Composite Hull  -

A Comparison of boat hull construction materials

  • Wood is excellent historically proven and sturdy, but is expensive and time consuming to build and maintain.

  • Fiberglass is also excellent, sturdy and has reduced labor costs when built in quantity.  The material is somewhat expensive.  The downside is home builders will have to build the boat twice; first the mold then the boat.

  • Steel and aluminum is best used for larger boats and ships as is very hard to make compound curves at smaller scales.

  • Ferro-Cement materials are quite inexpensive though requires more labor for a good result.  The big advantage is how easy it is to make any shape without a mold.  Built correctly the resulting hull is very thin, strong and easy to maintain even in saltwater! 

Dad completed three of these sailboats and all proved very seaworthy and quite tough. We would regularly tack along leading edge of storms, under full sail, dipping the deck in the water just for the fun of it, without problems.  Our boats were never going to win races with the featherweight fiberglass racing hulls, but they sailed beautifully and we got positive comments everywhere we went.  Dad stylized them as “character boats”, warm, comfortable and with room to sleep aboard.

Built with a full keel, we were able to withstand a few hits, rocks and had other misadventures that could have finished off lesser boats. We rarely suffered any damage.

Enlisting labor and thought in leu of money produces results that defy the lazy mans replication. You could do it too   (copyright 2010, Ken Adkison.)