jason wynn excited to video whale tail while sailing in tahiti

Sailing Tahiti, Iron Wind & WHALES

The weather prediction is looking good for sailing around Tahiti. We’re on our way from Papeete to Tahiti-iti (Little Tahiti) which is on the opposite end of the island about 35 nautical miles away.  The Billabong Pro Surf Competition is going on and…when in Tahiti!

sailing around tahiti map

We haven’t topped up our fuel since the Marquesas and the winds are light, which is ideal for cozying up to a fuel dock.  Because it’s been a loooong while since we’ve touched a dock and fueled up, it got us thinking about our fuel usage.

We keep pretty decent logs of our fuel consumption.  So, we have a good understanding of how much diesel we burn when motoring, or motor-sailing, with our catamaran.  As much as we would love to burn zero fuel…sometimes the wind doesn’t show up at all, or it blows from a different angle than predicted (that’s why I say it’s a weather prediction and not a premonition).  It’s times like these we’re forced to use The Iron Wind to help move us along.

Sailboats don’t come with fuel consumption information like you find for a car or truck.  There’s no estimated MPG sticker or EPA website that documents the fuel economy of a sailboat.  So, we thought you might be curious to know the fuel economy of our catamaran too.  We’re taking advantage of our scenic motor-sail around Tahiti to fill you in (pun intended).

Plus, it’s whale season here in French Polynesia and we had two giant humpback whales stop by to say hello.  Magical prehistorical creatures I tell you, just magical!


You know you are impressed with that thumbnail!  Ha, we were so surprised and focused on video, we forgot to take any photos of the whales.  But a screen grab plus a little photoshop action and what a moment!

I am always surprised by how good a screen grab from a video can look.  It’s nothing you would ever want to print but works great for social media and blog posts in a pinch. 😉

whale tail while sailing in tahiti


whale tail while sailing in tahiti


nikki wynn face palm for not spotting the whales


Cost of Diesel & How Much Our Sailing Catamaran Consumes

The fuel burn rate of each boat will vary because…well, there are a ton of different variables.  Our 2005 Leopard Catamaran has two Yanmar 39 engines.  We also have feathering props (because the type of prop can dramatically effect performance too).


Price of Diesel In French Polynesia (2018/2019)

FYI, at some Fuel Stations (like Marina Tiana) they won’t allow us to fill jerry cans with duty free fuel, they want to see the fuel going into the boat.  Also, gasoline is not duty free, only diesel.

  • 79 xpf per liter
  • 3.785 liters in a gallon
  • 299.02 xpf per gallon
  • 1 xpf = $0.0095 usd
  • 1 gallon cost $2.84 usd


Our Estimated Fuel Economy

  • ½ gallon per hour per engine
  • Travel at around 6 knots of speed with one engine at 2000 RPM (or 7.5 knots with both engines @ 2000 RPM)
  • Diesel cost us approximately $1.42 used per hour, per engine (here in French Polynesia)

*This is ideal conditions.  If our hulls have a lot of bottom growth or we’re fighting a current it all effects our performance and burn rate.


How Much Fuel Do We Carry?

If we know we’re sailing to a location with diesel fuel available, we’ll use our estimated fuel economy numbers along with wind/current predictions to figure out how much fuel we might burn.  Diesel fuel goes bad, so we won’t want to end up with too much extra fuel in our tanks just sitting there unused.  For long trips we fill up both tanks and all jerry cans.   

  • 2 x 180 liter fuel tanks
  • 6 x 20 liter jerry cans
  • 2 x 25 liter jerry cans

how much fuel does a sailing catamaran use


Thank You!

Sharing our lives and what we learn along the way is possible because of viewers like you.  If you like what you see, there are lots of FREE ways you can show your support.  Thank you for being a part of the journey.


sunset in tahiti


To see our full map with interactive pins, click here:

  • Dates: August 15, 2018
  • Sailed: 35 Nautical Miles
  • Anchorage: Teahupoo, French Polynesia


Sailing Specific Gear

Camera Gear


AWESOME tunes for vids:

  • Artists Used In This Video: Giants and Pilgrims / C3NC

Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (32)

  • Pamela Andringa

    Truly epic video. Gave me goosies!! 🙂

  • Joy

    Beautiful video , the sunsets, the whales and the scenery. Thank you.

  • Ted Owens

    What is your recipe for your vinegar and tea tree oil mildew spray? I use diluted bleach, which seems to work pretty well, but the mildew comes back in 3 weeks or so. How long does your treatment last?

  • Neil Mathieson

    Hi Jason & Nikki,
    here Aust we call a sail boat’s engine/s “the Iron sail” instead of the “Iron Wind”. Neil

  • Yvan Dion

    Thanks you for sharing these beautiful images of the sailboat we all share – our planet. Very generous of you. And inspiring too !

  • Roger B

    I wish I could cruise in my auto on a half gallon per hour.

  • Alan Solomon Solomon

    Always a terrific, entertaining video with incredible footage because you are in an incredible place. Nothing unusual about that!
    Great Whale footage***….
    I really enjoyed last Sundays video and I commented by email but, for some reason I didn’t see it post. So, not sure if you got it or not?
    Thanks for allowing me to escape my daily reality for a bit.
    Enjoy sailing towards adventure.
    Safe Travels and Kind Regards,

  • Jo Annie

    Thank you for all this information! I love how you make both entertainment and éducative video! We are in the process of buying a boat. We’ve come to Florida for a couple weeks, And I went back to look at older videos from when you were shopping. I had watched them in the past but watching them again after meeting with a broker and visit the just catamarans Marina makes so much more sense. Thank you for all you do and you teach me!

  • NARF

    Hello Wynn family,
    Thank you again for posting such amazing sunsets!
    The whales were an extra treat.
    Many hugs,
    Flores Family🤗

  • Gregory E Thrasher

    I notes you don’t wear a wedding ring. Whats up with that

    • Curious Minion

      Rings are really dangerous to wear on a boat (or if you work on ladders, or around electronics, and bunches more scenarios) because if you get a ring caught you can rip your finger off. Seriously. So no rings while sailing!
      Curious Minion

  • Pam McClure

    Beautiful. Those whales. Brought a few tears to my eyes for some reason. Thank you.

  • John Taylor

    Hi Guys! I love all the great info y’all post. I wish I were there to enjoy nature as you do. I know you guys spend loads of time making great content; I thought maybe I could help a little. Your diesel fuel cost numbers on the website have a few typos. I assume the cost of fuel is correct at 79 XPF per liter–that’s seems like it’s in the ballpark from sources online. On the next line, the first part of the number has been cut off; it’s 3.785 liters per gallon. The following line has a similar error. (79 XPF/l)(3.785 l/gal) = 299.015 XPF/gal. The next line also has a decimal point error. The conversion rate you used was 1 XPF = .0095 USD. In the end, it seems that your cost of $2.84/gal is accurate, so who cares how you got there, right?

    • Curious Minion

      Fixed! Thanks.
      Curious Minion

  • Webhead USA

    Nikki & Jason,


    Please clarify your math for price of diesel:


    FYI, at some Fuel Stations (like Marina Tiana) they won’t allow us to fill jerry cans with duty free fuel, they want to see the fuel going into the boat. Also, gasoline is not duty free, only diesel.

    79 xpf per liter
    785 liters in a gallon
    02 xpf per gallon
    1 xpf = $0.95 usd
    1 gallon cost $2.84 usd

    you wrote: “785 liters in a gallon”

    There are 3.785 liters in one US gallon

    Is 785 a typo error?

    Let’s assume your math is right, and diesel in the middle of the beautiful Pacific Ocean is $2.84 / gallon, then this proves a few things:

    1. $2.84 per gallon of diesel is a number only a CPA can love (considering where you are spending money).
    2. One gallon of diesel is much less expensive than one pint of ice cream!
    3. I think of Nikki every time I pass the ice cream section at the grocery store.
    4. Farthest from my mind when I fill-up at the gas station are the living beings aboard Curiosity.

    Thus, the moral of this story is sometimes for the price of one pint of ice cream for Nikki you can heave to and drift until there’s wind. :¬)

    Besides, you should regularly practice your heave to technique and, once hove to, how to best eat one pint of ice cream before untying the helm to let it be free to direct you into a close hauled sail.

    I am so looking forward to your next video,

    Webhead USA

    • Curious Minion

      Fixed. Thanks!
      Curious Minion

  • Sandra & the 2 Spaniels

    Love the scenery! It looks so idyllic out on a boat, with mountains headed into mists, dolphins and whales showing themselves, glossy water, and then you bring us back to reality. As an uneducated enthusiast, I enjoy your videos on maintenance, repairs, and such. This little motor sail was so beautiful but those reefs are scary. Singa is an old salt now!

  • Stoney Shukat

    03-10-2019 Criticism: You post today is too short. I need more relaxed sailing time and time with the cats. Otherwise, love the videos.

    I drove a brand new 2006 Silverton convertible for 5 years before I bought a new 2010 Bounder 35H. We are halftimers and love it. Still living the dream.

    Fair winds to you both.

  • Kirsten

    Do you have a video or post breaking down your expenses? I’d appreciate knowing how much you budget for boat maintenance, boat and medical insurance, food, etc.

    Love you guys!

    • Curious Minion

      Hi Kirsten. On the main sailing page of the blog there’s an “Expenses” tab that should have most everything you’re looking for. The post on buying a sailboat will cover purchase, insurance, registration, etc. for Curiosity. One note about insurance: Nikki mentions in a later post that their insurance costs fluctuate as they sail around the world. If I recall one example, it increased when they left Panama for Ecuador, and it can change with hurricane/cyclone season as well depending on your location. There’s a post about their time in service in Ft. Lauderdale, and one on what it costs for provisions, food, etc. for sailing the Bahamas for one year.
      Curious Minion

  • Ronnie4deck

    A fish eating vegetarian is a pescatarion. Yes, I too had to look up the spelling. As a lacto-ovo vegetarian long passage making has had some meal challenges, yet never missed a meal. So look forward to Sunday mornings to be with “The Wynn’s”. We’ll be in New Zealand in early 2021 for The America’s Cup. Will we see you there?

  • Lorrie

    Always look forward and enjoy your postings and videos. Love your positivity and upbeat ness! You guys are fun to watch. Your videos are magnificent. A mini relaxing break in my day. Seeing life in other cultures and places is eye opening and awesome.
    Thanks for the opportunity to vicariously sail along with you!

  • Joe Brockert

    Looks like you are running MS Onenote at the helm. If that correct and could you share how your using it?

  • jeff

    What a fun time in your life. Enjoy! Been to Bora Bora twice and loved it. Gunna take kids in 2020. Loved the locals. so peaceful. Been falling you guys for a long time and am so happy for you two. Keep it up. Next do the same in an airplane.

  • SDW

    Exxon states that “diesel fuel can be stored 6 months to 1 year without significant fuel degradation if you keep it clean, cool and dry.” Chevron adds that diesel fuel can be stored longer than a year under certain conditions: First, the fuel was purchased clean and dry from a reliable supplier.

    Plus you can put “sta*bill” diesel in it to keep it from going bad.
    You can also put the chemical called “HEET” you can put in the tank to remove the water.

    • Curious Minion

      Cool and dry is the tricky part when you’re sailing the tropics and even the water temp is 80 degrees!
      Curious Minion


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