lamination. This can cause water to collect in the void, forming blisters that can weaken the hull. Fiberglass may also become damaged from ultraviolet radiation.

Since steel boats are heavier than fiberglass boats, it means they are more stable on the sea, particularly if you experience choppy waters. A fiberglass boat, on the other hand, is lighter, and hence sailors may experience a rougher journey on choppy waters.

In addition, due to its extra weight, steel boats drift slower and more predictably, which is particularly useful for anglers.

Maintenance

Many steel boats require greater maintenance since they are more prone to corrosion. Galvanic corrosion can occur when two different metals are placed together. Hence, it is important that you ensure that high-quality materials, joints, and screws are used on the hull. It is important to rinse the hull with fresh water once it is out of the sea.

Fiberglass boat hulls do not have welds and rivets and you do not need to worry about the hull rusting. However, it can experience osmosis issues, which can cause serious problems if they are not treated in time.

Both fiberglass and steel boats require antifouling application to prevent barnacles, algae, and other sea organisms from sticking to the hull. However, antifouling can be more expensive for steel boats.

It is easy to repair small dents in steel boats. However, if the damage is extensive, it can be more complicated and costly to repair or replace large sections of steel hulls. Welding a boat hull is a specialized job that requires trained professionals.

It is easier to repair a broken fiberglass hull, but it may never have the same strength and durability as the original hull since the structural tension will not be equal at all points.

Fiberglass boats are made of petroleum-based products that are flammable. Hence, in case of a fire, they will burn easily and quickly. A steel boat is much safer since it cannot burn. In addition, a significant impact from an unidentified floating object can result in a breach in a fiberglass hull easily and open up a waterway into the boat that can cause it to sink. Steel, on the other hand, can withstand larger impacts without compromising the integrity of the boat.

Steel boats operate much louder than fiberglass boats, especially in turbulent seas at high speed. Steel is also a good conductor of heat and if it is not well-insulated during construction, it can become uncomfortably warm in the summer and cold in the winter. On the other hand, boats with fiberglass hulls do not transmit heat well and are more comfortable.

When it comes to aesthetic appeal, fiberglass hulls have a sleeker, shinier, and more polished look. Steel hulls often have marks of reinforcements on their hulls and they need to get a nice paint to look good. In most cases, steel hulls are covered with putty to hide any construction defects. This putty should be polished so that the boat has a nice finish and is done in a controlled environment to keep out dust.

As you can imagine, this process is complex, costly, and drives up the price of the boat.

It is easier to manufacture fiberglass hulls and mold them into more complex shapes. This can lead to faster production and lower construction costs. Sailboats with steel hulls are more expensive, as we mentioned before because  they require welding, heavy-duty grinding , and specialized cutting tools and are more labor-intensive.

When Should You Choose a Steel Boat?

Steel hulls are stronger, durable, and more impact-resistant than their fiberglass counterparts. Dents in steel hulls can be repaired easily and although steel is prone to corrosion, this can be managed by special paints, insulation, and some regular maintenance.

If you are deciding on a circumnavigation or want to go out on a long spree in the water, you need a solid and dependable boat that you can rely on when you venture into new territories.

A well-maintained sailboat gives you the confidence to enter into unfamiliar rocky coasts and reduce your worries about hitting UFOs. However, keep in mind that steel boats may be slower than fiberglass boats, particularly if they are smaller vessels.

When Should You Choose a Fiberglass Boat?

Fiberglass boats are generally prettier than steel boats since they have a smooth and polished hull. They also do not require protective paint on their hull since they are corrosion-free and hence quite low maintenance. In addition, they are lighter and faster than their steel counterparts and do not cost as much.

However, one big concern of a fiberglass hull is that it is not as strong as a steel hull. If the boat hits a hard object, the fiberglass may break, which can be dangerous on the open seas, particularly in choppy waters.

Still, fiberglass boats are an excellent option for racing and even long-distance cruising in areas that do not have sharp rocks.

The type of sailboat you choose depends on your sailing style and your needs. So make sure you consider all the factors before you invest in a steel or fiberglass boat.

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Born into a family of sailing enthusiasts, words like “ballast” and “jibing” were often a part of dinner conversations. These days Jacob sails a Hallberg-Rassy 44, having covered almost 6000 NM. While he’s made several voyages, his favorite one is the trip from California to Hawaii as it was his first fully independent voyage.

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steel hull sailboats pros and cons

Steel Vs Fiberglass Sailboats: 7 Things To Consider

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The steel versus fiberglass hull debate is a debate that has gone on for a very long time.

Ask any boat owner, and they will have their own opinion about which is best.

Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but in the steel vs. fiberglass discussion, we think these 8 things are very important to consider:

Table of Contents

steel hull sailboats pros and cons

1. A Brief History Of Steel Sailboats

Steel has long been used as a material for building boats in all different shapes and sizes.

Steel replaced wood as the most common material used for building large ship hulls in the early 1900s. This was due to several factors, but the main reasons were the relatively low cost of steel, the strength and availability of steel, and the fact that steel is somewhat easier to work with (and to repair) than wood.

However, it wasn’t until the 1960s that steel was used to build sailboats of more moderate size.

The famous French sailor, Bernard Moitessier, was an early pioneer of steel yachts. He commissioned the construction of his 40-foot steel ketch Joshua in 1961, which competed in the first solo round the world race, the Sunday Times Golden Globe, in 1968.

These days small and mid-size sailing boats are not often built from steel. This is because they are heavier, which means they are slower than other yachts of the same size, built from lighter materials.

Because of the extra maintenance due to rust and corrosion, a boat owner needs to be on top of things.

Yet steel yachts are known for their strength and seaworthiness, and so steel sailing yachts do have a following amongst long-term cruisers and people who liveaboard.

2. A Brief History Of Fibreglass Sailboats

The first fiberglass boat ever built can be credited to a Mr. Ray Greene, an officer in the US Navy who was an assistant supervisor overseeing small wooden boats.

The year was 1942. The first small day sailing dinghy he built was a one-off, but Ray Greene built many more fiberglass sailboats and was a pioneer for fiberglass’ production boats’ or boats built in large numbers.

Fiberglass or Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) sailboats exploded into the sailing scene in the 1950s, when serious production for the commercial market began. Previously, the sport of sailing had been reserved for the elite who had the money to commission once-off custom-built yachts.

The arrival of mass-produced sailboats made the sport of sailing more accessible, as it made boats more affordable. Plus, the new fiberglass boats needed less costly maintenance than the classic wooden sailboats.

Nowadays, the production of fiberglass boats is a worldwide, multi-billion dollar industry with most, if not all of the big players like Beneteau, Hunter, and Catalina (amongst others) all producing fiberglass or GRP yachts in a range of different sizes.

3. Are Steel Or Fibreglass Sailboats More Popular?

There is no question that the most popular of the two is fiberglass sailboats.

This is backed up by the sheer numbers of fiberglass boats in clubs and on the water. Take a stroll in any marina, anywhere in the world, and the majority of boats you see will be made from fiberglass.

The popularity of fiberglass boats can be attributed to the fact that they are massed produced, which makes them easily available. In addition, they look good, are strong and durable, and are relatively easy to maintain—all at a relatively affordable price.

On the other hand, steel sailboats are not so consumer-friendly. Due to steel qualities, they cannot be mass-produced and have to be custom or semi-custom built; no two steel sailboats will be the same.

Plus, a steel boat owner needs to be extra vigilant to stay on top of the maintenance due to corrosion or any rust.

4. When Should You Choose A Fibreglass Sailboat?

Fiberglass sailboats are the overall majority of the market, which most boat owners are thrilled with.

It has been the most common boat building material since mass production started in the 1950s and 1960s.

You can choose a fiberglass sailboat for almost any sailing discipline, whether racing, daysailing or long-distance cruising.

When choosing a fiberglass sailboat, there are many different brands, models, and sizes to choose from, both new and second-hand. The more popular a brand, the more information is available through owner websites and sailing forums.

Make sure you establish the type of sailing you want to do and how many hours you plan to spend on the water before you commit to buying a boat. You don’t need a fully equipped +40 foot sailboat if you only plan to daysail on your local waters.

5. When Should You Choose A Steel Sailboat?

Steel sailboats are stronger and more impact-resistant than their fiberglass equivalents.

Steel is straightforward to work with as a boat-building material which makes them popular for DIY boat-building projects and easy to repair in remote places. However, steel boats are prone to rust if not properly maintained, especially below the waterline.

In addition, steel boats need to be properly insulated, otherwise, they will be hot in hot climates and cold in cold climates,  plus they do require special anti-fouling paints.

If you are planning a circumnavigation, to go long-distance causing, or you are looking for a solid liveaboard boat, then a steel sailboat is a good choice. A steel hull gives a skipper confidence when entering an unfamiliar rocky coast, and there is less worry about hitting unidentified submerged objects.

Apart from keeping an eye out for rust, their only real disadvantage is that steel hulls make slower boats, especially in smaller boat sizes.

6. What Material Is The Most Durable?

There are very few people that will argue that fiberglass is more durable than steel.

The physical properties of steel allow steel boats to survive grounding or to remain physically water-tight if they have been involved in a collision. Plus, they are best for surviving a fire onboard.

In addition, there have been huge advances in paint and metal coating technology. So, if these paints or coatings have been applied correctly, and if a steel sailboat is well looked after, there is no reason that a steel sailboat won’t last a lifetime.

However, fiberglass has become the material of choice for most sailboat builders over the past few decades. Fiberglass sailboats are lighter and faster than steel sailboats.

In addition, they are strong, durable, and corrosion-free, which makes them a great solution for the average sailor.

7. Does It Affect The Resale Value Of The Sailboat?

Every boat will depreciate, but as there is relatively little data available, it is hard to forecast how much.

According to YachtWorld UK , the resale value of a sailboat will depend on the brand, model, condition, and age of the boat. “As a rough guide, new vessels generally lose around 40-50 percent of their initial cost over the first 8-10 years, with around half that figure loaded on the first two or three years. Once a boat is a decade, old depreciation generally slows to less than five percent annually.”

However, different markets have different demands, and so resale values will vary. For example, the American market has never warmed to metal boats, neither steel nor aluminum.

So, if you are looking for a steel sailboat, you might be lucky to find an unwanted bargain, or you could pay more as there are fewer steel sailboats around. This is compared to the French market, where French sailors love their steel or aluminum boats, so demand is higher.

Fiberglass sailboats are found worldwide, so they are not a niche market, but their resale value will depend on local markets and their condition. Historically, boats have been more expensive to purchase in places like Australia, where there is no local production.

As a rule of thumb, any boat that has been well maintained, whether fiberglass or steel, will hold its resale value.

References:

Metal Boat Construction

Ask SAIL: Steel vs. Fiberglass Hulls

YachtWorld UK

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Steel Sailboats: The Ultimate Guide

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Introduction:

Embarking on a voyage of exploration, where the horizon stretches endlessly before you, requires a vessel that embodies the spirit of adventure. Enter steel sailboats, the rugged champions of the maritime world. In this article, we delve into the exhilarating pros and cons of steel hull sailboats, revealing their unmatched potential for daring adventurers and their ability to conquer the most treacherous waters on Earth.

Pros of Steel Sailboats:

Steel sailboat in the arctic surrounded by ice and glaciers

Unyielding Strength:

When it comes to traversing untamed waters, the formidable strength of steel hulls becomes your most trusted ally. These vessels fearlessly navigate through icy Arctic fjords, daringly cut through gales of the roaring Southern Ocean, and elegantly glide across tropical lagoons. With their robust construction, steel hull sailboats provide unparalleled resilience against the elements, instilling unwavering confidence in explorers.

Conqueror of Varied Terrain:

Steel hull sailboats are versatile workhorses of the seas. They can gracefully sail through oceanic expanses, weave their way through winding rivers, and venture into shallow coastal areas inaccessible to other vessels. Whether you yearn for the wild isolation of remote islands or the tranquil beauty of hidden coves, a steel hull sailboat will carry you there, unveiling breathtaking vistas that remain hidden to those with lesser means.

Guardian of Safety and Security:

As an explorer, your peace of mind is paramount, and steel hull sailboats excel in providing just that. Their solid steel armor shields you from the unexpected perils lurking beneath the surface. From the menacing jaws of sharks to the unpredictability of floating debris, your steel hull sailboat acts as your faithful protector, allowing you to navigate with confidence and embrace the untamed beauty of uncharted waters.

Enduring Customization:

Steel hulls offer a blank canvas for explorers to imprint their dreams upon. Seamlessly adapting to your desires, these sailboats can be transformed into floating homes equipped with the latest technology, enabling you to fully immerse yourself in the expedition. Create additional storage for essential supplies, craft luxurious living spaces, or incorporate cutting-edge navigation systems—the possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Your steel hull sailboat becomes an extension of your indomitable spirit.

Cons of Steel Sailboats:

Rusty steel sailboat in a harbor

Embracing The Weight and Speed on Steel Sailboats:

It’s true that steel hulls tend to be heavier than those made from other materials, such as fiberglass or aluminum. The additional weight can slightly reduce the overall speed and agility of the sailboat. However, let it be known that the pursuit of adventure and exploration is not solely about speed. It’s about savoring the journey, immersing yourself in the surroundings, and relishing the sense of discovery. The steady grace and unwavering presence of a steel hull sailboat evoke a timeless spirit that resonates with true adventurers.

Tending to Maintenance:

Steel hull sailboats require diligent maintenance to prevent corrosion. Exposure to saltwater can accelerate the formation of rust, necessitating regular inspections and protective coatings. Yet, the care bestowed upon a steel hull sailboat is not a burden but rather a labor of love—a testament to the enduring relationship between an explorer and their vessel. The dedication invested in preserving its strength and beauty forms an unbreakable bond, strengthening your connection to the journey.

Considering Cost:

Steel hull sailboats are generally more expensive to build and maintain compared to vessels constructed from other materials. The initial investment for acquiring steel, skilled labor, and specialized equipment may be higher. However, the value of a steel hull sailboat lies not only in its monetary worth but in the experiences it grants you. The ability to conquer new horizons, witness breathtaking landscapes, and forge indelible memories—the cost becomes insignificant when weighed against the unparalleled adventures that await.

Unleashing the Potential: Where Steel Sailboats Can Take You

Crows nest view looking down at a steel sailboat in icy water

Roaming the High Seas in Steel Sailboats:

Steel hull sailboats boldly embrace the vastness of the open ocean. From circumnavigating the globe to exploring remote archipelagos, these vessels can take you to the farthest reaches of the world. Traverse the roaring forties, conquer the fabled Cape Horn , or witness the stunning migration of marine life across entire ocean basins. Your steel hull sailboat becomes a conduit to connect with the raw power and grandeur of the world’s oceans.

Exploring Inland Waterways:

Inland rivers and waterways unveil their secrets to intrepid explorers aboard steel hull sailboats. Journey through ancient river systems, winding through lush rainforests and towering canyons. Conquer the mighty Amazon, venture into the heart of Africa along the Nile, or navigate the tranquil canals of Europe, immersing yourself in diverse cultures and captivating landscapes along the way. With a steel hull sailboat, the world’s interior waterways become your personal playground.

Conclusion:

Steel hull sailboats epitomize the very essence of adventure and exploration. Their unwavering strength, unrivaled versatility, and indomitable spirit unlock a world of possibilities for daring voyagers. These vessels fearlessly navigate treacherous waters, embracing the unknown and guiding you to the most awe-inspiring corners of the Earth. Embrace the call of the wild, set sail on a steel hull sailboat, and let the winds of discovery carry you to destinations beyond your wildest dreams. The seas are waiting, and with a steel hull sailboat as your vessel, you are destined to conquer the uncharted and emerge as a true explorer of the world’s wonders.

Steel Sailboats: The Steel Sapphire, a steel sailboat next to shore

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Sailboat Hulls: Steel vs. Fiberglass – Choosing the Perfect Material for Your Sailing Adventure

Are you planning to embark on an exciting sailing journey? One of the most critical decisions you’ll face is choosing the right material for your sailboat hull.

Steel and fiberglass are two popular options that offer distinct characteristics, and each has its own devoted followers. In this article, we’ll delve into the pros and cons of sailboat hulls made of steel and fiberglass , as well as examine their price and cost considerations .

But before we dive into the details, let us ask you a question: Do you know what could happen to your boat if you choose the wrong material for the hull? The answer might shock you. Read on to find out.

Key Takeaways

  • Steel sailboat hulls are stronger, more durable, and more impact-resistant than fiberglass hulls. They are also easier to repair and modify. However, they are heavier, slower, more prone to rust and corrosion, and require more maintenance than fiberglass hulls.
  • Fiberglass sailboat hulls are lighter, faster, and more corrosion-resistant than steel hulls. They are also cheaper, easier to mass-produce, and require less maintenance than steel hulls. However, they are weaker, less durable, and more difficult to repair and modify than steel hulls.
  • The choice between steel and fiberglass sailboat hulls depends on your sailing preferences, budget, and personal taste. There is no right or wrong answer, only trade-offs that you have to weigh carefully.

Steel Hulls: Strength and Durability

A sailboat with a steel hull evokes an image of ruggedness and reliability. Steel is renowned for its exceptional strength, making it an ideal choice for those seeking a sturdy vessel. Steel hulls provide excellent resistance to impact , which is especially crucial when sailing in potentially hazardous waters or encountering floating debris. Furthermore, steel is highly durable, capable of withstanding harsh weather conditions and prolonged exposure to the elements.

However, it’s important to consider a few drawbacks associated with steel hulls. One major concern is corrosion . Without proper maintenance, steel hulls can be susceptible to rust, which can compromise the structural integrity of the boat. Regular inspection and diligent upkeep are essential to prevent corrosion issues. Also, steel hulls tend to be heavier compared to their fiberglass counterparts, which can impact speed and maneuverability.

Fiberglass Hulls: Lightweight and Low Maintenance

Fiberglass has revolutionized the sailboat industry with its versatility and numerous advantages. One significant benefit of fiberglass hulls is their lightweight construction . This characteristic contributes to enhanced speed and maneuverability, allowing for a more exhilarating sailing experience. The lighter weight also results in improved fuel efficiency, which can be advantageous for long-distance voyages.

Moreover, fiberglass is known for its low maintenance requirements. Unlike steel, it is impervious to rust and corrosion. Fiberglass hulls do not require regular painting or anti-fouling treatments , saving you both time and money in the long run. However, it’s essential to note that fiberglass hulls can be prone to cracks and damage from impacts, although repairs are typically easier and less costly compared to steel hulls.

Cost Considerations: Steel vs. Fiberglass

When it comes to the cost of sailboat hulls, both steel and fiberglass options have their own pricing dynamics. Steel hulls tend to be more expensive initially, as the material itself is pricier and requires specialized labor for construction. Additionally, regular maintenance costs, such as anti-corrosion treatments, can further increase the overall expenses associated with steel hulls.

On the other hand, fiberglass hulls are generally more affordable , particularly when considering the long-term costs. Fiberglass construction techniques have advanced significantly, making the material more accessible and cost-effective. Moreover, the low maintenance requirements of fiberglass hulls result in fewer ongoing expenses, saving you money in the long run.

To give you some concrete numbers, here are some examples of the cost differences between steel and fiberglass sailboat hulls:

  • According to Sail Magazine , a 40-foot steel sailboat can cost around $200,000 to build, while a similar-sized fiberglass sailboat can cost around $100,000 to build.
  • According to GoDownsize , a 40-foot steel sailboat can lose around 10% of its value after 10 years, while a similar-sized fiberglass sailboat can lose around 20% of its value after 10 years.

As you can see, the initial cost of a steel hull is much higher than that of a fiberglass hull, but the maintenance cost of a steel hull is also much higher than that of a fiberglass hull. The resale value of a steel hull is slightly higher than that of a fiberglass hull, but not enough to offset the initial and maintenance costs.

Therefore, if you are looking for a low-cost option that will save you money in the long run, a fiberglass hull might be a better choice for you. However, if you are willing to pay more upfront and invest more in maintenance for a stronger and more durable hull, a steel hull might be a better choice for you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: can steel hulls be as fast as fiberglass hulls.

A: While steel hulls are typically heavier, advanced design and engineering techniques can optimize the performance of a steel-hulled sailboat. However, in general, fiberglass hulls are lighter and offer better speed and maneuverability.

Q: Are fiberglass hulls more prone to damage than steel hulls?

A: Fiberglass hulls can be prone to cracks and impact damage, but repairs are generally easier and less expensive compared to steel hulls. Regular inspections and proper maintenance can help mitigate potential issues.

Q: What is the average lifespan of steel and fiberglass hulls?

A: With proper maintenance, both steel and fiberglass hulls can last for decades. Steel hulls are renowned for their durability and can withstand a lifetime of use, while fiberglass hulls can remain structurally sound for 20 to 40 years or more.

Q: What are the other popular materials for sailboat hulls?

A: Apart from steel and fiberglass, aluminum is another common material used for sailboat hulls. Aluminum hulls offer a good balance of strength, weight, and corrosion resistance. However, they can be more expensive than both steel and fiberglass options.

For more informative articles on sailing and related topics, feel free to explore our all-posts section . If you’re curious about sail costs or need tips on what to wear while sailing in cold weather, we have you covered with our comprehensive guides: how much does a sail cost? and what to wear sailing in cold weather .

Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or just starting your sailing journey, understanding the differences between steel and fiberglass hulls is crucial in making an informed decision. Consider your specific sailing needs, budget, and maintenance preferences before selecting the perfect sailboat hull material for your next adventure.

Related Articles:

  • Sailing Terms for Beginners
  • What is the Difference Between Sailing and Yachting?
  • How to Choose a Liveaboard Marina
  • Sailing from the US to Europe: A Transatlantic Adventure

Author’s Note: As a passionate sailor myself, I have had the privilege of sailing on both steel and fiberglass hull sailboats. Each material has its own unique charm and practicality. So, whether you choose a steel or fiberglass hull, the magic of sailing will always captivate your heart and soul. Bon voyage!

Saiful Emon is the founder and editor of Sun Sea Skis , a sailing blog for adventure seekers. He loves sailing, traveling, and sharing his experiences with others. He also writes about fitness, wellness, business, and marketing in his spare time!

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steel hull sailboats pros and cons

Pelagic Dreams Senior Member

Pardon if this topic has been dissected prior.....but I can see the merits of both according to the predicted usage. I read here on the forum that most yachts don't see all that much total running time.....a few hundered hours per year? Real difference in short term and long term maintanence for the hulls? I know less than squat, so help me out here. The reason is that 65' BERING Euro Trawler looks very interesting for someone intending on using the boat for 6 months a year. Thanks for your thoughts......

NYCAP123

NYCAP123 Senior Member

Steel and salt water just don't play well together. You go with steel when you need strength such as a commercial vessel or a large yacht where fiberglass doesn't have enough strength. As far as maintenance is concerned, the difference is between waxing vs; painting and welding. In the middle of the two is aluminum.

wscott52

wscott52 Senior Member

The manufacturers claim modern coatings cut down a whole lot on maintenance of steel. I'm still not sure it makes sense for yachts much under 100'. I was reading through a random selection of hyperlinks and came to an article saying the best hull material for yachts might be monel or titanium. I shudder to think what a titanium hull would cost but it would probably be something you grand kids could use.

Marmot

Marmot Senior Member

Not much difference in costs for a large yacht on an annual basis when real maintenance is performed rather than just waiting for problems to show up. If you are on fire, steel is a lot better.

PropBet

PropBet Senior Member

This question will always yield a long list of opinions, ideas, facts, and preferences. It will give you about the same about of certainty if you asked "which is better; mono or multi hull" in a sailing specific forum. Each have their respective pros and cons.

JWY

JWY Senior Member

I am an emphatic believer in quality built steel hulls. Damage due to fires, groundings, bumps in the night, and operator errors are far less likely on steel yachts. Steel trawlers usually have hull forms and displacement that provide greater stability without the need for active stabilization systems. With hulls that are built with treated steel and proper prime and paint jobs, the maintenance should be easy and relatively insignificant, especially when compared to the haul-outs or haul-ups required from hitting docks, pilings, submerged objects, rocks, other boats, or "buoys." Yep, no delamination or wet cores here. I would feel better about having a steel boat sit unattended for 6 months than most fiberglass boats. Superficial corrosion is an easy clean-up job and is usually only cosmetic in nature. Ask a steel trawler owner if they would go fiberglass and I think you'll find an almost 100% consensus for a repeat steel yacht. Judy Waldman
I can see the reasons for a quality steel hull as mentioned above. Looking at the many mid 80's Hatteras yachts still available, I wonder if anyone has done tests to determine if the hull integrity is at what % of the yacht when it was new? When you note how the commercial vessels have steel hulls there has to be reasons why they use them. But, it is noted that the actuall at sea time with pleasure yachts is far, far less that any commerical boat, the cost and weight issues tip in favor of fiberglass. Given at equal price point, if one yacht was offered in steel vs. the same in glass, which would the consumer choose? That Bering 65' trawler looks like it could go anywhere in any sea. What is the cost comparison of identical hulls made with each product? I am at a point in my future yacht purchase where I have time to make a choice given the most possible data and information I can find. I hear there is a near future review of the new Bering model soon to come from here at YachtForums and I can't wait to hear the verdict.

SandEngXp

SandEngXp New Member

Materials For Displacement hull weight is less of an issue so favor tips for steel in larger yachts. Fiberglass is stronger than steel - sorry. Steel however is stiffer (higher modulus) than fiberglass. Solid Fiberglass while heavy has excellent damage tolerance and superior weatheribility to Steel, especially in Salt Water. Just ask the "Blow Boaters". In a big fire - no matter what - you are in big trouble. One burns to the water line, the other the plates buckle and you sink. (Aluminum melts to the water line). The important issue here is detection time, decision time and abandon ship time.... As a cajun friend of mine once said " You know what we call a steel box in a fire? - A coon-ass microwave."

Loren Schweizer

Loren Schweizer YF Associate Writer

I'm with Judy. Part of a listing on a steel trawler (and that's the rub--steel has it's place here in LRCs, while 'glass makes more sense for fast fish boats and motoryachts) that I wrote years ago: WHY STEEL? All Real Ships including “Kellikins” have been built in steel due to a simple premise: Steel is the safest material for cruising and passagemaking. With it’s greater yield strength, and much higher ultimate strength ( simply put, how strong a material is before it bends and then finally breaks ) than aluminum or fiberglass, this steel hull will survive severe impacts, whehter they be against a semi-submerged shipping container or a coral reef. In addition, the integral fuel & water tanks create a double bottom over a good portion of the submerged surface. What about rust? Like all Real Ships, the steel is treated by inorganic zinc primers and fairing prior to epoxy and polyurethane top coats. These paint jobs last! And, with the fully-faired hull, she looks like a fiberglass boat. Though quite rare, a fire at sea is always a possibility. While steel begins to melt at 2800F, aluminum is next at 1220F, and fiberglass will burn at a measly 500 degrees. Unlike fiberglass composites, vessels built of metal easily meet IMO ( creators of the SOLAS rules ) fire containment standards. Hull-to-deck joints are welded together, going one better than the screwed & bonded procedure normally found on FRP boats. Welded decks don’t leak and there is no core to rot out or delaminate over time.Welded-on components such as chocks, cleats, and towing bits are there to stay. Lastly, over the years, a surveyor can inspect weld integrity and plate thickness with precision using ultrasound and X-ray techniques which take the guesswork out of determining structural integrity—what you see is what you get, unlike with FRP composites.
SandEngXp said: In a big fire - no matter what - you are in big trouble. Click to expand...
Fire on Board Marmot said: Yeah, but a little fire in a fiberglass boat can become a big one faster than it can be detected and firefighting efforts initiated. A well trained and properly equipped crew can contain, fight, and extinguish a massive fire on a steel vessel. Click to expand...
Fire on Board II WHY STEEL? Though quite rare, a fire at sea is always a possibility. While steel begins to melt at 2800F, aluminum is next at 1220F, and fiberglass will burn at a measly 500 degrees. Unlike fiberglass composites, vessels built of metal easily meet IMO ( creators of the SOLAS rules ) fire containment standards. Click to expand...
SandEngXp said: Loren - interesting mix. I would have used residual structural properties measure for this. You would see Steel, Fiberglass, and wood to be quite good in a fire with aluminum pulling up the rear. Interesting thing about wood is that the char insulates and protects. FYI - E-Glass Melts at 3630 deg F. This has the effect of making it self insulating after the surface resin burns off. Click to expand...
SandEngXp said: If the fire is massive and I have a place to go I am getting off... While the boat may be heat and toxic smoke resistant, I am not. Click to expand...
I think we are talking about Yachts, not cruise ships. Do you think the machinery spaces are A60 rated in most Yachts? I would not charaterize most Yachts as damage tolerent especially with regard to Fire. Ventilation while removing toxic fumes adds Oxygen to the fire. Metal decking gets hot very quickly making fire fighting difficult. Heat transmission thru uninsulated bulkheads can result in auto ignition in adjacent compartments. My point is this issue is more about proper design and construction than materials. While I am actively involved in lightweight materials businesses, that does not always mean non-metallics. Loren - nice mouth - really...

'RoundTheHorn

'RoundTheHorn Senior Member

Pelagic, You might want to get in touch with Wray West. He and has family ran a Cape Horn 65 for several years. Cape Horns were heavily promoted with safety in mind and stout steel construction. When he and his wife downsized, they chose a 55' Bering Yacht wanting to continue with the strength and security a steel hull offered. The West Family Website - http://www.anjumal.com/ An additional West site - http://coastalexplorer.net/users/wraywest/blog Both are a little overdue for an update, but still interesting reading.
"...ventilation systems that reduce the risk of exposure to toxic fumes ..." Does not equate to supplying a fire with oxygen. Proper design and construction is not exclusive of materials or their application within the operational envelope of the vessel their use is intended. If you don't consider the materials and their limitations you cannot claim "proper design." I am not talking about cruise ships either, I am talking about modern concepts of marine safety and construction in all forms of vessels. Composite materials have their place, but I personally would not select them for marine applications for other than near shore voyages within rapid rescue capability because of their inability to survive a fire that in all probability would not be life threatening on a steel vessel.
As a part time student of naval history - I had to check on the Spanish Armada reference. Interesting in that the majority of Spanish ships were converted 'Freighters'. "Ironically not one Spanish ship was damaged by a fireship." from http://hubpages.com/hub/Parallels-Between-the-Defeat-of-the-Spanish-Armada-and-the-Battle-of-Britain Enjoy.

Capt J

Capt J Senior Member

Steel is definately the way to go on a displacement hull or other slow moving yacht/ship. It's strength is the main reason. I worked on a steel 97' that was faired perfectly and looked like fiberglass. Only issue we had was minor rust streaks that bled from between the hull and s/s portholes occassionally which easily came off with a little whink or spray nine I would prefer fiberglass only on a vessel designed to go fast where weight is the issue.

Innomare

Innomare Senior Member

If you're going to spend 6 months a year cruising, I suppose you'll be doing extensive passagemaking. In that case, steel has the advantages mentioned before: - fire resistance - ductility: upon contact or grounding, steel will deform a lot more before breaking than fiberglass or aluminium Additional advantages which haven't been mentioned yet: - you can get steel repaired almost anywhere in the world, as it is the material of choice for commercial ships. - damages are visible, which isn't always the case with cored composite hulls. As for longevity: when treated with a good paint system and corrosion protection (anodes / ICCP), and properly maintained, steel will easily last a lifetime. Corrosion problems occur mostly in the ballast tanks on cargo ships, which are not that common on yachts (preference for fixed ballast). Aluminium is used a lot for superstructures (weight saving aloft, needs less corrosion protection, easier to build). Also suitable for hulls, especially where speed (read weight) is an issue. Bruno
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steel hull sailboats pros and cons

Aluminium boat hulls vs steel boat hulls

Yachting Pages

With thanks to Ruben Donaque

One of the primary questions that naval architects and yacht designers will likely ask a potential owner when considering a new build yacht is what metal the hull should be made from.

Click here to find a metalwork specialist in steel or aluminium hulls .

Various metals can be used to build a boat hull, but the most common are usually aluminium and steel. Each has their pros and cons, and with the help of leading marine metal workers , Yachting Pages has created this complete guide to outline the advantages of aluminium hulls compared to steel hulls.

Advantages of aluminium boat hulls over steel boat hulls

There are several advantages of working with aluminium in superyacht construction projects. Not only is it light and strong, but it also has increased corrosion resistance and is flexible to work with. From a shipyard's point of view, it's a great material to use. It can be cut with power tools, dressed with a router, filed and shaped easily.

Mike Schooley from Ruben Donaque , a marine metal repair and fabrication business agreed, he said, “Aluminium, is light and ‘clean’ to work with”. This means that aluminium is quicker to fabricate and weld than steel, resulting in labour and cost savings. 

Schooley went on to say, “Some yacht metal fabricators tend to be afraid of welding aluminium, but if the fabricator is Lloyd's certified and has the adequate machinery it should not be a daunting task.”

Aluminium hulls do not need protective paint

A major advantage of aluminium hulls is that they do not necessarily need painting, except below the waterline or where fixtures and fittings are touching the hull surface. Bare aluminium forms an aluminium oxide coating on its surface that creates a barrier and prevents the metal from corroding. This results in a huge cost saving. 

Aluminium hulls weigh about 30% less than steel hulls

One of the biggest benefits of building a yacht out of aluminium is the performance output. Aluminium weighs about 30% less than an equivalent steel hull. Reduced weight means it's easier for the boat to travel through water, which makes it faster and more fuel efficient.

Aluminium hulls have an increased resale value

An appealing factor is that an aluminium boat will often have a much higher resale value than a steel boat.

Click here to find a metalworker specialising in aluminium boat hulls .

Motor Yacht

Disadvantages of aluminium hulls compared to steel hulls

As flexible as it is, there are also several disadvantages of using aluminium in superyacht construction.

Aluminium boat hulls cost more

The biggest disadvantage of using aluminium for a boat hull is the cost. Tonne for tonne, the cost of aluminium is much greater than steel. According to Quandl.com  at the time of writing, the cost of aluminium is $1,480 dollars per tonne. However, steel is a much more reasonable $50 dollars per tonne.

Aluminium requires special corrosion care

Although it does not necessarily require complete painting, aluminium is anodic to all other commonly used metals (except zinc and magnesium). Simply put, unless protected, it will start to corrode. This means aluminium hulls require special bottom paint, since the copper in most antifouling bottom paints will react with the aluminium and corrode it.

Steel is more 'noble' than aluminium, making it less prone to electrolysis and allowing a steel hull to use regular copper bottom antifoul paint. Read more in our guide on yacht antifouling paint here .

Aluminium creates reduced comfort on board

Superyacht owners may find the reduced comfort of aluminium hulls a concern while travelling the globe. Aluminium hulls can result in a noisy uncomfortable ride, due mainly to the featherlight nature of aluminium, which in some hulls would result in a lot of motion. Some owners may therefore prefer that their boats are built in steel, provided that the design has adequate displacement and stability to carry the added structural weight. This results in greater distribution of weight and a more comfortable ride.

Why choose steel for marine construction?

Steel hulls have better abrasion resistance.

One big advantage of using steel in boat building and construction is that it's much more rugged than aluminium, being tougher and having much superior abrasion resistance when compared to any other boat building material.

Abrasion resistance is the ability of a material to withstand actions such as rubbing, scraping, or erosion that tends progressively to remove material from its surface. Such ability helps to maintain the material's original appearance and structure.

Steel is a material that is more widely used

It's widely known that, in most places, there are more materials and equipped metal workers to perform repairs and installions in steel over aluminium. A owner may find it much more difficult to perform repairs of aluminium hulls in remote places.

Click here to find specialist steel metalworkers .

Which is better, steel boat hulls or aluminium boat hulls?

This is a difficult question to answer definitively, as the choice of aluminium vs. steel completely depends on the design of the boat and what it is largely used for. For example, a racing boat built for speed makes aluminium the better choice because of the weight saving and performance increase. An explorer yacht on the other hand will require a hull that is much more durable, and that's where steel’s abrasive resistance will be needed.

Mike Adams from K&M Maritime sums this all up beautifully when he says, “Both steel and aluminium hulls have their own advantages and merits, whether it be yield and tensile strengths and lightness in the case of aluminium. With proper corrosion protection, when applied correctly, means these materials have many years durability, whatever the hull is built from.”

The realisation that a superyacht dream is soon set to become reality is an exciting time for any new or existing yacht owner, as he or she works to find a design and build team who can understand and interpret their vision. Whether they opt for a steel or aluminium hull, it's important they hire a naval architect or yacht designer who understands their vision and goals.

Read this guide on working harmoniously with your yacht designer  or find a metalworks specialist in your area.

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Sail Far Live Free

Sail Far Live Free

The metal yacht - aluminum & steel sailboat perspectives.

Delightful reading - thanks Ted!

A right riveting read, thanks Ted!

Well said Ted! However the most common screw up on steel boats is assuming spray foam protects the metal. It definitely does not. Sadly, many boats have rusted out from the inside, due to lack of a proper epoxy buildup under the sprayfoam ( such as Foulkes, Fehrs and Amazons) At least 3 coats of epoxy tar is minimum before sprayfoaming.More in the bilge and under the engine. Another option is using origami methods, which eliminate the chines in the ends, and leave no chines visible above the waterline, making the hull in the water indistinguishable from a round bilged boat.It also cuts building time for a hull and deck by up to90%.

Sounds like you've got some experience with metal boats so your insights/comments are appreciated. Thanks!

Funny all these years later I should read this article...I was a young fellow and met a couple of guys in Pickering who had purchased 2 Goderich 35/36's. I befriended the fellow living near the marina in Pickering and helped with various chores on the boat...The second boat was transported elsewhere. There were quite a few evenings spent melting lead and pouring it into the keel. He had the outside zinc coated then painted and it wasn't long before we were floating. I wasn't available when he was rigging and then he was gone.... Loved that boat. Another chap was building sailboats south of the 401 in Trenton. Philip Batten (I think) was his name... 32 foot keel boat very nice. He published a small booklet all about steel boat construction as he saw it. He was an engineer and I believe the boat was of his own design. Only saw one though. That would have been around 78. Bill Hamilton, [email protected]

Fabulous Share! I loved reading this stuff. Sailing is my passion and profession both and almost everyday I have new experience with sailing and lots of new things to learn. But making a boat or yacht is totally new to me. It really seems quite interesting and exciting. Keeps sharing! I love to get new ideas!

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steel vs. fiberglass hulls?

  • Thread starter YT
  • Start date Jun 13, 2004
  • Forums for All Owners
  • Ask All Sailors

I am close to buying mny first real sail boat, and am considering the pros and cons of steel hull (like a Spray) vs fiberglass or other sythetics as is more common. I am not interested in racing or speed, but more into comfort, safety ,and future long cruising, with some pleasure jaunts and harbor/shore sailing the next 3-4 years. Thanks  

My two cents... for what it's worth. I have had a steel hull and fiberglass hulls, and I am in the market again, and I will look at nothing but fiberglass. There was a day when fiberglass was not as easy to repair in far away exotic places, whereas steel was possibly tougher and weldable, but with all the epoxys on the open market fiberglass seems a real acceptable user repairable product. Not to mention the steel hull I had required much more effort in preventative maintaince than fiberglass. Maybe it's the lazy side of me, but I don't feel one can go wrong with fiberglass. Just my two cents... of course. "Hot here in South Texas"  

If you go with steel The trick to steel is to make sure that the builder sprayed everything during construction. Europeans love steel, and for anything over 45 feet, it is not a bad choice. Look at the other Roberts designs besides spray. They are big and roomy, but can hardly get out of their own way. Check out the Roberts line - they are more modern designed hulls. If you have one professionally built it should be ROUND hull not RADIUS hull construction. Radius construction makes a boat with fairly shallow bilges, round hull sits in the water and is a more stable ride.  

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Your Gateway to the World of Sailing

  • Sailboat Hulls: Fiberglass or steel?

April 11, 2023

Sailboat hulls are the most critical part of any sailboat, and choosing between steel and fiberglass can be challenging for boat owners. In this blog post, we will help you decide which one is better for you by exploring the pros and cons of each material.

Steel hulls are strong, durable, and can be repaired easily. They can withstand strong blows without losing their toughness, which makes them more robust than fiberglass. Steel hulls are also heavier and more stable, which means that they can offer a smoother ride on choppy waters.

On the other hand, fiberglass hulls offer a smooth and sleek look that is aesthetically pleasing. They are lighter, faster, and require less maintenance than steel boats. Fiberglass boat hulls do not have welds and rivets, so they do not rust. However, they are more prone to osmosis issues, which can cause serious problems if they are not treated in time.

Both steel and fiberglass boats require antifouling application to prevent barnacles, algae, and other sea organisms from sticking to the hull. However, antifouling can be more expensive for steel boats.

In terms of repairs, small dents in steel boats are easy to repair. However, if the damage is extensive, it can be more complicated and costly to repair or replace large sections of steel hulls. Welding a boat hull is a specialized job that requires trained professionals. Fiberglass hulls are easier to repair, but they may never have the same strength and durability as the original hull.

When it comes to safety, steel boats are much safer since they cannot burn, and they can withstand larger impacts without compromising the integrity of the boat. On the other hand, fiberglass boats are made of petroleum-based products that are flammable, which means that they can burn easily and quickly. A significant impact from an unidentified floating object can result in a breach in a fiberglass hull, causing it to sink.

In terms of comfort, steel boats operate much louder than fiberglass boats, especially in turbulent seas at high speed. Steel is also a good conductor of heat and if it is not well-insulated during construction, it can become uncomfortably warm in the summer and cold in the winter. Boats with fiberglass hulls do not transmit heat well and are more comfortable.

As a lot of times, the choice between steel and fiberglass hulls comes down to personal preferences and priorities. If you want a durable, stable, and safe sailboat that requires less maintenance, then steel hulls might be a better option for you. However, if you prefer a sleek, faster, and lighter sailboat that is easy to repair, then fiberglass hulls might be a better option.

When Should You Choose a Steel Boat?

Steel sailboat hulls are known for their strength, durability, and impact resistance. They can withstand collisions and dents that may require costly repairs for a fiberglass hull. While steel is prone to corrosion, proper maintenance and special paints can help manage this issue.

If you’re planning a circumnavigation or a long trip on the water, a steel sailboat hull may be a good option for you. A well-maintained steel hull can give you the confidence to venture into rocky coasts without worrying about hitting unidentified floating objects (UFOs). However, keep in mind that steel boats may be slower than fiberglass boats, particularly if they are smaller vessels.

When Should You Choose a Fiberglass Boat?

On the other hand, fiberglass sailboat hulls are generally lighter, faster, and more aesthetically pleasing than steel hulls. They require less maintenance since they are corrosion-free and do not need protective paint on their hull. However, they are not as strong as steel hulls and can break if they hit a hard object, which can be dangerous in choppy waters.

Fiberglass boats are a great option for racing and long-distance cruising in areas without sharp rocks. But if you’re planning on exploring rocky coasts or going on a long trip, a steel hull may be a better choice.

In conclusion, when choosing between a steel or fiberglass sailboat hull, it’s important to consider your needs, sailing style, and the waters you’ll be sailing in. A well-maintained hull of either type can provide a safe and enjoyable sailing experience, but it’s important to choose the right one for you.

Tags: monohull

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How keel type affects performance

  • Chris Beeson
  • December 2, 2016

James Jermain looks at the main keel types, their typical performance and the pros and cons of each

Keel type

A fin keel and spade rudder configuration gives high pointing but can be sensitive on the helm Credit: Graham Snook/YM

Keel type

James Jermain has tested hundreds of yachts in his 30 years as Yachting Monthly’s chief boat tester

The performance and handling of a yacht depends on many things, but perhaps the most important single feature is the shape of the hull and the profile of the keel. Over the years hulls have become shallower and keels narrower, but for many types of sailing this progression is not necessarily progress. Of the various shapes that have evolved, each has its own advantages in different circumstances. Here is a run-down of how they may fit your sort of sailing.

FIN KEEL WITH SPADE RUDDER

Keel type

A low wetted surface area and aerofoil shape means speed and agility

The most common modern option, usually combined with light but beamy hulls with high freeboard.

GENERAL AND TO WINDWARD

  • Low wetted surface and good aerofoil shape means good speed, high pointing and quick tacking
  • Light steering
  • Best designs can slice through heavy seas in reasonable comfort
  • High volume, light-weight designs can be lively and tiring in heavy weather
  • Flat sections can cause slamming
  • Less steady on the helm, requiring more work and concentration
  • Strong tendency to round-up when hard pressed
  • Generally require earlier reefing
  • Can be unstable when hove to
  • Quick to surf and may even plane
  • Can broach easily and suddenly
  • Can be directionally unstable and hard to control in heavy conditions

UNDER POWER

  • Handling is precise and turns tight and quick
  • Some handle almost as well astern as ahead
  • Limited lateral area so susceptible to beam winds at low speeds
  • An unattended helm can slam over suddenly

FIN KEEL WITH SKEG RUDDER

Keel type

The skeg running aft protects the rudder and improves tracking under sail and power

Similar to above but with some key differences.

  • Skeg provides better support for the rudder
  • Tracking under sail or power is improved
  • There is less chance of damage
  • More wetted surface so potentially slower
  • Objects can get stuck between rudder and skeg
  • Limited balancing can make helm heavier

Keel type

The mass of a long keel is often more seakindly and will carry way well.

The traditional option, usually found on pre-1970s designs.

  • Good tracking
  • Slow, soft, comfortable motion
  • Drive powerfully through short seas but can be wet
  • Carry way through tacks
  • Resist rounding-up
  • Heave-to well
  • High wetted surface area and a poor aerofoil shape, so speed reduced, tacking slow, leeway increased and pointing ability reduced
  • Long ends can cause hobby-horsing
  • An unbalanced hull or rig can cause heavy helm
  • Track well and very resistant to broaching
  • Very stable in heavy conditions
  • Reluctant to surf (a mixed blessing)
  • Carry way well
  • Track straight
  • Heavy construction can reduce vibration and noise
  • Large turning circle ahead
  • Unpredictable and hard to control astern

LIFTING OR SWING KEEL

Keel type

A lifting keel enables beaching, but beware of stones jamming the plate

The ultimate shallow-draught option.

  • A fully retracting keel offers shallowest draught
  • A well-designed lifting keel can be very efficient and fast
  • Grounding on anything other than soft mud or sand can damage an unprotected hull
  • Stub keels offer better protection but are less efficient and prevent level drying out, except in soft mud
  • Stones and dried mud can jam the lifting plate
  • Internal keel boxes reduce accommodation space
  • Directional stability is poor
  • Early surfing and planing
  • Control can easily be lost in strong winds
  • Good performance and handling with keel down
  • Directional control increasingly poor as the keel is raised

TWIN OR BILGE KEEL

Keel type

A bilge-keeler will dry out upright on a flat bottom

A popular shoal-draught option in Britain, less so abroad.

  • Shallower draught
  • Dry out upright on a flat bottom
  • Good protection when grounding
  • Good designs are better to windward than long keels, almost as good as fins
  • Pointing and speed to windward is reduced, considerably so in older designs
  • When well heeled, waves can slap under the windward keel
  • Can topple over if one keel finds a hole or soft ground

Modified water flow over the wing keel foot can give the motion of a longer, heavier boat

Modified water flow over the wing keel foot can give the motion of a longer, heavier boat

Once popular, now largely replaced with various types of bulb.

  • Reduced draught
  • Low CoG means good righting moment
  • Modified water flow over keel foot means greater efficiency and gives the motion of a longer, heavier boat
  • More likely to pick up lobster pots, etc
  • Risky drying out
  • Weed and barnacle growth under wings difficult to remove

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  • Yachting Monthly's Scuttlebutt

Pros and cons of steel boats

  • Thread starter sierragolf
  • Start date 5 May 2006

I'm in the market for a new boat - probably something around 30 foot, and I was pondering the possibilities of getting a Dutch steel-built yacht. However, I've never had a steel boat before. Can anyone advise me of the pros and cons of living with a steel boat? Is the maintenance a problem? How much of a problem is rust? Hope these aren't daft questions - I've had a 40+ year old GRP sloop up to now, which has been quite user friendly, despite the age, but have no experience of steel boats- hence the questions. Cheers SG  

Is that "New, New" or just new to you ?  

Ha Ha - new would be nice, but just new to me I'm afraid. It'll probably be mid 70s to early 1980s at a guess. Obviously I'd get a survey, but it's the ongoing maintenance issues that I need to know about.  

Well-known member

If it's been epoxy coated from new and has been looked after, then no problem. If it has had a 'tradtitional' paint job, avoid like the plague! Pros:- No osmosis, Will withstand fire at sea, Will withstand grounding on rocks, WIll come off best in any collision with GRP. Cons:- Magentic mines, Needs repainting every twenty years. Scratches will need touching up the same as the car.  

Rust on outside not necessarily big problem. Can be grit blasted and repainted and with modern paints will be fine for many years..Its rust on the iside which is more of a problem because often hard to see in every nook and cranny and thenn hard to really get at to treat properly. We have steel boat which we stripped and had blasted inside and out and have had no problems in five years except small damage. Advantages are that very strong and easy to make look smart again - we repainted ours in half a day and was like new - cant really do that with GRP. So - make sure you get very thorough look at all the insides before buying....Also getting welding done is not necessarily a big or expensive deal....  

Havinf had a steel boat I would in the size your looking at stay with grp.Unless its properly painted its one long round with the paint brush,it has to be properly insulated,decks are hot in the summer,all ways odd problems with stray currents and changeing anodes etc,Watch out for boats with filler,best will be chine construction,perfect round hulls smell of filler,They fetch a lower price to buy but when you sell ....  

Active member

Had steel boats for over 25yrs, 3 different ones, if I was buying a 2nd hand one the first place to look is the bilges, if they are rusty and tatty and have water in them ,look somewhere else, if the bilges are good it gives a clue to the rest of the boat.the maintenance is no more than a gps, if you lose a bit of paint stick a piece of pvc tape on it till you have time to fix,the best part is that they are so solid, you can walk from one side to the other and they dont move,if your waiting stationary and its windy they just hold the position, if I can be of any further help please contact.  

Re: Pros and cons of steel boats re:mogy Nothing up with filler if it's been applied to fair the boat, most steel superyachts power and motor are faired (with filler) it's the treatment of steel under that counts. Admittedly if rust is bleeding thru' there's something that needs looking at, but if it's been treated properly then application of filler is not a problem otherwise a steel boat always looks --- well like steel. I've got a round bilge steel boat that people think is GRP or very well kept wood but I had it filled and faired after shotblasting, coating with correct paints and she looks the biz. The inside i've painted with thick epoxy with few problems.  

snooks

4mm or 5mm steel takes a fair bit of rust to cause serious problems! Agree with advice about the inside bilges being the place to look. Lets be honest though GRP also has its problems - osmosis ain't pretty. All boats need on going and scrupulous maintaining. Steel is strong and very practical. If you take a knock repair is cheap and easy. Doom mongers hype up problems with steel such as condensation yet my steel boat is the driest I have been on. I reckon it is all down to the boat. Use your eyes and trust your instinct. Don't be scared of steel.  

Agree with what most of the others have said. However, if looking at a boat around 30 foot it will be a very heavy boat compared to one built of any other materials (except for ferrocement). With modern coatings and proper build a smodern teel boat will have easier maintenance than a frp boat, but a boat of the age you mention will likely not have that advantage. The bilges and interior where water/condensation may have collected are the places to look, plus the interiors of tanks if built in in steel. John  

Sea Devil

Agree with John for once! I had a 40 ft steel ketch - great paint job on the outside rusty as hell in places I could not reach on the inside.. Slow as hell cos it was so heavy and because of the hull form. Hove to in really strong winds F10 ish - brilliant. Not mine, but I watched one bounce over a coral reef on its side and took the owner to a beach 80 miles from the reef where he recovered his boat with just a few scratches on the hull! Every time I got into port after having salt water washing across the deck I would spend ages on maintenance - getting rid of the rust! I sailed her back from the Canaries instead of taking her across the Atlantic - sold her and got a fibreglass boat and never regretted it. Michael  

Eightball

hi well steel is very simple to fix cut out crap weld new bit in ive had all types and the one ive got now is 67 years old ive owned it twice its a great boat 11 tons of it 40 ft top speed ive had is 13 ktns chine built in 1939 ive never had any problems with it i wash her down and touch her surface rust up when it gets any up a s p hull is orig same as day she was built it was raced for 30 years in same family done sidney to hobart and round the world and still going strong and steady as a rock in any weather so go for it cant see you can go wrong dave if you want to see her go to frapper site dave britton 123 photos  

Re: Steel boats And its not just the strength in the event of a catastrophic collision or hitting a reef. A steel boat gives you the ability to mix it with the big boys at the fish dock or to go into a sea lock with a trawler whose idea of a fender is a truck tyre attached by a vicious piece of rusty wire cable. Personally, I would not go for steel below 40’ because of the drawbacks listed above. But a small steel boat is an immensely strong structure.  

mchinery

Re: Steel boats Checking the bilge is a must on a steel boat and is a good indication if there may be problems. I would agree that you would get a good strong boat and I think the maintainance on a steel vessel is much the same as any other (well maybe not ferro!). The other good thing about steel is that it does not matter where in the world you find yourself you will always be able to find someone to fix this great material.  

Another big advantage of steel is that you will be seen very well on radar. I have been stuck mid channel in thick fog and hearing ships passing. I called a couple up with my position and both reported seeing me on radar at over 8 miles which was very reasuring.  

Thanks for the input everyone. The sort of boat I'm looking at is around 4.6 tonnes, including 1.5 tonnes of ballast. Is that particularly heavy for a 30 footer? It's a Van de Stadt design, so the pedigree should be pretty sound and I quite like the idea of being visible on radar a long way off (been there, done the North Sea in fog thingy - definitely not fun). The alternative would be to get something in GRP, probably French, of a similar age, but I'm wary of the possibility of expensive osmosis treatment on what would be a pretty elderly GRP structure. Anyway - thanks again for the input. SG  

DeeGee

[ QUOTE ] Thanks for the input everyone. The sort of boat I'm looking at is around 4.6 tonnes, including 1.5 tonnes of ballast. Is that particularly heavy for a 30 footer? It's a Van de Stadt design, so the pedigree should be pretty sound and I quite like the idea of being visible on radar a long way off (been there, done the North Sea in fog thingy - definitely not fun). The alternative would be to get something in GRP, probably French, of a similar age, but I'm wary of the possibility of expensive osmosis treatment on what would be a pretty elderly GRP structure. Anyway - thanks again for the input. SG [/ QUOTE ]You wouldn't have to pay for treatment if it didn't have osmosis. It is reasonably easily checked out ashore by a surveyor with his little detector thingy. /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif  

  • 17 Aug 2020

WigglyWeenus

nedmin said: Had steel boats for over 25yrs, 3 different ones, if I was buying a 2nd hand one the first place to look is the bilges, if they are rusty and tatty and have water in them ,look somewhere else, if the bilges are good it gives a clue to the rest of the boat.the maintenance is no more than a gps, if you lose a bit of paint stick a piece of pvc tape on it till you have time to fix,the best part is that they are so solid, you can walk from one side to the other and they dont move,if your waiting stationary and its windy they just hold the position, if I can be of any further help please contact. Click to expand...
WigglyWeenus said: Thoughts on the Roberts design? Click to expand...

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Pros and cons of steel sailboats

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PCP

BryceGTX said: I tend to view materials as useful for a particular application. Aluminum may be useful if you are particularly concerned about weight. It appears the application for this thread is a cruiser. Seems unlikely justification for aluminum. Aluminum structures need careful testing to quantify their fatigue life. The Airline industry makes use of an incredible quantity of aluminum for wings, landing gear and body. And they characterize the fatigue strength and resulting life with sophisticated structual test systems than often contain 100s of actuators. Quite impressive test systems. So do these aluminum boat manufacturers subject their hulls to similar fatigue tests? Probably not. These multi-channel test systems cost tens of millions of dollars. Well beyond the wallet of the boat builders. We have all seen the fatigue cracks on masts and booms on sail boats. Many of us have small aluminum boats with numerous fatigue cracks in various load points. And some of us have seen aluminum hulls from older boats with numerous cracks. Even with the incredibly careful testing the airline industry subjects their planes to, they have fatigue cracks in the structures. Careful inspections catch most problems before the plane falls out of the sky. The automotive manufacturers perform similar fatigue testing. If weight is the major concern, yes you might like an aluminum hull.. but really.. a cruiser is hardly weight sensitive. On the contrary, the heavier boat will be invariably more comfortable which cruisers eventually learn. Wood rots, steel rusts, aluminum cracks/corrodes, fiberglass coring fails. Each material comes out on top for some particular application. Take your pick.. just understand the limitations.. Bryce Click to expand...

Brent Swain

One should not confuse resale price with resale value. Resale price is what you can get for a used boat, but resale value is the difference between what you can get for her, and what she cost you in the first place. Its not uncommon for people to spend an extra $40K on a boat, to increase the resale price by $20K, a net loss of $20K. Many of my boats have sold for many times what they cost the original builder. The more you spend on her, the less the gap, until it becomes a money losing proposition. I have pulled together 37 small steel boats.  

SloopJonB

Brent, you are unusually well qualified to provide a real world answer to the performance question of steel boats. What is your typical miles per day average on your Pacific crossings in your own boat?  

Brent, I am not saying bad things about steel boats. They are what they are: strong, heavy and slow if they are not really big. You have a way of building solid boats in a way that is not expensive and that makes it simple for an amateur to build for not much money and I appreciate that and certainly you have a market for them. But if you go to a shipyard with a more complex design of a 40ft boat that can be built in aluminum or steel (some designs can) the difference in price should be about 25% less for steel. In 15 years the difference in value of the two boats will be much more than those 25% difference and besides that even much more cheaper the steel boat is going to be much more difficult to sell. Regards Paulo  

PCP said: Bryce, aluminum are not very used in the US to build sailing boats but it is in France and Holland and the guys that use them are long range voyagers. Click to expand...
Yes Aluminum is more difficult for an amateur but almost all those boats are professionally built. Normally amateurs buy the hulls and cabins and make the interior but there are many reputable brands making small production aluminum boats for 30 years and they are all there on the water. Click to expand...
Is also for that reason that there are many shipyards making small production aluminum boats and not one that I know of making relatively small steel boats, the size of the ones we sail. Click to expand...
BryceGTX said: The first aluminum boats were built in the US in the late 1950s. Almost any boat of any shape or size has been built since then. However, fiberglass became the material of choice due to its significant lower maintenance and higher durability. Currently, millions upon millions of small aluminum fishing boats and high performance bass boats are produced where weight is the critical issue because they are transported by trailer. You would find it difficult to convince the American market that aluminum would be preferably over fiberglass for boat construction. There are way too many boaters that are familiar with the fatigue issues involved with aluminum boats. There is no doubt in my mind that the US produces magnitudes more production quality aluminum boats than the European boat industry. These guys are not amateurs.. they are production boat companies.. Lund for example. Various companies since 1950s.. closing in on 60 years. You cannot convince us that because a boat is 30 years old, it is a good construction material. There are 100 year old wood boats still afloat that would seem to indicate wood is better than aluminum. My discussion is not steel versus aluminum, rather it is should anyone use aluminum for large boats for any other reason than for the express requirement of light weight. You have not addressed the durability question, possibly because the European industry is only 30 years old compared to the US industry of nearly 60 years experience. Bryce Click to expand...

AlaskaMC

BryceGTX said: You have not addressed the durability question, possibly because the European industry is only 30 years old compared to the US industry of nearly 60 years experience. Bryce Click to expand...

goboatingnow

Europeans have been building aluminium boats as long as the US. But specifically in Sailboats the European market is the largest in the world( and significantly bigger then the US) and hence also accommodates aluminium sailboat construction. The US has little or no experience in metal based leisure sailboats. Its only when you get into super yacht territory do you see some experience.  

BryceGTX said: ... You would find it difficult to convince the American market that aluminum would be preferably over fiberglass for boat construction. .. Click to expand...
AlaskaMC said: I guess I am not sure I get the point you are making above. Sounds like you are bragging up our aluminum boat industry (I agree) but then trashing the material at the same time (and the European boat industry to boot). Steel as well, but the weight issue is real. Click to expand...
PCP said: and some more information about aluminum hulls, none of them regards the problems you mention (maybe you cab say what the marine credible source that sustain your negative opinion regarding aluminum boats): yacht Boatbuilding Materials - Articles - Benford Design Group Aluminum For Boats Advantages of an aluminum boat Regards Paulo Click to expand...
BryceGTX said: So you are trying to convince us by showing us alumimum boat manufacturers and owners? Your sources are biased.. So what does the US Government say about Alum boats? " Aluminum weapons systems are in widespread use throughout all services of the military. Unfortunately, more and more failures of aluminum due to corrosion are being reported. " Aluminum Equipment Failures in Coastal and Marine Environments How about this 144 footer that failed in 1 month?? "Nichols discovered the cracks in the Jet Cat's hull after the boat's owner, Catalina Express, noticed the aluminum on the boat discoloring. Just a month after the 144-foot boat was launched by Nichols in April, the problem caught the attention of the company's engineers. Metallurgy tests showed that the aluminum was defoiling wherever it was in contact with salt water. Cracks near the Jet Cat's engine room were so large that water had begun to seep into the boat." Cracks in aluminum boat's hull cause concern at Nichols - South Whidbey Record ..... Bryce Click to expand...
BryceGTX said: The point I am trying to make is that there is an incredible amount of experience with aluminum boat builders in the US. Invariable the reason for building aluminum boats is the weight issue rather than strength. As you (and I) pointed out. Bryce Click to expand...
PCP said: Hummm, I get your point. It is because Aluminum is a ****ty material for boat building that " 50% of boats in America are built from aluminum". It makes sense The Advantages of Having an Aluminum Boat | Regards Paulo Click to expand...
PCP said: That does not make sense an aluminium boat is not lighter than a cored fiberglass boat and a fiberglass boat is less expensive. Click to expand...
BryceGTX said: No the boats are built of aluminum because the goal was to produce a light boat that could be trailered. Bryce Click to expand...
Stumble said: I always find it interesting that people raise concerns about the fatigue life of aluminium, but no one ever raises the issue with fiberglass. Given that fiberglass has the same fatigue problems as aluminium it seems more of a theoretical problem than an actual one, so long as the boat is properly designed in the first place. Click to expand...

Tanley

Captain Q, found this the other day. No affiliation but she looks to be well found. Balance for sale As an aside, are you sailing Cayuga lake now? Grew up in that area, beautiful part of the country.  

CaptainQuiet

CaptainQuiet

Tanley, Thanks for the link. That's a big one. Not sure what I would do with all that space. Any idea why they are selling?  

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steel hull sailboats pros and cons

All Ships And How To Get Them

Every pirate needs a ship and Skull and Bones features a variety of different options to choose from. Each ship has its own different pros and cons, with some of the better options locked behind high-quality materials and Infamy Ranks . Each ship also has a base level that they start at, and the ship level increases as you deck it out with better weapons and equipment.

Below you can find a list of every ship, along with their cost and where to find each blueprint. Each ship also has a checklist option next to it , so you can keep track of which ships you already have.

All Ships in Skull and Bones

Click below to jump to:

Hullbreaker

The starting ship is the Dhow, a small ship that doesn't have any weapons or furniture slots. This ship is given to you as part of the tutorial and while it won't be your go-to for sailing the high seas, it does serve a purpose outside of the tutorial.

Not only can the Dhow reach some hidden materials in small waterways that the larger ships cannot fit in, it is also the only ship that allows you to hunt sea creatures with a spear. Some animal skins are used in crafting, so you will need to go out on the Dhow occasionally. Once you obtain multiple ships, you can swap between them whenever you go to set sail at a dock.

Skull-and-bones-rammer-bedar.jpg

  • Ship Class: Bedar
  • Ship Size: Small
  • Ship Type: DPS

The Rammer is a small DPS class ship. It is also the first combat ready ship you will gain access to and is practically gifted to you as part of the early game quests. Once you reach Sainte-Anne after the opening sequence, you will need to have this ship built in order to get to plundering. The blueprint is purchased from the Shipwright for 660 Silver. Once you have the blueprint, you will still need to provide the Shipwright with the necessary materials, along with a small fee.

The Rammer features three weapon slots, two furniture slots, and one armor slot. It's designed for pirates looking to get up close and personal with enemy ships, as it's perk offers 25% extra damage when ramming and reduces the slowing effect of torn sails by 50%.

Skull-and-bones-defender-hulk.jpg

  • Ship Class: Hulk
  • Ship Type: Tank

The Defender is an early game Tank class ship, meant to be able to take a ton of damage during battle. It offers a starting health pool of 30,000, which makes it perfect players looking to conserve their Repair Kits during the heat of battle.

Its perk Ironclad reduces the Brace Strength depletion by 20% when being hit by enemy fire, allowing you to reduce the damage of attacks before needing a break.

The Defender's blueprint can be purchased from the Fara Warrior in Scared Tree. You need to reach Infamy rank Rover 1 to build this ship.

Skull-and-bones-cutter.jpg

  • Ship Class: Cutter
  • Ship Type: Support

The Sentinel ship is an early game Support ship and features one of the best perks in Skull and Bones. It starts with a base level of 2 and its perk, Unburden , heals Severe Damage and Hull Health by 0.5% per second, both in and out of combat. You can also maximize your healing by equipping furniture and weapons that provide healing to both you and any other ships in your party.

The blueprint for the Sentinel can be obtained from the Lanitra outpost to the Northwest of Saint-Anne, costing 1,080 Silver and requiring a Rover 1 Infamy level. To craft the Sentinel you will need Bronze Ingot x6, Iroko Plank x6, and Fine Jute x12.

Skull-and-bones-barge.jpg

  • Ship Class: Barge

The Firebrand ship is a base level 3 DPS ship, designed for anyone looking to set fire to enemy ships. Its Wildfire perk allows you to apply the Ablaze affect to nearby enemy ships, spreading within 125 meters of the initial ship hit. It also increases the damage of Ablaze by 20%.

Burning damage increases the Ablaze charging speed by 150%, so naturally you will want to deck out the Firebrand with fire-enhanced weaponry, like Fire Bombard and Sea Fire, to take advantage of its proficiency in fire.

The Firebrand blueprint can be purchased at the Kaa Mangrove outpost in the Coast of Africa, found west of Sainte-Anne, for 4,950 Silver. You will need to be at Infamy rank Buccaneer in order to purchase the blueprint.

Skull-and-bones-sloop.jpg

  • Ship Class: Sloop

The Blaster is a base level 3 DPS class ship focused on explosives and taking down structures, letting it excel at plundering outposts. It's perk Outburst adds a 50% chance per explosive hit to trigger an additional explosion dealing 1,500 damage to a random enemy within 150m radius. It also does increased damage to structures, like guard towers, and increases any explosive damage done by 15%.

Decking the Blaster out with explosive weapons will maximize the amount of destruction you can cause. The Blaster blueprint can be purchased for 4,950 Silver from the Sunken Goldmine in the Coast of Africa, Northwest of Sainte-Anne. You will need to have reached at least Buccaneer Infamy level.

Skull-and-bones-padewakang.jpg

  • Ship Class: Padewakang
  • Ship Size: Medium

The Bombardier is good for two things: dealing massive amounts of damage and carrying more loot than any one pirate could ever need. This massive DPS ship, with a starting rank of 5, has similar explosive perks to the Sloop, but offers much more fire power. Its Detonate has a 75% chance to deal 1,000 explosive damage to enemies within 125m whenever you land explosive hits. The effect is increased by 100% if the enemy is Ablaze and it deals extra damage to structures.

The Bombardier is also a difficult ship to build. The blueprint can be purchased for 5,280 Silver from the Shipwright in Telok Penjarah, requiring an Infamy rank of at least Brigand. The materials for this ship require you to sink a ton of enemy ships to collect, which can be difficult if you are playing solo or underleveled.

Skull-and-bones-snow.jpg

  • Ship Class: Snow

The Vanguard is one of the more powerful Tank class ships you can get in Skull and Bones. As the class implies, this massive ship is excellent for getting into the heat of battle and withstanding whatever is thrown at it. The Tenacity perk recovers 4% of Brace Strength per second while Bracing, allowing you Brace for longer. It also increases Brace Strength by 50% and Brace Strength recovery by 150%

It has a base level of 5. The Vanguard blueprint can be purchased at the Khmoy Estate in the East Indies, to the Northwest of Telok Penjarah. It costs 10,560 Silver.

Skull-and-bones-brigantine.jpg

  • Ship Class: Brigantine

As the name implies, the Hullbreaker is a base level 5 DPS ship that specializes in ramming enemy ships. Its perk, Bullhorn , increases ramming damage by 45%, letting you knock enemy ships to the bottom of the ocean without firing a single cannon. The duration of the Torn Sails effect, which slows down your movement, is reduced by 80%. Ramming an enemy ship inflicts the Flooding effect, which reduces movement speed.

The Hullbreaker blueprint can be bought in the Ruined Lighthouse in the East Indies, to the South of Telok Penjarah. It costs 15,840 Silver and requires the rank of Cutthroat.

Skull-and-bones-sambuk.jpg

  • Ship Class: Sambuk

The Pyromaniac is one of the best ships in the game for dealing damage, but it is also one of the hardest to acquire. The main reason it's difficult to get is that is costs Pieces of Eight and not Silver.

The Pyromaniac's Scorched perk deals 5,000 burning damage to anyone effected by Ablaze and Ablaze is applied to enemy ships within 150m. It also increases Ablaze damage by 50%, making it a perfect fire-breathing vessel to rule the seas with.

It costs 5,000 Pieces of Eight to purchase the ship from the Black Market in Telok Penjarah or Sainte-Anne from the Shipwright.

Up Next: How To Repair Your Ship

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  1. Pros and Cons of Steel Sailboats

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  2. Pros and cons of steel sailboats in 2023

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    steel hull sailboats pros and cons

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COMMENTS

  1. Pros and Cons of Steel Sailboats

    Durability Steel sailboat hulls are much stronger than fiber or GRP boats. In general, Steel allows stronger structures to be equal in weight. A Steel boat is much more robust, and its structure is more rigid, so a Steel boat will better withstand bumps and rubs.

  2. Sailboat Hulls: Steel Vs Fiberglass

    Jacob Collier August 30, 2022 For decades, sailors and boat owners have been having hotly contested debates about the merits of steel hulls vs fiberglass hulls in sailboats. The major benefits of boats with steel hulls are that they are very strong, durable, and can be repaired easily.

  3. Steel Vs Fiberglass Sailboats: 7 Things To Consider

    1. A Brief History Of Steel Sailboats Steel has long been used as a material for building boats in all different shapes and sizes. Steel replaced wood as the most common material used for building large ship hulls in the early 1900s.

  4. Pros and cons of steel sailboats

    #1 · Nov 19, 2012 I'm thinking about making the leap from fiberglass to steel for our next sailboat. We want to do some far flung cruising - maybe even circumnavigate. Our present boat is a 1977 Tartan 37 and while we love it - since we've had a child and possibly will have another one on the way it might get a bit small for a liveaboard situation.

  5. Steel Sailboats: The Ultimate Guide

    Cons of Steel Sailboats: Embracing The Weight and Speed on Steel Sailboats: It's true that steel hulls tend to be heavier than those made from other materials, such as fiberglass or aluminum. The additional weight can slightly reduce the overall speed and agility of the sailboat.

  6. Sailboat Hulls: Steel vs. Fiberglass

    The answer might shock you. Read on to find out. Key Takeaways Steel sailboat hulls are stronger, more durable, and more impact-resistant than fiberglass hulls. They are also easier to repair and modify. However, they are heavier, slower, more prone to rust and corrosion, and require more maintenance than fiberglass hulls.

  7. Fiberglass vs Steel Hull they both claim the best

    You go with steel when you need strength such as a commercial vessel or a large yacht where fiberglass doesn't have enough strength. As far as maintenance is concerned, the difference is between waxing vs; painting and welding. In the middle of the two is aluminum. wscott52 , Sep 24, 2010 #3 wscott52 Senior Member Joined: Jul 30, 2007 Messages:

  8. Aluminium boat hulls vs steel boat hulls

    Reduced weight means it's easier for the boat to travel through water, which makes it faster and more fuel efficient. Aluminium hulls have an increased resale value An appealing factor is that an aluminium boat will often have a much higher resale value than a steel boat. Click here to find a metalworker specialising in aluminium boat hulls.

  9. Tips for choosing your first sailboat

    An aluminum hull has a very high strength to weight ratio which provides great safety. Aluminum hulls are harder to fabricate and require highly skilled metal workers and welders to build. Because of the skill level required and the additional work involved in building an aluminum boat versus a fiberglass boat, they are generally more expensive ...

  10. The Metal Yacht

    Aluminum 5086-H34 44,000 psi 35,000 psi. Aluminum 5456-H321 51,000 psi 42,000 psi. Steel - Grade A 58,000 psi. Steel - Grade AH32 68,000 psi. It is standard practice to increase the scantling of an aluminum part to make up for its lower strength of course but, even so, the aluminum still has a very substantial weight advantage. When you ...

  11. Fiberglass vs Steel Hulls

    Pros and cons on fiberglass or steel hulls. Why are steel hulled sailboats in the 40' range generally less expensive than steel. Steel must be stronger. ... Hartog 36' Steel Hull: KenH: Monohull Sailboats: 7: 15-07-2011 17:53: For Sale: PoliGlow Fiberglass No-Wax Treatment: Undine: Classifieds Archive: 1:

  12. steel vs. fiberglass hulls?

    I am close to buying mny first real sail boat, and am considering the pros and cons of steel hull (like a Spray) vs fiberglass or other sythetics as is more common. I am not interested in racing or speed, but more into comfort, safety ,and future long cruising, with some pleasure jaunts and...

  13. Avoid Steel Hulls?

    #2 · Sep 3, 2020 Rust never sleeps. Most steel boats rust out from the inside, in places you can't see or get to easily. It depends a bit upon the design, but until you get to a decent size - perhaps 40 or 50 feet, if not more - the material makes them overly heavy to perform well in many cruising areas.

  14. Sailboat Hulls: Fiberglass or steel?

    Choosing between steel and fiberglass sailboat hulls can be challenging. In this blog post, we explore the pros and cons of each material to help you decide which one is better for you. Steel hulls offer durability and safety, while fiberglass hulls are lighter and require less maintenance.

  15. Steel Hulls...Yea or Nay

    The biggest disadvantage of steel hulls is the number that are amateur built and some that are poorly built by inexperienced yards. 13-14 years ago we (wife and self) started looking around for a steel sail boat on the second hand market or new.

  16. Pro's & Con's on steel hulls

    1 2 3 > « Previous Thread | Top | Next Thread » Hi all, Looking at purchasing a Trawler and was looking for the pro's & con's on steel hulls. I ran a search here at TF, however did not fine

  17. Pros and cons of steel sailboats

    Performance shortcomings in reality are only when compared to a similar boat. The glass or timber boat (vds 34s were made in steel, glass or cold moulded diagonal strip) has less overall weight, same sail area but more weight in the keel itself. The steeler has a heavier hull so can carry less ballast in the keel.

  18. Practical Pros and Cons of Steel vs. GRP

    Practical Pros and Cons of Steel vs. GRP MASH 22 Jun 2013 1 2 Next 22 Jun 2013 #1 M MASH N/A Joined 8 Mar 2004 Messages 2,188 I've found a steel boat that ticks most of my boxes but have no experience with steel yachts. She is a Dix Pratique 35, displaces something over 9t I guess (the wooden deck version is 8.1t) which sounds a lot for her size.

  19. How keel type affects performance

    How keel type affects performance. James Jermain has tested hundreds of yachts in his 30 years as Yachting Monthly's chief boat tester. The performance and handling of a yacht depends on many things, but perhaps the most important single feature is the shape of the hull and the profile of the keel. Over the years hulls have become shallower ...

  20. Pros and cons of steel boats

    A steel boat gives you the ability to mix it with the big boys at the fish dock or to go into a sea lock with a trawler whose idea of a fender is a truck tyre attached by a vicious piece of rusty wire cable. Personally, I would not go for steel below 40' because of the drawbacks listed above.

  21. Steel Hull Pros/Cons : r/sailing

    View community ranking In the Top 1% of largest communities on Reddit. Steel Hull Pros/Cons

  22. Pros and cons of steel sailboats

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  23. All Ships And How To Get Them

    Ship Class: Cutter Ship Size: Small Ship Type: Support The Sentinel ship is an early game Support ship and features one of the best perks in Skull and Bones. It starts with a base level of 2 and ...