6 Feb 2015: Caloosahatche River - Lake Okeechobee - St Lucie Canal

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Crossing the center of the Florida state presents an interesting opportunity to experience a variety of bridges and locks.

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This journey is best done in good weather and calm waters when you can mosey along and enjoy the countryside and all the onlookers who love watching the process. Many of the bridges are old school and slowly hand cranked. Railroad bridges, lift, swing and fixed bridges. Some of the bridge masters have their work cut out for them with aging equipment and nature's ever changing weather. Each lock also has its own personality. Five opportunities to test one's skill. The lock masters are generally a kind and helpful club. The spectators challenge the boaters to do their best work. Be it bridge or lock, the conditions of both air and water require special attention. Each pass through is one's first pass through with these changing elements and we never take it for granted that we are experienced. Always diligent!

 

 
 

Engines part V: Lessons Learned - The Trial

This will be the last blog on engines for a while.  We know that we have inundated you with engine information, but hope the information is helpful to you.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact us or write questions in the comments.  We will either answer your question in a separate blog or right on the thread.

As a recap, we have discussed several aspects of engines:  fuel efficiency, fuel type, engine type, and calculations.  But one thing we discovered during engine trials are the lessons that we learned.

One of the most fun and truly challenging parts of building the Grampstr's Pride was the Trial phase.  What made this fun was that we had some really cool experts on our boat to show us how to run the equipment and do some fine tuning.  During this process we had the opportunity to watch the experts at Endeavour, Cummins, and Twin Disk make the Grampstr's Pride ready and sea-worthy.  While working on the vessel we learned a few things that affect the engine - what, you ask? Efficiency!

This is where we learned about the sweet spots for running the motor, prop size and pitch, and most importantly how much horse power was too much.  This is what made these trials so fascinating to us as owners and captains. The experts worked out kinks: such as propeller pitch, transmission controls, and jet thruster conversions.  In the end the issues were totally worth it and we are so excited to have had everyone on the Trawler at once. 

Although this is the last blog on the engine series, you can look forward to future blog posts when we will talk about all of the great technology on the Trawler.

 

Engines IV: Yanmar V Cummins Marine Engines

As some of you may have realized we used to own the Grampstr's Endeavour a 38ft TrawlerCat, which was a beautiful trawler and in the future we will discuss our transition to the Grampstr's Pride, a 48ft TrawlerCat, but for now we are going to discuss one big difference -the engines. 

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The Grampstr's Endeavour had two Yanmar Diesel engines.  Whereas, the Grampstr's Pride  has two tier 3 Cummins QSB 6.7ltr Turbo marine Diesel engines.  So the question you may be wondering is why the change in engines?

Lets first discuss the reasons why we did not go with another type of engine. It was not because there were issues with the Yanmar Diesel engines.  Yanmar has a great Marine reputation and has an excellent product.  It was also not because they did not have an engine that would propel the larger boat.  Yanmar has an excellent series of engines for most size watercraft.

The reason we went with the Cummins engines over the Yanmar was fuel efficiency.  After lots of research it turned out that Cummins Tier 3 engine was going to deliver a lot more efficiency and power for the size and type of trawler we were building.  After lots of discussion with Endeavour it was decided that this would be a good way to go.

As we have discussed there are a lot of things that go into choosing an engine.  If you have any questions on why we choose the engine we did please reach out to us.

We hope you will charter with us soon!

Engines Part III: Why Diesel

Right up front as the title of this blogs states we went with a diesel engine.  As promised we thought that we would do our best to explain why we chose diesel over other available engine options.  We will mention that we are not engineers nor mechanics, however, our decisions were not made in a vacuum.  We had the help of many experts and did lots of research to come to the conclusions that we did.  Nonetheless we are going to try to explain our decision making process the best we can.

Although there are a few options out there that allow you to go fuel-less - like going solar or using wind technology - with trawlers the technology is not yet existent, especially for anything that can be defined as "sea worthy".  There are really only two types of fuel for trawlers - gas and diesel.

Gas

As we all know gasoline is a relatively cheap fuel that is available pretty much everywhere on the highway and this remains true at most marinas and fuel docks.  Gas marine motors are generally used for greater speed and a class of craft referred to as sport craft; however, some trawlers are equipped with gas engines.  Gas engines use spark plugs to ignite the fuel for combustion.  Gas engines are known to be quiet and efficient and in modern era are well engineered.

Diesel:

Diesel on the other hand isslightly more limited on the road, but is growing. It is mandatory at pretty much any marina along the ocean, especially the inter-coastal water way. Diesel as a fuel burns for a longer period of time than gas and uses compression to produce combustion, thus no need for spark plugs.  Diesel engines are known to generate high amounts of torque and are known for their efficiency.  Diesel engines are typically louder than gas engines.

 

Gas V Diesel:

As just discussed the use of either fuel is perfectly acceptable out on the water.   Gas and diesel are equally available at marinas and are perfectly acceptable out on the water. The question that came up in our mind was, "Okay, so what's the difference?"

The size of the vessel matters when discussing the type of engine. Gas as described above is known for its performance and sport craft, while diesel is known for larger trawler and work vessels.  A vessel 40ft or smaller may do fine with a gas engine but the owner really has to look at the overall gallon per hour ratio and weight of the vessel.  While larger and heavier boats lose performance while using the gas combustion engines. 

Although performance is a good reason to make decisions, as we have discussed in other posts, we have found the most important reason to make decisions is efficiency and cost.  

The first thing when deciding an engine is cost.  In this there are two different types of cost: their is the "original" cost of the engine and then their is the "long term" cost of the engine. However, beyond these two types of costs, we also need to understand the efficiency over the "long haul."  When it comes to this point the experts over at powerproductsystems.com had to say:

"(A) major different between a marine gas engine and a marine diesel engine is the cost. Marine diesel engines cost much more upfront than marine gas engines. A boat with a diesel engine can add tens of thousands of dollars to the purchase price of your boat. However, a boat with a marine diesel engine will have a longer engine life and retain its value."

This is a common theme around most of experts... we did our research by speaking to several experts, which included the builder of Endeavour Trawler Cats, read magazines, and conducted internet research and we came to the same conclusion.

After looking at several engines and analyzing the different types of fuel we made the decision to use the Cummins Turbo Diesel.

If you have questions about our decisions please post onto comments or send us an email.  We hope you will check out our other adventure blog, and charter with us soon.

 

The Captain's Blog

As we said on our about page we have two types of blogs. The first:  Adventures. This is all about our travels around Florida.  It encapsulates our favorite part about yachting and the fun parts associated with boating and chartering a beautiful trawler.  The second: The Captain's blog. This will be all about the options available for purchasing a charter, particularly our journey from Grampstr's Endeavour to the Grampstr's Pride.

We will also be discussing the equipment choices associated with the building of Grampstr's pride and all of the fun we had during the process.

Finally, we will also post blogs about different issues that arise with boat ownership.  As we said we want to make this blog a great place for prospective buyers of trawlers.  

We also hope you will take an opportunity to charter with us and learn about the great opportunities and lifestyle yachting has to offer.