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Old 05-07-2009, 19:59   #1
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Motoring Range to Cross the Pacific

If you were heading out to cross the Pacific in a 44' production boat, say a Jeanneau, Hunter or Beneteau, how much fuel and what kind of range would you want to be comfortable. I have no interest in sailing for days in zero wind making a knot or two headway. But it seems as though the three boats listed have a very limited fuel capacity. What kind of motoring range makes the journey comfortable.
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Old 05-07-2009, 22:47   #2
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I had a range of 150 miles the first time I did it, thoroughly enjoyable it was.
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Old 05-07-2009, 23:36   #3
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Although you cannot always rely on the wind, the wind eventually blows enough to get you there. This is actually more reliable than trying to calculate how much fuel you would need to cross an ocean if the wind completely failed you....which simply is not going to happen.

All you really need is enough fuel to get you in and out of relatively hazardous harbors for sailing in, getting a short distance from point A to point B when you are in a big hurry and for charging your batteries if you have no other sources of DC. Forget the idea of needing enough fuel to cross an entire ocean unless its a power boat.
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Old 06-07-2009, 02:26   #4
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I would add that you need at least enough fuel for 72 hours motoring at cruising speed plus the fuel required for daily use (genset or engine to charge batteries). This is because with modern weather reporting systems you will get a 3 day warning of a really big storm, and in order to get out of the danger zone you might have to motor in little or no wind for 24 hours or more. You might need to do that more than once on a big Pacific passage. Plus you might need to run the diesel for steerage in certain weather conditions. Of course if all goes well you'd never have to use the engine for propulsion. In the last 6 months cruising the Caribbean the only hours on my engine were for getting into and out of anchorages and one upwind slog from the USVI to St. Maarten. The two tankfuls of diesel that I consumed were used up mainly by the genset- and most of that energy went into the DC powered fridge and freezer.
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Old 06-07-2009, 03:15   #5
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You may not have full tanks when you get three days warning.

I think the more fuel you have the better, and this is one of the main disadvantages of production boats like the ones you mention, which are designed and intended for coastal or charter use, not ocean-crossing. A Jeanneau 44 will use something like what - 6 liters an hour at cruising speed, which is only about 35 hours of motoring with a fuel capacity of 220 liters, no reserves and not counting anything for the genset. So your motoring range in such a boat will be a small fraction of the total distance.

A 5kW genset will use what -- a liter an hour at 75% load? So if you make water and charge batteries for a couple hours a day, you will use up 14 liters a week or 50 -- 60 liters a month. You can reduce that by using a wind generator for some of your power needs, and conserving water, but that is definitely at the expense of comfort.


You will really prefer a boat with much more tankage, for safety's sake, not to mention convenience (so you can run your genset, watermaker, and so forth, and live in reasonable comfort with plenty of power and fresh water). Boats of that size which are made for that kind of use would typically have two or three times that amount of tankage.

But of course people cross oceans all the time without even having an engine, much less a genset, so anything is possible. People use Beneteaus and Jenneaus all the time in the ARC. You can always carry jerry cans. But besides a lack of tankage, such boats also have lack of stowage, so you'll usually have to keep them on deck.

You can also add fuel bladders, if you can find some room in the bilges or lockers. But you'll be better off with a boat designed for such use in the first place -- stronger, heavier displacement, more stowage, more tankage, etc., etc.
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Old 06-07-2009, 03:47   #6
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I have to admit that I used very low fuel numbers - mainly because my production boat, a Jeanneau 49DS, only has 250l ex factory and I am going to permanently convert one of my 3 water tanks to hold diesel as well and raise the total fuel tank capacity to 500l. Add another 200l of diesel in containers (10x20l) and I have 600 liters. My 4JH4-TE 75hp Yanmar eats about 5 liters per hour at a bit over 2300RPM which gives me cruising speed (with the Gori prop overdrive function). So all I will have for my Pacific crossing is 120 hours which I consider to be pretty marginal and I'll not be able to divert course using engine power for small (but uncomfortable) storms. Even with a windgen I'll need to run the generator, which uses just over 1 liter per hour and that alone can add up on a 4 week passage (and I'm alone on board, have LED lights, and won't need to run the watermaker).
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Old 06-07-2009, 03:56   #7
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Originally Posted by bulabro View Post
44' production boat, say a Jeanneau, Hunter or Beneteau, .
We have a Beneteau 393 and did it with the full tank and 8 gerrys for safety.

Galapagos sells very cheap fuel ($1 per gallon) so fill up there and DO NOT fill up in Tonga, or French Polynesia.

But wiht the tankage we had we could have dnoe 2 crossings


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Old 06-07-2009, 04:33   #8
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Hi, Mark.

With your 110 Amp-Hour house battery, you obviously didn't spend a lot of diesel on charging.

For the record, I believe the Bene 393 fuel tank holds 36 gallons, plus 8 jerries at 5 gallons each, totaling up to 76 gallons (345 liters), correct?

I think we'd be interested in knowing roughly how much fuel you ended up using for propulsion due to light/zero wind or for storm avoidance during your crossing. Can you make a stab at that?



p.s. of course, with a lovely first mate like yours, who would want to rush the journey by doing any motoring at all!!!
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Old 06-07-2009, 06:03   #9
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To add to Marks reply you can also buy 40 liter yellow diesel jugs in the Galapagos hardware stores for $12.00 us. Also you will be quoted much more for fuel in the harbor. You have to go inland by pickup-taxi yourself to get the $1.04 fuel. The agents will tell you that the $1.04 price is for locals only but when you get the the fuel station they will sell it to you. Plan to motor for two days SSW from the Galapagos to find wind. After that you will never want for wind again until out of the trade-winds, possibly when en route down to NZ or OZ.
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Old 06-07-2009, 14:13   #10
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I had a 20 gallon tank, did 40,000 miles, no problem. Don't like jerry cans on deck, I think they are dangerous.
It would be better to spend the time and money trying to improve your light weather sailing performance. Have the bottom fair and clean, get rid of the fixed three bladed prop, invest in some quality light weather sails, get some weight out of the boat (throw away any item you haven't used in twelve months.).
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Old 06-07-2009, 14:59   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dana-tenacity View Post
I had a 20 gallon tank, did 40,000 miles, no problem. Don't like jerry cans on deck, I think they are dangerous.
It would be better to spend the time and money trying to improve your light weather sailing performance. Have the bottom fair and clean, get rid of the fixed three bladed prop, invest in some quality light weather sails, get some weight out of the boat (throw away any item you haven't used in twelve months.).
I agree with everything you said but I must say on the route from Galapagos to French Polynesia with fair weather expected jerry cans will allow you to arrive with full tanks in a country where fuel is $11.00 per gal. Nice to not have to pull up to the fuel dock right away at those prices! Yes you could sail in and out of the Galapagos but it would take a while. We listened to a few boats on the SSB trying to sail only to the Galapagos that spent more than a day doing 2 knots...backwards with the current.
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Old 06-07-2009, 16:59   #12
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For the record, I believe the Bene 393 fuel tank holds 36 gallons, plus 8 jerries at 5 gallons each, totaling up to 76 gallons (345 liters), correct?
Corectomondo. The tank is 38 gals?

Quote:
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I think we'd be interested in knowing roughly how much fuel you ended up using for propulsion due to light/zero wind or for storm avoidance during your crossing.
Trade winds sailing means little motoring. Also if you are becalmed 3,000 miles from land the motor won't help!!!!!

The only time we motor sailed was the last day into Sydney because the wind came on the nose and we were... well... just wanted to get home!

Our totals of propulsion were very low, but we wern't skimping. Trade winds are pretty constant.

Occasionally in calms we would motor towards squalls.

Tonga fuel price was Duty Free $2.64 per LITRE! i.e. $10 per gallon! We only topped off because other lying cruisers put the fear into us about our last leg.

We could have made it without filling...


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Old 06-07-2009, 23:00   #13
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I did a Hawaii to Washington State crossing on less than 40 gallons of diesel. I had another 40 left over when I got there.
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Old 06-07-2009, 23:16   #14
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I filled up in Ft Lauderdale (20 galls) sailed to Panama, motored through the canal, sailed to Auckland - still had 1/3 of my fuel left. But yes, had a slow spell near the Galapagos.

Why don't people like being becalmed, good oportunity to clean the boat, do maintenance, bake bread, read books, watch the sea life.

Even better is being able to sail in light airs, it's generally some of the most pleasant sailing there is.
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Old 07-07-2009, 06:18   #15
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We currently have a 600 mile range but plan on doubling it. That said it is a sailboat and although I can't imagine motoring 1200 miles it is nice to fill up when a low price is found.
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