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Old 27-04-2015, 08:55   #1
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Cruisers: How Much Fuel?

I am running this by those folks that have done ocean crossings and cruised. How much fuel?

I flip flop on this from time to time, but generally revert to the theory it is a sailboat. If I am continually going against the wind I need to question my strategy.

My boat carries 50 gallons and I am going to carry 10 gallons in cans. Total of 60 gal. I burn about 3/4 gal and hour.

I do not like the look of fuel cans on the foredeck nor do I want to worry about managing them at sea.

So share your opinions and thoughts. I'd appreciate it.

DW
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Old 27-04-2015, 09:02   #2
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Re: Cruisers: How Much Fuel?

How far are you going? How much wind expected along the way? Only 10 extra gallons? Might want to read the Rebel Heart threads.
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Old 27-04-2015, 09:06   #3
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Re: Cruisers: How Much Fuel?

Add a tank.
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Old 27-04-2015, 09:13   #4
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Re: Cruisers: How Much Fuel?

how much fuel is not the question, how long is your trip, what is the avg wind based on your route and how long are you willing to sit there with no wind and not run your engine and are your engines you charge source. than calculate how much fuel you will need. i just had a friend cross back from the Bahamas it took almost 3 days because they were in no rush weather was nice and they would not start there engine.
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Old 27-04-2015, 09:23   #5
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Re: Cruisers: How Much Fuel?

Crossing Oceans, Atlantic first then the Pacific.

DW
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Old 27-04-2015, 09:35   #6
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Re: Cruisers: How Much Fuel?

Why not add a fuel tank down below? Something like this:

http://www.moellermarine.com/sites/m...1_a_8-1-14.pdf

Or maybe a bladder tank? Vetus makes them, as do others.

Shouldn't be difficult to pipe into the system.
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Old 27-04-2015, 09:54   #7
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Re: Cruisers: How Much Fuel?

So much depends on your boats sailing ability, your own sailing ability, and your personality. If you get frustrated if the speed goes below (pick a speed) some number, then you need lots of fuel. If you are in the cruising state of mind, and not living with time limits, then you already have more than ample fuel. Passages dont take much fuel. It is usually only at the ends of a passage that fuel is important. A common problem is that people burn way too much fuel early in a passage, and end up short at the end when they really need it. Even motoring across the doldrums is not such a fuel burn if you take it a little slower. You say you have a 3/4 gallon per hour fuel burn, but I suspect that if you slow down a knot or so, you can reduce that burn by a good amount. 60 gallons on a 35 foot boat is more than average for the size, but you will get many people saying you need more. A good self look at your personality will tell you a lot. I look back at my early passages in an engineless boat as a real joy, and doing deliveries (burning a lot of fuel since time is money) as much less pleasant. Of course, like everything else on CF, this is just my opinion. Best of luck. _____Grant.
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Old 27-04-2015, 09:59   #8
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Re: Cruisers: How Much Fuel?

I agree with the last post. It is a sailboat after all and the addicting aspect to me is when the sails fill and the boat begins to move. That sound off the hull, oh my.

I am going with my 60 gals. and focus on light air sailing skills. A boat moving a couple of knots is better than boat sitting still.


I also think personality comes into it. Also the fact you have so much fuel, you will be quicker to use it. It may also effect your judgment of when to sail vs waiting. If your mindset is always I have a lot of fuel, I will leave now and hope to get the wind in a few days.


Interesting debate, but I have learned over time to error on the side of simplicity.

DW
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Old 27-04-2015, 10:03   #9
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Re: Cruisers: How Much Fuel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duckwheat View Post
I agree with the last post. It is a sailboat after all and the addicting aspect to me is when the sails fill and the boat begins to move. That sound off the hull, oh my.

I am going with my 60 gals. and focus on light air sailing skills. A boat moving a couple of knots is better than boat sitting still.

DW
Then why did you ask the question? What if your voyage ends up taking weeks longer than expected? How about fresh water and charging your electronics if you're dependent on them? What if you have a mechanical regarding the sails or rigging?
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Old 27-04-2015, 10:11   #10
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Re: Cruisers: How Much Fuel?

Crossing the Atlantic we filled the tanks, 400l, and took 4 10l jerry cans. We always have at least 2 jerry cans filled, stored in the anchor locker for emergency anyway. We can motor at about 5K at 2l/ hr so enough fuel for close to 1000M. We didn't use all our fuel but motored quite a bit in the first couple days with no wind. After that sailed and ran the engines occasionally for an hour at night as the batteries were becoming depleted. 1000M is enough range to motor all the way to Cape Verde from the canaries or half way across the Atlantic, so it's a pretty hefty contingency amount. If our tanks just held 200l we still would have just added the 4 10l jerry cans. It's sailing downhill and you will get there eventually, even without engines or sail. Just enough fuel to generate power would be the minimum I'd want but even without that people manage. Most important is the boats in good shape and you have enough water and food for a worst case scenario. Solar panels help and a wind gen isn't a bad idea for extended passages. Motoring the first couple of days might have saved us a days sail, but the reason we did it was mainly to try avoid the worst of an approaching low. We could have avoided that low by delaying our departure but we sailed with a rally and decided to bite the bullet.


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Old 27-04-2015, 10:25   #11
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Re: Cruisers: How Much Fuel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duckwheat View Post
...It is a sailboat after all...
I am going with my 60 gals. and focus on light air sailing skills...
Just like the Rebel Heart disaster.
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Old 27-04-2015, 10:40   #12
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Re: Cruisers: How Much Fuel?

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
Then why did you ask the question? What if your voyage ends up taking weeks longer than expected? How about fresh water and charging your electronics if you're dependent on them? What if you have a mechanical regarding the sails or rigging?
1. I felt like asking the question, irritating you was a bonus.
2. It is a sailboat, what is 2 weeks?
3. Fresh water, estimated amp consumption taken care of by solar and wind.
4. You are probably not going to motor yourself out of a rig failure. Focus on rigging something/anything to get the boat moving. Or deploy the sea anchor and activate the Epirb if it is that catastrophic.

DW
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Old 27-04-2015, 10:48   #13
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Re: Cruisers: How Much Fuel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duckwheat View Post
1. I felt like asking the question, irritating you was a bonus.
2. It is a sailboat, what is 2 weeks?
3. Fresh water, estimated amp consumption taken care of by solar and wind.
4. You are probably not going to motor yourself out of a rig failure. Focus on rigging something/anything to get the boat moving. Or deploy the sea anchor and activate the Epirb if it is that catastrophic.

DW
You will have about 2+ days of motoring , meaningless in a 20 day crossing

clearly if you have your recharging requirements handled by solar and wind ( and I stress that you know you have). Then you only need diesel for emergencies , since you will never have enough to make any significant progress in the atlantic ocean.

I would supplement you tank with some jerry cans, for several reasons.
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Old 27-04-2015, 13:33   #14
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Re: Cruisers: How Much Fuel?

I have thought about your question in the past and I also like you have a 50-gal fuel tank. I currently have 3 50-gal poly water tanks and never have come close to using it all. So if I later get a watermaker I was thinking about converting 1 tank to a fuel storage tank.

BTW - I think it is smart to have a jerry can or 2 of fuel either way because that is always going to be the cleanest fuel you have in case of a tank problem.
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Old 27-04-2015, 15:26   #15
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Re: Cruisers: How Much Fuel?

50 gallons is probably adequate for your purposes, but, like you, I try to avoid a lot of crap lashed on deck, especially during passages. If you can find room below for two jerry cans for emergencies, that would be wise. [As an aside, I carry a small 1 gallon jug of diesel below for various tasks. Very useful].

On my vessel, if I reduce speed 20% while motoring, I get about a 30% reduction in fuel consumption (propeller size and pitch affects this also). I can motor a looong way at 5 knots as opposed to 6+.

I still might consider a small auxiliary tank below, especially if you can't find a good spot for the jerry cans.

I will start the motor (aside from electrical requirements) when I need to feel a breeze (too hot!), when the sails are slatting, or when the motion of the boat becomes uncomfortable. Usually this works out to about 3 knots boat speed as the dividing line. If in a hurry, 4 knots becomes the minimum speed acceptable. Your requirements will certainly be different. I suspect it takes a bit of a blow to get your IP moving. You might motor more than a light racer/cruiser would, for example.

It all comes down to your requirements
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