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Lots of boats come to Oriental, some tie up at the Town Dock for a night or two, others drop anchor in the harbor for a while. If you've spent any time on the water you know that every boat has a story. The Shipping News on TownDock.net brings you the stories of the boats that have visited recently.

Prinses Mia
The Not Normal Voyager
November 26, 2013
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One major expense many sailors don’t take in to consideration is fuel. Thought sailboats have a seemingly free source of wind propulsion, sailors find themselves motoring more often than they expected to. This can dent all but the heartiest budget.

Martijn says sailors with the same engine as he does – a Perkins 4.236 – report spending a dollar on fuel for every mile motored.

Martijn checks his engine while under way. Princes Mia has a dry exhaust as found on many commercial vessels. While this system is simple, it is loud – hence the ear muffs.

While some can afford this, it’s not in Martin’s budget. Or mindset. “I’m cheap,” is how he explains it. “If I had a lot of money, I’d buy diesel.” Instead of using limited funds to buy fuel, he makes it.

For years, on Rotop and now on Prinses Mia, Martijn runs his engine on used fryer oil and discarded diesel.

When Martijn arrives in port, he collects used grease and old diesel. While in Oriental, he acquired 45 gallons of diesel from a nearby marina. Old cooking grease works, too. (Though in the past few years, Martijn has found the supply of the grease has fallen off as restaurants hold on to the cooking oil for biofuel companies to pick it up.)

Martijn brings the fuel back to Prinses Mia in jerry cans and once there, whether its diesel or cooking oil, he starts the one-man refining process. It involves some time commitment, t-shirt and sweatshirt fabric.

Few boats can boast of a palm tree in the head. Princes Mia can. Martijn brought the plant on board in Annapolis where someone had thrown it out. He says it’s happy on a diet of limited light and shower water.

The first step is to strain the debris-filled, often sludgy, fluid. “A t-shirt works good”, he says. Next, he pours the fuel in to one of Princes Mia’s multiple fuel tanks. One of his goals is to store a year’s worth of fuel aboard – over 400 gallons

Before the fuel can be used in the engine, it needs further filtering.
One filter removes water – a common fuel contaminant. Other filters – a total of 4 – remove debris that might clog the engine’s injectors or cause it to run sluggishly.

After all this cleaning, the fuel is ready to be burned.

Since leaving Holland last year, Martijn estimates he’s used his engine 300 hours. Only a few of those hours were on diesel he purchased.

As economical as this system has proven, it’s not perfect. Martijn’s Perkins engine isn’t fond of this fryer grease diet. “With the cooking oil, he’s not happy,” Martijn says. “We don’t get along.” Martijn’s made accommodations – adding a bit of diesel fuel to the cooking oil to ensure the engine runs properly.

During his stay in Oriental, one of his missions was sourcing a new motor. He is looking for a 70 to 80 horse power diesel engine – possibly a Nissan, Mitsubishi or Kubota. These engines are better suited for running on fryer grease. He would consider selling his Perkins, which runs fine, to pay for the new motor.

He’s already accomplished another mission that earned him a lot of thanks in Oriental.

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Posted Tuesday November 26, 2013 by Bernie Harberts

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