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Old 29-08-2015, 14:17   #1
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alcohol stove and heater

I bought a Morgan OI 33, hull #33. It has an alcohol stove, that certainly looks as if it has been used. I was also given a used "Shipmate alcohol heater" (in a box). The boat was plumbed with an alcohol tank under the settee, and a hold in the deck to exhaust the fumes.

So what do I do with this stuff. I cannot even find any reference to Shipmate heaters, though the stoves are commonly referenced.

I doubt I want to reinstall the heater.It was likely made in the 60s, the OI 33 was made in 73.

What do ya'll think?

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Old 29-08-2015, 14:42   #2
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Re: alcohol stove and heater

Where are you located if you decide not to use them I would be interested in the heater

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Old 29-08-2015, 19:58   #3
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Re: alcohol stove and heater

Keep the stove. Assuming it works, it'll work well for you.

Get rid of the alcohol heater, firm. The hole in the deck for ventilation notwithstanding, it'll kill you. They put out carbon dioxide and many people have been found dead in their closed-up boats and tents because of them. Check with the Coast Guard.
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Old 29-08-2015, 20:10   #4
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Re: alcohol stove and heater

Alcohol stoves and heaters can be dangerous. One other reason is that it is almost impossible to see the flames in daylight. That is until something else starts to burn.
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Old 29-08-2015, 20:43   #5
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Re: alcohol stove and heater

One past boat game with a pressurized alcohol stove. I spent a fair of money and effort getting the parts to get it running again, and then quickly decided to get rid of it as I thought it was a safety hazard.

I've had the Origo stoves as well. I don't think they are a big safety hazard, I just think they are slow, need a fuel that's not always easy to obtain, and the alcohol tends to evaporate. I prefer propane. Propane of course has risks as well, but I feel they are reasonably easy to manage.

Personally, I'd take a cheap propane camping stove over most alcohol stoves.
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Old 29-08-2015, 20:51   #6
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Re: alcohol stove and heater

I started with a Kenyon pressurized alcohol stove, which I think is like your shipmate. It worked quite well, when you got the hang of it, but was fiddly and needed to be pumped up to a much higher pressure than stated in the manual. Eventually, I retired it and replaced with an unpressurized Origo, which I loved. Boiled a quart of water in seven minutes, which isn't half bad. No pumping, no pressure, and dead simple. I would get one again in a heartbeat, but, yes, the fuel is not always easy to find and can be expensive. Hardware stores are a good source.

In my current boat I have propane and it works perfectly. Can't imagine why I ever shunned propane, but a year ago, another charter yacht blew up because of a they aren't perfect!

If I remember correctly, Practical Sailor once did an article on the portable propane camping stoves, the gist of which was that there was too strong a possibility for leaks, so I don't know if I would consider going that route, unless I always cooked on deck. By the way, most marine outdoor grills make good stoves, too.

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Old 29-08-2015, 20:57   #7
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Re: alcohol stove and heater

I used the alcohol stove my Morgan came with for the first trip in my new to me Morgan OI. I spent 6 months with that horrible piece of garbage. The alcohol collected water, better than a rain barrel. In the Bahamas they sold alcohol from an open Barrel. As soon as I got back I changed to propane. Of course I went the whole deal. Outside storage with below tank drain, outside electric valve, inside light to tell me that it was on, Inside switch to turn it on and off, Flexible, Hose made for propane, and a sniffer. Plus I got an oven with it. Mac
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Old 30-08-2015, 08:45   #8
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Re: alcohol stove and heater

Greeting from Connecticut;

I have an Origo stove on my 28' Imperial. It's easily manageable and works well. Any walmart, home depot, paint supply store etc. Will have denatured alcohol as fuel. With any open flame, there are safety hazards. When proper care is used, my opinion is they are perfectly safe.
I use it extensively on weekends and have never had a problem in the last 4 years of use.
I do agree the flame is difficult to see in daylight and always keep a fire extinguisher hanging on the wall.
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Old 30-08-2015, 08:48   #9
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Re: alcohol stove and heater

In the late 70's I had a 30 footer with an alcohol stove with a pressure tank and discovered it wasn't hot enough to cook pasta. I changed at very little cost to some diesel burners from defenders industries in New York and that worked fine for the next 5. Years of cruising in the Bahamas. The diesel burners heat and cook faster and better and being on the water seems to keep the boat aired properly.Donald
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Old 30-08-2015, 08:59   #10
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Re: alcohol stove and heater

You might want to think about a single burner butane stove. This is type that is used for table side cooking in restaurants and cost is some where near $30.00. It is fuel by low pressure bottles of butane that are similar to hair spray bottles and I usually get about one and a half hours from each can. Bottles can be obtained at Wal-Mart or a restaurant supply house. The beauty of butane is that it cooks quickly and produces very little CO2. It is approved for cooking in closed spaces and although we have Propane aboard out larger boat, we are seldom without our little butane stove.
One note on heating; Here in SW Florida we thin blooded types need a heater on those cooler winter nights. Most are using a 'Mr. Heater' portable propane heater. Sort of a propane catalytic heater. <than$100. Just make sure that it vented well.
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Old 30-08-2015, 09:20   #11
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Re: alcohol stove and heater

Know nothing about ShipMate stoves. However, I have had a 2-burner Orego alcohol stove for 21 years now and its still going strong. These are fueled up by filling the 2 cannisters in the stove and those tanks you already have installed could be used to do the re-fuel'ing.
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Old 30-08-2015, 09:22   #12
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Re: alcohol stove and heater

There are two main types of alcohol stoves.

1. Pressurized
More dangerous.
Prone to Flareups that can cause out of control fires and loss of boat.
Improper pressure can cause "leaking" fuel that then ignites in a large flame (which is invisible).

You will only need to experience a pressurized Alcohol Stove Flareup once to appreciate the danger.

2. Non Pressurized
Relatively safer than the pressurized.

What would I do?

IF I bought a used (old) boat with a Pressurized Alcohol stove, I would replace it asap. I would NOT use this type of stove, would not let anyone else on the boat use it, nor would I depend on it long term. Replace it.

IF I bought a used boat with a non-pressurized alcohol stove, I would use it until I replaced it with a different type of stove, most likely propane.
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Old 30-08-2015, 09:29   #13
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Re: alcohol stove and heater

Depending upon your alcohol stoves burners you *might* be able to convert it to run kerosene if desired. If the burner is just a straight body like this:

That would be alcohol only.

However, if the burner has multiple tubes like this one:

That will burn kerosene. You just need to change the nipple/jet in the burner for a kerosene nipple. A few marine alcohol stove had the kerosene type burners on them with alcohol jets.

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Old 30-08-2015, 11:08   #14
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Re: alcohol stove and heater

The burners for alcohol I've had are the lower type. The alcohol burners looked similar but never studied then closely to see if they were outwardly identical with the kero burners. Are you saying the alchohol and kero burners were the same except for the Jets??? That would make the shortage of zero burners easier to cure if you can still get the kero jets.
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Old 30-08-2015, 11:48   #15
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Re: alcohol stove and heater

Several years ago, we had seen the results of of an alcohol fire on at boat that was at anchorage here at a local state park. The owner had tried to refill the stove with fresh alcohol but as it turned out, the stove was hotter than he expected and it caught fire. This happened at noon day during the summer and he guesses that the stove did not cool as rapidly as he thought.

Nevertheless, as the one gallon can that he was using to refill the stove caught fire, it dropped to the floor of the boat and set him on fire as well as the boat.

He was air lifted to the burn center by med-vac helicopter with 1st. & 2nd degree burns over his body. His wife was also severely burned. When I spoke with him he was mentioning was the problem that they could not see the flames in the direct sun light. They recovered after multiple skin grafts and much therapy.
The 28 foot sloop burned to the water line and the incident was the talk of the harbor for many months.
In retrospect, I don't think there is any absolutely safe fuel to be used on board save Compressed Natural Gas- as it is lighter than air, it's just a matter of choosing the least of the evils. But alcohol would be my last choice and it tends to be expensive.

One other warning.
If you wind up with a portable propane stove, use only the high quality canisters (like Coleman). We have first hand experience that the less expensive canisters can and do leak. (WAL-Mart brand)
Best of luck with your decision.

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