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Old 08-01-2012, 15:40   #1
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On Long Trips - Diesel or Wind ??

I am just curious, on a longer trip ... week or so do you use the engine a lot or mostly sails ?
Ive been reading stories of atlantic crossings and down south (Caribean) trips. I am from Canada fyi. Sounds to me a lot of the people in these stories dont have problems running the engine for a good hundred some miles. Large 120L of fuel, the reason im asking this is because im kind of scared of running up the bill with large amounts of fuel.
My long term plan ~5years or so is running from Canada to the Bermuda's even perhaps somewhere further south. At a quick calculation 120L or so of fuel would roughly translate in a lot mof $$$.

Guess the question is, is this a preference thing ? A necessity ? I understand the need for engines, my belief was they are mostly used for short distance and manuvering.


Happy new year,
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Old 08-01-2012, 15:47   #2
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Re: On long trips Diesel or wind ??

It all depends on your lifestyle. Other than propulsion you may need to run your engine to charge your batteries.

The bottom line: lots of humans have crossed oceans under sail alone...it is possible. It just depends on how spartan you are willing to make your accommodations.

How much you run your engine is your choice.
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Old 08-01-2012, 15:50   #3
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Re: On long trips Diesel or wind ??

I don't carry enough diesel and it's out of my budget to motor too far. Best advice is to get a good lightwind headsail like a "drifter" and some decent solar panels. I need them. I met a young American couple from Monterey California who had both. There ploy like mine was to only use the engine getting into ports. With a capacity no bigger than mine, in NSW Australia they also had the same tank of diesel they filled in New Caledonia. No wonder they could afford to keep on going around the world?
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Old 08-01-2012, 15:59   #4
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Re: On long trips Diesel or wind ??

mmmmm yah batteries ... forgot about those.

I was mostly fearing its need in a storm like situation to get out of trouble.


... Second thing comes to mind is wind generator, i know they have quite high output. Altho im not sure what impact that would have on speed of the boat.
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Old 08-01-2012, 16:02   #5
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Re: On long trips Diesel or wind ??

If you have the time to wait for weather and are more careful with your routes you can sail more. If you want to get from A to B really fast you'll use an engine. Like unbusted said above it depends on what kind of stuff you're doing. For folks with a limited vacation I can see why they'd motor 50 miles rather than try to sail through 5-10 knots of sketchy winds and a current pushing them the other way.
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Old 08-01-2012, 16:03   #6
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Re: On long trips Diesel or wind ??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrei123 View Post
mmmmm yah batteries ... forgot about those.

I was mostly fearing its need in a storm like situation to get out of trouble.


... Second thing comes to mind is wind generator, i know they have quite high output. Altho im not sure what impact that would have on speed of the boat.
Negligible. As much as a barbeque and you sticking your head up from under the dodger.
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Old 08-01-2012, 16:05   #7
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Re: On long trips Diesel or wind ??

We crossed the pacific from Mexico to Japan and used about 100 gallons of diesel, mostly to recharge our batteries. That's about 8000 miles for about $500 worth of fuel. We had 220 watts of solar, a 70 amp alternator and a 900w generator with 5 gallons of gas. We also had 600 ah of battery capacity.
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Old 08-01-2012, 16:17   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrei123
.

Guess the question is, is this a preference thing ? A necessity ? I understand the need for engines, my belief was they are mostly used for short distance and manuvering.
,
It's not just a matter of preference. One of the questions is how well a boat and its crew can perform in light air. Some boats will start motoring when it gets light because they can't move effectively otherwise. This can be the weak spot for the classic heavy cruiser. For some boats, five knots of wind from abaft the beam means "Let's turn on the motor so that we're not just wallowing here." For other boats, five knots of wind from abaft the beam means, "Let's put up the spinnaker and boogie!"
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Old 08-01-2012, 17:04   #9
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Re: On long trips Diesel or wind ??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrei123 View Post
I am just curious, on a longer trip ... week or so do you use the engine a lot or mostly sails ?
Ive been reading stories of atlantic crossings and down south (Caribean) trips. I am from Canada fyi. Sounds to me a lot of the people in these stories dont have problems running the engine for a good hundred some miles. Large 120L of fuel, the reason im asking this is because im kind of scared of running up the bill with large amounts of fuel.
My long term plan ~5years or so is running from Canada to the Bermuda's even perhaps somewhere further south. At a quick calculation 120L or so of fuel would roughly translate in a lot mof $$$.

Guess the question is, is this a preference thing ? A necessity ? I understand the need for engines, my belief was they are mostly used for short distance and manuvering.


Happy new year,
If we can maintain 4 knots or better, we sail. Less and we hoist the iron top-sail unless we have plenty of time.

FWIW,,,
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Old 08-01-2012, 17:18   #10
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Re: On long trips Diesel or wind ??

And I'd call a week a short cruise not a long one. On a weekend or a 1 week cruise I'd likely motor a LOT more than say... retirement.

If you need to get to a destination, your choices dwindle pretty quick.
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Old 08-01-2012, 17:23   #11
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Re: On long trips Diesel or wind ??

Cruising in some areas (e.g. the mamanucas in Fiji) you end up motoring or motor sailing rather than sailing because its easier and safer when you've got random coral heads and shallow sandbanks combined with less than pinpoint charting.
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Old 08-01-2012, 17:43   #12
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Re: On long trips Diesel or wind ??

If there is no wind, we will use the engine.

The only exception is when we head offshore, then we use the engine only once a day or once every second, third day - to make some electricity and to make sure the beast is still alive.

But inshore, if the destination can be reached powering, if it is dead flat and we expect it to remain so, we will power.

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Old 08-01-2012, 17:54   #13
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Re: On long trips Diesel or wind ??

In my short trip down the chesapeake, I wished for more time and sea-room, so I wouldn't have to motor... Trying to make an anchorage for the night means getting there as fast as possible no matter what the conditions.

On a longer trip in open water, I'd gladly flounder around in light winds, or stray off course for a better sail... no time constraints...your out there anyway, why not sail?
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Old 08-01-2012, 17:57   #14
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Re: On long trips Diesel or wind ??

My boat is 4kts max on Diesel.... I only use it becalmed or getting out of the slip.. I tend to sail into the slip most of the time. I carry 15 gallons of Diesel, and fill the tank once a year. I run probably 50 gallons of gas through the little Honda Genny and the dink each year.
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Old 08-01-2012, 19:49   #15
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Re: On long trips Diesel or wind ??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrei123 View Post
My long term plan ~5years or so is running from Canada to the Bermuda's even perhaps somewhere further south. At a quick calculation 120L or so of fuel would roughly translate in a lot mof $$$.

Guess the question is, is this a preference thing ? A necessity ? I understand the need for engines, my belief was they are mostly used for short distance and manuvering.
An engine is a tool, …….just as your sails (and sailing ability of craft) are… your passage planning… your ability to predict weather patterns and in this consideration….. your budget limitations in terms of money and time.

Finally, it is the inherent challenges of your sailing area that will influence when to turn on the iron genny.

All of these play a part in how much the engine becomes a favorite part of your toolbox

I chose an efficient motor sailor because of the strong currents around the Asian islands, the ability to reach Typhoon Anchorages against headwinds, but ultimately the engine guarantees that I can follow my passage plan to the next poorly charted and coral strewn anchorage to arrive in daylight.

In considering the value of burning costly fuel to manage your destination, if you burned 120 liters of fuel to reach Bermuda with your home and life possessions……, how would that cost compare to a return airline ticket with one suitcase?
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