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Does size cost more

We are experienced boaters and have done many miles on the canals. We are planning to get a canal boat for holidays and future long term cruising. I know a 58 footer i ideal but we feel the extra length of a 68-70 footer would make life much more comfortable for long term cruising. The question is, will it cost us much more in fuel to push the extra 12 foot of boat though the water. Thanks for your advice.

Asked by: Nick Woodards  | 7.32pm, Friday 9 September


WW says:

The simple answer is- it will take more fuel, but surprisingly not much! It also does depend on the type of engine, how it is fitted- and if the hull is finely shaped, it could well use less fuel than a more average 58ft (which is only an ideal length in some buyers eyes; the "go-anywhere" length issue is a bit of a misnomer!)
In theory, the mass of the vessel and its shape determines the resistance needed for the engine to overcome- the energy required if proportional to the mass of the vessel, however, hull design and choosing a good engine/drive combination is often far more important!
Alternatively, try to cut down on the huge alternators and electrical requirements of a boat and you will find that the fuel consumption drops a lot!

Mark Langley  | 10.21PM, Sunday 11 September

If two boats have exactly the same shape of bow and stern, but one is 57ft and one is 70ft long; virtually the same amount of fuel will be burnt driving it along the canal at a constant speed. The longer boat will however be heavier and will take more energy to accelerate up to speed or to slow down, this is where more fuel will be burnt. The difference will be very small.
Rupert Smedley

Rupert Smedley  | 1.24PM, Monday 26 September

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