Ask the Capt: What's a Charter Like?

While making the voyage, we will treat you as part of the crew- you will learn to handle lines, we will spend time learning engine and start up checks, basic navigation, experience in maneuvering and docking, cooking on board, managing fuel costs, and why the trawler life style is a fun and rewarding way to spend time on the water!

Travel Arrangements:  GECCharters can arrange for transportation to and from the airport.

Dress:  Our typical dress is very causal, you will only need comfortable clothes, and shoes, no ties, sport coats or high heels!  This is a fun and relaxed adventure! Where you will be able to do as much or as little as you want.

Costs:   The cost of the charter, including the captain, is $1,000.00 a day plus fuel, marinas and food. Fuel averages about $18.00 per hour at today's rates. GECCharters has a membership with the Florida Yacht Club Council and Marinas, All are first class Marinas, and due to our membership the cost of a night averages approximately $100.00.  Food is really up to you. We consider our clients as family so we usually go to the grocery store together purchase what we want to cook on the boat and split the costs. The remaining food costs depends if we cook on the boat or go to the yacht club or near by restaurants for dinner.  The Yacht Clubs where we are staying usually have great food and reasonably priced. 

5 day charter is $5,000, estimated fuel costs $720.00 (40 hrs@18.00) and Marinas approximately $400.00.  Of course this is an estimate, actual costs could be lower if we stay at anchor or eat in. Our charter accommodates 4 adults plus crew. 


Example 5 Day Itinerary:

We have worked out a great 5 day charter leaving from St. Petersburg. We visit some interesting locations where you can shop and enjoy the day with some fun shopping locations you might enjoy!  Here is the great thing - you are able to choose your adventure with this one.  By planning ahead we can discuss where you want to go and what you want to do.  Operating in the fall and summer in and around the Chesapeake and in the winter and spring around Florida.  We know this will be an adventure that will last you a lifetime.

Monday:  Arrive in the morning, meet and greet, get settled for the 5 days. We will visit  the grocery store and choose the food for the charter and split the costs.  We will the head off for our first stop a short 1 hour trip to the St Petersburg Pass-A-Grille Beach and Yacht Club, just a short walk to old Florida small shops, the St. Petersburg beach and a beautiful sunset on the Gulf of Mexico.

Tuesday: Leave and go north through the inter coastal waterway to Tarpon Springs, Florida a quaint Florida town known for its sponge harvest, neat shops and great restaurants.  

Wednesday: Leave for a trip south, weather permitting, by way of the Gulf of Mexico. If the weather does not cooperate we will travel the southern route of the Inter Coastal Water Way to Bird Key Yacht Club, Sarasota, Florida.  Where you can explore the beach and enjoy a fantastic dinner at the  Yacht Club. 

Thursday: We will be taking a short trip to the other end of Bird Key Island to the Sarasota Yacht Club and a short walk to St. Armands Circle, where the streets are lined with great high end and  bargain shops and Resturants.

Friday: Arrive late afternoon Bid our good byes and start you on the journey home.

 

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.

 

Engines Part II: The Need For Speed?

Briefly, in the last post we discussed the basic concept of efficiency, particularly that efficiency in trawlers is measured in Gal/Hour.  When it comes to boating in general the efficiency of a vessel is measured in Gal/hour, or as stated Gallons per hour.  The reason for this is that distance and speed is not an effective measure of engine performance.  The pros over at boatingmag.com have this to say:

"You measure fuel efficiency in pounds of fuel used per horsepower developed per hour. The pros call it 'brake-specific fuel consumption.' This makes it important to know that gasoline weighs about 6.1 pounds per gallon and diesel fuel 7.2 pounds per gallon."

As indicated by the equation for gal/per hour this calculation allows you to determine fuel burn for both stopping and while in idol.  This model also allows you to measure your efficiency at different speeds/rpm.  We are very happy with our diesel Cummins engines.

The Grampstr's Pride operates at5.9 Gal/Hour at 8 Knots/Hour (approx. 10 MPH), which is our recommended cruising speed. While at full speed of 19 Knots/Hour (22 MPH) the vessel operates at 38 Gal/Hour.

However, we should mention that there are two cruise "sweet spots." The first at 1350 RPM 8Knots (10 MPH), which expends as described above 5.9 Gal/Hr. The second at 2200 RPM when the vessel will travel 15 Knots(17MPH) for 19 Gal/Hour.

Based on this information it is easily determined that although it is fun to go fast the cost of fuel may outweigh the need for speed! But the moral of the story is also to FIND THE SWEET SPOT!

We hope you will contact us soon and consider chartering.