- Category: Boats & Gear
- Created: Saturday, 12 January 2013 10:22
- Written by Charles Doane
METAL HAS BEEN USED to build ships for about 160 years, and very large metal yachts were being built as early as the late 19th century. In 1895, for example, Nat Herreshoff designed and constructed a radical 123-foot composite metal sloop, Defender, to defend the America's Cup. She was built of aluminum, bronze, and steel and within six years was so debilitated by galvanic corrosion she had to be broken up.
It wasn't until the 1960s (except for some boats built in Holland, where steel has long been a favored material) that metal was used to build sailboats of more moderate size. Bernard Moitessier, an early pioneer, commissioned the construction of his 40-foot steel ketch Joshua in 1961. By the middle of the decade, aluminum was also being used to build both racing and cruising boats. By the mid-1970s, aluminum was the favored construction material in America's Cup 12-meter boats (the first was Courageous, built in 1974) and remained so until the mid-1980s.Write comment (2 Comments)