Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 08-22-2013, 11:13 AM   #1
Guru
 
Dougcole's Avatar
 
City: Carrabelle, FL
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Morgan
Vessel Model: '05 Mainship 40T
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 800
How slow is too slow? (long)

I am going to start right out by saying that I realize I am treading all over one of this forum's sacred cows in my horrible, greasy, semi planing boots. But, in the hopes that all understand it is the nature of good fun and interesting conversation I am going to do it anyway.

Do many trawler owners take the pursuit of as little fuel burn as possible too far?

My life. Married, wife likes spending time on the boat. Run our own rep business, I travel A LOT for work. My wife works with me, more than full time. Two sons one a HS Freshman runner (he finished 5th in the US in the 1500 meter last year as an 8th grader, sorry for the brag), one a 5th garder who lives for soccer. We are a very busy family.

Our old boat. 1973 Gulfstar Trawler, cruise speed 7.5 knots, max 8 knots. Twin perkins 4-236. Fuel burn at 7.5 to 8 was 3.2 GPH. I tracked this over the 8 years and 1,400 hours we but on the boat.

Our new boat. 2005 Mainship 400 T. Twin 240 hp yanmars. Slow cruise 8 knots. Fast Cruise 15 knots. Max speed about 20 knots. Fuel burn at 8 knots so far seems to be about 3.5 to 4 Gph. At 15 knots it seems to be about 16 gph.

We live in the Florida panhandle. We like to take a month off in the summer and go to the Bahamas. Other than that it is a weekend here, a night there as we can get them squeezed in.

I read a post the other day on a different forum by a guy who had our exact new boat. He claimed he cruised it by running on one engine at 1000 rpm where at 4 knots he burned less than 2 gph. My thought was "why bother leaving the dock? Stay there and burn nothing at all."

We looked hard at a number of 400T's before we bought ours. My biggest concern was how the boat would run/handle at higher speeds. I was comfortable with what it would do at displacement speeds. It does great BTW. Two of the four owners we spoke with couldn't answer my questions as, by their own admission, they had never run the boat faster than 7 or 8 knots as it burned too much fuel at that speed.

I often read posts on here where people allude to horrific fuel burns at faster speeds.

We run the new boat at fast cruise about 20% of the time. Mainly while crossing the stream. I'll also push it pretty hard next month when I bring it home through the waterway as that will be more of a delivery than a cruise. I can tell you, so far having that extra speed in my pocket when I need it has been wonderful. Given the stage of life we are in now, I am not sure I would even bother owning a boat if I couldn't cover some ground when I need to.

Here is the math. Old boat, over 8 years and 1,400 hours we averaged 560 gallons of fuel per year. At $4 a gallon that is $2,240.

New boat: if we can go as often (we won't unfortunately) at slow cruise (80% of 560 gallons) 490 gallons = $1,960. At fast cruise 560 gallons $2,240.

So $2,000 per year to be able to go fast when needed. I know everyone has different budgets, but that is worth it to me.

The trick for me will be disciplining myself to go slow most of the time. So far that hasn't been an issues. I like to troll, and to see the sights. But when it gets rough and rolly, or I need to get home to attend to a work of family matter I don't want to slog along anymore.

Also being able to get the bow out of the water and bang instead of roll (admittedly the Gulfsatr is a very rolly hull) sure makes trips a lot more fun.

Are you sacrificing enjoyment of your time on the water to save just a few dollars on fuel?
__________________
Advertisement

Dougcole is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2013, 11:32 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Great Laker's Avatar
 
City: Spring Lake, MI
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Great Laker
Vessel Model: American Tug 34
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 321
We are 5,750 miles into the Great Loop averaging 2 GPH. Going slow is enhancing, not sacrificing, the enjoyment on our trip. Several "go fast" boaters have slowed down to cruise with us after realizing the $ to be saved and the benefits of a more relaxing approach.

That being said, there have been times we have cruised up to 12 knots for short periods i.e., to make a last lock opening, get into a port before a storm, or safely enter an inlet. So, having a boat that is economical as slow speeds but can also go faster is reassuring.
__________________

__________________
Larry
American Tug 34 - Great Laker, and Gold Looper
Home port on the vast unsalted Lake Michigan
adventuresofgreatlaker.blogspot.com
Great Laker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2013, 11:35 AM   #3
Guru
 
Dougcole's Avatar
 
City: Carrabelle, FL
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Morgan
Vessel Model: '05 Mainship 40T
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 800
I think we all have a line that we set, as to what is the right speed. It is not the same for all of us, a lot depends on our stage in life.

But sometimes that line is set at foolish levels.

I agree that the capability is nice.
Dougcole is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2013, 11:39 AM   #4
Guru
 
skipperdude's Avatar
 
City: Whittier AK
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Apache II
Vessel Model: 1974 Donald Jones
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 3,147
Most times fuel is the smallest expense in owning a boat. factoring in all the other costs. Slip fees insurance etc,etc. the problem is the fuel bill comes out of the pocket now not stretched out over the year.

In my opinion that is why people worry about it so much.

I think you have the way to go.

Slow as in. It's the voyage not the vessel.

Kick her up when you are done or need to.

Get home or get out of the way.

Enjoy the ride. It's all about time on the boat.

SD
__________________
If you can't repair it maybe it shouldn't be on the boat
skipperdude is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2013, 12:23 PM   #5
TF Site Team
 
ksanders's Avatar
 
City: SEWARD ALASKA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: LISAS WAY
Vessel Model: BAYLINER 4788
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 3,956
Doug, you are at a stage in life where you have more money than time. You and your wife are both working, bringing in income. That makes your time limited.

For you right now going quicker more often is the right thing to do.

At some point things will change. You will retire and have more time than money. Then you might choose to go slower, enjoy the sights more, and save some money on fuel costs.

Some here have indicated that fuel costs are a small part of boating. That is correct if you are a weekender, but not if you choose a cruising lifestyle in retirement. Then the difference in fuel costs over the long term can be staggering.

Lets take an Alaska inside passage trip as a for example. The distance is approx 1500 miles one way. I can, in my boat make that one way cruise at 1400 RPM, 8.5 knots 1.75 NMPG, 857 gallons of fuel, $3428 at 4.00 a gallon .

If I run the boat at a fast cruise of 2400 rpm, 15 knots, .75nmpg I'd burn 2000 gallons of fuel, or spend $8,000 at 4.00 a gallon.

If I am on a limited budget, the money saved on fuel could for example be used to fund the entire amount of other expenses for an inside passage voyage.

The difference is time. If I have only 4 weeks of vacation 15 knots at cruise will allow you to see more ports, anchorages, etc...

If your retired and have the entire summer off then 8 knots will be just fine, and to some an even better experience.
__________________
Kevin Sanders
Bayliner 4788
Seward, Alaska
www.mvlisasway.com
ksanders is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2013, 01:01 PM   #6
Guru
 
psneeld's Avatar
 
City: Avalon, NJ
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Freedom
Vessel Model: Albin 40
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 15,928
Might as well ask what religion we are...you know your tolerances...we don't..

Anyone that put 1400 hours on their "last" trawler gets it or not. What I want and can do has NOTHING to do with anyone else.

You know how fast you can get from A to B and you know what your budget is...
Some guys would rather sand and varnish than get underway...holy cow...what are you looking for? There is no approval rating from a forum only from you and your crew...every trip may be different too....

I think I have a better argument for what religion to have than for what speed/fuel burn a trawler should have.
psneeld is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2013, 01:16 PM   #7
TF Site Team
 
FlyWright's Avatar
 
City: California Delta and SF Bay
Country: Sacramento, CA, USA (boat in Vallejo)
Vessel Name: FlyWright
Vessel Model: Marshall Californian 34 LRC
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 10,195
ksanders - "Doug, you are at a stage in life where you have more money than time. You and your wife are both working, bringing in income. That makes your time limited.

For you right now going quicker more often is the right thing to do.

At some point things will change. You will retire and have more time than money. Then you might choose to go slower, enjoy the sights more, and save some money on fuel costs."



With twin 85's, my only options are to go slow or slower. There have been many times I wish I could go faster such as outrunning weather or getting home before dark.

Now in retirement I have more control over when I start a trip and there is less need to be in a rush. But I still wish I had the option with larger engines.
__________________
Al

Custom Google Trawler Forum Search
FlyWright is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2013, 01:23 PM   #8
Master and Commander
 
markpierce's Avatar
 
City: Vallejo CA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Carquinez Coot
Vessel Model: 2011 Seahorse Marine Coot hull #6
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 10,265
Our flotilla of four boats left Petaluma about the same time. They ranged from 35 to 40+ feet in length; all except Coot twin-engined. Once on the bay we all went at our favorite speeds. We arrived at Vallejo with intervals of about ten minutes, enough time for the earlier boats to secure and then help the later arrivals. As the slowest (and only limited-to-displacement-speed boat), the Coot naturallly arrived last but had a large welcoming.

__________________
Kar-KEEN-ez Koot
markpierce is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2013, 02:32 PM   #9
Guru
 
Dougcole's Avatar
 
City: Carrabelle, FL
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Morgan
Vessel Model: '05 Mainship 40T
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 800
Most of the time I feel like I don't have much time OR money, but yes less time, I suppose. I know this stage won't last but even after it is over going less than 4 knots to save 1 or 2 gph seems crazy to me.

Going 4 knots because it is just so darn pretty you want to drink it all in, well OK, I can see that. But even when I sailed 4 knots was really slow.
Dougcole is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2013, 02:41 PM   #10
TF Site Team
 
Bay Pelican's Avatar
 
City: Chicago, IL
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Bay Pelican
Vessel Model: Krogen 42
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,795
The reason that the manufacturers make different boats with different engine arrangement is that peoples needs and budgets are different. In a 13 month period we put 6,000 miles under the keel of Bay Pelican. The cost difference for us at full cruise speed would have been significant. Between 6.3 kts and 7.9 kts we almost double consumption.

Marty
Bay Pelican is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2013, 02:43 PM   #11
FF
Guru
 
FF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 16,534
For a long distance cruise the speed is hardly that important.

We plan on about 60 miles a day and depending on weather , bridges , tides and many speed zones get there when we do.

We are underway early , and hope to anchor by 1500 to enjoy the afternoon.

No stress , few worries and fuel efficient.Its our cruising style.

Sure we will go 12K (10GPH) for a short while to make a lock or bridge opening , but thats about it .
FF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2013, 03:12 PM   #12
Guru
 
Dougcole's Avatar
 
City: Carrabelle, FL
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Morgan
Vessel Model: '05 Mainship 40T
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 800
I don't know guys, there are serious advantages to speed when you need it. I don't know anybody's life that doesn't have some deadlines/commitments, even retirees. Doctor's Appointments? Grandkid birthdays graduations? Friends flying in and out?
Dougcole is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2013, 03:20 PM   #13
Guru
 
MurrayM's Avatar
 
City: Kitimat, North Coast BC
Country: Canada
Vessel Name: Badger
Vessel Model: 30' Sundowner Tug
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 3,330
I've done a lot of sea kayaking in the past, and 8 knots is fast! In other words, it depends on your frame of reference.

Oh, and since somebody brought up religion, I'm a 99.99% Atheist leaning agnostic who's receptive to Animistic whisperings
__________________
"The most interesting path between two points is not a straight line" Murray Minchin
MurrayM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2013, 03:25 PM   #14
GFC
Guru
 
GFC's Avatar
 
City: Tri Cities, WA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Beachcomber
Vessel Model: Sea Ray 550 Sedan Bridge
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,705
In a way, I kind of have the best of both worlds in my boat. At our hull speed (at idle 750-800rpm's) we're running right at 8.5-9 kts. It won't idle down any lower than that, it's fuel efficient at that speed, and we don't have to poke along at 4-5kts.

No, I've never checked my fuel consumption because like someone mentioned it's such a small part of the overall cost of owning a boat.

I try to run on plane at 80% throttle about 20% of the time. 80% throttle puts me right at 1750 rpm's and around 22kts cruise speed. That seems to be a real comfortable cruise speed for the boat and, while it isn't getting as high fuel efficiency as at hull speed, it isn't horrible.
__________________
Mike and Tina
Beachcomber 1995 Sea Ray 550 Sedan Bridge
GFC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2013, 03:26 PM   #15
Guru
 
Dougcole's Avatar
 
City: Carrabelle, FL
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Morgan
Vessel Model: '05 Mainship 40T
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 800
Another scenario:

In the past with our old boat our path to the Bahamas (Abaco at least) has gone like this:

Day one: cross the OWW to Stuart, spend night on hook near stuart.

Day 2: go 30 to 40 NM to Lake Worth. Stay in a marina (at about $100 a night) as anchoring is not great in LW and we like to fuel/water up before a crossing anyway. Wait for weather. If there is a 4 in the forecast we didn't go, even a 3 meant a long, rolly day of misery.

Day 3: Assuming good weather (big assumption here) cross from LW to West End Grand Bahama. 60 nm, about an 8 hour trip. Spend night at Old Bahama Bay Marina, very expensive and not our favorite place really. One night here runs close to $200 with power and water. No viable anchorage.

Day 4: Cross the Banks to Either Great Sale Cay or Double Breasted Cay. About 60 miles and another 8 hours. That is where the fun area starts for us.

So 160 miles and at least $300 in marinas.

How we do it now:

Day one. Cross OWW to Stuart.

Day 2: Cross stream from Stuart directly to Double Breasted Cay at 15 to 16 knots. 105 miles. 7.5 hours. Marina Fees? None.

So we save 50 to 60 miles of run time, 2 full days and a lot of Marina expense. Do we burn more fuel? Yes, but a lot of that is offset by the shorter run and no marina costs. Maybe $100 more to do it that way. And we are where we want to be much quicker.

Also, 2 to 4 is no problem at all in the new boat, so we end up waiting a lot less.
Dougcole is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2013, 03:47 PM   #16
Guru
 
psneeld's Avatar
 
City: Avalon, NJ
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Freedom
Vessel Model: Albin 40
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 15,928
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dougcole View Post
I don't know guys, there are serious advantages to speed when you need it. I don't know anybody's life that doesn't have some deadlines/commitments, even retirees. Doctor's Appointments? Grandkid birthdays graduations? Friends flying in and out?
For a retiree...nope..plan around those things.....

Don't make plans you can't keep or keep plans you can't meet....cept for an engine change, fire or sinking....then at the other end what's so important? Sure a couple of things...and for those there's usually a way to still make the ceremony.
psneeld is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2013, 03:49 PM   #17
Guru
 
Dougcole's Avatar
 
City: Carrabelle, FL
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Morgan
Vessel Model: '05 Mainship 40T
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 800
Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
For a retiree...nope..plan around those things.....

Don't make plans you can't keep or keep plans you can't meet....cept for an engine change, fire or sinking....then at the other end what's so important? Sure a couple of things...and for those there's usually a way to still make the ceremony.
Can I just go ahead and retire now? Anyone want my job...or my kids? They are good kids and fully equipped.
Dougcole is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2013, 03:52 PM   #18
Guru
 
psneeld's Avatar
 
City: Avalon, NJ
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Freedom
Vessel Model: Albin 40
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 15,928
your time will come hopefully...mine is 8 months of work, 4 months to cruise for at least a few more years...
psneeld is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2013, 04:17 PM   #19
TF Site Team
 
dwhatty's Avatar
 
City: Home Port: Buck's Harbor, Maine
Country: USA
Vessel Name: "Emily Anne"
Vessel Model: 2001 Island Gypsy 32 Europa (Hull #146)
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,733
Quote:
Originally Posted by MurrayM View Post

Oh, and since somebody brought up religion, I'm a 99.99% Atheist leaning agnostic who's receptive to Animistic whisperings
That makes (at least) two of us! Maybe we should start a church?.....er, no, I guess that doesn't fit.
__________________
David Hawkins
Deer Isle, Maine
dwhatty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2013, 04:23 PM   #20
Master and Commander
 
markpierce's Avatar
 
City: Vallejo CA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Carquinez Coot
Vessel Model: 2011 Seahorse Marine Coot hull #6
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 10,265
Quote:
Originally Posted by GFC View Post
In a way, I kind of have the best of both worlds in my boat. At our hull speed (at idle 750-800rpm's) we're running right at 8.5-9 kts. It won't idle down any lower than that, it's fuel efficient at that speed, and we don't have to poke along at 4-5kts.
Transiting a no-wake zone (within 200 feet of a docked boat, etcetera) at a bit over 4 knots must be a pain.

__________________

__________________
Kar-KEEN-ez Koot
markpierce is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:09 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012