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Old 03-04-2021, 16:37   #1
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Catalinas for the Caribbean

Hi all.

Depending on how this plague goes, 12 months from now should find my wife and I in the Bahamas enjoying our first season, followed by 2 - 3 seasons in the Caribbean.

We have never owned but crewed and bareboat chartered from Greece to the PNW to Hawaii to the Caribbean (and done all the courses LOL). We have looked at / sailed a ton of different boats and for us, our favourite always seems to come back to (regardless of the year) Catalina - with 36' - 38' being the right size for us. However, the one thing that has me going hmmm... is the tankage, particularly fuel. It seems quite small...

I'm curious if there are any Catalina owners out there who have done the Islands and if they can share their experience. Perhaps tankage is fine? Perhaps it's a few jerry cans? Perhaps (at least before COVID), fuel is plentiful with transits short so not an issue? I'm not as concerned about water as we will definitely have a water maker.

Thanks so much!!
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Old 04-04-2021, 04:32   #2
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Re: Catalinas for the Caribbean

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Privateer.
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Old 04-04-2021, 05:29   #3
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Re: Catalinas for the Caribbean

This isn't about Catalinas at all. You are really asking about motor range capacity and availability of fuel. You can go to active Captain and check marinas that have fuel along the way and then figure out if you have the range.
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Old 04-04-2021, 05:46   #4
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Re: Catalinas for the Caribbean

Many Catalinas are actively cruising now. Itís absolutely doable.

We have a 50 gallon capacity on our Hunter 410 and have no issues cruising. I also keep 10 gallons on deck for back up but havenít needed it yet.
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Old 04-04-2021, 07:09   #5
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Re: Catalinas for the Caribbean

Scope out underneath the rear cockpit and under seats in cabin for places to place, or hang, a custom made tank. Look for a space that you can get a minimum size tank of 10 to 15 gallons. Since you can hang out a few days waiting for the fuel dock to re-open, your first additional tank should be for freshwater. Second add-on tank for diesel, the more the merrier, but keep fuel near the engine compartment for ease of fill and transfer.

I prefer to only carry bladders/tanks on deck for freshwater. Diesel strapped to lifelines is last resort. Lots of shops will build you custom alum fuel tanks. And many plastic manufacturers have plastic water tanks in various shapes and sizes in their catalogs.

https://www.usplastic.com/catalog/it...lickid=popcorn
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Old 04-04-2021, 07:09   #6
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Re: Catalinas for the Caribbean

My first cruising boat was an Island Packet 35, which had a 48gal fuel tank. We spent Winter 2008/09 cruising the Bahamas, from Abacos-Eleuthera-Exumas and back again. I was concerned about 48gal being too small, so I carried an additional 20gal diesel in jerry cans on deck. I never got CLOSE to needing to fill from the jerry cans, and when I got back to SC in June, they were still full of the diesel I had put in them in SC back in December. My point is that fuel in the Bahamas is readily available. If you have good solar/wind charging and don't need to run your engine daily to keep your beer cold your fuel supply will last even longer.
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Old 04-04-2021, 09:29   #7
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Re: Catalinas for the Caribbean

We sail a Catalina 36 mk2. Weíre happy with the boat and see no reason whey it wouldnít fit your needs. Most of our sailing in semi rural areas where services like fuel are more challenging. The limited 25 gal fuel capacity causes us some extra effort. Itís not unusual to have as many as 6 jerry jugs on deck ( and actually use as many as 5).
Iím in the planning stage of replacing one of the aft water tanks with a fuel tank which will increase our fuel capacity to 46 gal. This leaves us with almost 70 gal of potable water supported by a watermaker.

I think the advise about using Active Captain or Navionics to do a cruising range survey is a great place to start. Having 2 or 3 fuel cans on deck and a shaker siphon for transfer is not too big of burden.
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Old 04-04-2021, 09:47   #8
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Re: Catalinas for the Caribbean

One boat for the Caribe I added tanks. Then decided I carried too much fuel and abandoned the added tanks.
A Cat 36 is likely going to burn maybe 5/8 of a gallon an hour at maybe 7 knots flat water. With it's small 25 gallon tank, you are talking a range of ..... 280 miles. Less in most water conditions.

It would be nice to have more range. An auxiliary tank somewhere could be done on most boats.
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Old 04-04-2021, 09:49   #9
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Re: Catalinas for the Caribbean

25 gallons at 0.5 to 1.0 gal per hour at 5 knots = 125 to 250 nm. Depends on what engine you have. The M25 series does 0.5, the newer engines use more fuel.


Given that, the guys are right, do the math.


Enjoy the trip.
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Old 04-04-2021, 09:53   #10
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Re: Catalinas for the Caribbean

I have sailed a lot in the Caribbean but not on my boat. I bought my current boat for the Caribbean but life changes meant I never got there. Have done the Gulf Of St Lawrence from Lake Ontario though. I have 40 hp Yanmar and 40 gal tank for diesel. I was worried about lack of diesel along the way in the Gulf so I took 2 5 gal jerry cans. I motored a lot and never needed them. Also motored the Erie Canal and did not need Jerry cans. I know lots of fuel there but I never needed it. I would have no qualms about my boat in the Caribbean as it is. I bought new and customized however I am sure a stock Catalina would have no problems in the Caribbean. I think my biggest problem in the Caribbean with this boat would be the 7 foot keel in the Bahamas. Find yourself a good Catalina that suits your needs and go for it.
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Old 04-04-2021, 11:57   #11
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Re: Catalinas for the Caribbean

It also depends on how good of a sailor you are, and how light the wind has to be before you feel the need to fire up the iron genny. Some sailors will barely go through a tankful in a year. Others run the engine so much they might as well have a power boat. How you, personally, use the engine is what is going to make the biggest difference.
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Old 12-04-2021, 14:42   #12
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Re: Catalinas for the Caribbean

We have a 2001 Catalina 36 MKII also. We have a mast leak. Have you had this issue
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Old 12-04-2021, 18:20   #13
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Re: Catalinas for the Caribbean

We get a minor amount of water in the bilge during a hard rain, but no visible leakage around the mast penetration through the deck. Where is your leakage coming from?
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Old 12-04-2021, 20:04   #14
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Re: Catalinas for the Caribbean

You won't need to refill as much as you think and when you do it isn't hard to find diesel. As many others have said you can use Jerry cans to get you out of a pinch. My Beneteau has lockers that are separated from the boat on each side of the swim platform and it has proven to be the most excellent place for extra diesel and gas cans. The 20 litre ones fit in there rather nicely two each side.
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Old 13-04-2021, 04:25   #15
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Re: Catalinas for the Caribbean

Quote:
Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
It also depends on how good of a sailor you are, and how light the wind has to be before you feel the need to fire up the iron genny.

Some sailors will barely go through a tankful in a year. Others run the engine so much they might as well have a power boat.

How you, personally, use the engine is what is going to make the biggest difference.
+1

That was my first thought as well, Denver:
Are they planning on actually sailing?

Remember, on sailboats, iron gennies are considered auxillary engines.

Expected primary propulsion would always be sail - which is the reason you're buying a sailboat...?

Fair winds,
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