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Would you live on a ferrocement boat?

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Created by Seebreasy73 6 months ago, 23 Dec 2018
Seebreasy73
QLD, 325 posts
23 Dec 2018 3:39PM
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Donk107
TAS, 2208 posts
23 Dec 2018 4:36PM
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I did a bit of googling on ferro boats a while ago and it seemed to me that people that hadn't owned one were against them but people who did own them on the whole seemed to like them

I think that because a lot of them were home built some are good and some are not but I guess this applies to all building materials

I believe it can be hard to get insurance on a ferro boat and this can stop you entering some marinas where they want to see a current policy before they will give you a spot

Something that I did read at the time was that the optimum thickness for a ferro Yacht hull (correct me if I am wrong) is about 5/8 of an inch which is way thinner than I imagined it to be and that anything more than that was just adding weight for no additional benefit

Personally I wouldn't buy one but as far as what you get for the money you pay there are some large low priced boats out there and lots of happy owners so I am not going to bag ferro boats at all

When we moved to Port Huon there was a beautiful ferro boat there called Lioness of the Sea that was about 50 foot long and looking at it you would have thought it was fibreglass and it later came up for sale and was on the market for a few years with the already low initial price dropping from time to time but it moved out of the marina so I am not sure happened to her

Regards Don

garymalmgren
221 posts
23 Dec 2018 3:17PM
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There was recent topic on SB about boats to avoid.
I held off on commenting on "stone" boats.
I read once that boats have good points and bad points except ferro boats which only have bad points.
I sailed a 32 foot ferro double ender for almost 4 years through many parts of SE Asia.
She was designed for the North Sea and HEAVY!!! So not the best boat for the job at hand, BUT
Everyone who came aboard commented on how cool (temperature wise ) she was.
So I can say ferro boats have at least one good point: they are cooler than anything else in the tropics.
Well, if you have an air conditioner that's different.
We didn't frequently encounter lasting storms, but she shook everything off.


Last I heard, she was still afloat in Lankawi, 50 years on

Gary

LooseChange
NSW, 1962 posts
23 Dec 2018 6:09PM
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Answering the question in its simplest form and exactly as it was asked. Yes.

sirgallivant
NSW, 1425 posts
23 Dec 2018 7:56PM
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No, l would not, but l would not live on any other boat no matter how luxurious or large it was. Period.

I almost bought a 32 feet long ferro cement boat few years ago. I was lucky, some other chap picked it up 5 seconds before me. Literally.

I think with hindsight - I did not know enough about ferro boats at the time - l was lucky not to buy it and l ended up with an Adams 28, which was a beauty. Neptune was on my side that day.

There is nothing wrong with a ferro yacht as long as one does not rush somewhere. They are rather slow in low wind but if have to live through a hurricane, l would like to be on a ferro boat as they are like a T34 or Sherman tanks of the sea. Heavy lumps but solid as a rock of Gibraltar.

The bad ones have sunk years ago , if one lasted this long it is probably pretty solid as long as there was not in an accident recently. It is very hard to find a surveyor who knows what to look at on a ferro boat.

Repairs in an emergency, except fothering the hull, is almost impossible and if the mesh matrix starts rusting it's over. If cracks in the hull let salty water to the metal mesh and it corrodes it breaks up at an alarming speed.

I rather own a timber yacht.
(no, rather not...)

shaggybaxter
QLD, 1657 posts
23 Dec 2018 8:20PM
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Yes.
Doesn't mean I want to though .

woko
NSW, 474 posts
23 Dec 2018 9:22PM
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Straight answer yes, as Sirgall points out none have been built for a while so those afloat will be for afloat for some time to come. Generally they have a glass epoxy skin or glass polyester.
As for weight I think it depends on the skill of the plasterer, I've been told by a cement renderer who had built several yachts and a 50' trawler, that anymore than 1/4" of render past the wire/rio only adds weight
One exceptionally notable ferro job done exceedingly well in the Sydney to Hobart.

SandS
VIC, 5627 posts
23 Dec 2018 10:15PM
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not this ol chestnut again ...................

LooseChange
NSW, 1962 posts
24 Dec 2018 12:31AM
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Select to expand quote
woko said..
Straight answer yes, as Sirgall points out none have been built for a while so those afloat will be for afloat for some time to come. Generally they have a glass epoxy skin or glass polyester.
As for weight I think it depends on the skill of the plasterer, I've been told by a cement renderer who had built several yachts and a 50' trawler, that anymore than 1/4" of render past the wire/rio only adds weight
One exceptionally notable ferro job done exceedingly well in the Sydney to Hobart.


Was a Joe Adams design that now unfortunately lays wrecked in Manila harbour in the Philippines.

Trek
NSW, 853 posts
24 Dec 2018 6:53AM
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I did for 2 years. So yes. On the plus side, easy to buy, always a conversation starter, very dry, quiet - especially if sleeping in V berth, heavy - good and powerful in bigger seas and stronger winds. On the negative side you dont know exactly how strong the hull is, hard to sell and in light weather you can still be stationary under full sail! But on the average the one I had was fine.

Ramona
NSW, 5020 posts
24 Dec 2018 7:35AM
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Absolutely. They make good live aboards. RORC 39's sail well too. Several concrete yachts here, surprisingly few people realize they are concrete. I would own a concrete boat but not a steel yacht.
This photo is from a few years ago. My boat on the right. 54 foot ferro on the bottom. 38 foot ferro on the left which has now gone to Sydney and there is a a 45 ferro in it's place.



Trek
NSW, 853 posts
24 Dec 2018 8:15AM
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Mine was an RORC39. When the wind got up it was pretty good. The thing I liked most was that when others sailing past (which seemed most times!) were hanging on by their toe nails we had our feet up relaxing and even our drinks didn't spill.

samsturdy
NSW, 1421 posts
24 Dec 2018 8:37AM
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I've said this before. Ferro's were pioneered by the French and the boats they built are still afloat. Weight wise it's
stated that whatever you build a boat of over 40 foot they'll weigh the same ( aluminium excepted ). Sayer in New
Zealand built exceptionally good ferro hulls.

frant
VIC, 1219 posts
24 Dec 2018 9:38AM
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LooseChange said..
Answering the question in its simplest form and exactly as it was asked. Yes.


Absolutely and categorically NO

sirgallivant
NSW, 1425 posts
24 Dec 2018 11:50AM
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Most for it, one on the fence, (me) two against. This is pretty convincing and surprising!
(wish politics was like this)
We should ask the young ones, thou. They would be horrified methinks.

Why is the objection to steel boats ?

All@Sea
TAS, 93 posts
24 Dec 2018 12:48PM
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I have a mate who lived on a Hartley, a rorc 32 from memory. sailed ok, but as Trek noted, he said the best thing was the sound insulation was excellent - something not to be under estimated on a windy night in a marina!

woko
NSW, 474 posts
24 Dec 2018 8:04PM
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Select to expand quote
sirgallivant said..
Most for it, one on the fence, (me) two against. This is pretty convincing and surprising!
(wish politics was like this)
We should ask the young ones, thou. They would be horrified methinks.

Why is the objection to steel boats ?



Yeah why the objection to steel boats ? At least you can see the corrosion

Seebreasy73
QLD, 325 posts
26 Dec 2018 7:38AM
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Select to expand quote
woko said..

sirgallivant said..
Most for it, one on the fence, (me) two against. This is pretty convincing and surprising!
(wish politics was like this)
We should ask the young ones, thou. They would be horrified methinks.

Why is the objection to steel boats ?




Yeah why the objection to steel boats ? At least you can see the corrosion


often you cannot see the corrosion, as many times even stainless steel fittings will corrode from the inside out.

on the other hand some ferrocement boats used asbestos as part of the cement mixture.

sirgallivant
NSW, 1425 posts
26 Dec 2018 9:08PM
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Still better than using calcium aluminate cement which was pronounced a wonder material around the fifties.

cisco
QLD, 11215 posts
27 Dec 2018 1:38AM
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Would I live on a ferro cement boat??

I don't think there is anybody with one who would pay me enough to do it.

Ramona
NSW, 5020 posts
27 Dec 2018 7:18AM
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There are a lot of steel boats and ferro boats in my home port. All the steel boats need work, some of them a real lot. The ferro boats are not all that tidy either but with ferro at least the problems are very obvious. If a ferro boat was to become abandoned it would probably just float there for the next hundred years or till the chain mooring failed. Steel boats wont do that. Only boat I have seen condemned by the MSB was a steely that was on the slips. Had to be craned off and trucked away. Both steel and ferro boats are very heavy but I think the ferro is quieter and better insulated so yes I would live on a ferro boat. Don't want to sail one though.
Mates RORC 39 never seemed to get any growth underneath either which was weird. It sailed well in a breeze but now he is sailing his alloy Cole 42 he can't get the grin off his face.

woko
NSW, 474 posts
28 Dec 2018 7:33PM
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Point taken Ramona, steelys like planked boats require regular maintaince, ferros like composite jobs new and old are good until the outer membrane is breached then the trouble starts but at least they have the decency to deteriorate if neglected, Unlike the layed up glass vessels that it seems no mater how much neglect is bestowed on them they will be around for proably hundreds of years

saintpeter
VIC, 94 posts
28 Dec 2018 8:26PM
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What do you all think of this one.
yachthub.com/list/yachts-for-sale/used/sail-monohulls/khan-walker-rebel-34/210739
Apart from a certain 'dullness' in the topsides, I would never have picked her as ferro. Prior to her being advertised, I thought she might be quite a good southern cruiser. Berthed in Queenscliff harbour (Vic).

Seebreasy73
QLD, 325 posts
28 Dec 2018 8:59PM
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saintpeter said..
What do you all think of this one.
yachthub.com/list/yachts-for-sale/used/sail-monohulls/khan-walker-rebel-34/210739
Apart from a certain 'dullness' in the topsides, I would never have picked her as ferro. Prior to her being advertised, I thought she might be quite a good southern cruiser. Berthed in Queenscliff harbour (Vic).


says finished in fiberglass though whatever that means, nice looking boat

MortenDenmark
1 posts
10 Jun 2019 5:39PM
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We lived on our Hartley "South Seas" 46 ketch for 4 month last year. It was very pleasant. I?m sailing her twice a week all year. I see Ferro cement as one of the best hull materials on the market. It never gets rusty and lasts for hundreds of years. All you need to be aware of is oil/diesel/grease in the bleige. Oil will damage the stucture of the cement, so you need a good layer of epoxy in the bleige. Allso she is a good stabil sailboat, easy to handle. I often sail her singlehand with no problem. In light winds she can do 5-6 knots , and will gain more speed as the wind gets stronger.









openhagen

stray
SA, 118 posts
10 Jun 2019 10:02PM
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I grew up on a ferro boat. The good ones are still going strong and at least the bad ones are easy to crush up and turn into rocks and recyclable steel.
As far as steel boats go you cant diss all steel boats because some old ones are rust buckets. That is like comparing wood epoxy to carvel planked. With modern building methods and coating systems a well built steel boat is low maintenance, dry, quiet, not over weight, and obviously very strong.

crustysailor
VIC, 642 posts
11 Jun 2019 1:12PM
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just dropped another $10k

yachthub.com/list/yachts-for-sale/used/sail-monohulls/khan-walker-rebel-34/210739

why, or actually, how would you fibreglass sheath it?
Epoxy topcoat maybe I could understand, but i've never heard of a ferro boat being glassed.

It gives a new meaning to a composite construction.

AzureF305
NSW, 79 posts
11 Jun 2019 3:07PM
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crustysailor said..
just dropped another $10k

yachthub.com/list/yachts-for-sale/used/sail-monohulls/khan-walker-rebel-34/210739

why, or actually, how would you fibreglass sheath it?
Epoxy topcoat maybe I could understand, but i've never heard of a ferro boat being glassed.

It gives a new meaning to a composite construction.


Now sold!

Ramona
NSW, 5020 posts
11 Jun 2019 6:19PM
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Select to expand quote
crustysailor said..
just dropped another $10k

yachthub.com/list/yachts-for-sale/used/sail-monohulls/khan-walker-rebel-34/210739

why, or actually, how would you fibreglass sheath it?
Epoxy topcoat maybe I could understand, but i've never heard of a ferro boat being glassed.

It gives a new meaning to a composite construction.


Exactly the same way people fibreglass or epoxy sheath shower recesses over concrete. Spill some epoxy or fibreglass resin on a concrete floor and see how good that sticks!

woko
NSW, 474 posts
11 Jun 2019 7:01PM
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Select to expand quote
crustysailor said..
just dropped another $10k

yachthub.com/list/yachts-for-sale/used/sail-monohulls/khan-walker-rebel-34/210739

why, or actually, how would you fibreglass sheath it?
Epoxy topcoat maybe I could understand, but i've never heard of a ferro boat being glassed.

It gives a new meaning to a composite construction.


It's acutely very common to epoxy glass sheath a ferro job ( I should say was) and I imagine the ones that where are the ones that stood the test of time, just as with double diagonal ply the glass epoxy adds to the water proof membrane, and as such helps the core material ie sand and cement from absorbing water and hence weight ( not to mention accelerating the rusting of a complexed arangment of frames, stringers and netting )
i think ferros got a bum wrap from a percentage of poorly made ones,

Shanty
QLD, 364 posts
11 Jun 2019 9:25PM
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I always remember people telling me that cement boats start to sink after 30 years. I don't know how true this is though. Does not really make sense I just said " yeah ok mate" they build pontoons out of it. I have seen people hit pontoons pretty hard though usually does nothing! I suppose if you look at them this way: they don't rot,rust, corrode or get osmosis sounds pretty good. All you got to do is look for cracks. Then again I have never owned a ferro boat and only been on one that was on the slip.



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"Would you live on a ferrocement boat?" started by Seebreasy73