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  #1  
Old 10-24-2008
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Would you ever even consider ferro-cement?

We just looked over a huge ferro-cement schooner. It's a homebuilt 54 LOD, 72 LOA. I've always thought that there was no way I would own a ferro-cement boat but I couldn't tell you why exactly, it just brings to mind a damp, cold medieval castle. We all have our prejudices but I try to look at mine from time to time to see if they're based on anything real.
All in all, it was a pretty cool boat. I wish that it had been maintained at least a little bit over the last 25 years. Some boats are brand new production models that have all the bugs worked out and everything is perfect. The other end of the spectrum is trash that floats that will cost a bundle to dispose of. This particular boat is too close to the trash end of the spectrum. It is beautiful, there's no question but too many things are wrong with it. The standing rigging is due for replacement, the running rigging is almost shot, all of the handmade wood blocks are cracked and need replacement, there are only 3 sails on board and it can fly 4, almost none of the systems work, corrosion, every port leaks, buckled decks, compressed mast steps, few electronics and those that are there are ancient, rotten wood, on and on. There were great parts too. The foreward cabin was described by my son as a garage. The head can fit all 3 of us at once. The galley is great. The aft cabin could hold a small keg party with a live band in the salon. The engine (4 cyl diesel) only has 20 hours on it. The teak decks are suitable for a soccer match.
This is unfortunately the wrong boat for us. It is a bigger project than I can afford time-wise or money-wise. It has been too long since anything was fixed except for paint and stain. Even if it was free it's too far to go and I want to take off sooner than this boat would ever allow.
But it did get me thinking that maybe a ferro-cement boat could work, you can get a lot of boat for your money.
I'm anxious to hear your opinions.
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Old 10-24-2008
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See: what kind of sails?

rigging and mast

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/buying...es-ferros.html

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/buying...ro-cement.html

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/buying...erro-boat.html

Personally - I would run away from a ferro boat - but there have been some that have done well. If it is on the project side - you probably do not want to go there...

Just my opinion...
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  #3  
Old 10-24-2008
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We ruled out ferro-cement boats when we were looking for our last boat. I've heard some horror stories and I just didn't want to go there. That's not saying that there aren't good value and good quality cement boats but I felt better about choosing a proven design and material.
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Old 10-25-2008
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No.

Mostly because they don't make them in the size of a boat I'd consider and there are so many good fiberglass models it's hard enough to choose among them.
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Old 10-25-2008
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Would you ever even consider ferro-cement?


NO!!!!!
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Old 10-25-2008
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Given that most ferrocement boats were home-built and built using the cheapest materials available by generally highly unskilled labor... why would you even consider one. Getting a fiberglass boat of the same era will generally result in a much better known quantity, usually with much higher standards of construction.

Also, ferrocement boats generally are larger ones... and getting insurance on them is generally impossible. Most marinas in the USA require you to have at least $300,000 of liability insurance or so. So, getting a ferrocement boat would really limit your choices in places you can keep it or store it.
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I called about one I was looking at and no one would insure it. I would think a 70 footer would incure alot of libility if anything happened. There are to many good boats out there.
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Old 10-25-2008
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They are tempting for sure, you do get alot of boat for your buck.....I certainly went through a phase of looking at them and considering it, however for me its a NO.

I did know a family that had one for 10 years and were blissfully happy with it, it did everything they wanted it to do, and it was for them the only way financially they could of afforded their dream.

What you need to remember of course is that it is not simply a case of buying the boat, there is no point buying a cheap 45 footer if you can't afford the berthing and haulouts costs associated.

What it comes down to I guess is that Ferro Cement is a gamble, and like with all bets sometimes you win, and sometimes the house cleans you up.
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Old 10-25-2008
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It's interesting to me that the regard for ferro-cement in this country is so different from, say, Europe. Someone nailed the main crux of the problem though, and that is the "back yard boat" syndrome. I have seen some extremely well done home-built ferro boats, and some scary ones. I have also seen some very well done, professionally built examples (for instance by a yard or builder who "specialized" in ferro), however those typically command a much higher asking price than the "back yard" examples.

Personally, I would look into a ferro - IF it was one of the professionally built boats. I'd also get either a surveyor or otherwise extremely knowledgeable boatwright that knows ferro inside and out. The latter probably being as difficult to find as a really well done ferro boat at a low backyard boat price...
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Old 10-25-2008
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Moonfish-

Yes, there were a few production or semi-production ferrocement boats, but most were larger boats, and they're pretty far and few between. That said, I've seen a 32 or 33' ferrocement boat that was absolutely gorgeous about a decade ago. The owner/captain and builder was a master mason... go figure. He and his crew of masons built two of the boats—one for himself and one for his friend, a master cabinetmaker, who did the interiors on both boats. I was surprised that the boat was a ferro, since it certainly didn't look like one.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

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