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Old 15-04-2013, 08:27   #1
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Safe range (internationally)?

This was being discussed on another forum that I was following. Thought I might bring it over here for discussion.

In your opinion, what would you say is a safe range for international cruising. Figuring that the longest distance between fuel stops for North America is 300nm, many boats will meet that criteria. However, if one wanted to cruise internationally, having their boat shipped overseas, then what would be a safe range between fuel stops in South America, Australia, Asia, Europe, etc?

Not talking about the ocean-crossing portion, the boat would be shipped, but rather, when you arrive and begin cruising.
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Old 15-04-2013, 08:32   #2
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Re: Safe range (internationally)?

That is a difficult question to answer without knowing anything about your boat because it is going to vary between your boats fuel range and the distances between where fuel is available. Your boats fuel range is going to vary with how fast you run your engine, currents, sea state and wind.

300 NM I think is a safe number for the continental US but for the rest of the world distances between fuel can be much greater.

The more fuel you can safely carry onboard the more flexibility that you will have.
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Old 15-04-2013, 11:40   #3
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Re: Safe range (internationally)?

This is a complicated subject so some book study and practical experimentation is needed:

World cruising routes / Jimmy Cornell. I ordered my copy of this book used from alibris.com.

The global site for cruising sailors — Noonsite
"The global site for cruising sailors" started after publication of books by Jimmy Cornell.

"Noonsite's main objective is to provide cruising sailors with comprehensive information regarding essential marine facilities in any port visited by yachts".

Ocean Passages and Landfalls / Rod Heikell
More descriptive of landfalls, less dry than above book says Amazon reviews.

Coastal Navigation / Mike Pyzel is available from the publisher of this book, Northern Breezes, 3949 Winnetka Ave N, New Hope, MN 55427, Phone: (763) 542-9707. This book is used for the American Sailing Association coastal navigation course. It is written well enough that a person can do self study in my humble opinion (IMHO). The cost is about $35. The only other book I know of that comes close is Practical Navigation by W.S. Kals written about 40 years ago available again from alibris.com. Kals also wrote Practical Boating, Inland and Offshore Power and Sail that has additional information on navigation and other topics of interest.

Coastal Navigation Course - ASA 105 Certification - American Sailing Association Standard
Find a Sailing School - Learn how to sail with sailing instructions from American Sailing Association.

The coastal navigation course will help you plan your trips. The principles are the same whether sail or power except that you need to know miles per hour and the amount of fuel burned for different revolutions per minute (RPM) of the engines. Find propeller curve data for engines used in your boat for RPM vs. gallons per hour used. Google under manufacturers name and “marine engines”. Pick a calm day with no tidal or ocean current influences and do speed runs with the GPS in both directions and take an average. Also do runs with wind to see what difference that makes in speed. Check the winds at weather.gov after you make the runs to get actual data, not forecasted data, or better yet, use an anemometer on the boat to get wind speed. Before you go on any long voyage, a diver needs to clean the hull and propeller for best economy, and therefore, the tables developed for RPM, fuel burn and speed should be done with a clean hull. A dirty hull and propeller can use one third extra fuel and more. Or, you could do your speed runs just after the boat has been pulled for new bottom paint and propeller cleaning. Oddly enough, the wax used on surfboards to make ones feet stick to the board works well to keep barnacles off the propellers. A few barnacles can really have an impact on fuel economy especially if on the leading edge of the propellers.

The above books can give you some idea of conditions you will encounter such as ocean currents and winds that will influence fuel consumption. However, while actually underway you need to check your miles per gallon by dividing GPS speed by gallons per hour burned. With the amount burned per hour, you can also figure hours of fuel left by dividing fuel left in tanks by gallons per hour burned. To determine fuel left, you need to keep a log of running times for various RPM setting you used and therefore amount of fuel used. Take hours left times speed and you have your range. Try different RPM settings for best range to see if you have enough fuel to make your destination with some reserve.
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Old 15-04-2013, 11:48   #4
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Re: Safe range (internationally)?

gg have you decided on a boat?
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Old 15-04-2013, 13:26   #5
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Re: Safe range (internationally)?

in the Med for example , 300 Nm would be sufficient, at €1.80 a litre however its not teh size of your tank that will be the issue!!

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Old 15-04-2013, 13:39   #6
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Re: Safe range (internationally)?

The safe range will vary hugely depending on the country and even what part of the county. For example, SE Australia 300 nm range might be OK but NW Australia would be a different story.

Same thing with South America.

There is just no getting around researching and planning where exactly you want to cruise but to paraphrase David, more is better.
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Old 15-04-2013, 14:01   #7
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Re: Safe range (internationally)?

Anywhere that has groups of humans usually has fuel - whether it is piped to a recreational boat freindly dock (or any dock!) and is on demand is a seperate matter.

Europe probably much the same as the US (unless going to places with SFA on the map ashore!), I would be happier with 500 miles (with capacity to top up with temporary tanks if needed for longer passages - even where a divert for fuel was possible I might not want to!) but that as much about flexibility on filling up times and places as purely a range thing - plus a reluctance to run tanks close to dry.

Elsewhere I would just use the WAG method! and measure the distances between population centres in the countries / countinents you are likely to visit (boats that actually go "everywhere" tend to have transocean capability (1000?/1500? nm) - which also gives them the fuel range inshore).

Might also want to bear in mind that if you have twin tanks that possible to get a load of sh#tty fuel which may effectively half your expected range until you can do something about it - and cr#p fuel can come down a nozzle as well as via a Jerrycan / drum / tanker.
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Old 15-04-2013, 16:26   #8
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Re: Safe range (internationally)?

I would think that having enough fuel to travel 65% of the longest distance and the return home.Or in other words at least 30% more fuel than you would need for your longest crossing.
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Old 15-04-2013, 16:46   #9
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Re: Safe range (internationally)?

Don't forget you can always carry extra fuel in jerry cans on deck. These can be lashed to a board attached to the lifelines. We, and many other cruisers, have used this method to extend our range up to 1,000 nm under power under normal conditions on our last boat.

On my first boat I actually went to the trouble and expense of installing a Vetus bladder and transfer pump below decks for extra fuel. I much prefer the jerry can method for cost, simplicity and flexibility.

As mentioned above, fuel quality outside the developed world should be your first and last concern. Filter it going in and make sure you have plenty of fuel filters on board when the time comes that some bad stuff gets by. (Those are also useful in rough weather when the crud at the bottom of the tanks in older boats is shaken up enough to get into the fuel pickup and clog the filter. Usually this happens when you need the engine most).

Cheers.

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Old 15-04-2013, 16:48   #10
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pirate Re: Safe range (internationally)?

If I were cruising the Caribbean in a motor vessel a range of 500miles would be more than adequate for my needs... Allows for a straight run Trini to BVI's...
If cruising the S. Pacific I'd want a range of 1500 - 2000..
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Old 15-04-2013, 16:54   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dhillen View Post
Don't forget you can always carry extra fuel in jerry cans on deck. These can be lashed to a board attached to the lifelines. We, and many other cruisers, have used this method to extend our range up to 1,000 nm under power under normal conditions on our last boat.

On my first boat I actually went to the trouble and expense of installing a Vetus bladder and transfer pump below decks for extra fuel. I much prefer the jerry can method for cost, simplicity and flexibility.

As mentioned above, fuel quality outside the developed world should be your first and last concern. Filter it going in and make sure you have plenty of fuel filters on board when the time comes that some bad stuff gets by. (Those are also useful in rough weather when the crud at the bottom of the tanks in older boats is shaken up enough to get into the fuel pickup and clog the filter. Usually this happens when you need the engine most).

Cheers.

Dhillen
This method s less suitable for a large powerboat , given the quantities required.

Unless OP, you have a very very capable long distance power boat and you have the technical skills to keep it going , the main limitation will be on weather windows. If she's a twin screw semi displacement then you'll also really be limited to day hours only , or at least displacement speeds at night.

Hence typical hops will rarely exceed 200nm or often what can be accommodated in daylight.

For longer trips you need redundant systems, fuel polishing , great care of the machinery etc. its much more involved then sailing. Sailing long distance is actually easier then small power boats.

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Old 15-04-2013, 17:04   #12
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Re: Safe range (internationally)?

GG in the size boats you have been looking at, The worry about bad fuel could be simply cured by the instalation of a fuel centrafuge (spl) in the engine room ! for me a Power boat with out a 1000 mile range is useless for real cruiseing. But thats just me ! Ive fished and deliverd a bunch of bigger power boats, and haveing constantly worry about fuel stops are a big PITA ! Just my 2 cents
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Old 15-04-2013, 17:37   #13
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Re: Safe range (internationally)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobconnie View Post
GG in the size boats you have been looking at, The worry about bad fuel could be simply cured by the instalation of a fuel centrafuge (spl) in the engine room ! for me a Power boat with out a 1000 mile range is useless for real cruiseing. But thats just me ! Ive fished and deliverd a bunch of bigger power boats, and haveing constantly worry about fuel stops are a big PITA ! Just my 2 cents
Good advise from Bob.

Boatman's comments also are valid.

Having more fuel/range in your tank is never a problem. Not having enough to refuel by lugging fuel in cans or having to take on poor fuel quality because you have no option can be real issues. There are areas outside of States you do not want to be chasing up fuel.
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Old 15-04-2013, 17:46   #14
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Re: Safe range (internationally)?

And another thing that folks forget, most of diesel engines in the bigger boats, are not really made to use the diesel of today ! It's nice to have BIG tanks so you can take advantage of diesel from other countrys, like Columbia and such a matter !! The diesel still has things in it's make up that is a big help to these larger engines. Just my 2 cents
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Old 15-04-2013, 19:40   #15
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Re: Safe range (internationally)?

"Safe" is a totally subjective concept. You'd need to make a personal decision of how likely it is that you will reach your intended next stop (as opposed to having to divert for whatever reason). How likely that your next fuel stop will have fuel. Do they get it by barge? Iced in during the winter? And how likely is it that you can sit and wait there if you need to? Or, carry on to an alternate site?

If I had to throw darts I'd use the old rule of "1/3 out, 1/3 back, 1/3 reserve" and make that a plan to use 1/3 of my fuel "out", 1/3 of my fuel beyond that if the fuel stop was out of fuel or I had to divert, and the last 1/3 as a reserve.

Allowing for weather, for alternates, for a leaking tank turning up empty when you least expect it...all very personal and subjective.
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