Thursday we headed from Sucia to Stewart Island. Again, a longtime haunt of our family.
I'd mentioned in a previous post the kids spent a lot of summers at Sucia and Stewart. This was mainly due to the boat we had, our finances, and my ability to get time off from work.
- 1 The boat was heavy and under powered for its size. 12,000 lbs with twin 307 gas engines. It burned a LOT of gas, even at 7 knots. I could count on 1 gal per hr per knot of speed up to 7 or 8 knots. so 6-7 gph.
- 2 I didn't have a lot of money for a lot of gas and extras when the kids were young, and certainly not for a different boat. The speed, range, and operating costs of Great Escape were limiting.
- 3 During most of the time the kids were young, I could only count on a 2 week vacation during summer time. I had some additional time off, but the nature of my work limited how much time I could get off at once.
Hence, we spent a lot of time doing circuits of the San Juans. We could stay our a max of 3-4 days before we ran out of ice, water, clean clothes, etc. It was usually 3 days at an island, then a marina for 1 or 2. Then another 3-4 days at an island then a marina for 1 or 2, then home with 1 or 2 nights out on the way.
Back to our story of our first cruise on Northwest Dream: As we were preparing to leave Sucia we realized we were on day 3 of a cruise, and had no foreseeable reason to go in to a marina. We had plenty of water left, a fridge operating that could keep our frozen and fresh food for the week, and plenty of clothes. We decided to stop in Roche Harbor for lunch. Not because we had to, or needed something. Just because we wanted to have some lunch out. It was a heady feeling! After a stop at Roche for lunch (the Cubano sandwich is tops
) we arrived at Reid Harbor. Not another boat anchored, tied to a mooring, or at a dock at the state park. I love off season! We settled in for the night and were prepared to stay a couple days. The gale warning for Saturday had even dropped off the forecast.
Friday morning the gale warning was back, and now they had added a small craft for Friday afternoon. The wind direction would have us taking a lot of wind; not particularly worrisome but would be at least annoying as the wind would be pouring into Reid harbor from the southeast. We went ahead and decided to be comfortable for our last two days of vacation, and went back over to Roche and tied up at the dock for Friday night and Saturday. The southeast wind still blew hard even there. We ended up putting out extra lines and fenders, and took down the bimini. Boats at the marina were getting some minor damage from the winds - the boat across from us had the bimini tear (or tear more, we're not sure.)
I had some quality time organizing, labeling, and putting away the tools, supplies, and parts I have stored in one of the aft cabin lockers, and we relaxed.
I feel a little bad we didn't get out and test our mettle in the winds, and didn't even touch the anchor during this trip, but hey, it was partially a vacation too.
One cool thing: After pumping all the fuel into the starboard tank during the last phase of our tank cleaning and PM project, I filled it 10 gallons at a time, marking the sight gauge as I went. I was able to determine the bulk of the tank is 1 gallon for every 1/8 inch on the sight gauge. During our trip back from Roche Harbor to La Conner I very accurately measured time, distance, and fuel used.
The boat is a 42 ft trawler, that is virtually identical to the Defever Downeast trawlers. That 42 includes bowsprit and the swim step. When we were out on the hard, I accurately measured our waterline at 34 ft 8 in. We believe it weighs about 28,000 lbs dry. Its powered by twin 120 Lehmans through 2:1 Velvet drives. The props are both Michigan Wheel 24 x 16.
At 1400 RPM (we have checked with an optical tach and corrected the indicated RPM) in still water the boat does right on 6.4 kts with very little wake. (This is almost exactly SqRt of LWL * 1.1) At that RPM, fighting large (2+ kt) currents in Speiden and Guemes channels, I have the following fuel burn data:
Time 6.5 hrs.
Trip distance 36.5 NM
Fuel Used 13 gallons.
Burn rate 2.0 GPH.
Avg Speed 5.6 kts
I was SHOCKED to see 2 GPH. I did go intentionally slow to A) check for just how economical we can get and B) see if we can stand going that slow. (The answer is H*** YES!)
I ran the numbers based on the Lehman engine specifications chart I have in a poor PDF copy of an owner's manual, and it shows that 1400 RPM is about 69.5 HP, at .39 lbs/HP/hr. or about 3.88 GPH for fuel at 55 deg F. I'm not sure why my practical experience would be so much different from a factory calculation though.
Now, add in noisemaker and heater fuel and the total fuel bill will be much higher. My initial figures for the trip out was close to 5 GPH TOTAL, including a slightly higher speed and way too much genny time. (This was adding the main engine fuel to the genny and heater fuel, and dividing it by the main engine run time.)
On future trips, I might run the genny/heater off one tank and the mains off the other to accurately measure the relative use of each.
All in all, we spent time loving the boat, letter her know it, and learning about her. And I didn't take a work call or email for almost 8 days.