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Old 05 July 2013, 16:55   #1
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Aluminum hull advantages and disadvantages?

Hi I am looking for a 24-26 second hand rib with deep v hull with 1 or 2 outboards and was wandering what would be the advantages of an aluminum hull? I suspect it may be lighter and be more resilient than fibreglass but not sure? When looking for a second hand aluminum hull besides the obvious corrosion issues is there anything else I should look out for?

I intend to do regular runs 40/50nm off-shore for spearfishing. I was thinking of double outboards for safety but if the risk of floatsome damage is high and it may damage both o/bs at the same time, wouldnt a one big o/b + kicker be a safer option besides the weight saving?
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Old 05 July 2013, 17:34   #2
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Aluminum will be quite warm in the tropics - hard on bare feet. It is noisier, lighter, stiffer, and considerably more expensive than GRP. Its harder to make complex shapes (like a stepped hull) from ali compared to GRP.

Easier to repair is a bit of a myth. Once ali has been in salt water it is contaminated and quite a bit harder to get clean welds on. Its much tougher for beaching, although beachng a 24+ ft boat is dicey anyway.

I wouldn't expect many ali boats in the southeast (small Jon boats being the exception), and even less likely to find a RIB in ali. So you may be primarily looking at GRP anyway.

I wouldn't expect lots of logs and stuff down there compared to active logging areas like BC and southeast AK? What debris do you see lots of?
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Old 05 July 2013, 17:49   #3
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Thanks Captnjack. I have never used an aluminum boat but I though that if it is painted and especially if the deck is covered with a non slip polyurethan paint it would not get too hot right? Here we see a lot of logs and assorted floatsome.... what sort of power would you think a 24-26' in aluminum would need for the use I suggest above?
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Old 05 July 2013, 18:26   #4
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You really can't paint an aluminum deck and have it hold up. Microscopic scratches will let in salt, the aluminum will corrode underneath, and the paint will bubble. Left open to the air the aluminum will corrode a little but with no white flaky powders or anything. Just go to any scuba shop and look at painted aluminum scuba tanks vs the bare metal ones and you'll see the obvious differences in appearance/wear/tear.

Some of the yachts with aluminum wheelhouses and such are painted up here (hulls are typically GRP or steel). But nobody paints a work boat in the PNW or Alaska. Aluminum is freezing cold in cold temps and broiling hot in hot temps. Just the nature of the material.

I don't really think its a question of what something should or shouldn't be powered with. If you are in the used market in North America you have a very limited selection of hull materials and power in the 24ft range at all. The only ~24-26ft RIB like things around here are Protectors imported from New Zealand and the military style 24ft Safeboats which are not really RIBs (foam collar) and used by the USCG and local police departments. Both use dual outboards. I have never seen a Safeboat in private ownership and they are made right down the road from me. So I'm not sure they even sell them to non-government buyers.

Good luck with your searches.
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Old 05 July 2013, 18:55   #5
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Again many thanks Captnjack, I guess the same issues you mention above will also make the glueing of the sponsons to thealuminum hull difficult or is this addressed by roughening up the contact surface?
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Old 05 July 2013, 19:01   #6
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My hypalon tubes are glued onto my aluminum hull. 2 part hypalon glue is seriously tenacious. Boat was built in 2007 so I don't know for sure, but I suspect the hull/tube bond will outlive the tubes themselves.
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Old 06 July 2013, 12:42   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertriton View Post
Again many thanks Captnjack, I guess the same issues you mention above will also make the glueing of the sponsons to thealuminum hull difficult or is this addressed by roughening up the contact surface?
I clean the aluminum (Alumabrite), then cold anodize it (Alodine 1201.) Glue sticks to it pretty well after that.

Oh, and Jack: Safeboat does sell to civilians, but they're damned expensive. Most likely a pretty good lead time as well.


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Old 07 July 2013, 01:18   #8
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Unless you need the impact and scratch resistance of alum (aka workboat), why go that way? Fiberglass hulls are IMO waay more friendly. There is a wide range in quality of how grp hulls are put together. Look at the hurricane 733 and willard 730 for a bomber 24' that would be amazing in panama. You are making me jealous. There are even workboat versions of these with metal beaching shoes....and even dive doors. Happy hunting.

If you really think debris would knock a drive off, look for or convert to a hamilton jet. Some hamilton jet willards were made.
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Old 07 July 2013, 04:22   #9
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In the smaller end of the market aluminium hulled RIBs seem to be a LOT lighter and consequently need less power and so drink less fuel... Tha'd be my reason for looking at a aluminium RIB. Clearly that depends on the price of fuel. But a litre is about 1.40 here which is probably close to $2.00(US). I guess thats probably twice what you pay in the states.

Don't know if fuel costs in the South Americas are as cheap as the states. But it might be a driving factor.
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Old 07 July 2013, 06:20   #10
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Don't know if fuel costs in the South Americas are as cheap as the states. But it might be a driving factor.[/QUOTE]

Fuel prices being a driving factor. I like that a lot.
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