Low Energy Sailing Vacations



Good morning everyone. Writing to you from Sugarloaf USA where we are a skiing a couple of days with the kids. Yahoo. Happy Ground Hog day and check out the Full Snow Moon this evening. Some one recently asked me about the ecological aspects of windjammer vacations. Low impact tourism and “leave no trace” out door activities are one virtue of windjammer sailing vacations that we are proud of. I am always amazed at how little energy and resources we use aboard the schooner during the course of any week. Here is how things break down for us in a week’s time.

In an entire week we use approximately 800 gallons of fresh water to cook, clean and bathe for 36 people. According to a National Geographic website “The average person in the United States uses about 100 gallons (379 liters) of water a day for drinking, bathing, cooking, washing, swimming, watering gardens, and such. Two-thirds of the people in the world use less than 13 gallons (49 liters) of water a day.” My math tells me we only use 4.5 gallons/person/day on a schooner.

We use about 4.5 cords of mixed hardwood for the entire season, mostly maple and oak (its organic!, local, and renewable) to heat cabins, cook food, and supply all our domestic hot water.

We consume on average about 400 amp hours of 24-volt electricity and 120 amp hours of 12-volt electricity. If my calculations are right that is about the same as the amount of energy one of our guests uses if they leave the porch light on for the week using a 60-watt bulb.

We use about 10 gallons of diesel fuel a week on average, some more, some less. Our yawl boat burns about 2 gallons/hour when pushing the schooner and a whole lot less when ferrying people ashore. Not counting shore excursions where we burn most of our diesel, that makes for roughly 3,000 miles of travel a season for 36 people on 200 gallons of diesel. In a linear process that would look like 15 miles/gallon. Not bad considering we are moving 96 tons. My 3/4-ton truck only gets 13 miles per gallon. In a non-linear thought process we can say that we travel 108,000 people miles or roughly 540 people miles/gallon. Does that make sense? This is the argument behind public transportation.

All of this gets people off Route One and out of their cars. Imagine how much fuel. water, and electricity we are saving by keeping people from driving around the Maine coast from venue to venue, eating out for each meal, having all the amenities in their accommodations of choice (hotel, motel, no tell, or B&B;). And best of all our guests get to see a whole different part of Maine that just can’t be seen from Route One, away from summer traffic with their sanity intact. Just mind boggling I tell ya.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Photos by Dudley Bierau.

PS For the curious, yesterdays lighthouses were the Fort Point Light with the ketch Angelique in the fore ground and Egg Rock Light in Frenchman Bay.

One comment

  1. Captain Barry, I enjoy reading your comments each day. It makes me realize how different life can be depending on where you live. There is not a hotter place on earth than an Alabama pine forest in the middle of August. 98 degree temperature and 150 percent humidity. But I also know cold, when I was small I lived in a house that had little heat, so I know what it feels like to wake up with frost on the upper blanket. By the way, your electrical usage calculations were accurate, so if you would like an alternate job of working for a electric utility, I will be glad to swap with you one summer. OK, don’t laugh too much, I will see you this summer, and keep the blogs going!

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