How does he do it? Dashew's new 77 foot powerboat cheaper to run than Beowulf.

Discussion in 'Powerboats' started by timothy22, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. timothy22
    Joined: Feb 2008
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    timothy22 Junior Member

    at setsail.com Steve gives all the consumption figures for Wind Horse, and mentions that they are less than the cost of running his 80' Beowulf over the same distance. He ran 11,100 miles (1061 engine hours) at avg 11kts and 7.6 gph. His avg diesel cost (early 2008) was $3.35/gal. To me, this adds up to $27,011. He allows $.20/mile for drivetrain maint, another $2200, making $29,311 total. Even with diesel at $2,50/gal, he would still be over $22,000.
    At $10/square foot for brand name sails he could replace a LOT of sails and rigging for that amount of money, What am I missing? And is it plausible to design a smaller powerboat that would be cheaper than sail per mile?
     
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  2. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

    I think it depends to a large degree on how much "high tech" and how much luxury is put into the design.

    The Beowulf class is a very high end boat- the absolute best of everything. The FPB 83 is done in a similar vein. And don't forget that Beowulf was reportedly quite capable under power as well- no tiny auxiliary engine, this thing was rigged with running gear most motoryachts would envy.

    So it doesn't strike me as all that surprising that a power boat of similar size, luxury and equipment quality would have lower operating costs than a high-end luxury sailing yacht, that carries nearly as much equipment. Maltese Falcon, Mirabella V and many of the other mega-size sailing yachts are reported to cruise under engine when crossing oceans, because diesel fuel is cheaper than the wear and tear on the (very expensive) rigging.

    Among the kind of boats that the remaining 98% of us have a shot at being able to afford, though, I don't think the economics would work out the same way. You'd have to actually calculate it, of course, for the particular boats being considered. But if you build your rig George Buehler style- galvanized fittings and rigging on a telephone pole mast- instead of ACC raceboat style, I think you would have a very, very hard time matching its operation and maintenance costs with any sort of fuel-burning power plant.
     
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  3. pkoken
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    pkoken S/V Samadhi V

    None of the Dashew boats are rigged with America's Cup technology. They are solid cruising boats, and often use less expensive equipment than comparable "yachts".

    Steve shoots for efficient and functional boats. Not everyone agrees with their style, but they do the job VERY well.

    Comparing any of the Dashew's designs with the Maltese Falcon or Mirabella V is silly. I have spent time on Windhorse and found it to a very practical cruising vessel, not a mega-yacht.
     
  4. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

    Sorry if I've offended you, Phil. I did not mean to say that the Dashew boats are luxo-cruisers in the same sense as MF & friends- they aren't. My point in referencing those craft was that, when taken to extremes of technology, size and luxury, sailboats often end up costing less to run under power than under sail. In the intermediate cruising sizes, ie. 25 to 60 footers, most reports are that simple but sturdy sail rigs tend to be less expensive per mile than running the engine. Beowulf and Wind Horse are both substantially larger and more expensive than the average cruising boat, and carry much more complex systems; a cost-of-operations comparison between these two would not necessarily apply to comparable power and sail cruisers on a smaller scale.

    Using the best of everything- which Dashew designs seem to do- is not necessarily the same as using the most expensive of everything. Steve and Linda have their design philosophy, and I think a big part of that is to build a solid, well-equipped boat that is prepared for anything. In their newer designs, they have also built in quite a bit of luxury, and complex systems that most of us would not be able to afford. Beowulf class boats reportedly go for about $4M. Believe me, if I had that kind of cash to blow on a boat, that is the one I would build.
     
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  5. pkoken
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    pkoken S/V Samadhi V

    I am not offended, merely surprised at the comparison.

    I am intimately familiar with the costs of operating a 55' sailboat. I agree that it is possible to sail some types of craft for less than the cost of cruising under power. Sailors often seem to forget about the cost of the rig, the sails, etc. These costs are not insignificant!

    We have yet to meet any other cruisers in our past two years who are using telephone poles as masts and galvanized rigging, but I am sure some exist.

    I have been aboard a lot of yachts, and I find the Dashew boats refreshingly simple in their execution. Most boats of comparable size have much more complex systems in my opinion!
     
  6. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

    Indeed, a good point Phil. It's easy to divide the fuel bill by the readout on the log and come up with a cost per mile. It's not nearly so easy to add up the miles between each sail replacement, the lifespan of each piece of running rigging, etc.
    Last I checked, George Buehler was still specifiying rigging like this on many of his designs. Many long-distance cruisers seem to lie a bit closer to the mainstream club/racing community than the small commercial fleets from which Buehler and his fans get their ideas. I'm probably going to come down somewhere in between, as soon as I can get a boat and get out there....
    If you're comparing against a 40 tonne Selene, Nordhavn, etc. I'd likely agree with you. Still, Steve and Linda's articles on Wind Horse talk about quad A/Cs, triple 2500-watt inverters, an elaborate battery system, a seriously beefy pair of fin stabilizers, and a radar antenna that's worth more than my boat, among other things. Not nearly so much gadgetry as many luxury powerboats of comparable size, but it's still an awful lot of equipment and far more than most of us will ever be able to afford.

    For what it's worth, though, it seems that every piece of equipment on board, every gadget and toy and carefully planned system, gets used. So for the Dashews and those who sail their boats, it clearly makes a lot of sense. And like I said, I'd buy one if I could. Definitely a nice change from most 40-tonne motoryachts....
     
  7. timothy22
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    timothy22 Junior Member

    All true, guys, but I wanted to focus only on the cost of moving the boat from place to place, absent the cost of maintaining the lifestyle. Fuel and drivetrain maintainence versus wind and rig maintainence, including the cost of keeping the sail inventory up to snuff. I haven't been involved in bigboat care and feeding since I worked for Bob Derecktor in the '70s and even at the prices we charged for rigging mainainence and repair it was cheaper than buying fuel for the boat, mile for mile. I am certain Steve knows the answer to why Beowulf's rig was so expensive to keep up, I just wondered what it was, so maybe I could get a handle on my next boat, because sailhandling and steering in bad weather is getting as old as I am. :)
     
  8. pkoken
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    pkoken S/V Samadhi V

    The cost of the rig and sails aboard our Tayana 55 is conservatively in excess of 150k, probably MUCH more. This isn't high tech stuff either!

    Monohull sailboats carry ballast, which you don't need in an efficient power driven yacht. Monohull sailboats also have hull shapes defined for sailing, not powering efficiency.

    I believe that in boats of "Cruising Size" an EFFICIENT power boat will beat the sailboat every time in cost per mile. If you source your sails from the garbage, and cut trees down for your mast it is a bit different and no longer a valid comparison (apples to oranges).

    The trick is, most power cruisers are not built with efficiency as their design goal. Interior volume seems to trump almost everything else in this market, with the NordPassageWhatever production trawlers resembling boxes in shape.

    Sailing has a romantic aspect to it that is difficult to quantify. We cruise under sail, and always have. That doesn't mean that we are deceiving ourselves about the costs.

    Finally, looking at the radar or the number of air conditioners aboard Wind Horse is not terribly important IMHO. When you construct and 83 foot vessel, the cost of the radar and the AC is just "noise" on the bottom line. You could remove those features and still have all of the advantages of the vessel. The fin stabilization is another matter, but is still much cheaper than adding a rig to the boat.
     
  9. pkoken
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    pkoken S/V Samadhi V

    An important part of this question is where and when you are going to sail. Are you going to sail downwind in the tradewind belts? You can get away with a much less efficient rig (and cheaper!) in that case :) If you are planning on going "wherever" then you must consider light air and upwind work which both require more efficient (and more expensive) rigs to work effectively.

    Finally there will be times that wind and current do not agree with your idea of a destination, are you going to sit at the dock and wait (maybe weeks) or are you going to use your Auxiliary engine? If you are going to use the engine then you are describing a vessel that carries BOTH sailing and power running gear. You may want to undersize the engine on the sailboat, but I wouldn't want that compromise in a cruising boat.
     
  10. Steve Dashew
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    Steve Dashew New Member

    Cruising Costs - Sail V Power

    Guess I need to jump in here with the real scoop. From a lot of real world experience, at around 50 to 55 feet of boat length, the costs of cruising under power or sail cross and are roughly the same.

    As the boats get bigger, running costs begin to favor power, if the boat designed to cross oceans in comfort (i.e. it is an efficient configuration which forces you to a comfortable shape).

    One of the reasons for this is that maintenance costs for sail go up exponentially with boat size. Sails need to be replaced more often (a small crew has less bandwidth for problems offshore on a big boat) and they tend to me made from high modulus fabrics which are lighter, more efficient,and a lot more expensive.

    The costs per mile quoted for Beowulf were based on the Quicken accounts covering 40,000 miles - and were based on the trade prices we actually paid (a lot less than retail).

    If you go to http://www.setsail.com/dashew/fuel_costs_Sept08.html you will find details on the running costs for Wind Horse (FPB 83) for the past 11,000 miles, based on full tanks at beginning and end.

    For smaller boats sail can be less costly than powering. But most folks don't travel that many miles per year, even full time cruisers. Under power the cost of fuel will be one of the smaller cost categories for the year's budget. At the same time, running rigging, and to some degree sail longevity are based on the calendar rather than miles (UV even gets through your sail covers - which is why we recommend using a double layer of fabric on the mainsail cover).

    The bottom line, however, is not cost. You can always adjust that with boat speed and size. Our suggestion is to chose a boat which gets you where you want to go and that makes your heart sing when you row away from it.

    Steve Dashew
     
  11. pkoken
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    pkoken S/V Samadhi V

    Couldn't agree more!

    [​IMG]
     
  12. timothy22
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    timothy22 Junior Member

    $150K for a 55 footer, all up? Oh, yeah. I blush to tell you what we charged one of the SORC racers for a new 18' boom, complete. 22 hours from order to installation (time and tide..) to replace the busted one. Thanks one and all, and esp. Steve-that crossing point for sail v. power cost is just what I was looking for.
     
  13. Tad
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    Tad Boat Designer

    Totally circular argument....

    Windhorse burned 7.6gph at 11 knots.....drop the speed to 8.5 knots and fuel consumption is probably cut in half. Fuel cost averaged $3.35 a gallon, today you can buy diesel fuel for $1.90 or less. Meanwhile the cost of sailmaker's labour and materials just increases.

    These moving targets make the argument pointless. Everyone's maintenance schedule is different...do I replace this part today or next year?

    There is a huge thread on this subject somewhere here....cost of power or sail.
     
  14. brian eiland
    Joined: Jun 2002
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    FPB Offshore Pwerboat videos

    On another forum a gentleman had posted some references to some videos of this vessel. So I had a look at a few and composed a reference email to a couple of friends....found this subject thread and thought I would post that email content here.

    Interesting videos:
    http://dashewoffshore.smugmug.com/gallery/6802329_jB96x#434939709_9pkLM-A-LB

    http://dashewoffshore.smugmug.com/gallery/6802329_jB96x#435385653_PzJDW-A-LB




    FPB Cruising
    These videos will give you a feel for how the FPB Series handle various wind and wave conditions. The first half of the crossing from New Zealand to Fiji and the North Atlantic passage will show you Wind Horse in waves generated by strong gale force winds. You will find good surfing footage in the second half of the New Zealand to Fiji and California to Panama video. The last videos cover the design process we go through in a new project including historical footage, tank test data, CFD analysis, and the heavy weather design logic which is the foundation for all our designs. The rest of the videos will give you a glimpse of the cruising life, FPB style.


    trip to Panama
    http://dashewoffshore.smugmug.com/gallery/6802329_jB96x#435385653_PzJDW

    Bahamas to Nova Scotia
    http://dashewoffshore.smugmug.com/gallery/6802329_jB96x#435202827_m5uCv-A-LB


    Hey Don, they have this listed as a GALE. Wonder what they would call that storm we were in going to St Thomas
    http://dashewoffshore.smugmug.com/gallery/6802329_jB96x#435343048_3eVXd-A-LB
     

  15. Guest62110524

    Guest62110524 Previous Member

    hello Steve Dash and welcome, do you remember when you built a Deerfoot at Kumeu?, well I was in that building, earlier building alloy, later two of my old crew Scotty and Lowie, Bos and Carr built one for you, sub to Kerry
    i went to Pt Townsend where Steve Davis was doing work for you, anyways back to the topic,
    here is a link, I have a new boat for the Euro rivers and using this engine at 4.5 knots, it becomes very cheap to cruise from Antwerp to Marseilles or Black sea
    take a look at the fuel consumption figure for those of you who have never seen fuel
    flow figures at work
    http://www.boattest.com/oem/general-info.aspx?ID=476&lp_id=295#OverView
     
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