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Old 16 October 2005, 11:55   #1
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Is fuel duty going to transfrom the RIB industry?

It's a well discussed topic. Inboard or outboard?

If you take away the big plus for diesel engines, the cost of the smelly red stuff, what are you really left with?

There are still advantages to diesel, some of these include: The diesel feel, it's sound, image and the way people perceive diesel engines. Better availability for fuel on quays around the world. Better for commercial application, ie you can put on 100s of hours before having to replace. And better fuel economy.

But. The new big four stroke OBs must be close on economy to that of a diesel, they come with up to three years warranty, provide more space inside the boat, reduce significantly the initial capital cost, can be replaced in a few hours, are quiet and are not so suseptable to flooding or water damage from flooded bilges and swamping.

So. If diesel were to cost the same as petrol why buy diesel?

My only justifacation can be two things. One you are putting that many hours on the engine that the small fuel efficency saving justifies the extra capital cost, and I mean alot of hours. The second justifacation is the 'diesel feel', no matter how numbers minded you are this unjustifiable factor seems to be a key driver in peoples decission making process when it comes to the choice, OB or IB?.

So I want to buy a boat next week. I don't actually have enough money but lets just say I have 20-35k.

What do I choose. I have just sold my diesel RIB and know how many hours I clock up each year. With the lower cost of fuelcan I justify the extra capital cost and higher engine and leg servicing costs associated with diesel?

Lets say, aproximate figures, that I buy a new diesel boat, and my mate chris peacock buys a new OB boat at the same time.

Diesel 7.5m 35k. (New)
Same spec Outboard 7.5m 25k (New)
Average anual fuel bill - 3000 (6,600 l of diesel)
Equivilant cost if Petrol - 6,600
Saving - 3,600

So over three years I can justify the extra capital and allow a little extra, 1k, for extra leg and engine maintiance. I am also assuming that the OB has the same fuel consumption as the IB and I would guess I would save futher on the economy of the inboard.

BUT. And it's a big but, when will, not if, when will diesel duty be rated at the same cost as a petrol?

If it's over three years I'm better of, under and Chris is.

So it's decison time. Things I have to decide:

What value, in pounds, do I put on the 'diesel feel'?
When do I think fuel duty will change?
How much will my diesel boat depreciate when fuel duty changes?
Will it in fact be worth less than chris's OB RIB when diesel goes up?
How close are the new 4S OBs on consumption to diesel IBs?
What colour should I paint the new kitchen?

So where am I going with all this? I am not quite sure, this is a thought process more than a opinion and I still have to come to a conclusion. Unfortunatly the 'when will fuel duty change' is the big mystery 'X' in the equation I am using to solve my problem.

Another question, my topic, that leads on from this whole discussion is how will a duty increase on diesel change the RIB market. Will any one still build diesel inboards?

My guess is yes, but not many, I would sugest that many people who buy diesel inboards can't justify thier decision to an accountant. These people place a huge vale on 'the diesel feel' and I think many people under estimate the value of this unquantifiable factor.

It is also interesting to look at commercial operators, for them the cost of diesel is the same as petrol. I have no evidence but am confident that more and more operators are opting for OBs. In the last few issues of RIB Interntioanl just about every commercial RIB pictured is running OBs, even the Ocean Dynamics advert shows a Susuki OB powering one of their commercial work boats.

I once heard someone say ''If you can get someone to listen for long enough you can justify just about anything'' I guess this is why we have accountants, if you can't justify it in numbers don't pretend you can. You can still do it or buy it but don't try and justify it, just do it just, because you want to and because you can.

Honda Civic or Porche?
Mac or PC?
M&S or Co Op?
Fillet or Rib-Eye?

If your a keen ribber and you awnsered Porche, Mac, M&S & Fillet my guess is your a diesel man (or woman).

Toby('s badly spelt rambelings)
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Old 16 October 2005, 13:36   #2
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I think your choice should be narrowed to inboard or outboard depending on your type of use. Then sub-divided into diesel or petrol/2stroke or 4stroke. On the inboard issue, take the US model. Petrol and diesel are roughly the same price, so why do hardly any sub 40ft boots in the US run diesels? Pound for pound (weight) the petrol has a lot more power and delivers it in a more boat suitable manner ( they have no gears). Ok fancy add-ons turbos, superchargers etc have narrowed the gap but a big gas engine wallops the power down right where you need it. Reliability is similar also economy. Those big marine diesels drink plenty of fuel, it's just that no one worried at 30p a ltr. There is a fairly hefty safety issue. Two petrol sports cuddys blew up in Falmouth last year with a father and son badly injured and I was never that happy aboard my Searay when the kids cabin was above 50 US gallons of Petrol. Having said that how may petrol cars blew up? Not Many.
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Old 16 October 2005, 14:41   #3
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Don't forget the BIO factor

Greener, replenishable fuels are going to become a bigger and bigger part of all sots of walks of life in the not too distant future.

Bio Diesel probably being the one that will have most impact !!!

People are already manufacturing fuel from waste vegetable oil in their garages that works out cheaper than road diesel. As this process becomes more popular and industrialised I think you will start to see tax cuts for these eco friendly fuels whilst the mineral fuels continue to be taxed to death.

To my knowledge there is no green version of petrol. Bio diesel once prepared can be put straight into an unmodified diesel engine.
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Old 16 October 2005, 14:54   #4
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Something not mentioned.1.What is the life of the boat and if this more than the engine does this have any bearing on you final decision as out board replacement would be less.2.What is the value of each boat after three years ,cant be the same ?Should this be considered as well.Just wondered ?
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Old 16 October 2005, 15:51   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roycruse
Don't forget the BIO factor

Greener, replenishable fuels are going to become a bigger and bigger part of all sots of walks of life in the not too distant future.

Bio Diesel probably being the one that will have most impact !!!

People are already manufacturing fuel from waste vegetable oil in their garages that works out cheaper than road diesel. As this process becomes more popular and industrialised I think you will start to see tax cuts for these eco friendly fuels whilst the mineral fuels continue to be taxed to death.

To my knowledge there is no green version of petrol. Bio diesel once prepared can be put straight into an unmodified diesel engine.
They say all that Roy, But i've got a hired ,Newish 25 kva generator at my business premises at the moment. We were running low on red diesel. I ordered 1200ltrs from our supplier and they filled us up with heating oil (kerosene) by mistake. Now this isn't chip oil or rotted down cabbages or some other thing that diesels are supposed to run on. Kerosene is as refined as diesel. The bloody generator didn't think so! It ran so badly that the suppliers had to come and take it all out and replace it with red. So, I'm inclined to think that it's a bit of a myth that modern diesels will run on anything that just about looks like oil.
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Old 16 October 2005, 15:59   #6
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These guys seem to think its just fine http://www.earthrace.net/

Ive had some personal success with straight vegetable oil in the past as well.
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Old 16 October 2005, 18:00   #7
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Are there only cornish people on RIB Net.

Thanks for your replies. You have bought up several points, my thoughts, in no particular order are.

Cokking Oil, yes I have heard about people using it in cars, but also alot of horror stories, also 6,000 litres a year could be a bit tricky, I know Cornwall has alot of fish and chip shops but!I think if I was running a displacement boat with a slow running diesel, a gardener or old ford, then maybe but not sure how much these new fast running diesels will like it, could be fine just a bit of a gamble when marine enginears cost ?30 an hour to fix it if it goes worng. I think if I was to consider another fuel it would be LPG.

Something about the life of the boat? Depends, on the boat I have seen 6/7 year old commercial spec Tornados, Humbers etc that look in solid almost new condition but have seen pvc narwhalls etc falling appart after a few years. The hulls will go on for ever, after 10 years they made need re tubing, possible new electrics and every 5 years maby a new engine, IB or OB but I would say a well built RIB will see a number of engines powering it in it's life time.

My referance to the values of the two boats after 3 years was that IF fuel duty changed then many people would perhaps see the higher maintinace costs of a diesel as a disadvantage and the value of the RIB with just a transom and no engine box would be greater.

The incident last year in Falmouth was because the boat had an old petrol inboard, not the fuel tank blowing up, I do not think it would have happened if it had an OB.

I am using the RIB for cruising, wake boarding all the usual. Both inboard and outboard do what I need although outboards are slightly better for beaching and wake boarding, both do what I need.

Sorry have to shoot off again.

Toby
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Old 17 October 2005, 06:11   #8
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Availability of fuel

I think that availability of petrol / diesel in your chosen area of operation will be a factor.
LPG never really took off, partly due to lack of nationwide availability.

I can easily fill my boat up at Tesco cheaply (ish) but just as easily fill up on the waterside at numerous places on the Solent - expensively.
So a petrol outboard makes sense for me.

If petrol was not available where I was using my RIB I would be forced to go diesel.

Add in the fear of having a Bravo 3 potentially going grumpy. A fuel saving of 1500pa against multiple 2500 repair bills? Its got to be an outboard for me

I have a client who operates a hydrographic survey comapny who is just swapping a pair of 130hp Hondas for a pair of 150hp diesel sterndrives on one of their boats for the single reason that they are finding it difficult to get petrol on the waterside in many of the places where they operate.

Regards
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Old 17 October 2005, 06:38   #9
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If it's for commercial purposes then I would think one would buy a diesel as the maintenance is less time consuming and the fuel is a lot easier to get offshore!

if you want adrenaline (and this includes Corporate happy days) then surely one has to have an outboard and a 2 stroke at that. Modern 4 strokes and 2 strokes are very fussy bits of engineering, unfortunately diesels are becoming that way also but not so far down the line which in my opinion affects reliability! There an error code in the Etec engine which totally shuts down the engine if it detects a fire, you may think this a fantastic safety device unfortunately itt sometimes triggers when you are not on fire

In answer to the question raised in the title of your thread I don't think fuel duty will change the rib industry but I think fuel costs will! as soon as fuel starts to hit something like 1.50 a litre I think we will see a large downsizing of engines and boats!.

I have always been of the opinion that buying a boat is the easy part it's running the Fkkr that makes you poor!
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Old 17 October 2005, 06:51   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toby.budd
Honda Civic or Porche?
Mac or PC?
M&S or Co Op?
Fillet or Rib-Eye?

If your a keen ribber and you awnsered Porche, Mac, M&S & Fillet my guess is your a diesel man (or woman).

Toby('s badly spelt rambelings)
eh? thought it would be the other way round...always thought people bought diesel ribs / cars for fuel savings...not something you associate with a porsche or M&S...
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