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Stuart Dickman of Venice, CA, asks:

Fuel wise, it sems like you guys were cutting it a bit thin. On the Panama to Acapulco leg, would a "stop and top" it off have been uncool ? I know this is a kind of delivery trip, but that darned West Coast wind on the nose would've made me nervous. Events might have been able to pile up into one unfavorable situation... I'm a pilot, so I guess I may be ultra conservative on this issue.

Dan Streech responds:

You are correct about the fuel reserves becoming a little thin at one point on the passage from Panama to Acapulco. From the beginning, it was our intention to run hard on that leg and make it in the shortest possible time.

When we were about 3 days from Acapulco, we were in rough seas and had a current against us. In those conditions and with the remaining fuel on board, I did become a little concerned and slowed down for 24 hours. I made up a spreadsheet on the laptop and played with various scenarios of speed, distance, fuel burn and remaining fuel on board to make sure that we didn't get into trouble. Actually, it never became critical and fortunately the conditions improved so that we could speed up again. Had we really needed to conserve fuel, we could have slowed down even more, turned off the stabilizers and turned off the generator. Also, the "alternate airport" of Salina Cruz was always available to us, but as you say, it would have been very uncool to have mismanaged our situation to the point that we would have needed it.

 

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