The Cost of Motoring
10 June 2012 | Where Size does matter
For all the talk of "Sailing" there is sure a lot of diesel being used here in the Sea of Cortez. That's not to say we don't sail every chance we get or that some cruisers rarely if ever motor from point A to point B, but the truth is most cruisers in the Sea of Cortez spend the majority of their time either motoring or motor sailing. (at least the truth as I see it, but I' could be blind and bumb) The wind of course is free, if you don't count the sail maintenance, but even with the cheaper diesel prices in Mexico, motoring costs Money, Pesos, Dollars, or as I like to measure it, Tacos.
The laws of Physics come into play where a heavier boat burns more diesel to plow it through the water. Our 15,000lb Pearson 365 would motor at 4kts burning about 0.5 gallons of diesel per hour, but our 55,000lb Hudson Force 50 burns just under 1.0 gallons of diesel per hour while motoring at 5kts. So some quick math tells us that with diesel in Mexico costing $2.91/gallon, it costs is $2.80/hr to motor. When I look at this from a standpoint I can relate to, that's a little bit more than the $28Peso Gina Burger here in La Paz!
Being a numbers guy, if we motor at 5kts from La Paz to San Diego the 1000nm trip will take us 200 hours, or cost us $560 in Diesel. The only problem is that when we go to fill up the boat in San Diego or Port San Luis, diesel won't cost $2.91/gallon but closer to $4.50/gallon. So that means we will be filling up our tanks in Turtle Bay along with all of our fuel cans and empty milk jugs we can find aboard! Besides when we install our diesel boat heater to survive the cold in Port San Luis, we will need all the cheap Mexican Diesel we can carry. Just the thought of needing a heater to stay warm is hard for me to wrap my head around as I sit here in a 89-deg boat cabin with a 12v fan blowing on me.