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Old 20-10-2008, 20:34   #1
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newby question about tank size

I am looking for my first sailboat and one question I have is how much tankage should a sailboat have. is it a simple as "bigger is better" or is it more dependent on how the boat will be used.
The boats I am looking at are 32-36 ft late 70's to late 80's vintage. Whatever I get will be used for cruising in Puget Sound and down the west coast and in the Sea of Cortes.
Thanks
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Old 20-10-2008, 22:12   #2
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There is no simple answer to your question, and no right or wrong answer either. It will depend on several factors including (but not limited to) number of crew on board, maximum required passage distance, competence of crew, sailing characteristics of boat, type of engine, motoring characteristics of boat, watermaker fitted or not, alternative sources of electrical energy (wind gen, solar), lifestyle choices, etc. Obviously, more fuel and water is ostensibly better, but bear in mind that the additional weight of fuel and water is additonal balance that reduces performance under motor and under sail.

In my opinion, it is better to get a boat, then work out how to either get by with the tankage that it has, or modify the tankage to suit, rather than deciding on the tankage and looking for boats which provide your theoretical optimum.

My boat carries only about 35 gallons of deisel and 60 gallons of water, but my partner and I can easily do a fortnight with that capacity (without resorting to Jerry jugs).
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Old 21-10-2008, 06:02   #3
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I remember reading once that every cruising boat uses up their water in 2 weeks. Reading that made me take an informal survey and I found it to be fairly true. While we can stretch our water and make it last a month or 6 weeks if needed, everybody seems to normally use their capacity in those two weeks, whether carrying 50 gallons,100 gallons, or 200 gallons.
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Old 21-10-2008, 06:19   #4
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Fishspearit,

I had never heard that one before, but I think it may be true. Here's my experience...

The least water I've experienced was with four of us (all men) on an offshore passage that took 11-1/2 days. The boat had a 35 gallon tank. We only used about 30 gallons, so we could have gone two weeks. (We did have 25 gallons in jugs in reserve, but didn't want to have to use them). The most water use I've seen is my own boat with the Admiral aboard when we were cruising the eastern Caribbean. We have a 170 gallon tank, and it would last about 12 to 14 days.
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Old 21-10-2008, 06:37   #5
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Water Witch!

My wife (admiral?) uses water at about the same rate as Hud's. Whereas all of my requests, instructions, demands, entrities that the water not be left running seem to fall on deaf ears, unless we are somewhere that we can replace water easily I simply disable the pressure water system so that one can only use the foot pumps in the galley. If the girls need water in the heads, they can draw water into a 1/2 gallon vessel (with lid) in the galley. With this regime, our 100 gallons seems to last much, much longer.

Realistically, a reasonable estimate is about 1/2 gallon per person per day when modestly rationed in a temperate climate. In Florida in the summer, however, a gallon per day per person is entirely possible to ensure everyone's well hydrated.

FWIW...

s/v HyLyte
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Old 21-10-2008, 07:13   #6
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My wife use to let water run, and walk away. She also had lost her hearing, in regards to my request to stop wasting water. When were at anchor in South Beach. I did not want to use the water maker for 2 reasons. The flow of sand in the tides, and other boats nearby. I was doing a lot of jugging to the water tap. Finally I made her go with me, and handle the jugs. After 2 trips the usage almost came to a halt.
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Old 21-10-2008, 13:54   #7
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Aloha Escape,
On one of my longer voyages (26 days between fueling and watering) and covering 2600 miles with four aboard we used 40 gals of diesel and 100 gals of water.
Hope that helps. In my current configuration I'll have between 65 and 70 gals of diesel and 100 gals water tankage for a 42 foot boat. With a (functioning) watermaker I think you could do with about a 60 gal water tank.
Kind regards,
JohnL
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Old 21-10-2008, 15:18   #8
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We have 130 gallons of fw. It'll last us about 18 days. We shower every day and wash dishes in fw.
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Old 22-10-2008, 16:01   #9
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I am a muffler man, and at times I am full of all kinds of dust. I manage to shower with 1 1/2 gallons of water including washing my hair. Less on my days off.
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Old 22-10-2008, 17:44   #10
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I have a 1974 Hunter 25 with many upgrades, one of which is two 26-gallon Plastimo flexible water tanks under the port & starboard settee berths. Though this weight is placed in the proper part of the boat for fore-and-aft trim, it is still 440 lbs or 1/10 the displacement of the whole boat. So, they are NEVER full. (Who wants to sail with all that weight?) My rule of thumb for Chesapeake/coastal cruising is to carry only as much water as is really needed-- at 4 gallons/day for all three of us-- to get to the next stop, which is maybe 20 gallons total.

While cruising I also can carry in addition, in a large under-cockpit locker maybe 40 gallons of Arizona iced tea or spring water in gallon jugs... but that would be ridiculous. I do make sure to have maybe 10 gallons between the two for strictly-drinking purposes, and that's sufficient.
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