If voyaging can be defined as making passages across oceans, then the process for identifying power voyagers is straightforward.
When we talk about crossing oceans under power, we are immediately limited and defined by range. The smallest ocean is the Atlantic, with the longest leg being 1,800 nautical miles between Bermuda and Azores. Thus, if a motorboat cannot carry sufficient fuel to run 1,800 miles, the vessel is not a power voyager.
That is, in effect, how Capt. Robert Beebe defined power passagemaking in Voyaging Under Power, the book that has become a classic parallel to Eric Hiscock’s early works on voyaging under sail. Beebe maintained that a vessel’s layout and equipment must be primarily for the comfort and efficiency of the crew on long passages. In-port convenience must be secondary. Beebe also said her seaworthiness, glass areas, above water/below water area ratio, ballast, and other factors must clearly mark her as capable of making long voyages in deep water in the proper season for each area.The focus of this overview is exclusively on power voyagers, motorboats capable of trans-oceanic passages and available from established boatbuilders. Because of space limitations, models no longer in production, custom one-offs, or new boats under development are not included. The focus is specific and does not encompass power cruisers, the many trawler yachts and other powerboats suitable for coastal and inland cruising. Our universe is recreational boating; thus, commercial fishing vessels are outside the overview, as are yachts requiring professional crew.For the purpose of establishing an even-keeled overview, cruising speed was arbitrarily, but quite realistically, set at a speed/length ratio of 1.2. Many of the boats in the overview could make the Bermuda-Azores run at hull speed. Several boats close to the 1,800-mile required range would of course need to run slightly slower than the table shows in order to make the distance comfortably. The range projections in the table are for calm conditions with no allowance for reserve, generators, or stabilizers.There is only one semi-displacement vessel on the list Oviatt Marine’s DeFever 60 Grand Alaskan the rest being full-displacement vessels, some fuller than others. Grand Banks does not make a standard boat with trans-oceanic range, although a number have been modified for the task. A Fleming 55 has also crossed the pond on her own bottom, albeit carrying drums of extra diesel on deck.