Briney Bug returns to Fort Pierce, Florida, after its maiden voyage to Erie, Pennsylvannia. Rudy and Jill wanted to visit family and see the east coast. They say it was nice to get away from the hurricanes, but "then we were caught in the 'flood of the century' in the Erie Canal. The fun just never stops."
What about diesel engines?
Driving any boat slowly requires less horsepower than going faster, and this is the second key to low-cost cruising under power. In full displacement hulls, at least in sizes most of us want to operate, each knot increase in speed will double fuel consumption, cutting the range in half; this also doubles the cost. Conversely, by reducing speed, each knot reduction will cut the fuel consumption in half, cut the cost in half, thus doubling the range.
Our goal with Briney Bug was to consume less than one half gallon of fuel per hour, and to be able to have a speed at, or better, than what our average speed was when cruising under light conditions in our sailboat.
Since a diesel engine has a longer life when working within a specific RPM range, we wanted our engine to be sized for our targeted fuel consumption, rather than running a larger engine at a too low and more unhealthy RPM. Employing this concept, we are able to operate our boat with only a 40 horsepower engine, giving us a continuous speed of 5 knots.
Yes, a bigger engine would push us faster, but our goal is economy not speed. A lighter hull would require less horsepower for the same speed, or more speed at the same consumption, but we wanted the comfort of heft, thus a heavier boat. We can still exceed six knots with this engine, but we reject the faster speed for continuous running, because of the cost to do so.
Installing twin engines, “in case one fails,” sounds like a logical argument, but if the previously mentioned installation and maintenance considerations are not followed, all that has been accomplished is an increase in cost, a loss of valuable engine room space, exposure of the running gear to lurking dangers, while the reliability of the engines will still be doubtful.
Since a diesel engine, if properly installed and maintained, is reliable, we chose a single engine installation for Briney Bug, and we make sure to have clean fuel and the necessary spare parts, tools, manuals, etc., on board, and to perform that all important maintenance.
—Rudy and Jill Sechez
Here’s how the Briney Bug story is presented:
What does Briney Bug look like?
What about hull design?
What is the secret to engine dependability?
What’s your advice on replacement parts?
What about diesel engines?
How do you contend with boat motion?
Why do you have a sailing rig?
What’s with the big rudder?
Why do you have an open pilothouse?
Simplicity and self-sufficiency rule aboard Briney Bug . . .
How does one go about finding the right boat?
How much did Briney Bug cost?
Editor’s note: Rudy and Jill Sechez, when they are not away cruising, live aboard Briney Bug in Port St. Joe, Florida, and provide boat and yacht repair services. They can be reached at 850-832-7748 or via e-mail by clicking here.