Thursday, April 1, 2010

No Dock Lines for a Month

What does it take to be off the dock for a month? No, I don't mean traveling from one marina to another - truly off the dock for a month, where anything coming to or leaving the boat goes by dinghy, if at all.

What will you run out of first? Fuel? Water? Food?

Although we were not making a blue-water passage when in 2004 we journeyed to Desolation Sound and return - we were indeed off the dock for a month. Except for an hour clearing customs into Canada, and another clearing back into the USA, Eolian's dock lines were unused that whole month. Here are some critical capacities, and our experiences with them:
Eolian carries 320 gallons of water in two tanks. Given that hot water is only available onboard after running the engine, most showers were cold water showers, and thus were real quick. We ended the trip with water to spare - perhaps 100 gallons.
Like water, Eolian's fuel capacity is 320 gallons. We sailed whenever we could, and thus made little more than a dent in the fuel supply. Based on engine hours, we used 85 gallons. But many of those hours were spent at low throttle settings, entering and leaving harbors, so the actual fuel consumption was less.
We have no solar panels or wind generator. But most of our electrical needs were satisfied by the engine alternator, during harbor maneuvering. We did run the generator on those days when we stayed put at anchor - that diesel consumption is included above. Our electrical budget ran 60 - 100 amp hours/day
Jane did a fabulous job of provisioning us with food to last a month. We never completely emptied the refrigerator or the freezer. Everything that came aboard had as much packaging as possible removed before being stowed. Besides giving us more stowage, it minimized the garbage. Which brings us to...
This was our limiting capacity. Even with the removal of vast amounts of cardboard packaging, we were still left with plastic bags (rinse), cans (rinse, cut both ends out, smash flat), and a host of 2-liter pop bottles. After emptying, we rinsed them, squashed them flat, and then quickly reapplied the lid so that they would stay flat.

Glass bottles (beer, liquor) were a bigger problem - there's just not much you can do to make them take up less space when they are empty. Now, it turns out that British Columbia (perhaps all of Canada?) has anti-litter deposit laws on liquor containers. We found that, although not eligible for deposit refunds, the liquor distributors would accept US bottles, thus providing a disposal means. Canadian bottles were gladly accepted, and provided a refund to boot. We made two stops at the liquor distributors to dispose of empty bottles. (Well, at least that was one of the reasons for the stops.)
The other reason for the stops above was, of course, for full bottles. Each individual entering Canada can bring with him/her, duty-free, one of the following:
  • 24 bottles of beer
  • 1.5L of wine
  • 1.14L of spirits
That's not much for a month - less than one bottle of beer a day, if you choose the beer option. So restocking after clearing customs was clearly in order.

Most blue-water passages are less than a month duration. So this little exercise gave us confidence that we could easily handle a blue-water passage with Eolian's capacities.

If we wanted to.

Which we don't.

Because we like sleeping at anchor in snug little gunkholes too much to want to stand watches at sea.


Mike said...

The weight of the water alone that you carry is more than the total recommended payload for our boat :)


bob said...

Wow. I had read that catamarans were sensitive to weight - you confirm it. How much water tankage does Katana have?

And what were you planning to do with the roto-hammer?


Mike said...

We currently can only carry 47 gallons of water. This is one of the reasons we decided to invest in a water maker (to be delivered in two weeks). We'll install some sort of secondary storage along with that.

With respect to the roto-hammer... do you mean with the tool kits I mentioned on our blog today? I have no idea what I would use that for. I have never used one. What I'd really like these days is an electric saw!


SV Estrellita 5.10b said...

Wowzers. We carry 66 gallons of water (we also have 10 gallons via 2 collapsible containers we can fill) and about 40 gallons of diesel (including 3 jerry cans)..and usually 5 gallons of gas for the generator.

bob said...

Katana & Estrellita:

While the water comparison is valid (you guys are both going to need a watermaker to meet your water requirements), the diesel comparison may not be. Eolian's engine is a Perkins 4-236 (75 hp), which burns about a gallon/hr at cruise (5.5 kt, with a clean prop). It is a slow (redline 2500 rpm), naturally aspirated engine, with a minimum of moving parts. I suspect the more valid comparison is miles under engine operation at cruise, rather than gallons. (We also carry a couple of gallons of 2-cycle gas in a jerry can on deck for the 2hp dinghy pusher.)


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