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Old 18-12-2009, 11:08   #346
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Insurance - Liability (3rd party) is required by most marinas and boatyards in the USA and its territories. Be sure that you have a definite "Yes we can cover you" before buying the boat. Mexico is about the only other country requiring such insurance in this hemisphere and you have to get it from a Mexican company.
- - All the other countries of Central America and the Caribbean could care less. You do not need it.
- - As to the USA most of the marinas/boatyards ask for the insurance binder, photo-copy it, and then put it into a folder with your other paperwork. Nobody really looks at it or reads it - unless - you have an "incident." So avoid having any "incidents."
- - 2 meter draft is not a problem anywhere in the Caribbean Basin/waters and even the Bahamas - although it gets a little tight there if you want to get up close and personal to some of the island beaches. Along the USA east coast it is also not a problem except in some place along the Intracoastal Waterway. But those can be avoided by ducking outside into the Atlantic and then re-entering at a further point.
- - Maybe not too important on the "Left" coast of the USA, but near absolutely necessary on the east coast is getting "Towing Insurance." This is insurance available from BoatUS or directly from SeaTow (on the web) for about US$100 per year (plus or minus). When you do get "stuck in the mud" somewhere they will come out with a towboat and pull you free for no charge. Otherwise, the charges without such insurance would be in the multi-thousands of dollars. Each outfit also provides other valuable services to you besides running aground such as towing you into a harbor if you have a disabled engine or ran out of fuel, etc.
- - As to cruising grounds, the Pacific NW cruising requires that you have a good strong engine to counter the rather strong currents in places. Even in the Caribbean you need an engine that will push your boat at least 4-6 kts against 15 to 20 kts of wind head on. Otherwise you will be going every which way but the way you want to go. The trade winds are constant and can be quite strong.
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Old 18-12-2009, 11:42   #347
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That is a great help. I did not know about the Towing Insurance - thanks for that! We have the RNLI but one doesn't like to bother them as they are really an emergency service. Can I bother you more for some advice on good cruising pilots for the West Coast. Do you have a ferro boat yourself as you are on this thread?

From what I gather, cruising seasons in the US are much the same as over here in the UK (April to September), with Caribbean season being From November to April to avoid the huriccanes? That would offer a good passage plan. By the way, I take it you get some serious storms from the pacific hit you there, as we do from the North Atlantic?

Now that I'm buying a ferro boat, looking to cruise on a rough 1000 per month budget, and becoming a sea gypsy at last, I think the final controversial point is becoming a poor parent and taking my children away from schools, society etc - which is causing some interesting arguments with the land loving friends...
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Old 18-12-2009, 12:54   #348
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I have a FRG boat as being in the business of sales and repairs I can ultimately fix the boat even if it sinks so long as I can get it back to the surface.
- - Just go on-line and Google TowBoatUS or SeaTow to find out about the costs and services and where they are located. If might be that on the "left" coast one is better than the other as to the number of locations serviced.
- - You might look at: Latitude 38 - The West's Leading Sailing and Marine Magazine for some good information about the west coast of the USA and Mexico, etc. Cruising guides are abundantly available in every marine store and even on eBay. Just find the ones you are most comfortable with their style of presentation.
- - Sailing seasons are variable but generally you go north in the summers and south in the winters. For the tropical areas of the Central American and Caribbean Basin the tropical storms start in the Central American waters in May to August then shift to the Atlantic waters east of the Caribbean islands from August to November; then shift back to the Central American waters for November. It all has to do with water temperatures. The western Caribbean waters heat up earlier than the Atlantic waters. But there are major factors such as El Nino and the Saharan Dust storms that can alter the number and strength of any season's storms. But generally those months hold on average over many years.
- - 1K GBP should guarantee a comfortable life on a boat barring any catastrophic events. As to kids, they thrive on boats and with a good "home schooling" system from one of the major schools specializing in such things - you will become the world's best parent and the kids will become self-assured, knowledgeable and confident young people. The basic requirements on a sailing boat of everybody's responsible to keep the family alive and involved equates to real parenting versus absentee parenting as found on land. You do not really have a choice, everybody is crammed together in a small space 24/7/365 and you either get along together or end up killing each other. Some of the best children I have ever met are all "boat kids."
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Old 20-12-2009, 08:14   #349
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Hi Bill,its great to read your report of your trip to Aus on Takutori, its always good to get a report based on an actual,recent,real world trip of considerable length,it looks like your Ferro boat performed its duties just like any other material would. Perhaps you can shed some light on the realities of insurance,it seems that a lot of folks get scared away from ferro for no reason other than being unable to find an insurance company who will sell them a policy,so it seems to me that you have had to stop at marinas occasionally along the way in a number of countries,were you required to have insurance?
Steve.
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Old 20-12-2009, 09:35   #350
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Originally Posted by johnedwards View Post
Could anyone please let me know if they if it is possible to get third party liability insurance for ferro yachts in Australia and if so where from.

Thanks

I have mine fully insured with no survey. P.M. me if you want the details.
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Old 22-12-2009, 06:28   #351
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Thanks again for all of the info on the West Coast and Caribbean OsirisSail - it will be a great help. I am visiting California in January to get things moving, so I'll get a first look at the locale. I have found an insurnace broker in the UK who deals with ferro boats, so all good on that score.
Would it be reasonable to sail south from CA south past Mexico, through the Panama canal, and up to north of Florida on the East Coast starting in November to miss the hurricane season? Visiting North East Coast USA for the summer and returning south to visit the caribbean the following November?
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Old 22-12-2009, 06:41   #352
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I've just thought of something else on the FC topic. In defence of other materials, people have stated on this and other threads that the cost of a yacht's hull is only 1/3 of the overall price, thus buying a ferro boat for low cost is not worth it. If this is so, I would expect the overall price to be only a fraction below GRP or timber or other materials. Yet some of these boats are 20% of the price of an equivelent non fero boat! How can this be? Surely the fact that a hull is only 1/3 of the cost does not work in this equation?
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Old 22-12-2009, 07:48   #353
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GM,i keep reading on these forums about how cheap Ferro boats are but im not sure where folks are finding these, for every cheap ferro boat i see for sale i can find a dozen comparable glass boats just as cheap.The only place i see a lot of ferro boats for sale is on Ferroboats and the prices asked are comparable with glass boats of similar vintage and condition.
Steve.
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Old 22-12-2009, 07:50   #354
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Originally Posted by GreyMarauder View Post
I've just thought of something else on the FC topic. In defence of other materials, people have stated on this and other threads that the cost of a yacht's hull is only 1/3 of the overall price, thus buying a ferro boat for low cost is not worth it. If this is so, I would expect the overall price to be only a fraction below GRP or timber or other materials. Yet some of these boats are 20% of the price of an equivelent non fero boat! How can this be? Surely the fact that a hull is only 1/3 of the cost does not work in this equation?
That is specificly why very very few of them are built professionally, expecally in the US. The amount that the yacht can be sold for is often less than the cost of constructing it. Since perceived value of the yacht is less than it's cost, only a fool would start a company to build one.

There are other mitigating factors. There are few "brand name" boats, unlike Catalina, Beneteau yacht, Sea Ray, Bristol, etc. There is little way to know if they were built up to spec, or just hacked together.

Many of the ferro-cement boats were constructed "on the cheap". Wooden masts, poor electrical wireing, galvanized rigging, and concrete/scrap iron ballast. And a 100 other ways to build a boat on the cheap. Many of the ferro-cement boats are circa 1970, and are thus old designs, old technology, and just old in general. They often have things like ketch rigs, full keels, and deep draft. And since many were built back in the 1970s, they have older engines with more hours on them.

Finally, there is the problem with a small market. It's tough to get a good surveyer for FC. There are some unique quality problems to poorly built FC making a survey even more important. Any repair work requires a diffrent set of tools, and a diffrent skill set, making it harder to find qualifed people to do the repair.

You add it all up, the boats were sigificantly cheaper to make, but have an even lower value.

The closes non FC boats with a similar condition would be some of the asian built boats from the 1970s. The Formosa, Choy Lee, or Force 50s. They are often similar prices to the FC boats however.
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Old 24-12-2009, 03:54   #355
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Cheap Boats

Hi Clockwork Orange, I must admit I have probably spent more time than is healthy surfing and visiting boat yards and brokers looking for bargain boats. You never get a great boat for peanuts - what you can get is a great deal on a boat that needs some work on it. Especially in the current climate, when anything considered a luxury (and some odd folk actually do consider boats a luxury item...). If the work in question is an area that you feel comfortable about doing or having done for you (or in some cases simply ignoring!), then you have a bargain. And if you have some idea of what to look for, there are also certain issues which will drop the price of a boat through the deck boards.

For instance, in the GRP field, a boat that has osmosis will be at a rock bottom price, because everybody will be scared to touch it. In most cases it is actually nowhere near the problem it is perceived to be, and is also not beyond home repair. I have also had a great deal on buying a boat with rig issues. Again, it is an area that scares some people off yet is relatively cheap to repair. Ferro boats are the next area I want to explore for getting a great deal of boat for not too much money - so watch this space and I'll keep you updated.

If you are looking for a cheap boat, be prepared to look at brokers/sites throughout the whole globe. Also be prepared to put in an offer that is verging on insulting. I have had several brokers look at me in disgust, with the actual owner of the boat willing to accept. Avoid any project boats with lots of work outstanding that have been too many other peoples forgotten dreams unless you seriously have the time and money to apply; in most of these cases, you will spend more than the cost of buying a decent used boat anyway.

As a final point on this, can anybody tell me why the cost of boats is so much cheaper in the USA compared to the UK? It is still cheaper to buy a boat out there and have it shipped back to the UK than buy one here in the first place!?
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Old 25-12-2009, 17:48   #356
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Been researching Ferro boats lately and saw some excellent looking boats in the Nz boat sites. Here is what Wiki says about the boats: Steel-reinforced cement (ferrocement) - Strong and long lasting. First developed in the mid 19th Century in France. Used for building warships during the war. Extensively refined in New Zealand shipyards in the 1950s and the material became popular among amateur builders of cruising sailboats in the 1970s and 1980s, because the material cost was cheap although the labour time element was high. The weight of a finished ferrocement boat is comparable to that of a traditionally built wooden boat. As such they are often built for slower, more comfortable sea passages. Hulls built properly of ferrocement are more labor-intensive than steel or fiberglass, so there are few examples of commercial shipyards using this material. The inability to mass produce boats in ferrocement has led there to there being few examples around. Many ferrocement boats built in back yards have a rough, lumpy look, which has helped to give the material a poor reputation. The ferrocement method is easy to do, but it is also easy to do wrong. This has led to some disastrous 'home-built' boats. Properly designed, built and plastered ferrocement boats have smooth hulls with fine lines, and therefore are often mistaken for wooden or fiberglass boats. See also concrete ship, concrete canoe.


One key point here is: "The inability to mass produce boats in ferrocement has led there to there being few examples around. "

I might just buy one yet....
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Old 29-12-2009, 16:33   #357
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We love ferro boats, I currently sail a Samson C-Farer (ferrocement, currently for sale by the way) and I am still working on the Samson C-Ranger (Fer-A-Lite) the 45' ketch in Ruskin mentioned back in 2006 on this list, I wish I had not decided to put the pilot house on, my 6 month project celebrated its 5 year anniversary this past August

I should mention that SmallYachts is the manufacturer of Fer-A-Lite brand mortar mix.

Yes there are alot of bad examples of ferrocement hulls out there, alot of those were built in the 70's when the self sufficiency scene was hot, but there are far more "IMHO" good examples of ferro boats.

Fer-A-Lite has been used to repair many a ferro boat, we most often see it used to rebuild the shear.

Most ferrocement boats I have seen that were not maintained had the greatest amount of rust bleeds caused by the steel angle iron in the sheer that most designs use as a screed line and then never sealed over.

Wood caprails will eventually allow moisture to reach the angle iron, and the net result is a mass of rust underneath the cap rails. This has also been traced to bleed throughs further down the hulls.

In almost every case after rebuilding the sheer with Fer-A-Lite the bleeding problem goes away as moisture cannot migrate through the Fer-a-Lite material.

Ferro boats routinely sell for comparable prices as other amatuer built boats of different material construction and condition. It usually comes down to the difference between a maintained boat and a neglected boat.

We are slowly building a directory of Surveyors that have ferro experience, as most insurance companies (but not BoatUS) will insure a ferro boat with a good survey from an experienced and reputable surveyor.

If you are concerned about the seaworthiness of a ferro boat (in this case Fer-A-Lite) read about a 30+ year old hull that was hit by a Maersk freighter and is now approaching the 1000 days at sea mark without benefit of yard repair. 1000days.net - Home
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Old 01-01-2010, 16:30   #358
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Ferro-Cement (Or plaster coated steel) is IMHO the best material you can find. If you get a good one. Last summer we experienced it first hand... read the chart and timing wrong and made decision to approach a tight anchorage at the wrong time.. By the time I realized there really wasn't enough water, it was too late.

We draw 8 feet and when the depth sounder hit 7 feet I pushed the throttle to the max and prayed for help... When it hit 5.5 feet (our transducer is 3.5 feet below the waterline) we were doing about 5 knots over the ground.. She hit with a vengance and shook the whole boat (we have a 60' boat 30 tons) She lifted and hit once more then bounced over the shallowest part. We made it. Did immediate checks of rudder, both engines (yes, she's twin screw cutter). we dove under the boat and checked.. Seemed that we scraped a bit of the paint off the bottom of the boats. Next low tide we kayaked over to where we hit and noticed that that part of the reef was now a bit deeper than it used to be. Subsequent testing and inspections have revealed no damage to our boat, whatsoever.

I would say we took 6 inches off that reef judging from debris all aorund. - Not coral, Pacific NW bottom rock. And we hit at 5 knots.

Is Ferro Cement a good quality boat to have. The best IMHO. Steel may have survived. FRP maybe would have too.. but would they have WON?

I'll never make that same mistake again and avoid all reefs as best I can, but knowing that our Ferro cement boat would survive this type of encounter again is one reason ours is NOT for sale.

Re-sale value - Getting up there because eyes are opening to the realities of Ferro. Face it, there are WW2 liberty ships still floating as breakwaters at Powell River BC.. These could be re-fit and put back into service very easily. The oldest F/C hull is in Holand and was built in the 1800's. It is a dingy and is STILL in use today.

I knoew the late Great John Sampson. (he died last summer) He wa a great man witha bit of an attitude, but when it came to Ferro Cement he knew what he was tlakiong about.. He came and looked at our boat - he knew theprevious owners. He even knew and gave the designer some pointers. It's NOT EVEN a Sampson Design.

It was a sad day when he left this world, but we are all better off for the advancements he brought to the boat world by sticking by F/C as a viable and inexpensive way to build a hull. Heck - even insurance companies are coming around.

Canadians - Dolphin Insurance will cover you.

No, it's not the fairest to work with. But it can be made to be. What folks don't realize is that even though the cost of a ferro hull, built properly is relatively low, it is only 1/3 of the cost of building. All the other grar casts the same - doesn't matter what type of hull you are putting it on.

One poster stated that with Ferro, there ARE no shortcuts. You have to follow propcol, you HAve to use the right steel, you have to use the right mixture of plaster, you have to only have a single pour, you have to do it right.

I remember Beneteau having huge blister problems in the early 80's because of bad layup. I remember brand new boats not being covered because bebeteau left their customers hanging. Yet they are still in business. FRP has to be done with just as much care or it's just as much junk as a poorly built ferro. or Steel, or any other material. Bad workmanship is just that.

Weight.. we are on 60' overall.. Registered tons 30.25. That's not out of line. Fiberglass for the same strength is heavier. Same with steel. Nope rocks don't float. Neither does steel. Funny that when you poke a hole in a FRP boat they don't float very well either. Just folks that either don't know, or don't think.

I started looking for a boat with the idea that Ferro was crazy. I don't think I would buy any thing else. Provided it was a proper build.

Best bang for your buck right now. I do see that changing however.

Time to get back to fitting her out for our jump to Mexico next fall.

SV Stone Age.
Somewhere in the Pacific N/W.
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Old 28-01-2010, 07:58   #359
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I built a ferro-cement party barge back in 1970. Here are some photos:
Picasa Web Albums - Jim - Ferrocement P...
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Old 30-01-2010, 22:07   #360
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My Samson 36 Ketch is very nice, salty, cruise worthy, has great character. I dont mind the maintenance that I have put into the boat becasue it has been not excessive to what other boat owners are doing. Any beautiful boat out there will look like junk if left unattended for too long, that doesnt make it a bad boat, likewise there a lot of beautiful boats out there that are junk. You can usually tell in the first 5 minutes if a FC boat is junk; 1. Concrete spalls from inner corrosion 2. Ever tried to hold back rust for long? 3. Shortcuts jump out like gremlins. 4. Bad wood looks bad. My point, if the boat looks good and you can visualize how to fix the deficiencies then its probably a good boat. I dont have fiberglass core separation or delamination or gelcoat blisters or rotten hull or major corrosion. I do have a handfull of superficial pipoint in the hull that have had water migration to the cement. These are superficial and easily ground out lightly with a grinder, dried out by the sun and heat gun and then epoxied over, faired and painted. Very simple. The only structural failure on my cement boat has been the plywood cockpit. It was poorly desined and built so it failed. I ripped out and built a raised cabin instead (no pooling water..see my photo albums.). Ferrocemnt is very hard stuff, I recently cut some out of my interior to facilitate a crawl space, it required a masonry blade on my circular saw, a steel blade on my sawz-all and 1/2 a day to figure out how not to do it. The stuff is hard!. Epoxies adhere to it excellently. I get compliments on how seaworthy my boat looks, how nice it looks and some people can't figure out what its made of. I have several freinds who have sailed or owned FC boats and they all have praise for them. I have seen the bad ones, for every bad one there is a good one. my inexpensive boat goes the same places as the expensive boat.
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