Budget long range cruiser fit for Pacific crossing - Ideas ?

Discussion in 'Powerboats' started by KeithO, Jul 5, 2019.

  1. Lepke
    Joined: Sep 2015
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    Lepke Junior Member

    I'm coming into this discussion late, but for your budget, I can't see building a large hull and finishing it in time to actually cruise before the rest home is your residence. I was in the navy, a commercial fisherman from trollers on up, built commercial boats alone and with a crew, and later owned a salvage business along with a repair yard.
    I think you'd be better off finding a suitable hull for the money you can spend and modify it. When you buy an existing boat you get hundreds of things included, beyond propulsion, including tanks, water system, water heater, and so on. All that would have to be built or purchased with a new hull and cost as much as the hull. Finishing a boat takes longer than building the hull.
    A military or fishing hull will have lots of fuel & food storage and maybe a walk in reefer. The wheelhouse might come with usable electronics. Then you're down to modifying the accommodations and maybe a new main deck cabin and wheelhouse. And you can use the boat in the meantime. My old tuna boat got 2 nm/gallon @ 7 knots.
    I've crossed several oceans on ships, and started my tuna seasons 1500 miles NW of Midway Island. Crossing oceans usually means stopping several times for fuel and other supplies. No matter how well built your boat is, you still have to dodge storms. If your ocean experience comes from books, I'd suggest you get some ocean time in the area you intend to cross.
    I'm retired living on a 83x17 former military hull professionally converted to a yacht. I get 1nm/gallon @ 10kts, better at slower speeds. It costs me about 2000 gallons to cross from S. Cal to O'ahu. Long sea voyages are boring, not fun. Especially if you're alone.
     
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  2. KeithO
    Joined: Jul 2019
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    KeithO Senior Member

    Lepke, appreciate the sentiment.... So far, in looking at trawler type vessels, every one of them I have seen has been a semi displacement hull with a great deal of installed HP, thus unsuitable for what I have in mind. Displacement type hulls with smaller engines seem to be a rare breed and one would need a lot of overall length to provide fuel capacity.

    So far it looks like converting a sailboat upwards of 50ft would be the best option. Usually if the rig and other hardware is in need of replacement, no-one wants to touch them. There is also the matter of having an obsolete engine so unless it has been recently re-powered, one is going to have to drop in a more modern engine and transmission. The earlier sailboats in this length class also are not as beamy as the modern ones and the hulls are usually solid fiberglass, so not the complication of saturated cores etc as with new vessels.

    The Columbia 50 is looking like a likely candidate. I have not been able to figure out the keel yet, I suspect internal ballast. Might be tricky to lighten... I figure there would need to be some major below deck work to install the fuel capacity needed and then install a pilot house. No point in buying one that is immaculate just to tear it apart....
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Rurudyne
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    Rurudyne Senior Member

    Heh, thicker solid FG hulls ... though it isn't what you're looking for I seem to recall a funny statement about early FG Chris Craft cruisers that were very heavily built, before the hulls got lighter and thinner till there was a point they briefly made them too thin, that (something to the effect of) they were so heavy they couldn't get out of their own way.

    I'm sure there's someone around here who remembers it correctly, as I think I read it here.

    Incidentally, one of these early boats came up for sale in Europe not long ago for a good price. I wish I could have afforded her (never mind the shipping to Texas).
     
  4. KeithO
    Joined: Jul 2019
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    KeithO Senior Member

    There was a columbia 50 offered on ebay for $20k just a few weeks ago, I dont think anyone bid. The hull is not ideal, waterline length is only 40' with a 50' oal, so long overhangs on both ends and associated speed reduction. But its getting to the sort of size where I think a conversion might be feasible. Looks to have an internally ballasted keel so that could be problematic to take some weight out of to compensate for weight of fuel and tankage for it.
     
  5. Chuck Losness
    Joined: Apr 2008
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    Chuck Losness Senior Member

    Early on in this thread I suggested you look at ULDB's. Go back and read my posts #46 and #48 on page 4 of this thread. They are light for their length and have long waterlines for their length. I don't think that you would be happy with a Columbia 50. A Columbia 50 a very heavy displacement boat with a very short waterline for their length. They were designed to rate well under the old CCA racing rule. Not to be efficient under sail or power. Compare it to a Santa Cruz 50. The Santa Cruz 50 was not designed to any racing rule. It was designed to sail fast which also translates to efficiency under power. 50 hp is more than adequate to power a SC 50 at hull speed. I would also look at the Hunter 54. Another long, lean light boat.
     
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  6. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
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    fallguy Senior Member

    Most sailboats will need hulls extended. Pay close attention to C. Losness.
     
  7. Chuck Losness
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    Chuck Losness Senior Member

    Another indicator of the speed potential of a sailboat is its PHRF rating. A Columbia 50 rates from 96 to 102 A Santa Cruz 50 rates -6. Hunter 54 rates 51. Lower numbers are faster boats. Basically a SC 50 will blow the doors off of a Columbia 50 boat for boat in just about all conditions. I know this is sailing stuff but it translates into how easy a hull is driven through the water. Easier driven hulls take less hp. Doesn't matter if the hp comes from sails or a diesel engine.
    I don't know if you have done this yet but you really need to make a list of your requirements. What you need the boat to do for you. Not for somebody else. Once you have your requirements nailed down you will be able to determine what you have to carry on board and how big of a boat that you will need to accomplish that.
     
  8. Magnus W
    Joined: Nov 2017
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    Magnus W Senior Member

    On the topic of steel vs aluminum.
    I'm not sure on where you plan on building the boat but a hefty part of the seemingly tight budget will be on the shop alone, especially if going with aluminum. Some tools and cutting material may be cheaper but any gains there will be eaten up by the cost of gas alone. And the welding equipment will be more expensive by a factor 10 at least.

    Also, steel can be repaired anywhere by anyone and you can make structural emergency repairs on the go even in wet, dirty and windy conditions (of course not perfect but enough to stay afloat and be combat efficient). And you can carry both an acetylene welder and a rod welder (including a small generator to power it) for the same money/volume/weight as the 3-phase generator to run an aluminum mig welding equipment would need. And then you'd still need the mig welder, gas bottle and such. Simply moving the mig around in the boat will be a task by itself while the rod welder simply plugs into an outlet and you're good to go.
    (I run my small Kemppi 180 amp rod welder (5 kg) on my Honda 22i generator (20 kg).)
     
  9. KeithO
    Joined: Jul 2019
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    KeithO Senior Member

    Magnus, I dont think aluminum is a worthy option, the material itself is quite expensive and processing is more critical as you noted. Fatigue is also more of a problem for aluminum vs steel, especially when combined with a corrosive environment. Steel becomes a more worthy material as the hull is made longer and longer and with a huge cost savings compared to composites. Also with a new hull one does not start out with a very heavy sailboat keel and can have the main fuel tanks put in the bilge where they should be, underfoot and have proper headroom designed in with that in mind.

    One of the major design points is to figure out a realistic range target. I dont think one needs to have a 6000 or 8000 mile range, which some vessels seem to cater for. Im not planning a northern passage or trips to the antarctic. More like east coast US to panama, panama via pacific islands to New Zealand and Australia, getting fuel along the way. Goal is not a fast passage, but to spent time at the intermediate stops and have the means to largely avoid adverse weather where possible by reducing the duration of longer crossings.

    I dont even know if I will make the trip back west to east, it will depend on my age at that point and how I feel. I have most nephews and nieces in NZ and Australia, so someone there may inherit the boat or I could sell it. Perhaps I will return with a crew and for them it will be the start of their own adventure....
     
  10. Chuck Losness
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    Chuck Losness Senior Member

    Best get your charts out and start figuring the distance between fuel stops. It's around 4000 nm from Peru to Tahiti and probably 3500 nm to the first islands that might have diesel. Further from Panama. Wind and sea conditions can have a drastic effect on fuel economy. Most people figure on at least 25% to 30% extra fuel as a bare minimum to allow for adverse conditions.

    Instead of going down the east coast it might make more sense to have your boat trucked from Michigan to Seattle and leave from there. Harbor hop down the coast working the bugs out and there will be bugs to work out. Then shove off from So Cal to Hawaii. 2500 nm which would be your longest passage on the way to NZ and Australia. Lots of places to get fuel in the western Pacific verses none in the eastern Pacific.

    You will want yourself and at least two other crew members for this long of a voyage. Four people on board would be better. To get decent crew you will most likely have to cover all of their expenses besides paying a small wage. Expenses plus $100 per day was the going rate when I used to do this. But that was years ago and things have probably changed now.

    If you have never done a long passage on a boat you might want to hitch a ride with somebody. Lots of boats get delivered from the east coast down to the Caribbean in the fall and back again in the spring. You may not like passage making. Better to find out before you start building your boat if passage making is your cup of tea.

    Lots of decisions to make.
     
  11. KeithO
    Joined: Jul 2019
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    KeithO Senior Member

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    Chuck, I have a young wife, why the need for so many crew on a MY ? I understand shorter watches and better sleep.

    You are right, the leg to Hawaii is probably the longest. I figured the trip down the Atlantic coast would be a good shakedown with a lot of safe harbors and access to plenty of boatyards. Then spend some times in the keys Bahamas BVI as "light" version of the pacific.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2019
  12. Rurudyne
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    Rurudyne Senior Member

  13. KeithO
    Joined: Jul 2019
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    KeithO Senior Member

    Looks like 2000 nm from California to Hawaii so something like 3000 miles could be an initial target. Will have to run the math on that.
     
  14. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    I figure treat as 4000. When I was considering all my options; I used 4000 to Hawaii as the basis to decide against the 20m displacement powercat for bluewater. Just too big for my goals.

    So we opted for a 10m shore cruiser with a 600 mile range. At least in powercats a big jump to bluewater.
     

  15. KeithO
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    KeithO Senior Member

    Assuming a fuel burn of 3nm/gal a range of 4000nm would require 1300 gal or approximately 9000lb in fuel. That would be about 1\3 the weight of a vessel like Idlewild with a displacement of 30 000lb. Dashew 64 with 3000 gal of fuel has a displacement of 90 000lb. The smaller FPB had a fuel burn of 2nm/gal based on their specs, whereas Idlewild was running approximately 4nm/gal, so the lighter weight and reduced engine size must make a difference.
     
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