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Old 31-07-2015, 15:39   #16
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Re: How much fuel?

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I think I am in the less is more camp and would rather have a lighter boat that sails better in ligh
Do you really believe that in a 40ish cruising boat loaded with ship stores etc that the weight of say an extra 25 gal of fuel is going to make any real difference in boat speed? If you down go this road what else are you going to lighten up; anchor, chain, dinghy, outboard, water tanks, etc.?
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Old 31-07-2015, 15:52   #17
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Re: How much fuel?

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Maybe thinking too hard about having too much old fuel on board but have delivered a few boats with old fuel and changed a lot of filters so a little bit wary.
Keep your tank and your fuel clean and you will be fine. Having had a fuel line clog leaving Cuba for Mexico I can relate to your concerns over dirty fuel. I truly believe in a good and well installed fuel polishing system and in regular, maybe every 2 years, tank cleaning. Or at least inspection.

Personally I would like at least 3 days of fuel at the best fuel usage speed so the amount really depends on the boat and the propulsion system.
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Old 31-07-2015, 16:13   #18
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Re: How much fuel?

Not on a boat, but I had bad fuel ruin an injection pump which was an expensive and inconvenient mess before everything was repaired. Personally, I would look into having a couple of tanks, one smaller one that was the primary tank and a larger one that you could fuel up in preparation for a long trip. Either have them both hooked up to the engine with a Y valve or IMHO arrange for the larger tank to feed the smaller one through an extra filter. Then if you get a batch of suspect fuel you can let it settle for a day or two before transferring, but it would be able to cut down on the surprises.
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Old 31-07-2015, 16:29   #19
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Re: How much fuel?

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Originally Posted by Delancey View Post
Thanks for the link, I'll give it a read.

To be more specific should have said "out there cruising full time" in typical cruising locations like Bahamas, Caribbean, Central America, or maybe the Med rather than implying "out there making ocean passages".

As in coastal cruising or island hopping where I think you are probably never more than a couple days away from being able to score more fuel if you need it, but maybe that's not really how it is "out there"?

Maybe thinking too hard about having too much old fuel on board but have delivered a few boats with old fuel and changed a lot of filters so a little bit wary. Also, not planning on being in a hurry and enjoy sailing more than motoring is a factor for me.
Really depends on your cruising area and usage. I certainally don't like fuel in jerrycans on deck

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Old 31-07-2015, 16:43   #20
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Re: How much fuel?

Grew up racing sailboats and wilderness tripping. Boat shopped long and hard for two years looking for a stick-built racer that wasn’t rode hard and put away wet in our budget before I found our boat, a cruisfied racing hull with a decent pedigree, sweet lines, and a great cockpit.

Tore out that ridiculous steering wheel along with a second head and holding tank, half dozen partial bulkheads, a bunch of furniture, four teak cabin doors, a cockpit sole life raft locker, three through hull fittings, a propane cabin heater, a shower sump pump, a cabin-top traveller, a second ice box, a mast pulpit, and a mess of bits and bobs. It all adds up.

Replaced the engine with a smaller lighter one with a folding prop, installed a tiller and two bulkhead mounted compasses, and lead the mainsheet to a pad eye in the cockpit sole.

No plans for an outboard for the dink or three hundred feet of chain or a generator but will be adding a wind vane, solar, and a bigger house bank.

I figure add a couple thousand pounds worth of cruising gear and it’s still a lot lighter than it would otherwise be if I hadn’t gotten rid of all that junk. Last time I had full tankage it was noticeably light on it’s lines enough to make me satisfied with my efforts and that was before the new engine.

It’s still a cruisified racer, but it is a lighter and faster one than it was before, and she suits me quite well. YMMV.
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Old 31-07-2015, 17:35   #21
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Re: How much fuel?

Can't carry too much fuel.

Best system I have seen on a yacht had a day tank which gravity fed the engine's fuel pump. Returned fuel went to the day tank. There was a sight gauge for accurate management. And a manual pump for transferring fuel from the main tank.

Where possible, fuel tanks should have a sump with drain valve, and an appropriate number of cleanouts for thorough maintenance.
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Old 31-07-2015, 19:03   #22
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Re: How much fuel?

When I bought my 30 ft Morgan OI. it had fuel problems almost immediately. It put me in a bad place and I figured to cure it right before it got me again. I went back to Charlie Morgans, in St Pete. The head man in the shop told me exactly what to do to keep fuel problems at a minimum.
He said start out with all new filters, a clean tank and new fuel. Keep the tank as full as conveniently possible. always every time I add fuel, ad Diesel doctor or some other respected Bio killer . And first but not least filter every bit of fuel I put in the tank. I moved to the boat every winter and home every summer for an on the boat time of 7 years, without ever having any worry again about fuel except for running out. The boat only came with a twenty Gallon tank. I added another twenty gallon tank soon after I got it. Diesel will not go bad of itself but will allow slime and bugs to live in any water that gets into the tank. If I say anything in any of my letters that sounds like BS, its because Most of the things I say, I've learned by experience. Mac
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Old 31-07-2015, 20:23   #23
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Re: How much fuel?

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Not sure about our long term cruising plans other than hoping to go out and get lost for a while and expect to do so with a respectable solar/wind set-up and a decent sized battery bank.

Day sailing or going out for a week or so with our existing 40 gallon tank and then topping off at the end of the season always meant that I had some of the fuel in the tank that was more than a couple years old which makes me think twice about going bigger rather than smaller.

Any thoughts?
We plan to live and work aboard, without limits of distance or time. We want complete freedom, both near and offshore. So any thoughts of being caught without enough fuel, fresh water, frozen foods, and provisions do not factor into the equation. Hence, as much fuel as possible, and we'll filter and biomed accordingly. We don't want capacity limitations to dictate our decisions, as we'd rather decide things ourselves.
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Old 31-07-2015, 21:28   #24
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Re: How much fuel?

I will sail whenever I can make way. Being becalmed just means I get to kick back.

But I have an engine onboard. If the need arises I am happy knowing that I can motor into foul weather and that my 130 gallon tank is full.

I don't get the argument for a cruiser wanting less fuel or drinking water on a passage


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Old 31-07-2015, 22:25   #25
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Re: How much fuel?

Have never had to power longer than 24 hours in two passes through the doldrums and an emergency power back to SF. Would have a tank that would allow 48-72 hours under power. Any larger is useless weight and space that is doubtful that you'd ever use. Carrying a few Gerry Jugs of fuel on deck can extend the range even further. That is unless you are the type that thinks the sails are the auxiliary means of propulsion. Diesel is available everywhere there are people to power generators.
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Old 31-07-2015, 22:56   #26
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Re: How much fuel?

Peter, you directly articulate through your experiences something I couldn't quite sum up in my own words.

For the advocates of more is better when it comes to tankage, I have to ask do you ever use it? Really? What the hell do you do with 130 gallons of diesel on a sailboat? A thousand pounds? Really?

For the life of me I just can't imagine. I've crossed an ocean and only used ten gallons and I'd do it again. Maybe I am too comfortable with depravity or maybe you people are too comfortable conspicuous consumption.
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Old 31-07-2015, 23:05   #27
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Re: How much fuel?

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Have never had to power longer than 24 hours in two passes through the doldrums and an emergency power back to SF. Would have a tank that would allow 48-72 hours under power. Any larger is useless weight and space that is doubtful that you'd ever use. Carrying a few Gerry Jugs of fuel on deck can extend the range even further. That is unless you are the type that thinks the sails are the auxiliary means of propulsion. Diesel is available everywhere there are people to power generators.

I agree with the earlier statement the SV Rebel Heart saga might have ended differently if they could have motored to safe harbor. I am not aware of Eric's having spoken on this.






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Old 31-07-2015, 23:22   #28
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Re: How much fuel?

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Peter, you directly articulate through your experiences something I couldn't quite sum up in my own words.

For the advocates of more is better when it comes to tankage, I have to ask do you ever use it? Really? What the hell do you do with 130 gallons of diesel on a sailboat?

For the life of me I just can't imagine. I've crossed an ocean on ten gallons and I'd do it again. Maybe I am too comfortable with depravity or maybe you people are too comfortable conspicuous consumption.

I have seen a small leak dump 10 gallons.



Charlie decided on the size of the tank. I choose to fill it before heading out. For a number of reasons. I keep a cupboard full of canned goods also.


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Old 31-07-2015, 23:32   #29
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Re: How much fuel?

I noticed you weigh more than 10,000 lbs more than I do on the same water line length so... can understand you have your reasons.
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Old 31-07-2015, 23:52   #30
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Re: How much fuel?

Often the size of the fuel tanks will give you some insight into the light air sailing ability of the sailboat. If the boat is 40 feet or less and comes with a 100 gallons of fuel chances are it needs a breeze to get it moving.
Our first offshore cruising boat had 25 gallons of fuel and the little atomic bomb motor burned close to a gallon an hour. On long crossings motoring was not an option as the fuel was used only for charging batteries. We got used to sailing no matter the speed and we were also becalmed for a couple of days. Make sure you have good light air sails, one of the most important things on an offshore boat.
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