Originally Posted by weetamo44
I need a new stove for my Morgan 33 Out Island. Everyone here in Vermont uses propane. A friend who had a blow up favors a Wallas diesel. Any ideas? We will eventually be doing blue water sailing.
Have you considered kerosene? Here is my take on the question.
The case for Kerosene
When choosing a fuel for cooking and heating on a long distance cruising boat, you basically have a choice of 3 types. Gas, Diesel or Kerosene.
Most yachts use “gas”, which is either propane, butane or a mixture of the two. Whilst this is a convenient fuel, it has many drawbacks. It is potentially very dangerous, as it is heavier than air. It will therefore settle in the boat from a leak, and if ignited, explode violently. It is also relatively expensive, and although widely available, there is no standardization. Many countries will only fill their own cylinders, made of a specific material to their specification. Cylinders have many differing valve fittings, and are made of steel, stainless steel, aluminium and plastics. The steel cylinders always rust, and it is not uncommon for a boat to have 3 or 4 different types of cylinders on board. It is of course possible to purchase the gas in one cylinder and then decant into another cylinder. This is however also a potentially dangerous operation and illegal in many countries. Often the length of people’s stay, in remote places like Chagos , is limited by amount of gas they are able to carry.
This is a fine fuel for cold climates, but not practical in the tropics due to the fact that it produces too much heat down below. I also do not know of any gimbaled diesel stoves. All the diesel stoves that I have seen, are mounted athwart ships. This limits the cooking whilst sailing heeled over.
This has been our fuel of choice for 12 years. It is a safe fuel, as it will only burn , never explode. It is cheap, as it is either government subsidised, or low taxed in many countries. It is very efficient and economical. We have a 70 liter tank on board, which lasts about 2 years. We therefore fill up when we find a cheap, convenient, source of supply. For example we filled up in Argentina in 2005, where kerosene was half the cost of diesel and available from a pump at the marine filling station. We next filled up in Tanzania in 2008 where it was again easily available and cheap. In the French island of Mayotte, we were gived 50 liters of “jet fuel” by the French Foreign Legion. They put it into aircraft by the ton,and refused our offer of payment. It worked just fine! Kerosene stoves get hot fast, and easily reach higher temperatures than is possible using gas.
Of course there are negatives. The need for preheating the burners being the main one. This is usually done with alcohol, normally methylated spirits , but in Madagascar we found that we could purchase the local rum, 96% alcohol, in bulk for a few cents a liter. This works well as a preheating fuel, and can even be used for drinking in an emergency. Some people complain about the smell, but this is only an issue if you do not preheat properly.
Spare parts are still readily available for the burners, we use a supplier in Germany. A Swiss company, Bertschi, is producing an excellent, though expensive burner. Our stove, and the heater were made in the UK by Taylors. They are virtually indestructible, being made from brass and stainless steel. The stove top was originally enameled cast iron. When this started to flake after 12 years of full time daily use, I had a replacement laser cut from 6mm 316 stainless steel. This cost only about 1/3 of the quoted cost of a replacement stove top. It is easy to clean, looks good and will last a life time.
Besides Taylors, there are a number of other manufacturers of kerosene stoves and heaters for yachts, such as Optimus, and Force 10. It would also be feasible to convert any gas stove, to kerose