Im thinking of buying this boat, a good junk?

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  • 16 Mar 2019 02:09
    Reply # 7226886 on 7216048

    I should clarify my rather pessimistic survey of Arion by saying I have just completed a 40 mile coastal open ocean passage, and expect to do more this year, so the boat is still seaworthy.  And it is easy to repair steel, you just cut out the rusty bits and weld in new plate.  Assuming the whole boat is not a total rust bucket, the work is quick and cheap, and results in a structure that is as strong as the day it was originally built.  However, it is dirty, noisy and heavy work.

    There is an article on steel boatbuilding in the February PBO, which includes a sidebox about Tom Colvin, condensed by me from my HOF profile at PBO's request, in which I managed to squeeze in a reference to the JRA.

  • 16 Mar 2019 00:41
    Reply # 7226841 on 7226068
    Anonymous wrote:

    It suddenly struck me  -  maybe one can check the thickness of a steel plate with ultrasound? A quick google search pointed me to this  video.
    That should make it quite possible to check the state of a steel hull.


    Yes, you can do this Arne.  Though the major rust I have had is in the keel area where the concrete and boiler punching ballast is, so the ultrasound won't work there.  If the boat had steel plates welded over the ballast when new it would never have been a problem (best practice), but the guy I bought the hull and deck from put water in there to cure the concrete!  I have steel plates welded over the ballast now, so the boat cannot sink, but in places the 4mm keel side plates had rusted almost completely away.  Elsewhere, the steel hull is still solid,  but it requires a huge amount of work, and I am sick of it.  It won't be long before I give this boat away for free!  I regret the day I bought a steel boat.  It is for young and energetic persons.  At this stage, Arion would be a great boat for such a person, (and available cheap!) but the way I am going (never doing enough maintenance) it will be off to the scrapyard in 10 years.  But, by then, I won't be far behind it!
    Last modified: 16 Mar 2019 00:42 | Anonymous member
  • 15 Mar 2019 15:47
    Reply # 7226068 on 7216048
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It suddenly struck me  -  maybe one can check the thickness of a steel plate with ultrasound? A quick google search pointed me to this  video.
    That should make it quite possible to check the state of a steel hull.


    Last modified: 15 Mar 2019 19:04 | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • 15 Mar 2019 14:09
    Reply # 7225855 on 7216048

    Coming back to this wooden boat that Andrew is interested in, and is viewing this Saturday, I think, I don't discount it completely. But it needs a careful inspection first, to establish its condition.

    Step 1: haul out and pressure wash inside and out, to see what the water jet dislodges.

    Step 2: go all over with a probe (a thin screwdriver will do), looking for the soft spots. Many years ago, my boss asked me to go and look at a wooden boat that was at least 100 years old, that an impecunious young relative of his wanted to use as a houseboat. I went over it with a probe, and found that the outside of the hull was a bit soft but not rotten. Inside, though, I was able to plunge a 5in probe up to the hilt in the top of a frame below a hatch - fresh water had got in and rotted it. Check the build drawings and actual for hull fastening material - if bronze, OK, if steel, abort the mission.

    Step 3: once that's complete, cost the structural repairs and check that they are within a reasonable and acceptable time and money budget. I'm guessing, but it looks like at least a new cabin top to build in marine ply and epoxy/glass.

    Step 4: if that looks feasible, make a nominal offer of $1. Not more.

    Step 5: if accepted, get a professional condition survey before handing over your dollar and completing the sale - disposal costs would be high, if it's not worth proceeding.

    I wouldn't consider converting to JR, though - it would be very expensive, as a proportion of the total value of the boat, the staysail ketch rig should be manageable enough and the current sails are in good condition (though all the rigging would need replacing).

  • 15 Mar 2019 11:25
    Reply # 7225610 on 7216048

    A friend of mine built a 50 foot steel sailboat – he had been a steelworker working on building very high towers, when he was younger – and sailed the boat between New England and the Caribbean. Now in his mid-80s, he had stopped using the boat much, and it sat at his dock on the lower Connecticut River, where he would go and tinker now and then.

    About three years ago he and his son were looking at something down by the engine, in the bilge, and saw a bit of flaky rust. One of them pulled on it, and next thing, the river was gushing in through a hole about 3 inches across. They stopped it up, and all worked out okay – they moved the boat the next day to a marina where it was hauled, and my friend got out his welding gear and rehabbed all the thin spots in the bottom of the boat. He said that he had been casual about replacing zincs… Not anymore.

    He was lucky – they were right there, and also the berth wasn't very deep, with the boat just resting it's keel on the mud at low tide. But it would have been a mess still, if that spot had failed with nobody there. The prospect of something like that *at sea* …


  • 15 Mar 2019 09:05
    Reply # 7225519 on 7216048


    Well, yes, rust would be important if the thickness of sound steel had decreased to 0.001mm and you could put your finger through it, don't you think? Anyone who takes a boat to sea should be well aware of its structural condition. Maybe your friend was fully aware that the rust had not yet reached a dangerous state.

    But then, I would hope that the subsequent buyer gave the boat a thorough examination and survey, so that he knew exactly what he was buying and how much remedial work would be necessary.

    Last modified: 15 Mar 2019 09:16 | Anonymous member
  • 15 Mar 2019 07:31
    Reply # 7225140 on 7216048

    Hallo everyone.

    I am not an expert here, far from it, but I have a friend in France who sailed the tradewinds with an old 20.000£ 42 foot heavy displacement steel boat with a centerboard.  Was there rust inside, yes lots of it. But he just let the rust sit where it was and sailed her for 7 years before selling her to another european in India.  He told me that several times he hit objects while sailing, once a container but only got a dent in the steel.  The fact that he sailed a centerboarder while going mostly offwind was a hugh bonus of not having to roll on the waves like keel boats but that is another story.

    So the question is, if you are only going to keep the boat for some years, is the rust so important ? 

  • 14 Mar 2019 19:55
    Reply # 7222503 on 7216048

    I'm with everybody else on this.  You are buying a heap of work and heartbreak and will see the years pass as you work on this project.  I know boats you could buy for $6,000 and go sailing now.  Not 41ft, admittedly, but I can see no reason to have a 41ft boat.  Here in NZ we have two perfectly good, capable boats for sale for less than 7 times what is being asked for this wooden boat.  Both could take you to the Arctic and all you need to do to either of them is provision them.   One is wood/epoxy, one steel.

    My friend, Willy Ker, who sailed to the Antarctic, and to Greenland more times than he could count in a Contessa 32, said that most of the boats that got into trouble in the Arctic were metal ones.  Those sailing them were too confident of the boat's abilities. And maybe of their own.

    I have sailed to the Arctic in a steel boat and to both the Arctic and Antarctic in a wood/epoxy boat.  While I was living on her, the steel boat required a lot of internal maintenance to fight the rust caused by condensation. As far as I know, the wood/epoxy boat is good as gold.  To be fair, I never spent the winter in the Arctic on the wooden boat.

    Boats are only as good as the people who sail them.  Good preparation of sailor and boat combined with stamina and seamanship means that most boats can go most places.  An inadequately prepared sailor can end up in a disastrous situation, even sailing the best 'expedition' boat in the world.

  • 14 Mar 2019 05:57
    Reply # 7218242 on 7216048

    Hi Andrew,

    it all depends on what you want. If you want to save the boat and return it to its former glory, then change to a junk rig then that is a three to five year project if you are starting with a basically sound hull, much longer if not. If you want to get sailing soon then this boat is not for you. I would suggest looking in the 28 to 32 foot size range, something beamy and stout in either fiberglass or epoxy saturated wood. Steel is an option but be careful of anything older than ten years as they do rust!! A Westsail 32, Bristol Channel Cutter or a Cape George 31 would be my suggestions.

    Regarding its suitability of junk rig for the wood boat, I think that the existing masts could be rigged in a similar manner to a Colvin Gazelle, which has stayed masts and a jib, otherwise it means new masts in different locations entailing a lot of work in creating new mast steps and deck reinforcement.

    All the best, David.

  • 14 Mar 2019 04:15
    Reply # 7218146 on 7216048
    Deleted user

    I don' get in here much but, I spent 6 years building a 35 ft Samson marine double ender in ferro cement that I had John Simpson and his team tweak for a junk rig. I only finished the hull and deck in that time. Turned out pretty damn good though.  After 6 years I was kinda burned out and never finished it.  No mistake, I loved the building, But it was too much even in my late 20's and 30's.

    I have to agree with some of the comments previous, this boat is a mess and will require years your part time work - out of the water - to do much of anything with it. The question you have to ask yourself is, how do you want to spend you time/money? Dismantling rebuilding or sailing?  Maybe a smaller boat first and get to understand how much work it really is.Spen your time/money playing with the junk rig - that's the fun part.

    The boat in the pictures is a huge project - at best.  Sorry, I wouldn't recommend it.

    Last modified: 14 Mar 2019 04:16 | Deleted user
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