Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: somewhere south of civilization
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Re: How important is fuel capacity?
When we sailed from Hawaii to Tahiti we had our tank fuel and a 150 gallons deck loaded. We hit the doldrums as expected, and motored through, using the deck loaded fuel. Then we hit 10 days of no wind at all. When we had burned our allotment of fuel considering the Tuomotus were still ahead, there we sat. We could smell the Marquesas as we drifted by, but there was no fuel to be had there, so that was that. But that was the rarity. Mostly the fuel tankage (around 200 gallons) was more than sufficient for a 32 ton gaff rigger.
On our present boat, we run a generator 2 to 3 hours every day and the main engine now and then. Now we average about 500 gallons a year, in 170 gallon tank, but we are a charter boat, with schedules to keep. That 170 gallons allowed me to motor from San Juan to Charleston SC one year, when here wasn't enough wind to even motorsail.
Every boat does OK under power in flat water. When the seas get up, so does fuel consumption, sometimes a lot, especially when punching to windward.
There are places like coming out of Panama going west, where it is possible to have a thousand windless miles. Most would deck load fuel for that trip, or any trip, where they expected to use more than their tanked fuel.
"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.
“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” ― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
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