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Old 19-08-2011, 03:33   #1
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Low Budget Extended Voyaging

Hi power passagemakers out there,
I'm thinking of cruising the south pacific commencing from PNW about sept 2012. I have a 47 foot boat powered by single CAT 333D diesel. I would love to hear some advices about low budget power boat cruising (if such exists
I'm thinking of allocating $12k-$14k/year for fuel and about the same for living expenses and maintenance. In that sum I have budgeted for 1 to 2 days/month in marinas, the rest of the time I plan anchoring.
I can carry about 1000 gal of fuel now and about 900 gal of water in my integral fibreglass tanks. I am planning to convert one of the water tanks - about 470 US gal from water to diesel with will give me about 1450 gal of fuel enough in my calculation to cross to the Marquises
Am I completely out to lunch with my budgeting? I must clarify - I can make any (I repeat ANY) repair by myself and will have abundance of spare parts as well as MIG and TIG welder and all kinds of tools. Of course I am also familiar with the Murphy's law….

Soooo, opinions?

Thanks for your words of wisdom
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Old 19-08-2011, 05:52   #2
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Re: Low Budget Extended Voyaging

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, seamaster.

Since it’s nearly 4,000 nm from Panama to Nuku Hiva, you’d need to get about 3nm/gallon, with 1400 gallons of fuel on board. That's pretty good for a 47 Footer.
You're financial budgets seem reasonable.
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Old 19-08-2011, 08:06   #3
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Re: Low Budget Extended Voyaging

You will need about twice that much, say 60k per year, and even that could be tight. The South Pacific is not really the third world. Here in Guatemala you can live very nicely on 12k a year as long as you don't travel too far, slips are about $200 / month.
If you are serious about living frugally in the Pacific, I would look into establishing residency in Indonesia, easy and cheap to do, settle in there, and take trips as you want.
Moving from place to place eats up money fast, and when things go screwy you have to fix them now, whereas if you have some sort of home base, you can live on $25 / day and spend loads of time meeting the people, seeing the country, and use your many skills and tools to help folks out.
It is fabulous to get out there in blue water and go for days, but you can't do that all the time nor will you want to.
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Old 19-08-2011, 12:32   #4
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Re: Low Budget Extended Voyaging

I think that $12k to $14k might be a little lite. But not knowing crew size and expectations I am reluctant to offer a recommendation.

The big problem I find with your plan is the single diesel engine. For the kind of voyaging you are considering you might want to provide backup propulsion. This could take the form of a small inboard engine coupled to you existing drive shaft. I have seen this done and it worked very well. Another possibility might be to add an electric drive motor run off your diesel generator.

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Old 20-08-2011, 00:27   #5
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Re: Low Budget Extended Voyaging

Gord,
i was thinking to start my crossing to the Marquises from Cabo. the distance is significantly less. My coastal cruising is @ 1400-1500RPM @ 8 - 8 1/2knots and making easy about 1.75 to 2 miles to the US gal. If I throttle back to 1200RPM I'm doing 7 - 7 1/2 knots at 3 to 2.5 + miles to the gallon. I will use first portion of my trip from Vancouver to Mexico to figure out my exact offshore fuel consumption that could be easily skewed by the difference between coastal and offshore cruising. One think for sure - whatever it is, I will be able to fine tune my Floscan 9000 to show me my real-time consumption as well as miles to the gal consumption. My only concern is if drop my RPM to 1000-1200 will my engine get clogged up?! If worst comes to worst I can still convert one of the 2 water tanks that I will have left for additional 220Gal of fuel. I am building myself a 350gal/day water-maker, so i think one 220 gal water tank may suffice if I cant make the range without hurting the engine running it at low exhaust temperature.
Lorenzo,
I hope your prediction is not true. would be awfully nice to be able to afford 60K cruising budget, but I can't -therefore this is NOT an option. I will have to dog it
Viking sailor,
you red my mind. At the present moment auxilary propulsion is my largest outstanding project. I have purchased old mazda truck diesel motor that I am rebuilding. it will be mounted on soft springs in my engine room and it will be driving variable displacement on-demand hydraulic pump. I will have a pulley on my main shaft and synchronious drive belt driven by hydraulic motor. I need to achieve around 300RPM on my prop shaft in order to get 6 knots speed in calm water. I need about 30hp to do that. it shouldn't be a problem as the same motor (Perkins) about 60hp output was used on many 50-55 foot motor-sailors. I hope to be able to maintain 4-5 knots out there in moderate conditions. If worst comes to worst, I already purchased a 24 feet para-anchor that will allow me to shut engine down and wait for better weather.

Thanks you guys for the comments, I hope to get more replies. I thought about many things, but I am sure I am forgetting some and some will go as planned. If everything could've been predicted, then where is the adventure and why bother?

In the next few days I will put some of my boat specs together and post them on the forum. BTW, where is the best place to do that?
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Old 20-08-2011, 07:55   #6
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Re: Low Budget Extended Voyaging

If you have not already done so, read Beebe's Voyaging Under Power and look at Noonsite for issues around clearing in and out of the South Pacific islands.
I use a single 8/71 Detroit Diesel and do not think a second motor is a good idea.
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Old 20-08-2011, 08:07   #7
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Re: Low Budget Extended Voyaging

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Old 20-08-2011, 12:00   #8
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Re: Low Budget Extended Voyaging

I am in Cabo right now. It is approximately 2600 nm from Cabo to the Marquesas. YOU DO NOT WANT TO MAKE PASSAGE FROM CABO TO THE SOUTH PACIFIC DURING SEPTEMBER! This is the middle of hurricane season in Mexico. In fact, there is a hurricane approximately 300 miles south of me right now. The soonest it would be safe to leave is November.

You do not want to predict future performance in the open ocean on a coastal passage from the US to Mexico where you will have both wind and current behind you. The results will be optimistic.

I think that your assumed performance for your vessel at 3nmpg is way optimistic, even at 1200 rpm, but you know your boat better than I. I would not run the motor at 1200 rpm for extended periods of time. Conventional wisdom says that you should run your motor at 60% to 80% of maximum rated RPM for 80% of the time. I'm guessing that the maximum rated RPM of your Cat is around 2500 RPM.

You will want to arrive at your predicted destination with at least a 15% fuel reserve - for unpredicted weather, adverse winds, or whatever. That means if you carry 1500 gallons of fuel, you will need to average 2 nmpg for the Cabo/Marquesas leg. Running at 60% of rated RPM in your boat, that is going to be tight. Have you included generator run time in your predicted fuel consumption?

I run a John Deere single engine setup in my boat. I am not a fan of back up engines. They never perform as well as predicted. I have a downwind genoa rigged on my boat for both an emergency "get someplace" system and to increase performance on downwind legs. The key is to keep your single engine well maintained to avoid problems. And keep plenty of on board spares.

Budget: I know people who cruise on $2K per month in the SP and those that cruise on $10K per month (for two people). Close friends cruise on $6K per month but that includes $2400 per year for booze and $6000 per year for airline fare back to the US to visit family and take care of business. Your biggest expenses in the SP are going to be food and fuel - prices are astronomical. Realize that in many places in the SP there is a substantial daily fee for even anchoring out. (Cabo is even now discussing the possibility of a daily fee to anchor out - figure about $2 per foot per day in Cabo for a marina slip!) Anything is possible on any budget, but I personally could not live on $2k per month in the SP.

I don't mean to discourage you but want you to be realistic. You can cruise on $2K per month in Mexico in relative comfort. Many people stop here on a passage south, like it so much, and decide never to leave.

Good fortune and fair seas.
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Old 21-08-2011, 10:47   #9
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Re: Low Budget Extended Voyaging

Hi Alohaboat,
My plan was to leave the PNW in September and make my way down to Mexico September to November spending some time in San Francisco, LA area and San Diego. Once the hurricane is over, i will cross down to Mexico and find me a ship yard where I will carry some major, but not critical repairs that would've been to expensive to do in US or Canada.

You are correct and I must be careful with my range estimation running down south. Good point!

My engine is turning max @ 1900 RPM. It is an amazing high-torque slow-turning CAT D333C. It become CAT's legendary engine in its days. It is very well maintained and I have about 2500 service hrs on it. I have installed bypass oil polishing system on it which will easy take me on 30-day crossing with out oil change. In the moment I am doing sequential oil analysis in order to determine the efficiency of this system. I did some research and spoke with few tug captains that had the same engine. it is not uncommon these engines to last 30,000hrs!

While underway, I will not need to run a generator, as my 160A alternator satisfies all of the boat's power needs. While at anchor I am planning to run my Northern Lights 5 kW gen-set, but minimize the running time by installing 4 X 300Watt solar panels that i hope to get 50% of their total capacity. So if I accomplish that I should have about 50Amps charge during the day. I have about 1800Amp/hrs of battery capacity and I hope to have to run the gen-set no more then 1 to 2 hr /day average considering the amount of solar power I plan to install. So budget consumption of 1 gal/day is maybe in the ballpark.

Another good point is the budget for booze. I might need at least the same budget as your friends and even maybe more - one of the little pleasures that left in life.
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