"Designed by Ted Brewer and professionally built by Mooney Marine with interior finished by master shipwright Paul Rollins of York Maine. All the time, effort, and money put into Iron Mistress created a strong, beautiful, and seaworthy yacht that took two of us — my wife, Elyse, and me — around the world between 2003 and 2008." ~ Robert Brown owner SV Iron Mistress
Iron Mistress is a strong purpose built boat designed and built for cruising in comfort and safety. Having taken Robert and Elyse on their dream adventure around the world, Iron Mistress is now available to someone looking for a very strong, lovingly maintained yacht that will take them wherever the seas will allow. Maintained to a very high level this is a turnkey yacht that is ready to sail now.
Certified Professional Yacht Broker with over 20 years experience helping clients sell and purchase quality yachts. Please call Scott Woodruff, CPYB on his mobile at (954) 701-1072.
Iron Mistress is a custom Ted Brewer designed yacht. She was first built in Deltaville, VA and then trucked to New Hampshire where she was finished at Iron Mistress Boat works. After her exterior was finished, she was brought to Paul E Rollins wooden boat shop. Rollins completed the interior of the vessel with North American Ash and Red Oak, she has a airy, and open vessel feel, giving space for a couple or having the ability to close off spaces for guests.
The yacht has always carried the USA flag of registry.
Her hull and Deck were constructed in mild steel by Mooney Marine (Deltaville VA). They were then grit blasted with Black Beauty and (3) coats of inorganic zinc primer applied. She then had (4) coats of Devoe-236 underwater epoxy applied to the exterior and interior with the exterior surfaces above the waterline finished with Awlgrip primers and polyurethane. The topsides are Awlgrip Pearl Grey. Only (3) gallons of fairing compound (Awlfair) were used on the top seam of the radius chine (which is now invisible). This is significant, as many metal boats obtain their fairness with huge amounts of fairing compound over the whole boat. Iron Mistress is fair without that, because of how she was built.
She was built by “stitch” welding longitudinal frames to the steel plates. This method greatly reduces heat distortion due to the welding process. In addition, she was built with four huge plates— (2) per side which then reduce the number of seams. This is the beauty of a radius designed hull over a “true” round hull design with a cutaway fore foot keel. All of the plates were cut with Plasma arc cutters and MIG welded together. She has large amounts of 316L Stainless steel in all wear areas; chain plates, railings, winch bases, windlass base, port lights. There is solid bar stock welded to the deck house for the handrails, stanchion bases, companionway threshold, hatch coamings etc. All of these were all TIG welded to the mild steel. The bowsprit is 4-inch 316L SS and is removable. The SS Bollards, ventilators and steering supports are all welded on.
In between the finished interior and the steel above the waterline is sprayed polyurethane foam. This foam prevents the steel from sweating and keeps the vessel warm in the winter as well as cool during the summer.
The owner of Iron Mistress wanted to keep the vessel simple for one person to work on. There is the ability to remove the engine using the 12,000 LB pad eye over the engine, and then running a line through the snatch block on the primary winch. The vast majority of the interior is also removable for total access to the bilge.
Bimini with custom reinforced 316L stainless steel frame support. Dodger with custom 1.5 inch diameter 316L stainless steel frame support. All canvas is in very good condition. Custom Lexan observation dome for steering from inside in extreme conditions. Mainsheet is a Black Magic fiddle blocks system. Deck winches are (2) Enkes #28 two speed, self tailing, and (1) Enkes #20 two speed, self tailing. Cabin top winches are (1) Lewmar #44 two speed, self tailing and (2) Enkes #20 two speed winches. Mast mounted winches are (1) stainless steel Anderson winch for spinnaker pole positioning and (2) 18 and (1) 14 Enkes two speed, self tailing winches for halyards and reefing. Custom Edison/Whitlock rack and pinion steering system with Whitlock wheel. Dinghy motor Lift in stainless steel mounted on stern. Force-10 propane BBQ grill for rail mounting.
Iron Mistress has a bridge clearance of 61 feet making her not only sea kindly, but inter-coastal friendly.”
As you step down into Iron Mistress, there is a quarter berth directly to the portside. The galley is just forward of that berth. It is a U-shaped design, that is both a luxury and a pleasure to see for the size of the vessel. The galley features:
It has a plethora of storage both overhead the sink as well as outboard to port.
Across from the galley is the navigation station on the starboard side. It features a bow facing desk and seating, with another quarter berth aft. The quarter berth has been made into a storage space, with shelves and locker storage.
Just forward of the galley is salon with a double bunk to port and another settee sleeping area to starboard, Iron Mistress can easily seat 6 people for a meal. The table is offset to starboard, and features leaf’s and interior storage. There is also more storage located outboard of the starboard settee.
Forward of the salon to starboard is the head. It features a hot and cold water mixing head for the stainless-steel sink, and a Lavac manual head.
Forward of the head is the v-berth master suite. It features a custom hand craft mattress, with plenty of drawer and shelf storage. At the foot of the berth is access to the anchor locker, with a custom chain bag that allows the rhode and chain to breathe.
Throughout the vessel is an Espar diesel heater for central heating. Her interior is fitted out with solid wood and white painted panels. The sole throughout is teak and holly and was refinished 2011. The timbers that are on the vessel were primarily chosen New Hampshire ash and red oak, which create an light and airy feeling to her accommodations.
D. C. Voltage system
Custom designed floating ground DC 12-volt system. All electronics and electrical loads go to a negative buss bar in a central location. Charles isolation transformer that eliminates electrolysis via shore power. (3) new Rolls -12HHG 325 8D Batteries with Hydrocaps. (1) Located in main salon under port settee in battery box with cover and secured. (2) Located in the aft starboard lazarette in battery boxes with covers and secured.
A. C. Voltage system
30 Amp - 120 Volt system. Shore Power: provide by Marinco 30 AMP shore power inlet. GFCI equipped 110 V outlets have been installed in all wet locations.
Making Steel Boats Last
Stave off rust with diligence, coatings, and care
From Good Old Boats written by Robert Brown
Steel is probably the most misunderstood boatbuilding material — especially in the USA. Many people (so-called experts included) view steel yacht construction as a recipe for disaster due to the effects of corrosion and electrolysis. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Bare steel placed in a vacuum will never rust (due to the absence of oxygen). Isolated from electric currents under laboratory conditions, steel will never undergo electrolysis. How you effectively isolate steel from the environment and stray electrical currents in the marine environment is the key to preventing these problems.
Iron Mistress is a custom-modified 45-foot round-bilged steel cutter designed for me by Ted Brewer. The design is based on his popular Corten Schooner design. She was built of mild steel to avoid the pitfalls of COR-TEN steel, which was popular at the time of Ted’s original design but later proved to be a bad material for use in seawater. Her bare hull and deck were built by Mooney Marine of Deltaville, Virginia, and I finished her out from there. Paul Rollins, a master wooden-boat builder in Maine, built the basic interior, which I then finished.
I painted her, built and designed all her systems, and did most of the stainless-steel welding and fabrication. I installed all the electronics, as well as the refrigeration/freezer system, the engine and running gear, her rig, and the thousand and one other things that go into making a yacht ready for the open sea. I even melted down 11,000 pounds of wheel weights in custom home built molds to form the lead ingots for her ballast. I have put more than 10,000 hours in her and spared no expense in her construction. All the time, effort, and money put into Iron Mistress created a strong, beautiful, and seaworthy yacht that took two of us — my wife, Elyse, and me — around the world between 2003 and 2008. We suffered no breakdowns of anything other than our watermaker, which gave up the ghost at the end of our trip.
Many “experts” state that steel has a finite lifespan. This is technically incorrect if a proper paint system is maintained. It’s true that even the most meticulously maintained steel boat has maintenance issues with its coating systems (to think otherwise is naïve), but this is usually due to inaccessible areas that cannot be maintained or inspected, damage, age, or initial preparation that was not 100 percent correct.
Protected with modern two-part epoxy primers over-coated with polyurethanes (polyurethanes must be used above the waterline), steel will have a yacht finish that will rival any fiberglass boat in regard to fairness and appearance and will outlast anyone reading this article. As with all painting, preparation is the key. This is especially important with steel construction.
Although there are many methods for preparing and maintaining steel, the best way is to sandblast with a product that leaves a good profile (the microscopic pattern left behind to hold the paint). I use Black Beauty sandblasting medium (made from waste from coal-powered electric plants). The newly sandblasted surface should then be coated with either “flame sprayed” molten zinc (usually only for new construction) or an inorganic-zinc primer, which is more economical and can be applied by anyone. I have used an inorganic-zinc primer, also known as cold galvanizing, with excellent results. The theory is that, if the original topcoats are scratched to bare steel, the zinc will sacrifice itself to save the steel.
The next step is tie-coat primers (which aid in the adhesion of the other topcoats) followed by barrier-coat underwater epoxies. This method is the gold standard and will protect steel indefinitely as long as the coating system is maintained. Although there are many coating systems on the market, I have used Devoe products for Iron Mistress with good results.
Maintaining the protection
Accessibility is essential in steel boats, especially in the bilge area. On Iron Mistress, I have total access to the bilge area, making it easy to inspect and perform regular maintenance. All the water tanks, and the engine, can be removed easily for maintenance.
Another thing to look for is limber holes. If your boat does not have them, cut or drill holes in all the frames so any water that gets into the boat (and it will) can drain into the bilge and not create pockets of standing water.
When I see an area of corrosion, I use a needle gun, a device run off an air compressor that is used to chip old paint away. I then spot blast with a portable sandblaster (available at any auto store) that can be run off a scuba tank or small compressor. Finally, I paint the area with the protective paint system I mentioned earlier.
A lot of owners of steel boats use OSPHO, a phosphoric acid that converts minor rust scale to an inert substance that can be painted over. Sometimes, when you just can’t sandblast for any of a number of reasons, this alternative system works well. I have used this process successfully too.
The important point to remember, if you are looking for a used steel boat, is that you’re in for a rude awakening if the boat was not built from the keel up with future maintenance in mind or if it was not properly prepared and coated in the first place. Initial construction by a reputable builder or skilled detail-oriented craftsman is essential for longevity. Otherwise, you will quickly understand the old saying, “rust never sleeps.”
Don’t be discouraged, however. I have redone the bilge in Iron Mistress only twice in 25 years . . . and it still looks new. Also, other than the bottom, which I recoated with new epoxy in New Zealand in 2006, she still has the original epoxies (inorganic zinc, tie coat, and barrier coats) underneath with no corrosion!
Stainless steel in construction
One of the best ways to eliminate or at least reduce corrosion above the waterline is to use extensive amounts of 316L marine-grade stainless steel where possible. In fact, the old steel BT Global Challenge one-design boats were designed with mild-steel hulls and stainless-steel decks. This is the ultimate combo, but it’s expensive. For the rest of us, stainless steel can be easily welded to mild steel in high-wear areas or areas that are hard to get to. On Iron Mistress, for example, all the hatch coamings, the windlass base, stanchion bases, chain plates, and so on are made of stainless steel — these are painted and require no further maintenance. If you buy a used steel boat, you can retrofit it with stainless steel in these areas using TIG welding.
Don’t let water in
While at Patten’s Boatyard in Eliot, Maine, right before we left for our circumnavigation, we noticed a steel boat that had just come in from Trinidad. It was a 10-year-old high-end professionally built boat from England. The new American owner was proud of her and told me the surveyor in Trinidad (where he bought the boat) had said the grapefruit-sized blisters around the anchor locker were only cosmetic. I told him I thought he might have a serious problem. Soon afterward, the yard pulled his boat and put her next to Iron Mistress.
The next morning, we checked out the “cosmetic” blisters under the fairing compound with my needle gun. The gun went right through the hull with the first trigger pull! The cause was the beautiful teak deck that had been screwed directly to the steel below. Water eventually migrated down the screws, along the longitudinal frames, and under the loose glass insulation. The whole boat was, in reality, a wreck. Our cruise began a week later, just as they were welding in new plates. We noticed a “for sale” sign on her.
Iron Mistress has sprayed polyurethane insulation over the epoxy coating system above the waterline. At one point, while replacing some deck gear, I got to see the epoxy paint underneath. Even after 25 years, it was spotless.
In my opinion, based on experience, this is the best kind of insulation and should be one of the things you look for in a used steel boat.
Electrolysis is the other issue that concerns fellow sailors when they list their objections to steel boats. This is a problem that occurs when electrical current — whether from inside your boat or an outside source (such as a marina) — drives an otherwise non-spontaneous chemical reaction. When dissimilar metals are immersed in water, all it takes to wreak havoc with underwater running gear and through-hulls is a “leaking” current. That’s why all boats use sacrificial zincs to protect expensive underwater gear. There’s no question about it: in the case of a steel or aluminum boat, electrolysis can be devastating.
I have often heard the statement that metal boats are “nothing more than floating batteries.” If a boat is improperly wired, there is some truth to that criticism, but there is an easy way to eliminate or reduce electrolysis on all boats, including steel ones. Known as a floating ground or isolated ground, this system is used on many European boats and should be mandatory on all boats, especially metal boats.
Before you purchase a used steel boat, be sure to consider how it’s wired. Iron Mistress has a true floating-ground system (as distinct from that in most boats that use the motor as a ground). All electrical loads go to large negative and positive bus bars with no communication with the hull anywhere.
To accomplish this, you must have dual-pole instruments and an isolated-ground wiring harness on your engine — positive and negative poles that do not use the engine as a ground. (By comparison, single-pole sensors — the sort of sensor you see on most production boats — use the engine block as the ground.) Next, you need an electrical isolator for your shaft coupling and true isolated-ground alternators, which have two poles, positive and negative. Note that most standard alternators are “case-grounded” to the motor through their mounting hardware.
The above, coupled with an isolation transformer that allows shorepower into your boat via a “magnetic coupling,” will ensure that there is no internal electrolysis.
Iron Mistress has about 50 pounds of “indicator zincs” on her hull to protect her from stray currents in marinas. They had lasted for 15 years in New England. But when we docked in Whangarei, New Zealand, at a great funky marina that hada lot of stray electrical leakage, the zincs worked as designed and were 80 percent wasted in five months! We replaced them with new ones and she is fine now.
After hearing about these maintenance considerations, you might ask why anyone would own a steel boat. The answer is simple: they’re watertight and the safest cruising platform you can have for going offshore. These days, with modern construction techniques and coating systems, a steel boat can truly look like a yacht.
Take it from us, when you’re voyaging with a big sea running . . . when it’s pitch black and the wind is howling . . . at these times you will not be thinking about the paint system on your boat. You will be secure in the knowledge that you are in the safest and sturdiest of all vessels — a steel boat! That’s what it’s all about.
Other resources on Iron Mistress:
Steel Away "A Guidebook to the World of Steel Sailboats" by LeCain W. Smith/Sheila Moir
Yacht Styles "Design and Decor Ideas from the Worlds Finest Yachts" by Daniel Spurr
In 2015 the paint was removed with a carbide scraper (EPA stuff ) sanded with 60 Grit on a DA and 5 gallons— (4) coats of new Devoe-236 Bar-Rust was applied (any breakthroughs during sanding were repaired with Devoe Catha-Coat 301 after spot blasting with Black Beauty media) then coated with the aforementioned Bar-Rust. I then used AL 2000 which chemically etches the new epoxy and applied Interspeed 5650 bottom paint, (4) gallons. This has no metals in it and is the same commercial grade paint used on the aluminum Coast Guard cutters. In addition, a new Magnum 100 amp charger /inverter with smart remote was installed along with new commercial Forespar Marelon seacocks, thru-hulls and hoses.(So the bottom is set for another 20 to 30 years—literally!)
"Many more details were done and it should be noted that some of the items done took huge amounts of time to do like the painting, doing the mast etc.—essentially the boat is better than new with numerous improvements with extra 316l welding to minimize future maintenance" ~ Robert Brown
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