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Old 25-07-2007, 11:34   #1
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Ferro Cement Hulls

The advice I seem to find on the internet is to avoid them at all costs...but I found a boat that I think is perfect for me, and she has a ferro cement hull.

Can a good marine inspector tell me if the hull is sound?
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Old 25-07-2007, 13:24   #2
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They sure can!

Find a Surveyor that specializes or has done several ferro boats. Usually the ones over 40' are better built. Here's a site that's more in line with them.
http://www.ferrocement.org/forum0.html
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Old 25-07-2007, 13:26   #3
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And here is a big one for sale.

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...sale-6419.html
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Old 25-07-2007, 13:42   #4
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Colorado, if you do a search on this site on the subject, a lot of info is held here that may be of some help in you carrying out the survey yourself. Sadly, you reading here will teach you about as much if not more than any surveyor out there, IF they have no experiance with FC. Please feel free to PM me if you have specific questions on FC. The main initial point to look at when you first view the boat, how does she sit in the water. If too low, she was built too heavy and I suggest you walk away right then and there. That tends to be the major fault. Apart from that one basic mistake, the rest of the survey is mostly on the workings of the boat itself, of which a surveyor would consider as he would any other boat type.
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Old 06-01-2008, 03:09   #5
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Hey, Good day to all, I liveaboard a Hartley Queenslander (34Ft) ferro yacht and its great......Love the way it is not a worry with rust or worms...a lot tougher all round..(fitted new skin fittings on my current yacht so I know how tough the ferro is..blunted files) As an interest I am checking out new university studies on Very high strength plaster /steel (170Mpa), with good flexibility (for cement), and conducting some trials myself when I get time...My boat was built around 1975 and still in good order, the ferro hull is in excellent order..
In a couple of years (or before) I will be puchasing a larger ferro..I am thinking between 40 & 45 Foot
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Old 06-01-2008, 10:31   #6
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I bought a 55 Ft Ferro Cement Ketch a year ago and had it pulled out for bottom paint in Oakland, Ca. There happened to be a marine surveyor there that owns a ferro cement boat and he looked at ours and said it was one of the nicest ones he has seen. He might be a good source for a good survey. His name was Peter Minkwitz 510-465-2527. We really love our boat, liveaboard and plan to go cruising with it in 2 years. It is gorgeous inside also. The hardest part is getting anyone to insure it. We had to go out of the country for insurance.
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Old 06-01-2008, 11:46   #7
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Sadly there is a lot of very incorrect hearsay outthere in regards to FC. And it has made insuring extremely difficult. Yet FC has the lowest rate of claims than any other material.
I have found people with the negative views, have ALL been second hand (infact, many more times that second) opinions. They have heard it and then parreted it as if it was something they know personaly. We have owned our FC boat for 4 years now and love it. And although we are slower in light airs than a wee plastic fantastic performing vessel, we are not that slow. In the end, it is not about the material so much, as the design. Which brings me to an imprtatn point. When looking at FC, ensure the original design was intended for FC or that it was at least redesigned to suit FC. The biggest mistake were made taking an existing design and not having the fact that the FC will be heavier than timber of plastic.
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Old 06-01-2008, 13:49   #8
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I would appreciate any help re worldwide Insurance Companies names / contacts, who would consider insuring my Ferro Yacht in Queensland, Australia. I have obtained third party property here without a problem, it is the comprehensive insurance that I have been unable to find ..... thanks in advance

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Old 06-01-2008, 14:50   #9
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One thing you might want to look at is the way the hull was built. Most are plastered from inside and outside at the same time, but some were plastered over a cedar form. Mine was done this way and while it is as fair as a production glass boat, there are some voids in the cement, as you would expect from this method. Although I doubt these voids would present a problem, I've repaired them (from the inside) when I came across them (I needle scale areas where bulkheads or cabinets are added). I needle scaled the entire outside of the hull in preparation for refinishing, and there were no problems there. If there are areas of the hull exposed inside you will be able to see the outline of the boards if it was plastered over cedar. Quite a number of hulls were done this way in the NE. A good book on ferro is one written by Colin Brooks and is available at ferroboats.com
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Old 06-01-2008, 16:54   #10
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Originally Posted by Colorado Dreamer View Post
Can a good marine inspector tell me if the hull is sound?
In my opinion the answer is no.

At one stage I had around 35 surveyors working for me and it was the policy that we would not survey ferro cement vessels and that even included vessels that had been built under the surveillence of some of our own surveyors in the past. That because unlike other materials it is impossible to determine from inspection the condition of the hull so even if the vessel had been built under one of our surveyor's surveillence we could not be sure of subsequent events in the vessel's life.

Like all boats there are good ones and bad ones but with ferrocement, in my opinion, the difficulty is identifying the good from the bad. If one knows the history of the boat in intimate detail so know that it was well built and has not been repaired or had post build problems that have arisen hidden for the purposes of sale then there is no problem as the material is fine in itself. But then you don't need an inspector/surveyor.

I make the above comments from the position of never having owned a ferrocement boat (which I know will disqualify my point of view in the eyes of many who do ). But if I was ever to buy one I think I would look for one that had certification as to being built under an independant inspection regime, a proven service life and was well due for a repaint so any rust weeps and other faults were more likely to show. I would be weary of one that was freshly painted for sale.

As a general comment away from the inspector question, take on board Alan's comments regarding design and weight - there are many around that look as though they might be sinking they are so heavy. Many also, having been amateur built on a tight budget or by people who had pretty well never even seen a boat before, have poorly made and conceived fittings but those a good surveyor should pick up for you though if unsure oneself.
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Old 17-05-2008, 02:15   #11
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Insurance...

Quote:
Originally Posted by AuzzieM View Post
I would appreciate any help re worldwide Insurance Companies names / contacts, who would consider insuring my Ferro Yacht in Queensland, Australia. I have obtained third party property here without a problem, it is the comprehensive insurance that I have been unable to find ..... thanks in advance


Hi there. Dont know if you're still looking, but we use Yachtmaster in the UK to insure our Hartley Queenslander. Dont know if they do worldwide, but they certainly do Europe and the Med fully comp, so might be worth looking them up. All they want from us is a survey every 5 years.
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Old 17-05-2008, 03:23   #12
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Tell us the horror stories...

Quote from MidLandOne "That because unlike other materials it is impossible to determine from inspection the condition of the hull so even if the vessel had been built under one of our surveyor's surveillence we could not be sure of subsequent events in the vessel's life."

I would have thought that it would be impossible to truely determine the condition of the hull with any boatbuilding material.

Steel can have concealed rust, fibreglass can have voids, delamination and/or osmosis, timber can have rot or simply be the wrong species, aluminum can have electrolysis lurking and so on. They can all be mistreated or repaired badly.

A higher portion of ferrocement hulls may survey badly because they were badly built by inexperienced amateurs. This is not a reason to condemn them all.

I'm sure there is a good living to be made sticking to fibreglass, and no comeback if osmosis develops, the deck becomes spongy, stress cracks progress, buried chainplates crack etc.

If ferrocement is so bad please tell us the horror stories.
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Old 17-05-2008, 03:30   #13
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Our f/c hartley has been comp insured for the last 6 years with no problems at all,I havn't even been asked for a rigging survey.Our insurance is through AON Insurance
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Old 17-05-2008, 15:01   #14
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The issue comes from lack of understanding of the FC medium buy those that inspect. The beauty of FC is that you can not hide a bad hull. It is either good, or it looks like it has sat on a reef for a couple of years. There are no in betweens. The biggest misnomer is that there maybe something negative going on inside the hull material. That is not possible without some major outside blemishes that will be evident. If build quality was not good, the boat will never float to her lines correctly. That is the most common example of seeing if the boat was built in the correct manner. With the biggest telltale being the stern sitting low in the water than it was designed to.
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Old 17-05-2008, 15:23   #15
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Hi there. Dont know if you're still looking, but we use Yachtmaster in the UK to insure our Hartley Queenslander. Dont know if they do worldwide, but they certainly do Europe and the Med fully comp, so might be worth looking them up. All they want from us is a survey every 5 years.
Thanks Miss-M, I will contact them
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