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Old 15-04-2017, 09:26   #1
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Vermiculite on a sailboat

I was looking on kijiji and came across an ad for a sailboat for sale, owner stated that all vermiculite had been removed from bilge.
Was this very cancerous material used in lots of sailboats during the 60s and 70s?
I know it was used in homes and was banned in the early eighties
Didn't think I needed to worry about this stuff in my boat search
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Old 15-04-2017, 09:28   #2
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Re: Vermiculite on a sailboat

The boat is a 1979 j24 sailboat
Thanks for any help
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Old 15-04-2017, 09:39   #3
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Re: Vermiculite on a sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sirzones View Post
I was looking on kijiji and came across an ad for a sailboat for sale, owner stated that all vermiculite had been removed from bilge.
Was this very cancerous material used in lots of sailboats during the 60s and 70s?
I know it was used in homes and was banned in the early eighties
Didn't think I needed to worry about this stuff in my boat search
From wikipedia
Quote:
. The United States government estimates that vermiculite was used in more than 35 million homes, but does not recommend its removal. Nevertheless, homes or structures containing vermiculite or vermiculite insulation dating from before the mid 1990s—and especially those known to contain the "Zonolite" brand—may contain asbestos, and therefore may be a health concern.
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Old 15-04-2017, 09:39   #4
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Re: Vermiculite on a sailboat

I've not heard of vermiculite in boats....? Are you sure the seller didn't have an "auto correct" moment? :>)
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Old 15-04-2017, 09:47   #5
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Re: Vermiculite on a sailboat

Asbestos is the problem, not all Vermiculite has it. Unfortunately one of the most prevalent mines used did have asbestos in it. Vermiculite is/was even used for growing soil and seed germination...
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Old 15-04-2017, 09:55   #6
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Re: Vermiculite on a sailboat

From a quick google search, vermiculite was used in all j24 sailboats until hull 1900, it was used to strengthen keel on racing boats
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Old 15-04-2017, 16:20   #7
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Re: Vermiculite on a sailboat

Has anyone heard of any other boats using this ?
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Old 15-04-2017, 16:35   #8
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Re: Vermiculite on a sailboat

I don't see how it would strengthen anything, maybe there is a form I'm not aware of. I could see it used as filler in resin slurry like big microballoons maybe...? It's very lightweight...
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Old 15-04-2017, 17:45   #9
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Re: Vermiculite on a sailboat

Quite a few early GRP boats used resin/vermiculite in the bilge as a hull stiffener. It was not really common, but worth being aware of.

It is a big issue with early J/24s.

> Was this very cancerous material

Don't fall for the hype coming from scaremongers. Vermiculite per se is quite safe. The "cancerous" issue relates to the fact that some, old vermiculite contains asbestos.

It may be of value to read about the widespread use of vermiculite today and the problem of asbestos contaminated vermiculite up to the mid 1990's.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vermiculite
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Old 15-04-2017, 17:46   #10
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Re: Vermiculite on a sailboat

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I don't see how it would strengthen anything, maybe there is a form I'm not aware of. I could see it used as filler in resin slurry like big microballoons maybe...? It's very lightweight...
Yep, that's exactly how it was used for strengthening/stiffening.
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Old 15-04-2017, 21:29   #11
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Re: Vermiculite on a sailboat

Stu, I still don't get it! How was the vermiculite used to stiffen a bilge? Hard to see how some sort of bog accomplishes this end.

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Old 15-04-2017, 21:35   #12
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Re: Vermiculite on a sailboat

I wonder if these boats were ever recalled for this material being in them?
Or maybe in a solid state it might not be harmful
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Old 15-04-2017, 23:22   #13
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Re: Vermiculite on a sailboat

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Stu, I still don't get it! How was the vermiculite used to stiffen a bilge? Hard to see how some sort of bog accomplishes this end.

Jim
More the keel than the bilge.

Mixed with resin, it provided athwartship support for the keel bolts and it was also used as packing between the keel area and the sole.
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Old 16-04-2017, 00:14   #14
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Re: Vermiculite on a sailboat

Hmmm... this does not create a warm fuzzy feeling for J-boats construction. Not that they used vermiculite, but that they used it thus. A bit more glass in the scantlings or additional floors would seem a better approach to this amateur.

But there are a hell of a lot of J-24s floating about with the keels still attached, so perhaps I'm being silly!

And for the record, if it is mixed up as bog, even the vermiculite with traces of asbestos would not be a health hazard for a sailor on board.

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Old 16-04-2017, 03:16   #15
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Re: Vermiculite on a sailboat

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But there are a hell of a lot of J-24s floating about with the keels still attached, so perhaps I'm being silly!
It is only a problem with the first nineteen hundred or so out of the five and a half thousand built.

The majority of those early J/24s have since had the vermiculite replaced. There are firms that specialise in doing it and you can also buy DIY kits for the purpose.
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