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Old 23-03-2011, 12:19   #16
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Re: Steel repairs?

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Originally Posted by redhead View Post
Dear Boracay - Our Roberts is definitely a work in progress and doable. My husband went to welding school and we've hired a professional welder from time to time to help him get the practice he needs. As we got further into the project we decided that we'd be stupid not to know what the inner hull looks like so I completely gutted the boat while his back was turned. Now we know exactly what we have and we can rebuild to our standards. The down side is it will take at least 2 years fulltime and a wheelbarrow full of money. My greatest wish is to go sailing fairly soon, not 2 - 5 years.

Sorry to run on, I'm torn about abandoning the Roberts.

If she's gutted already, why not rough in your interior with 1x1x1/8 angle iron, sheet the faces with plywood and go sailing. As long as she is ok as far as rig, hull, engine goes, the rest is cosmetic and can be done as time and money permits. Like travel to someplace where carpenters and exotic woods are cheap, then get it rebuilt to your satisfaction?

My 2nd last steel boat was done that way and I could never understand why. But now I do, and I'm most likely going to do the same to my Roberts 38. I'm at the point where money is starting to get tight, so mechanical comes before fancy wood work. I personally don't mind eating off a plywood table or doing my dinner prep on a plywood counter with a coat of epoxy sealer for cleanliness. Do you want to go sailing sooner? How important is a fancy interior to you?


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Old 23-03-2011, 12:38   #17
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Re: Feedback on Ferro Cement hulls

I agree - I don't need a palace to go sailing. HOWEVER, when I say gutted I mean it. The rust is in odd places, the angles are complex and acute and not trying to sound like a whiney-baby our welding skills are just not up to it. We did an estimate of cost/time for just the re-wiring (as I gutted I discovered the wiring hazards - too awful to contemplate) was $10,000+ USD. At that point we became aware that we had many years and our entire $$ resources to spend getting this boat ready. The boat yard is one of the last Do It Yourself yards left in Florida, but they are thinking of selling and I think - no I know - that we have bitten off much more than we can chew. A humiliating admission, but one I humbly have to make. We;ve owned it since 2003 and have made painfully little progress.

We'll see - but I stand firm that my dream is about years spent sailing, not years working on a boat.
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Old 23-03-2011, 19:48   #18
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Re: Feedback on Ferro Cement hulls

Give us the feedback on the boat after you see it. Properly built and maintained they will last a long time.
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Old 23-03-2011, 20:32   #19
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Re: Feedback on Ferro Cement hulls

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A humiliating admission, but one I humbly have to make. We;ve owned it since 2003 and have made painfully little progress.
That's tough. If you don't mind, let me take a slightly different tack. You have a boat in FL but live in Long Island, NY. That may be a significant portion of why you're not making the progress you want. You can't develop the welding skills because you're so far away. Otherwise it would be weld, screw it up, try again; repeat until correct.

My point is, concentrate on boats nearby.

Second, assuming the ferrocement boat is nearby, ask yourself what do you feel comfortable repairing? If that's fiberglass, there's your answer. For me it's wood (um, actually it's a wood/fiberglass/epoxy composite).

Third, don't put too much faith in the "professionally built" moniker. Apparently all boats are either "professional built" or built in consultation of the designer. Now try to square that with how there are any bad boats in existence at all.

Fourth, since we're on the skepticism kick, be wary of any survey or surveyor. A surveyor needs to be able to prove you they know not only he knows boats (NAMS and SAMS are a good start), but that construction method. I'd also ask the surveyor to provide references and a copy of one of his older surveys. If you see a lot of "noted but not tested" for important pieces of gear, move on. Or bring someone who has real experience in what you are looking at with you. If you can't , move on. There are lots of good deals but the right deal is the one you can live with.

Lastly, there are a lot of folks who would love to sell you their boat. Some few will tell you everything, most will omit key facts unless you know enough to ask them the specific question; a few will out and out lie. Caveat Emptor (with the emphasis on Caveat).

Hope that helps.
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Old 23-03-2011, 21:36   #20
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Re: Feedback on Ferro Cement hulls

It would depend if the boat is in the water or on land. Any collision damage to any boat is bound to cause fractures that migrate out from the contact point. How the repair dealt with these fractures or if they can even be seen or detected without fancy equipment is a major question. If the boat is in the water there may be visible weeping/weepage on the inside surface of the hull - if you can get to it to examine it. Also rust stains would be a dead giveaway that the hull is not longer intact/seaworthy.
- - So as a rule any boat that is made of a material where the damage cannot be fully assessed/seen and was just "patched" to look good is highly suspect.
- - No matter how great the interior of the boat is, if the hull is suspect what you are buying is a potential new reef habitat for the local sealife.
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Old 23-03-2011, 23:25   #21
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Re: Feedback on Ferro Cement hulls

I have found ferro boats to be fairly easy to repair over the years and when done properly are water tight with no water getting to the armature.My ferro yacht had a fibre glass charter boat drive full speed into the starboard side at about midships while she was on a mooring,charter boat was a right off and sank my boat had a 150mm hole 400mm above the water line.People in the marina office thought a bomb had gone off when they heard it from 100m away.I repaired this for less than $1000.Ferro boats are low maintance and i find at 20 ton for a 49ft yacht it compairs very well with steel of simular size.Mention FERRO and people with little or no first hand experiance start bashing them.
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Old 24-03-2011, 06:04   #22
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Re: Feedback on Ferro Cement hulls

When the subject of ferrocement hulled boat comes up you will almost always find the word phrase "when done properly" contained in the descriptions and statements. That is a major qualification that does not appear that often in the "other" hull materials. Sure there are badly done "other" boats, but with F-C it is a really major consideration. The major reputable insurance companies will not insure F-C because the loss ratio is just too high when considering all the F-C boats as a group which includes all those made "improperly" and the few that are made "properly".
- - This opens up the field of F-C boats to those looking for a significant "bargain" per foot of boat size. But any money you put into buying and fixing up the boat will be lost money should something happen - same as an uninsured "other" hull material boat. Except with F-C you don't have a choice of insuring or not.
- - If these factors are fine with you, go for it - just be really careful to examine/inspect the boat in minute detail and learn what the whole F-C hull world of maintenance and repair involves.
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Old 24-03-2011, 07:12   #23
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Re: Feedback on Ferro Cement hulls

F/C boats are hard to properly survey and even harder to insure
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Old 24-03-2011, 10:25   #24
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Re: Feedback on Ferro Cement hulls

Thanks for all the advice, my Emptor is on full Caveat.

Just as an aside we are no longer the starry-eyed-sail-off-into-the-sunset-pockets-full-of money weekend sailors we once were. We are fully prepared to do the majority of the work ourselves and in fact, that's the only way this is going to happen. It's the only way I will learn the systems, be able to repair them (without his help if necessary).

My husband built his first boat at 17 (to pull moorings in the harbor) and has had a construction/plumbing business for 35 years so he's an able guy and I'm playing catchup. We're in our 50's, not rich, not poor. The house is for sale and we will wind up in whatever state the boat is in eventually.

So, if knowledge is power and I knew didly about ferrocement, I figured I'd ask and someone out there would fill me in.

I think we're going to see the boat on Sunday 3/26. Again,it's in Florida but at least this one seems in shape to sail up here to NY if it's a viable project so we can work on her here.

Thanks again everyone, keep the advice coming!
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Old 24-03-2011, 18:52   #25
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Re: Feedback on Ferro Cement hulls

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When the subject of ferrocement hulled boat comes up you will almost always find the word phrase "when done properly" contained in the descriptions and statements. That is a major qualification that does not appear that often in the "other" hull materials. Sure there are badly done "other" boats, but with F-C it is a really major consideration. The major reputable insurance companies will not insure F-C because the loss ratio is just too high when considering all the F-C boats as a group which includes all those made "improperly" and the few that are made "properly"....
- - If these factors are fine with you, go for it - just be really careful to examine/inspect the boat in minute detail and learn what the whole F-C hull world of maintenance and repair involves.
I take it the above post is by someone who has owned a ferro hull? Or is it yet another case of more wisdom about ferro boats from a glass boat owner? Whatever, there is much contestable material there which is stated as fact. And I should add that I have boats of many hull materials, so I'm not running a defence from a position of blind bias.

First, your statement: "the major reputable insurance companies will not insure F-C because the loss ratio is just too high". I have never heard that reason given before. Are you able to provide some supporting documentation, of both the "loss ratio" and also the insurance industry's reasoning. Or is it just more of the hearsay dressed up as fact that ferro boats seem to attract?

Second, your statement: "considering all the F-C boats as a group which includes all those made "improperly" and the few that are made "properly". The "few made properly"... Wherever did you get a figure of the proportion of "improperly" and "properly" made ferro boats? Perhaps you could point me to the source? I know for example that there has been one major and a couple of lesser builders of ferro around here and all their fine work remains on display. Not forgetting all the vessels built by Samson & Hartley et al...

Third, your statement: "...learn what the whole F-C hull world of maintenance and repair involves." Perhaps you could enlighten me about just what the "world of maintenance and repair" involves because, of all my boats, the ferro hull requires the least by a very long shot. And as for repairs, I've watched closely the repair of a ferro that pounded on rocks for days and it was a cheap, rational process and the end result was every bit as good as new.
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Old 24-03-2011, 19:18   #26
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Re: Feedback on Ferro Cement hulls

Might want to check with the USCG, the Navy, your local fishing fleet or tug boat company and get their input on how they like all of their ferro cement hulls.
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Old 24-03-2011, 19:42   #27
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Re: Feedback on Ferro Cement hulls

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Might want to check with the USCG, the Navy, your local fishing fleet or tug boat company and get their input on how they like all of their ferro cement hulls.
Or how they like their glass hulls? . I love my steely too lorenzo b. Ferro, it's a niche market for those ahead of their time
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Old 24-03-2011, 19:47   #28
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Visible repair...

If you can see where a ferro cement hull has been repaired you need to ask questions regarding the quality of the repair.
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Old 31-03-2011, 06:45   #29
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Re: Feedback on Ferro Cement hulls

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Thanks for all the advice, my Emptor is on full Caveat.

Just as an aside we are no longer the starry-eyed-sail-off-into-the-sunset-pockets-full-of money weekend sailors we once were. We are fully prepared to do the majority of the work ourselves and in fact, that's the only way this is going to happen. It's the only way I will learn the systems, be able to repair them (without his help if necessary).

My husband built his first boat at 17 (to pull moorings in the harbor) and has had a construction/plumbing business for 35 years so he's an able guy and I'm playing catchup. We're in our 50's, not rich, not poor. The house is for sale and we will wind up in whatever state the boat is in eventually.

So, if knowledge is power and I knew didly about ferrocement, I figured I'd ask and someone out there would fill me in.

I think we're going to see the boat on Sunday 3/26. Again,it's in Florida but at least this one seems in shape to sail up here to NY if it's a viable project so we can work on her here.

Thanks again everyone, keep the advice coming!
Did you go see the boat? How did she look ? keep us posted.
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Old 01-04-2011, 03:44   #30
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Re: Feedback on Ferro Cement hulls

I'd just like to know if anyone on here knocking ferros actually knows anything about them? I am currently living aboard a 45ft Wilf O'Kell designed Zeus and love my yacht. It sails very well, easy to handle, extremely comfortable and a lot cheaper than the same size yacht built in any other material.

I do understand that there were a lot of dodgy backyard jobs built, but if you can find a professionally built one at the right price, i wouldnt hesitate to buy another, just do your research.

We are currently doing a small refit on ours as it was a bit neglected when we purchased her, but the hull is in excellent condition and worth fixing up. She has already circumnavigated and we are planning to do the same thing in her.

The old ferro debate will go on forever, so its useless asking the advice of ill-informed people who will make stuff up to justify their response.

My advice would be to look hard at what you are after in a yacht, find one in budget, make sure its sound and go with it, regardless of its material.

p.s. they are generally very easy to repair as well.
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