News

Editors Log - Dear Fellow Boaters

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January 2020
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By
Joy
McPeters

Editors Log from Marinalife Founder Joy McPeters.

Joy McPeters | Editors Log | Marinalife

Dear Fellow Boaters:

I cannot believe it's been 20 years since we started Marinalife! During this wild and crazy ride, we met so many amazing people who helped us along the way. Getting ready to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Marinalife gives me pause for reflection and digging up old photos in the basement reminded me of the good times and challenges of the last two decades.

This issue is dedicated to the friends, family and members who shared my journey along 20 years of Marinalife. In the article, The Story of Marinalife, we step back in time to remember our beginning and growth. In the Visionaries piece, we showcase leaders in the marine industry, and the Port Personalities feature extends our appreciation to three partners whose influence on the magazine is treasured and continues today. And do not miss other terrific features in this issue such as the Best Snorkeling & Diving in the Caribbean, eco-friendly boating and a cruising tale through romantic Greek islands.

As Marinalife continues to evolve and gear up for the next 20 years, we are proud of the team who will be instrumental in our progress. While we move toward the next milestone, you can count on our adventurous editors and writers who weave their love for travel into every issue, the marketing and sales team who keeps a watchful eye on changes in the boating industry, and our attentive, proactive and very patient customer service reps who will help you chart every step of your journey.

The 20 theme that appears in this edition will continue throughout the year while we celebrate our anniversary. Look out for contests, specials and other promotions to recognize this achievement.We thank all our readers who are a huge part of our success. We could not do it without you.

Happy Boating!

Joy McPeters, Marinalife Founder

Thank you for reading the editors log.

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Bob: If people are considering a new boat, are some designs more fuel efficient than others?

Steve: All boat hulls require a certain amount of energy to move through water. The more easily they move through the water, the less energy is required. The primary factors that influence how easily the hull can be moved include hull shape, length, total weight and drag. Hull shapes are sorted into three basic categories: full displacement, semi-displacement and planing. To determine which offers the best fuel economy, we introduce the most important variable of all: speed.

Bob: So, the faster a boat goes, the more fuel it burns?

Steve: Usually that’s true, but not always. Different hull forms respond differently to the demand for speed. As speed increases, boats move through the water in three basic ways. At slow speeds the boat sits fully in the water, riding between a wave at the bow and a wave at the stern. Full displacement boats live in this zone. As soon as speed increases, fuel burn rises sharply. 

Semi-displacement and planing hulls can apply more horsepower and begin to climb up onto the bow wave. In this phase the bow rides awkwardly high, and fuel economy plummets. By applying even more power, these hulls ride more on top of the water. The bow comes down, speed increases, and fuel burn levels off. All get better fuel economy at the slower speeds, but the penalty for higher speeds varies substantially between hull types.

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  • FULL DISPLACEMENT
    Let’s look at some actual numbers from a full-displacement trawler in the 40- to 50-foot range. At a speed of 7.5 knots, if it’s using 3 GPH, that equals 2.5 nMPG?  If we push for a little more speed, the fuel burn changes, at 9 knots, burning 11 GPH, it’s down to 0.8 nMPG. Notice that by going just 1.5 knots slower, it’s using 300% less fuel. 
  • SEMI-DISPLACEMENT
    Now let’s look at a semi-displacement boat of similar size. If this boat is going 8.5 knots and using 3.4 GPH, it’s getting 2.2 nMPG.  If we increase to 10.5 knots, using 14.2 GPH, we’re down to 0.74 nMPG. Once again, going just 2 knots slower increases fuel economy 300%. If we push this boat into higher speeds though, the fuel burn differs significantly. At 15 knots, fuel use goes up dramatically to 23.5 GPH, and our efficiency is down to 0.64 nMPG. At 20 knots, using 35.0 GPH, we’re down to 0.57 nMPG. When more of the boat’s hull is on top of the water, the penalty for increases in speed diminishes dramatically and economy levels off. As speed increases, fuel economy will gradually decline in small increments. 
  • PLANNING
    Finally, let’s look at a boat designed for speed, a lightweight planing hull. When going slowly at 7.5 knots, burning 2.6 GPH, that equals 2.9 nMPG.  When we increase to 11.0 knots, burning 9.2 GPH, that lowers the fuel rate to 1.2 nMPG. At a top speed of 25.0 knots, burning 27.5 GPH, that gives only a small decrease in fuel burn to 0.9 nMPG.

Notice that at the slow displacement speeds, a slight increase in speed causes a large decrease in fuel economy. But once the boat is out of the water at planing speeds, a significant increase in speed had a smaller effect on fuel consumption. 

It should also be pointed out that weight matters, but it matters considerably less at displacement speeds. A full displacement trawler can pack on the cruising weight without much of a penalty. The other hull types won’t pay a penalty at lower speeds, but at higher speeds the additional weight will take its toll.

Bob: Generally speaking, going slower saves fuel?

Steve: For all cruising powerboats, when it comes to fuel economy, speed trumps all other factors—but only at slow speeds. At full-displacement speeds going a knot or two slower can double or triple your fuel economy. 

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