Ferro Cement Boat Construction

Ferro Cement Boat Construction

When well-built, using a ferro cement boat construction method makes for a robust and reliable heavy-displacement yacht, and the finish may be indistinguishable from fibreglass (GRP).

Despite its poor reputation for longevity in some quarters, some of the oldest hulls in existence are ferro-cement. Nevertheless, the economics of the material tends to dictate that many were home-built, and quality varies dramatically. A hull built of ‘Seacrete’ by Windboats of Wroxham is a good start. Others have to be taken on their merits as found.

Ideally the hull should be X-rayed, because the life of the hull depends critically on the state of the steel ‘armature’. However, to do that over any representative area of the surface would be prohibitively expensive. It might be worth it if limited to suspect areas, or for determining the extent of damage after an accident. Provided it has not been recently covered over with paint, a hull will usually give some indications of problems within, as will hammer-sounding and rolling.

If there is significant rust-staining coming through the hull (or deck) you should proceed with caution.

Some of the smaller ferro cement craft may have timber or fibreglass (GRP) decks and superstructures, and it is frequently there that the amateur construction may become most apparent. Equally, I have come across some very well-finished home-builds.

The material has gone out of fashion because it has to be built to a minimum thickness, so is really only suitable for hulls above 35′ over-all, otherwise it is too heavy. At that size, the hull cost is only about 10% of the total build cost, almost whatever the material, and the builder still has to purchase correspondingly costly heavy-weight gear to fit the yacht out.

 

Contact

Call 01929 480064 or email Anthony Byrde to discuss your own requirements further