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Thread: Glass or Aluminum.. recommendations?

  1. #1

    Question Glass or Aluminum.. recommendations?

    So the wife and I have been looking at some boats. We've decided on a cuddy for sure, thanks to the recommendations from all of you. Now we have another question...

    Aluminum or Fiberglass? Compare/contrast 22' Hewscraft versus 22' Osprey. We went and looked at the Osprey today and really liked it, was roomier than expected with the inboard. We are just stuck on the decision between the two materials and are looking for maintenance, etc.

    Thanks!

  2. #2

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    Just my 2 cents after owning 3 aluminum ocean boats, I prefer aluminum for the following reasons: Holds value; can be easily beached; less / easier maintenance; lighter than glass (for both towing and cruising).

    Negatives: Being lighter can cause boat to "slap" the water a bit in chop, can be a little colder inside the cabin than glass.

    But then again, there are some nice glass boats out there. How about hearing from some glass owners?

  3. #3
    Member theultrarider's Avatar
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    I have a Bayliner Trophy. I have had aluminum boats as well. The aluminum boats are no doubt sweet when it comes time to go to shore. No worries there. With glass boat you are either being super ultra careful trying to get on and off without dinging the boat, or you end up using a dingy even for a quicky stop on the beach. The glass boats do generally cut the waves alittle better than the similar size and shaped metal boat because of the weight. Of course that weight goes against you too when comparing fuel milage and tow vehicle fuel milage as well. You spend alot more time cleaning and waxing the glass boat than the metal boat. The metal boat was generally hit it quick with the pressure washer and you were good to go til the next trip. Not so with the glass. The other big comcern with the glass in terms of keeping pretty and nice it Halibut sinkers and downrigger weights. It is very easy to end up with chips and cracks both inside and out of the boat from those. I don't let anyone touch the riggers so if I screw up, that is my fault. The halibut weights however, well, I cringe when I fish wish some folks as they seems to bang them off the boat all the time. Or when you have a good size fish flopping on the deck and they lose hold of the sinker and now it is banging away. Alittle care goes a long way, but dings still happen. Same goes for stowing an anchor. Once again, that is my fault is that one happens. Now, with that said, I do still like my glass boat and have no regrets other than the 2 foot syndrom of course! The boat I would love to buy is a new Kingfisher. They are a sweet metal boat.

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    I've owned both. It depends on what you want it for, whether you moor or trailer, who goes on the trip with you, etc.

    If you have a slip and want real comfort/convenience/bells/whistles/etc, don't plan on going to shore much (hunting, clamming, kicking off the kids), then glass is probably the way to go. Be prepared for lots of time spent on keeping it up as others have mentioned.

    If you're going to trailer it, plan on doing much beach landings, like to just hose and go, and don't mind a little more spartan interior (usually, but there are some *very* comfy ones out there) then go aluminum.

    My glass boat was a 1978 24' Glasply that I purchased from the original owner, an engineer by trade, in 1998. It was in mint condition and very well cared for. I owned it for a year before moving from Juneau back up to Fairbanks. Heavy hull, comfy, stable as a rock, nice Bristol stove inside to keep it cozy, etc. But I missed the utility and simplicity of being able to beach it to chase deer around, and fooling around with bottom paint, repairing dings in the gelcoat, etc was a headache.

    Most of the old timers I knew down there a similar lifecycle when it came to boat selection over the years; 16' Lund > 18' Bayrunner > 22' Bayliner > 24' Olympic > 28' Seasport > 18' Bayrunner. Yep, you read that right. The usual answer was "I miss deer hunting, fuel costs next nothing now, I can get around in a hurry, weather still kicks your behind in big boats too, and raingear is cheap."

    I'd pick aluminum with an outboard. More deck space, less maintenance hassles, more fun and versatile.

    Let us know what you get!

    XL

  5. #5
    Supporting Member AlaskanSD's Avatar
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    Default

    This is kind of a Ford/Chevy debate. A lot of it is subjective.

    I'm a glass fan. First, I like to include the whole family, so that means keeping the wifey happy: cozy bathroom, quiet interior, etc. Glass shines here. Aluminum is noisy and either cold or HOT. Ever touched an aluminum gunwale on a 80 day in the sound? It's HOT. Hatches bang... Aluminum easily sweats inside too...condensation running around.

    You do need to be more careful with glass around the rocks, sure. But it's not like fine china. And aluminum will dent too with rocks and icebergs, so it's not impervious.

    Another factor is hull shape. Aluminum boats are built from sheets of aluminum, and as such, cannot have compound curves. The closest to this is the reverse chine. Glass molds on the other hand can have the compound curves required for an easily planing hull, and that hull shape is FAR more important that the glass boats being "heavier" for the smooth ride.

    These days too, glass isn't really all that much heavier. Corecell foam and new resin technology is probably only 5-10% heavier than alloy. The older glass boats are heavier from the 70's to mid 90's...

    Bottom line? Get something and get OUT! But my vote is on the Osprey.

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    Member Snagger's Avatar
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    I prefer the tin can usually, but given the choice you are considering, take the glass.

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    Default Osprey

    I'd go with the Osprey but consider twin outboards rather than sterndrive. Gives you more room in the boat and gives you a backup if one goes down on you.

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    We own both. Metal for the river and glass for the ocean. Going on our 4th summer with the Sea Sport and the longer we own it the more we like it.
    Never did understand why people claim a glass boat takes more upkeep. It gets a wash after each trip like all boats should and once a year we wax the outside. Same guys who complain glass requires more upkeep are the same ones who polish there hulls and apply Sharkhide, so, go figure, lol. It also has an inboard so it offers heat and defroster as we are running. Inside is warm and toasty and no humidity. Takes about an hour to winterize it and doesnt require any shrink wrapping or covering during winter storage.
    Beaching is a non issue because we do not do it in the glass boat or our ex Hewes craft. Carry a dingy on top if you like because the tides up here can change fast and leave you stranded for 12 hours if you are not careful.
    There are advantages and disadvantages to both with some being pointed out already. But I content a well boat glass boat such as a Sea Sport or Osprey to name a couple is a much smoother runner in the ocean and chop.
    Could we be happy with a metal ocean boat? Absolutely. A nice Wooldridge or Glacier Craft makes a great boat as well. There is no wrong or right choice. Buy the boat that gives you and your family what you are looking for.
    Cheers
    Tennessee

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    Default Well said Snowolfe

    Good points brought up. How many people really beach their larger boats? Also, how many people who have 22+ footers don't carry tenders/dinghys? I prefer them for the safety factor. Aluminum is definately more forgiving, but all boats should be washed/cleaned after use. As far as outboards, they probably require less maintenence, but how much does it cost to replace one that will push a heavy boat around? Much more than a new V8. Just a time vs. money debate. The warmth, and less moisture are nice on a glass boat also. Akfishn is comparing two boats that he likes. To tell him to go for twins, or get this or that, would be fine if he wanted to spend more or was starting his search. I think he is looking for help with what he has found in his desired size/price range.

  10. #10

    Default Just a couple more things

    I currently own an aluminum boat (kingfisher) and so far I'm happy with the ride, interior finish, comfort etc. I rarely beach my boat, I prefer to use the dingy, seems to just make life simpler. I have also owned fiberglass boats and my concerns with fiberglass is the type of core being used in the fiberglass construction. I had a Boston Whaler that the foam became water logged. I realize many manufactures use foam, balsa wood and other materials during construction and most claim water will not absord in there materials however my experience wasn't so good. There are also numerous forums on the various brands that will discuss the water obsortion issue. The most import thing to remember about cored fiberglass boats is to do the maintenance. Take care of the small things, cracks, screw holes etc. and most of the water absorbtion problems can be illiminated. Dissimliar metals in aluminum boats can also a problem and need extra care as well so as most agree there are certainly advantages and disadvantages to both boats and either one will provide years of service with just a little maintenance.

  11. #11
    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    Default A lot of noise

    I had the same issues when deciding. I think the bigger factor is the boat that fits what you are doing and getting a good deal. I went with aluminum. It makes the wife feel safer, but I wonder if it will ever make a difference. Same on the inboard vs. outboard. I went inboard and it works fine. I still have plenty of storage, and winterizing it is not that much work, especially since I have to winterize the freshwater system anyways.

    I would say the same thing about the arguments about performance on the water. I have run mine right next to a friend's Seasport Voyager, and I am running the same speed as him with the wife and kids (meaning no pounding allowed).

    I think the biggest issue is finding a boat that is well cared for and priced right that suits your basic needs, and you will adapt to it any be happy.

    Jim
    2009 Seawolf 31'
    www.seawolfmarine.com
    Fully Loaded

  12. #12
    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    There is a huge difference between a hewescraft and an osprey. You get a lot more boat with the opsrey. They would be one of my top choices for a fishing platform if I were to choose a glass boat. If you drop the coin, you can get an aluminum hull that is warm, quiet, smooth riding and contrary to what many say, aluminum hulls do not get "hot" to the touch when on the water. (Different story sitting on the trailer, though) They are a huge heat sink. The 50+/- degree water of the Sound will keep the hull relatively cool. Buy the biggest boat that you can afford with in reason. Two footitis strikes us all. My wheels are already spinning thinking about the next one.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    are you looking to buy used or new? BAMF boats has a 25' its simular to Osprey but its better built and it can be customized for you and the price is pretty good. I seen one at the seattle boat show and was really impressed with the finish and the construction. thats my dream boat. there web site is www.bamfboats.com

  14. #14
    Member bhollis's Avatar
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    I don't think there's much question that a fiberglass boat requires more care than an aluminum boat. With a glass boat, you've definitely got to be more careful about dropping things on the deck or banging them around the gunnels. And of course, beaching a glass boat is pretty much out of the question.

    On the other hand, my guess is that if you sea-trialed both boats, you'd much prefer the Osprey's ride. I think you'd also find the Osprey warmer, quieter, and more comfortable overall.

    So, if you want bullet proof, go with the Hewescraft. If you want comfortable, go with the Osprey.

  15. #15
    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    IMO there is no comparison between a 22' hewes craft and a 22' Osprey. The Osprey is the better boat except you can get the hewes for much cheaper. I prefer glass over aluminum unless I could afford a Glacier Craft, Bayweld, or Seawolf.

  16. #16

    Smile Thanks!

    Thanks for the input everyone! We picked the Osprey and knowing me I'll be back with more questions!

  17. #17
    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Excellent choice! Now post some pics of some bloody decks!
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

  18. #18
    Member Soundfisher's Avatar
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    Default Good Choice

    I would have picked the Osprey also. But then again, it is my boat. (Err....Yours now) That boat has seen alot of bloodshed. I will miss her, but its good to see it going to a nice family. Congrats!!!!

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