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Old 28-01-2015, 02:03   #1
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Ferro cement

Hi all I need some advise about Ferro cement vessel how well do they handle heavy weather at sea and how safe a they for sailing around the world (40ft)
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Old 28-01-2015, 02:39   #2
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Re: Ferro cement

The answer to your question is more one of seaworthiness and is related to the overall design of the hull and boat in general. The actual material used is not of great consequence.

500 posts will soon present with both sides of the camp on the pros and cons of ferro-cement as a construction material for boat building; and to add to the backscatter all I'll say (and I don't own a ferro, but would consider in the right circumstances - maybe) is that a good ferro can't be beat unless you run it onto a reef and then it turns into rubble. Physically, ferro-cement is actually a pretty good boat building material and has arguably no more cons than most other materials. However, many were amateur built with questionable quality of construction and, in some cases, nonsensical alterations to the original architect's design however all those that are left are probably of reasonable build and the bad ones will be obvious.
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Old 28-01-2015, 05:13   #3
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Re: Ferro cement

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, cathalot.
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Old 28-01-2015, 05:55   #4
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Re: Ferro cement

Reefmagnet hit it right on.

The seaworthiness of a vessel is much more a function of the vessel design than the material it's made of, assuming it is well and properly constructed.

Regarding the pros and cons of ferrocement as a boat building material, that issue has been covered many, many times on this forum. When you have a couple of hours to spare go to the top of any page on Cruisers Forum and choose "search", the third option from the right. Enter ferrocement and you will be rewarded with more opinions than you could imagine.
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Old 28-01-2015, 08:11   #5
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Re: Ferro cement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reefmagnet View Post
Physically, ferro-cement is actually a pretty good boat building material and has arguably no more cons than most other materials. However, many were amateur built with questionable quality of construction...
This is the key. A properly built ferro-cement boat is as good as any other boat out there. But a whole lot of them, over the years, have NOT been "properly built." For some reason, it seems that ferro-cement appeals to those who are in a hurry and/or like to cut corners. As a result, there are a fair number of them out there that are complete junk, and I wouldn't take them if you paid me.

So, don't discount ferro-cement, but do be very careful about any amateur-built ferro-cement boat that you are considering.

Good luck.
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Old 28-01-2015, 18:28   #6
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Re: Ferro cement

I am 66, a former shipwright, commercial fisherman, etc. I have never seen a FC boat that wasn't home built. That usually means the builder was less than expert. Usually under financed. The big issue is the steel framework and mesh. Unless the cement can be permanently sealed, sea water will travel through any cracks and the micro porosity of the cement. Eventually rusting away the steel, leaving a hollow brick, prone to splitting apart. If the steel is epoxy coated like bridge rebar then you could expect a extended life. Check with an insurance agent on rates. Also, if you live where the road is salted in the winter, see how cement holds up to the salt.
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Old 28-01-2015, 18:37   #7
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Re: Ferro cement

It can be very hard just to get insurance for a ferro boat. Without insurance, many marinas will not let you in.
Ferro can be good, but unfortunately it mostly isn't.
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Old 28-01-2015, 18:54   #8
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Re: Ferro cement

I will reiterate what is mentioned above.... Ferro cement boats can be good or bad, but it is very hard to get insurance, even for the good ones
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Old 28-01-2015, 22:08   #9
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Re: Ferro cement

Mostly agree with the above issues. And I'll add that most Ferro boats are starting to get pretty old by now, so they have all the older boat issues. My parents Ferro ketch has just been sandblasted and had a big refit and it seems that aside from a few small old voids where the plasterers stuffed up its in very good nick. But the wooden parts, deck cabin and bulwarks have just had a lot of work to replace some pockets of rot and leaks. Due to the low value you probably won't see any return on any work done unless you get a very good price on a boat that doesn't need much work. (Probably true of most boats..).
A mate just got badly burnt with a concrete boat with a bad case of concrete cancer. So.. A few good ones and a few bad ones. Done right they are certainly seaworthy enough.

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Old 28-01-2015, 22:47   #10
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Re: Ferro cement

BTW it's best not to sandblast ferrocement. It tends to enlarge small superficial cracks. I read this in Colin Brookes' excellent book, Ferrocement Boats.
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Old 29-01-2015, 00:24   #11
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Re: Ferro cement

^^Interesting. The folks used a kind of glass bead. It did take some cement off in a few patches ,but didn't seem to widen any cracks. Not that there was any cracks that where visible in the first place. Their hull seems solid with diagonal reo at inch centres underwater and 1 inch above. Much more than hartly specs. And no pipe frames which tend to rust out.

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Old 29-01-2015, 00:28   #12
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Re: Ferro cement

Hartley designed boats are renowned for seaworthyness if built to design. If the hull was NZ built it was probably professionally finished. Tested by time and no significant rust issues the hull is probably a good one. Rest of the boat ????
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Old 29-01-2015, 00:49   #13
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Re: Ferro cement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reefmagnet View Post
The answer to your question is more one of seaworthiness and is related to the overall design of the hull and boat in general. The actual material used is not of great consequence.

500 posts will soon present with both sides of the camp on the pros and cons of ferro-cement as a construction material for boat building; and to add to the backscatter all I'll say (and I don't own a ferro, but would consider in the right circumstances - maybe) is that a good ferro can't be beat unless you run it onto a reef and then it turns into rubble. Physically, ferro-cement is actually a pretty good boat building material and has arguably no more cons than most other materials. However, many were amateur built with questionable quality of construction and, in some cases, nonsensical alterations to the original architect's design however all those that are left are probably of reasonable build and the bad ones will be obvious.
Good reply. Insurance can be hard and by some reports impossible to get, but other than that there are a number sailing the world. I'm not sure of the comment they 'turn into rubble' if they hit something. I think it depends on the quality of the build. I seen a local one some years ago that lost its mooring and careered into another boat. In that case it was just a pushed in dent, though a big one, with cracking. Leaking if water was minimal.

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Old 29-01-2015, 03:43   #14
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Re: Ferro cement

It's a lot like diesel cars that came out in the 70's (in the USA). Diesel isn't a bad option. They put out total garbage, so for the next 30-40yrs you couldn't give the away.


Likewise, most fero cement boats were amateur built of poor quality.


Unlike diesel cars, there is no compelling reason to bring fero cement back as a boat building material, so it is unlikely to ever recover.
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Old 29-01-2015, 06:45   #15
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Re: Ferro cement

I agree that there are a good number of ferro-cement boats with questionable construction and problems; however, every now and then I come across a beauty that I am surprised to hear is a ferro-cemet vessel.
I would not discount a well made ferro-cement boat, but in taking on the ownership of such a boat, you would need to accept the stigma that would make insuring and resale more difficult.
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