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Old 28-07-2011, 03:33   #1
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Ferro in the Cold . . .

Hi, I am fixing up a ferro ketch and when dreaming about where such a boat might be sailed it occurred to me that there might be issues with the hull in extremes of cold such as far southern latitudes. Does anyone have any experience of sailing a ferro in such conditions? I mean ice cold, and yeah it also occurred to me to watch out for icebergs
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Old 28-07-2011, 06:26   #2
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Re: Ferro in the cold...

Back in the 1970s a 53ft ferro cutter named Ahwanee circumnavigated Antarctica in 111 days starting and finishing in New Zealand. Im guessing they saw their share of cold and ice. Americans, Bob and Nancy Griffiths built the boat in NZ to the design of their previous boat of the same name which they lost on a reef in the pacific,having already circumnavigated the warm way. They salvaged as much as they could and used it to outfit the new boat. They have written books which are a good read about ocean cruising, old school, before all the electronic gizzmos and gillhickys that folks dont seem to want to leave home without these days.
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Old 28-07-2011, 06:33   #3
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Re: Ferro in the cold...

Wow Steve,

So thats what happened to Ahwanee. I mentioned that boat in a thread a while back, when ferro boats were being discussed.
Back in the 60s helped with "meshing" a few Sampsons. Ahwanee was the inspiration.
IIRC, she was a double-ended cutter, looked something like Calkins Zapata design ?
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Old 28-07-2011, 07:32   #4
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Re: Ferro in the cold...

Thanks Steve, will look it up! Cheers
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Old 28-07-2011, 21:42   #5
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Re: Ferro in the Cold . . .

It was the original wood one that was wrecked, i dont know if the ferro clone is still afloat.
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Old 29-07-2011, 18:57   #6
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Re: Ferro in the Cold . . .

I helped on building Awhanee at Whangarei about 1963 (I think) she was as rough as guts but sailed well and as stated, carried all the salvaged gear from the 1st named. The mast and spars were shipped down from the islands but the Griffiths actually bought another smaller yacht, possibly named "America" and sailed down, this they lived in, later selling it in Auckland. They sailed many miles after their polar circumnavigation before returning to Hawaii. I think another child was born there, later Bob died, son Reid died in a hiking adventure and later still Nancy bought an old steel (Baltic possibly) sailing trader and was running cargo to Pitcairn Island from NZ via the Cook Islands where she was swept onto a reef and lost. That was all some years ago now. regards ray.
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Old 30-07-2011, 04:19   #7
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Re: Ferro in the Cold . . .

Thanks for the story rayman, been reading up about what they did, pretty incredible considering that they only started in middle age and probably had no experience...that's the way to live your life in my book. I've got a long overhaul to do on my ketch, so there's plenty of time to dream but I have a few ideas...
By the way rayman, do you know where Awhanee II is now?
Cheers
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Old 30-07-2011, 04:58   #8
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Re: Ferro in the cold...

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Originally Posted by clockwork orange View Post
Back in the 1970s a 53ft ferro cutter named Ahwanee circumnavigated Antarctica in 111 days starting and finishing in New Zealand. ...
Jessica Watson circumnavigated Antarctica in 2009/2010, and never saw any ice.
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Old 30-07-2011, 07:03   #9
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Re: Ferro in the Cold . . .

The book is " Blue Water'' A guide to self reliant sailboat cruising from Channel Press in UK 1979 I still have my copy, purchased in 1980.
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Old 30-07-2011, 13:01   #10
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Re: Ferro in the cold...

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Jessica Watson circumnavigated Antarctica in 2009/2010, and never saw any ice.
Ah, Awahnee was a bit further south i believe Gord.
Rayman, thanks for the story, i never saw her up close but, yeah, she looked rough alright. They nearly lost the first Awahnee on a reef earlier on in the red sea or somewhere over that way and talk of blasting a channel to refloat her with dynamite, made me laugh,i mean how many cruisers carry explosives these days and there would be hell to pay blowing up a reef nowadays. Cruisers had to be a lot more self sufficient in days gone by.
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Old 30-07-2011, 15:54   #11
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Re: Ferro in the cold...

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Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Jessica Watson circumnavigated Antarctica in 2009/2010, and never saw any ice.
She never saw the ship either
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Old 30-07-2011, 19:23   #12
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Re: Ferro in the Cold . . .

Back in the early 80's I knew a couple living on a gorgeous ferro cement boat in Vancouver. It saw its share of snow and ice. Not extreme low, but -10 c to -15 c.
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Old 30-07-2011, 20:20   #13
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Re: Ferro in the cold...

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She never saw the ship either
But it was there all right.
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Old 31-07-2011, 18:42   #14
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Re: Ferro in the Cold . . .

Nancy Griffiths bought the old (1913) Baltic Trader "Edna" but lost her on the reef at Atiu Island.

I don't know for sure but I think Awhanee 2 was either lost or scuttled on purpose, but I know not where.

There were at least 3 "Marco Polo" designs built of ferro at Whangarei after the Awhanee, all backyarders, and the smallest built was "Suzie Wong" at 16 feet, but the smallest I have seen is Jay Benford's 12ft fin keel racer. Cement all the way but a 3/8 ply foredeck and rudder.

Also at Whangarei were built a couple of Hartley "Harmony" (I think) hard chine launches. They ran very well with just a single 6D Ford engine. Another was the 42ft "Pied Piper" a game fishing launch out of Whangaroa powered with twin Nissan UD 4 engines. (Japan's replacement for 4-71 detroits).

My early exposure to ferro-cement was a demonstration by Morley Sutherland (mentor to Rich Hartley) building a 14ft. dinghy on the beach at Devonport-Auckland. It was just a matter of shovelling sand into an upside-down boat looking pile of sand, wetting that down and beating firm with a shovel, laying about 4 layers of chick mesh with fencing wire longitudinals then plastering with quick-set mixed with beach sand and seawater.
Later the tide came in, washed the sand pile away and there we had a boat-rough-yes, float after righting-yes, held about 9 of us and proved the theory- cement boats can float.
Morley had studied with Prof Nervi in Italy, so if you want a boat just get"n"duit.

My own last boat was a 24ft centerboarder.

Back to Dr.Bob. He was a big rough character but when he said something or set a time there was no arguing with him, he let you know from the get-go it was his boat-his idea and his time being used. Awhanee was being built for a reason and that was the southern circumnavigation, as simple as that.
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Old 18-02-2012, 22:36   #15
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Re: Ferro in the Cold . . .

My parents knew the Griffith's, met them in the early 70s. My father knew of them so when they harbored for a short while on the Sacramento river he introduced himself. My father was building a ferrocement boat at the time, an Atkins Ingrid christened the Meridian. After our first meeting, we crossed paths with them a few times, the last was in San Diego before Reed's hiking accident. Since that was the last I saw them I was unaware of the sinking of the Awahnee or the passing of Bob. It is interesting to hear that Nancy bought a Baltic Trades as I crewed on one in the late 70s called Violet. If I remember my facts correctly, the Awahnee matched the record for the crossing time to the Marquesas set by the clipper ship, the Flying Cloud. I am glad to see ferros being discussed. Cheers.
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