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Old 07-04-2009, 23:33   #1
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Carbon / Kevlar Hulls - Experience?

I'm looking for a first purchase and many people have recommended GRP hulls for ease of maintenance.

I've seen a few listings of Carbon/Kevlar and other synthetic materials. Does anyone have an idea of the pros/cons of this material for hulls? There is a 1989 Farr 40 made of this material and I'm wondering if it is worth an inspection.
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Old 08-04-2009, 00:18   #2
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I doubt this is a Farr 40 One Design? It's mostly E-glass, not Kevlar/carbon. If it's a 1989 it's probably an ex IOR racing boat.

Nothing wrong with Kevlar or Carbon - but as an ex-high end Grand Prix type racing boat it was probably "rode hard and put away wet". Be very careful of core delam in deck and hull; find a good surveyor. This type of construction is very light when done well, but there is little room for error if there are any flaws in construction. It's also built with lower safety margins than a typical cruising boat. Inspect the keel joint carefully.

And IOR boats can be a handful downwind in a breeze; not the thing for a cruising boat.

Got a link to the boat? I can offer more opinions if I know which one it is.
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Old 08-04-2009, 00:23   #3
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Thanks for your comments. No interior accommodations, but at that price I could get it done.

Farr 40 (ior): Sailing Boats for Sale - Carbon/kevlar - Western Australia (WA) - East Fremantle
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Old 08-04-2009, 05:46   #4
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i hate to recommend that you go to another forum, but you might want to inquire about the boat over at sailinganarchy. I am sure someone on the forums would know some details on the specific boat and how it was used. Be forewarned it is kind of like the wild west over there.
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Old 08-04-2009, 07:45   #5
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Are you seriously considering cruising this boat? Why don't just tell us a little more about the intended use for this boat, and perhaps the forum can give more focused advice. Are you a highly experienced ex-racer, or someone looking for a boat to race? Are you looking to cruise? Family and kids?

There is a lot more to an FRP boat than just the hull material. Before the choice of material is even considered, the suitability of the design for the intended purpose should be carefully vetted.
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Old 08-04-2009, 07:53   #6
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No, I'm a total nubie. I was just curious about Carbon/Kevlar for hulls.
Another kevlar/carbon boat I was looking at.
Boats for Sale - Yachts for Sale - Used & New Boats @ The Yacht Hub

My intended purpose is to have a boat marginally large enough to live aboard (1-2 adults) that is structurally sound and seaworthy (coastal) so I can work to upgrade it over time for long range cruising.
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Old 08-04-2009, 08:54   #7
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hull material may be the wrong place to start

saying you want to live aboard and then looking into a Farr 40 is something like saying you want a vehicle to haul tools and construction materials and then looking into a Ferarri.
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Old 08-04-2009, 09:04   #8
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OK, that helps. Carbon adds stiffness and is light, so racers and performance sailors love it. It is also expensive and brittle. The brittle part should concern a cruiser. When it fails, it fails catastrophically. A few cruising boat manufacturers use it, but in concert with other materials to take adavantage of it's strengths and mask it's weaknesses.

Kevlar is tough, extremely puncture and abrasion resistant, and is much more commonly used in cruising boats than carbon.

But the material is far less important for cruising than the design, and (some may disagree with me) a modern race boat like the Farr looks like an awful cruising design. The mast is a tall, skinny, bendy thing designed to be handled by an expert racing crew, and is not suitable for a cruising couple.

There are great resources for cruising desgns, but some of the things you should be looking for might include:

Cockpit seats you can stretch out on to read a book.

A provision to fit a snug spray dodger for cold, rough days.

Cabin ventilation - preferably large Dorade vents. If you are living aboard, do want some air below when it's raining?

A hull form that will provide a seakindly motion.

A much longer attachment of the keel to the hull than is found on most racing boats. If you are cruising, you will eventually run aground, and modern racing boats are very prone to structural damage from fairly minor groundings.

Don't get too hung up on materials, focus instead on the suitability of the design to the intended purpose.
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Old 08-04-2009, 09:26   #9
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saying you want to live aboard and then looking into a Farr 40 is something like saying you want a vehicle to haul tools and construction materials and then looking into a Ferarri.
Yes, I gather it is so. Its just that I've had quite a few people I've spoken to recommend the GRP and was wondering if a Carbon/Kevlar blend (if it is a blend -both these boats say the hull is Carbon/Kevlar or Kevlar/Carbon) is appropriate for a cruiser hull. Was limiting my search to GRP but saw these interesting listings in my cost range.

Thanks for all the tips.
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Old 08-04-2009, 12:53   #10
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Just a couple of quick observations on the Davidson. No cockpit coamings so your butts going to be wet all the time. There are no mooring cleats which will make doing anything but sailing it interesting. Fast is fun but not painless in these grand prix racers. If you are thinking about this type of boat you have to assess your willingness to endure constant pain to get to where you'll be going and then not be so comfortable when you get there. There is a reason there are cruising boats and then there are racing boats, especially in todays world. It seems that the days of the race capable cruising boat are 30 years in our past.

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Old 08-04-2009, 15:38   #11
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Carbon, kevlar etc are called (or were called) 'exotic' materials. You don't want to buy a boat made from them to go cruising. They are exoticly expensive and just for racing boats.

This racing boat is a tired old has-been.
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Water 150 litres approxShower NoToilet Electric at mastAccommodation Very open racing fitout with pipecots. (6 berths)Galley 2 burner metho stove (not installed)
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Old 08-04-2009, 18:44   #12
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saying you want to live aboard and then looking into a Farr 40 is something like saying you want a vehicle to haul tools and construction materials and then looking into a Ferarri.
Saw a foam kevlar Farr 40 get converted to a cruiser next to my last build and it was coming along very well.

They built a new Lyon/Lebraux go fast hull, chopped the deck/cabin off the farr and dropped it on the new hull, as the owner and crew were used to the tried and tested layout, then made a new WRC deck and a more cruiser orientated cabin for the old hull. Added swim platform/sugarscoop in the bum and it looked great.

I would have loved to buy her (and I dont particularly like mono's)as she was being sold as a primed hull and cabin,keel, bags and bags of kevlar sails and the diesel yet to be installed for well under $20k at the time. (divorce I think)

I could have seen myself in this, but then I like performance boats

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Old 08-04-2009, 19:10   #13
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All I can say is Kevlar is organic. I can rot. I have the inside of my little cedar strip racing skiff laminated with Carbon/Kevlar. I made sure it was well encapsulated with epoxy. I didn't want any end fibres exposed to moisture. It will wick up water.
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Old 08-04-2009, 19:16   #14
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I'm getting it now. There might be a path to converting a exotic hull for cruising, but really its quite a conversion.
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Old 08-04-2009, 19:55   #15
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Nothing wrong with kevlar and / or carbon per se. Plenty of decent kevlar or carbon racing boat -> crusing boat conversions out there. An old IOR 50' flush deck racer has been very nicely converted just along the marina from me.

My IOR 40' ex racing boat is slowly becoming a comfortable cruiser. It has a fair amount of kevlar in the build and is still stiff and strong.

There are risks with buying old racing boats, but you do get a lot of boat for very little money.
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