considering a ferro cement boat - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 93 Old 07-22-2012 Thread Starter
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considering a ferro cement boat

I've been eyeballing this boat for a few months now. I know nothing about cement boats which makes me really really hesitant. They just recently dropped the price by a considerable amount though. If I go and look at it what are some questions I should ask, or things to lookout for.

Also kind of hoping there are other west coast sailors on here, who might know something about this vessel. From What I've been able to find out she's been around for awhile.

32' Ferro Cement sailboat SUNRISE North Saanich & Sidney , Victoria
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post #2 of 93 Old 07-22-2012
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Forget it, choose one made of paper mache instead. There's a reason, insurance companies will not cover Ferro boats. Concrete is inherently weak under compressive load and is porous requiring a metal stiffener ie rebar, and a waterproof sealant covering the hull. It's not about the concrete, it's about the prevention of catastrophic failure after the rebar turns to mush.

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post #3 of 93 Old 07-22-2012
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Re: considering a ferro cement boat

I'm not a fan of cement boats. Biggest problem I can think of is fixing any kind of 'ding' in the hull. It's not easy to fix cement. They were big in the late 60's early 70's. I am sure there has to be a reason you don't see them much anymore.
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post #4 of 93 Old 07-22-2012
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Re: considering a ferro cement boat

Well built ferro boats last a long time, and are often low priced. Try looking for a ferrocement boat forum or blog, almost everyone here has fg. Those with experience can tell you what to look for.
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post #5 of 93 Old 07-22-2012
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Re: considering a ferro cement boat

Ferro is easy to fix. Minor dings with epoxy + filler. I helped out on a big repair where a an area byy the rudder pintle had crumpled on impact with the bottom.

Hammered out the old cement squared up the armature and welded in some extra reinforcement. Plastered it up on day two and painted a week later.

The first ferro boat ever built is still afloat as are WW2 barges.

32 is small for a ferro boat so she is likely to be heavy compared to a grp hull.

Shed load of character though.

If everything works at 5 to 7.5 k that is a lot of boat for the money.
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post #6 of 93 Old 07-23-2012
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Biggest issue with fero is you will have a hard time selling it. I imagine that is why it was donated to this charity, likely could not sell it.

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post #7 of 93 Old 07-23-2012
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Re: considering a ferro cement boat

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Originally Posted by saillife View Post
I'm not a fan of cement boats. Biggest problem I can think of is fixing any kind of 'ding' in the hull. It's not easy to fix cement. They were big in the late 60's early 70's. I am sure there has to be a reason you don't see them much anymore.
That is 100% incorrect - ferro is probably the easiest medium to repair - chip out the fractured mortar, straighten out the mesh, epoxy coat the edges and re-mortar the "hole".

A properly built ferro boat rarely needs any repairs either - they can take a phenomenal amount of abuse.
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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.
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post #8 of 93 Old 07-23-2012
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Re: considering a ferro cement boat

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Originally Posted by Agri View Post
I've been eyeballing this boat for a few months now. I know nothing about cement boats which makes me really really hesitant. They just recently dropped the price by a considerable amount though. If I go and look at it what are some questions I should ask, or things to lookout for.

Also kind of hoping there are other west coast sailors on here, who might know something about this vessel. From What I've been able to find out she's been around for awhile.

32' Ferro Cement sailboat SUNRISE North Saanich & Sidney , Victoria
For that price you pretty well can't lose - you could part it out for more than that. Look at the price of the Fisher 30's for sale - 10 X as much for a quite similar boat in fiberglass.

If its condition is similar to the pics and you expect it to be a keeper, go for it - just don't expect to easily sell it or to make any money based on improvements.
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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.
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post #9 of 93 Old 07-23-2012
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Re: considering a ferro cement boat

Approach with caution... the counter says that 205 people have looked at it and not taken it...But I agree with SloopJonB it looks like the price could be in the jewelery and rigging...
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post #10 of 93 Old 07-23-2012
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Re: considering a ferro cement boat

Hmmmm.......

Gut instinct says RUN AWAY.

But..... I bought a sinking wooden boat that was for sale after she was donated to a charity and sailed her and lived on her for 8 great years.



Here are my thoughts. If you have the money to buy fiberglass then by God buy fiberglass! I speak from experience here. If, on the other hand, you are really short of coin and this is the only way you can get into the minimum size boat you need, then it might be a good prospect. Consider all funds spent to be a "sunk cost" (oh yes that pun was intended) and you may have to donate her to get rid of her when she's done. Since you know nothing about ferro boats you must assume the worst and be prepared for the consequences. I bought a wooden boat and knew nothing of them and suffered some consequences myself.


What do you want her for? Are there any glass boats in your price range that can do what you want? If your choice is between a 27ft Catalina that will fit the bill, or this boat which seems like "more boat for the money" then go with the Catalina. If this is the only way you'll get a liveaboard/cruiser for your funds then maybe its a good idea.

Buy glass if you can. If you can't, then proceed with caution....

MedSailor (Recovering wooden boat owner)
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