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Thread: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

  1. #1

    Default Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    Hello folks, I have a 45.5 foot on deck, staysail schooner, Alden/Stone (?) built in 1937. The boat is in the Baja drying out. Last year I left the boat with a company, but they let her sink. By the time I raised her, she was water logged, 60 days under. Then they stressed her below the water line about 3ft. She popped back into shape as soon as the straps were slacked on the travel lift. Checked for damage, but found none. Cleaned, corked & calked, painted and varnished. When we lifted her to launch they managed to pop about 10ft of seams at the same area. She went back to shape as soon as the keel was on blocks and she held water to the sole. CRAZY! I never had this problem before, but now I don't trust the hull, so I’m thinking of skinning her. Money is an issue, as cold molding is major $$$’s. Concrete is much less in Mexico. Or, maybe I should just sell her. SO, did you skin yours? Looking for reality information not opinions. I can send pictures via email if you desire. Thanks. You can reply via the forum, email me at: surfergirladventures@yahoo.com or telephone, Michael Carroll at: 619-319-0509.


  2. #2
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    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    What do you mean "they let her sink'? Why did she sink? A leaky hull, a failed thru-hull? Boats dont just sink...

    Seems like step one is figuring out why she went down in the first place.

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    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    drying out, waterlogged, stressed,popped, corked,concrete,1937
    dangerous combination of words

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    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    Is it me or am I wrong to think we are only being told part of the story?

    Travelifts can be very bad for old tired, (rotten?) hulls. You need a knowledgeable operator and a lift with as many straps as possible. Better to use a railway. However, these are rare these days...fewer yet have the ability to sidetrack.

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    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    First you need to know why she seems so flexable. It is possible those lifting her were simply crazy and somehow hung the slings - perhaps the after sling? - where the keel wasn't. Or it's possible that your description is a little scrambled as to what caused the damage. I know this general hull having had a Alden 43' schooner and the way the travel lift slings are spread side to side when positioned under the keel they don't even touch the hull until right about at the waterline and the pressure is not too much. Your damage sounds more like what you'd perhaps get from a single point crane pick if the rig had no spreaders and even then I don't understand any geometry that makes damage 3' below the waterline even possible.

    I have seen boats damaged as you describe by improper blocking and putting too much strain onto the hull just below the turn of the bilge by overtightening the poppets.

    A boat that old is very likely to have extensive rot in the frame hood ends, perhaps some in the keel, and around fastenings in the planks and frames. So the first step is to correctly survey her actual condition. Skinning is expensive no matter how you do it. You can spend a lot of money to completely destroy the boat or you can spend not really any more in doing the job right. For this hull and rig, there is no question but what skinning with three layers of wood - two dual diagonal and outer fore and aft - is the most doable. Some (but not all) hulls of this sort can actually get away without skinning, but are happy with the seams reefed and splined and the whole epoxy encapsulated. That's more likely to work if the chain plates are backed by deep diagonal strapping in the Herreshoff manner, which was not common on Aldens. The wracking strain of a schooner rig is totally awesom. Goblin moved so much that on a beat any passage doors below that were closed could not be opened and those that were open could not be closed.

    Honestly, if you're short on money and not prepared to do a few thousand hours of work yourself, you might be best finding someone to take the boat. There is no "cost effective" (in the sense of a future sale recovering anything like the investment) way to fix a boat like this. You do it for love if you can.

    Keep us informed.

    G'luck

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    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    I have seen so many negative results from various forms of sheathing that I am not going to comment here on it other than to say that some very famous boats underwent the process in the seventies and all have proved to be not long lasting or viable approaches to restoration. Taking that into consideration, leaves one with the choice of either doing a correct rebuild, which should begin with an accurate survey or, selling or giving the boat to one who can set it right.
    Jay

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    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    Seems that we lack a bit of informations on the whole construction of the boat...

    Your floors may have give up, which you do not see when the full weight of the boat push on them(Sitting on blocks), but that let the boat move when they are pulled from the bottom with the boat weight(Travel lift). I am sure if you stay in the boat, and let the travel lift take the boat weight you may have some discovery and see what's wrong...

    Sheathing never been really good, specially if you have structural problem! Also the amount of fiberglass over it will need to be quite thick to keep the boat shape, which at that point better get rid of the boat and only use it as a mold.
    Last edited by JoshuaIII; 05-09-2012 at 12:39 PM.
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    1 Willin - Albatross sank from neglect from the Co. They admitted they did not visit her for over a month. That was in Oct with 90 degrees water at surface. I’m sure the just above WL planks were open. Baja is very hard on wooden boats. Of course maybe the wire from pump disconnected. She had good batteries, solar panels, gas gen and battery charger. I paid, they played. We had to run pump when beating hard but was almost dry at anchor. I kept bilge wet for the humidity factor. We sailed her for 4 years in the Sea of Cortez, full time, no marinas. The frames are double sawn fir, some are soft. She had a “makeover” in San Diego about 10yrs ago. Some keel bolts, new steel floors and some new fastenings. Also the yard put a plywood epoxy deck which is in good shape. The boat has been hogged since the 1970’s. When we bought the boat the shrouds were very tight. First thing I did was loosen them and have been coaxing the hogg out ever since. We have a 2” hogg mostly at the main mast. Yes, the old girl is tired. I would like to get a few more years out of her. I am 65 and don’t have the $100,000 it would take to restore the boat by reframing, planking, etc. I was hired by the yard in Catalina Island to cold mould a 45 foot power boat. I rebuilt the boat from the keel to the cocktail flag, including total interior and motors, shaft struts, the whole works. I know the pitfalls. I also rebuilt the bow of my 50’ ferro-cement Samson Ketch from 10’ aft below the waterline. New steel, extra bulkheads, underwater window, re-cemented and sailed her some 20,000 miles from Port Townsend, WA to Mexico, California, and Catalina Island and back and forth. Lived aboard for 9 years. Once again, hardly any marinas, totally self-sufficient, lots of single handling. Many trials and tribulations. As you’ve guessed, I am a bit of a ship wright and have rebuilt several boats over the last 40 years, 30’ to 55’. I would like to give Albatross a few more years, cuz that about all I’ve got left. I’m very seriously thinking about putting a ferro-cement skin on her, because there is the ability of some flexing and cement is far more organic than epoxy. The price in Mexico for materials is less than $4,000 total with 3 months of labor. If you’ve ever been in Mexico, you know steel and cement are what they know! So what I’m looking for in this thread is basic procedures for attaching the wire mesh to the hull. I’m thinking this way because, at a future date, some “yuppie museum officiando” will be able to have the skin removed and the boat completely restored. These boats are disappearing rapidly and I’d rather see her floating on a cement hull that deteriorating in some yard into dry rot and dust. Life is a Harsh Reality! Pictures will post soon through Picassa Web. Thanks for reading, love your input! SAIL ON SAILOR!

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    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    Reading the story, the "Leaking when sailing" Does point me again for the floors problem, this and the "soft" Double sawn frames.

    If the frames are rotten and the floor getting loose, the planks open under stress which let water going in(And hull changing shape when using the travel lift). Believe me, replacing those would be far cheaper then covering the whole boat, and you will have a lot more years out of her.

    Double sawn frames are the easiest of all frames to repair, and changing a few floors is not something as hard then sheating the whole hull.

    Picture would sure help too...
    http://www.peacefuljourney.ca/
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    J - I beg to differ... Part of sailing her hard are the chain plates are on the inside of the planking, using fender washers on the planks causing some seam separation. There are no backing plates on the inside of the hull. I plan to fix that by putting new chain plates on the outside, longer with backing lamination. Floors, frame ends are good, well bolted into the steel floors.This boat was raced a lot over the years and put away wet for cocktail hour. I have inherited most of her problems and her moans and groans. Really all we want to do is keep sailing. Do you happen to know the price of vertical grain Douglas Fir? Sail on Sailor.

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    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    Here I pay old grown qtr BC Fir top quality about 6.20$/BF, but for double sawn frames you could buy some flat saw which is at 3.20$/bf
    http://www.peacefuljourney.ca/
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    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    Just to set the cat amongst the pigeons, here, courtesy of Martin Schulz, is the "Willow Wren" which is the poster child for sheathing with ferrocement...Martin snapped her on the slip in Flensburg earlier today...

    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

  13. #13

    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    Andrew I've the pics of your sheathing was impressed would very much like more details of the work from the begining Did you encapsulate the keel and ballest? Did you use steelto renforce the mesh? Itis the bebining thats my problem

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    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    Sheathing is not the answer. There really isn't any sheathing scheme that will solve the problem. The sort of leaking you decribe is structural. There just isn't any effective way of adding structural sheathing, no matter what some may say. If you were to lay up a ferrocement hull on top of the one you have, sure, you'd have a ferrocement hull, but you'd also then have a boat that was way too heavy and of no real value at all, save to part out.

    Do with her what you will, but allow me to urge you not to sail her, or at least not without an escort. A beautiful, but similarly "tired" Neria ketch I've known for over thirty years was sold a few years back to a fellow who, as with the situation as you describe it, took the boat cruising without particular concern about structural leakage. The vessel's need for reframing and the like had been fully disclosed to him when he bought the boat. She was indeed a beautiful boat, but she needed major surgery. Apparently, he didn't do the job necessary. From all reports, he had his own good ideas, such as removing her engine. Out of San Diego, she went down fifty miles off of Ensenada after two days of nonstop hand pumping, according to his report. Fortunately, a US Navy vessel eventually picked him up suffering from severe exposure related injuries. They brought him back to San Diego and he spent several weeks in the VA hospital there. Had he only kept the engine, let alone repaired the boat so she was reliably seaworthy, it would certainly have kept the bilges sufficiently dry between the battery powered and the mechanical pumps and driven the vessel to safe harbor well within the two days he battled alone to keep her afloat. Who knows what his hubris cost the American taxpayers? What we do know is that it damn near cost him his life.

    Old boats get older every day. They all reach a point were they need a complete rebuild. The bigger they are, the more it costs and most all aged large yachts similar to yours, if they haven't been meticulously maintained continually, with rebuilds as needed, are now beyond the point where the expense necessary to make them seaworthy can be justified as anything but a labor of love. As time goes on, these boats become "sirens," bekoning to the romantics, "Save me!, Save me!," but once one succumbs to their lure, they can be fatal.

    You say she is hogged and you say she leaks. Need you say anything more? If you've got the blue water under your butt that you say you do and are "something of a shipwright," I can't imagine I'm telling you anything you don't already know.
    Last edited by Bob Cleek; 05-09-2012 at 08:04 PM.

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    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    saving 80 year old wood race boats is not a job for poor folk

  16. #16

    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    Thank you for the "editorials". If boating was my "hobby", I would probably agree with a lot of what is being said here. BUT, I joined this forum to be able to get technical information. Once Again, as I originally stated: "I AM LOOKING FOR REALITY INFORMATION NOT OPINIONS!" I am definitely leaning towards cementing this boat, for it's safety and my own. So, I am requesting technical information on getting it started the right way with this technique. I am familiar with the ferro-cementing process, but have not at this time sheathed a wooden boat. I would like to add that a dry wooden hull with an approximate 5/8" ferro-cement skin will not add appreciable weight to the hull and will increase my displacement, lowering my waterline. Sail on Sailor.

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    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    Quote Originally Posted by Schooner Albatross View Post
    Thank you for the "editorials". If boating was my "hobby", I would probably agree with a lot of what is being said here. BUT, I joined this forum to be able to get technical information. Once Again, as I originally stated: "I AM LOOKING FOR REALITY INFORMATION NOT OPINIONS!" I am definitely leaning towards cementing this boat, for it's safety and my own. So, I am requesting technical information on getting it started the right way with this technique. I am familiar with the ferro-cementing process, but have not at this time sheathed a wooden boat. I would like to add that a dry wooden hull with an approximate 5/8" ferro-cement skin will not add appreciable weight to the hull and will increase my displacement, lowering my waterline. Sail on Sailor.
    The return of SchoonersRus?

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    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    Let me try to say this delicately. You came to the forum looking for 'reality information not opinion', and you got some major talent giving you information earned over many years of actual experience. Now it sounds like you are getting irritated and upset that people are telling you things you don't want to hear. This forum is not a place where people will blow smoke up your tailpipe, do your self a favor. Go lookup some of the previous post of the people who took the time to write a response to your OP. It will give you some insight into who you are dealing with. And then remember you are going to do what ever you decide to do irregardless of what information you receive here. So that said here is a few thoughts that came to mind when I read your post. By my calculations you will add some thing in the neighborhood of 7500 pounds of new weight to your schooner! Or think of it as 800 gallons of fresh water. How much ballast does she carry now? My guess is this is about half of your current ballast. Have you considered that more of that weight will be above the waterline then below. All of this needs to be taken into account. You can trust me on one thing here, I know first hand what it is like to love a sailboat so much that you will do everything to save it! It takes a big commitment and some tough choices. Capt. Z.

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    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    Quote Originally Posted by pcford View Post
    The return of SchoonersRus?
    My thought as well.
    My take is that if you poke someone with a sharp stick they'll get annoyed, if you smile and shake their hand they will be your friends.

    John Welsford

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    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    deja voodoo

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    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    Fair go guys! He asked straight up if anyone had actual experience on this and not just opinions, give him a break.

    The only problem I can see here is that you're asking on the wrong forum. As you've probably found by now the guys here are pretty purist on building and restoring wooden boats and keeping pretty true to the integrity of the boat. For advice on ferro sheathing you really need to find a ferro boat forum, I've never seen any ferro boat discussions on this forum in the time that I've been here.

    Either way, good luck with keeping her going for a few years. Any chance of a few photos?

    http://www.ferroboats.com/

    http://www.ferrocement.org/forum0.html


    Edited to add: there was some discussion a while ago about sheathing an old hull with new planking, two or three layers of diagonally layed cedar I think, and epoxy sheathing that new timber so that essentially formed a new hull over the old without removing the old planking. It may be worth doing a few searches on that option.
    Last edited by Larks; 05-10-2012 at 04:36 AM.
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  22. #22
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    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    I'm not sure that being a purist has anything to do with the advice being given. I'd think it has more to do with not giving advice that may ultimately put someone in harms way.

    I would ask the following; given the structural issues that you describe, can you reasoably expect to be able to sit her on the hard long enough to get her dry enough to sheath with FC without contributing to the further mis-shaping of an already compromised hull and have you given any thought to how you will block her to prevent more hogging?

    You say the material costs for steel and FC are in the 4K range. What about hauling, storage, yard fees, etc? Sounds like you've had more than your share of problems hauling this old girl without hurting her. Are you confident that she can be hauled again without further damage?

    Whether you go with FC or not it feels to me like you're not looking at or seeing the whole picture and thats not a shot; we've all been there and done that trying to save a cherished boat. Take a step back, take a deep breath....and good luck whatever you decide.

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    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    I was going to suggest ripping off the planks , little by little, and strip plank her from the bottom up. I have strip planked several vessels, but not retro strip planked. Though it is something I would like to do. The little bit of cold molding I have done has shown me the slowness and expense of it. I would not do a "structural" sheathing on a vessel myself.
    But we do not have a fraction of the info needed here, and my suggestion of strip planking is how the SRS thing got kick started.

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    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    Quote Originally Posted by Schooner Albatross View Post
    Andrew I've the pics of your sheathing was impressed would very much like more details of the work from the begining Did you encapsulate the keel and ballest? Did you use steelto renforce the mesh? Itis the bebining thats my problem
    Not my boat! Martin Schulz can tell you about her and put you in touch with her owners; she was sheathed many years ago now and has been operating as a charter yacht for 20 years and more.

    I've been aboard her and she is really quite lovely.
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

  25. #25

    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    Here is a link for some pic's of the recent haul out. Will post more later. https://picasaweb.google.com/1061995...sRelaunch2012#

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    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    That link doesn't seem to be working.
    "A man builds the best of himself into a boat- builds many of the memories of his ancestors." -Steinbeck

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    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    http://www.peacefuljourney.ca/
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  28. #28

    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    That is our 2008 Haul Out. I forgot to share the album for Albatross Relaunch 2012. Computers aren't my strong point.
    Try the link now, it should work. :-) https://picasaweb.google.com/1061995...sRelaunch2012#

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    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    My editorial-go for it. She's had it without major major work, which you can't afford. It'd be a shame to put her up on the hard and see her rot. Cement sheathing can be and has been done. If its practical and cheap where you are, what have you got to lose?As Larks says, maybe someone on a ferro forum will be able to help with attachment to the hull. I wouldn't worry too much about a future restoration. Just get what use you can out of her over the next 20 years or so.

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    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    Quote Originally Posted by WX View Post
    My thought as well.
    Okay, I take it back.
    My take is that if you poke someone with a sharp stick they'll get annoyed, if you smile and shake their hand they will be your friends.

    John Welsford

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    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    Everyone here including the OP knows a lot more than me, but beyond leaking, isn't the boat getting out of shape indicative of a problem at the frame level? If so, isn't that kind of like putting a band-aid on a broken leg? Or is ferrocement really that strong? I'd worry that the forces encountered under a storm or even just hard sailing would cause catastrophic failure in a structure that gave you all the warning signs it was failing at a foundational level.
    "A man builds the best of himself into a boat- builds many of the memories of his ancestors." -Steinbeck

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    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    Mike, I am still back at your accusing the various local businesses of damaging your boat, when to all it is pretty obvious she is well overdue for extensive reworking. Slapping an overlay of anything, including ferro-cement will do little to correct her age related structural issues, and will use up valuable capital, that would better be used to get at her true problems. I'd bet if you head down this ill advised path you will be back in 2 years accusing the crew that slathers the grout on her of ruining your boat...just sayin'...Best of Luck, Steve/BT

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    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    Back in the 70s i used to work as child labour with a gang of ferro boat builders. You are definately in the wrong place to be asking about skinning a wooden boat with ferro,but yes,it can be,has been done,and can last....more to the point,she is your boat and its your life ,your money and time and your desicion. Last boat i remember being sheathed was an essex smack around 35ft. If i remember correctly,2 layers of chicken mesh was stapled to the hull then 1/4in (+/-) steel rod was fixed with "U" fencing nails over the mesh,at about 2ft intervals,this was bent completely around and under the keel.Another 2 or 3 layers of mesh went over that and again staple to the hull and the whole lot plastered and then kept damp under sacking(burlap)for around a month to retard the drying. Around 10 years later i hear she was still taking part in the local racing and still being used as a charter boat. She did float a few inches lower,but that was all. This was also a last hope repair for a boat with a limited life,and no one was willing to take her on and pay the money for a total rebuild. At the end of the day,it was built for a limited life as a fishing vessel, converted to a cruiser when de-commisioned,and had 30+years of neglect,the fact she is still sailing and taking people afloat is important. You may find information in Fred Binghams book about ferro boats. Good luck with it.

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    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    This forum always has the answer, eventually.

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    Default Re: Sheathing the Hull on Schooner

    Looking at the photos I'd say the fact she's bleeding rust all over the place would indicate she's iron fastened and that would worry me.
    My take is that if you poke someone with a sharp stick they'll get annoyed, if you smile and shake their hand they will be your friends.

    John Welsford

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