Updated:
Original:

Condensation Conundrum

Clyde Collins of Seneca Falls, New York, asks:"I’ve moved up from a Catalina 22 to a Bayfield 29 with a 20-gallon diesel fuel tank. I sail on the Finger Lakes of New York and only use about 5 gallons of fuel a summer. My understanding has always been that I should store the boat over winter with a full tank to minimize condensation. But that means I have 15 gallons that

Clyde Collins of Seneca Falls, New York, asks:

"I’ve moved up from a Catalina 22 to a Bayfield 29 with a 20-gallon diesel fuel tank. I sail on the Finger Lakes of New York and only use about 5 gallons of fuel a summer. My understanding has always been that I should store the boat over winter with a full tank to minimize condensation. But that means I have 15 gallons that won’t get used next summer, which means keeping old fuel in my tank year after year.

Although I do put in additives, I’m concerned about the quality of my leftover fuel. What do you think about putting a small amount of a water-retention additive into the fuel that remains in the fall and then pumping it all out in the spring before I add five gallons of clean fresh fuel?"

Nigel Calder replies:

Although I’ve always advocated topping off a fuel tank to avoid condensation, recently I’ve seen comments from a yard in New England that deals with this issue on a regular basis and they suggest that condensation in a half-empty tank is negligible—at least in New England. So if you leave the tank half empty, things probably will be all right. However, if you can insert a line down to the bottom of the tank, I would suggest pumping out a fuel sample at the start of next season to remove any water that may have collected and to suck out any accumulated sediment. If you can’t do this, keep a close eye on the transparent bowl on your primary fuel meter when you first crank up the engine next year.

Related

ed3b8ae9-b65d-2941-47ec-cd0277bfcbe8

Mirabaud Voting Open to the Public

Photos from the industry's top photographers are in, and the 12th annual Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image competition is underway. An international panel of judges has selected this year's 80 finalists, which have been published online. The panel will also select the winner of the ...read more

P1320232-copy

Annapolis’ Boat Show is Back

After a year off in 2020, the United States Boat Show in Annapolis is back. From the diminutive Areys Pond Cat 14 XFC to the massive Lagoon Sixty 5, many of the SAIL’s 2022 Best Boats Nominees are on display for the public to get a firsthand look at, and SAIL’s Best Boats panel ...read more

05-Squall-in-the-ITCZ

Close-Hauled to Hawaii

The saying “Nothing goes to windward like a 747,” is one of my favorites. I actually once took a 747 upwind, retracing my earlier downwind sailing route across the Pacific. I’ve also done a fair bit of ocean sailing to windward. The 747 was a lot more comfortable. But then ...read more

01-LEAD-IMG-2106

Refurbishing Shirley Rose: Part 3

If you missed the first installment, click here. The hull and deck of Shirley Rose had been repaired, but what kind of sailboat would she be without a sturdy rig? I was told she was ready to sail, and that the owner replaced the standing rigging a few years before. Shirley Rose ...read more

211007MINI_1208-2400x1600

Mini Transat: Bouroullec and Fink Win Leg One

The Mini Transat is a roughly 4000-mile course that comprises two legs— Les Sables D’Olonne, France to Santa Cruz de La Palma in the Canaries, and Santa Cruz de La Palma to the French Caribbean island Guadeloupe. Two fleets of Mini 6.50s compete—the Production class in ...read more

01-LEAD-7-1-Rhiannon-loaded-on-the-truck-with-Clark,-Andre,-and-Louis

Book Excerpt: Taken By The Wind

In 1975, as a senior at Harvard, the question for Chicago-area sailor Mike Jacker became what to do next. The answer, as related in his new book Taken by the Wind, was to make a small-boat voyage to Tahiti with his grade-school friend Louis Gordon and Harvard classmate Clark ...read more

Maserati _Arthur Daniel

The RORC Caribbean 600 is Back

With a start planned for February 21 in Antigua, the famed 600-mile Caribbean race is back. The course circumnavigates 11 Caribbean islands starting from English Harbour, Antigua, and heading north to St Maarten and south to Guadeloupe, passing Barbuda, Nevis, St Kitts, Saba and ...read more

01-LEAD-14_00_210613_TORE03_JRE_4266_16961-3000x3000

The Ocean Race Europe

The fully crewed, round-the-world Ocean Race has experienced tremendous change over the years. From the 1993 transition to a one-design fleet to an ever-shifting route, what began as the amateur Whitbread Round the World Yacht Regatta in 1972 is a very different race today. The ...read more