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Old 11-05-2012, 09:22 PM   #18
Veteran Member
City: Corio
Country: Australia
Vessel Name: Kittyhawk
Vessel Model: Careel 22
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 52
Concrete is not Ferro-Cement

Originally Posted by BruceK View Post
Remember Helsal, aka "the flying footpath", a successful Sydney-Hobart competitor, designed by the Australian yacht designer Joe Adams (recently murdered in the Philippines).
Kando,you have an eye for boats that are unusual in some way. Do FC hulls get "concrete cancer" or is that the province of certain apartment builders?
Good luck with your search. Whenever you regret passing on something there is always another one around the corner. BruceK
G'day Bruce,

There have been many FC boats built over the years, some shockers and some real beauties. I believe the shockers were built by people who thought they knew much more than the FC boat designers...I often wonder why people buy plans for any boat, then decide they can do a better job and proceed to alter the plans to such a degree that the finished boat is a disaster waiting to happen.

If I wanted to build a FC boat, (I've built two Ply/West System boats and yes, I stuck to the plans) I would buy plans from FC boat designers, such as Hartley or Wilf O'Kell, they are the two best known FC designer/builders in this part of the world, I would follow every step in the plans to the letter and I would end-up with a safe, go-anywhere FC boat.

There is a bleeding big difference between Ferro-Cement and Concrete. No-matter what you read on-line, Ferro-Cement is NOT Concrete. Any FC boat, pro built or backyard built, where the builder built to plan back in the 60's, 70's, 80's, or whenever, that has been maintained, will still be afloat and in most cases, a safe buy. Such boats will still be around long after I, and you, have moved on to the big blue beyond.
I have talked with a few local FC boat builders who built their own boats, three Hartley and two Wilf Okell, these builders all built their boats back in the 60's, then sailed-off with their families. Three of those families sailed to the UK and back again, all still own their FC boats and the boats are not for sale...To me, that says a lot about a FC boat that has been built following the plans.

As for, Do FC hulls get "concrete cancer". No, they don't because FC is not Concrete. Water can not pass through a sound FC hull or deck. What can happen is this, the hull could get damaged in a bump, that could chip a piece of plaster away and permit water to reach the steel armature. That in itself is not a problem, so long as one makes simple repairs to the damage as soon as possible.
People say, don't touch any FC boat where you see rust stains on the hull. What those people don't understand is, the rust stains are mostly caused by the tie-wire ends that have been left unclipped to close to the surface of the plaster/FC (tie-wires are used to tie the mesh to the steel rods before plastering) The tie-wire "ends" rusts causing the rust stains on the hull. This is easily fixed by grinding out a small piece of plaster and tie-wire, then re-plaster the small hole with fresh FC...No more rust stains from that tie-wire.

So, do I trust FC boats? Yes I do! Just as long as the plans were provided by a designer with a few years experience in designing FC boats (the more years experience the better) and the builder...Pro or backyard builder, stuck strictly to the plans for building and curing (plastering and curing is important) the boat. What I would not touch with a barge-pole is...A FC boat where the builder took it upon himself, alterations to make the boat better, IMHO, such altered boats should be avoided like the plague.

Cheers mates,

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