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Old 17-12-2013, 12:32   #1
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pirate Steel Schooner with concrete ballast

We Are currently looking at a Steel Schooner that has concrete laid for ballast there is some rusting apparently from inside out Core samples were pulled and filled with epoxy. We have not laid hands on her yet with plans to do so next month. So the burning question is how hard is it to fix the problem We are both very capable of he work welding etc... or is this a big white elephant She has been on the Hard for 7 years....
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Old 17-12-2013, 12:50   #2
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Re: Steel Schooner with concrete ballast

Hard to say, I have similar issues with my small boat.

The big difference is, I own the boat. There was no rust but the weak spots came up during bottom blasting.

What I did was to cut them open with a grinder and fill them in with weld. The surrounding metal seemed to be OK. I suspect my spots are not quite as bad as yours.

Concrete is a common material for ballast, frequently encapsulating iron or lead. It is pretty benign for the steel. Assuming you are not getting more salt water into the boat this thing should not be actively corroding at a fast rate.

Commodor Parry's flagship, the Olympia, has been laying in Philadelphia without a haulout since 1952. I hear they keep dumping bags of concrete on the leaks to keep her afloat.

Your options would be to remove some plate and replace or to plate over.

You might want to spend an evening or two with this book first. Cheap download.

Scott Fratcher's Books and Publications Spotlight

Was she built in a pro yard or a back yard?
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Old 17-12-2013, 13:05   #3
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Re: Steel Schooner with concrete ballast

Thanks I'l do that i'm good with the plastic (fiberglass) boats but the world of steel is new to me and the hubby too
what I'm concerned about is the integrity of the cement having never cured properly and essentially having spalling now and separating from the keel and pushing out the metal.
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Old 17-12-2013, 13:21   #4
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Re: Steel Schooner with concrete ballast

I would be a little concerned because you can't see what's happening inside. If you had new bits popping up every year or so it could be a real hassle.
Maybe use a hole saw to map the extent of the damage. Would ultrasonic testing work if the steel is bonded to concrete?

Regards,
Richard.
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Old 17-12-2013, 13:41   #5
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Re: Steel Schooner with concrete ballast

Concrete works as a preservative to steel. Meaning that if the concrete was poured into the bilge and was then sealed ( epoxy paint, for example) the steel should be in great shape under the concrete.

If the concrete was not sealed, if there are cracks that formed between the steel and the concrete and salt water was able to run down them then the protection of the steel is up to whatever paint was applied before the concrete was poured.

The above means that there is nothing inherently wrong with concrete in a bilge. Llike everything else in boatbuilding, what is important is how it was done and how it was cared for.

Steel is a great material. You will need to come up the learning curve on how to work with it. When you have you will be able to repair anything on your boat, with a high degree of confidence that the repair is sound.

IMHO there are far far better references for steel boat work than Scott Fratcher. For welding I'd recommend a regular text book on welding. For specific advice on steel boat work there are two websites that focus on this: www.metalboatsociety.com and www.metalboatbuilding.org

Specifically, I'd really recommend you take Scott's advice about painting steel as a self evident example of what not to do. Do what all the commercial paint companies recommend - sandblast, then follow their recommendations on a paint schedule. I'd also like to put in a pitch for coal tar epoxy (that's a pun). It is remarkable stuff.
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Old 17-12-2013, 13:44   #6
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Re: Steel Schooner with concrete ballast

banana-
Looking ahead, if it is a homebuilt boat, you may not be able to insure it, which also means no marina would allow it. The pros and cons of ferrocement boats have been discussed online for years. As long as your are fully informed with eyes wide open...
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Old 17-12-2013, 13:54   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bananawindcctx View Post
We Are currently looking at a Steel Schooner that has concrete laid for ballast there is some rusting apparently from inside out Core samples were pulled and filled with epoxy. We have not laid hands on her yet with plans to do so next month. So the burning question is how hard is it to fix the problem We are both very capable of he work welding etc... or is this a big white elephant She has been on the Hard for 7 years....
Here where I am steel is quite common , so my advice would be

(A) have it examined buy a surveyor WHO understands steel

(B) you might want to X-ray it etc

(c) sandblast and then , (i) cut out and replate or just overplafe


If its bad and there rib damage , then fixing it with the concrete in place is a difficult job

It's all in the " degree "

Dave
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Old 17-12-2013, 14:17   #8
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banana- Looking ahead, if it is a homebuilt boat, you may not be able to insure it, which also means no marina would allow it. The pros and cons of ferrocement boats have been discussed online for years. As long as your are fully informed with eyes wide open...
Hello sailor can't seem to get his head out of his thruhull when it comes to ferrocement. Ferro homebuilts are insured by many companies with no problem. BoatUS and a few others won't. To quote, "your" isn't very well informed and seems to have his eyes shut.
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Old 17-12-2013, 14:38   #9
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Re: Steel Schooner with concrete ballast

encore, I'd suggest you read what I said again and temper your rude remarks. I didn't say they COULDN'T insure it, I said "may not". Which means some insurers, some circumstances, some conditions, they will be able to insure it, while others will preclude it.

If it is a homebuilt ferro, with no construction documentation, and there are problems or questions regarding what and how it was built, or uncertainties as to materials and layup, the more reputable insurers will either refuse it, or ask for survey information which may cost more than the boat is worth. For instance, if the cement ballast is "pushing out" plates as described, that could mean it is not cement, but cement filled with iron scrap, which normally expands as it rusts. If that's confirmed to be a problem, or any internal ironwork rusting is found to be a problem, the insurer might require the ballast to be removed and replaced. Which, as I said, may cause the vessel to be uninsurable because of the costs of the required mitigation.

This has got nothing to do with ferrocement per se. All old mysterious homebuilt boats suffer from the same problem of unseen defects and unsuspected costs to fix them. If the OP was familiar with ferrocement boats, they wouldn't have needed to ask the question here.

And as we hear from time to time from many purchasers of old boats, even the fiberglass ones can't always get insurance from any reputable insurer at any reasonable price.

The risk exists, the warning stands. If you want to help them out, by all means tell that what insurer will absolutely underwrite their boat. Put up the guarantee, and contribute something. Anything at all.
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Old 17-12-2013, 15:03   #10
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Re: Steel Schooner with concrete ballast

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
If it is a homebuilt ferro...
Reading diffficulties? It's STEEL..
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Old 17-12-2013, 16:00   #11
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Guys hold that argument first off read the thread its NOT ferro it's is a steel hull schooner with cement for ballast vs lead and is having rust issues it is NOT home made just looking for ideas to repair the cement issues and rust.
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Old 17-12-2013, 16:39   #12
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Re: Steel Schooner with concrete ballast

I only see one picture and it seems to be at the bow thruster (correct me if I am wrong) which is probably farther forward than the ballast was carried. Even if the ballast goes that far forward, you could probably knock the concrete out and do the repair and if you didnt want to put more concrete back in, just add another shot or 2 of chain to make up for the weight difference. I agree that you need a good surveyor, but just judging from the photo, it doesnt look that bad. Good Luck with it, and please post more photos of the boat. _____Grant.
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Old 17-12-2013, 16:47   #13
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Re: Steel Schooner with concrete ballast

In re-reading the original post, in what areas were the core samples taken, and what were the results????? ____Grant.
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Old 18-12-2013, 07:49   #14
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Re: Steel Schooner with concrete ballast

I would assume you are getting a good deal on this boat and tell you not to worry too much. If steel rusts through it will begin to leak slowly and you will have lots of time to patch it and pump out. If ribbing and plate are shot, it's a no brainer to cut out the plate and hammer the concrete, assuming you are on the hard, and rebuild the steel.
The up side is you can go out and hit things and keep on laughing and sleep through a thunder storm. Anyone who's ever been to jail knows how to weld and steel is cheap.
Good luck.
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Old 18-12-2013, 11:36   #15
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Re: Steel Schooner with concrete ballast

Some bigger steel boats, if maintained by the same yard year after year, sometimes have a problem with their keel bottoms. They have every time logs under their keels right in the same spot as before which eventually rusts throw.
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