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Old 08-04-2019, 14:58   #1
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Ferrocement

So i would like to hear of the drawbacks of Ferrocement boats. Seem like were it ever sink it would go down Really Really Fast.
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Old 08-04-2019, 15:10   #2
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Re: Ferrocement

When done right they will last forever. Chances of finding one done right are as close to zero as you can get.
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Old 08-04-2019, 15:26   #3
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Re: Ferrocement

There is a good reason that no one is building ferrocement boats now compared to 30 to 40 years ago when they were very common - and sometimes even finished.
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Old 08-04-2019, 16:04   #4
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Re: Ferrocement

absolutely right; it's a well known fact that if you dropped a ferro yacht and a fibreglass yacht off the leaning tower of Pisa, the ferro yacht would fall twice as fast
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Old 08-04-2019, 16:41   #5
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Re: Ferrocement

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbk View Post
When done right they will last forever. Chances of finding one done right are as close to zero as you can get.

Considering the age of most ferros still floating, the chances are now a lot higher!


As for sinking, avoid reefs at all cost. They can take a hit, but they can't take a pounding.
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Old 08-04-2019, 16:43   #6
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Re: Ferrocement

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayberrybfd View Post
So i would like to hear of the drawbacks of Ferrocement boats. Seem like were it ever sink it would go down Really Really Fast.
In years gone by they were popular with the boat building crowd because:
- they could be built relatively cheap
- skills set required was minimal
- hull price was then 50 to 60% (my estimate) of the the total price

After all those years the drawbacks are:
- many builders did not got the building right, producing hulls that were less than sound
- a badly built hull cannot be made OK again
- fitouts of ferro boats were often way below par due poor choice in materials and/or lack of skills of the builder
- mechanical solutions (ie steeering, propulsion) were often eh... agricultural
- other solutions were often very budget focused, meaning less optimal for a sailing boat
- very few insurance companies are willing to ensure ferro hulls. And particular this point has driven the prices down IMO
- value of a concrete hull is nowadays more likely close to zero, or even negative
- value of a complete ferro sailing boat only slightly more
- therefore, if one owns a ferro boat, over capitilising is almost a certainty

Good points:
- many very good boats are available at very good prices

Common myths:
- all ferro boats are bad
- ferro cannot be repaired after an incident
- all ferro boats sail like a dog, but indeed some do sail like that
- all ferro boats are ugly, but indeed some are
- maintenance is cheap on a ferro boat (yeah, a good hull is OK without paint, but all the other gear needs the same maintenance as every other boats needs)

Indeed ferro boats sink after being holed, and the rate of sinking is not the issue. The sinking is! Nearly all keel boats with a hole in the hull, go down.

Disclaimer: I had a ferro boat for nearly 20 years
A quick search produced many previous threads, just listed 2 of them:
Is it worth it?
Edward William Marine Services Insurance - Anyone Use?

addit: just noted Reefmagnet's comment: "can take a hit but NOT a pounding". He is right!
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Old 08-04-2019, 17:40   #7
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Re: Ferrocement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reefmagnet View Post
Considering the age of most ferros still floating, the chances are now a lot higher!


As for sinking, avoid reefs at all cost. They can take a hit, but they can't take a pounding.
True enough hey! I’ve personally known one good one still sailing last I heard but imagine it won’t after the owner passes and it will most likely end up in a landfill unfortunately.
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Old 08-04-2019, 18:30   #8
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Re: Ferrocement

Chances of getting insurance are really, really slim.

Extremely difficult to survey as the structure depends on the armature and the only way to inspect that is by X-ray (extremely expensive). It will be very difficult to find a surveyor and any surveyor stupid enough to take the job on should cause doubts about his expertise.
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Old 08-04-2019, 22:13   #9
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Re: Ferrocement

Quote:
Originally Posted by HankOnthewater View Post
In years gone by they were popular with the boat building crowd because:
- they could be built relatively cheap
- skills set required was minimal
- hull price was then 50 to 60% (my estimate) of the the total price

After all those years the drawbacks are:
- many builders did not got the building right, producing hulls that were less than sound
- a badly built hull cannot be made OK again
- fitouts of ferro boats were often way below par due poor choice in materials and/or lack of skills of the builder
- mechanical solutions (ie steeering, propulsion) were often eh... agricultural
- other solutions were often very budget focused, meaning less optimal for a sailing boat
- very few insurance companies are willing to ensure ferro hulls. And particular this point has driven the prices down IMO
- value of a concrete hull is nowadays more likely close to zero, or even negative
- value of a complete ferro sailing boat only slightly more
- therefore, if one owns a ferro boat, over capitilising is almost a certainty

Good points:
- many very good boats are available at very good prices

Common myths:
- all ferro boats are bad
- ferro cannot be repaired after an incident
- all ferro boats sail like a dog, but indeed some do sail like that
- all ferro boats are ugly, but indeed some are
- maintenance is cheap on a ferro boat (yeah, a good hull is OK without paint, but all the other gear needs the same maintenance as every other boats needs)

Indeed ferro boats sink after being holed, and the rate of sinking is not the issue. The sinking is! Nearly all keel boats with a hole in the hull, go down.

Disclaimer: I had a ferro boat for nearly 20 years
A quick search produced many previous threads, just listed 2 of them:
Is it worth it?
Edward William Marine Services Insurance - Anyone Use?

addit: just noted Reefmagnet's comment: "can take a hit but NOT a pounding". He is right!
That is an excellent summary.

There is one in the river I am anchored in which, other than patched holes from a runaway pontoon, has not had any maintenance in twenty years. Other than all the paint having fallen of it still looks to be in excellent condition.
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Old 09-04-2019, 05:13   #10
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Re: Ferrocement

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbk View Post
When done right they will last forever. Chances of finding one done right are as close to zero as you can get.
There's your answer right there.


Unless you can find a ferrocement hull expert (of which there are, also, "as close to zero as you can get") then buying a ferrocement hull is a complete crapshoot. Actually, your odds of coming out ahead are probably a lot LESS than with shooting craps!
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Old 09-04-2019, 05:38   #11
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Re: Ferrocement

All depends upon the builder, mine was built by Potter and Bishop in the UK to a Hartly plan. Still solid as a rock and has survived since 1979.


We are out of the water at present as a cabin refit is ongoing.


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Old 09-04-2019, 06:27   #12
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Re: Ferrocement

I had one many years ago, built by a professional yard on a male mould. The hull was excellent, the hull maintenance was minimal. I would not hesitate if I could find a good one. For every good one, there seem to be at least 10 bad ones out there.

A big positive of ferro hulls is quietness.

Unfortunately, what was said above about pounding on a reef is true
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Old 09-04-2019, 07:46   #13
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Re: Ferrocement

Quote:
Originally Posted by MartinR View Post

A big positive of ferro hulls is quietness.

Very true we use an intercom on board as sound transmission is very poor throughout the boat. Also external noises are very much muted.
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Old 12-04-2019, 09:58   #14
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Re: Ferrocement

Writing this from a 38 year old ferro boat that is floating nicely, thank you.

If the boats are yard built, and cured inside temperature controlled boatsheds, there should be nothing wrong with them. Too many built in back yards by people who had not a clue has given them bad reps and rightly so for those boats.

We have the original build plans, the daily logs of placing the armatures, what they tied them with, the six plasterers that worked full time for I can't remember how long and the pictures that were taken at each step along the way. We just got finished drilling a 5" hole in the deck to take our new windlass - the deck was 1 1/4" thick, the steel rod looked new and it ruined our diamond bit hole saw.

The surveyor was able to observe the condition inside the hull in two places, the engine room and the anchor locker. Many insurance companies just turned us down flat (company directives - no ferro at all), but we sent Markel copies of the build details and they have insured us for the last 5 years for a reasonable price. We've never had a claim, so I can't speak to that.

I love to hear the stories of people who've never stood on, lived on or sailed ferro boats. It makes me smile.
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