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Old 31-07-2006, 20:30   #1
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Arrow 2bros, 2yrs build and 3yrs around the world!

Hi everyone,

My brother and I are embarking on our next adventure and wanted to introduce ourselves to the forum. [Last one was a 8 day Land Rover race across the Australian Outback and before that a 2800 mile trek through Mexico and Belize] We've just acquired a 55' yatch that has never seen water nor is it complete, it was FREE. The story behind it is that a man was building it in Tampa Bay and passed away in a car accident leaving it untouched in the boat yard where he was working on it some 20 years ago. It's been sitting since and while it hasn't rotted it's in pretty bad shape [photos to come.] It seems like a good long-term project in our opinion. We have a past of taking on insurmountable tasks! He has more experience sailing than I as I have none, I'm the Land Rover nut..so I'm looking forward to learning as I go.

Basically right now we are in the planning phase and will be for the next 1-3 months. Our vision for the project is to have it sea worthy in 24-36 months to depart from the corporate world we all know to sail around the world for 2-3 years. We are both extreamly resourcefull and capable individuals. We also have all the tools/basic skills to finish the boat. Engine mechanics, carpentry, electrical, technology, sanding/refinishing, ETC. Our goal is to do as much of the work ourselves as possible contracting out only the things 110% required. We are going to try and source as many items second hand and refinish when required. Basically we want to take our time, build it ourselves and spend as little as possibly. I'll throw a few questions out there to get irons in the fire for now. This will be an ongoing thread and we plan on putting up a simple webpage dedicated to the build as well.

- What would we expect to spend finishing the ship? The hull is done made of feralite fiberglass [needs sanded and coated], basic interior is trimmed out [very basic], mast mounting hardware is complete, likage from desk to below is complete for rudder, plumbing needs re-evaluated as does electrical, appliances and interior bits are non-existant and a few other things. Basically it's a shell that needs the inside, top side and outside finished. Simple right!

- Does anyone know what feralite is? It's supposedly a form of fiberglass but I can't seem to find anything else. Boat building materials seem to follow trends so maybe someone is familiar..

- Where are good sources for used parts or relatively inexpensive parts that we are going to need along the way of the build process? Aside from the obvious craigslist or eBay any specialized places that people normally use when building..

- Any suggestions for us? Books to pickup, sites to visit or people to contact?

Thanks in advance everyone!

Kind regards,

[PS - Posted in a few other spots so I appologize if you see this elseware.]
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Old 01-08-2006, 13:16   #2
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The only thing more expensive than a cheap boat, is a free one. The same can be said for Jeeps and Land Rovers too!

I'd highly recomend you build a tender before getting to work on the boat. My personal preference would be the 10' Spindrift from http://www.bandbyachtdesigns.com/ . This will give you some basic experience with the skills you'll be using on the big boat. PLUS! (and this is a big plus) it will give you something to hone your sailing skills with and keep your interest up while you're building the "mothership".

Also, go buy "Lionheart" and "Kijana" and read them back-to-back. It might give you some ideas.
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Old 01-08-2006, 13:46   #3
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Aloha 2bros,
Welcome aboard!! I'm glad you are here and we can exchange ideas. Please buy two books, From a Bare Hull by Ferenc Mate and This Old Boat by Don Casey.
My first recommendation is that you buy absolutely no electronics until you are ready to sail. Changes are so rapid in that field that they'll be obsolete by the time you want to use them.
My second recommendation is that you don't buy an engine until you are nearly ready to go in the water even if it seems like a real bargain. You can install an engine bed to fit whatever engine you use just before launching. When you do buy an engine make certain it is a marine engine with all the proper heat exchanger and cooling pumps mounted on it.
My third recommendation is that you do not use anything other than marine grade plywood for any exterior projects and that you seal up the exterior to prevent rain from entering the boat. Freshwater destroys exposed wood in a tropical climate very quickly.
I have heard the term feralite but don't know about it is other than it is a certain type of glass. Epoxy resin and hardener will be compatible with anything along those lines. Polyester resins and hardeners will probably be compatible.
While shopping on eBay for stuff you'll see some repeat sellers at certain marine exchanges. Some are located near you. I'd check them out for good used gear.
Ask a lot of questions. There are many knowledgeable people on this forum who can help.
Kind Regards, --JohnL--
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Old 01-08-2006, 14:39   #4
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Maybe it's built out of old fishing rods..<Gr>.

I would suggest that you take a few core samples and have them tested and also hire a good marine surveyor to have your hull appraised before spending a lot of time/money on the project. If it has been sitting for 20 yrs., there could well be delamination, deck core damage, etc.

Just a suggestion. Good luck.

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Old 01-08-2006, 17:47   #5
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Suggestions: RUN AWAY!

It was given to you, free, because otherwise someone would have had to pay to have five (?) tons of hazardous waste disposed of.

The hull is the cheapest part of the boat. After 20 years, the odds are most of the wood used for structural bulkheads and the deck interior (typically) have rotted away. Sails for a 55' boat for a global trip aren't going to be cheap....You might skimp at $30,000. Then there's the mast and standing rigging, that's going to be a 5-figure number too. Another maybe $20,000 for an engine and transmission and batteries...
I'd guess that unless you do some radical junkyard work, you're looking at a fast $100,000 plus storage and yard fees before that boat can be launched. Easily more if you build it to common safety standards and fittings, add the life raft that an oceangoer should have, a few other big ticket items.

Now, I've heard of creative people who use things like aluminum street lamp posts instead of masts, but there's only so much scrounging and figuring you can do before you build a hazard that the USCG won't allow to sea. There's a limit to how far you can temp the gods with kludges afloat, and if all this is new to you, I would strongly suggest reading up 24x7 for 2 or 3 months before you touched the wreck.

You may decide to deny ever having accepted it. For the hundred grand and three years of hard labor, you can buy a real boat that will have some resale value. I'd guess that no matter how well you finish off your "Feralite Custom 55" it will not have a resale value higher than $25-$35,000 when you are done, whereas a boat you bought would retain most of its full value, less a worn out set of sails.

http://wbeditor.typepad.com/rudderpo...he_bar_pl.html
More on Feralite, and the "inventor", who is now deceased. Apparently it is like FerroCement but using epoxy putty instead of cement. That could be good (no interior wood to rot) or very bad...like when the mesh in ferrocement boats goes bad.

Take a long sober look at it, anything that hasn't been sold after 20 years in the Florida boat market...that's scary. Good luck if you decide to keep it!
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Old 01-08-2006, 19:50   #6
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Ah hah! Big brother did some digging in the boat today and found some interesting information...

This is the ship:

http://www.hartley-boats.com/cbreeze.html - It's actually 45'.

With that being said now that we know what we attempting to build can anyone make any more realistic claims?

He also found tons more hardware, hundreds of ft of new line, all the windows, and several more items in a back storage room we didn't enter last weekend.

Maybe this isn't such a crazy idea after all!
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Old 01-08-2006, 20:02   #7
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Samson *are* known for ferrocement, so it is possible this guy simply bought fc plans and used the epoxy instead of cement. Your best bet would be to contact them (or Hartley) and see if they have a bill of materials with a typical rig, etc. and approximate costs, or to see if they can refer you to people who have bought their plans and completed other hulls.
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Old 01-08-2006, 20:03   #8
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Feralite as ferro cement?

Dregging up from the murky depths of my alcohol damaged memory feralite was a form of "light" concrete possibly made by combining the cement with vermiculite (expanded rock) or similar.
If the hull is 20 years old and is still in one piece you are going to have to go over it inch by inch and check it carefully for cracks and corrosion.....
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Old 01-08-2006, 21:49   #9
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Aloha 2 bros,
Didn't know it was concrete. I'll stay way out of the conversation in that all my experiences with concrete boats have been bad and thank G-- I've never owned one.
Kind Regards, --JohnL--
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Old 01-08-2006, 23:31   #10
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Hi 2bro's, I can't wait to see some photo's. Get them up as soon as you can.
Ferrolight is indeed a cement product. It is supposed to be as strong as Cement but a fraction of the wieght. I have not had any personal use with it myself. But I do know of some very large and simply beautiful yachts built from the stuff. Becuase it is so easy to work with, the builders would often fair the hulls to make them look as if they were glass.
Don't panic to much about what the hull looks like. It will lok far worse than it actually is. As mentioned, timber work and fresh water is your biggest concern if it has been left exposed to the elements.
I Look forward to follow the story.
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Old 02-08-2006, 02:21   #11
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Hey,2bros,I love people with a sense of adventure!!.The way I read ya thread is,ya got 2/3 yrs spare time to play with it and maybe it will cost ya 100,000 to get it up to sailable standards,but ya gonna do it anyway!! arn't you.What nobody has realised is ya haven't got 100,000 to buy a boat outright now.It seems here Downunder and err nots let forget the east Is "Newzealand" ferro boats are popular mainly because they were built right the first time,so,seeing that yours was built in the US of A,Id be more inclined to find out if the dude that built it was a HIPPIE at any stage of his life."Hey man,where's the stash?DOH!I hid it in the mesh the day before we plastered! S#@T man,"What else is in there???"That basicly could be ya main problem,and to ultra sound a whole hull proffesionaly is lots'a $$$$.Problem is,some HIPPIES,hid their lifestyle very well,and I guess even this approach wont be 100% accurate.Hell I love adventurious people.There could be worse problems than to find out there's a whole VW combi in there some where,maybe they were lazy and plastered over two sittings and not one(not recomended),Timothy Leary could have been one of his best mates,or worse off,a mate ,of a mate,of a mate.If it sounds like I'm trying to discourage you,listen deeper,there is nothing bad about FC'S or ferrolite yachts,It's just that in the states they are frowned apon because they were not built right.If they were built wrong here Downunder the same would apply.Anyway what I really wanted to know was"That landrover,was it a real one?,"You know.1954 model,all alluminium,steel chasie,96" wheel base.Or was it one of those pretend one's ,Go anywhere,A/C,never see the bulldust,city clogging,lap O luxury model.Mudnut"Allways pissed,opps,Drunk!!!"
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Old 02-08-2006, 11:20   #12
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Hello 2 bros:

Good luck with the project. Look under multhulls in this forum. I believe GordMay posted a story about a guy who built a huge tri in central america by scrounging. Incredible story.

I would look into the man hours it takes to build a boat then multiply that by a factor of at least 2 but probably 4 or 5 (boat buildrs are supposed to know what they are doing where as you guys are learing on the fly) That may give you a more accurate time frame of how long it will take. Don't give up the adventure just check to see what is more important -- time frame or adventure. I just got back from Mexico where I looked at a boat that had cicumnavigation possibities but was badly in need of repairs. Original price was $30k but upon looking at it I lowered the offer to $10k with a provision that I could replace the nuts on the keel bolts prior to purchase. The keel bolts were the sticking point. I think the boat sold for $15k but it had new engine, sails, electronics, standing riggin. It needed $5k in parts and $10k in labor (or a couple of months of sweat equity) but you could've picked up a nice boat for $20kto $30k.There are more of them out there if you look.
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Old 02-08-2006, 11:27   #13
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I suspect that if you do go ahead with this http://www.sailorman.com/newsailor/base/index.php will be a very usefull site for you.
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Old 02-08-2006, 13:23   #14
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2bros,
Good luck on your project. I'm 4 years in on an 8 year project on a Samson ferro boat. If you have the time and the spirit of adventure, you could end up with an interesting boat--not much resale value but a good cruising boat. Age doesn't make much difference in fixability. Fer-A-Lite is supposed to have five times the bonding strength of Portland, is resilient and has greater impact strength. It weighs 60 lbs per cubic foot compared to 140 to 160 for cement. It was developed in the early 1970s. You might find Colin Brookes "Ferro-cement Boats" worthwhile at around $25.00. It's available at ferroboats.com.
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Old 02-08-2006, 13:50   #15
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To help a little further guy's, you don't need to ultra0sound or X-ray or what ever. There are tell tale signs if there is an issue with it's age, that would well and truely now be rearing it's ugly head. The important thing to do is track down the plans and build recomendations for this hull. Then inch by inch, ensure that the perameters have been adhered to. That is hull thickness, and design of stringers and other structural aspects. The emense strength of Ferro is NOT due to the fact that it is concrete. It is it's ability to flex and disperse stresses through out it's structure. This includes every aspect of it's design. Samson is a great design and was specificaly intended for this medium. So as long as the original builder stuck to all parameters, it should be a great boat.
Two shot is an OK method. Providing the two shot is outside and then inside. The problems of two shot are when the hull was built verticaly in two parts. e.g. the keel section first, followed by the rest of the hull a day or two later.
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