Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 17-04-2016, 12:35   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Port Townsend, WA
Boat: Tashiba-31
Posts: 216
Images: 1
How to fuel a sailboat?

My sailing history has been almost entirely on boats with outboard engines. Refueling was easy -take the fuel tank to a gas station and fill it.

I was recently on a sailboat with an inboard engine and for the first time was able to witness a refueling. Boat pulled up to the fuel dock and made everything ready. Fuel inlet was a standard surface mounted screw cap on the port side. Cap was unscrewed and the fuel nozzle was inserted all the way down into the opening. Captain then proceeded to fill the tank. Within minutes a fountain of fuel shot out about 2 feet! Not good. Several attempts at fueling it all resulted in some fuel spitting out. Tank was definitely not full - checked that. Just could not add fuel unless you were dribbling it in.

So what happened? I'm in the market for a boat myself and this has gotten me very apprehensive about fueling.

How do you refuel without getting fuel all over your boat and in the water? (which is very bad)
__________________

__________________
dmksails is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-04-2016, 12:46   #2
Senior Cruiser
 
Drift Woods's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Ft Lauderdale Florida
Boat: Catalina 320
Posts: 115
Re: How to fuel a sailboat?

Cleaning the air vent usually will stop that. The problem is that you don't know it's plugged up until you start filling the tank.
__________________

__________________
Drift Woods is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-04-2016, 12:47   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Hawaii
Boat: Tartan T4400
Posts: 167
Re: How to fuel a sailboat?

There should be a vent for the tank. My guess is it is blocked.
__________________
Gudgeon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-04-2016, 12:53   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Port Townsend, WA
Boat: Tashiba-31
Posts: 216
Images: 1
Re: How to fuel a sailboat?

Assuming the vent isn't blocked - is the pump suppose to automatically stop when the tank is full, like it does for a car?

And do you trust that?
__________________
dmksails is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-04-2016, 13:05   #5
Moderator
 
Paul Elliott's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,864
Images: 4
Re: How to fuel a sailboat?

If you are filling the tank at a fast flow-rate, even with a working vent the foam will often back up and spill out when you get near full. By the time the pump nozzle automatically shuts off, it's way too late -- the foam is coming and it can't be stopped. You need to slow down as the tank approaches the limit. You can sometimes hear the sound change as the tank fill-hose starts to fill up, which is a good clue to slow down.

I've had my vent hose get blocked just because there was a low spot in it. Condensation or fuel can collect in that low spot and that's all it takes to cause trouble. I re-routed the vent hose so there are no low spots between the tank and the vent, and that made a huge improvement.

Always keep a big piece of diesel absorbing pad on hand when fueling. Most fuel docks will give you a piece if you ask.
__________________
Paul Elliott, S/V VALIS - Pacific Seacraft 44 #16 - Friday Harbor, WA
www.sailvalis.com
Paul Elliott is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-04-2016, 13:14   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Panama City FL
Boat: Island Packet 32 Cbreeze
Posts: 345
Re: How to fuel a sailboat?

In the early days fueling Cbreeze was a slow process to avoid kickback spillage. Cleaned the vent to no improvement. Eventually found a kink in the fuel vent line, when straightened out improved the situation immensely.

Remember some of these diesel pumps are set to feed several hundred gallons and go at a pretty good rate and can overwhelm the typical sailboat set up. Usually a flow control/ shutoff valve is at the pump which can help.

I installed a fuel whistle in the vent line. If you get a good nozzle fit and go at a reasonable rate you will hear the whistle sound out the vent. When the sound changes to a warble time to stop the flow.
__________________
Frankly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-04-2016, 19:18   #7
Senior Cruiser
 
FSMike's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Bahamas/Florida
Boat: Solaris Sunstar 36' catamaran
Posts: 2,654
Images: 5
Re: How to fuel a sailboat?

My current boat is really bad in that regard (spitting). Usually fill jerry jugs with the dink and fill the tank with the jugs.
Saves pulling up the anchor lol.
__________________
Sail Fast Live Slow
FSMike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-04-2016, 20:58   #8
Moderator
 
JPA Cate's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: aboard, cruising in Australia
Boat: Sayer 46' Solent rig sloop
Posts: 10,666
Re: How to fuel a sailboat?

Go to the hardware store and get yourself a 1/2" dowel, and a 1/4" one, too. Most likely it is not that deep, but you're going to make a dip stick. Drill a tiny bit larger than 1/4" hole for the small diameter end. Drill a 1/16 hole for a pin through the two of them. Do not varnish it or paint it, you want to see the level of the diesel in the tank. You now have a collapsible tank sounder, as yet unmarked. Jim worked this out for our keel tank, which is accessed from the top of the cabin.

Run the fuel out, or pump it out, and refill from 5 gal. jugs. Each time, mark the tank sounder. You will find out how much the tank will hold, and you will be able to dip the tank, so you can figure out how much fuel you will need to fill it.

As mentioned above, the tank must be properly vented, and you have to fill slowly with some fast pumps, but I think it will go easily for you when you know in advance how much you need to put in. We always slow down the feed rate for the last 5-10 liters or so.

Ann
__________________
Ann, with Jim, aboard US s/v Insatiable II, in Oz, very long term cruisers
JPA Cate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-04-2016, 21:31   #9
Registered User
 
markpierce's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Central California
Boat: M/V Carquinez Coot
Posts: 3,413
Re: How to fuel a sailboat?

Obviously the fuel vent. Have that problem with one of my four tanks. My amatuerish attempts to correct have failed. That's another item on the maintenance list for the boatyard.
__________________
Kar-KEEN-ez Koot
markpierce is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-04-2016, 21:34   #10
Registered User
 
svmariane's Avatar

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Currently in South Pacific. Home Port: Vienna, Austria
Boat: Celestial, Stay'sl-Rigged Sloop, 48 ft
Posts: 1,163
Re: How to fuel a sailboat?

Ditto all the above about a clogged/obstructed air vent.

But if that isn't the problem then consider that the INLET fuel hose might be somewhat obstructed. A kink in the line/hose, "junk" trapped in a looped part of the line/hose, or maybe somebodies "clever idea" led to the installation of an "adapter" of some sort......conveniently located out of sight.

What we here at CF refer to as "Previous Owners" do weird things to their boat for unfathomable reasons.

{Not that any member of CF would EVER do something of that ilk. }
__________________
"Being offended is not the same thing as being right." Dave Barry.
Note: Offense is always taken, never given.
When life hands you lemons..... add gin & tonic!
svmariane is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-04-2016, 08:28   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 34
Re: How to fuel a sailboat?

Had some experience with a clogged fuel tank vent.

Over the years the vent became clogged with wax. Then the Palmer P-60 would mysteriously stop. ..Wait a few minutes and it would start again. Happened mostly when the tank was full.

Cleared the blockage on the vent....problem solved...simple solution. The full tank did not have much air before the fuel supply shut off.

These symptoms could lead to major repair costs...check your tank vent first!
__________________
Dean Paul is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-04-2016, 08:42   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Wilmington, NC
Posts: 13
Re: How to fuel a sailboat?

The National Research Council estimates that upward of 588 million gallons of petroleum products are accidentally spilled annually at fuel docks and gas stations. That's nearly three times the amount of the Deepwater Horizon spill.
__________________
dgarces is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-04-2016, 09:13   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: virginia
Boat: islandpacket
Posts: 1,833
Re: How to fuel a sailboat?

One thing to remember as things warm up, is that diesel gets real foamy when warm and the marina fuel hose can be extremely long and will take quite a long time to flow 40 feet of hot diesel through that sun heated black hose till you get the cooler stuff from the onshore tank.
I bought a special funnel from definder. I havent used it this yet but it looks like it should work. Suposed to keep that foam blast contained. We will see.
__________________
That derelict boat was another dream for somebody else, don't let it be your nightmare and a waste of your life.
Badsanta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-04-2016, 09:51   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Back in San Diego after 7 years in Mexico
Boat: Cal39 MrkIII, 1982
Posts: 133
Re: How to fuel a sailboat?

All good feedback, but I would second what was offered by Frankly. Most marine fuel docks are set up to efficiently fill tanks which are significantly larger than tanks found in cars and trucks (and some smaller sailboats). Consequently, the pump rates are set commensurately higher. Even with a clear vent line many sailboats are not able to keep up with the air displacement if the fill valve is open to its maximum rate.
__________________
neophytecruiser is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-04-2016, 10:01   #15
Registered User
 
Stu Jackson's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Cowichan Bay, BC (Maple Bay Marina)
Posts: 6,385
Re: How to fuel a sailboat?

SLOW DOWN when fueling. Don't depend on the auto shutoff. It ain't a car!
__________________

__________________
Stu Jackson
Catalina 34 #224 (1986) C34IA Secretary
Cowichan Bay, BC, (Maple Bay Marina) SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)
Stu Jackson is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
fuel, sail, sailboat

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Three-Prong Oil Pressure Switch and Electric Fuel Pump - Is a Fuel Pump Relay Needed? sdowney717 Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 4 29-09-2011 08:06
E85 Fuel vs Other Fuel handcrafted Challenges 8 10-07-2011 11:27
Fuel Leak at the Fuel Pump dubhouse Engines and Propulsion Systems 14 15-05-2010 17:40
Fuel Level and Water in Fuel Sensor Endojoe Engines and Propulsion Systems 0 30-06-2009 08:26
fuel filters are fuel filters? Jack Long Engines and Propulsion Systems 17 08-09-2008 19:44



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:24.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.