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Old 04-15-2015, 09:41 PM   #1
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East Coast Cruising range requirements

What would be considered a desirable cruising range for a boat intended to cover East coast cruising grounds: Canadian Maritime Provinces to Caribbean Islands/Cuba? Goal would be to be able to avoid questionable quality fuel, but not necessarily ability to make a round trip to avoid higher prices.
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Old 04-16-2015, 03:44 AM   #2
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On a six thousand mile trip from Chicago through Canada to Trinidad if you island hop the longest fuel jump would be approximately 1,000 / 1,200 miles from Florida to Ponce, PR. There is fuel available in between in the Bahamas, Turks and DR but if you can avoid those fill ups you will save money and possibly fuel quality issues. Once you reach Puerto Rico the fuel jumps are much smaller, although the prices do go up. Antigua, St. Lucia, Grenada, and Trinidad have large supplies of fuel.
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Old 04-16-2015, 05:45 AM   #3
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Thanks Marty. Current boat has ~600mi safe range. I'm trying to come up with requirements for the retirement boat.
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Old 04-16-2015, 07:59 AM   #4
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If going no farther than the Bahamas and Cuba, I downgraded my range to 300 miles based on my style and needs.

If I needed another 100 limes or two, I could add a 55 gal drum or flex tank.
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Old 04-16-2015, 10:16 AM   #5
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We found a 700 mile range which included a big safety factor (and allowance for generator use) to be more than adequate for enjoying that area. We enjoyed stopping and visiting all the side trip islands. The exception being Bermuda in our case, as it made more sense to me to fly there if I wanted to see it. In reality a 400 mile range is more than enough even if you skip some of the roses along the way. Get out some charts and Google earth and guides and do some route and itinerary planning, it's part of the fun in the dreaming stage anyway. The islands with ports that accommodate big yachts and sport fishermen have good (but $$$) fuel.
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Old 04-16-2015, 10:23 AM   #6
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Fuel is an area where people have a misunderstanding of needs.

While I am not hands on familiar with that area the furthest I was able to find in North and Central America was 420NM from Turtle Bay to Cabo, Baja Mexico. The second longest spot was 260NM from Yakutat Alaska to Cordova, or Whittier Alaska.

The great thing about Coastal Cruising is that people live there and they need fuel.
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Old 04-16-2015, 02:23 PM   #7
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We cruised the whole east coast in a grand banks 47. It had a range of about 250nm going fast, and about 500-600 going slow. Range was never a problem, though sometimes require some very modest planning.
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Old 04-17-2015, 10:12 PM   #8
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50-60 mile range will cover the entire US portion of that cruise. The bigger tanks mean cheaper fuel and ballast. Fuel quality really isn't an issue in the US.
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Old 04-17-2015, 11:10 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by mattinri View Post
What would be considered a desirable cruising range for a boat intended to cover East coast cruising grounds: Canadian Maritime Provinces to Caribbean Islands/Cuba? Goal would be to be able to avoid questionable quality fuel, but not necessarily ability to make a round trip to avoid higher prices.
Some of this will depend on how fast you want to travel and the size of the boat. If you plan to travel above displacement speed, size of engines and the corresponding fuel will greatly impact you ability to carry extra weight such as fresh water. As the size of the boat gets smaller, this becomes more acute. This may translate into more frequent stops for more than just fuel. When traveling at displacement speed, reasonable quantities of fuel have minimal bearing on speed, fuel efficiency, and the ability to carry extra weight such as fresh water. If you prefer to anchor out, larger capacities of fuel and water may allow you more days away from civilization. IMO, the price of fuel will remain volatile and fluctuate based on world stability. While I don't need to shop to save 10 cents per gallon, the last time I scanned the diesel prices for Chesapeake Bay, the spread was from high to low was $1.50 per gallon. Having a larger capacity allows one to fuel where it's inexpensive and when it's convenient. Also, one should consider generator useage in the mix. If you plan to cruise only 1 out of every 2 to 4 days, but plan to run the genset 5 to 10 hours a day, fuel consumption might be higher for making electricity.

For a displacement boat I think 500 miles would be a good minimum. For a faster boat you probably have to plan on stopping at least every other day, so 250 miles would be my minimum.

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Old 04-17-2015, 11:29 PM   #10
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The way I look at is simple...

For coastal cruising fuel capacity is not even on the list of things to consider when buying a boat. Pretty much any large boat will have the range for coastal cruising.

I'd be concentrating on things like creature comforts, and maintainability.
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Old 04-19-2015, 07:19 AM   #11
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"I'm trying to come up with requirements for the retirement boat."

The requirement is not the size of the fuel tank , but the quality of build of the fuel tank.

Eventually you will get CRAP fuel and the question is it a simple job to clear the fuel or a nightmare.

The only way its easy is with a genuine marine fuel tank, not just a box of fuel.

Designs of marine fuel tanks have been posted in the past .

It must have a servicable sump as well as inlet filtering in the down tube.

With no electric , no extra parts , cleaning 40% water will take time , but thats all.

If you are stuck with boxes of fuel the centrifugal fuel cleaning systems will remove 100% of the contaminates , but they require power , installation and cleaning.

Alfa Laval has small boat sizes.

Your NA may not like the install requirements of a self maintainable fuel tank, but he wont be on the dock when the kid sez , OOPS

He also wont like the design requirement for a gravity style RV toilet holding tank, , but he wont voulinteer to fly in to clean some complex electric poop monster , with parts in his luggage.
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Old 04-19-2015, 09:34 AM   #12
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If you're building a custom boat your naval architect will happily design in what ever you want. If he/she is not, get another one.

Since I'm guessing you're not building a custom boat anything over say a 300 mile range would work.

While you most likely would want redundant fuel filters, I would not be overly concerned about getting a boat load of bad fuel. Sure it would be nice if your boat came with tricked out fuel tanks that make it as easy as possible to clean them out but, as I think many here will agree, getting a big load of bad fuel is very rare these days. Even in what some might consider remote locations.

I've traveled from Florida, down through parts of the Caribbean and on to the West coast of Costa Rica and back with zero fuel contamination issues.

One trick to minimize your chances of getting bad fuel is to not be the first boat of the day to take on fuel from the fuel station.
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Old 04-19-2015, 12:21 PM   #13
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Filling your own tanks and replacing fill cap o rings is another way to assure "fuel quality". More than one thread on this forum has found bad caps or o rings to be the boogie man. One recent thread covers what happens when the "fuel kid" sticks the diesel hose in the water tank to top you off.
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Old 04-19-2015, 01:01 PM   #14
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Filling your own tanks and replacing fill cap o rings is another way to assure "fuel quality". More than one thread on this forum has found bad caps or o rings to be the boogie man. One recent thread covers what happens when the "fuel kid" sticks the diesel hose in the water tank to top you off.
One of the features I really like about my boat is that the water fills are in the bow, fuel fills are in the stern, and there's no outside walkway between the two.

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Old 04-19-2015, 01:11 PM   #15
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Filling your own tanks and replacing fill cap o rings is another way to assure "fuel quality". More than one thread on this forum has found bad caps or o rings to be the boogie man. One recent thread covers what happens when the "fuel kid" sticks the diesel hose in the water tank to top you off.

Does any fuel dock even pump fuel for you theses day? Pumping fuel transfers the liability in the event of a spill to the attendant and the marina. I can't remember the last time I was at a marina that would do anything other than hand you the nozzle so you are the one libel.

Same with the fuel trucks and barges.
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Old 04-19-2015, 02:15 PM   #16
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Aaaargh!
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Old 04-19-2015, 02:44 PM   #17
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Your point?

Or is today talk like a pirate day and I missed it.
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Old 04-19-2015, 02:53 PM   #18
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Several bad fuel episodes reported by friends this season here in the Eastern Caribbean. These were sail boats that have small tanks and need to fill up more frequently then is normal for most trawlers down here. With a once a year, or every other year fill up we can select our fuel station with a certain amount of caution.
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Old 04-19-2015, 04:35 PM   #19
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Your point?

Fill your own tanks.
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Old 04-19-2015, 05:44 PM   #20
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Does any fuel dock even pump fuel for you theses day? Pumping fuel transfers the liability in the event of a spill to the attendant and the marina. I can't remember the last time I was at a marina that would do anything other than hand you the nozzle so you are the one libel.

Same with the fuel trucks and barges.
I don't know if you recall the episode of someone we both know who was cruising the NY to Great Lakes part of the loop last summer when one of the dock workers started fueling the boat for him (or according to him) and put about 40 gallons of gas into his diesel tank. They then spent the day pumping the fuel out. This was at Bying Inlet in Britt.

Quoting him....It was an honest mistake. The gas dock kids are back in school, and everybody now fills in. The gas and diesel are both on the same pump, both hoses are the same, and the nozzles are the same size. Add in a guy who doesn't usually pump fuel, and it all came together on our boat.

I would toss in the warning too to make sure you check the pump before starting to fuel.
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