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Old 12-05-2008, 08:45 AM   #1
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hello!

when cruising in various countries we often have the "gas-supply-problem".

meanwhile we are quite fed up with cooking with gas and are more and more thinking about a diesel cooker.

does anybody have experience with them?

easy to install or not - how much diesel do they use and so on...?

thanks!
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Old 12-05-2008, 10:30 AM   #2
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Hello Sinbad,

One of the first things one might hear is ' Diesel smells!' Not necessarily so !

However, there are great advantages with using diesel as your fuel source.

Here is a good website that answers many of the questions that are frequently asked - also useful to reflect on the fact that many yachts in cold latitudes have diesel heaters which operate internally. Click on Diesel Cooking

Richard
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Old 12-06-2008, 04:42 AM   #3
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There are a lot of good choices in diesel cookers. Here in the USA you can find Dickenson Marine diesel heaters and cookers. Also, the Sigmarine diesel appliances. If a diesel cooker is vented (e.g. a chimney) it is unlikely that you will notice a diesel smell as you cook. Further, a vented diesel cooker provides dry heat to your living space--so not so much condensation on the windows while you're cooking. Here is a review of the Dickinson diesel cooker used onboard one cruising family's boat.

From a safety perspective, I would prefer diesel to propane as a diesel leak can make a mess but won't hide in your bilge waiting to to explode. On the other hand, if you're in a hot climate, using a diesel cooker can be a little frustrating because it takes quite a bit longer to get warmed up (than cooking with propane) and while it's warming up while some of the heat exhausts via the vent a lot of that heat will be going into your boat. If you're in a colder climate, though, you'll not notice the extra cabin heat in any other way than as a "bonus" . In all cases, cooking up a quick pot of hot water isn't as easy as with propane gas.

Some folks use a diesel cooker during cold weather but resort to a portable non-pressure countertop alcohol cooker in hot weather.

We have a vintage solid fuel stove (e.g. wood, coal) which has the ability to have a diesel burner placed in the firebox. We do not presently have a diesel burner for it, though. It has all the "shortcomings" of a diesel cooker but doesn't have the benefit of easy storage of fuel which comes with using diesel. Like a diesel cooker, our solid fuel stove works great in colder weather and is coupled with two non-pressure Swedish alcohol burner "inserts" that can sit in two of the stove eyes for use during hot weather or for a quick cup of tea.

Best of luck in finding something that works for you.
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Old 12-06-2008, 09:24 AM   #4
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Hello!

as we are sailing in warm/hot climate it might not be the best of ideas to have too much additional heating...

i didn't consider that!

but thanks a lot anyways - i think, we'll just continue to cook the way we did till now. (sigh!)
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Old 12-23-2008, 03:09 PM   #5
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Hello,

I am restoring Hal and Margaret Roth's original Whisper. On Hal's advice I installed a Sigmar diesel stove. I carefully followed all of the installation and use instructions.

I lived aboard Whisper for a winter in New England and the Diesel stove proved an efficient source of heat. Obtaining fuel was easy as well. Saling offshore in November/December it was wonderful to go below to a warm, dry cabin. And cooking frozen lasagna at 0300 during a blizzard made a great treat for a tired, wet crew. We ate the lasagna straight from the aluminum pan.

But if the stove was cold, it would take an hour to get water hot enough for coffee.

Managing the stove became something of a hobby.

Worse were the downdrafts that filled the cabin with diesel smoke. This happened both at anchor and under sail.

Also new sails and dodger quickly became streaked with diesel soot as did the decks. Getting knocked up against the stack in rough seas and melting my foulies was no treat either.

Hal Roth died recently of lung cancer. I never knew him personally, but have not seen pictures of him smoking. I can't help but wonder if diesel fumes contributed to his illness.

I have since contracted a form of cancer that is common only among smokers and people working with certain industrial chemicals. I fit neither of those categores. Another suspected cause is prolonged exposure to diesel fumes. I cannot claim cause and effect, but..........

So against Hal's advice I am now installing a propane stove and heater aboard Whisper. Does anyone know of horizontal composite propane tanks smaller than 33 lb?

Merry Christmas,

Don
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Old 12-23-2008, 08:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whisper View Post
Hello,

So against Hal's advice I am now installing a propane stove and heater aboard Whisper. Does anyone know of horizontal composite propane tanks smaller than 33 lb?

Merry Christmas,

Don
Hi, Don,

Are you "restoring" or refitting? If restoring, you mean you'll be putting things back as they were? We're doing a restoration of a schooner built in 1930 and we're seriously putting many things (including the cooker) back as they were.

An aside...

Now, about that diesel and health. Diesel particulates are a "suspected" carcinogen because the size of the particulates is just right for lodging in the lung's epithelial cells and staying there. However, people who work around diesel all the time aren't experiencing increased incidence of cancer as far as anyone can tell. Having said that, and this is far from our topic of stoves....you can look up an author, James Mulshine, MD, who sponsored a meta analysis of everything that has been published regarding lung cancer and inflammation. He was at the National Cancer Institute when the study was done and I believe it was published in 2004/2005 timeframe. I was privileged to see the study before publication as I was working on a project regarding inflammation and epithelial cancer when he was sponsoring the study. His meta analysis findings might be interesting to you. Inflammation is present in all cases of epithelial cancer. It is thought to be a precursor to cancer; thus, if we see an agent (like diesel particulates) which can cause inflammation we can project that the risk of cancer developing has increased. Again, there is no study, that I know of, with findings connection diesel to cancer, though.

Back to stoves....

Soot is a problem with solid fuel stoves and diesel stoves. I've heard that one can simply use cleaner burning kerosene and it is not nearly such a problem. Taylor Blake makes a wonderful Kerosene stove. I'm not sure, but your stove manufacturer may have a different burner available to convert the stove you have to Kerosene or the stove may be adjustable to accept the cleaner fuel.

I have a "thing" against propane. Its the "boom factor" in the bilge that worries me. Further, it is a little more difficult to build a proper propane locker into a wooden boat unless one wishes to keep the propane in a locker on deck. So, though our boat originally had a multi-fuel stove (coal, wood, and shipmate gas aka propane) we're just going with the solid fuel portion of the stove and using non-pressure alcohol drop-in burners for the quick stove-top meal.

If you have no desire to consider a kerosene alternative, I would suggest that you consider the Origo non-pressure alcohol stoves as a safe and healthy alternative to diesel.

Best of luck with your refit/rebuild/restoration whichever it is
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Old 12-23-2008, 09:35 PM   #7
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You make several excellent points - First I'll accept the correction - My projects on Whisper more correctly fall under the heading of "refit". While I believe in the old dictum "Never sail with anything you can't either fix yourself or live without" I am not quite as technology averse as Hal Roth.

RE diesel and carcinogens: Diesel exhaust contains not only nasty particulates but polyaromatic amines, a number of potent carcinogens among them. I can't claim a cause and effect relationship between my particular malady and exposure to diesel exhaust fumes. But I am choosing to limit my future exposure.

Your points re inflammation and resulting carcinogenicity resulting from particulate inhalation are well made. Obviously you are educated in science and/or medicine. Since you are restoring a wooden boat you are, no doubt, familiar with the inflammatory/carcinogenic effect of fine wood dust particles. Among my recent investments was good dust control for the workshop.

RE kerosene vs. diesel fuel: The Sigmar stove has a drip pot burner. It works very well when a) clean and hot with both kerosene and diesel fuel. Keeping the burner clean is a bit of work unless you keep the stove going all the time as most commercial fishermen do. In that case, keeping a pot of stew and hot coffee on are quite wonderful, although I can attest to the unpleasantness of flying beef stew. Actually, the stew stayed in one place and the boat dropped out from under it. Stew and stove came down in different geographies with a highly dispersive effect.

RE the boom factor: That has certainly crossed my mind. Nice, dovetailed tank boxes on deck with automatic shutoff dramatically increases the safety factor.

I have lots of experience with both pressurized alcohol and the Origo alcohol stoves. The Origo actually works quite well for heating coffee water and soup. But for serious cooking it just doesn't get the job done.

Best of luck with your project. Wooden boats and schooners in particular are things to be prized.

Don
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