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are steel hulls really that bad

Discussion in 'Chris Craft Roamer Yacht' started by jkenosh, Jul 17, 2010.

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  1. jkenosh

    jkenosh New Member

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    im new to big boats and am looking to buy a chris craft, my wife wants a catalina 381 for 39900 but i want to buy a project boat and finish it myself, i found a 42 ft roamer with the fly bridge and 2 454 with some hull rot for 4500, he also has a older roamer that need a new upper deck with cummings diesels 4 sale, i like the gasser though, so we went to the boat dealer that has the catalina and he told my wife he would never buy a steel hulled boat because they are maintenence nightmares. Now i think the steel hulled boat if fixed properly would be better in rough water (i live on lake michigan) but this being my first big boat is a fiberglass boat better?
  2. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    They can be even worse.
  3. Jim Reed

    Jim Reed Member

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    I don't think steel hull boats are maintance nightmares. After all, most ships are steel and in rough seas weight is your best friend. However, restoring these boats can be a huge undertaking. I have restored several Chris Craft's and you usually but more money in them that you can get out. They truly are a labor of love. What little I know of your situation and skills I recommend you take your wife's advise. After all, you can enjoy your 38' by spending time with your famlily rather than work 1/2 of the day trying to remove some bolt or shaft. Instead of saving up to purchase a generator, you can use that money for gas to take a voyage on labor day with your wife and have enough money left for a Christmas cruise on a nice cruise ship. Believe me, I know how you feel when you look at the Chris. They truly are beautiful in any condition. The thing you have to worry about in restoring any boat are things you can't see not just the things you can. Good Luck in your decision. Jim (Copy Cat)
  4. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Steel is fine, especially if you're a good welder, but if your wife voice an opinion follow it or you could find yourself living on that project and steel is very cold at night.:D I still remember seeing an ad for a project boat that read "divorce causes sale". When we saw the boat we added " and boat caused divorce".
  5. jkenosh

    jkenosh New Member

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    got to look at the inside of the hull today and it looks pretty rough, i was told there was 1 bad spot and i counted at least 8 holes and some looked like they were gonna repair them and some are just are rust holes. it looks like its been sittin for 3-4 years and the motors look questionable the inner hull looked scaly? and the supports are lookin rough also, maybe id better look for a aluminum roamer
  6. Laurence

    Laurence Senior Member

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    You only saw one

    Don't judge all steel hulls by just seeing one. He is photo of the inside of my steel Roamer Offshore.

    Attached Files:

  7. davidopie

    davidopie New Member

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    Metal hulled Roamers are nice. However, be careful in committing to a project of this magnitude.

    I heard someone say that once you estimate the time and cost of the project, multiply it by 3 to make the estimate realistic. This factor of three may give an accurate dollar estimate, but the time estimate may be more like a factor of 5.

    If this is your seventh project boat, then maybe you are skilled at getting the job done quickly. However, if this is your first project, you will spend many hours pondering the best means of solving each issue that arises. With a boat like this, you are not just fixing things, but re-engineering each piece, fitting and fixture. You will not want the same electrical system, the same video and sound system, the same navigation system, etc. You will want new tanks (requiring new saddles), a new synchronizer to replace the Judson, new shaft seals, a new head, etc.

    Why would you rebuild a boat and not add some LED lights to illuminate the steps? ...or new ceiling lights and reading lights in the vee berth? All require new elements to be added to the original design and old elements to be modified.

    My point: Rebuilding an old boat is like engineering a new boat, but with contraints and complications imposed by the original design.

    My Roamer project is nearly done. I have enjoyed the hundreds (thousands?) of hours of reading, learning and planning and doing. You may enjoy this hobby, too. Just don't think it will be a quick job.

    One of our Roamer fans said spend the money on a tank of gas and a weekend cruise with the family. This is excellent advice.

    Whichever path you choose. Enjoy it.
  8. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    I suggest you hire a surveyor with steel boat experience. If you can't find one locally, find a fabricator who knows something about steel.

    If you can't find anyone who can look at the hull and give you an objective appraisal of its condition, just walk away from the boat.
  9. Caledonia

    Caledonia New Member

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    There are many isssues to explore before buying a project boat. This i know from experience being in my 3rd year of a refit.
    First thing is you almost need to house the boat a 40 footer with a fly bridge is almost too big to transport on land, meaning that you need to find shop space close to the water.
    You also need a big selection of skilled friends, and need to have the tools and know how. I'd say to keep peace gently nudge the family into boating by trying out a m otor boat in the 30 -37 foot size.
  10. jkenosh

    jkenosh New Member

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    i thought being a welder and having expierence with that aspect it might be the right boat for me and its soooooo good looking, but i have no idea how boat systems operate, im sure i could figure them out, im pretty mechanical, but at what expense, my wife really likes the catalina 381 better but i think the roamer are so much cooler and 50,000 dollars cheaper
  11. Jim Reed

    Jim Reed Member

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    I agree that the Roamer is cooler and classier but believe me, it's not $50,000cheaper.
  12. jkenosh

    jkenosh New Member

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    thats probably very true, i found a nice aluminum roamer so maybe i can get her to comprimise on that
  13. jhall767

    jhall767 Senior Member

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    You mentioned being a welder. Do you have your own company? Before you assume you can do any work on the boat itself find a yard that will let you weld on the boat and then find out how much they will charge you. Most yards will only allow fully insured and licensed contractors to weld. Many times they charge them a daily fee or percentage of the job.

    If you go with a project boat you will need to be more than a welder. You will need to be a plumber, electrician, cabinet maker, mechanic, painter, and engineer as well. This biggest problem with fixing metal boats is getting all the other stuff out of the way. There is a nice old metal boat (+40') at the marina where I used to keep my boat 4 years ago. It has been a project boat for at least that long. I think the guy works on it at least 3 nights a week.

    If you want a project boat get one that's almost finished. The three D's of real estate are even more applicable in a used boat. In that size range there will be plenty of work left to do. Oh and make sure you get an ultrasound survey of the hull. Just because it looks good doesn't mean it isn't all body putty.
  14. fantasymaker

    fantasymaker New Member

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    Your comparing apples to squid!
    Find a steel hull in good shape and compare that to a fiberglass in good shape. Have both of them checked out by someone familiar with that type of construction.

    Go from there !

    Its not likely you will find many recently built steel hulls but it is possible. that leaves you with the dilemma of Old steel verses new fiberglass.
    I'm betting you can find a spotless steel roamer and still be ahead of a fiberglass boat of the same cost but as they say your mileage may vary!
  15. Oneiros

    Oneiros Member

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    hi!
    Made by cool steel powred by detroit diesel that my dream boat
    Oniros
  16. John_C

    John_C New Member

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    I am working on an old steel roamer right now, and it is a slow process thats for sure. I have it in the water and running, but its only pretty in pictures or from a distance right now. I like steel, its durable, its heavy, and for me its not so much as its any less work to maintain, but I think its easier to avoid anything really catastrophic, as in "suddenly I noticed I had a problem" If your going to get steel, learn to stick weld,and understand metal stress's etc. Inspect the boat often, you cant stop rust,only slow it to a crawl. My boat was built in 1963,its older than me. Some of the hull plating has been repaired, along the keel, and where the boat sat on the ground at one time. Its not as "perfect" a repair as some people would demand,but it looks great,it took over forty years for rust to win the first time.
    The interior has been about 90% removed, and I am slowly redoing it more open concept. I like my old roamer, but restoration is not my goal, my goal is to make a really cool, comfortable,spacious camper/fishing/touring boat. It has nice,in very good shape hull,with a lot of new plating, and a pair of strong engines,and classic great Chris Craft looks and lines,but it won't be very original at all in the end.I could not afford to find, or take the time and money to make it look original.
    So I guess what I am saying is, if you want an old boat to restore,then thats a lot of work and money, if you just make it what you want it to be,then that might be a little cheaper. Although, its still a lot of work and money.
  17. Laurence

    Laurence Senior Member

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    Well said

    Amen, John C, amen ! !
  18. brian eiland

    brian eiland Senior Member

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    I'm doing a little research on steel hull construction (just beginning),...and I wonder what 'treatment' was applied to your steel Roamer??

    ...inside and out if you don't mind?
  19. Laurence

    Laurence Senior Member

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    Inside hull: after treating rust spots with NAPA Duro Extend Rust Converter, two-part epoxy industrial pipe/tank paint from Sherman Williams replacing
    "...and the silver hull coating is a tar-like substance called .... bitumen that was painted silver after it was applied. It's great stuff, but degrades when soaked with oil and/or submerged. I would recommend ....... roll on a few coats of Devoe 235 epoxy primer being certain to leave no voids." (from q240z in 2010)

    Outside hull after sandblasting: 6 gal. Interprotect Barrier Coat, 3 gals. Micron CSC red bottom paint, magnesium anodes.

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  20. Laurence

    Laurence Senior Member

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    Same $$ as previous sailboat

    How steel boats fix blisters:

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