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Old 13-04-2010, 14:54   #16
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Switched from pressurized alcohol to passive on my previous boat. No question re less heat but loved the increased safety. Two tricks; boil stuff in pots with a well fitting lid and add a pinch of salt as the salt will lower the boiling point of the water.

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Old 13-04-2010, 16:35   #17
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I would forget about pressurized alcohol - there's no need to have to deal with flareups when there are perfectly good non pressurized alcohol stoves on the market.

For those who can't cook, and do it safely, with a non pressurized alcohol stove, I can assure you it's the cook and not the cooker.
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Old 14-04-2010, 00:41   #18
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I was trained as a cook and have found that with alcohol you are not going to have the fine adjustment that you are wanting. You have high and low. On full throttle it will sear but everything has to happen in small batches because it cannot generate enough heat to sustain high temperatures except on small lots of food. If you are cooking for more than one you will be juggling a lot of small pans. It's a doable medium for plenty of sailors, though not quite the medium for the perfect steak, but that's why I have a braizier and propane bbg on deck.
Given your needs zee hag is right, float test it and go big with the propane.
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Old 14-04-2010, 04:32   #19
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Alchohol is super!

I've had a boat w propane...seen all the posts. Its certainly nice but not always the best choice. I heat water in a kettle in about 5 minutes. I love my Origo two burner. Its simple, safe and easy.
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Old 14-04-2010, 07:11   #20
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A lot of the charter boats I have skippered have a propane stove plus oven and a propane grill off the stern. If you want to get meat properly cooked, the grill is the only way to go. I find the propane burners are not hot enough for good quality cooking.

It is more the real chefs I sail with that say so. They also turn out some great cuisine once they sort out the burner capabilities.

I cook very well at sea when no one else will but only am average at rest. In all my years of cruising, I find that food shopping and meal planning has to match the prep space, stove, chilly-bin, dry storage volume, clean up space, crew tastes, and provision's availability.

Feeding the crew is a big deal.
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Old 14-04-2010, 08:13   #21
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Originally Posted by Dave the Canuck View Post
Switched from pressurized alcohol to passive on my previous boat. No question re less heat but loved the increased safety. Two tricks; boil stuff in pots with a well fitting lid and add a pinch of salt as the salt will lower the boiling point of the water.

Cheers!
Salt raises bp of water.
Salt and the Boiling Point of Water

but there is a cooking reason to do it, you're cooking at a higher temp, so food should cook faster. Though I wonder how much difference the 5 degrees in the science experiment below makes:
Why do you add salt to boiling water?

John
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Old 14-04-2010, 20:41   #22
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I wonder how much it matters exactly what type of alcohol stove we are talking about - since they vary from open flame to pressurized.

A few months ago I crewed on a delivery and the boat had an open flame type alcohol stove - where you fill a vessel containing a spongy material with alcohol, and light the thing on fire. Amount of flame (and dousing) was controlled with a flap. It did not boil water very well, and smoked and smelled like crazy. I don't know if that was all normal or not, but it was nothing like the pressurized alcohol stoves I've used...
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Old 14-04-2010, 20:56   #23
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It did not boil water very well, and smoked and smelled like crazy.
Definitely a fuel problem.



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Old 14-04-2010, 21:06   #24
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Much of our sailing is on a bayou/lake in warm weather. We have an Origo and it works fine but we often use the propane barbecue grill to cook (even make coffee) because it keeps the heat out of the cabin.
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Old 14-04-2010, 21:55   #25
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I will refine my question. I do want to cook more extensive meals, can it be done with alcohol...it seems like the answer is a growing no.

Any alcohol stove fans out there see it different?

I mean I need heat that can sear a meat closed on the outside, then reduce the heat and get the inside with less intensity....keeping the moist juices inside where they belong....
Yes, I definitely see it differently. I am an excellent cook (if I do say so myself; have even done it professionally for a bit) and I have cooked some quite wonderful meals on a 2-burner non-pressurized Origo.

I can even make my Grandma's fried chicken -- not often; it's a lot of work on ANY stove! -- and it comes out crispy and browned on the outside, moist and delicious on the inside.

Could be that if someone is having trouble cooking on this stove, it's the cookware that's the problem. You need something with a thick bottom that spreads the heat evenly. Other than that, it takes a minute or two longer than propane to get going, but once it's going it works just great.

I opted NOT to put propane on my new-to-me boat this time around and, instead, keep the Origo like I had on the old boat. Alcohol is safe and I find it lasts quite a long time; propane on a boat gives me the willies. Seems odd to me to reject a gasoline engine to keep explosive vapors out of the boat and then add propane. But that's just me.
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Old 15-04-2010, 01:14   #26
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I am curious about fuel availability when cruising as I have read that denatured alcohol isn't easy to find in the islands.. Pacific or Carribean and it's expensive. I didn't see any the two times we chartered around the BVIs but then I didn't look very hard. Thanks
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Old 15-04-2010, 06:48   #27
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Cooking fuel availability based on my cruises of the Caribbean only:

Propane is everywhere and affordable.
The fittings are not all the same so some preparation is required there. For a while on one island the propane guy would not fill aluminum tanks. Then one of his guys agreed to sneak the aluminum tanks in after work, refill 'em, and sneak them back out... for a fee. A month later, the policy was reversed. Go figure.

Alcohol is generally available and may be expensive.
Good quality alcohol is used in various industrial processes. Islands with industry have lower prices than less industrial islands.

Butane canisters are hard to find outside of islands with big yachting industries or resort supply businesses.

kero/diesel stoves are uncommon but the fuel is ubiquitous.

Our experience cruising in the tropics is that we do not use a lot of fuel because cooking is unattractive. Also, by choice, we stay away from meat since it is hard to keep safe... and may not have been properly handled before you buy it.

It is a philosophical issue, too. Simple boats and simple life styles are less expensive to operate and take less time to maintain. We choose simple for ourselves. We also enjoy invitations aboard boats with ice, hot showers and AC. Once in a while!
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Old 15-04-2010, 06:51   #28
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Gracias makes a good point with cookware.

There is a Canadian company, Paderno (Chaudiere in the USA) that makes some excellent pots and pans without handles. The cookware has think aluminum bottoms, stainless container, stay-cool handles. Perfect for the boat.

We got a set on one boat and had better meals as a result.

NO financial interest, etc.
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Old 15-04-2010, 07:20   #29
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Alcohol will not boil water, well not on my boat. Alcohol is for drinkng and lp gas is for cooking. I took out an alcohol electric and replaced it with a Suburban RV cook top, 2 burner. At the tank I put a solenid valve to with a switch in the galley. I never used the alcohol but I hated the electric aspect on the hotplate.

I see nothing unsafe about my set up, and when I am going to be away from the boat for awhile I close the valve on the tank. I am considering adding an explosive gas alarm. For an oven I put in an electric toaster oven. If I am at sea or anchor the outdoor grill or hotplate will have to do unless I have the generator running anyway, then I might use the toaster oven.

For me LP is the way to go, but it does seem prudent to have some safe guards. On the switch I have an indicator light to show the valve is open. For me to fill my bilge with LP gas, I would have to have a death wish or be incredibly careless or stupid or all of the above. There is some danger in handling alochol when filling also, so I will stick with LP.

BTW the hotplate only cost $125 + shipping and it looks and cooks real good.
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Old 15-04-2010, 07:32   #30
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Yes, I definitely see it differently. I am an excellent cook (if I do say so myself; have even done it professionally for a bit) and I have cooked some quite wonderful meals on a 2-burner non-pressurized Origo.

I can even make my Grandma's fried chicken -- not often; it's a lot of work on ANY stove! -- and it comes out crispy and browned on the outside, moist and delicious on the inside.

Could be that if someone is having trouble cooking on this stove, it's the cookware that's the problem. You need something with a thick bottom that spreads the heat evenly. Other than that, it takes a minute or two longer than propane to get going, but once it's going it works just great.

I opted NOT to put propane on my new-to-me boat this time around and, instead, keep the Origo like I had on the old boat. Alcohol is safe and I find it lasts quite a long time; propane on a boat gives me the willies. Seems odd to me to reject a gasoline engine to keep explosive vapors out of the boat and then add propane. But that's just me.
Gracias,you make an excellent point,i actually wittnesed a powerboat explode right in front of me while they were fueling up,one guy was badly burned so i shy away from explosive fuels.
Steve.
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