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Old 29-04-2022, 20:16   #1
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How much LPG (Propane/Butane) do cruising yachts carry?

When I constructed the self draining LPG locker I made it big enough to accommodate two 9kg bottles thinking that would be realistic.

But when I melted down 3 tonne of lead I was astonished at how much lead a 9kg bottle melted (Maybe 1 tonne!) I've heard that gas is not available in many remote (off the beaten track) islands.

But is carrying 2X 9kg bottles ridiculous?
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Old 29-04-2022, 20:25   #2
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Re: How much LPG (Propane/Butane) do cruising yachts carry?

When fulltime on board, a 9 kg bottle lasted me easily 3 months (cooking, no oven). I had a 9 kg and a smaller bottle. Now I carry two 9 kg bottles. If you are crazy to carry that much, so must I be.
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Old 29-04-2022, 20:39   #3
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Re: How much LPG (Propane/Butane) do cruising yachts carry?

Well, hopefully you won't be melting lead in remote locations.

My experience is that two, 20 lb (about 9kg) propane tanks last for a very long time when cooking. Heating uses propane very quickly.

When I cruised full time I would wait until after I switched tanks to start looking to get a fill. Never ran out of propane. Can't say exactly how long a tank would last but my estimation would be a couple of months. Of course YMMV based on how much cooking you do.

Now flash forward to cruising in the Pacific Northwest. I have a Force 10 Cozy Cabin propane heater. It consumes about a half pound of propane per hour on full heat. So a tank is used up in under two days. I normally use it on the very lowest setting to just take off the chill. My last cruise to Alaska made hunting for propane supplies more important. And marina friendly propane was hard to find a few times.
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Old 29-04-2022, 21:42   #4
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Re: How much LPG (Propane/Butane) do cruising yachts carry?

2 X 20lb. tanks last us about three months.
We cook daily and use the oven a lot.
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Old 29-04-2022, 22:09   #5
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Re: How much LPG (Propane/Butane) do cruising yachts carry?

It's nice to have two tanks so you can use one while the other is being filled. In some locations getting tanks filled takes more than a day.
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Old 30-04-2022, 01:26   #6
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Re: How much LPG (Propane/Butane) do cruising yachts carry?

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2 X 20lb. tanks last us about three months.
We cook daily and use the oven a lot.



WOW!!! That looks fantastic!


I tasted grilled squid the other day and I don't think I've tasted anything tastier. (I tasted it years ago but it wasn't as nice? )
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Old 30-04-2022, 02:05   #7
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Re: How much LPG (Propane/Butane) do cruising yachts carry?

My existing system is a single 12kg tank that lasts well over a whole season (4 months easy). I’m upgrading to 3 x 6kg tanks which on present usage should last about half a year.

Cooking with propane is very efficient. Boat heating should be done with diesel.
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Old 30-04-2022, 02:35   #8
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Re: How much LPG (Propane/Butane) do cruising yachts carry?

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But is carrying 2X 9kg bottles ridiculous?
Not at all. Exchanging/refilling butane/propane bottles is a pain. Carrying enough to last a long time eliminates most of the problems. We carry 3x 10kg bottles and our ventilated lockers have room for many more. The 3 bottles are enough to last us several years of full time cruising, as we also use induction and diesel cooking.

This means we can delay the exchange of bottles until we are in a country and location where it is convenient.

I am surprised that many boat builders incorporate such small butane/propane lockers on cruising boats. They are sometimes not even large enough to fit the larger bottles that are the only readily available option in some countries. At best the size often forces owners to be constantly on the look out for where their bottles can refilled/exchanged. Most boats also need a suitable location to store petrol for the tender.
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Old 30-04-2022, 02:42   #9
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Re: How much LPG (Propane/Butane) do cruising yachts carry?

Yes my BAV has a single locker for a 3 kg cylinder a real pain forcing me to carry the spare in a locker.

Yet there is stacks of space to make a bigger gas locker.

One of my winter tasks is to make a mould and glass a bigger locker in place that’s takes 2x 3kg cylinders
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Old 30-04-2022, 03:01   #10
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Re: How much LPG (Propane/Butane) do cruising yachts carry?

Carry as many tanks as is practical: it doesn't go bad, and it's really hard to find in some places. I've spent more on taxis in central america trying to find a filling station than the LPG itself cost!
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Old 30-04-2022, 04:19   #11
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Re: How much LPG (Propane/Butane) do cruising yachts carry?

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But is carrying 2X 9kg bottles ridiculous?

It is my experience that most cruising-oriented sailboats in the 40'+/- range around here have a locker set up for two 11 lb (=5kg) propane cylinders, with a large minority being set up of for two 20 lb (=9kg) cylinders. Boats in the same size range that aren't really intended for extended cruising sometimes have room for one cylinder in either of these sizes.


We had a poll on the forum about a year ago and some discussion on propane use. Most cruisers reporting using about 10# (=4.5kg) per month, with a few conservation-oriented individuals reporting 5# and the odd boat using more. I don't think there were any boats in the survey that used propane for anything other than cooking.


For cooking ashore, national averages in the USA are 2-4 gallons per month among households with propane cooking appliances. (=8-16 lb or around 4-7kg). This matches my experience also when we have tried to measure.


As Benz and noelex report, getting propane fills can be a real hassle. The trend worldwide has been away from bottle fills and towards bottle exchange. Transporting bottles to and from a place where they can be filled is problematic due not only to weight and bulk but also the fact that they not always allowed on public transit including taxis.
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Old 30-04-2022, 04:29   #12
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Re: How much LPG (Propane/Butane) do cruising yachts carry?

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Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
It is my experience that most cruising-oriented sailboats in the 40'+/- range around here have a locker set up for two 11 lb (=5kg) propane cylinders, with a large minority being set up of for two 20 lb (=9kg) cylinders. Boats in the same size range that aren't really intended for extended cruising sometimes have room for one cylinder in either of these sizes.


We had a poll on the forum about a year ago and some discussion on propane use. Most cruisers reporting using about 10# (=4.5kg) per month, with a few conservation-oriented individuals reporting 5# and the odd boat using more. I don't think there were any boats in the survey that used propane for anything other than cooking.


For cooking ashore, national averages in the USA are 2-4 gallons per month among households with propane cooking appliances. (=8-16 lb or around 4-7kg). This matches my experience also when we have tried to measure.


As Benz and noelex report, getting propane fills can be a real hassle. The trend worldwide has been away from bottle fills and towards bottle exchange. Transporting bottles to and from a place where they can be filled is problematic due not only to weight and bulk but also the fact that they not always allowed on public transit including taxis.


Which is why the 3.5 kg bottles are handy.
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Old 30-04-2022, 04:32   #13
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Re: How much LPG (Propane/Butane) do cruising yachts carry?

Have 2 10lb tanks….. feather be safe than run out in the middle of nowhere.
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Old 30-04-2022, 04:43   #14
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Re: How much LPG (Propane/Butane) do cruising yachts carry?

Two 10kg plastic tanks used only for cooking. We have in the past run out which can be most inconvenient. We have once given propane to another cruiser who had run out decanting gas from our tank to his.
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Old 30-04-2022, 05:08   #15
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Re: How much LPG (Propane/Butane) do cruising yachts carry?

New for this season with us will be having an induction hob or two aboard and getting a pressure cooker. We are often on shore power where we sail so the induction hob, along with electric kettle, is a no brainer and should mean that our 18-24 kg lasts about a year. I’m not so sure about the pressure cooker.

Lots of people rave about them for both their efficiency, safety underway, and the meals they produce but I have no experience of them myself. I figured I’d just give it a go.
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