First, I find it interesting that no one ever mentions the junk fiberglass
that came out of factories like Beneteau
, Whitby, Cheoy Lee
and other fiberglass
boats in the late 70's and early 80's. These boats were riddled with blisters
only a few years after launching, then, with Beneteau
anyway, they abandoned their customers and left them to rot
. There were Blistered beneteaus 3 years old floating right below the Beneteau dealer here in Vancouver with great big LEMON signs on them. The local dealer wanted to make it right but didn't have the backing from the parent company so he couldn't.
Why? because the cost of repair and keeping their customers happy was too high. Something about paying dividends to their shareholders. Profits before safety
. That's big business for ya.
Yup - fiberglass is infallible - Right. There's a bridge in Brooklyn
that's for sale
Truthfully I wouldn't go near a Beneteau today, just for that reason alone.. Their reputation for customer service
precedes them.. What is going to happen when there is another major problem? Of course, Beneteaus are mainly Tupperware tubs that go into charter
work anyway. They sail fairly well but are production boats. A lot of folks like them - I don't. I'd buy my production Tupperware from Hunter
(neither had the same problems). Pacific Seacraft
if I was going offshore
. After all, when you get blisters
on your boat it is a sign of BAD LAYUP
and not enough resin used. What is going to happen to these glass tubs now that petro chemicals are going through the roof cost wise? Start building crappy boats again?
Wait - I AM going offshore
and I have a Ferro
boat. Guess I wouldn't buy glass after all.. Too much money
for the possibility of delamination
and blistering. (the formulas are better today, but remember that they are no longer making boats extra strong - only just strong enough. (some exceptions but not at a mass production yard - more than 50 boats a year)
Whitby, is out of business. Beneteau survived because they are a large manufacturer and because they were the instigators of The Moorings owner/charter fleet. I'm sure there are other fiberglass names that had the same challenges.. I see all kinds of vessels like this with chicken pox all over their hulls. (I am a surveyor
as well) Repairable at about $1,000 - $1,500 a foot (if done properly) but most of the time the boat is not worth a proper repair so the blisters get popped, kind of dried out then filled. The problem is left to get worse.
When osmotic blistering covers more than 1/4 -1/3'rd of your hull
, the structure of the fiberglass is at risk as there may not be enough resin left there to hold it together. And a proper repair could take 6-8 months depending on where you are. So there are many fiberglass pieces of junk out there too. And wood ones and steel
The unfortunate thing is that these chicken poxxed boats are not necessarily sent to the graveyard where they belong and are fully insurable. Why? Because they are fiberglass. The insurance
industry tends to steer us toward what they want to see used the most out there.. That seems to be petrochemical based products. If it's made out of oil
, then we'll insure it. If it's not, then get out of here.
Frankly, I'm sick of it. Insurance
is what? Nothing more than buying
financial responsibility on a 'just in case' something happens basis. According to common law, Insurance is unlawful. According to Statutory law you must have it. The difference between the two is faith based and not a topic to get into here, but the long and short is in order to maintain our Ferro
boats properly, we must have some way of proving we have financial responsibility to take care of any damage we cause, knowingly or not. Be it cash in the bank (Lawful insurance) or a piece of paper that states any losses will be covered by the name at the top - or third party insurance (legal, but unlawful). Never mind that there's a 50/50 chance (or worse for claims over 150k) that any large damages will get covered.
Whatever the game
is and however the rules are made up, they are still the rules. So how do we make it so we can adhere to the rules without having to talk to these insurance companies that don't realize what a deal they are getting when it comes to a good ferro boat. Especially when there is a knowledgeable skipper
that knows their boat and what they are doing (most important piece of safety equipment
There's a yard here on the island that requires you have insurance to cover ANY losses, including the ones that are their fault. In other words, if they pick your boat up and the strap breaks, YOU are responsible, not them. Makes me wonder how much insurance this yard has if they require YOU to cover all the damages THEY do to YOUR boat. And the rule
is you cannot touch your vessel from the time the straps touch the hull
in the water
to when it is propped to their standards and the yard crew walks away. Now, if your boat falls over, it's your fault. If they drop your boat and you are in the pub next door, it's still your fault. I won't go to that yard and I lived at that marina for 3 years and know the owners well. They are good people, but also shrewd business owners that know the fine lines and how to manipulate them.. So when the yard asks for YOUR insurance - Maybe you'd better ask for theirs too.
Good owners of Ferro Boats... How about a consortium of us, starting our own Private Assurance club that will cover liabilities? Maybe even extend to damage losses as well.. The Puget Sound
Agricultural Society Model is what I am talking about.. We set up a membership
co-op that has a fee to join and maintain membership
. Then all losses and claims through the year get divided amongst the members and costs are shared. with a yearly bill. This concept
not only covers the insurance regulations
, but also is a legal
and lawful form of financial protection.
I know there are special regulations
and such for starting and 'insurance" company, but this is not an insurance company.. This is a private membership that consolidates their resources to look after the group as a whole. still regulations to follow, but no where near as many.
I'd be willing to look into further and maybe even set up an organization such as this so that we Ferro owners with good boats and seamanship skills can have some peace of mind when heading to a yard. Peace of mind when you are sailing is up to your knowledge and skills. I know of a couple organizations that will cover your vessel offshore, but it better not be less than 3 years old and you'd better have 25,000 offshore miles under your belt. AND it is VERY expensive - even for fiberglass.
My projections are that membership dues would be approx $1,500 per year. This would be use to handle administration (10%) and the rest would be placed in high return businesses so we can build a pooling kitty. The bills get added up in a timely fashion (maybe once a month) and divided by the number of members. Each will get a statement of status every period showing the claims made for the previous period and the amount owing, if any.
No, it's not insurance, but an assurance that your liabilities will be covered by the group as a whole. There is a difference in legalities and semantics. Making everyone's mishaps a bit easier to take. Because we all know that stuff happens.
PM me if you are interested in such a plan with your ideas and suggestions for coverage etc.. This would be a group thing and the members will always have a say in the workings and what can be feasibly covered. If this works out we could even attract those other style of boat owners.. as long as their mindset is similar ;-) and their boats are well built. :-).
The best hing about this type of program is it can really expand to additional benefits for the members. We all need boat goodies and when there are more boats buying
goodies, prices drop. When prices drop, we tend to buy more safety
goodies. When we buy more things that make our boats safer, less stuff happens and so on...
I look forward to hearing from each and every Ferro owner on this board. It's time for this insanity to stop.