Meet Chris Price, your Steel Boat Editor. He was overheard,
just the other day, saying "At last! The job I've always wanted. A virtual
job." Wonder if he'll be so delighted when he finds out how similar virtual
work is to the real thing and how dissimilar the pay...
Seriously though, Chris hails from Gravesend in Kent on the Southeastern
coast of England and has just sailed 6,000 miles single-handed from Cape Town in
South Africa to the Azores, on his way home, after taking a break from building
himself a steel boat by the name of 'Sea Hound'.
If your enthusiasm for the subject of steel boats matches his, this should be an
exciting page to watch, over the next few issues!
Sailing boats, barges, workboats, large or small, tell us how you built yours, what it's painted with, where you've been in it, how you repaired it after hitting that rock (whoops) and everything else concerning this under-rated boat-building material.
If you own, or would like to own, a steel boat, it's time for your voice to be heard.
As far as we know, there are no publications that cater for this subject, at least not in the detail and volume that it is our intention to establish.
Certainly in England, steel boats are virtually ignored in the boating magazines, as well as in those of most other countries.
This is presumably because the vast majority of boat owners have GRP (fibreglass) production models.
Not having visited Australia, it is difficult to say whether the situation is the same there, although it is possible that they do have a broader vision.
A couple of years ago, Paul at Steel Technique, one of the UK's top steel boat builders, mentioned that, according to Bruce Roberts, 60% of new boats sold in Australia were made of steel.
Perhaps what he intended to convey was that 60% of Mr. Roberts' plans sold in that country were for steel boats?
If you're in Australia, perhaps you can enlighten those of us too far away to find out for ourselves...whichever country you live in, we'd like to hear about the steel boat world there.
One thing that has always been conspicuous by its absence in other marine publications is an information exchange for owners of steel boats, functioning in the same way as existing sailing magazines do for the owners of GRP boats.
There are endless amounts of 'how-to-do-it' articles available for other boat-building materials, but virtually none for steel.
The time has come to do something about the matter.
No more plaintive but unanswered bulletin board postings from people desperate for answers to questions about the choosing and maintenance of steel boats.
This is our chance to come into our own.
Are we going to be satisfied with a mere steel boat 'page' or are we going to show the rest of the marine world that steel boats are worthy of a whole section to themselves?
That's where you come in.
You will make the difference with your questions, your advice, your anecdotes, hints, tips and blow-by-blow build updates.
Share your triumphs and tragedies on the way to the launch slip with other readers.
Offer congratulations or consolation to fellow steel boat enthusiasts.
You may have the perfect solution to someone else's dilemma; or perhaps someone can help solve a problem for you.
So, please e-mail us with your questions about choosing a design; insulating, painting - anything and everything.
These will be posted on this page (or better still, these pages - that's up to you), for other readers to answer.
Tell us the story of your build, whether custom, home-build, or re-model.
Articles relating in any way to steel boats, anywhere in the world, will be received with the respect and interest they deserve.
Boat-builders and designers are more than welcome to contribute - your voices are almost completely unheard in the 'conventional' press, although many of you have offered material for publication.
Apart from e-mailing in the usual way, you can send an e-mail from any page of the magazine.
It would be a great help if you would put 'Steel Boat' in the Subject slot.
You can also scan in photos and documents for publication and send them as file attachments. The easier you make it for us to use your material, the more likely we are to use it - so please don't send handwritten material.
To get things going, from Essex in England, Dave Nisbet's Seal 36 is a good
example of a home build from a van de Stadt design. Take
Chris Price is one of MarineZine's favourite 'techies' (he describes himself as
an 'anorak'!) and has been kind enough to help us get MarineZine's Technical
section ready for publishing - he's very good at spotting the glaring errors
that we are very good at producing and made some great suggestions for
improvements too. You may like to read his Tales
From The Atlantic article, 'Flying Fish' on Sail Tales in the Sailors