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Old 24-07-2011, 17:34   #511
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Re: Ferro Cement Hulls ?

Right on the mark - Billy4184

Back in '73, we homebuilt Banyandah in Sydney for a very low cost, except for man hours worked, and still own her after close on 200k around the world. Bit of bleeding sure, but crikey after that long and that much work, what would your expect. Billy, should also tell the folks about how wonderful ferro is to live aboard. Warm, quiet, sits nicely on the sea.
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Old 24-07-2011, 18:26   #512
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Re: Ferro Cement Hulls ?

Hi Banyandah, nice to find another good home build, my Dad built this one in Mascot in the 70s, cut his house in half to get it out
Haven't been on other boats much but what I can say about ferros is this. 24 tons of concrete and steel with a full keel doesn't swing much when the ferries and cruisers storm past, which I am very happy about. With a fireplace and wood stove the boat is very definitely warm, even without it the temperature outside has been around zero degrees C and inside never got below 11. There is a very nice feeling being in a ferro boat, the concrete is pleasing to the eye and the touch and feels very secure. The smell is another thing; with bilge pumps not working for several years whats in there has been there awhile, and there is not one bit of bad smell coming from down below, and concrete smells nice. The other things have already been said: easy maintenance, won't catch fire (except for the wood inside), very comfortable cruising, boat has only been slipped twice in its 30+ years. If you're into speed, maybe ferros are not the best, but then a Hartley RORC seems to be pretty good. I talked to the people on the other pile berths here about maybe getting myself a wood or fibreglass boat for some single-handed sailing experience and they looked at me like I was mad. I think a ferro garners some silent respect around here.
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Old 25-07-2011, 06:07   #513
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Re: Ferro Cement Hulls ?

Well, I can't think of much to say that hasn't been said, but I thought I would throw in my support for the cause as always. My ferro 54 is a beautiful boat which grabs attention wherever she goes (actually, normally people shouting comments involving Jack Sparrow - but I think it's a compliment of sorts!). I love her and she carries me safely everywhere.

I am just completing my contract as skipper of a new Jeanneau 50DS. My God what a pile of junk. The quality is a joke, and although I must admit she is quite fast and painfully easy to sail, she will rock if a fish swims past, falls apart and rusts at break neck speed, and looks like everything else out here. To be fair as a weekend/local cruiser for people to play on yes, anything else, I would have to say get a real boat! Like a well made ferro one.

I said a long time ago however that it is in all of our interests to keep putting down ferro boats so the prices stay cheap, so real sailors get a chance to sail some great boats. Isn't it grand when it all works out for the good.
Keep sailing,

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Old 25-07-2011, 11:38   #514
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Re: Ferro Cement Hulls ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by allanpeda View Post
So the take away from this thread is that some people love their ferrocement boats, but by and in large part fiberglass composite is a more forgiving material with a proven track record.
Fiberglass boats are not as proven as Ferrocement. There are ferro cement boats still being used today that pre date fiberglass by almost a century. The oldest ferro cement boat in use today is in denmark and was built in the late 1800's. If anything was proven, Ferro beats fiberglass hands down. The breakwater at Powell River is 4 WWII escort ships that are half sunk to act as a breakwater. If they were pumped out and re-fit with new mechanicals etc.. they would be as good (or better) than new.

Being a shipwright, I see all kinds of blisters on fiberglass boats from the mid 70's on.. When they started to get chincy on the resin. The "only use enough" concept started to kick in when it started to get pricey because of the "oil shortage" and it's become worse since with the cored hulls and get'em as light as possible etc.. I understand that concept and I really don't WANT to be tangling with rocks etc.. but sometimes you don't have a choice... the safety factor is very high witrh F/C. Older F/G boats will do well too, but I wonder how long a newer balsa cored hull and deck unit will truly last. about 1/2 of the F/G models with a cored deck I have seen 30 years & older need the deck core replaced, if not the hull core as well because it is saturated too. If the decks have teak screwed down on top - expect to have to do the core in 25 - 30 years from new.

I remember Beneteau owners in the mid 80's having boats less than a year old protesting outside the Vancouver, BC dealership because Beneteau wouldn't do anything about the blistering problem on these "new" yachts. They were all so badly chicken poxed that the gelcoat had to be scraped, glass fibers dried out and re-coated. That's a big job to have done to a brand new fiberglass boat.

Safety at sea... Stay floating and away from rocks is the best strategy but sometimes there is no option - rocks can and do get in the way from time to time.... I have literally bounced Stone age off rocks (only once) with damage being limited to my ego. There was no choice in this instance, I judged the tide wrong and the current pulled me through... I just know that a GRP hull wouldn't have taken the impact and we'd have suffered a catastrophic loss that day. As it turned out there was 15 minutes of checking to make sure everything was ok.. and we carried on with our day. We went back later at low tide to see the rock we hit and turns out there was more damage to the rock than there was to our boat.

There are MANY more fiberglass boats out there than ferro. Why? It's easier to build. Does that make them better? No. Does it make them lighter? not necessarily - Ferro boats after about 35 feet are very similar in tonnage to their GRP counterparts. And larger ones - 50' plus can be lighter.

Bonus about GRP is they USUALLY have a very fair hull and people really like pretty. Some F/C hulls are fair but most are scallopped and must be faired further. It doesn't hurt the integrity or the sailing characteristics (unless you are racing) just not as pretty or as smooth. Paint it, go sailing and carry on with your day.

One thing I always wonder about is that every bridge you drive across has ferro cement footings. those footings are down at the bottom of the river, ocean or lake. Covered in water 24/7. You trust them every day of your life. yet when the same material is shaped into a water tight floating palace, there is some specualtion as to it's integrity.

well if you look at the constrruction of F/C you will see that it is a steel boat where the plaster is used basically, to keep the water out. It is the ARMATURE that is the strength and integrity of the vessel. Certainly doesn't hurt that liquid rock is being used to "plug the holes" so to speak..

Repair? Keep a bag or 2 of shotcrete on board and your all set for emergencies. And when you do get to a yard a more intense repair can be done with readily available materials. Try finding some fiberglass resin on an outlying island in Tonga. Won't happen.

So from a previous fiberglass boat owner's point of view (I have had fiberglass, steel, aluminium and wood boats) to a very happy Ferro cement boat owner I would say that your "Fiberglass is a more proven tack record" statement is without merit. People opt for GRP because they don't necessarily know any better and it is the most readily available style of boat. And it is a great material for a boat. IF it is built properly.

But that goes for anything. IF it is built properly, there are no problems.

GRP is petro chemical. i.e. OIL.... so ferro is a greener product right from the start by only using steel and plaster.

As far as insurance - In Vancouver BC, Dolphin Insurance DOES insure F/C boats - but only for cruising in Pacific Northwest waters (Graveyard of the Pacific).

Enjoy your day sailing.

Capt'n John
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Old 25-07-2011, 15:58   #515
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Re: Ferro Cement Hulls ?

Ummm...YES! Ferro boats are b-a-a-a-d! (ssshhhh!!!)
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Old 25-07-2011, 17:14   #516
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Re: Ferro Cement Hulls ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by StoneAge View Post
well if you look at the constrruction of F/C you will see that it is a steel boat where the plaster is used basically, to keep the water out. It is the ARMATURE that is the strength and integrity of the vessel. Certainly doesn't hurt that liquid rock is being used to "plug the holes" so to speak..
Thatís an interesting description. If you look at the picture Iíve attached of the 64í FC cruiser my wife and I are buying, youíll see where the steel upright supports on the gunwale are 1Ē thick steel as is the cap rail.

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Old 25-07-2011, 18:40   #517
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Re: Ferro Cement Hulls ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by banyandah View Post
Right on the mark - Billy4184

Back in '73, we homebuilt Banyandah in Sydney for a very low cost, except for man hours worked, and still own her after close on 200k around the world. Bit of bleeding sure, but crikey after that long and that much work, what would your expect. Billy, should also tell the folks about how wonderful ferro is to live aboard. Warm, quiet, sits nicely on the sea.
Cheers all
Read our blog to see where we've been in Banyandah
Went to your blog ..Wow, Im really impressed.Seems like a full life of wonder and beauty..if I ever was to have children I would like to live a life like yours from what I have seen !Sweet very ,very sweet. DVC
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Old 27-07-2011, 13:50   #518
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Re: Ferro Cement Hulls ?

I love Ferro Cement Boats.... They are a wonderful source of recyclable hardware, rigging, engines and such.
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Old 27-07-2011, 15:56   #519
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Re: Ferro Cement Hulls ?

Glass boats are a better scource Mike, lots more junk ones to pick from.
Steve.
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Old 25-08-2011, 01:31   #520
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Re: Ferro Cement Hulls ?

Hello,
There is a 40ft Samson FC Ketch for sale near me for $2500.
It's pretty rough- but the lower hull has been repainted and its still has many of the original parts, engine, radio, kitchen, head, but in rather dilipidated shape.
From the pics, looks like he got part way thru a resto, then abandoned it.
The upper decks are plywood??
See link: Photo Album - Imgur
Let me know what you guys think!
A.
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Old 25-08-2011, 01:36   #521
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Re: Ferro Cement Hulls ?

Also curious guys, can't stainless steel be used in an FC?
I've heard of them being used in some kind of a FG sandwich mesh or something.
Couldn't carbon fiber be used to replace the steel mesh? They didnt have that available to consider when FC was first devised, but as an incredibly strong, and non-rusting alternative to steel, I think it would work??
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Old 25-08-2011, 01:48   #522
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Why?

Its a real project, but the question is "Why would you bother?".

The major consideration is that its a big boat. We're looking at from 4,000 to over 10,000 hours to finish, plus more than $100k in costs.

Check out the value of completed ferro boats in good condition.

If we knew what your situation is and what your plans are then we could make suggestions.

I very much doubt that taking on this boat would be one of them.
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Old 25-08-2011, 02:17   #523
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Re: Ferro Cement Hulls ?

Schoolboy,

Cement is caustic and expands as it hardens. Iron and steel also expand and interestingly enough at the same rate as cement. This allows a very strong bond that as long as you keep air away from (which is the reason for NOT using stainless) the steel you have an extremely strong hull. Carbonfibre would most likely not stand up to the caustic nature of the cement and the heat created during curing.

Boracay is correct in that there is a good bit of time and energy in rebuild the boat you are looking at. His estimate may or may not be correct and it depends on what skills you bring to the table as well as equipment. I have the fortune of own a small shop and one CNC mill (soon to be two) this with things like pillar drills, table saws, bands, drills and a whole bunch of other tools can make work much easier (if you know how to put them to their best use).

Do you have the time to do the work yourself? Do you have the funds? remember you do NOT need marine grade ply for interior work (I know a lot of folks will disagree with me but it is really not needed IF you properly seal the deck and have a good deck joint.

Getting back to the boat in question. From the pictures a good portion of the deck and sole are going to need work if not outright replaced. That means two layers of marine ply in the sections that need replaced and the cockpit looks like it needs a full rework as the patch work is asking for leak point (unless you plan on glassing over the cockpit which still leaves joint that can flex). Interior fitting looks not in to bad shape and the electronic control box looks in good shape. what condition the wiring behind that is in and how well set up is a different question (badly set up wiring has a huge amount of problem that WILL bite you further down the line).

So sit down look at your time and budget. Look at the costs to store the boat until you have her in sound floating condition. Look at what time you have to work on her and still work to feed your self and the expenses there is a reason that boat is often spelled as B.O.A.T. and folks refer to boat bucks (some where between 100 to 1K each).

Also remember that folks have opinions and that we all have them and they color how we deal with life and what we consider of value. Boracay does have good points in many areas. He also has a very strong dislike of ferrocement, why I don't nor do I really care.

Good luck and best of luck.

Michael
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Old 25-08-2011, 02:34   #524
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Re: Ferro Cement Hulls ?

Yes stainless steel mesh can be and was used by some builders.
Greg
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Old 25-08-2011, 02:43   #525
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Re: Ferro Cement Hulls ?

Lets get straight to the point-
Run, don't walk from this project unless you really like pain and have no other life.
I won't go into the reasons, there are too many.
Do I know what I am talking about? Maybe, maybe not, but I can say I have done a couple of project boats and I enjoy project boats but its gotta have a realistic outcome and this one doesn't cut the mustard. IMO.
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