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Bajamas 03-22-2006 11:25 PM

A few boat questions
To all,

My wife and I require a new stove and we were wondering if anyone has any experience with the Diesel Stove/Cabin heaters. Seems like a safer option over Propane and it would tie right into a Diesel tank. It also said it doubled as a cabin heater which would have been an extra expense for us. What are the cons of having this type of stove/cabin heater?

Another question is the boat that we just purchased (Bristol 32) has had the cabin sole removed. We were thinking of trying to install a new cabin sole ourselves but won't do this until the rest of the boat is to our liking (lots of interior work to be done). We would also like to sail it while we work on it. Has anyone installed marine carpet instead of the teak/holly sole and how do they hold up? I don't think I have ever been aboard a sailboat that used marine carper and was wondering why. It seems that it might even be a bit more cozy. Keeping it clean wouldn't be an issue. Any thoughts??

I may ramp up the questions in the next few weeks as our new Bristol 32 is being delievered in two weeks to the Hudson river and the REAL work begins.>/tongue.gif


JeanneP 03-23-2006 02:08 AM

I think that marine carpet is not used often in sailboats because once it gets wet it's tough to get it dry again. We always had a small rug at the foot of the companionway, and in the cockpit, to catch dust, dirt, etc. that could then be shaken out and the rug washed often. but a full-length piece of carpet might be more difficult?

I'm not a fan of timber - teak and holly might look good, but so what? You could get the same effect for a lot less maintenance, with plastic laminate. :0)

don't know anything about diesel cookstoves or heaters. I never felt that propane was dangerous, disliked the smell of galleys that used a diesel cooker, so somebody else, I hope, will answer this.

Have fun, and fair winds,


Gallivanters 03-23-2006 09:13 AM


I believe Jeanne is on the money regarding wet carpet.

I'm certainly no expert, but...

Try cutting new pieces of marine plywood and apply cork as a finish surface. Cork feels great under foot, acts like nonskid, looks good and wears well. You can purchase cork in rolls at Office Max or similar stores. It's cheap, easy to cut and can be applied with contact cement. I always use cork on my shelves, too.

Don't forget to use a holesaw and cut finger holes early or you'll have a bear of a time trying to remove the panels.

Once you're happy with the final fit - go the extra effort to brush or roll on a few coats of thinned, penetrating epoxy to the ply in order to seal the edges. Multiple coats are best. Reduce thinner with each subsequent coat. Start with a 50 / 50 mixture of mixed epoxy and Xylene (sp?) and work up to last coat without thinning. This process will prevent water rot and will in effect petrify your wood. Don't forget to seal the finger holes, too. It only adds a little extra work but will make the wood last, like, forever.

I'll add one last thought... I think it's important to go out and have some fun while fixing-up your good old boat. I've seen several new owners' enthusiasm fade because all they did was WORK on the boat every weekend. So, make it a point to cast your lines and enjoy your boat away from the dock on a regular basis. Work is work and the smell of varnish & paint gets old after a while, so make the time to get out and smell the sea breeze, too. Your crew will thank you.

Have fun!


few degrees off 03-23-2006 12:00 PM

I have carpet in my 32 Downeaster the boat has recently become my home. The bedroom is teak but the living room and kitchen are carpeted, I tailored the carpet for easy removal the boat is sailed often and it does get wet inside. The carpet can be removed to hang outside in just a few minutes. The carpet has a rope sewn into the edge just fold it inward and is removed in two sections only the small section gets wet, since the carpet is not fabric it dries in a few hours. On the plus side it is warm, sort of nonskid and quite. On the down side its dark.

As for a stove propane has become easier to refill and widely available. My bottle is in outside storage and a spare bottle is stored out of sight also outside. I use the propane for the stove and the outside grill. I use the outside grill often maybe half my meals even under light sail are cooked outside. I would not be without the grill. A heater is a future option so far not needed but often thought about!

Nausikaa 03-23-2006 01:26 PM


I agree completely with your opinion regarding compressed gas usage in boats. Years in the Swedish Coast Guard have convinced me that this fuel is inheritantly unsafe. Storing and handling it safely as well as maintaining the system makes it better but does not make it a safe fuel as such. There will always be a risk.

I have used, in a friends sailing boat, a Danish Refleks stove. This churned out the heat and was good for cooking on. If sailing poermanently in high latitudes I would not hesitate to recommend the diesel stove / heater but, if sailing in the tropics or in the Med. in summer the heat produced when cooking would make the cabin unbearable. It also takes a while to heat up the stove so you will be waiting impatiently for your morning dose of tea / coffee unless the stove has been running during the night.

I am in favour of paraffin (kerosene) as this is a much safer and very efficient fuel. The only real drawback is getting fuel of the best quality and finding replacement burners. Also, one is not lugging arround a couple of heavy gas cylinders. I like the Taylors range of cookers and heaters.

As for matting, when I bought my boat there was a beige 'fitted carpet' on the cabin sole. It looked great but this was the first thing that was dumped in the container at the boatyard. I have an aversion to carpets because they trap dirt, food crumbs and can harbour eggs of small creepy things! Better to do without imho. On the other hand, I spent years in a couple of coast guard cutters which were carpeted (with propper rubber backed boat carpets) and these wore very well. They looked good, were fitted with studs so they just 'popped' fast onto the sole and despite having been very wet on occasions, dried nicely after a good wash with a freshwater hose. Having said that, I still don't want a carpet on my sole.

All the best with the new boat!



YachtVALHALLA 03-24-2006 08:23 AM

I LIKE CARPET! After slipping on a wet teak and holly cabin sole while sailing around the islands of Hawaii I installed indoor/outdoor type carpet over 24 years ago. I've never regretted that decision. It has been replaced twice since that time. I put an extra piece at the bottom of the companionway/galley area which has velcro hook tape glued to the bottom. This is the one that frequently gets wet and can be put out to dry. I use my canvas hotknife to seal the edges of the carpet to avoid raveling of the edges. The carpet is cut to fit the cabin sole and can be easily pulled up for access to the fuel tank (for checking fuel level) installed in the keel.

And yes, it does make things a bit more cozy below!


YachtVALHALLA 03-24-2006 08:32 AM

I ALSO LIKE PROPANE! A properly installed and maintained propane system is safe. The advantage I find of propane over other stove fuels is the instant heat (no waiting for the burner to get hot enough to vaporize the fuel) and the high BTU content. I bake bread and that's important. I also favor the Force 10 stove/grill/oven combo. The spark ingnition on these units is a joke but the rest of the unit is superb. The oven door folds down under the stove and maintains the stove balance so you can use two hands to remove things from the oven ... especially good while underway. I have a two burner model and, if there were enough space (never is, right?), would have the three burner one.

Cabin heater? YUK! I stay in the tropics so can't offer any advice.


GoneTroppo 03-24-2006 10:43 AM

HI Bajamas,

If Diesel, Kerosene, Metho etc, are such great/safe fuels, why are they not in use in modern homes? [}: )] Know several yachties who have converted from liquid fuels to LPG, but none that have gone the other way.

As for polished floors, I like them on other peoples yachts, when I visit them in a marina.:0)

My advice FWIW is, in the end, choose what suits you, as you have to live with it. Enjoy the refit, the results are rewarding.>/smile.gif



Nausikaa 03-24-2006 01:03 PM


Stephen's advice to 'do what suits you' is probably the soundest given here. Although comparing a house with a boat is not really relevant as convenience as well as safety being the issue, gas or electricity are the fuels of choice there. Having said that, there are many countries where paraffin / kerosene is used to cook and heat due to a lack of fuels of 'convenience'.

We all have our preferances; our likes and our dislikes. When making a choice of carpet or no carpet, gas or diesel stove etc. our own preferences and experiences come into play. These are as much, if not more, subjective than objective.

Example, SWMBO (she who must be obeyed = wife) hates flying. She is really scared of it and all the statistics in the world will not convince her that flying is safe. She would rather travel by road = relatively unsafe.

Terry gave his opinion on carpets and cooking fuels. Great - it works for him. I especially like his advice on cabin heaters>/biggrin.gif

My choice of paraffin is motivated not just by perceived safety aspects but also by the independence of the heater / stove. I need no electricity to run either. The fuel also has a high energy content so I can carry a large supply.

The bottom line, Bajamas, is that you are going to do what you like anyway, although other people may influence you. Which ever choice you make, I hope you will be happy with it.

All the best,



Jack Tyler 03-24-2006 10:56 PM

I'd like to offer an inbetween solution on the cabin sole: finished surface (laminate, sealed ply or timber strips; whatever you like) combined with carpet sections. We've done each of the other options mentioned and like this mixed approach because:

-- the carpet sections are small and easily handled

-- if buying synthetic carpet with polyprolene backing, the materials are easily cleaned (scrub brush, soap & water) and quickly dried

-- carpet can be placed where its benefits are appreciated and kept away from those areas where it's not; e.g. and especially in colder climes, it's nice to sit at the main cabin table with your feet insulated by carpet; OTOH Patricia has concluded a carpet section in the galley is unappreciated since it's easily soiled

-- carpet sections in the high-use areas minimizes wear on the cabin sole while collecting most of the dirt

-- carpet offcuts can be purchased cheaply and the individual pieces hand-cut to fit snugly where they belong; carpet houses will trim carpet which gives them a finished appearance...however, I like Terry's idea re: sealing the edges and will try that

-- carpets are easily/cheaply made non-skid by placing sections of rubber matting underneath; we see this non-skid material at all the chandelries and domestic housewares stores, where it's cheap; carpets definitely make the surface more secure which is one reason they exist on commercial vessels as Stephen pointed out.

Over time, this approach has evolved into two types of carpet sections: those ready made in standard dimensions with their own non-skid backing, and conventional house carpet offcuts which lend themselves to larger or uniquely shaped areas on the boat. So...when you step aboard WHOOSH, you see she has a teak & holly sole but you are probably seeing that while standing on a carpet.<g>

Re: stoves, it still remains more an issue of personal preference than absolutes like safety or convenience...but this is now changing. Pretty soon, kero/parafin will become so difficult to get in some areas of the world, and the burner supplies will become even more problematic, that I suspect kero will fall out of disfavor increasingly. We've used all 3 major fuels and prefer propane (actually, LPG) but - for now - each to his/her own.


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