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View Poll Results: What motoring range do you feel is good for a cruising sailboat
0-100 2 3.77%
101-200 3 5.66%
201-300 4 7.55%
301-400 5 9.43%
401-500 6 11.32%
501-600 10 18.87%
601-700 6 11.32%
701+ 17 32.08%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 53. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 15-06-2010, 06:26   #1
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Sailboat Motoring Range for Cruising

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.
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Old 15-06-2010, 06:28   #2
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Enough for 48 hours of motoring would do me.
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Old 15-06-2010, 06:36   #3
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Depends on the distances you will travel. Unfortunately we have nearly motored the complete distance from N.E. Florida to Panama, or motor sailed. The wind has been extremely light, or contrary to traditional directions. I have a 20gln tank over each motor, and another 80 glns of jugs in the locker. Fuel will last with different conditions for different lengths of time & miles. We are good for up to 5 days & up to 700 miles, but once again it depends on conditions.......i2f
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Old 15-06-2010, 06:43   #4
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Everything of course "depends" on something. But you say that with your jugs etc that you can do 700 miles, so to you this seems to be the distance.

Last year I normally pushed the engine fairly hard when I decided the wind just wasn't going to help me. In refueling twice I found I was using 1.25 - 1.5 gal/hr to do about 6-6.5 knots. This year so far I've run the engine more around 5 - 5.5 knots when motoring and will find out this weekend how this effects my fuel use/distance.
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Old 15-06-2010, 06:49   #5
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G'day Don


My new semi-custom 42' yacht is about 50% built. I thought standard tankage of 560 litres (124gals??) was huge, but according to the brochure the Yanmar 75hp will suck about 6 litres per hour @ 2400RPM, presumably at about 6 knots. This only gives me a theoretical range of 560 miles if I could use every drop in the tank. I will probably fit a diesel powered heater to suck out of the same tank, so winter milage might be even less. Have I done the maths right? If guess I do need that MPS.

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Old 15-06-2010, 06:55   #6
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enough to get out of the harbor/reef pass and get the sails up...
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Old 15-06-2010, 06:59   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eleebana View Post
G'day Don


My new semi-custom 42' yacht is about 50% built. I thought standard tankage of 560 litres (124gals??) was huge, but according to the brochure the Yanmar 75hp will suck about 6 litres per hour @ 2400RPM, presumably at about 6 knots. This only gives me a theoretical range of 560 miles if I could use every drop in the tank. I will probably fit a diesel powered heater to suck out of the same tank, so winter milage might be even less. Have I done the maths right? If guess I do need that MPS.

Greg
Everyone will have a different answer, but if I was building a semi-custom boat and had the chance of adding a larger tank, AND it didn't greatly impact storage or some other layout issue, I would get the larger fuel tank. If I never need it great, there isn't anything that says I always have to keep it full if I want to lighter the boat. But I would prefer to have the option to have the capacity. Just me!
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Old 15-06-2010, 07:04   #8
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We currently have about 10 days crusing at fairly low revs.

This is with our extra 13 gerry cans of diesel. (Kept in a lazarette not on deck)

As we are now back in civilization we are getting rid of the extra gerries as we only have a trans atlantic to do. We will then have our tank and 5 gerry cans.

Our longest haul was 5 days at high revs in the Gulf of Aden convoy. The 120 hours high revs used *lots* of fuel. We then went on without stop right up the Red Sea to Egypt using about 48 hours of fuel and still having about 48 hours of fuel left over.

(Someone once told me the only reason why our Beneteau was not worthy of consideration to be taken out of the harbour was its costal fuel range!)

Our solar pannels were only fitted about 6 months ago and now we never run the engine except for propulsion! YIPPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!


So, more than just how big you tank is, maybe you should consider how much can you store easily; and how much you really need.

The how much you need is determained on weather too, Asia was outside the trade wind belt and we used more fuel in Malaysia and Thailand than the rest of the world combined.

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Old 15-06-2010, 07:07   #9
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I get the feeling that maybe some don't understand the question/poll already.

I am NOT talking about weekend sailing or week long trips etc where you are going to be coming back to your home port. I am talkng about cruising to more out of the way places etc. If you were going to gone from your home port/country for say a year, what motoring range would you like to have?
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Old 15-06-2010, 07:11   #10
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Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post

So, more than just how big you tank is, maybe you should consider how much can you store easily; and how much you really need.


Mark

I completely agree, which is why on the poll I put it as motoring range, not fuel tank capacity.

I voted for 501-600 miles, but my tank only would do about 200 as long as I'm not pushing it too hard (I think).
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Old 15-06-2010, 07:24   #11
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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 ?
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Old 15-06-2010, 07:30   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Lucas View Post
At the same time if it holds 200 gal I figure it is a motor-sailor and doesn't sail well.
I think there are quire a few great cruising boats in your size range that sail well and have a 200 gal tank. I would not rule out a boat for that reason.
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Old 15-06-2010, 07:43   #13
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I believe that the range is less important than the number of hours at cruising RPMs. Apart from short distance motoring (entering/exiting harbours, avoiding lee shores, hurrying up in mild wind, charging batteries, etc.) a cruising engine is only needed to motor and/or motorsail out of the path of bad weather or to maintain steerageway in really bad weather. In both cases engine run time is a better indicator; particularly as modern ocean weather forecasting is pretty accurate in a 3-day window. For this reason I would put the minimum fuel amount at 48-72 hours of motoring. This is sufficient to avoid the dangerous zone of large weather systems - once; but an ocean crossing might encounter more than one such storm plus need fuel for charging batteries, so a true crusing boat should have a bit of a safety margin.

My calculations for my boat are as follows:

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. This RPM would be for rough weather/heavy seas. 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.

I'd want at least 750l of diesel aboard (my tankage is only 500 so the rest is in 20l canisters) but this is a minimum.

My cruising speed is 8 knots so that would equate to only 576nm range worst case and 1480nm best case; this big difference in range is why I prefer to use engine hours; I am assuming that I'll get no more than 72 hours warning of a big storm so time is more important to me than miles in this case.
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Old 15-06-2010, 07:45   #14
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We can store more fuel, but there is the weight issue on a cat. With all the jugs full our port bow sits almost 2 inches lower in the water than strbrd. In the past we used this amount of fuel to stay gone for nearly 6 months while cruising the Bahamas. We carried that amount, because of the cost of fuel in the Bahamas. This trip to the canal has turned into a delivery, and I knew the fist 1k miles could be on the nose, or windless.I think 5-600 is a good number for out of the way places......i2f.....
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Old 15-06-2010, 08:19   #15
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Quote:
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 ?
Not many :-)

We've got the same sized Yanmar driving a medium displacement 46' hull and at 2200 rpm we consume .7 litres per mile and on flat water making 6.5 knots. Pop her up to 2600 rpm we consume 1 litre per mile and again on flat water make 7.5 knots.
As Yanmar recommend, we give her a burst every so often up to 3,000 rpm to blow the turbo clean.
Our tank only holds 270 litres so we carry another 200 in plastic jerry cans and we've never yet worried about getting caught short. |To save on calculators that's a range of 650 miles.
I suspect you will get 3 knots at 1,200 rpm but if we were ever aiming to average that speed, we'd definately revert to sails!
Practically we only use the engine if we want to get somewhere by xx day and the wind will not allow it!
Cheers
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