"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
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
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
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
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
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.