1982 Californian 34 LRC Fuel tanks: HOW BIG?? Trip report; up the Mississippi

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Capn Craig

Oct 16, 2010
I have a question.* I am planing a trip up the Upper Mississippi leaving (finally) this weekend from Kentucky Lake to mile 485 UMR in Iowa.** After 3 months of delays due to floods, its time to make a break for it.

I need to know my cruising range as I have to make roughly 250 miles with no fuel available, 125 of that against a current of somewhere between 6 and 9 depending on who you believe.** The boat is new to me,* I see in the boat brochure posted by Flyright that it supposedly has 2 - 125 gal. tanks.* That doesn't seem like too much of a safety cushion considering the current.* I drove down to the boat a couple weeks ago to make preparations for the trip.* One of my preparations was to measure the tanks.* They look to be original by the way they are mounted.* They measure 24 wide x 78 long x 22 deep.* Subtracting a half inch from all the dims for plate thickness, I come up with about 170 gals each.* even allowing for fuel pickups off the bottom a bit, seems way to much to square with the brochure specs.

Anybody with a similar boat know your*tank size?* or if there may have been an optional larger tank?

I plan to bring a 55 gal plastic barrel of fuel in the cockpit to supplement the main tanks.* just in case.* I think I'm OK, but running out of fuel on the Miss would be an UGLY proposition.

Any opinions?***** Incidently, the boat has twin 200hp Perkins.* The PO says it will make 1 mpg at 17, 2 mpg at 10.* Most places I read seem to indicate that is conservative to accurate.* I will have calculator and GPS and fuel tank stick and use them often.

THANKS,**** Craig

-- Edited by Capn Craig on Tuesday 28th of June 2011 12:09:09 PM
RE: 1982 Californian 34 LRC Fuel tanks: HOW BIG??

Actually, if you figure out the square area, which is about 20 square feet, and convert that to volume you should get about 150 gallons for a tank of those dimensions. 24x78x22. LxWxD then multiply by 7.47=gallons. If by 17 and 10 you mean knots, this could also be calculated but is a little more complicated. A quick way to test is to run the boat on full tanks for an hour at varing RPM's for an hour each and see. Run an hour at say 2000 RPM's and fill her up. The amount of fuel needed to fill it back up is the amount used. A flow meter is a great tool too. If in doubt, try to make waypoints that leave you at least 15% fuel left at the end of the run. Load, current, wind and many other variables will change your fuel consumption too. Every boat is a little different. Hopefully someone with a similiar boat will have a better estimate for you. Have a great trip and sail safe.
RE: 1982 Californian 34 LRC Fuel tanks: HOW BIG??

There was an option for an extra pair of 50 gallon fuel tanks at a cost of $380 (!!) in 1982.

All literature I've come across and my own boat tells me the original main tanks were always 125 gallons each. If you have less than half tanks and the capability to transfer fuel from one tank to another, you might try to transfer all your fuel to one tank, then refuel the tank to determine the capacity.

Hopefully you'll have a couple days of running up the river before hitting that fuel-challenged stretch. This would give you the opportunity to closely track your speed/fuel burn/distance traveled.

If possible, keep us posted on your trip as you progress upriver. Have a great trip and keep a sharp eye out for flotsam!!
RE: 1982 Californian 34 LRC Fuel tanks: HOW BIG??

Thanks,* I did see the twin 50 gal option..* I definately have only 2 though.* I went back and recalculated tank capacity again (with my calculator this time).* 21.5" x 23.5" x 77.5" (outside dim's - 0.5")*/ 1728 cu in/cu ft*x 7.48 gal/cu ft and get 169.5 gal's.** Something doesn't make sense.* I will run both engines from the same tank to start.* Unfortunately, my first 100 miles is downstream, and then I turn north into the wicked current.* I will be conserving fuel as much as possible going with the current.* But if the worst case current I have been told is true at 9 knts,* if I ran the boat at its most economical speed I would be sitting*still burning diesel.* It is hard to believe that the current can be that bad.* I am confident that with the extra 55 gals in the barrel I'll be OK.* I will post updates if I can get a internet signal.* I will be a happy captain when I get north of St. Louis and the coming Missouri river flood.** My experience with the Mississippi river at home is that the floatsum disappears faily quickly when the water level is falling.*
RE: 1982 Californian 34 LRC Fuel tanks: HOW BIG??

sounds exciting, keep us posted...

btw, i have a 38' LRC. (same year i believe)
according to the book my tanks are 200 gal each...

200 hp x 2 should get you moving at a pretty good speed
RE: 1982 Californian 34 LRC Fuel tanks: HOW BIG??

I have a 1984 Californian 34 LRC. PO & the broker told me the tanks are 125 gal each. On our various trips it has worled out that we burn anywhere from 6 to 12 gph, depending how hard we push it. Boat has 250 hp Detroits in it. I'd be inclined to believe the listed capacity.
RE: 1982 Californian 34 LRC Fuel tanks: HOW BIG??

Hmmm, 125's must have been about standard. My 1976 37' has 4 x 125 gallon tanks. They were standard with two 125's, one under each of the rear double berths and the Seattle Californian dealer had an option for two additional 125 gallon saddle tanks. The selling point was extended range for cruising the inside passage to Alaska and back.

It used to freak my ex-wife out sleeping on top of that much fuel. LOL

I should have measured them for you, when I had the bed up, but your dimensions look about right.
RE: 1982 Californian 34 LRC Fuel tanks: HOW BIG??

How are you doing out there, Cap'n Craig?
RE: 1982 Californian 34 LRC Fuel tanks: HOW BIG??

Making progress. Currently anchored at mile 297 upper miss river. 188 miles to go. Miss flood current is awsome. Running about 9mph at Cairo. Getting a little. Better. Never seen so much driftwood. Hit some. Boat vibrating. Will limp home. Long list of impromptu boat fixes. Better lately. Nothing gave trouble today. Burning lots of diesel fighting current. Hope to be in my home slip Saturday nite. 445 miles so far. Will write more when I can us my laptop. iPhone is too hard to type on
RE: 1982 Californian 34 LRC Fuel tanks: HOW BIG??

Going much better as
we head north. Currently anchored in a slough at mile 406. Out the back window of the salon, I can see the city lights and the suspension bridge of Burlington Iowa. Not a joke, it's quite nice. The river flow here is only 126000 cfs that is only 1/7 the flow at cairo Illinois at the confluence with the Ohio Fuel consumption is more reasonable too. Running slow at about 7mph over the ground to minimize vibration. I know I will have a couple props to have rebuilt and maybe shafts to straighten when I get home Saturday afternoon, hopefully. Boat has been reliable last three days. All for now. I think I may have a catfish biting.
RE: 1982 Californian 34 LRC Fuel tanks: HOW BIG??

Glad to hear you're making progress and all is going pretty well. Keep the progress reports coming!!
1982 Californian 34 LRC Fuel tanks: HOW BIG??

I plan to write more when I get a chance to get caught up on the real world reentry.* But here is a quick update,* I made it home on Saturday afternoon.* The boat is vibrating as a result of trying to grind driftwood into wood mulch,* I hit several things I never saw before or afterward in the wake.* Most of these were in deep water 50 to 60 feet or more.* I had a number of fuel and electrical challenges but managed to overcome all of them except my 'to do' list got longer.** Overall trip specs:* 641 miles traveled,* approximately 660 gals of fuel burned.* total time at the wheel approx. 143 hours over 13 days.** The Mississippi was over flood stage from Cairo Illinois at the Miss/Ohio confluence upstream for about 350 miles.* The worst current was probably about 9 mph.* The current got noticably better north of the Missouri river.* The Mississippi below St. Louis is a nasty, lonely, dirty, inhospitable place when it is flooding.* I saw boils of water a couple hundred feet in diamter where you could see the centers were actually a foot higher than the surroundind surface,* I seen a* few whirlpools that had vortex's a couple feet in diamter that you couldn't see the bottom of the hole in the water.* I checked river stages today, and they have gotten worse since I was there.

*I learned more about my boat in 13 days than I would have over a season.** Boat problems consisted of electrical gremlins, several iterations of dirty diesel filters, Air conditioning*electrical and water circulation pump issues.* A failed bilge pump, VHF problems, and windless failure.* I managed to get everything going again with parts I brought along, except the windless, I didn't have time to check it out.

I traveled with my Dad age 83.* He is not in the best of health with heart problems.* He can't take heat, walking or much exertion.* My mom passed away a few months ago and I figured he needed a diversion to get him out of the house.* He wanted to see the Mississippi.* He got to do that in a way few people do.

My wife is a freelance advertising graphic designer, she couldn't* get away for two weeks without good internet connection and still have happy costomers when she got back.* In hindsight, that was probably a good thing.* It was not an easy cruise.

But it was a great adventure.* My boats name is Ad Venture in honor of my wife business, but in my mind it is a way of life.

-- Edited by Capn Craig on Monday 27th of June 2011 11:05:05 PM


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RE: 1982 Californian 34 LRC Fuel tanks: HOW BIG??

Great adventure and story. *Looking at all that junk in the river, I can see how you would play hell trying to avoid the big stuff. *

Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

Larry B
cant help thinking wow, that sure sounds like an adventure and then to bring along your ailing father, indeed you are adventurous.

you were going against the current at 7 mph, you were going how fast in the water? and i can see you are towing a dink also.
I really don't know my thru the water speed.* I do know that at Cairo Il I was travelling 11.1 (mph) over the ground in the Ohio.* The Ohio was high because the Mississippi was flooding, but it did not appear to have an inordinate current durring my passage from the Comberland river.* When I turned up stream into the Mississippi without touching the throttles, my over the ground speed dropped to 2.5.* In hind sight, I might have done much better by hugging the shoreline and disregarding the channel.* I didn't do that though because I knew that help or services were non existant for 200 miles or so, until above St. Louis.* The shoreline was deep at 20 to 40 ft.* But I was affraid to find a rock wing dam that was piled high above the prevailing bottom.* I did cut a few corners trying to avoid the worst of the current,** It did scare the sh*% out of me a few times though when the depth changed from 40 feet to 12 feet withing 50 feet of travel then drop back down just as fast.**

Living along the Mississipi for the past 40 years and experiencing several floods including a record flood back in '93, I thought I knew a thing or two about the river.* I was quite wrong.* The river down south is nothing like the river I thought i knew.* At least that is so in high water.

My towed dink is a 14' Flat bottom Jon boat with a 25hp.* I never had to use it, but it was intended to be my route to shore in a pinch.* It is roomy, relatively fast, and can go almost anywhere.* It tows easily too.* It is not pretty.
the blue hull paint looks very good on your Californian, more of a classic look.
I am just now seeing this thread- really enjoyed reading it! I can't believe all that driftwood!!!! I think I'll stick to the TN River where the waters are little more gentle! :)
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