What is the fuel consumption of a yacht?

When someone asks you about the fuel consumption of a passenger car the issue is so common that the answer comes to you. A small and very economical one consumes 5l/100 km, a larger one 7.5l and a very large SUV 10-12l. To the question of how much a yacht consumes, that is, what is the fuel consumption of a yacht, the answer is more complicated. It all depends on the type and size of the vessel. Consumption is most often determined in operating hours, but this is not always the most practical, as you will read later 🙂

Fuel consumption of sailing yachts.

It is assumed that offshore sailing yachts consume approximately 2 to 5l of oil per hour. This will all depend on the size of the yacht and engine capacity. A small 30-foot yacht, with a 25hp engine will consume about 2l per hour. A large 55-footer, with a 100hp engine, may even need approx. 5-6l per hour. This will also depend on what conditions you are sailing in (downwind or upwind, upwind or downwind, wave etc). The worse the conditions, the higher the fuel consumption, but always within a reasonable amount. The fact that, in sailing boats, the engine is only an auxiliary drive and that yachts are mainly driven by wind power cannot be ignored in silence here. In practice, in favourable conditions, you will pour 10-15 litres of fuel into the tank after a week’s cruise on a 45-foot yacht. When you hit a windless week, with an average of five-hour cruises, this will be around 70-110l per week. On sailing catamarans, multiply the consumption times two 😉.

Fuel consumption on a motor yacht?

For motor yachts, the range of fuel consumption is very wide. From small yachts where consumption starts from 5-8l/h to large, gliding vessels with very powerful engines where it will be several tens of l/h.

But don’t be fooled! Stating fuel consumption in litres per hour can be misleading. As an example, let’s take two yachts “A” and “B”, where “A” burns 10l/h and “B” 20l/hour. At first glance yacht B is much less fuel efficient, but if it has twice the cruising speed? Even though the difference in fuel consumption (per hour) between yacht “A” and “B” is twice as much, both yachts will consume the same amount of oil over an identical distance. It is therefore a good idea to convert consumption per unit of distance. Unless you are sailing by the hour – but that’s another story😉.

What should be kept in mind?

  1. For motor yachts, it is very helpful to convert fuel consumption to nautical miles. For example, if a yacht travelling at 25 knots burns 30l of fuel per hour it will need about 12l of oil to travel 10Mm. Just have a look at the map and you already know more or less how much fuel you will use to reach your destination 😉.
  2. Absolutely keep an eye on the fuel level and always have an ample supply. Over the course of a week, it is very difficult on sailing yachts to empty the entire tank. Even if you did, with the help of your sails you can get to the nearest marina and ask for help. On motor yachts you no longer have this comfort. In the event of a fuel shortage, you are left only with the help of someone from outside, here and now. Just imagine sailing into a petrol station on “fumes” with strong winds pushing against nearby rocks – you’ll agree that it’s better not to try it.
  3. In practice, the fuel consumption of a week’s cruise on a motor yacht is not as high as it seems. The sailing philosophy here is different from that of a sailing boat. You don’t do long hours of cruising. You move very quickly and over short distances. You spend the time you save relaxing in lovely bays, exploring islands and towns. Simply put – doing nothing 😊.
  4. By maintaining cruising speed you leave consumption at an optimum level. By increasing speed you cruise a little faster and fuel consumption increases much more, disproportionate to the higher speed.

When planning the expenses of a cruise, the yacht’s fuel consumption should of course be taken into account, nevertheless, contrary to appearances, they will not constitute a very large part of the whole event. Of course, there will be exceptions to this, but these are just the exceptions that prove the rule. I would like to remind you that on sailing yachts, in good winds, fuel expenses may even become symbolic, which, in conclusion, I sincerely wish you 😊.

With sailing greetings
Grzegorz from YACHTIC.com

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