Thursday, June 6, 2013

It’s a gas, or not as it happens; it is the spirit of the thing that counts

When I obtained Little Grace she came with an old double ring and grill gas stove. She also had the piping in place to connect it to a gas bottle in the port cockpit locker.

Because of these facts I did not hesitate to replace the cooker. These days I would be more pragmatic and process the options carefully but hay ho.


During the half season of sailing we had in 2010 and 1212 I kept the gas bottle in the locker but connected it to the stove with a 1m flexible hose. To achieve this the gas bottle was removed from the locker and placed in the cockpit. During refurbishment I enclosed the port cockpit locker and added a drain. This was with the intention of converting it into a gas locker and reattaching the connection to the stove so the inconvenience of moving the bottle and it being in the way when in the cockpit could be avoided.

However, all this time I had a nagging thought based on the comparative danger of gas compared to an alcohol fuelled stove, which I won’t rehearse but click here for a good article.

Nonetheless I was going to stick with the original plan but various things came together to make me change my mind.

In 2010 I found that the angel of the drain from the intended gas bottle locker to the skin fitting in the transom was so slight that it could fill with water at a U bend. The lack of fall was always going to be an issue and not in keeping with current regulations but my logic was that it was better than the setup the boat came with, which was basically nothing other than scarily draining into the bilge. Undaunted I reasoned (to myself, no one was listening) that I could clear the unintended U bend by blowing down the drain via the pipe normally attached to the Whale stirrup pump, which proved to be very effective in 2012. I could then attach the bottle to the system when it was need with the knowledge that any gas leakage would be likely to go through the drain and out the transom as it is heavier than air. As we don’t envisage cooking or making coffee underway this would have been inconvenient but adequate for our needs.
Due to their age I arranged to have the existing gas fittings checked this spring. While arranging this it became apparent that the existing piping is of a smaller gage than the fitters use here. So, I was looking at a check of an old system for 40-60 € and if any faults found a replacement of the whole thing for an additional sum. The cost for the combination of the two would approach the price of a new alcohol stove and so...........
The single burner is adequate for our needs and fits the existing cooker box/chart table with room to spare for storage. I have put some Treadmaster on the storage box so that it can double as a place with a nonslip surface to put hot pan, saucepan or kettle or anything else that may fit there. The storage box itself is simply a book case from the range of crafted teak items available in many chandlers turned on its side.

In the in use position the pot holders are too high for the closed position of the chart table but if they are reclined everything fits in nicely.

The decision was also influenced by a video on Keep Turning Left, a post on the blog Yacht Zephyr and a conversation on the Yahoo group - see Yahoo Group on the panel on the right.

The water for the first cup of coffee prior to the delivery trip last weekend was boiling before I anticipated it would be ready, so no problems with speed.

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