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Old 15-08-2008, 00:33   #1
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How Much Fuel ?

How much diesel and how much gas, in addition to whatever is in your primary tanks, do you carry cruising? How do you store it?

I currently have three 5 gallon jugs for diesel and a 1 gallon for gas. I am planning on replacing the 1 gallon with two five gallons and going from three to six 5 gallon jugs of diesel. I am thinking of an array of them just to the aft of the mast.

Does this seem like overkill? Too little? Honestly I want more but feel like I am being silly. I would rather have way more fuel than I need, and have the freedom to pass on questionable quality fuel, than to have to scramble.

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J
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Old 15-08-2008, 03:41   #2
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We carried of 140 hours of diesel, at cruise speed, in our internal tanks and another 20 hours in two 5 gallon gerry jugs. Never even thought about running short of fuel. Which was a good thing as we were way off the beaten track and fuel wasn't easy to come by. Think we only topped off twice in a year. We sailed as much as possible though did use the engine for battery charging but had no refrigeration or other large energy gobbling devices.

You have to look at your sailing/engine usage. If you are the type who turns the engine on when sailing speed drops below 5 knots, you probably can't take enough fuel unless you've got a trawler. If you've got wind and solar power for battery charging and sail as much as possible, you might get by on less fuel capacity. If you've got a thirsty reefer system and/or little non fuel electrical generating system and don't like to mess around trying to sail in light air, more fuel capacity might fit the bill.

You also have to look at where your going. If it's the Carribean, Europe, North, South America you might be able to live with 50 hours, or even less, of diesel if you don't mind regularly schlepping diesel to the boat. If you plan on going to out of the way places and hanging out for lengthy periods more fuel might be on your list. One strategy for the Hawaii/West Coast run is to sail close hauled north till you run out of wind then turn on the engine and set a rhumb line course till you pick up the wind on the other side of the High. That strategy can mean 5 or more days of powering. Know one boat that left with a 50 gallon Drum lashed to the stern pulpit.

If you are going to out of the way places, suggest you buy a pack frame that you can lash a 5 gallon gerry jug to. It's not fun carrying a Gerry jug more than a few hundred yards, bt had to dt. The pack frame would also come in handy for hauling water and propane.

FWIW, you can survive forever without fuel, a lack of water will kill you in 5 days. I'd be more concerned with carrying enough water.

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Old 15-08-2008, 04:38   #3
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As Peter said, it depends on where you're planning to go. I have two bunk boards attached to stanchions, port and starboard, to which I lash six diesel jerry jugs. I carry the spare diesel only for offshore passages, since fuel is available with a little bit of planning here in the eastern Caribbean. Of course, my boat has an 80 gallon fuel tank, which lasts a long time at 0.7 gph.

If you carry a lot of diesel in jugs, be aware that it can grow "bugs". The only time I have ever had my Racor clog was when I put diesel from the on-deck jugs into the tank. It was fuel that I hadn't used on the trip down, and it had been sitting on deck in the sun for a couple of months. I should have poured it through a Baja filter, but didn't.

Be very, very careful how you secure the jugs, if you're planning to sail offshore, where you could have solid water sweeping the decks. They could do some damage and/or make a big mess if they get loose. And make sure the air vents on the jugs are secure. The "flip-top" kind can pop open when hit by a wave, and the screw kind can work themselves open, too. I secure mine with a piece of duct tape.

Hope this is helpful.
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Old 15-08-2008, 04:44   #4
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Knowing the range of your fuel supply is important no matter how much you carry. Your rate of consumption under various conditions helps you plan. How much you need depends on how far you may have to motor.

Your ability to strap fuel containers to the deck is perhaps more limited than you may think. At some point you can end up with enough weight that it effects the boat. In open water with storm conditions the containers can be subjected to extreme forces. The pressure of a breaking wave concentrated on a rack of fuel containers on deck could rip them away causing damage to the boat on the process and a potential projectile headed toward the helm. The force of a flying 5 gallon container is enough to do some damage. You could suddenly have only what is in the tank. They are less protected and more dangerous.

In calm waters the idea of containers flying about seems silly. We got nailed by a thunderstorm Sunday. Winds went from almost nothing to 45 knots in about 10 minutes. The ability to lash cargo to the deck is more complicated than it first appears. I think the reliability of security becomes a question with 7 containers on a 30 ft boat in open water. There is a balance between all the things you need and could need and how much of that is fuel. It would be nice to have more of everything than you need. 7 five gallon containers is 300 pounds of something else you might need more.

I think if the reason is to avoid buying "questionable fuel" then that would be a silly reason. You can't really know if fuel is questionable before you buy it. You would not buy more fuel if you didn't need it. If you have less fuel then at some point have to save the last fuel to get into a destination from the open ocean to get more. You don't suddenly notice you are out of fuel. You would plan how you would use what you had. If you carried no extra you would motor less.

There really isn't an answer to how much of anything is too much until after the trip is over. You won't use all your spare parts, but you can't know which ones. You can't carry a spare boat inside the boat or lash on a whole fuel dock.
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Old 15-08-2008, 08:04   #5
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I have 40 gallons of internal water tankage and only 15 for fuel. I'll have some additional water too but with the greater integrated storage the problem is less interesting...

I've read a lot of stories of people buying fuel off shrimpers and other hijinx. Maybe I am over reacting or not thinking enough about all the mundane stories that nobody tells because they are boring. I think Hud's comment about the "bugs" is a good example of what I meant by questionable fuel.

I was thinking of that area of the deck because they would be out of the way and I can easily make them "shift proof". If they aren't up there they will be in a hold and probably not much more secure than "wedged into place". Although, I confess, I am still very unclear on the best strategy for stowing all of my everything.

I think it is worthy of note that I asked for examples as well as advice and the only person to speak up with their actual quantities carries just a hair less than I suggested. (Thank you Rover!)
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Old 15-08-2008, 08:14   #6
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Quote:
I think it is worthy of note that I asked for examples as well as advice and the only person to speak up with their actual quantities carries just a hair less than I suggested.
Do forget the difference in displacement between the boats. They have you almost 3 to 1. They have carrying abilities far more than you do.
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Old 15-08-2008, 08:24   #7
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Jack,

I carried 30 gallons in jugs. I sailed my 30ft. Columbia from S.F. to Cabo, and back. I also had a 15 gal internal tank. This amount got me there, and back with never a worry. All the way to San Diego there is fuel along the way. After that you can make it to Ensenade, Turle Bay, and Magdellena for fuel. Then there's Cabo next. Even in bad weather when I had to motor into it. I just hove to, and filled the tank.
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Old 15-08-2008, 08:37   #8
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I think it is worthy of note that I asked for examples as well as advice and the only person to speak up with their actual quantities carries just a hair less than I suggested. (Thank you Rover!)
Jack,

If you re-read my note, you'll see that I carry 80 gal in the tank, plus six jugs when offshore passage-making, for a total of 110 gal. At 0.7 gph (nominal 5 kts, conservatively), I could motor about 800 nm.

To Paul's point, my boat displaces about 12 tons, so a total of 780 lbs of fuel is not a big deal to carry.

BTW, I have a 170 gallon water tank, so I only carry two 6.5 gallon jerry jugs offshore, in case the tank leaks or somehow gets contaminated.
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Old 15-08-2008, 09:53   #9
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Fuel, fuel, and more fuel...

Jack,

We are aboard our Nor'Sea 27 and have been out of the Bay area since 2004.

We have about 23 gallons of diesel in the main tank. We sailed down the coast and around Cabo and have been in the Sea of Cortez for the last 3 summers. We are now in Mazatlan on the mainland (waiting out the hurricane season). We have carried 2, five gallons jerry jugs of extra fuel during that time. I make it a point to put the fuel from the jugs into the main tank as soon as it will fit. That way the jugs are cycled a lot. We have never been in worry of running out. AND, you do motor a lot more than normal in the Sea during the summer.

We ALWAYS use a Baja filter! Even if the fueling guys do not like it. We do not use it when filling the jugs, but do use it when putting the jug fuel into the tanks. I open the tank inspection port on the tank about one or twice a year and have not had any problems so far.

As for the gas. We have a to-hot-to 3.5 HP outboard that pushes our Portaboat. We carried one 3 gallon and one 1.5 gallon jugs with us and I wish I had carried a 5 gallon jug instead of the 3. We keep the 1.5 in the dink with us. We also only mix the oil in the 1.5 jug (not in the bigger jug).

It's not hard to find gas, but a couple of times I didn't get to go troll fishing in the dink so we could save the fuel for later. But that was after being out for over a month without any contact to services.

We also carry 4, 6 Lb propane tanks. Decided that it is easier to store and carry the smaller tanks than the big ones. This gives the 2 of us about 5 months before we get desperate for a fill. But, like diesel and gas, it's not hard to find a fill when you need it in the Sea.

We also have 40 gallons of water aboard. We have 2 separate tanks with 20 gallons each. There are 2 of us aboard and we have a water maker. For us, water would have been a much more driving force than fuel! I admit, we don't skrimp on it. We like to live comfertably aboard our home. Year before last, there was a drought on the Baja. More than usual. About half of the livestock died due to lack of water. That was a very hard year for cruising the Sea if you didn't have a water maker. We were able to share with some very grateful fishermen and other. If we had not had the water maker it would have greatly curtailed our out time. Having said that, we still carry 2, extra 5 gallon water jugs.



You can see a lot of this with photos on our web pages.
Http://www.svguenevere.com

Hope this help.


Greg
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Old 15-08-2008, 12:49   #10
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Sorry I missed that Hud.

Pb, what I should have said when you suggested I'd wish I had 300lbs of something else was "yeah, two and a half women" but it didn't occur to me until about 45 minutes later. I hate that. Okay fine, you make a good point about relative boat sizes. Write that down though because I am going to up my D. so it doesn't happen again... For at least 5 minutes.

Anyway, I will think on all of this for a bit.
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Old 30-08-2010, 23:31   #11
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Seems to me if one is routinely carrying extra fuel one deck, one has the wrong boat.
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Old 31-08-2010, 02:02   #12
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Seems to me if one is routinely carrying extra fuel one deck, one has the wrong boat.
If this is true, just about every cruising boat I've ever seen is the wrong boat for the job. In the real world every boat is a compromise.

P.
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Old 31-08-2010, 05:32   #13
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I pretty much dislike the idea of jerry cans.....except for one thing. I have been caught with a blocked fuel pickup from my main tank. I now carry at least one, and preferably two jerry cans with some hose so I have an alternate source of supply, if just to maneuver into harbor and dock.
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Old 31-08-2010, 07:31   #14
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Of course it depends what you are doing.

I have 38 gals diesel in the tank but for the Pacific bought 8 gerry cans held in the lazarette.
In Asia for the Gulf of Aden I bought 5 extra gerrys and 1 petorl gerry (took pertol up to 8 gals)
So a total of 13 gerrys of diesel.

Now I'm getting rid of gerry cans down to 5 diesel and 1 petrol for the trans Atlantic.


All held in Lazarettes. I dont like stuff on deck and I have huuuugggeee lazarettes
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Old 31-08-2010, 12:12   #15
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I carry 50 gallons of diesel and 2 6-gallon jerry cans. I carry 11 gallons of gas; 5 in the usual container and a 6-gallon jerry jug. I also carry 100 gallons of water and 2 6-gallon jerry jugs.
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