Making Alterations

Making Alterations

Hi Colin,I'm considering buying my first Ferro boat, and doing my own research after listening to all the sceptics, is what led me to your site. The most overriding point that I have gained from reading your comments, is that a Ferro boat is as good as any other, as long as the original design has been stuck too. The boat I am considering is a Hartley Fijian ketch, but it has been modified with a raised rear deck and transom hung rudder. It is currently in Greece, but I understand that you looked at it some time ago in Gibralter, where there is a picture of it on your site. I'm not asking you to comment on the boat as a whole, but (and here's the loaded question) do you think that the modifications are sound and would not adversely affect the boat. Thank you for such an informative site, keep up the good work. All the best Des


Hi Des, I remember the boat well, yes it was Gibralter where I surveyed her sometime in the late 80's. I will give you a short background which I am sure will help. She is a Mk1 Fijian which was designed to have the shaft quartering instead of centre'd (it is often done to decrease drag by removing the confusion in front of the rudder). A number of builders including some professional ones altered the skeg shape to put the shaft on the centreline. In doing so they ruined the steering characteristics of the boat. We had a number of phone calls from people who after launching their Mk1 Fijian complained that there was not enough response from the rudder. After checking with them we found they had made a large cut-out in the skeg to fit a centred shaft. The old story of an altered design by another 'amateur expert'. This boat in question was attacked for the second time by the so called expert who fixed the original rudder in the fore and aft position and made another much larger rudder which he hung on the transom. It solved the problem and they sailed the boat from the UK to the Med and many more thousands of miles by the time I saw her. She is not as designed, but other than being slightly vulnerable in a following sea like any other transom hung rudder she was quite sound and seaworthy. I found the aft raised cabin area quite acceptable too. I no longer have the records of that survey, but I think I inspected her for a retiring English Chief Constable who wanted to buy her to retire and live-aboard in Spain. I saw her her again several years later when doing another survey in the South of France at either Port Vendre or La Nouvelle (she looked like someone was living aboard). regards

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The information and comments given on this 'World Of Ferroboats', website are based on first-hand experience gained by the contributors over many years of use, designing, surveying, building and repairing ferro-cement boats.