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Old 10-05-2006, 09:50 PM   #1
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Default Fuel Capacity

I am not sure if this is a silly question to ask, but... I am looking for a boat to buy, as I have said before, and was wanting something with at least 100 gallons. I INTEND to sail throughout the Caribbean and eventually make my way to the South Pacific. I say intend because you never know where paradise is until you find it. Anyway, I have seen alot of boats with 30 gallon tanks or less even. Are those designed more for coastal cruising than blue water? What should I be looking for if I intend to sail long distances?
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Old 10-05-2006, 11:12 PM   #2
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Clay,

We traveled 25,000 miles across the Pacific, Indian, Mediterranean and Atlantic on our last boat. It was a 37 foot sloop, had a 40 gallon fuel tank and we tended to motor more than I'd like to admit to.

Our current boat is 49 ft and has 100 gallon fuel capacity.

One thing I've learned is you can almost double your fuel range by simply backing off the throttle a bit.

Happy hunting,

Kirk
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Old 10-06-2006, 06:44 PM   #3
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For blue water passages you should be thinking in milage range, rather than gallons - then work out the fuel capacity required for that distance. ie. a Yanmar 3GM would use about 3 lts per hour - 6 knots per hour for 1200 miles = 200 hours = 600 lts required (~150 gal). I like to have 1000 to 1200 miles range on any blue water delivery... But a lot of the extended capacity can come in the way of jerry cans of fuel.
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Old 10-10-2006, 10:00 AM   #4
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I agree with the 1000 to 1200 miles idea. Don't forget that unless you carry tons of solar panels or noisy (?)windvane generators, you may need to run a generator or the main engine (yes, I know you should try not to use it on very low load) as well as drive somewhere when the wind drops. I use 8 litres an hour at 6 knots (flat sea) or 3 knots (strong headwind with big waves) in a 24 ton, 53 footer

Hope this helps

Pity no one has invented a fuel maker that runs on salt water and makes diesel

Steelfan
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Old 10-10-2006, 06:13 PM   #5
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A diesel engine that runs on salt water would put sail makers out of work...

And in agreement with Gallivanters, if you back the 3GM down to only do 5 knots - it only uses 2 ltrs per hour. But that is not a 24tonne 53'er.
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Old 10-11-2006, 04:16 PM   #6
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I have 420 litres capacity for my 3 cylinder yanmar and it uses 1.8 litres on the governor pushing 42' and 18 ton. If I back it down 400 revs it looses about 1 knot down to 6.1 but uses 1.2 litres per hour. A big saving. If you a see a yacht that takes your interest but is short on fuel capacily there may be room for an extra fuel tank. Don't go lashing cans to the deck, been there, done that; they always break loose in the worst of conditions when you want to be safe in the cockpit and not frantically trying to secure fuel cans sliding out of control. My figures are in ideal motoring and can be 50% higher with adverse seas and wind.

Regards

Peter
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Old 10-12-2006, 01:09 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Converted Post'
[i]

Pity no one has invented a fuel maker that runs on salt water and makes diesel

Steelfan
Actually Steelfan, someone has essentially developed just that. Unfortunately, he is tied-up in patent rights litigation with his own board of directors.

Check-out site

http://haveblue.com/about/index.htm

Craig is a great guy with a wonderful idea that needs to be developed.

Cheers,

Trim
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Old 10-12-2006, 06:49 PM   #8
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Hey Trim, That is a facinating link. This solves the problem of battery weight which was the only real drawback of the electric wheel sailing motor. (How much does the fuel cell, compressor, and H tank weigh?) And best of all, it won't put sail makers out of work. Really just capturing solar, and wind power and storing it. No diesel tanks required, and I'll assume the storage batteries don't have to be huge capacity?
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Old 10-12-2006, 09:06 PM   #9
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Trim, good find

Is this the same guy found in this video?
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Old 10-13-2006, 12:09 AM   #10
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Well, I happen to know Craig Schmidtman through my day job working on Fuel Cell vehicles for GM a couple years ago. I am now the VP of Engineering for a company making portable fuel cells which the world will be introduced to in the next couple of years.

In very simplified terms, the HaveBlue technology centers on the use of a water maker to produce pure water from salt water. The pure water is converted to hydrogen and oxygen using an electolizer. The hydrogen is then stored in a metal hydride keel or tank. The hydrogen is then extracted from the metal hydride as needed to produce electricity via a fuel cell stack. The electricity then drives an electric motor which turms your prop shaft for propulsion.

The technology relies on wind, solar and regnerative electric motor to produce the electricity to convert water to hydrogen while undersail. The idea being that you will be producing enough electricity and hydrogen while undersail or at anchor to provide power for shaft propulsion when needed.

The cost remains astromonical for most of the primary components, but the technology is getting a big boost from automotive and military investment. It would probably cost $1million+ to produce such a system today...however, the technology is solid.

I have my doubts now if HaveBlue will be the company to make this happen due to internal company termoil and greed, but rest assured...the technology will eventually be powering cruising vessels around the world within the next couple of decades.

Smart Fuel Cells out of Germany (my competition) is already selling a fuel cell genset that runs on methanol. Eventually someone will make the leap and start converting sea water to hydrogen and bypass the need for on-board fuel.

Some interim steps will most likely be fuel cell gensets that convert diesel to hydrogen through a reformer process.
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Old 10-13-2006, 12:12 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Converted Post'
Originally posted by Jim Wasko

Trim, good find

Is this the same guy found in this video?
No, not the same guy or technology.
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Old 10-13-2006, 09:01 AM   #12
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Here is another very interesting technology for boating electricity generation:

http://www.whispergen.com/main/TECH/
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Old 10-16-2006, 08:44 PM   #13
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Hi,

I think you'll find most cruisers have restricted fuel capacity and if you can carry the wieght and have the space, as a rule the more the better. Allows you to buy at best prices - plus from cleanest sources.

Most cruisers I've met sail on production yachts with less than 100 gallon capacity. We ourselves have 90 gallons plus always carry a spare 10 gallons in containers.

IMHO I'd suggest you don't assume those yachts with restrcited capacity are not good for cruising. The realities are 90% of the winds you'd meet globally are light, and a heavy cruiser carrying a few hundred gallons is going to spend a lot more time at sea than one that can sail faster.

Cheers

JOHN
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