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Old 31-12-2014, 18:42   #1
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: live in Utah, Sail in sea of cortez
Boat: Balboa 27
Posts: 165
adding belowdecks fuel tank to outboard powered pocket cruiser

I'm thinking about adding a belowdecks fuel tank to my outboard-powered pocket cruiser, and would like to get a sanity check to see if this makes sense or not.

The boat is a Balboa 27 (similar to a catalina 27, but with a swing keel) and I cruise the boat for 4 months every winter in the sea of cortez. I've already fitted the boat with additional solar, water storage, etc, so the biggest limit on my ability to self support is fuel. Places to refuel are few and far between. The boat has a 9.9 HP 2-stroke engine that burns 1.5 gallons/hour at 5 knots cruising speed. It's a 100 miles crossing from the mainland (where I keep the boat) over to the baja side, and for safety reasons I'd like to have the ability to cross over and back without refueling. This translates to 50 gallons of gas, or ten 5 gallon gerrycans. I'm on a tight budget, so spending $3000 to upgrade to a more fuel efficient 4 stroke isn't in the picture.

I've found a 27 gallon tempo belowdecks fuel tank at a good price that will bit in the space under my cockpit. If I install it, I could either do a full installation with vent line and run it directly to my outboard, or just use it a storage tank and transfer fuel from it to my 6 gallon portable tank as needed.

Any good reasons NOT to go this route?
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Old 31-12-2014, 19:21   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Albany Ga.
Boat: Island Packet 38
Posts: 11,674
Re: adding belowdecks fuel tank to outboard powered pocket cruiser

Just make sure if there is a fuel pump that it is not inside the boat, if it is and you develop a leak, it will leak fuel in the boat. If the pump is outside and a leak develops, the pump will just suck air, not leak fuel in the boat.
If the line is short enough so the pump on the engine can pull fuel to the motor, no problem, I would install an in-line fuel filter and be darn sure you use conditioner as the big tank may have fuel in it for longer times than a smaller one.
Yes yu do need to vent outside the hull, but be careful with that too, as much as possible try to make it so water can't get into the vent when heelded over etc.

Gasoline in the boat is dangerous of course so be careful
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Old 31-12-2014, 23:04   #3
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: aboard, cruising in Australia
Boat: Sayer 46' Solent rig sloop
Posts: 7,120
Re: adding belowdecks fuel tank to outboard powered pocket cruiser

If my memory of the Golfo de California is correct, there was plenty of wind, so basically, I don't think it is sensible or desirable to carry that much fuel on board, and cluttering up your decks with fuel which s----s up your boat's handling. It is a sailboat after all. It does no harm to take down your sails if there is no wind and put them up again when it begins. Truly, I think it is unsafe to deal with that much's just asking for problems.

Accept the sailing nature of the boat, and enjoy what the lovely breezes bring you. We had many lovely sails there. Not on the San Carlos side, but the La Paz side.

Don't even think of trying to motor into the square chop that develops, change your destination.

Ann & Jim, U.S. s/v Insatiable II, SE Qld, for a while
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cruise, cruiser, deck, fuel, fuel tank, outboard, pocket cruiser

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