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Old January 31st 06, 06:48 PM posted to rec.boats
 
Posts: n/a
Default (non-political) comments on fuel economy and technology

Where Technology is Failing Boaters


Less than 30 years ago, a pleasure boat was considered well equipped
with a rotary fathometer and a VHF radio. A few of the larger vessels
had radar. Until the advent of the LORAN system, some mariners would
employ radio direction finders to determine the relative bearing of
broadcast towers and would then triangulate three of these positions to
find their position on a paper chart. The average boater in the
1970's would have been hard pressed to believe that soon nearly all
boats, as well as an increasing number of cars and trucks, would be
equipped with a system that collected signals from dozens of satellites
orbiting the earth to determine position. Fewer yet would have believed
that basic access to the mega-billion dollar technology that makes the
Global Positioning System possible would be available for prices of
less than $200. Technology has completely and successfully
revolutionized navigation for most boaters.

One of the few short-term hazards to our recreational boating pastime
is the volatile price of fossil fuel. We all clearly remember when in
the aftermath of last year's Hurricane Katrina retail prices for
gasoline and diesel shot up to well over $3 a gallon at roadside
service stations and prices of $4 a gallon were not unheard of at area
fuel docks. Corporate profit reports released within the last few
months reveal that the majority of those punitive price increases went
directly to the oil companies' net profit column. "Profit"
isn't a dirty word, particularly in a free and competitive
marketplace, but in reality the oil companies seem to collude far more
than they compete. Now that the big oil producers and distributors have
discovered that Americans will indeed pay well over $3-4/gallon for gas
and diesel, pressure from Wall Street interests to sustain or increase
the recent record profits may cause another "summer run-up" of fuel
prices.

As ever, the extremely wealthy are relatively insulated from the
effects of price increases.
A yachtsman spending $10,000 a month or more to finance, moor,
maintain, and insure a high-dollar vessel is unlikely to alter his or
her boating plans if the annual cost of fuel climbs by a few, or even
several, thousand dollars. It's the family boaters of more ordinary
means, sacrificing and budgeting to spend $750-2000 a month on the
hobby, most likely to have plans altered or curtailed when the cost for
fuel on a three-day weekend climbs just a few hundred dollars. I
recently overheard someone remark, "If the middle classes can't
afford to boat, that's just tough luck for them." Such a comment is
very shortsighted. A steady or increasing volume of boaters sustains
the pleasure boating infrastructure that even the most fortunate few
depend upon.

There seems to be no serious effort to build or design mass-market
boats that are more fuel-efficient; and in fact the current state of
the market indicates that the more HP stuffed into a hull the faster it
will sell. When faced with a personal choice of cruising a few knots
slower to improve fuel economy by perhaps 50% or opting for a larger
engine that will cruise a few knots faster at the cost of perhaps 50%
more fuel consumption, the most popular choice among new boat buyers
has been the biggest available (usually least efficient) engine. This
current group of high-performing but less than optimally fuel efficient
boats will be the available used inventory within just a few years.


Other industries, with larger markets and far more research and design
money, are making some major technological advances. We've been doing
some car shopping lately, and are intrigued with the new hybrid
technology we have found on Toyota Highlanders.
(The same system is available on a Lexus, and has been licensed to Ford
for use in the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner vehicles.) The hybrid
drive technology improves fuel economy by about 60%, and reduces
exhaust emissions to a fraction of those emitted by a conventional
petroleum only system. The Toyota and the Lexus hybrid systems
incorporate 3.3 liter V6 engines, and as a result of combined petrol
and electric drives the hybrids not only outperform standard V6 models
but deliver impressive "8-cylinder" speed and acceleration while
consuming less fuel than many 4-cylinder competitors.

Unfortunately, there aren't any boat building companies with the
research and design budget of Toyota, and the comparatively tiny market
for new boats vs. new automobiles would be unable to absorb the R&D
costs for a radical overhaul of the manner in which we propel our
boats. Radar and GPS were adapted to pleasure boats from military uses,
and few of the current and pending technological advances in automotive
propulsion will transfer easily to marine applications.

Will technology radically improve the fuel efficiency of out boats
without unduly sacrificing performance? Perhaps. While a technological
solution seems unlikely at the present moment, the entire concept of
GPS would have seemed like a fantasy to some boater turning a circular
antenna to hone in on radio broadcast towers just a generation ago.

In the meantime, we can keep our boats tuned up and maintained, select
and install the correct propellers, haul off unused items to reduce
excess weight, install fuel flow meters to seek the most efficient
cruising speeds, keep the bottom clean, and pay some attention to
currents when planning a cruise. Here in the Pacific NW, there is no
good reason for fuel costs to keep a boater off the water. Regardless
of where one moors or launches, there will be dozens of interesting
parks, marinas, secluded anchorages, and charming waterfront villages
only a short distance away. We can be thankful for our unique geography
while we wait and hope for technology to help us make some dramatic
improvements in fuel efficiency.


  #2   Report Post  
Old January 31st 06, 09:09 PM posted to rec.boats
JohnH
 
Posts: n/a
Default (non-political) comments on fuel economy and technology

On 31 Jan 2006 10:48:48 -0800, wrote:

Where Technology is Failing Boaters


Less than 30 years ago, a pleasure boat was considered well equipped
with a rotary fathometer and a VHF radio. A few of the larger vessels
had radar. Until the advent of the LORAN system, some mariners would
employ radio direction finders to determine the relative bearing of
broadcast towers and would then triangulate three of these positions to
find their position on a paper chart. The average boater in the
1970's would have been hard pressed to believe that soon nearly all
boats, as well as an increasing number of cars and trucks, would be
equipped with a system that collected signals from dozens of satellites
orbiting the earth to determine position. Fewer yet would have believed
that basic access to the mega-billion dollar technology that makes the
Global Positioning System possible would be available for prices of
less than $200. Technology has completely and successfully
revolutionized navigation for most boaters.

One of the few short-term hazards to our recreational boating pastime
is the volatile price of fossil fuel. We all clearly remember when in
the aftermath of last year's Hurricane Katrina retail prices for
gasoline and diesel shot up to well over $3 a gallon at roadside
service stations and prices of $4 a gallon were not unheard of at area
fuel docks. Corporate profit reports released within the last few
months reveal that the majority of those punitive price increases went
directly to the oil companies' net profit column. "Profit"
isn't a dirty word, particularly in a free and competitive
marketplace, but in reality the oil companies seem to collude far more
than they compete. Now that the big oil producers and distributors have
discovered that Americans will indeed pay well over $3-4/gallon for gas
and diesel, pressure from Wall Street interests to sustain or increase
the recent record profits may cause another "summer run-up" of fuel
prices.

As ever, the extremely wealthy are relatively insulated from the
effects of price increases.
A yachtsman spending $10,000 a month or more to finance, moor,
maintain, and insure a high-dollar vessel is unlikely to alter his or
her boating plans if the annual cost of fuel climbs by a few, or even
several, thousand dollars. It's the family boaters of more ordinary
means, sacrificing and budgeting to spend $750-2000 a month on the
hobby, most likely to have plans altered or curtailed when the cost for
fuel on a three-day weekend climbs just a few hundred dollars. I
recently overheard someone remark, "If the middle classes can't
afford to boat, that's just tough luck for them." Such a comment is
very shortsighted. A steady or increasing volume of boaters sustains
the pleasure boating infrastructure that even the most fortunate few
depend upon.

There seems to be no serious effort to build or design mass-market
boats that are more fuel-efficient; and in fact the current state of
the market indicates that the more HP stuffed into a hull the faster it
will sell. When faced with a personal choice of cruising a few knots
slower to improve fuel economy by perhaps 50% or opting for a larger
engine that will cruise a few knots faster at the cost of perhaps 50%
more fuel consumption, the most popular choice among new boat buyers
has been the biggest available (usually least efficient) engine. This
current group of high-performing but less than optimally fuel efficient
boats will be the available used inventory within just a few years.


Other industries, with larger markets and far more research and design
money, are making some major technological advances. We've been doing
some car shopping lately, and are intrigued with the new hybrid
technology we have found on Toyota Highlanders.
(The same system is available on a Lexus, and has been licensed to Ford
for use in the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner vehicles.) The hybrid
drive technology improves fuel economy by about 60%, and reduces
exhaust emissions to a fraction of those emitted by a conventional
petroleum only system. The Toyota and the Lexus hybrid systems
incorporate 3.3 liter V6 engines, and as a result of combined petrol
and electric drives the hybrids not only outperform standard V6 models
but deliver impressive "8-cylinder" speed and acceleration while
consuming less fuel than many 4-cylinder competitors.

Unfortunately, there aren't any boat building companies with the
research and design budget of Toyota, and the comparatively tiny market
for new boats vs. new automobiles would be unable to absorb the R&D
costs for a radical overhaul of the manner in which we propel our
boats. Radar and GPS were adapted to pleasure boats from military uses,
and few of the current and pending technological advances in automotive
propulsion will transfer easily to marine applications.

Will technology radically improve the fuel efficiency of out boats
without unduly sacrificing performance? Perhaps. While a technological
solution seems unlikely at the present moment, the entire concept of
GPS would have seemed like a fantasy to some boater turning a circular
antenna to hone in on radio broadcast towers just a generation ago.

In the meantime, we can keep our boats tuned up and maintained, select
and install the correct propellers, haul off unused items to reduce
excess weight, install fuel flow meters to seek the most efficient
cruising speeds, keep the bottom clean, and pay some attention to
currents when planning a cruise. Here in the Pacific NW, there is no
good reason for fuel costs to keep a boater off the water. Regardless
of where one moors or launches, there will be dozens of interesting
parks, marinas, secluded anchorages, and charming waterfront villages
only a short distance away. We can be thankful for our unique geography
while we wait and hope for technology to help us make some dramatic
improvements in fuel efficiency.


It *would* be nice if manufacturers would at least inform buyers of the
most 'efficient' engine size for a given boat. But then, I suppose our
definitions of efficient would be different. I would like an engine that
would get me on plane and keep me there at least cost. The top speed is
totally unimportant. If the boat will stay on plane at 20 mph, then that's
fast enough.

A friend has a 27' Judge 'Downeast' with a 90hp Honda 4 stroke. It's not
fast, but it will get on plane and stay there. His cruising speed is about
18mph. That's efficiency.

http://www.judgeyachts.com/27downeast/27downeast.htm
--
'Til next time,

John H

******************************************
***** Have a Spectacular Day! *****
******************************************
  #3   Report Post  
Old January 31st 06, 10:19 PM posted to rec.boats
Calif Bill
 
Posts: n/a
Default (non-political) comments on fuel economy and technology


wrote in message
oups.com...
Where Technology is Failing Boaters


Less than 30 years ago, a pleasure boat was considered well equipped
with a rotary fathometer and a VHF radio. A few of the larger vessels
had radar. Until the advent of the LORAN system, some mariners would
employ radio direction finders to determine the relative bearing of
broadcast towers and would then triangulate three of these positions to
find their position on a paper chart. The average boater in the
1970's would have been hard pressed to believe that soon nearly all
boats, as well as an increasing number of cars and trucks, would be
equipped with a system that collected signals from dozens of satellites
orbiting the earth to determine position. Fewer yet would have believed
that basic access to the mega-billion dollar technology that makes the
Global Positioning System possible would be available for prices of
less than $200. Technology has completely and successfully
revolutionized navigation for most boaters.

One of the few short-term hazards to our recreational boating pastime
is the volatile price of fossil fuel. We all clearly remember when in
the aftermath of last year's Hurricane Katrina retail prices for
gasoline and diesel shot up to well over $3 a gallon at roadside
service stations and prices of $4 a gallon were not unheard of at area
fuel docks. Corporate profit reports released within the last few
months reveal that the majority of those punitive price increases went
directly to the oil companies' net profit column. "Profit"
isn't a dirty word, particularly in a free and competitive
marketplace, but in reality the oil companies seem to collude far more
than they compete. Now that the big oil producers and distributors have
discovered that Americans will indeed pay well over $3-4/gallon for gas
and diesel, pressure from Wall Street interests to sustain or increase
the recent record profits may cause another "summer run-up" of fuel
prices.

As ever, the extremely wealthy are relatively insulated from the
effects of price increases.
A yachtsman spending $10,000 a month or more to finance, moor,
maintain, and insure a high-dollar vessel is unlikely to alter his or
her boating plans if the annual cost of fuel climbs by a few, or even
several, thousand dollars. It's the family boaters of more ordinary
means, sacrificing and budgeting to spend $750-2000 a month on the
hobby, most likely to have plans altered or curtailed when the cost for
fuel on a three-day weekend climbs just a few hundred dollars. I
recently overheard someone remark, "If the middle classes can't
afford to boat, that's just tough luck for them." Such a comment is
very shortsighted. A steady or increasing volume of boaters sustains
the pleasure boating infrastructure that even the most fortunate few
depend upon.

There seems to be no serious effort to build or design mass-market
boats that are more fuel-efficient; and in fact the current state of
the market indicates that the more HP stuffed into a hull the faster it
will sell. When faced with a personal choice of cruising a few knots
slower to improve fuel economy by perhaps 50% or opting for a larger
engine that will cruise a few knots faster at the cost of perhaps 50%
more fuel consumption, the most popular choice among new boat buyers
has been the biggest available (usually least efficient) engine. This
current group of high-performing but less than optimally fuel efficient
boats will be the available used inventory within just a few years.


Other industries, with larger markets and far more research and design
money, are making some major technological advances. We've been doing
some car shopping lately, and are intrigued with the new hybrid
technology we have found on Toyota Highlanders.
(The same system is available on a Lexus, and has been licensed to Ford
for use in the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner vehicles.) The hybrid
drive technology improves fuel economy by about 60%, and reduces
exhaust emissions to a fraction of those emitted by a conventional
petroleum only system. The Toyota and the Lexus hybrid systems
incorporate 3.3 liter V6 engines, and as a result of combined petrol
and electric drives the hybrids not only outperform standard V6 models
but deliver impressive "8-cylinder" speed and acceleration while
consuming less fuel than many 4-cylinder competitors.

Unfortunately, there aren't any boat building companies with the
research and design budget of Toyota, and the comparatively tiny market
for new boats vs. new automobiles would be unable to absorb the R&D
costs for a radical overhaul of the manner in which we propel our
boats. Radar and GPS were adapted to pleasure boats from military uses,
and few of the current and pending technological advances in automotive
propulsion will transfer easily to marine applications.

Will technology radically improve the fuel efficiency of out boats
without unduly sacrificing performance? Perhaps. While a technological
solution seems unlikely at the present moment, the entire concept of
GPS would have seemed like a fantasy to some boater turning a circular
antenna to hone in on radio broadcast towers just a generation ago.

In the meantime, we can keep our boats tuned up and maintained, select
and install the correct propellers, haul off unused items to reduce
excess weight, install fuel flow meters to seek the most efficient
cruising speeds, keep the bottom clean, and pay some attention to
currents when planning a cruise. Here in the Pacific NW, there is no
good reason for fuel costs to keep a boater off the water. Regardless
of where one moors or launches, there will be dozens of interesting
parks, marinas, secluded anchorages, and charming waterfront villages
only a short distance away. We can be thankful for our unique geography
while we wait and hope for technology to help us make some dramatic
improvements in fuel efficiency.


We used to use portable radios with the bar antenna to locate the direction
of the radio towers at San francisco. As to Hybrid's, do not work in boats,
as no coasting and braking for regenerative power. We have looked at
hybrids to replace wife's car maybe next year. Overall the cost per mile is
a little higher than conventional vehicles. Milage is not that much more
than some of the same size cars, but you are looking at $3500-5000 at
100,000 miles for a new battery.


  #4   Report Post  
Old January 31st 06, 10:54 PM posted to rec.boats
[email protected]
 
Posts: n/a
Default (non-political) comments on fuel economy and technology


Calif Bill wrote:
wrote in message
oups.com...
Where Technology is Failing Boaters


Less than 30 years ago, a pleasure boat was considered well equipped
with a rotary fathometer and a VHF radio. A few of the larger vessels
had radar. Until the advent of the LORAN system, some mariners would
employ radio direction finders to determine the relative bearing of
broadcast towers and would then triangulate three of these positions to
find their position on a paper chart. The average boater in the
1970's would have been hard pressed to believe that soon nearly all
boats, as well as an increasing number of cars and trucks, would be
equipped with a system that collected signals from dozens of satellites
orbiting the earth to determine position. Fewer yet would have believed
that basic access to the mega-billion dollar technology that makes the
Global Positioning System possible would be available for prices of
less than $200. Technology has completely and successfully
revolutionized navigation for most boaters.

One of the few short-term hazards to our recreational boating pastime
is the volatile price of fossil fuel. We all clearly remember when in
the aftermath of last year's Hurricane Katrina retail prices for
gasoline and diesel shot up to well over $3 a gallon at roadside
service stations and prices of $4 a gallon were not unheard of at area
fuel docks. Corporate profit reports released within the last few
months reveal that the majority of those punitive price increases went
directly to the oil companies' net profit column. "Profit"
isn't a dirty word, particularly in a free and competitive
marketplace, but in reality the oil companies seem to collude far more
than they compete. Now that the big oil producers and distributors have
discovered that Americans will indeed pay well over $3-4/gallon for gas
and diesel, pressure from Wall Street interests to sustain or increase
the recent record profits may cause another "summer run-up" of fuel
prices.

As ever, the extremely wealthy are relatively insulated from the
effects of price increases.
A yachtsman spending $10,000 a month or more to finance, moor,
maintain, and insure a high-dollar vessel is unlikely to alter his or
her boating plans if the annual cost of fuel climbs by a few, or even
several, thousand dollars. It's the family boaters of more ordinary
means, sacrificing and budgeting to spend $750-2000 a month on the
hobby, most likely to have plans altered or curtailed when the cost for
fuel on a three-day weekend climbs just a few hundred dollars. I
recently overheard someone remark, "If the middle classes can't
afford to boat, that's just tough luck for them." Such a comment is
very shortsighted. A steady or increasing volume of boaters sustains
the pleasure boating infrastructure that even the most fortunate few
depend upon.

There seems to be no serious effort to build or design mass-market
boats that are more fuel-efficient; and in fact the current state of
the market indicates that the more HP stuffed into a hull the faster it
will sell. When faced with a personal choice of cruising a few knots
slower to improve fuel economy by perhaps 50% or opting for a larger
engine that will cruise a few knots faster at the cost of perhaps 50%
more fuel consumption, the most popular choice among new boat buyers
has been the biggest available (usually least efficient) engine. This
current group of high-performing but less than optimally fuel efficient
boats will be the available used inventory within just a few years.


Other industries, with larger markets and far more research and design
money, are making some major technological advances. We've been doing
some car shopping lately, and are intrigued with the new hybrid
technology we have found on Toyota Highlanders.
(The same system is available on a Lexus, and has been licensed to Ford
for use in the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner vehicles.) The hybrid
drive technology improves fuel economy by about 60%, and reduces
exhaust emissions to a fraction of those emitted by a conventional
petroleum only system. The Toyota and the Lexus hybrid systems
incorporate 3.3 liter V6 engines, and as a result of combined petrol
and electric drives the hybrids not only outperform standard V6 models
but deliver impressive "8-cylinder" speed and acceleration while
consuming less fuel than many 4-cylinder competitors.

Unfortunately, there aren't any boat building companies with the
research and design budget of Toyota, and the comparatively tiny market
for new boats vs. new automobiles would be unable to absorb the R&D
costs for a radical overhaul of the manner in which we propel our
boats. Radar and GPS were adapted to pleasure boats from military uses,
and few of the current and pending technological advances in automotive
propulsion will transfer easily to marine applications.

Will technology radically improve the fuel efficiency of out boats
without unduly sacrificing performance? Perhaps. While a technological
solution seems unlikely at the present moment, the entire concept of
GPS would have seemed like a fantasy to some boater turning a circular
antenna to hone in on radio broadcast towers just a generation ago.

In the meantime, we can keep our boats tuned up and maintained, select
and install the correct propellers, haul off unused items to reduce
excess weight, install fuel flow meters to seek the most efficient
cruising speeds, keep the bottom clean, and pay some attention to
currents when planning a cruise. Here in the Pacific NW, there is no
good reason for fuel costs to keep a boater off the water. Regardless
of where one moors or launches, there will be dozens of interesting
parks, marinas, secluded anchorages, and charming waterfront villages
only a short distance away. We can be thankful for our unique geography
while we wait and hope for technology to help us make some dramatic
improvements in fuel efficiency.


We used to use portable radios with the bar antenna to locate the direction
of the radio towers at San francisco. As to Hybrid's, do not work in boats,
as no coasting and braking for regenerative power. We have looked at
hybrids to replace wife's car maybe next year. Overall the cost per mile is
a little higher than conventional vehicles. Milage is not that much more
than some of the same size cars, but you are looking at $3500-5000 at
100,000 miles for a new battery.


Warning: Do not look at the Lexus Hybrid. Especially do not drive one.
The Toyota, which is a very nice car, compares to a Lexus like a Chevy
compares to a Cadillac so the Lexus will spoil the Toyota and you will
get to write a check for about $10,000 more. Talk about acceleration,
wow. I thought hybrids would be sluggish, and the drive trains on the
Highlander and the Lexus combine the electric motors and the gas engine
to respond very quickly from a standing start or when merging into
freeway traffic.(Actually, the four cylinder Ford and Mercury hybrids
were fairly sluggish). Your observation that the hybrid only gets
several more MPG than a straight petrol V6 is pretty accurate, but IMO
it makes more sense to compare the mpg of the hybrid to that of the V8
models (based on similar performance) and in that case the hybrid
stacks up very well.

Still not sure what we'll do, but right now the Lexus is the front
runner and would probably be in the wife's parking spot aleady if it
didn't take a bit of mental adjustment to write a check north of 50
big'uns for a darned car. We'd go the hybrid before we'd go with a
standard V6, but only partially due to being "green" or trying to save
the planet- I just love the way the rig accelerates and runs. It would
be cheaper to just buy a V6 and accept the reduced gas mileage- but the
V6 is too underpowered compared to the hybrid.

And that's the difference between the automotive industry and the
boating industry. Toyota will sell more new product in any one month,
probably, than the combined sales of the entire boating industry for an
entire year. The hybrid technology seen in the Toyota, Lexus, Ford, and
Mercury vehicles obviously won't work on a boat, but it is an example
of how thinking outside the box takes us closer to solutions to
difficult problems. Too bad there isn't the same kind of R&D money
avaialable to boat builders- because if there were somebody would
devise a way to improve fuel economy without entirely foregoing speed.

  #5   Report Post  
Old February 1st 06, 03:58 AM posted to rec.boats
Calif Bill
 
Posts: n/a
Default (non-political) comments on fuel economy and technology


wrote in message
oups.com...

Calif Bill wrote:
wrote in message
oups.com...
Where Technology is Failing Boaters


Less than 30 years ago, a pleasure boat was considered well equipped
with a rotary fathometer and a VHF radio. A few of the larger vessels
had radar. Until the advent of the LORAN system, some mariners would
employ radio direction finders to determine the relative bearing of
broadcast towers and would then triangulate three of these positions to
find their position on a paper chart. The average boater in the
1970's would have been hard pressed to believe that soon nearly all
boats, as well as an increasing number of cars and trucks, would be
equipped with a system that collected signals from dozens of satellites
orbiting the earth to determine position. Fewer yet would have believed
that basic access to the mega-billion dollar technology that makes the
Global Positioning System possible would be available for prices of
less than $200. Technology has completely and successfully
revolutionized navigation for most boaters.

One of the few short-term hazards to our recreational boating pastime
is the volatile price of fossil fuel. We all clearly remember when in
the aftermath of last year's Hurricane Katrina retail prices for
gasoline and diesel shot up to well over $3 a gallon at roadside
service stations and prices of $4 a gallon were not unheard of at area
fuel docks. Corporate profit reports released within the last few
months reveal that the majority of those punitive price increases went
directly to the oil companies' net profit column. "Profit"
isn't a dirty word, particularly in a free and competitive
marketplace, but in reality the oil companies seem to collude far more
than they compete. Now that the big oil producers and distributors have
discovered that Americans will indeed pay well over $3-4/gallon for gas
and diesel, pressure from Wall Street interests to sustain or increase
the recent record profits may cause another "summer run-up" of fuel
prices.

As ever, the extremely wealthy are relatively insulated from the
effects of price increases.
A yachtsman spending $10,000 a month or more to finance, moor,
maintain, and insure a high-dollar vessel is unlikely to alter his or
her boating plans if the annual cost of fuel climbs by a few, or even
several, thousand dollars. It's the family boaters of more ordinary
means, sacrificing and budgeting to spend $750-2000 a month on the
hobby, most likely to have plans altered or curtailed when the cost for
fuel on a three-day weekend climbs just a few hundred dollars. I
recently overheard someone remark, "If the middle classes can't
afford to boat, that's just tough luck for them." Such a comment is
very shortsighted. A steady or increasing volume of boaters sustains
the pleasure boating infrastructure that even the most fortunate few
depend upon.

There seems to be no serious effort to build or design mass-market
boats that are more fuel-efficient; and in fact the current state of
the market indicates that the more HP stuffed into a hull the faster it
will sell. When faced with a personal choice of cruising a few knots
slower to improve fuel economy by perhaps 50% or opting for a larger
engine that will cruise a few knots faster at the cost of perhaps 50%
more fuel consumption, the most popular choice among new boat buyers
has been the biggest available (usually least efficient) engine. This
current group of high-performing but less than optimally fuel efficient
boats will be the available used inventory within just a few years.


Other industries, with larger markets and far more research and design
money, are making some major technological advances. We've been doing
some car shopping lately, and are intrigued with the new hybrid
technology we have found on Toyota Highlanders.
(The same system is available on a Lexus, and has been licensed to Ford
for use in the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner vehicles.) The hybrid
drive technology improves fuel economy by about 60%, and reduces
exhaust emissions to a fraction of those emitted by a conventional
petroleum only system. The Toyota and the Lexus hybrid systems
incorporate 3.3 liter V6 engines, and as a result of combined petrol
and electric drives the hybrids not only outperform standard V6 models
but deliver impressive "8-cylinder" speed and acceleration while
consuming less fuel than many 4-cylinder competitors.

Unfortunately, there aren't any boat building companies with the
research and design budget of Toyota, and the comparatively tiny market
for new boats vs. new automobiles would be unable to absorb the R&D
costs for a radical overhaul of the manner in which we propel our
boats. Radar and GPS were adapted to pleasure boats from military uses,
and few of the current and pending technological advances in automotive
propulsion will transfer easily to marine applications.

Will technology radically improve the fuel efficiency of out boats
without unduly sacrificing performance? Perhaps. While a technological
solution seems unlikely at the present moment, the entire concept of
GPS would have seemed like a fantasy to some boater turning a circular
antenna to hone in on radio broadcast towers just a generation ago.

In the meantime, we can keep our boats tuned up and maintained, select
and install the correct propellers, haul off unused items to reduce
excess weight, install fuel flow meters to seek the most efficient
cruising speeds, keep the bottom clean, and pay some attention to
currents when planning a cruise. Here in the Pacific NW, there is no
good reason for fuel costs to keep a boater off the water. Regardless
of where one moors or launches, there will be dozens of interesting
parks, marinas, secluded anchorages, and charming waterfront villages
only a short distance away. We can be thankful for our unique geography
while we wait and hope for technology to help us make some dramatic
improvements in fuel efficiency.


We used to use portable radios with the bar antenna to locate the
direction
of the radio towers at San francisco. As to Hybrid's, do not work in
boats,
as no coasting and braking for regenerative power. We have looked at
hybrids to replace wife's car maybe next year. Overall the cost per mile
is
a little higher than conventional vehicles. Milage is not that much more
than some of the same size cars, but you are looking at $3500-5000 at
100,000 miles for a new battery.


Warning: Do not look at the Lexus Hybrid. Especially do not drive one.
The Toyota, which is a very nice car, compares to a Lexus like a Chevy
compares to a Cadillac so the Lexus will spoil the Toyota and you will
get to write a check for about $10,000 more. Talk about acceleration,
wow. I thought hybrids would be sluggish, and the drive trains on the
Highlander and the Lexus combine the electric motors and the gas engine
to respond very quickly from a standing start or when merging into
freeway traffic.(Actually, the four cylinder Ford and Mercury hybrids
were fairly sluggish). Your observation that the hybrid only gets
several more MPG than a straight petrol V6 is pretty accurate, but IMO
it makes more sense to compare the mpg of the hybrid to that of the V8
models (based on similar performance) and in that case the hybrid
stacks up very well.

Still not sure what we'll do, but right now the Lexus is the front
runner and would probably be in the wife's parking spot aleady if it
didn't take a bit of mental adjustment to write a check north of 50
big'uns for a darned car. We'd go the hybrid before we'd go with a
standard V6, but only partially due to being "green" or trying to save
the planet- I just love the way the rig accelerates and runs. It would
be cheaper to just buy a V6 and accept the reduced gas mileage- but the
V6 is too underpowered compared to the hybrid.

And that's the difference between the automotive industry and the
boating industry. Toyota will sell more new product in any one month,
probably, than the combined sales of the entire boating industry for an
entire year. The hybrid technology seen in the Toyota, Lexus, Ford, and
Mercury vehicles obviously won't work on a boat, but it is an example
of how thinking outside the box takes us closer to solutions to
difficult problems. Too bad there isn't the same kind of R&D money
avaialable to boat builders- because if there were somebody would
devise a way to improve fuel economy without entirely foregoing speed.


True, but the hybrids rate poor on long distance highway driving. They just
do not regenerate enough energy.




  #7   Report Post  
Old February 1st 06, 08:24 AM posted to rec.boats
RCE
 
Posts: n/a
Default (non-political) comments on fuel economy and technology


"Calif Bill" wrote in message
ink.net...


True, but the hybrids rate poor on long distance highway driving. They
just do not regenerate enough energy.


How do the hybrids fair in cold weather? Assume you park it outside
overnight without being "plugged in" in subfreezing temps. Do the batteries
lose capacity and affect drivability until they warm up again?

RCE


  #8   Report Post  
Old February 1st 06, 12:16 PM posted to rec.boats
Lars Johansson
 
Posts: n/a
Default (non-political) comments on fuel economy and technology

wrote in message
oups.com...
Where Technology is Failing Boaters

....
There seems to be no serious effort to build or design mass-market
boats that are more fuel-efficient; and in fact the current state of
the market indicates that the more HP stuffed into a hull the faster it
will sell.

....
The technology to produce the ultimete fuel efficiency for boats already
exists: sails.
/Lars J


  #9   Report Post  
Old February 1st 06, 12:23 PM posted to rec.boats
Reggie Smithers
 
Posts: n/a
Default (non-political) comments on fuel economy and technology

wrote:
Calif Bill wrote:
wrote in message
oups.com...
Where Technology is Failing Boaters


Less than 30 years ago, a pleasure boat was considered well equipped
with a rotary fathometer and a VHF radio. A few of the larger vessels
had radar. Until the advent of the LORAN system, some mariners would
employ radio direction finders to determine the relative bearing of
broadcast towers and would then triangulate three of these positions to
find their position on a paper chart. The average boater in the
1970's would have been hard pressed to believe that soon nearly all
boats, as well as an increasing number of cars and trucks, would be
equipped with a system that collected signals from dozens of satellites
orbiting the earth to determine position. Fewer yet would have believed
that basic access to the mega-billion dollar technology that makes the
Global Positioning System possible would be available for prices of
less than $200. Technology has completely and successfully
revolutionized navigation for most boaters.

One of the few short-term hazards to our recreational boating pastime
is the volatile price of fossil fuel. We all clearly remember when in
the aftermath of last year's Hurricane Katrina retail prices for
gasoline and diesel shot up to well over $3 a gallon at roadside
service stations and prices of $4 a gallon were not unheard of at area
fuel docks. Corporate profit reports released within the last few
months reveal that the majority of those punitive price increases went
directly to the oil companies' net profit column. "Profit"
isn't a dirty word, particularly in a free and competitive
marketplace, but in reality the oil companies seem to collude far more
than they compete. Now that the big oil producers and distributors have
discovered that Americans will indeed pay well over $3-4/gallon for gas
and diesel, pressure from Wall Street interests to sustain or increase
the recent record profits may cause another "summer run-up" of fuel
prices.

As ever, the extremely wealthy are relatively insulated from the
effects of price increases.
A yachtsman spending $10,000 a month or more to finance, moor,
maintain, and insure a high-dollar vessel is unlikely to alter his or
her boating plans if the annual cost of fuel climbs by a few, or even
several, thousand dollars. It's the family boaters of more ordinary
means, sacrificing and budgeting to spend $750-2000 a month on the
hobby, most likely to have plans altered or curtailed when the cost for
fuel on a three-day weekend climbs just a few hundred dollars. I
recently overheard someone remark, "If the middle classes can't
afford to boat, that's just tough luck for them." Such a comment is
very shortsighted. A steady or increasing volume of boaters sustains
the pleasure boating infrastructure that even the most fortunate few
depend upon.

There seems to be no serious effort to build or design mass-market
boats that are more fuel-efficient; and in fact the current state of
the market indicates that the more HP stuffed into a hull the faster it
will sell. When faced with a personal choice of cruising a few knots
slower to improve fuel economy by perhaps 50% or opting for a larger
engine that will cruise a few knots faster at the cost of perhaps 50%
more fuel consumption, the most popular choice among new boat buyers
has been the biggest available (usually least efficient) engine. This
current group of high-performing but less than optimally fuel efficient
boats will be the available used inventory within just a few years.


Other industries, with larger markets and far more research and design
money, are making some major technological advances. We've been doing
some car shopping lately, and are intrigued with the new hybrid
technology we have found on Toyota Highlanders.
(The same system is available on a Lexus, and has been licensed to Ford
for use in the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner vehicles.) The hybrid
drive technology improves fuel economy by about 60%, and reduces
exhaust emissions to a fraction of those emitted by a conventional
petroleum only system. The Toyota and the Lexus hybrid systems
incorporate 3.3 liter V6 engines, and as a result of combined petrol
and electric drives the hybrids not only outperform standard V6 models
but deliver impressive "8-cylinder" speed and acceleration while
consuming less fuel than many 4-cylinder competitors.

Unfortunately, there aren't any boat building companies with the
research and design budget of Toyota, and the comparatively tiny market
for new boats vs. new automobiles would be unable to absorb the R&D
costs for a radical overhaul of the manner in which we propel our
boats. Radar and GPS were adapted to pleasure boats from military uses,
and few of the current and pending technological advances in automotive
propulsion will transfer easily to marine applications.

Will technology radically improve the fuel efficiency of out boats
without unduly sacrificing performance? Perhaps. While a technological
solution seems unlikely at the present moment, the entire concept of
GPS would have seemed like a fantasy to some boater turning a circular
antenna to hone in on radio broadcast towers just a generation ago.

In the meantime, we can keep our boats tuned up and maintained, select
and install the correct propellers, haul off unused items to reduce
excess weight, install fuel flow meters to seek the most efficient
cruising speeds, keep the bottom clean, and pay some attention to
currents when planning a cruise. Here in the Pacific NW, there is no
good reason for fuel costs to keep a boater off the water. Regardless
of where one moors or launches, there will be dozens of interesting
parks, marinas, secluded anchorages, and charming waterfront villages
only a short distance away. We can be thankful for our unique geography
while we wait and hope for technology to help us make some dramatic
improvements in fuel efficiency.

We used to use portable radios with the bar antenna to locate the direction
of the radio towers at San francisco. As to Hybrid's, do not work in boats,
as no coasting and braking for regenerative power. We have looked at
hybrids to replace wife's car maybe next year. Overall the cost per mile is
a little higher than conventional vehicles. Milage is not that much more
than some of the same size cars, but you are looking at $3500-5000 at
100,000 miles for a new battery.


Warning: Do not look at the Lexus Hybrid. Especially do not drive one.
The Toyota, which is a very nice car, compares to a Lexus like a Chevy
compares to a Cadillac so the Lexus will spoil the Toyota and you will
get to write a check for about $10,000 more. Talk about acceleration,
wow. I thought hybrids would be sluggish, and the drive trains on the
Highlander and the Lexus combine the electric motors and the gas engine
to respond very quickly from a standing start or when merging into
freeway traffic.(Actually, the four cylinder Ford and Mercury hybrids
were fairly sluggish). Your observation that the hybrid only gets
several more MPG than a straight petrol V6 is pretty accurate, but IMO
it makes more sense to compare the mpg of the hybrid to that of the V8
models (based on similar performance) and in that case the hybrid
stacks up very well.

Still not sure what we'll do, but right now the Lexus is the front
runner and would probably be in the wife's parking spot aleady if it
didn't take a bit of mental adjustment to write a check north of 50
big'uns for a darned car. We'd go the hybrid before we'd go with a
standard V6, but only partially due to being "green" or trying to save
the planet- I just love the way the rig accelerates and runs. It would
be cheaper to just buy a V6 and accept the reduced gas mileage- but the
V6 is too underpowered compared to the hybrid.

And that's the difference between the automotive industry and the
boating industry. Toyota will sell more new product in any one month,
probably, than the combined sales of the entire boating industry for an
entire year. The hybrid technology seen in the Toyota, Lexus, Ford, and
Mercury vehicles obviously won't work on a boat, but it is an example
of how thinking outside the box takes us closer to solutions to
difficult problems. Too bad there isn't the same kind of R&D money
avaialable to boat builders- because if there were somebody would
devise a way to improve fuel economy without entirely foregoing speed.

Chuck,
Your cost analysis of hybrid vs non hybrid shows why the start to lower
oil consumption is to increase the cost of fuel. Very few people will
make the choice to pay more for the greater good of society. As long as
it cost more to operate a hybrid it will not be the preferred choice
for the majority.

--
Reggie
************************************************** *************
That's my story and I am sticking to it.

************************************************** *************
  #10   Report Post  
Old February 1st 06, 12:26 PM posted to rec.boats
Reggie Smithers
 
Posts: n/a
Default (non-political) comments on fuel economy and technology

Harry Krause wrote:
Shortwave Sportfishing wrote:
On Tue, 31 Jan 2006 23:33:53 -0500, wrote:

On 31 Jan 2006 10:48:48 -0800,
wrote:


In the meantime, we can keep our boats tuned up and maintained, select
and install the correct propellers, haul off unused items to reduce
excess weight, install fuel flow meters to seek the most efficient
cruising speeds, keep the bottom clean, and pay some attention to
currents when planning a cruise.
The biggest thing I have done to save fuel is to SLOW DOWN.
My new motor was 10HP smaller than my old one, EFI 4 stroke vs 90's
technology 2 stroke. I seldom ever get over 3400 RPM and I spend most
of my time around 1100 (legally "slow" speed)
I usually average about 1 GPH over my normal daily cruise. I simply
found interesting things to do that did not require a lot of
speed.


cruise is a good option for any boat to increase mileage. on my boats,
wot open throttle is only efficient on the carbed 25 johnson on the
princecraft.



The gauge I watch closest is the fuel-flow meter. I surely know what GPH
means in terms of my wallet.

Harry,
Have you figured out what your next ideal boat would have to allow you
sufficient speed at the lowest possible gas consumption? Since we don't
have any hybrid engines, on a boat gas consumption seems directly
correlated to size and weight. My guess is you will see more fisherman
using the smallest boat that will do the job.

--
Reggie
************************************************** *************
That's my story and I am sticking to it.

************************************************** *************


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