Thursday, October 20, 2005

Gentlemen, Tune Your Engines

The search is still on for the sailing vessel Naobi, reported to have left Rockland, ME this past Saturday. According to the article the U.S. Coast Guard First District Office in Boston has taken over the case. The First District covers the coastline from Maine to northern New Jersey plus Lake Champlain.

Here's a good piece from the Newport Beach Daily Pilot about saving fuel while boating - his advice applies to sailors as well a stinkpotters. Tips like tuning your engine, checking your prop and not filling holding tanks unless you absolutely need too make a lot of sense.

Finally, the AP reports that Dee Caffari will try to become the first woman to sail solo around the globe - against the prevailing winds and currents - in next month's Aviva Challenge. Caffari, 32, will begin her journey on Nov. 20 from Portsmouth, England. A former teacher, Caffari will sail a 72-foot yacht, with the circumnavigation expected to take between 120 and 170 days.

All of these open the door for comment, but I'll go with the second item as the valuable jump for the day, Rising fuel costs, and their impact, are all over the news and as winter approached in the Northeast, on everyone's mind. What I find interesting is that simple tweaks can make a huge difference in fuel economy on boats. Not something you're likely to consider unless you're feeling the squeeze...

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I dunno. Do the fluids really make THAT big of a difference? Case in point: consider a Catalina 34 mkI. The boat displaces 12,550 lbs. or so, carries 23 gallons of diesel, and 77 gallons of water. Water weighs about 8.3 lbs/gal and diesel weighs about 7 lbs/gal, so with both tanks full we're looking at about 800 lbs. Now if we go with both tanks half-full, we're looking at a 400-lb. weight savings. I would argue that 400 lbs. would have negligible effect on fuel economy. Maybe I'm on crack. Any engineers out there?

Don

Zephyr said...

Don - good questions...I majored in Poly Sci and have no engineering insight. From my perspective, whether or not you consider the savings in fuel negligible probably depends on your budget...

Jarrett said...

How does Tania Abei not rank as the first solo woman?

hold fast said...

The only propulsion i'd be interested in for a sailboat would be electric. Of course, beggars can't be choosers, but i have it on some authority that repowering with electric is on par with a new diesel, cost-wise.
The Solomon Technologies set-ups in local Catamaran Company charter craft have been performing very well, according to my friends who work there. The weight of an electric system is a bit more than the equivalent diesel system, all-up, but more modularity makes for more distribution possibilities.
Things are a bit more complicated for cruising boats that may have gensets for back-up, but for the average day-sailor or small racer/cruiser, that electric provides all you'd need for getting in/out of slip.
The fuel economy and enviromental benefits are pretty obvious...