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"We Won't Be Home for Dinner"
Taking a really long cruise has become a lot more doable
By Duncan McIntosh
March 2002 Sea


The last time I wrote about how big a boat it takes to go far off-shore - say, from Southern California to Hawaii - I threw out some figures in the 60 foot and above range. The issues I addressed included tlie fact that, with anv conventional yacht, you need a vessel big enough to carry the necessary fuel to make a 2,200-plus mile run.

I immediately started getting flack from some readers who thought I was becoming an advocate for those who want to do nothing more than see how fast they can burn up a tanker full of fuel to satisfy some power-driven desire to go fast, throw up big wakes and make smoke.

This couldn't be further from the truth, as any power boat cruiser will attest. These boaters' objective is to travel from point to point. Some clioose shorter distances than those who really want to cut their ties with home and go all out.

Coastal cruisers derive the satisfaction they seek within the capabilities of their vessel. The offshore cruiser has a more global picture of new horizons, seeking to cross great oceans - going from Point A on one side to Point B on the other.

I went through some basic math and determined that if you were to burn 20 or 30 gallons of fuel an hour, you would need a vessel capable of carrying 10,000 gallons of fuel to
make just one 2,000 mile journey. This high volume of fuel would necessitate a vessel big enough to carry the load - and vessels that large will be beyond anything you'll see inside at this year's Seattle or Los Angeles boat shows.

What I probably failed to explain was that these boats aren't being pushed flat-out, either. The operators are usually doing their best to run at the optimum cruising speed that will achieve the most miles per gallon, allowing the vessel to reach its destination.

Also not mentioned previously were the capabilities of a trawler. In last month's issue, we wrote about a brand-new, out-of-the-box 40 foot Nordhavn trawler that left Dana Point in
November on a 23,000 mile around-the-world trek that the owners hope to complete by this spring.

The Nordhavn, which is powered by a single six-cylinder Lugger diesel, is a fuel miser's dream. It averaged a meager 2.2 gallons per hour of fuel running at 6 knots during the first leg to Hawaii.

The boat is equipped with a standard 920 gallon fuel supply - a fraction of what a traditional yacht would require. Upon arrival in Hawaii, there was still a quarter load of fuel sloshing around in the tanks.

Why would anyone want to voyage around the world in seven months, missing all of the opportunities to seek adventure in far-off lands? The same reason most of us would want to go cruising in the first place.

It wasn't to demonstrate that they could make the entire voyage on less than 10,000 gallons of fuel - which they probably will. To understand the answer, you must realize that those making the trip - the people of Pacific Asian t^nterprises - design and build the line of Nordhavn trawlers. They wanted, first, to prove that an around-the-world voyage in a 40 foot power boat is very doable - and especially call attention to the fact it was a Nordhavn that was making the trip; and second, to put their yacht to the ultimate test.

At press time, they were just pulling out of Singapore, having skirted a typhoon that certainly must have made seasoned voyagers out of even the greenest crewmembers on board. From Singapore, they're headed to Greece, then on to Antigua, Acapuleo and then home.

You can follow along with the Nordhavn adventurers in upcoming issues of Sea. We feel it's a very interesting story, from which we can all learn something. We hope you'll
agree, and we have set up a link at our Web site - www.goboatingamerica.com - where you can read more about what went into their preparations, find out how their journey is going or follow along in the daily ship's log.

Long-distance cruising under power doesn't represent any modern-day technological breakthrough, as PAE is demonstrating with a time-tested, proven trawler design and a workhorse basic engine block produced by none other than John Deere, the icon manufacturer of tractor and truck engines (which started back before most of us were old enough to climb aboard our first boat). However, PAE has certainly made the task of crossing great distances appear a lot more achievable. Not to mention that you'll end up leaving a small tanker truck of fuel back at the dock.

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