Gas vs. Diesel (are we crazy)? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 7 Old 01-18-2003 Thread Starter
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Gas vs. Diesel (are we crazy)?

Hello All. Looking for some experienced judgement here, with an open mind based on experience. My wife and I are moving to SW Florida in September for a new life and work. We currently live in Pittsburgh. BRRRRRR!! Way too cold. We want sailing to be a big part of our new life. We first wanted a boat at least 30'' w'' deisel, and all the accomadations we could acquire. Work and finances are dictating that we may have to scale back our dream boat to more smaller, say 25'', maybe trailerable. Our intended cruising grounds are the Keys, Tortugas, and the Bahamas or beyond (providing we can follow a flotilla across the Gulf Stream, we''re not crazy). We are seeing alot of boats for sale that are great boats, Pearsons, Cape Dorys, etc., in our price range 10,000 and under. The problem is that they either have outboards, or inboard gas. I know the explosion risk associated with inboard gas so I have all but ruled out inboard gas engines. I have been told that a following sea w'' an outboard is a big problem in heavy weather while trying to negotiate inland piloting (prop coming out of the water). We don''t want to give up our intended cruising grounds. I keep thinking of way back in the day when there were no reliable engines and such, and the mariners that made it happen. I''ve even read about a 16'' that circumnavigated with no engine (, a very interesting story by the way. I also realize that weather would play a major factor in when we could leave any port that we are in given the conditions. My question is.. Are we going to bite off more than we can handle by purchasing a 22''-25'' boat with an outboard to use in our intended cruising grounds? I know that we could use the dinghy''s outboard if our main outboard would die. Is there anyone who''s had experience with our intended actions? Thanks for the input. Bob P. P.S. - If anyone needs crew, my wife and I are available for varying lengths, monohulls up to 40''. Good Day all!
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post #2 of 7 Old 01-18-2003
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Gas vs. Diesel (are we crazy)?

Sailors of the past were not encumbered by the social, employment and family responsibilities that are faced by todayís casual sailor. Our modern lives require that we not rely only on something as fickle as the wind for our transportation.

Itís for these reasons that I feel a motor is no longer just a luxury aboard a modern cruising sailboat. But with all of the choices of inboard, outboard, 2 or 4 stroke, gas or diesel, an unlimited horsepower range and choice of manufacturers, which is the best way to go? Every aspect of sailing has its compromises.

Thereís no doubt that Iím a big advocate of outboard motors generally on anything under 30-feet. On the smaller cruiser, the greater premium placed on cabin space coincides with the abilities of an outboard to efficiently do its job. There are others who set the bar a bit lower, but for my experience with the current state-of-the-art outboards and an emphasis on sailing my sailboat, I still stand by that figure.

For the size range that youíre looking at and prospective cruising style, I would think an outboard motor would be more of an asset to you then an inboard. I would suggest if you buy a boat with a used outboard, that you take the motor to a place where you can comfortably take some time to do some maintenance on it.

Get a Seloc or Clymer shop manual for reference. Replace the pull cord, spark plugs and fuel filter. Change the water pump and lower unit oil. Make sure all of the electrical connections are secure. Give it a complete lubrication and find and fix any minor problems you may find.

Itís a lot easier to work on a motor on a stand, in a cellar or garage workshop instead of the cramped quarters of a small craftís bilge! Not only will this get your motor in top shape; it will give you the experience and confidence you may need to quickly address a problem, should one arise in a seaway!

Good luck! Let us all know what boat you decide on.

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post #3 of 7 Old 01-18-2003
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Gas vs. Diesel (are we crazy)?

The POCA is right regarding the ease and access of an outboard however, if you want to put some juice in your batteries you''re going to need the torque of a diesel or inboard gas engine to drive a 30-50 amp alternator. The weenie alternators they put on outboards wouldn''t charge your flashlight! If your plans don''t call for spending much time on the hook or away from shore power, then the OB is the way to go. My guess is that you''re not going to find many pocket cruiser in your size range with inboard engines so this may not even be as issue.
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post #4 of 7 Old 01-19-2003 Thread Starter
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Gas vs. Diesel (are we crazy)?

Hello all, 808state here, (my name is BoB-"808", that''s what my friends call me). Thanks everyone for all the great information. It will really help me make the decision on what to buy. So we know the pros and cons of gas vs. diesel. The next question is, how available is gasoline at marinas, and is it more expensive than deisel? I know it probably wouldn''t be a problem finding in the Keys, SW FLA. What about in the Bahamas, or beyond? Don''t want to lose my boat on a lee shore or run aground in a blow because I was trying to find a marina with gas, ran out of gas, ran aground or be rolled, or worse. Thanks again for the input, really appreciated. Take Care, 808 state (Bob).
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post #5 of 7 Old 01-19-2003
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Gas vs. Diesel (are we crazy)?

Hey Bob/808, From my experience,the availability of diesel or gas isn''t a problem in the Keys.Getting to the marinas sometimes is.Besides the state parks,it seems that in the Keys,the rich pricks own everything.The marinas that have easy access are private,and the ones that you need to be part sailor,and part sand crab to get to are the public ones.Storing extra fuel on board is definately a necessity.In the Bahamas,the marinas all have easy access. They want to make sure that you''ll able to reach their pumps and plunk down a big wad of cash that all us Americans carry.But as a friend of mine use to say,"Poor folks,have poor ways." I guess we all develop our own ;^)
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post #6 of 7 Old 01-20-2003
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Gas vs. Diesel (are we crazy)?


I would not give up on the diesel in your size and price range just yet. There are boats in this range. Suggest you make a prioirty list of what you are looking for in a boat and then check the traders daily. And then be ready when one comes on the market. I bought my Bristol 24 with a 8hp Yanmar last year this way and have never regretted my decison. I sail in Tampa Bay and strongly suggest you add shoal draft or center board to list of requirements.
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post #7 of 7 Old 01-20-2003
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Gas vs. Diesel (are we crazy)?

I agree, If I had my choice I would also try to look for a deisel. I think you can find one in your price range. Try looking at a Watkins 27 you should be able to get one in around your price range. Obviously they will come in all sorts of condition, but most if not all are with in board deisel. They don''t have the teak and holley floors like some, but they are a solid and sturdy boat. And they are not the best/fastest boats out there, but with a shoal draft of 3''11" they are good for your type of crusing. I was through some heavy seas in one and I always felt safe. Think of it as a poor mans Island Packet 27'' I would look for one with the bigger 15HP yanmars (2QM15) that came with some of them.

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