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Thread: Aluminum vs. Fiberglass

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    Member idakfisher's Avatar
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    Default Aluminum vs. Fiberglass

    I presently own a 23-8 Bayliner Trophy and want to move into a different boat, (faster, more range, better fuel economy, better seating). I see lots and lots of Hewes and other aluminum boats on the water. It seems that most of the threads I have read about the new or newer boats that you are getting are aluminum. Is aluminum the saltwater boat of choice for Alaskan waters? And why is that? I would love to hear from you, both pros and cons of aluminums and glass..

    Randy

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    Default Aluminum

    I have owned both. I like Aluminum due to the weight. There are some cons to it though. When anchored up you do hear the water splashing, puts me to sleep, but drives some of my friends nuts. Doesnt stay as warm unless you have a good heater. Also you have to stay on top of your Zinks in the Hot Harbors, Aluminum will deteriate fast. But with Glass over the years the boats tend to gain weight, redoing the Gel coat can be a pain if needed. Look at my boat in my profile, its aluminum. only 10k lbs. A 35 foot glass boat the same size is almost twice the weight. My twin 318 do drink the fuel, but I can run 30MPH. You would be hard pressed to find a glass boat that size do that. I usuall cruise around 20 mph and use about 14 to 18 gallons an hour at about 2000 RPMS. Plus I can trailer mine, a glass boat the same size can be trailered, but you will definately feel it be hind you. Mine trailers just fine. I believe its more of a personal preference when it comes down to it.

    350 SD

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    Member Cap'n Ron's Avatar
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    Default I agree with all that...

    350 SD said, but would add that some of us have aluminum because we beach our boats to unload/load for cabins, shore camping etc. My boat is a 26' Hewes with twin Honda 135's, I use about 8gph cruising about 24 knots. I leave my boat all winter and am not there to do hull maintenance like you might need to do on the glass boat. Plus, I have really loaded it down sometimes and with lighter weight it has a bigger payload capacity. And, in PWS there are uncharted rocks, already found one of them, and the aluminum boat will take on a rock a lot better than glass! Finally, they hold their value better than glass, I think, or maybe the used glass boats are usually much cheaper because there are a lot of older ones on the market??

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    Member patrickL's Avatar
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    350 hit the nail on the head. Aluminum tends to be lighter making it more economical. Its also less maintenance than fiberglass and I think tends to survive the winter better.

    If you're looking for an Hewescraft I have an Ocean Pro I'm selling in order to move up. Another aluminum of course. If you're interested let me know and I'll get you the details. Not trying to push anything but thought I'd offer since I can't PM you yet.

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    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    Default

    I love fiberglass boats, but the bottom line is they just aren't as versatile as an aluminum. In a perfect world I would have both, a 34' glass to stay in the harbor and a 26' aluminum to trailer around.

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    The way I see things, and talking in generalities, the pros of aluminum boats are that they are lighter and more durable, while the pros of fiberglass boats are that they typically ride better and are quieter and warmer.

    When I bought my current boat, I didn't set out to buy either aluminum or fiberglass. My goal was simply to get the best boat to fit my needs at the best price. In my case, that turned out to be a used fiberglass boat--a SeaSport--and I have no regrets.

    Edit: By the way, this issue comes up regularly on this forum. I'm sure if you do a search, you'll find a number of past threads that discuss the pros and cons of aluminum vs fiberglass ad nauseum.

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    Member FISHFACE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhollis View Post
    The way I see things, and talking in generalities, the pros of aluminum boats are that they are lighter and more durable, while the pros of fiberglass boats are that they typically ride better and are quieter and warmer.

    When I bought my current boat, I didn't set out to buy either aluminum or fiberglass. My goal was simply to get the best boat to fit my needs at the best price. In my case, that turned out to be a used fiberglass boat--a SeaSport--and I have no regrets.

    Edit: By the way, this issue comes up regularly on this forum. I'm sure if you do a search, you'll find a number of past threads that discuss the pros and cons of aluminum vs fiberglass ad nauseum.
    very well put. Both have pros and cons
    Boatless

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    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    350 SuperDuty, we need to know more about your boat!

    I chose alloy over glass for many of the reasons already posted. You can get a lot more boat for the money if you purchase a used glass boat though, but you will spend a lot more of your time cleaning, waxing, and repairing gel coat from what I hear from the glass owners. No matter what you get there will always be something bigger and better out there.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    I agree with Bhollis. I think you would be better off being open to either, and looking at the specifics of the boat. Generally people in a geographic region make similar choices. The predominate thing here is aluminum, but if you look on the east coast, it is all fiberglass. For resale I think you would be best with twin outboards and aluminum here, but then you will pay more for that up front.
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    Member idakfisher's Avatar
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    Default Aluminum vs. Fiberglass

    Thanks for the info. So, will a 24 or 26 aluminum have as good of a ride as a heavier 23+ fiberglass?

    Cap'n Ron, Can your Hewes easily cruise at 30+, fully loaded?

    Have any of you that have an open bow ever stuck a wave and filled up the bow? And if so, how long did it take to recover or could you stay on plane until it drained?

    PatrickL, My email is rdaytonins@yahoo.com. Shoot me the info on your boat and your phone.

    I fish out of Seward and Homer and want my next boat to solve some of my present defishencies. If these sound like rookie questions, youv'e got me nailed.

    Thanks, Randy

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    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Randy,

    You might consider renting a boat from Whittier Boat and Tackle. They offer Kingfishers as well as hewescrafts outfitted with outboards. A day or two rental might be a wise investment.

    Pete
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    Spoiled ones advice is a good idea. I have a hard time spending that much money to test ride a boat. But then again, these boats are expensive so a little invested up front may save you money in the end. Probably would have in my situation as my wife and I decided we needed a bigger boat for our recently expanding family.

    As far as you question about having an open bow, I've not had a problem with this, but then again I'm not going out when the weather is snotty. I just keep my speed down and use the trim tabs to keep everything running fine. I've taken water over the bow but nothing to worry about. That being said, the scuppers in my bow are pretty big and the bow itself is pretty small.

    There's a thead here, http://hewescraft.30.forumer.com/ind...showtopic=1087 on this very topic with hewescraft boats.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    There are two issues, one is the pro's/con's of the two materials, the other is hull design.

    In general, glass boats are designed more as cruising boat's, i.e. lower speeds and more of the boats room is used for the pilothouse, cuddy etc. Also they tend to have deeper v's for cutting through chops, but tend to be tippier when fishing.

    Aluminum boats are generally built with more room in the cockpit for fishing, and give up some of the comforts in the pilothouse, depending on the manufacturer. With a shallower V they are a more sptable fishing platform but won't cut the slop quite as effectively.

    To some extent you could say a glass boat is more like and SUV, an aluminum boat more like a pickup.

    My idea of an ideal AK boat is one that will get you to the fishing grounds fast, has a good size deck for fishing multiple people, and needs very little maintenance. So gimme an aluminum boat with good sized o/b's.

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    Here we go again. Glass hulls can be made in any shape so they do tend to ride better. We run our Sea Sport out to Montague or Pearle anytime the forecast is reasonable and never felt out of our comfort level even though we have run 20mph is 6-7 foot sea's being quiet and dry.
    Not to sure why people say glass is more maintence. We wax our 24 foot Sea Sport once each year and it is 6 years old and still looks like brand new. The guys with metal boats say no maintence yet they go out and buy sharkhide and ask questions on what products to polish there hulls, so, go figure, lol. Wanna beach it? Then you better pay close attention to the tides so you are not stranded for 12 hours. Or carry a Zodiac on the roof and don't worry about it.

    These type of questions will get you as many different comments as you want. None incorrect, but most all biased based upon what the owner currently owns.

    There is no incorrect choice and there is no correct choice either. WE choose glass for our ocean boat because it rides better, no condensation in the cabin, and its pretty quiet. Also choose the inboard V8 because it gives us cabin heat and a defroster while we are running.

    You can't have the advantages of both so just decide what is most important to you and your family. Not saying glass is the only answer. I would be a pretty happy camper with a 30 foot GC or Wooldridge! And that 30 foot Off Shore Sea Sport is sweet to
    Tennessee

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    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowwolfe View Post
    Not to sure why people say glass is more maintence. We wax our 24 foot Sea Sport once each year and it is 6 years old and still looks like brand new. The guys with metal boats say no maintence yet they go out and buy sharkhide and ask questions on what products to polish there hulls, so, go figure, lol.
    So you wax your hull once per year. That is more than I polish mine. I want that oxidation on the hull. It forms a protective layer. Those that polish their hulls are actually pulling aluminum off. No matter how much you rub your hull, it won't grow. Just saying.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Fiber glass rides smoother cause it heaver, Cons more maintenance taking care of it. Coat more to repair if you damage the hull

    Alum. Rougher rider then Fiberglass, takes more of a beating, beach the boat. Not as near the the maintenance keeping the outside clean......

    Brand new Alum I would put shark hide on then 3-4 years clean and re apply. The keeps the Alum looking new.
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
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    Member Alaskanmutt's Avatar
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    Default I beach my Trophy

    I am just careful on where and how, but My buddy was just as careful as to where and how in his aluminium.

    I found that fiberglass acutally can fair better in a rock strike and it tends to flex more.
    Aluminium tears, fiberglass shatters but the glass strands help it keep most it's shape (yes you can blow a hole in fiberglass too and have seen it happen, I am talking more of the "Dang, where did that rock come from?" strikes)

    Fiberglass is also easier to do a emergency repair on, beach it, dry it, slap new glass and resin on it or use one of the new emergency puttys that are out, limp back to port for a professional repair.

    All that being said.

    I am waiting for the day when I can have the aluminium boat I have the plans for built! Just cause then I can do it my way.

    My opinion

  18. #18

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    I have to agree with Snowwolfe.

    I grew up with the notion that aluminum is for rivers and glass for the ocean. I have a Sea Sport and always find myself testing it at least once a summer in rough conditions and usually I am amazed and happy about how it did.

    Heading home last summer I pulled in behind two aluminum boats tailing each other, the seas were rough and everyone was trying to make the other guy break trail through the waves. Both boats were bigger than mine and cruising as fast as they could go, eventually I passed them both, they were beating the hell out of themselves!

    I do like aluminum for certain situations; I use my brother-in-laws Hewes tied to mine as a giant fender at night in the cove, works great!

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    Default Another consideration...

    Here's a bit more fodder for the "Aluminum vs. Fiberglass" discussion:

    Given the variety of water available to boat in, you might consider where you spend most of your time. Understand that a boat that works great in a lake might be scary in the ocean and vice versa. So, if I was faced with fiberglass vs. aluminum, I'd probably look at hull design first and choose the one best suited for the type of water I plan on boating in; then look at all the metal and 'glass boats that met my criteria. From there I'd likely pick the one that I liked best; my decision regarding construction material would be farther down my list....just sayin'....

    and, for what it's worth; I ended up with fiberglass (big boat)...and aluminum (small boat)...love 'em both! Boat Safe! Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by idakfisher View Post
    Have any of you that have an open bow ever stuck a wave and filled up the bow? And if so, how long did it take to recover or could you stay on plane until it drained?
    Yes, the first summer I had my Hewes I filled the bow up with water. I was going slow and the wave actually hit the windshield, it couldn't drain fast enough. As soon as I got back to town I punched 4 more 2-1/2 inch holes to help drain. I have taken more waves since then and now it drains pretty fast. I've seen some of the open bow boats with very small drains and I think that's just crazy.

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