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Old 12-11-2011, 20:41   #616
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Re: Ferro Cement Hulls ?

Yup...A lot of plastic in those slips. Makes ya wonder where they all came from and where they'll end up...
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Old 12-11-2011, 21:40   #617
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Re: Ferro Cement Hulls ?

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This to my way of thinking IS a well built Ferro Cement Yacht and she's "backyard" built but I think it's well worth your time to visit this site
yer Shame CF kicked him off as he linked a book he wrote to his signature unless he became commercial.
he wright for My Sailing: Kangaroo Island and he done others around Tassie also
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Old 12-11-2011, 23:59   #618
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Re: Ferro Cement Hulls ?

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You're kidding right? They professionals I saw repair Ferro used an epoxy enriched modified cement. Do you really think any cruiser with a Fiberglass boat doesn't have an extensive repair kit? I have a 5 gallon plastic storage case with assorted cloth and sealed, full pint(s) of resin that will keep for a few years at least. If I have a repair that requires more than that, I have bigger problems. Plus, any auto parts store or hardware store has fiberglass repair kits...it's 2 Isles over from the sidewalk cement...
MEKP (Catalyst) for polyester resin has a fairly short shelf life ...like a few months....if not kept cool..... way shorter if it get really warm.
If kept refrigerated it may go a year...I think keeping it in the dark may help as well.

Resin will also "go off" on its own after some time...but its quite a bit longer.

I'm no expert, but this has been my experience.
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Old 13-11-2011, 00:47   #619
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Re: Ferro Cement Hulls ?

Like many would be cruisers, we're constrained by the size of our wallet.

We bought a 35' Hartley Queenslander Ketch for the princely sum of $14k, which was all we could afford for a good sized boat. Ferro of course.
It's a little bedraggled paint wise, but other than that, it seems to be sound enough. Concrete properly cured is essentially impervious to water, and doesn't rust or rot. The armature is in an anaerobic environment and can't rust as long as the cement is intact. (Rust traces from bleedthrough of the mesh are not a structural issue, just cosmetic.) Serious bleedthrough is, exploding ballast in the keel is a major issue, but this is quite rare now, most boats that have had these issues are no longer floating (for one reason or another).

Concrete is strong, durable and largely unaffected by water, fresh or salt.
This is why the Colosseum (or the Flavian if you are a purist) is still (mostly) standing and why bridges built fifty years ago across arms of the sea are also still sound, so a little thing like lack of paint is far less of an issue to a ferro hull than just about any other type.

Our boat was built (by sheer coincidence, since she's currently in Sydney) at Port Lincoln, S.A. not that far from here, in the mid seventies.

I've seen and heard all the dreck about ferro hulls and I think I understand most of the justification behind it. As others have said, ease of hull repair is one attraction, a certain amount of trepidation about how well the hull was built (as they are nearly all amateur built) and the difficulty of determining if the hull was soundly constructed or not. This is perfectly reasonable, or more correctly, was perfectly reasonable in the ten or so years after a hull is built.

The sea is a great sifter of men and machines. And ferro hulls. My boat has been well travelled in her earlier years (we believe she cruised extensively in and around Oz under the name 'Aussie Blue' - if anyone knows her then owners or ever came across her in their travels, we'd love to hear from you, this would have been in the eighties and early nineties.)

It's now been something over thirty years since she was first put in the water. Assuming she's done a reasonable amount of cruising (and there is evidence to support that) it's unlikely there's any serious defect in the hull or construction, or quite frankly, she would probably be a reef somewhere instead of tugging at her mooring in Sydney waiting for us to come and fetch her home. (January, all things being equal).

I had a look at the pics of that staysail schooner in Hawaii and had a quiet drool.

Built in 78 means she's been around well over thirty years too. I'd say any serious structural issues (wear and tear on her gear is no different to any other thirty year old boat and the usual caveats apply.) would have surfaced long ago and that's a fairly high price for a ferro hulled boat, even one that size, so I'd be confident it was sound. The pics suggest it's been well maintained and the fitout is excellent, so there are unlikely to be any serious issues, at least with the hull.

I guess I'm suggesting that boats that are still around that were built in the heyday of ferrocement are likely to be the best examples of the genre and not the worst, which are doubtless disintegrating slowly somewhere below or above the water and not cruising the Pacific.

Yes, it's hard (maybe impossible to insure - all insurers are b******s - but hey, the premiums over ten years probably go close to the price of the boat, so I can simply stash the same amount and probably come out ahead.) Yes, the resale value is not high, but after ten years, I can probably get what I paid for her, with a bit of TLC along the way.

You NEVER make money on a boat. The doomsayers are correct in that it's a hole in the water you pour money into, but you can determine the size of the hole and how much you pour into it. One of the advantages of a ferro is that hull repair IS simple and cheap. Yes, cement, CLEAN sand and some bonding agent, BondKrete is good, but certain epoxies are as good or perhaps better, WILL soundly repair hull damage. You may or may not need to weld in new rebar or replace damaged mesh, but the cementing is quite easy and requires no specials skills or equipment, just a water source to ensure it cures slowly.

This may not matter in San Francisco, but in some backwater in the Pacific, I am certain I can find sand, cement and suitable glue or the local equivalent of Bondkrete a lot easier than fibreglass repair kits for a two foot hole in the side.

The only thing easier to source if probably steel, and all you need is a plasma cutter and a MIG welder, but that's another side of the coin.

One other advantage worth mentioning. The keel of a ferro boat is an integral part of the hull. It's not held on by virtue of some steel bolts that may or may not be fretting. So the keel is NOT going to fall off or get knocked off in a collision. I'm not saying ramming a whale isn't going to sink the boat, it well might, but a glancing blow isn't going to knock the keel off, which is something you don't want...

All hull types have their traps, issues and advantages, but the historical reasons (and they are now largely historical) for the vehement distrust of ferro hulls is, in my opinion, no longer justified. Wooden hulls require far more maintainance and steel is also prone to deterioration, I've seen boats of both types that I'd be afraid to take out of the harbour - in one case I wouldn't like to take it into the harbour, and that was a steel hull. Think paper thin and perforated in places...

If you are that concerned, a surveyor that speaks Ferro (and most don't or simply don't want to) armed with the right gear (a hammer is not the right gear) can give you a good idea of the state of the hull, the plaster and the armature beneath.

I hear low power ground penetrating radar will show voids and and deterioration of the armature quite well. This is third hand and I have not had this verified, but from what I understand of GPR, it's at least likely.

Just my 2c for what it's worth.

AussieGeoff
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Old 13-11-2011, 03:36   #620
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Re: Ferro Cement Hulls ?

Thanks to this thread and all the links within it, I came to the conclusion that a ferro hull yacht was the right one for me. It is durable, easy and cheaper to maintain, stable, quiet, and above all, affordable.
So I set off to find a good deal, the right compromise between my wants and needs. And I found it! I am now the proud owner of a 43' ferro ketch! (details and pix to follow).
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Old 13-11-2011, 04:16   #621
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Re: Ferro Cement Hulls ?

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I forgot to mention, to repair the hole, if any, in your FC hull, buy a bag of cement and a couple of bags of sand from the local builder or hardware shop, mix the mud and you can start repairs. I'm not sure what Old Salt will need to repair the hole in his GRP hull, I also don't know if the repair kit for the GRP hull can be purchased from a local supply/shop anywhere in the world...The same as sand and cement can be bought...He may have to import the GRP repair gear from the big city or another country
But carrying some FG / Epoxy onboard would be a lot easier than bags of cement and sand
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Old 13-11-2011, 04:43   #622
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pirate Re: Ferro Cement Hulls ?

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But carrying some FG / Epoxy onboard would be a lot easier than bags of cement and sand
True... but its even easier not carrying anything specificlly... yes I've leftovers in the cockpit locker... but I figure if I get holed inshore I'll make it in...
If offshore I have the reserve plan... get off...
Got holed back in the 80's just on the WL in a wood boat... put her on the opposite tack and stuffed towels in the hole and wedged em in with a dinghy oar braced against opposite hull....
She was a bilge keeler so only had to make sheltered waters and wait for low water...
had some ply on board and Sika so dried the hull bodged the Sika round then screwed the ply on the outside then wiped the Sika so's it over lapped.. got me the 50 odd miles back to home just fine..
Your not gonna be able to use those fancy epoxies in real life... get a plan worked out to keep you afloat long enough to get you to where you can...
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Old 13-11-2011, 04:48   #623
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Re: Ferro Cement Hulls ?

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Thanks to this thread and all the links within it, I came to the conclusion that a ferro hull yacht was the right one for me. It is durable, easy and cheaper to maintain, stable, quiet, and above all, affordable.
So I set off to find a good deal, the right compromise between my wants and needs. And I found it! I am now the proud owner of a 43' ferro ketch! (details and pix to follow).
Congratulations. Look forward to hearing more about your boat.

AussieGeoff
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Old 13-11-2011, 04:51   #624
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Re: Ferro Cement Hulls ?

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Got holed back in the 80's just on the WL in a wood boat... put her on the opposite tack and stuffed towels in the hole and wedged em in with a dinghy oar braced against opposite hull....
I'm waiting for some old salt to jump in and tell us how they fothered a jib with oakum and winched it into the gap.

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Old 13-11-2011, 05:07   #625
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pirate Re: Ferro Cement Hulls ?

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I'm waiting for some old salt to jump in and tell us how they fothered a jib with oakum and winched it into the gap.

AussieGeoff
Tried that as an excercise a few times... if your solo your sunk....
Its definitely a multi handed job at sea.... hard enough in the shelter of Poole harbour..
Minus the Oakum...
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Old 13-11-2011, 05:52   #626
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Re: Ferro Cement Hulls ?

I'm not too worried, probably the commonest cause of leaks is a defect in a through hull fitting. Even big ships are not immune (IIRC the notorious Oceanos cruise ship sinking was because of a thru hull failure). Notorious because the senior crew, including the Captain(!) bailed out and left the passengers on the sinking ship to fend for themselves!.

We're fitting up our ketch with half a dozen of the biggest volume bilge pumps I can run off 12v with enough batteries to keep them running for some hours at least (certainly enough to get the engine and or genset running) and a 240v high volume pump I can run off the genset if necessary.
Short of something big enough to drive a car through, that should give us enough time to patch it somehow, or at least keep it afloat long enough to make a controlled evacuation or grounding. I've noted several tales of sinkings where just a few more minutes afloat would have made a world of difference, this will hopefully buy me at least that much time.

I'm working on designing some ready made, soft sealing patchplugs of varying sizes we can stash on the overhead, hopefully I'll go to a great deal of trouble and time with them and therefore never need them....

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Old 13-11-2011, 06:09   #627
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Re: Ferro Cement Hulls ?

This thread is great , some good info on it.
It all comes down to preference and money, if i won the lottery would i still own a FC boat????? Hell no!!!! Would I still have a mono??? hell no!!!! but until that day comes i got what i got,and love it all the same. I have a well built boat thats big enough to take my 4 kids and wife out on . I have owned plenty of 22s and trailer sailors but no comfort for all of us.
So until the day i can afford exactly what i want I will defend it to the end and love her all the same.

Check the video out you will see what i meen.......
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Old 13-11-2011, 07:01   #628
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Re: Ferro Cement Hulls ?

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This thread is great , some good info on it.
It all comes down to preference and money, if i won the lottery would i still own a FC boat????? Hell no!!!! Would I still have a mono??? hell no!!!!
Hmm, I guess it depends on how big a lottery lol. Ferro probably has no practical size limit, but I'd probably go for something truly huge if I had unlimited funds. Say, a hundred footer or so lol. Mono hull? Yes, I don't really like cats or tris, personal preference. Construction? At that size or bigger steel or possibly aluminium alloy, not fibreglass or timber though, definitely.

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but until that day comes i got what i got,and love it all the same. I have a well built boat thats big enough to take my 4 kids and wife out on . I have owned plenty of 22s and trailer sailors but no comfort for all of us.
Exactly! I could afford a 22 or so in glass or timber or a 35' ferro. You can't swing a cat or comfortably berth more than 2 in a 22' anything.
Okay, you could trailer it (just) but it doesn't make it a boat you'd cruise to NZ in comfortably (in both the safety sense and the get-your-elbow-out-of-my-eye sense) There's not a lot of privacy in any boat, in a 22 footer there's pretty much none. Couples are perhaps not that bothered but if you have others aboard of mixed sex, yes, it can be very uncomfortable if you aren't used to that sort of 'closeness'. Tolerable if the weather is good and you can escape on deck much of the time, but a run of miserable weather with everyone below decks day and night and it can bring out the worst in people. That extra 12' or so doesn't sound like much, but having spent a day and a half below decks with people that are used to a LOT more space in their daily lives and it can be a close approximation of hell. I'll take the extra space at the same price thanks.

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So until the day i can afford exactly what i want I will defend it to the end and love her all the same.
True enough. We all love the one we're with to some degree I guess, at least as far as boats are concerned and we all rationalise our decisions to some degree.

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Old 13-11-2011, 08:19   #629
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Re: Ferro Cement Hulls ?

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MEKP (Catalyst) for polyester resin has a fairly short shelf life ...like a few months....if not kept cool..... way shorter if it get really warm.
If kept refrigerated it may go a year...I think keeping it in the dark may help as well.

Resin will also "go off" on its own after some time...but its quite a bit longer.

I'm no expert, but this has been my experience.
Cannot say that has been my experience. If you buy full containers and don't open them, I've had then keep up to 2 years. Generally I find a project or two on my boat or some one else's and they don't last that long. Regarding a hole in the hull. Really!...what are the chances that you would hole a hull and make it back to port anyways? At $5 for 8oz., it's not a big deal to replace. As far as not getting things in port what would happen if you lost part of a rig or an internal part on you 30 year old diesel. You're just as stuck. So the cement argument doesn't work for me.
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Old 14-11-2011, 18:19   #630
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Re: Ferro Cement Hulls ?

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Yup...A lot of plastic in those slips. Makes ya wonder where they all came from and where they'll end up...
G'day CS,
If you get to visit Greece, you'll find a LOT of those Gin Palaces in most harbours. And after Greece, most will end-up in the South Of France I spent about four years based in Pasalimani, 1966 – 1970, and in that time I found most visiting seafarers, about 97%, were from the UK, Germany and other parts of Europe. Most spent the summer in Greek waters then headed for the South of France for the winter. There was one American gent, with a 40' alloy Trimaran, who was sailing around the world, and one American kid who had delivered a 36' plastic mono from the States to Pasalimani, he was a great sailor and could do just about anything with a sail-boat, he was still in Greece when I left so I don't know where he ended-up. There were also a couple of Ozzie and a couple of Canadians, those blokes had no boat of their own but were care-taking other peoples boats. I'm sure there were other seafarers in Pasalimani who had plans to venture further afield than Greece and the South of France but I never met them. As I stated, most of the seafarers I met in four years while based in Pasalimani were from the UK and other parts of Europe. They spent the summer in Greek waters then headed for the South of France for the winter. A lot of those persons had others, like myself, deliver their boats to France while they flew there...After visiting their home-towns to make sure their businesses were still on an even keel

The yacht I spent most of my time aboard was a 85' MV with twin 500HP supercharged Rolls Royce engines, we seldom had the owner, an old Swiss gent and a great bloke to work for, who owned, among other things, a few shipping companies, on board but we did have a few of his friends, like Henry Ford and his family, (from American Ford cars) Anyway, those couple of Ozzie and the one Canadian care-taker were planing to build their own Ferro Cement yachts, they had the land, the plans and the steel but I left Greece for the Persian Gulf before those yachts were finished.

I'm not against glass boats, I own one now, a Careel 22, it's simply the fact that I prefer a boat that I do not need to take a thirty year mortage out on, something I can afford to buy outright, large enough to have my comforts aboard and something I don't need to worry about selling after I'm done with it...And easy to repair anywhere in the world After checking around for eighteen months, I believe a well built ferro cement boat will suit me and me little dog just fine...I don't need to be anywhere quick-smart, so slow and easy cruising will suit me fine If I wanted speed, I would go after one of three real nice 40' Tri's I've seen online...Or a 40' MV

Each to his/her own I say.

Bill
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