Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 12-26-2014, 07:15 PM   #1
Wannabe
 
Britannia's Avatar
 
City: SF Bay Area
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Stillwater
Vessel Model: Kadey-Krogen 54
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 766
The single engine thing

I promise I'm not a troller in the trawler forum. I understand that the single vs twin engine (or get home) is a quasi-religious question. However, it's going to factor into my decision and I'd love some input.

So here's my question - and it's not "which is better?" Rather, what do people do when they're single engine breaks down? Here are some options that come to my mind

1) Call for a tow home - this is ok if you're in range of a tow company. I have had the BoatUS Gold Towing service for over a decade and wouldn't be without it

[Let's assume you're making a coastal passage and not in tow boat range]

2) Fix the engine. The most likely things to stop a well maintained cruising engine can be fixed by the well-prepared skipper who has spares (fuel filters, pumps, hoses, impellers, etc)

3) Is there a number 3?

It's a serious concern for me - since I intend on making coastal passages and expect to be out of tow boat range. However, if people do this without undue risk then I'd like to be able to consider single engine boats.

Thanks

Richard
__________________
Advertisement

Britannia is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2014, 07:28 PM   #2
Guru
 
healhustler's Avatar
 
City: Longboat Key, FL
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Bucky
Vessel Model: Krogen Manatee 36 North Sea
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,181
Well,if there were a number three for me, it would probably be a plumbed in, ready to go, bypass fuel filter. I see a fuel polisher and a day tank in my future too.
__________________

__________________
Larry

"I'd rather be happy than dignified".
healhustler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2014, 08:03 PM   #3
Guru
 
MurrayM's Avatar
 
City: Kitimat, North Coast BC
Country: Canada
Vessel Name: Badger
Vessel Model: 30' Sundowner Tug
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 3,321
We live where there are no tow services and can go days without seeing another boat. We have a 9.9hp outboard motor (Lehr propane...fuel won't 'go bad'...carberator doesn't gum up...doesn't have to be winterized) mounted on a swiveling bracket on the swimstep. This will be good enough to get to an anchorage to try and fix the main engine, or to wait for assistance that could take half a day or more to arrive. Lots of boats on BC's north coast have kickers on the back for trolling and/or emergencies.

Haven't needed it yet, but it's comforting to know it's there.
__________________
"The most interesting path between two points is not a straight line" Murray Minchin
MurrayM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2014, 08:06 PM   #4
Veteran Member
 
jarod's Avatar
 
City: vancouver
Country: canada
Vessel Model: Glasply Motorsailer
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 36
If weather allows you can tow/push with the tender to nearest anchorage assuming the tender is equipped with sufficient power. I have a 10 foot AB Rib with a 20hp Suzuki four stroke and it has no problem pushing my 24,000 lb boat at 4 to 5 knots in flat water. The ability to push the big boat was the main factor in determining the size of the tenders engine.
jarod is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2014, 08:07 PM   #5
Guru
 
djmarchand's Avatar
 
City: East Greenwich, RI
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Bella
Vessel Model: Mainship Pilot 34
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 2,878
Well, I have cruised the entire east coast and I don't think I have ever been out of tow boat range. It might take several hours for one to get to you such as in the wilds of Georgia. Or maybe one of the national companies will contract with a more local guy to help you out with your Gold coverage. I doubt that even the Coast Guard will leave you out there all alone overnight with a dead engine. So I doubt #1 is going to be a problem.

And I have put several thousand hours cruising and have never had an engine failure. Fuel failure yes- a plugged up tank pick up line which would have affected both engines if I had two.

Where do you plan to cruise?

David
djmarchand is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2014, 08:19 PM   #6
Guru
 
hmason's Avatar
 
City: Westport, CT
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Magic
Vessel Model: Grand Banks 46 Europa
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 1,901
#3, Extra hose clamps and a few bottles of antifreeze mixed to 50/50 in advance.
__________________
Howard
Magic, 1996 Grand Banks Europa
Westport, CT and Stuart, FL
hmason is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2014, 08:26 PM   #7
Guru
 
twistedtree's Avatar
 
City: Gloucester, MA
Country: USA
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 3,187
With no backup propulsion, your only options are to fix the engine or get a tow. The harder it is to get a two, the more you need to be prepared to fix the engine. There is always risk, and you get to decide where to place it and how much to take.

With an emphasis on fixing any breakdown, how are your mechanical skills? It seems this is the area where you can reduce risk and become more prepared. Dual fuel filters, lots of spares, excellent preventive maintenance including cleaning your fuel tanks and proactively changing impellers, regular inspection of your exhaust elbow for corrosion and leakage, inspection of fuel lines and replacement on some reasonable schedule, etc, etc. The carry spares and be sure you have the tools and knowledge to make repairs at sea.
__________________
www.MVTanglewood.com
twistedtree is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2014, 09:28 PM   #8
Wannabe
 
Britannia's Avatar
 
City: SF Bay Area
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Stillwater
Vessel Model: Kadey-Krogen 54
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 766
Great comments so far - thanks.

Here are some answers/comments

* I plan to cruise up and down the Pacific Coast at various times - there are definitely gaps in towing coverage in various places
* Spares - I agree - the more the better
* Very good maintenance - I agree
* Dual fuel filters - yes, all the boats I am looking at have dual filters and multiple tanks.
* Using the tender - I had wondered about that. I think it's a good reason to have a bigger motor on the tender - I can see it could be used if the conditions aren't too bad. Not sure how often that's the case on the Pacific Coast
* Coast Guard - it's my understanding that they will rescue the crew but not the boat. It's about life and limb - they'll let salvage companies get the boat.
* My mechanical skills? Good question. Right now I do basic engine servicing (replace fuel filters, oil changes, impeller, etc) but no major repairs on my small sailboat diesel (30HP). I can do stuff like bleed the fuel line. I plan to become more proficient with the engines on my new boat. I will be living aboard and will learn to do more. I didn't grow up with a wrench in my hands but I believe I can learn to be a competent skipper/mechanic.

As it happens in 14 years with my sailboat I have never had an engine failure underway except air in the fuel line that I was able to fix en route. A few failures to start but those were at dock or anchor.

Thanks!

Richard
Britannia is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2014, 09:30 PM   #9
Scraping Paint
 
City: -
Country: -
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,748
Richard--- I know several people who have had their single means of propulsion fail. Some were sailboaters. In no cases were the problems anything to do with fuel. In most cases the problems were tied to cooling. In one case it was tied to a transmission failure. In at least one it was tied to getting something wrapped up in the prop.

One of the cooling problems was tied to the failure of the coolant pump. The others as I recall were tied to raw water problems.

In some cases the owner made the necessary repairs on the spot. In the other cases the boat went to the nearest point of repair on the end of a rope.

So based on this, the most important spares for the single engine boater would be spare coolant and raw water pumps, thermostat, hoses, impellers, pump cover gaskets, and, as Hmason wisely suggested, enough premixed diesel coolant to completely refill the engine's coolant supply.

The boat we chartered prior to buying our own boat was a single and we didn't care if our own boat was a single or twin. As it turned out the boat we bought is a twin and after running it for 16 years we would never own anything other than a multi-engine boat (the new boat we are starting to use in Europe is a triple). But with the exception of the engine shutdown caused by me mismanaging our fuel system, the other three precautionary shutdowns we have experienced with our PNW boat have been cooling related.

So even though this boat is a twin, we carry one engine's spare coolant and raw water pumps and the other coolant system components I listed above.

As to an "Option 3," Murray's suggestion of a stern-mounted outboard is a very smart one. Or using the shoreboat if it has the power to push or pull the main boat against whatever current might be encountered. Obviously this will be easier to do with a smaller cruiser, but it can be a very viable means of dealing with an engine-out situation.
Marin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2014, 09:39 PM   #10
Wannabe
 
Britannia's Avatar
 
City: SF Bay Area
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Stillwater
Vessel Model: Kadey-Krogen 54
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 766
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marin View Post
Richard--- I know several people who have had their single means of propulsion fail. Some were sailboaters. In no cases were the problems anything to do with fuel. In most cases the problems were tied to cooling. In one case it was tied to a transmission failure. In at least one it was tied to getting something wrapped up in the prop.

One of the cooling problems was tied to the failure of the coolant pump. The others as I recall were tied to raw water problems.

So based on this, the most important spares for the single engine boater would be spare coolant and raw water pumps, thermostat, hoses, impellers, pump cover gaskets, and, as Hmason wisely suggested, enough premixed diesel coolant to compketely refill the engine's coolant supply.

The boat we chartered prior to buying our own boat was a single and we didn't care if our own boat was a single or twin. As it turned out the boat we bought is a twin and after running it for 16 years we would never own anything other than a multi-engine boat (the new boat we are starting to use in Europe is a triple). But with the exception of the engine shutdown caused by me mismanaging our fuel system, the other three precautionary shutdowns we have experienced with our PNW boat have been cooling related.

So even though this boat is a twin, we carry spare coolant and raw water pumps and the other coolant system components I listed above.
Two excellent points.

Cooling failure has happened to me once - though strangely enough it was at anchor. A hose had come loose and ended up chafing on the prop shaft. Lost my coolant into the bilge. Hoses and fresh coolant mix would have been essential. As it was I was anchored close to home and just got a tow back!

Prop wraps are a big concern. I had a close call on the way to Drakes Bay one time. Crab pots can be a menace here - especially at night. I have unwrapped my
own prop a couple of times - both times in warm water - once anchored another offshore in Florida. I'm not sure I'd be doing it off the Pacific Coast.

Richard
Britannia is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2014, 09:53 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
seasalt007's Avatar
 
City: Punta Gorda, FL
Country: U.S.
Vessel Name: Aweigh
Vessel Model: Nordic Tug 42
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 481
When I had my single engine 42' Nordic Tug I told people that my other engine was Towboat/US...but I did not do much offshore.
seasalt007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2014, 10:09 PM   #12
THD
Guru
 
City: Seattle
Country: US
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 1,142
This is a recurring theme here. I have come to believe it now is simply a matter of personal preference. That is even though we do have twins and I always have had. But, given the reliability of today's diesels, engine failure, as opposed to fuel or cooland system failures, is an uncommon event. As has been noted here by many from the PNW, most of the commercial boats out here have only a single engine. With fuel polishing, good engine room checks and a good course of preventive maintenance, the liklihood of failure can be reduced to a point of almost non-concern. That said, it does pay to have the proper spares to resolve fuel/coolant issues and the ability to resolve them should they arise. If one could gather valid statistics, I think one would find that an overwhelming majority of diesel owners go through an entire boating life with few if any underway problems with their engines. I know for us, we have 15 years with twin 6-v71s and 4+ years with twin JDs, and I have never had an engine fail to start and I have never had one shut down underwayl.
THD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2014, 10:24 PM   #13
Enigma
 
RT Firefly's Avatar
 
City: Slicker?
Country: Bumpkin?
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 9,996
Greetings,
Mr. Br. I pretty much agree with all that's been said thus far but another consideration is: Does any particular model of vessel that you like even have the OPTION of single or twins? Our specific vessel was never available with a single although a single was my strong desire when looking at boats for purchase.
__________________
RTF
RT Firefly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2014, 10:30 PM   #14
Scraping Paint
 
City: -
Country: -
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,748
Some models of Grand Banks were available as singles or twins. The GB32 was, although only a tiny hanful of them were built as twins. I don't have the numbers handy, but there seem to be about as many GB36 twins as singles. The GB42 was available both ways, although as the years went by the GB42 became an exclusively twin engine boat.
Marin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2014, 10:41 PM   #15
Guru
 
Ski in NC's Avatar
 
City: Wilmington, NC
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Louisa
Vessel Model: Custom Built 38
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 3,884
Satphone. There are companies that will come get you even if out of the two towboat co. ranges. Expensive I'm sure.

If I cruised in the PNW boonies or Alaska, I'd have a satphone. It would be worth also talking to the tow companies about how they would handle something like a 300mile tow, before the need arises.

In some harbors I've seen towboats that "appeared" to be large enough and capable enough for an extended offshore tow.

If one of my buds called me on a satphone from say 200miles out, I'd round up some other buds and take my boat to go get him. IFFFF the weather was not too bad, as my boat is fairly light, and not really set up for towing. Done it before, but it was under 100mi.

Valid question even for twins, as a fuel issue, lightning strike, prop foul, etc could disable both.

Edit: Towing or pushing with a dink- better have plenty of gasoline. I could see 1-2gph towing a 40-odd footer at 4kts. Need to go 100mi?? Thats 25hrs and 25-50gal of gas.

Edit2: Is there insurance available for such a thing on our type boats??
Ski in NC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2014, 10:49 PM   #16
Guru
 
O C Diver's Avatar
 
City: Fort Myers, FL... Summers in Crisfield, MD
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Slow Hand
Vessel Model: Cherubini Independence 45
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 4,816
While I am a crew of one generally and feel comfortable cruising by myself, I often wondered what I would do if I had a break down that I couldn't repair and was out of Towboat US or Seatow range. This would be extremely rare and likely would only happen on trips leaving The USA. My solution was to do these trips with one or more other boats if I felt the duration or distance was too great a risk for a single engine boat. It maybe different on the West coast, but I really don't see many spots on the East coast of the USA where this is much of a risk.

Ted
__________________
Blog: mvslowhand.com
I'm tired of fast moves, I've got a slow groove, on my mind.....
I want to spend some time, Not come and go in a heated rush.....
"Slow Hand" by The Pointer Sisters
O C Diver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2014, 11:05 PM   #17
Scraping Paint
 
City: -
Country: -
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,748
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ski in NC View Post

Valid question even for twins, as a fuel issue, lightning strike, prop foul, etc could disable both.

.
So could a really pissed off sperm whale. While never say never, I have yet to hear of a twin losing both engines up here other than running out of fuel. I've heard of twins losing one propulsion system for reasons ranging from hitting debris to snagging a crab pot line to cooling or transmission problems to having a whirlpool barf up a huge log that wedged itself in one set of running gear (this to a friend's boat).

So while it's certainly possible to armchair up a whole lot of reasons why a twin could lose both propulsion systems, reality renders most of them as being so remote as to not be worth worrying about. If we took seriously all the things that could happen to us on the water no matter how many engines we have under the floor, none of us would ever leave the dock.

And I can only assume that the fuel in the PNW is pristine compared to everywhere else because so far I've never heard of anyone having a "bad fuel" problem up here outside of problems with dirty, crud-coated tanks on individual boats.
Marin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2014, 11:28 PM   #18
Guru
 
BruceK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 7,567
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marin View Post
Richard--- I know several people who have had their single means of propulsion fail. Some were sailboaters....
And they are blessed with the ultimate alternative means of propulsion, weather permitting.
Years ago, away cruising,we broke the crankshaft of the little Volvo engine in my sailboat. We sailed onto a mooring, between numerous moored boats at a boatyard, in gusts which near flattened us with only the reefed main up. When the yard guy asked us to move to a different mooring, discretion became the better part of valor and we said, "tow us over".
I understand the argument "with only one engine you really look after it", but for me, the redundancy of twins is good, I try to look after both of them.
__________________
BruceK
Island Gypsy 36 Europa "Doriana"
Sydney Australia
BruceK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2014, 11:39 PM   #19
Guru
 
City: Carefree, Arizona
Country: usa
Vessel Name: sunchaser V
Vessel Model: DeFever 48
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 6,363
Richard

My 2 cents worth

Seriously, why not get a vessel with twins or a workable get home? Having cruised the Pacific Coast, both Americas, since the 1950s, I can safely say it is no place for calling for help or using an outboard kicker. Plus, the choice of good vessels with redundant propulsion systems is considerable.

OJT, for a broke down single is risky, no matter how big your onboard warehouse.
sunchaser is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2014, 01:22 AM   #20
Senior Member
 
Fish Catcher Jim's Avatar
 
City: Kalamazoo
Country: USA
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 137
Richard,
I have read about so many folks loosing the only engine they had and it was NEVER in flat calm or desirable place to fix. If you have your family with you then depending on a single may not be the greatest choice you have ever made.
There are so many options such as sail drives and bat drives and hydrolic drives the genset runs that is if your running gear is intack.

You could go a life time and not ever have a problem with a single engine boat BUT what is Peace of Mind worth to you ? For me...well it's quite simple.............twins and tow us/
Stupid stuff happens like the new empellar that you just replaced has a defect and shreds after 15 hours of use and the sea's are rough and the wind is blowing and as you look around your rocking and rolling boat all you see is rock shores and shallow inlets etc.....sure it can be a simple fix but your anchore wont hold long if at all and it takes you 10 minutes just to find your spare empellar and where is that wrench and crap this thing wont slide in as easy as the other one did and hmmmm how far and in which direction have you traveled as you are playing grease monkey trying to get under your own power again....

Dont laugh even though this all sounds like a lot of what if's.............. all this is from others who have been there and lost a boat or came too close to loosing one or got beached etc.

No I am not trying to say you have to have twins............... I AM JUST SAYING.......WHATS PEACE OFMIND WORTH TO YOU !! I mean you started this thread now didn't you , well there must be some concern or you would not have posted this question......
Simply stop and way out your options and concerns...........you will figure it out.
Happy cruising and engines that never fail you !!
Jim
__________________

Fish Catcher Jim 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 03:30 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