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Old 23-01-2022, 08:40   #1
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Cruising with a gas engine

Our boat has an Atomic Four gas engine and I am interested in hearing from anyone that is long term cruising with a gas engine in warmer climates and what their storage arrangements are. I see where folks with diesels generally have jugs tied in various fashions along the lifelines, but with the volatility of gas I would think that this is not such a good idea and as a result storage of a large quantity of gas for a long passage would be limited.
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Old 23-01-2022, 08:46   #2
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Re: Cruising with a gas engine

For gas, I wouldn't want to carry more than you can manage in proper tankage, at least not regularly. Gas can be safely carried in jerry cans, but I'd want to keep it out of direct sunlight if possible (to reduce heat and pressure in the cans) and only carry extra when you really need to.
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Old 23-01-2022, 10:04   #3
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Re: Cruising with a gas engine

Your only safe (ish) place to store the jerry cans is on deck, with the attendent variation in temperature. That means going around venting the cans, or instead of jerry cans using outboard motor remote tanks that have vents in their caps. You'd want to transfer the gas to your internal tank as frequently as there was space, which means while rocking and rolling along off shore.

Vented cans were outlawed in the US in 2009.
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Old 23-01-2022, 10:18   #4
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Re: Cruising with a gas engine

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Originally Posted by tkeithlu View Post
Your only safe (ish) place to store the jerry cans is on deck, with the attendent variation in temperature. That means going around venting the cans, or instead of jerry cans using outboard motor remote tanks that have vents in their caps. You'd want to transfer the gas to your internal tank as frequently as there was space, which means while rocking and rolling along off shore.

Vented cans were outlawed in the US in 2009.

Good jerry cans will handle a good bit of pressure safely. If you can provide them some shade, they won't expand enough to be an issue. Filling them cold and then putting them out in 90* weather and direct sun would concern me though.
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Old 23-01-2022, 10:23   #5
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Re: Cruising with a gas engine

We’re cruising the Med with a 9.9hp outboard as our aux propulsion, and carry 80L of petrol in two dedicated aft lockers (with deck fills and overboard vents), and then 2x20L sealed jerry cans in a dedicated forward locker with an overflow / spill drain in the base. During summer we’ll keep the two jerry cans half full to allow for any expansion.

A lot of Aussie cats cruise with outboards and it gets hot down there, so I assume they’d have a shaded / locker storage area as well.

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Old 24-01-2022, 00:17   #6
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Re: Cruising with a gas engine

One more problem with a gasoline inboard for cruising. They consume quite a bit more fuel for a given distance than does a diesel. That means you will need more fuel on a long cruise.
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Old 24-01-2022, 01:28   #7
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Re: Cruising with a gas engine

We had a gas 4 stroke outboard on our 34ft catamaran. With 4 stroke EFI engines, the fuel economy difference was greatly reduced (yeah, diesel still wins but not by a huge amount).

In addition to the built in tanks, we carried 4 - 5 gal jugs tied off between the dingy davits. When on the move, we would cycle thru them so the fuel stayed fresh (I would do the same with diesel). I would try to make sure they were empty if we weren't motoring for a month or so.

They were placed outside the combing so if there was a leak, it wouldn't enter the cockpit or hull.

The catamaran had a bit of an advantage in terms of fueling under way. As long as conditions weren't horrible, I would wedge a jug into the corner of the cockpit next to the fuel fill. Then using a simple syphon pump, I could transfer 4.0-4.5 gallons without having to lift the jug. This largely negated the potential for spilling Never pushed it on range to where we needed that last bit out of the jugs, so I would transfer that after we stopped for the day.

As long as the engine is in good shape and you follow standard safety protocols, no worries using a gas inboard engine. If you aren't sure what the protocols are, take a boating safety course and pay attention.
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Old 24-01-2022, 06:47   #8
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Re: Cruising with a gas engine

Thanks for the great comments. We have several CPS courses including their boating, radio and navigation courses ( it's has been awhile) as well as "on the water" cruising course with CYA. We are looking at heading out from Nova Scotia next year, down the AICW to Florida and perhaps over to the Bahamas just to get our feet wet. Not too adventurous, just a couple more snow birds heading for the sun ! I suspect what I could do is sew up insulated covers for 2-5 gallon plastic jugs using some sort of heat shield material and perhaps I could then tie the jugs along the lifelines and keep them empty when they are not needed for a longer passage. Any thoughts on that ? I really don't have anywhere else to put them except in the cockpit.
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Old 24-01-2022, 06:53   #9
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Re: Cruising with a gas engine

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Originally Posted by SLynds3434 View Post
Thanks for the great comments. We have several CPS courses including their boating, radio and navigation courses ( it's has been awhile) as well as "on the water" cruising course with CYA. We are looking at heading out from Nova Scotia next year, down the AICW to Florida and perhaps over to the Bahamas just to get our feet wet. Not too adventurous, just a couple more snow birds heading for the sun ! I suspect what I could do is sew up insulated covers for 2-5 gallon plastic jugs using some sort of heat shield material and perhaps I could then tie the jugs along the lifelines and keep them empty when they are not needed for a longer passage. Any thoughts on that ? I really don't have anywhere else to put them except in the cockpit.
To be honest I wouldn’t even worry about the insulated covers. Plenty of cruising boats have petrol / gas in plastic jerry jugs lashed to the guard rails (usually intended for their dinghy outboard) and I can’t tell you when I’ve ever heard of one of them exploding, leaking or otherwise causing problems.

Have a great trip south! We hope to be there next season as well.

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Old 24-01-2022, 07:20   #10
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Re: Cruising with a gas engine

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Originally Posted by SLynds3434 View Post
Thanks for the great comments. We have several CPS courses including their boating, radio and navigation courses ( it's has been awhile) as well as "on the water" cruising course with CYA. We are looking at heading out from Nova Scotia next year, down the AICW to Florida and perhaps over to the Bahamas just to get our feet wet. Not too adventurous, just a couple more snow birds heading for the sun ! I suspect what I could do is sew up insulated covers for 2-5 gallon plastic jugs using some sort of heat shield material and perhaps I could then tie the jugs along the lifelines and keep them empty when they are not needed for a longer passage. Any thoughts on that ? I really don't have anywhere else to put them except in the cockpit.
I wouldn't worry about any sort of heat shield. I would suggest that you change a mindset about how much motoring you might do on a longer passage, although the trip you are considering only has one long(ish) passage from NYC to Cape May although you can stop in Atlantic City. Think in terms of sailing on longer legs. On the ICW, where you can't count on sailing, you should be able to get gas pretty much everywhere. One hint, get a jiggle syphon for moving gas from jerry cans to main tank. Much less messy and safer than trying to pour, especially if the boat is moving.
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Old 24-01-2022, 07:52   #11
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Re: Cruising with a gas engine

Yes, I have one of those jiggle syphons and it’s great. wouldn’t be without one now. We would definitely be sailing whenever possible for sure.
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