FERROCEMENT BOATS HAVE BEEN AROUND A LONG TIME. A RECENT KEY WORD SEARCH REMINDED US THAT WE WEREN'T CARRYING ANY INFORMATION ON THEM FOR OUR BOAT BUILDERS. THAT CHANGES TODAY.Searches related to FERROCEMENT BOAT CONSTRUCTION
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|Ferrocement build boat, photo by Antonio Walter Guzman distribution via GNU Free Documentation License, and Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.|
EDITOR'S NOTE: I have to take personal responsibility for the failure to include information about ferrocement building techniques in our BOAT BUILDING SECTION. How I let nearly two years slip by and not notice that glaring omission I don't know. I personally had a remarkable experience with a large charter sailing yacht about twenty years ago that was my introduction to this unique building material. I was serving as a pilot taking a 70 foot Alden designed ketch with an 8 ft. draft through some Gulf Coastal barrier islands with poorly charted water depths between 2 and 14 feet. The Yacht was under charter to a film crew. Originally constructed with pine planking over stout oak framing the ketch's hull had been clad in ferrocement when she was converted to commercial charter work. It was early April at the time, not quite time for the Bermuda Ridge to usher in the tropical pattern of the Gulf Coastal summer, but a little past the point where Continental fronts push through the area from the north. We had a most unexpected weather development however that all of the weather men failed to predict.
The area was over run by a continental front that did little to lower temperatures but sent 90 mph winds on a somewhat sustained basis across a 100 mile long front. We were caught in it. Eventually we had no choice but to take the rig down to bare poles and drop anchor in the hopes of riding it out. We were about 8 miles off the mainland, far enough out that the wind from shore had enough fetch to raise considerable seas. We had the semi shelter of an uninhabited and forest-less low barrier island, a bit better than a large sand bar. We had shallows and oyster reefs all about us. Eventually we began dragging anchor and had to pay out more scope. Eventually the behavior of the hull and the crunching sounds coming from beneath the hull told me we had spanked aground on one of the oyster reefs. Had that old ketch still been Pine over Oak that pounding would have been the end of her and not real conducive to health of those embarked, or my career as a pilot if I survived to tell the tale.
But the ferrocement clad hull crunched right through the oyster shells with no appreciable damage to the hull. Eventually the hull's behavior told me we were in the deep water beyond the shoals and reefs of the barrier islands and that the wind would carry us, even on bare poles only out into the open Gulf of Mexico. We slipped the anchor and spent the rest of the night battened down and playing cork. Dawn found us about 12 miles off shore in deep water in sunny breezy weather conditions. We were able to hoist sail and get back to work. Today local boosters refer to New Orleans as "Hollywood South" due to all of the movie making activity in the region. Back in the 1980s things were just getting started and there was an occasional need for really big sailing vessels and low lying tropical looking islands. The problem is that the "Cajun Bahamas" also known as Gulf Islands National Seashore off of Louisiana and Mississippi are in very shallow waters with sandy shifting bottoms and large sailboats are usually relatively deep draft. After that ferrocement hull crunched through that oyster reef in a storm the owners had a lot of confidence in deliberately grounding her. This allowed us to take her down to bare poles run the booms out with deckhands in boatswain's chairs for counter weights and heel her over turning her keel at an angle and run under auxiliary motor in almost to the beach, kedging anchors behind us. By reversing the engine and hauling on the anchors we were always able to haul her off especially after lightening ship by off loading the film crew and equipment that wanted to get on the island. The ketch won quite a few film maker's charters and enjoyed at least five years of commercial service that she might not have been profitable for otherwise. So my first experiences with ferrocement in boat construction were pretty positive. Yet I never noticed that we hadn't provided information on the subject ion our BOAT BUILDING SECTION until we saw a key word search for the "ferro cement boat plans" on our dashboard. Below we will try to make amends for the lack of information that existed at the time of that request.
FERROCEMENT: A Link to a general description and History
SHIPS MADE OF FERROCEMENT: Concrete Ships
THE SS SELMA FERROCEMENT TANKER BUILT 1919: HISTORY OF THE SELMA
COMPREHENSIVE SITE ON FERROCEMENT BOAT BUILDING: THE WORLD OF FERROBOATS
DINGY CONSTRUCTION IN FERROCEMENT VIDEO ON YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MC7yjG3VP0
MOTHER EARTH NEWS : ( HOW TO ARTICLE WITH SOME INTERESTING ROUGH COSTS COMPARISONS) HOW TO BUILD A CEMENT BOAT
COMMERCIAL FISHING BOAT CONSTRUCTION:
Well, we hope that the above was sufficient to get your research into this unique form of boat, ship and barge construction jump started.-Johnas Presbyter, Editor