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
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.