For a long time I dreamed of a steel yacht as the ideal ocean cruiser, so much so that I came very close to having one built and looked at many boats on the second-hand market. It was a dispiriting experience in many ways, as amongst the builders there seemed to be complete disagreement on how to keep the paint on and rust at bay, the Achilles heel of steel boats. This was in turn borne out by inspecting many used boats, where the theories proposed by the different builders all seemed to fall down. Every one of them had a rust problem.
Then a revelation
In 2003, my crew and I were sitting in the tiny harbour at Portrush in Northern Ireland, when a yacht appeared in the entrance and made its way to join us on the two-boat pontoon. We helped them alongside, and I found myself looking with increasing interest at this new arrival. Obviously steel, and beautifully built with a host of custom features, she was a beauty, and not a rust streak in sight.