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View Poll Results: What motoring range do you feel is good for a cruising sailboat
0-100 2 3.85%
101-200 3 5.77%
201-300 4 7.69%
301-400 4 7.69%
401-500 6 11.54%
501-600 10 19.23%
601-700 6 11.54%
701+ 17 32.69%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 52. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 15-06-2010, 07:37   #16
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Both these sets of figures agree, basically, with what I've observed

Originally Posted by Zanshin View Post

My Yanmar 4JH3-TE should run continuously at no more than 3100 RPM (this is 85% of maximum continuous rated RPM (3700)) and uses 10l per hour at that speed. thus I'd need 740l of fuel for a full-RPM 3 day run. ... At 2200RPM using my 'overdrive' mode in calmer waters or if motorsailing the engine only drinks 4l/hour so a 740l tank would give me 185 hours or 7.5 days of engine use.

My cruising speed is 8 knots .
Originally Posted by Eleebana View Post
the Yanmar 75 brochure says I'll use 6 litres per hour at 2400 RPM and cover 6 miles. If I drop to 1200 RPM the brochure says it only uses 1 litre per hour and maybe it will still cover 3 miles.
Ours is a Yanmar 4JT3E 56 HP and our RPM range seems about 1,200 is just in gear and moving (Yanmar guys said OK and wont polist the cylinders) and 3,300+ is maximum revs and 3,100 is about as much as the engine will do comfortably.

The only time we have done over 3,000rpm we were escaping pirates.
Normall max cruise is 2,400 to 2,500 we never use that unless forced.
Our normal cruise is 1,500 to 1,800 RPM and I feel we use 2 L per hour at about 4.5 to 5.5 knots.

1,200 rpm is go slow at 3 knots and just used for anchoring etc (and charging)

We do the slow and economical way

With Motor Sailing we really only do that if very low revs can give us an appreciable benifit. For example if we have 5 knots wind on the quater the engine at 1,200rpm may give us 8 knots wind at 60 degrees which would be 5knts boat speed, say.

Lots of boats motor past us but at $2 per liter (US$7 per US gallon) I don't give a rats bum, they can have all the space they need at the fuel dock!!


Notes on a Circumnavigation.

Somalia Pirates and our Convoy
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Old 15-06-2010, 08:21   #17
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I agree with Mark J. I voted for 600-700 miles. On Idora I only run high RPM's to keep a schedule. (ugghhh) She carries 180 gal US which is good for 800 NM miles in theory. In practice the noise at high rpm drives me nuts (guess I'm a sail boater). If not running from pirates (non around here so far) I would guess you should look at two engine speeds, one for normal ops and one for evading weather.

It should be interesting to see what your results will be at a lower engine speed.


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Old 15-06-2010, 08:52   #18
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Originally Posted by Vasco View Post
Enough for 48 hours of motoring would do me.
Yah, I like that… so much depends on the boat and cruising area… I suspect if I was in truly remote areas, I’d want 5-7 days worth just to be safe, but since we rarely burn more the five gallons a year in local sailing I’m not what I’d actually require… but 24-48 hours or so worth of fuel should be enough to motorsail into many remote inlets for a reasonable sailing vessel where motrorsailing is the exception rather than the rule…

Worry: misuse of imagination…
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Old 16-06-2010, 13:36   #19
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Originally Posted by Don Lucas View Post
There are lots of ways to try to determine if a sailboat is suitable for long term cruising. But one of the things I've started paying attention to is motoring range (fuel tank capacity).

If I come across a 42-45' boat that looks like a good possible, but then notice it only has a 20 gal fuel tank I take it off my list as it is a coastral cruisier. At the same time if it holds 200 gal I figure it is a motor-sailor and doesn't sail well.

Now I don't want to start some battle of "I don't need no engine" type, but what range of motoring do you think is a good number to have to not have to always be looking for a fueling port and to have enough for moving around?

My Cal-39 has a 38 gal fuel tank and I ran out on my trip bringing it up from where I bought it last year (a different story). So of course I now think this is too small and have a plan if it comes to it of converting my aft 20 gal water tank to a fuel tank.
Before you convert that water tank to fuel, conduct another survey asking how much water a cruiser should have on board

As others have said, it really, really depends on where you are cruising to (what capability does the remote end have for re-fueling, how far is it to your destination, what are the winds going to be like, what storms, pirates, ships etc will require you to motor at max throttle, what time frame do you have, what is your sailing speed floor, etc).

FWIW, I voted for 601 - 700

Fair Winds,
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Old 16-06-2010, 13:47   #20
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Originally Posted by Eleebana View Post
Without getting into the issues of running diesels too slowly, the Yanmar 75 brochure says I'll use 6 litres per hour at 2400 RPM and cover 6 miles. If I drop to 1200 RPM the brochure says it only uses 1 litre per hour and maybe it will still cover 3 miles. This would give me a theoretical range of 1680 miles. Until it goes in the water I'm only guessing, maybe it won't get 3 knots at 1200 RPM. Any thoughts ?
Theoretical fuel consumption for displacement type boats is a third power in relation to speed in water. When you do 3 knots and consume 1 liter doubling the speed would use 2x2x2 = 8 times more fuel. So, yes you very well might make 3 knots at 1200 revs consuming just a liter per hour. Upping the speed to 9 knots (from your 6 knots 6 liter example) would mean 1.5x1.5x1.5x6=20 liters an hour!!
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Old 16-06-2010, 14:20   #21
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Depends on the type of cruising you intend to do. If you are knocking around undeveloped areas for a season you will probably want some fuel for occasionally generating electricity or just getting from one anchorage to another on a windless day. Or heat in the cold places. I would go with tankage that would allow me to motor for 100 to 125 hours of motoring (about 80 gallons for my boat) plus enough cans - as many as ten 5 gallon/20 liter types - to make up the difference and allow you to refuel at the inconveniently located gas station 10 miles inland with as few round trips as possible (most places don't have fuel docks). The empty cans don't weigh anything, you would get some windage from them if they are on deck; full ones could present stability issues so require some thought as to where they are placed. When not cruising it would be better to keep the tank full to reduce water condensation, and a smaller tank would mean less fuel growing old in between trips - and less weight to haul around on short trips.

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Old 03-07-2010, 09:38   #22
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The only time when you have too much fuel is when you are on fire...
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Old 03-07-2010, 10:49   #23
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I have two tanks= 82 gallons and at 5-5.5Knots the Perkins 80Hp uses around 1 gallon per hour average. I carry two JC of 5 gal. in lazarette, so have approximately 450-500nm range. This was for me one of the positives of Van de Stadt´s design. BTW weight is 38000lbs.


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Old 03-07-2010, 12:51   #24
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I have 70 gallons of fuel inside tanks. On long trips I like to add 20 gallons in jeri jugs. For the recent trip from La Paz to San Diego I added two more 30 gallon jugs. We did this so that we would not have to stop in Cabo. When the weather forced us to stop in Cabo we decided to trade one of the 30 gallon jugs for a book on fishing. Well worth the trade. The longest leg w/o fuel was from Cabo to Turtle Bay. We motorsailed the entire way and when we arrived in Turtle Bay we had about 25 gallons left.The straightline distance from Cabo to Turtle Bay is about 400 nautical miles. I would think that being able to carry fuel for 500 nm would be a good rule of thumb. Most of it in intergal tanks.
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Old 03-07-2010, 14:20   #25
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Here's another poorly supported bit of data:

Insatiable II has a 43 HP Nanni and a Flex-O-Fold 3-blade prop, correctly matched to the engine/load. Our long-term average consumption is ~2.3 L/Hr, and we motor at 6 knots with a clean bottom and calm conditions, 7 knots if in a hurry, around 8.7 flat out (only done once to check prop size!). Don't often use the engine to charge batteries, and seldom motor-sail. Boat is easily driven. Tankage is around 600 L, so we have around 230 hours total, or somewhere around 1200+ miles range.

We find this to be overkill in our usage!


Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Manly Qld, Oz

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s/v Insatiable back in MBTBC marina, waiting for next eye jobs to be done
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