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Old 03-02-2017, 10:31   #1
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Wood stove on a sailboat?

I'm looking into some heating options, and am finding some really cool woodstoves popping up that are listed as being used in tiny homes and aboard boats.
We just bought a Contest 30 yacht, and live in Northern New England. I'm playing with the idea of getting a heating source to extend our sailing season, and we plan to live aboard at least for Summer and part of Fall.

My main questions:
Does anyone have experience with installing and living with a mini woodstove such as the following on a fiberglass monohull sailboat?
SARDINE STOVE INFO & SPECS.
https://www.tinywoodstove.com/produc...enameled-door/
The Hobbit, Small Multi Fuel Cast Iron Stove

I also see the more standard marine bulkhead heaters are an option, but they're just no where near as cool looking!

What about insurance? Are insurance companies open to stoves aboard? Will this create headaches in being able to get coverage?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 03-02-2017, 11:18   #2
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Re: Wood stove on a sailboat?

I don't think it's a good idea.

You can't accurately control the heat, the body of the thing is going to radiate heat for a half meter, which can damage finishes (at the very least) so where would you put it? The riser is going to be hotter than heck where it goes through the deck and above deck, and you'd have to vent pretty high to avoid external heat damage.

Plus the mess of wood and ashes.
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Old 03-02-2017, 11:34   #3
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Re: Wood stove on a sailboat?

No direct personal experience, but Iíve known a few people with wood heaters while on Lake Superior. I would seriously consider one when/if I decide to mount a permanent one.

My concerns would be soot from exhaust, and carrying the fuel. I think both are solvable. And on the positive side, fuel is free if youíre travelling in remote areas.
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Old 03-02-2017, 11:35   #4
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Re: Wood stove on a sailboat?

Properly done, any combustion stove can be safely installed in a boat. I live aboard and heated with wood for 2 years. PO also heated with wood a couple years. The big issue for me is hauling and storing enough wood. Also, it seems it's either too hot or too cold in the boat. It took about 6 arm loads of wood per 24 hour day to heat in cold weather. 2 cords a month in really cold weather. I went to a small pellet stove and at most 2 40# bags a day.
With a small stove, and small wood, you'll have short burn times. It won't burn overnight. Coal, if available would be a better fuel for long burns. A diesel stove or heater is the easiest, fuel is already on board, etc.
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Old 03-02-2017, 11:36   #5
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Re: Wood stove on a sailboat?

There's been wood stowes in boats for ages in boats. Just do the installation properly and you are good
^ Wood stowes are not for dumdums edit: not ^ but ^^^
Dunno about insurance..
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Old 03-02-2017, 11:45   #6
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Re: Wood stove on a sailboat?

We live in Vermont and already deal with wood stoves at home so it wouldn't be totally new to us.
Did you have boat insurance when you were using them? Any issues there?
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Old 03-02-2017, 12:02   #7
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Re: Wood stove on a sailboat?

Swwly, read your policy, or ask your insurance broker. Policies vary a lot!

Ann
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Old 03-02-2017, 12:03   #8
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Re: Wood stove on a sailboat?

We used a wood stove aboard Panope for 18 years. Very nice heat -super cozy. Very little soot on the outside of the boat. Never had a spark melt a sail or anything else. Free fuel.

However, I ended up switching to a diesel furnace for the following reasons: The Diesel furnace is much lighter and takes up much less space. The wood stove was messy down below. Wood takes time to light and needs frequent stoking as the wood pieces are very small. Wood fuel is bulky (and messy). Dry wood may be difficult to find in the area where I plan on going (Alaska).

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Old 03-02-2017, 12:15   #9
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Re: Wood stove on a sailboat?

I've spoken against this idea in the past, but I have two groups of sailing friends who have had great success with the wood stoves and loved using them. My thoughts originally were that storing the wood would be a constant problem, and that the wood holds bugs. The only other thing is that you'd have to get up in the night to restoke.

They say that all of this is a very small deal. Restoking is nothing, since most of us get up to check anchors, etc. anyway, and the stoves are so efficient that they only need to burn small chunks of wood, and you can use scrap framing lumber, etc. so no worry about bugs in that case.

I like the warm nice heat and the cheery glow, plus the smell. If the wood is dry, it won't smoke much at all. If it's damp, totally different story.

So, in Alaska it gets a pretty big thumbs up. I would think New England would be similar if not many times colder, as it is mostly pretty moderate here.
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Old 03-02-2017, 12:18   #10
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Re: Wood stove on a sailboat?

Many in the north have used wood heat. They like it for the dry heat I think. My concerns are:
-if you need the fire out fast in an emergency, very hard to accomplish. Nearly impossible if you are using coal or charcoal.
-Messy... as noted above.
-spark damage.
-carbon monoxide poisoning (not easy to put the fire out, time for bed, you are tired, fall asleep with hatch closed.)
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Old 03-02-2017, 17:38   #11
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Re: Wood stove on a sailboat?

I have a Sardine in my boat, and lived aboard for three New England winters with it. It is without question the best way to heat a boat. On our 31' boat the heat was so efficient that with the sea freezing solid outside we could keep a porthole open--nothing like fresh air AND being warm. It also keeps things good and dry, and if you're under a shrink wrap canopy, does pretty well at keeping the canopy dry. On the coldest winter, I burned a little less than half a cord.
If I could do it again, I'd get the Hobbit stove--that glass door is pretty awesome.
You must install thoughtfully, and with plenty of shielding. The bronze deck iron sold by the Sardine people is very good. The higher you can get your chimney pipe above the deck the better. I have a removable section so it can all get smaller while sailing.
If you plan to burn coal, you may have to get a stove specially designed for that--I couldn't get the sardine hot enough to ignite coal, and in a 30' boat, I doubt you'd want that much heat.
Some pics on my website: zartmancruising.com
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Old 03-02-2017, 17:59   #12
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Re: Wood stove on a sailboat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lepke View Post
Properly done, any combustion stove can be safely installed in a boat. I live aboard and heated with wood for 2 years. PO also heated with wood a couple years. The big issue for me is hauling and storing enough wood. Also, it seems it's either too hot or too cold in the boat. It took about 6 arm loads of wood per 24 hour day to heat in cold weather. 2 cords a month in really cold weather. I went to a small pellet stove and at most 2 40# bags a day.
With a small stove, and small wood, you'll have short burn times. It won't burn overnight. Coal, if available would be a better fuel for long burns. A diesel stove or heater is the easiest, fuel is already on board, etc.
Two cord a month?! Wow, I grew up in a drafty New England farmhouse, and we never went through more than 8 cord in an entire year.

Oh wait, I just noticed you were living on an 83' wooden boat in Alaska .. stay warm my friend!
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Old 03-02-2017, 18:51   #13
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Re: Wood stove on a sailboat?

We had a Tiny Tot cast iron stove on our 30' Islander in Duluth. We loved it. We burned hard wood and small coal chunks. The stove has a coal grate. Coal will burn out a typical wood stove grate. We did not live aboard but did stay on the boat when it was pulled for the winter. It was on a copper lined shelf. Did not have a bulkhead heat shield but should. Bronze deck iron is the only way to go. We would love one on our current boat but can not figure where to put it. Nothing better than dry wood heat on a boat.
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Old 03-02-2017, 18:53   #14
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Re: Wood stove on a sailboat?

Cubic Mini Wood Stoves - CB-1008 CUB Cubic Mini Wood Stove

Love the look of this stove, but it seems the price may have gone up

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Old 03-02-2017, 19:11   #15
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Re: Wood stove on a sailboat?

I have a Ratelco Cole stove on my current Albin Vega. I had a Cozy Cabin propane heater on my last one.

I prefer the solid fuel Ratelco because it allows me to have a separate cache of fuel for it, so I never worry about using up my primary source. I actually rarely used the propane heater for this reason, because I didn't want to use my cooking fuel on heating.

I also like the ambiance/novelty of the solid fuel stove, and that I'll be able to forage for fuel on my own. With all that said, I have not used it in off-the-grid situations so we'll see if I'm still singing it's praises when that time comes.

I haven't had experience with other heater types so cannot comment.
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