considering a ferro cement boat - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 93 Old 07-23-2012
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Re: considering a ferro cement boat

So

... compared to GRP she will be slow. Like steel at that size.

... difficult to insure.

... you pay $5000 for her don't expect to make a profit not matter what you do to her.

but .... she is as much motor sailor as anything else and could be a seriously comfortable old lump of a thing, perfect for the PNW. Provided of course she is not about to sink, (pics indicate good condition but when where they taken ?) is mechanically OK and she has a nicely laid out interior that only needs a bit of spit and polish. Anything else is just maintenance which you'll pay on a hundred grander anyway.

Use the old girl for a few years then if you are very very lucky indeed and have spent way to much money on her you might just re-sell her for $5000.

Or not.

Seriously, there is a couple in our neck of the woods with an absolutely lovely old floating footpath that from a boat length away you would not recognise as concrete. Beautiful boat, worth bugger all, they've had her for years and love her.

Andrew B

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“Life is a trick, and you get one chance to learn it.”
― Terry Pratchett, Nation

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post #12 of 93 Old 07-23-2012
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Re: considering a ferro cement boat

If you really want it, wait another month and see what happens to the price.

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post #13 of 93 Old 07-23-2012
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Re: considering a ferro cement boat

Ferro cement gets a lot of flack from many who know little about it. Just like any boat they need maintenance.

Truth is we won a World War with cement ships. Look up the Palo Alto. It was intentionally sunk in 1929 and considering it has been sitting unmaintained ever since it is still recognizable as a ship.

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post #14 of 93 Old 07-23-2012
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Re: considering a ferro cement boat

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Originally Posted by IronSpinnaker View Post
Ferro cement gets a lot of flack from many who know little about it. Just like any boat they need maintenance.

Truth is we won a World War with cement ships. Look up the Palo Alto. It was intentionally sunk in 1929 and considering it has been sitting unmaintained ever since it is still recognizable as a ship.

Not saying you are wrong on this, but if no one is willing to open their wallet to buy one, then it basically has no value.

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post #15 of 93 Old 07-23-2012
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Re: considering a ferro cement boat

Finding somebody willing to open their wallet and buy any used boat can be a challenge regardless of what it is made from.

It will be a much lighter boat then a steel hull or even aluminum.

A cubic foot of steel weighs about 420 lbs.
Aluminum is about 170 lbs
Cement is 140 lbs.

The year this one was built it would have been re-enforced with wire mesh, now days they use mono fiber to reinforce.

Cement gains strength with age. The older it gets the stronger it becomes.

The only reason(s) they are not built this way commercially is because ferro cement is labor intensive. They can't slap one after another out of a mold like they can with fiberglass. The mold is a permanent part of the boat which has to be re-constructed with every vessel.

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post #16 of 93 Old 07-23-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IronSpinnaker:899985

Cement gains strength with age. The older it gets the stronger it becomes.

The only reason(s) they are not built this way commercially is because ferro cement is labor intensive. They can't slap one after another out of a mold like they can with fiberglass. The mold is a permanent part of the boat which has to be re-constructed with every vessel.
Wow, engineers. While somewhat true, concrete gets harder with age, it also gets more brittle. This is why it must be reinforced. There's a reason why infrastructures fail as concrete is leached out by rainwater, frost and ice. Concrete is permiable. Like all masonary it reacts to water. I've seen many Ferro boats that look like they were faired with a shovel and broom, when in fact it's the rebar swelling from inside the concrete, pushing outwards. The effect increases over time allowing for more water intrusion and ultimately catastrophic failure.

Labour costs have little to do with building boats from concrete. When any other boat is built other than fiberglass, the "mould" goes with the boat. Boats built from concrete in war times we designed to cheap and expendable just as it was used during the 60's to build cheap boats. Ferro in all ways is a failure as a boat construction materiel. There's a reason there are fewer and fewer remaining as most have become unidentifiable reefs sitting on the bottom of the Atlantic and Pacific.
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post #17 of 93 Old 07-23-2012
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Re: considering a ferro cement boat

Hello All
My 2 cents worth.
On the hard at the marina we use there is a ferro cement boat and for sale I might add and has been for quite some time (5years+). Reason, its got a crack and it leaks the worst of it is that the owner cannot find the crack. He knows it is below the water line and thats all. Like one the other comments the money is in the jewelry and rigging.
My vote is NO. We have a 1975 Macgregor 25 that we sail and she is a great boat for her age. Bought for a few thousand and we did not regret buying her.
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post #18 of 93 Old 07-23-2012
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Re: considering a ferro cement boat

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Originally Posted by IronSpinnaker View Post
It will be a much lighter boat then a steel hull or even aluminum.

A cubic foot of steel weighs about 420 lbs.
Aluminum is about 170 lbs
Cement is 140 lbs.

.
Sorry but this is not the case.

A steel boat of this size will be 3/16 thick.

An Ali boat 1/4 thick

Ferro at least an inch thick. So the hull will be about 50% heavier than steel and 100% heavier than Ali.
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post #19 of 93 Old 07-23-2012
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Re: considering a ferro cement boat

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Originally Posted by IronSpinnaker View Post
Finding somebody willing to open their wallet and buy any used boat can be a challenge regardless of what it is made from.
True but presumably it's a temporary economic situation with glass boats - it's permanent with ferro. You have to assume it has and will have virtually no value.

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It will be a much lighter boat then a steel hull or even aluminum.

A cubic foot of steel weighs about 420 lbs.
Aluminum is about 170 lbs
Cement is 140 lbs.
There's a lot more to it than raw material density - a ferro boat will be the heaviest in nearly all cases. 12 Lbs per square foot of skin is about the minimum that can be obtained. It is very difficult to get a skin thickness of 3/4" - most are over an inch. The old rule of thumb in ferro's heyday was that once past 50ish feet things evened out re: weight but boats have gotten a LOT lighter since then. My Columbia 43 (1970) weighs 22K Lbs and was considered dangerously light in its day - a similar sized ferro boat would be twice that in most cases. A current glass boat that size would be in the teens in most cases.

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Cement gains strength with age. The older it gets the stronger it becomes.
That was one of John Samson's favourite promotional bits. Mostly an old wives tale - while technically true in the strictest theoretical sense, it is a meaningless effect that is offset and then some by external stresses on the boat. Ferro IS a very strong but very heavy medium. I can't imagine why anyone would build one nowadays but there are some extreme bargains out there in the existing fleet - you have to search through a lot of coal to find the odd uncut diamond though.

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The only reason(s) they are not built this way commercially is because ferro cement is labor intensive. They can't slap one after another out of a mold like they can with fiberglass. The mold is a permanent part of the boat which has to be re-constructed with every vessel.
Not true - one of the methods of construction was the use of a wooden male mold covered in sheet plastic - it was removed after rolling the hull and could be re-used. Samson had set up for series production of a 32' near the end of ferro's bubble in the 70's. One of those hulls still exists in the boatyard where I keep my boat.

I, myself, personally intend to continue being outspoken and opinionated, intolerant of all fanatics, fools and ignoramuses, deeply suspicious of all those who have "found the answer" and on my bad days, downright rude.

Last edited by SloopJonB; 04-21-2014 at 10:42 PM.
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post #20 of 93 Old 07-23-2012
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Re: considering a ferro cement boat

Nice looking boat.
If you decide to buy check with insurance companies in your area.
Most marinas require insurance and a Ferro boat is very difficult to insure.
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