cruising costs, maintenance and price of the boat (sailboats versus motorboats)

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Vega, Apr 28, 2006.

  1. SAQuestor
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    SAQuestor Senior Member

    Cruising Costs

    Folks,

    Interesting thread in that I just went through the logic process of a motorsailer versus a power boat for the type of cruising I want to do in my retirement years.

    Attached is the resultant Excel spreadsheet that I developed to guide my decision making process.

    Your decisions will vary with your intended cruising grounds, but this spreadsheet clearly showed me that during my use of a boat, a pure displacement motor boat that is very fuel efficient is the best way to go.

    But I do not intend to cross oceans - if I did, then I would use a sailboat. :)

    Best,

    Leo
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Vega
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    Vega Senior Member

    That is very interesting, but certainly it is only a small part of your "decision making process".

    It looks that you talk only about fuel consumption and it seems that you only considered the fuel costs of the motorboat. (the fuel costs of the sailingboat will be a lot less, because when it is sailing it is not consuming and when it is motorsailing consumes only about half.

    What boats have you considered, initial price of boats (motorboat and sailingboat), What is the cost of maintenance of each boat etc.

    Please share the rest with us.
     
  3. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    That's why I favour 'fifty/fifty' proper motorsailers as the better all around cruising solution (be them with or without pilothouses :) )
     
  4. SAQuestor
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    SAQuestor Senior Member

    OK - remember you asked! :eek:

    If you go back and look at all my previous posts you’ll find that I started out wanting a motorsailer in the 10-11 meter range.

    In the intervening time I have had numerous discussions with friends and acquaintances, both in person, via email and on forums such as this.

    Ultimately, the discussions all asked the same two questions: 1) what are your cruising goals and 2) where are your cruising grounds?

    After numerous (and I mean LOTS!) of discussions with my ever tolerant wife, she has convinced me that together we have no chance to “sail away” to the Caribbean or points beyond. Now, if I do not want to include her in my future plans… But that’s not a viable option.

    So we are limiting ourselves to these areas.

    1. Puget Sound to Alaska via the Inside Passage.
    2. Coastal Maine, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.
    3. The Intercoastal Waterway in the Eastern US. The Great Circle route that includes rivers and canals of the Eastern US and Canada. This would include the northern shores of Lake Superior and Georgian Bay off of Lake Huron.
    4. Crossing the Gulf Stream to The Bahamas and then in The Bahamas for the winter.
    5. Sea of Cortez in Northern Mexico from Puerto Penasco in the north to Cabo San Lucas at the southern end of the sea.

    My idea is that the boat would go on a specially designed trailer and be towed behind a suitably sized diesel truck to each cruising area, launched via a crane or straddle lift for a long duration cruise, currently envisioned at 2 weeks to 3 or 4 months, and then placed back on the trailer to haul back to our home base or on to the next cruising area. Obviously this isn’t a boat to be casually towed to the local lake, backed down the ramp, launched for a Sunday afternoon cruise, and then towed home again that night.

    As for any production boats that fit my criteria. Not too many that I’ve found. As mentioned in other messages in this thread, production boats do not fit the mould of being fuel efficient and suitable for either marina storage or trailerablility.

    We easily find boats that are wonderful floating condos. Or we find boats that use 400 hp turbo diesels to plow water into huge bow waves and stern wakes. Or we find boats that have planning type hulls and use that 400 hp (or more) to scoot along at 18+ knots. Each of these types (as has been mentioned before) have fuel consumption rates that range from an ‘efficient’ 6 GPH using twin 120 Lehman’s to 25+ GPH for the heavy planning boats.

    I want to use a very efficient hull form as the basis of my retirement cruiser. Efficiency in this context defined as using the least fuel to move through the water at S/L 1.1-1.2.

    Basically I want to use a 2 or 3 cylinder diesel of about 25-30 hp to drive a displacement hull at ~S/L 1.1 to 1.2. With a LWL of about 9m, this, if I have done my calculations correctly, should yield an efficient speed range of ~6 to 6.5 knots with an ultimate hull speed of about 7.3 knots.

    I fully recognize that for weekend boaters that this "slow" speed is unacceptable - they need to go fast to get "there" and then get back to the office on Monday morning to earn the money for their boat payments. But this will be my retirement boat and I'll have no office that beckons, no boat payments and thus no need for speed. Safe, slow and fuel miserly will be the watchwords of my retirement years.

    As for trailering… In previous conversations/posts/emails there has been considerable doubt expressed about the ability to tow a ~10 meter boat from coast to coast in safety. So let’s address that for a moment.

    Regardless of where you live in the world, there are some sort of large diesel powered freight trucks that ply your local highways and byways. Here in the states we call then semi’s or 18-wheelers. These trucks are limited in size to certain heights and widths – generally nothing wider than 8’6” – 2590mm and 13’6” – 4114mm in height. Generally they are limited to 60’ to 65’ – 18 to 19.8 meter overall length – but may have trailers up to 53’ ~16m in length

    There are literally thousands and thousands of these trucks on the road – pretty much safely – every day.

    Next, let’s address private parties with their pickups and travel trailers – we call them winter residents here in Texas – otherwise known as snowbirds. These folks often tow a 30’ (9m) to 40’+ (12m) 8’6” wide by nearly 13’6” high travel trailer from Indiana or Michigan or Minnesota to warmer climes for the winter. Some even live year-round in their RV’s, moving with the seasons. Many of these folks are in their 60’s and 70’s and maneuver these rigs though city traffic and along the major interstates with few problems.

    My research suggests that a boat of less than 3 meters beam would not require any special pilot cars and in most states would only require proper signage for over-width loads and a travel permit. All feasible by the owner without outside assistance.

    Having explored this concept thoroughly, the only really tough dimension is the 4100mm total height. Even with the best-designed trailer, this effectively limits the total boat height, from keel to pilothouse top, to something in the neighborhood of 3500-3550mm. Other than this minor restriction, there is no reason that I can see that would keep me from having my “RV” being able to float when I reach suitable water.

    Having addressed that, let’s go back to efficient hull forms.

    As has been mentioned here and in numerous other threads and places, dock space is a premium commodity – and is very expensive. Therefore we have the floating condos and other tall and wide boats that can never be efficient at anything but occupying a limited space at a marina dock.

    I can find no recent examples of US or European production boats that put moving efficiency before docked efficiency. I’d be most pleased if someone could point any examples out to me.

    One more point. It seems that marina space is being lost at an alarming rate to other development – condos and Wal-Mart’s etc. Perhaps not having to have a boat permanently docked at a marina is a viable alternative.

    Let’s look at this example as what can be achieved in a 10m X 3m ‘envelope’, http://www.loganboats.co.nz

    This Logan 33 is similar to my idea, but its limited production – and 7000+ miles away – seems to limit my ability to own one. :-(

    They claim to move this boat along quite nicely at about 3 liters/hr (.8 US gallon). Going back and plugging in some additional numbers in my earlier spreadsheet suggests that their fuel mileage would be about 10 nm/US gallon – 11.5 statute MPG or ~6km/liter. Their specs claim a 600nm range and using the quoted consumption rates I get a smidgeon more than that with a 20% reserve. Pretty efficient I’d say.

    So how to get similar results from a boat here in North America? To me the obvious answer is to build one. So what to build?

    First, let’s chat about hull form. In order to get the maximum fuel efficiency the boat must slip through the water with minimum fuss. What does that mean? No substantial bow wave and no large wake at that quoted ‘efficient’ S/L speed.

    I haven’t found too many recent full displacement designs by any designer that have fuel efficiency at the forefront. I’ve been forced to look at older boat designs – say from the late steam era or early internal combustion era for inspiration. Why those eras?

    Well mainly because (generally) engines of those times were of low power output and the hull forms needed to be ‘slippery’ (for lack of a better term) to maximize the advantage of those lower power prime movers.

    My research suggests that there are a few attributes that helped make these boats suitable.

    Almost all had a fine entry, “ample” amidships breadth and depth, and a stern shape that allows the water to flow back together with minimal fuss. A general example of the type of hull form I see as being very efficient, albeit much shorter than what I want, is here: http://www.whitehallrow.com

    Now before the criticism gets too intense, I mean this as just one example of an efficient hull form with the three attributes that I mention above. Obviously if one is going to power a hull with an IC engine rather than oars, then the >>exact<< shape needs to be refined and optimized for power. And that may mean that it won’t look like this nice Whitehall at all.

    Regardless, another potential hull candidate is here: http://www.selway-fisher.com/New2001.htm

    Scroll down about ½ way for the 30' IJSSEL LAUNCH

    Then continue scrolling to about ¾ the way down the page for 32' x 10' MOTOR BARGE

    Now the Ijssel launch is a hull form that might be suitable as is. I’ll communicate with the folks at Selway-Fisher about that possibility.

    And even though it isn’t the most seaworthy nor efficient design, the 32’ motor barge certainly could be a candidate should one want to limit their cruising to the ICW and environs close ashore. This design would be problematic conforming to the overall height limitation. No way to fit over top of the trailer tires and still nestle the keel down low.

    Finally, acquisition and operation costs – based on 2005/2006 prices.

    Suitable tow vehicle can be obtained from one of those snowbird folks that are retiring from snowbirding. Say a 5 to 7 year old heavy-duty diesel truck that has been set up for towing a 5th wheel travel trailer. Might have to buy the truck and trailer combo and sell the trailer. Say $12-15k for a suitable tow vehicle. Fuels and maintenance per year: Fuel costs are highly variable, but between 600 and 800 US gallons – say between $4 and 5k for 8000 miles, and normal maintenance – say $1.5k

    $15k acquisition.
    $6k annual expenses on average.

    The special trailer. There are dozens, hundreds, maybe thousands of specialty trailer manufacturers throughout the US. Push come to shove one of them could build the trailer. Otherwise spec out a suitable stock trailer and build my own using similar materials. Another $7-10k for the trailer. Perhaps $1k annual maintenance.

    $10k acquisition.
    $1k annual maintenance.

    The boat. Relying heavily on eBay for “bargains” I expect to spend between $50k and $75k to build the boat over a 3.5 to 4 year period.

    $65k Building costs.
    $6.5k annual maintenance.
    $3k to $5k annual operating costs – depending on fuel costs.

    Totals

    $69 to $100k acquisition costs.
    $10k to $12k annual operating/maintenance costs.
    Annual afloat mileage – 3000 to 6000 nautical miles

    Estimated cost per mile:

    3000nm = $3.33 to $4.00 per mile
    6000nm = $1.67 to $2.00 per mile

    Maybe I want that 35’ RV trailer after all.

    Best,

    Leo
     
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  5. Vega
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    Vega Senior Member

    How about this one to compare?

    It is a nice looking trawler, the Nordhavn 40.
    It has about the same interior space (less a head), a 105 hp main engine and a small engine of 27 hp, just in case things go wrong with the main.

    It looks a sensible cruising boat to me, it is also a class A boat and has a consumption of only 1,6galons/hour at 6 knots.

    What do you say? Can you post a better option?:)

    http://www.nordhavn.com/40/overview.php4
     

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  6. Vega
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    Vega Senior Member

    Leo, you can do like me.
    I sail alone to the cruising grounds, my wife joins me there....by airplane... and then we cruise together:D
     
  7. Greenseas2
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    Greenseas2 Senior Member

    Specs on your boat

    Take a look at the Colvic Watson motorsailers in the UK. They seem to be close to what you are describing. They would fit on a trailer, minus mast. The road clearance on all USW highways is 14 feet with some local clearances at the 12 foot level. Buying a European boat and having it shipped over would be easy enough. As a matter of fact there are two of us who are thinking seriously of buy Colvic watsons and power sailing them back. UK to Azores to Halifax, Nova Scotia nd down the east coast to Florida. I communicated with Paul Fisher about his 32 footer and it is basically and ICW, lakes and rivers boat as is his 45 foot strip plank design. Theres another power only boat on Yachtworld.com. It's a 32 foot Monterey Clipper that's up for sail. I'll be looking at it when we fly to san Francisco on May 17th.
     
  8. SAQuestor
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    SAQuestor Senior Member

    No. Not that compares.

    But looking on Yachtworld just now the least expensive N40 is US $375k going up to $638k.

    I know, I know, what do I want a boat for if I can't afford a nice boat?

    But this particular nice boat is out of my league. :(
     
  9. SAQuestor
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    SAQuestor Senior Member

    I have and they are. And when push comes to shove I just may do exactly as you've suggested.
     
  10. Greenseas2
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    Greenseas2 Senior Member

    Motorsailers

    Guillermo is correct, for long distance cruising motorsailers are best. The trick is when to let one mode of propulsion augment the other for best economy. I opt for the pilothouse in southern latitudes as the sun can really beat on you and canvas dodgers and biminis seam to increase the heat. Also keeps yopu dry in stormy seas. Nothing worse than a rash cause by salt grains. Probably the best designis a full bellied motorsailer with bige plates so she can stand up on the bottom when the tide goes out. Lets face it. Long distance boats aren't particularly fast, but they are comfortable, seaworthy and ecomomical at hull speed or a little above. As with any boat, maintenance expense goes down with preventive maintenance. Any boat is a large investment and the better that you take care of it, the better it will take care of you. Attention to small details.
     
  11. Willallison
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    Willallison Senior Member

    I'm more than a little surprised to hear you say that Vega, in my initial looking I compared the sail boat that you suggested - the Beneteau 392 with a Great Harbour 37. The Beneteau has approx 23.5 sq.m of interior living space: the Great Harbour (2 feet shorter) has almost 30 sq.m

    In general sailboats have far finer ends than powerboats and as such do not offer the same volume for a given length. Further (and the Nordhavn 40 that was posted is a prime example) many power boats offer more than one level of living area.

    My initial thought was to look at the Nordhavn. Unfortunately, whilst it is an excellent ocean passagemaker it is also one that comes from the premium end of the market. The Beneteau on the other hand is very much a price-based boat.
    Ideally one would compare power and sailboats from the same manufacturer. But there are not many examples of this either - Beneteau is one, Hinckley is another - but in both cases their powerboats are not displacement cruisers.

    Before looking any further, I think it would be sensible to compartmentalise our search(es)

    I suggest three categories for comparison:
    1. Ocean Crossing
    2. Coastal Cruising
    3. Weekender, though this 3rd option could probably be included in 2.

    I say this because a boat like the Nordhavn, which is designed to cross oceans, is necessarily far more robust than is required for the vast majority of cruisers, who are never likely to venture out of sight of land. The same could be said of many sail boats
     
  12. Mychael
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    Mychael Mychael

    Correct, I was indeed simplifying and probably also from a hypothetical point of view. As I come from an aviation background we tend to think in terms of "hours of use". As there are so many variables all I was trying to say was if you had boat "A" (dedicated motor cruiser) and boat "b" (dedicated sail user) and used both equaly in terms of time and days used what would then end cost of both be? Costing for the sail boat wear and tear on the "Sail specific" equipment and the motor boat with it's fuel and 'engine specific " costs. I would guess that cleaning and anti-fouling of a 30ft hull whether it be sail or motor powered would be similer as would other equipment like bilge pumps, heads, stoves etc etc.

    Mychael
     
  13. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    The sight of land...that's a place dangerous to sail and most acccidents happen. If you are caught in a storm whith a lee shore and your Nordhavn 105 HP engine fails, you only have the 27 HP good-for-nothing 'home maker': You'll better pray Saint Pedro Telmo for the salvage services to be efficient!

    Paulo, I have to agree with Will: Motorboats usually have much more inside room than sailing boats. That's one of the reasons why many people go motoring. Trawlers, like the Nordhavn, are pretty good to that end.

    Talking about the best engine arrangement for a motoring passagemaker with a lot of hotel services, like usual nowadays, probably a diesel electric arrangement with two engines, two generators and one big slow turning propeller handled by an efficient electric motor, is the safest & fuel efficient alternative. I would like to know opinions on this.

    SeaSpark posted in another thread (http://boatdesign.net/forums/showthread.php?t=11378) the alternative of two engines and a generator belt coupled to a sigle shaft. This has the inconvenience of needing three clutches, but the advantage of relying less on electronics (remember lightning). Nice.

    And, when all else fails, a nice sailing rig will clew you out of a lee shore or, on the other hand, will make you run happily miles on end in a tradewind. Motorsailers once again!!! :) :) :)
     
  14. Vega
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    Vega Senior Member

    --

    You are right about everything. When I said that a motorboat should be about 3/4ft longer, I was not thinking about trawlers or boats that can offer two levels of living area. That remains true for the kind of slim efficiency oriented motorboats like the one I have posted in post 10.
    I guess that we will have to look at the interior space of each proposed boat.

    About the quality of the two boats, you are right again. It is only that I can not find any cruising price oriented motorboat. I guess that one solution will be to declare (by lack of competition), the sailboat a winner in the budget category and find a suitable high-end class sailboat to compare with the Nordhavn.:p (but I am still looking).

    About Oceangoing boats, it is my perception that in what regards passagemaking boats, the sailboat will always be a very clear winner. It is a lot easier to make seaworthy sailboats than seaworthy motorboats , and therefore less expensive and the sailboats will have also the consumption advantage.

    So, I guess that it will make sense to concentrate this study in coastal cruising with some offshore capacity, even if the proposed sailboats have the advantage of being also oceangoing boats.
     

  15. Vega
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    Vega Senior Member

    Yes, now I agree with you:)
     
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