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Old 18-03-2008, 08:37   #31
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Originally Posted by jpcraw View Post
Does anyone have anything to say on the stove/oven Kerosene vs Propane debate. I am looking at a boat that has a kerosene stove/oven and know you don't see this too often. If it is a bad choice, how easy is it to replace?
Thanks for your input.
i am the lone hold out on my dock for kerosene. two of my dockmates switched to propane last year (and of course being the packrat i am gobbled up all the spares i could). i have both a kerosene cabin heater and stove.

propane is awesome, granted; instant on, odorless, hot, yep yep yep, and i think anyone using propane who inspect their installation regularly have a great galley... but it is not for me.

my main goal in going cruising is to limit my responsibilities. it is a way of maintaining focus on the real important things if i never need to sweat the small stuff. i do not know how many times in my life something out of the blue that was completely negligible wound up biting me in the butt because i was focused elsewhere. if this sounds like you, i would strongly suggest kerosene as a galley fuel. there is no hidden away systems that can fail, you deal with all the moving parts each time you light the burner (pump the tank, prime the burner, etc). kerosene can be finicky, but i think a lot of the reports on how temperamental it is, comes from the standing in front of the microwave screaming "hurry up" crowd, we are talking about sailing here right? not getting on a jet in Seattle in the morning and landing in Honolulu for lunch.

and last but not least kerosene is salty!
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Old 19-03-2008, 05:09   #32
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... and last but not least kerosene is salty!
Iím not going to ask how you came to know what kerosene tastes like, nor will I perform my own independent verification. In this one case, Iíll just take your word for it.
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Old 24-03-2008, 10:33   #33
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The posts here sure caught my attention. It seems to me that there is a lot of personal preference involved. On board previously owned sailboats we have had pressurized alcohol and propane stoves. We just removed our old propane stove on our current sailboat. The non-presurized, alcohol stove (Origo 2 burner) is being tested on land by it's new owners. We are using it on land until we install it (waiting for gimbals). What I like about it is that it requires no pumping and no external tanks with tubes/pipes or valves. In addition, I like the idea of avoiding the potential explosive situation with the old propane stove. It is plenty hot enough for cooking, so I really don't think the "not hot enough" argument is relavent. It is similar to the LP stove when it comes to lighting and extinguishing the flame. When you turn it off, it is off. We plan to keep our Seacook gimbaled stove that uses the propane bottles, but don't plan on keeping the bigger propane bottles. In fact we had recently purchased a brand new aluminium 10 lb tank, but then realized that we needed lots more stuff to be safe. The new alcohol stove is so simple to operate, and we can even take it up on deck or ashore. We are sold! My guess is that alchohol will become more prevalent, if it is not already. Even though alcohol fuel seems a little expensive, you seem to get a lot of meals for the amount of fuel. Don't really know how that compares.
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Old 24-03-2008, 10:44   #34
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I know of no serious long distance cruisers that use alcohol stoves, although I am sure there are some. These are used mostly by weekenders and occasional cruisers, mostly in small boats. The product is hard to find in remote places, when even propane is available, takes forever to cook anything, although it makes it hard to burn your food and is VERY expensive in a lot of areas. Alcohol stoves have been around for a long time but it is very doubtful they will ever become prevalent in cruising boats.
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Old 24-03-2008, 11:29   #35
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Originally Posted by Chuck Baier View Post
I know of no serious long distance cruisers that use alcohol stoves, although I am sure there are some. These are used mostly by weekenders and occasional cruisers, mostly in small boats. The product is hard to find in remote places, when even propane is available, takes forever to cook anything, although it makes it hard to burn your food and is VERY expensive in a lot of areas. Alcohol stoves have been around for a long time but it is very doubtful they will ever become prevalent in cruising boats.
I guess if we ever become serious long distance cruisers, we will have to condsider an alternative. We do carry kerosene for lamps on board, so that would make sense to me, too.
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Old 24-03-2008, 11:53   #36
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Kero is not the cleanest burning stuff. Propane really is easier to get, burns far hotter and is almost totally clean. It does take a special dedicated storage locker that is often hard to retrofit and a sensor / Solenoid. Hauling large volumes of Keri isn't all that safe either. While less explosive than gasoline it is not that much better. You still have to transport what ever you use and it all burns and can be a problem with any fire.

If you can't build the storage locker for the propane tank it's a problem to use propane safe.
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Old 24-03-2008, 14:08   #37
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If it were me, I would asess the cost overall (replacement versus how long I hope to keep the boat, etc.) Kerosene smells a bit, but nothing to fear from it if you can buy it in bulk somewhere near your marina. The entire country of Japan heats with kerosene; yet you seldom here of an accident. Propane/gas blows houses up infrequently, but it isn't foolproof.
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Old 24-03-2008, 14:56   #38
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Kero is not the cleanest burning stuff. Propane really is easier to get, burns far hotter and is almost totally clean. It does take a special dedicated storage locker that is often hard to retrofit and a sensor / Solenoid. Hauling large volumes of Keri isn't all that safe either. While less explosive than gasoline it is not that much better. You still have to transport what ever you use and it all burns and can be a problem with any fire.

If you can't build the storage locker for the propane tank it's a problem to use propane safe.
I would class kerosene as being much more similar to diesel than to gasoline. Flash point for gas, -45 degrees F, kerosene 100 degrees F, and diesel 125 degrees F. (Actually flash points are a range of temps depending on your mix.)

Is there some other quality of kerosene that is worrisome?

Not that I would use a kerosene stove over a propane stove, I just don't think that kerosene is much scarier than diesel.

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Old 24-03-2008, 15:15   #39
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Well, I still have my propane tank and the solenoid that came with the old system. When, we bought the boat it had a copper tube from the solenoid to the stove and no detector other than noses. At the start, I would always turn it off and on at the tank. I always had to get the air out of the line. My wife has always been nervous about the whole propane issue, and would have very little to do with the procedure. Once when lighting the stove, it lit up at the stove connection instead. At this point I decided that the whole system needed renewing. That is how I came to start studying up on propane installations and bought the new tank. Upon removal of the old line, I discovered that the lazerette that doubled as a propane locker had two faults. While it vented overboard, it was not really sealed off from the interior as it had first appeared, and the vent was relatively close to the exhaust. In the meantime, I had purchased the Force10 propane seacook stove for temporary use. Well, she might be willing to use it, but she expressed dismay with the prospect of lighting it. Combine this with a friend's eye witness account of a propane explosion while waiting in a lock on the Erie canal, and you end up looking for alternatives. This is how I got into this mess. We are hoping to do some trial cruising on the ICW and the coastal Atlantic before eventually going south to the Bahamas, Florida Keys and
Caribbean. What I would personally prefer is an easily maintained system that is straight forward. The passive alcohol stove seemed to offer that, but if fuel availability is a problem, I will have to keep researching. Everyone seems to have good reasons for their choice, and I really do appreciate the advice.
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Old 24-03-2008, 15:55   #40
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Yikes! My 2 Cents.. Most boat fires are "Blamed" on alcohal. Very convienient. I did not mind Kerosene but it was a bit fussy. Propane is easily available and if you really cook (Not just heating food) you have Propane or NGas in your home. Do the diligence and put the bottles in a proper locker with an external solinoid and you will have an uncomplicated ecperience. We bake bread and cook like tommorow is the last day and when cruising I get about 8 weeks on an aluminum 11 lb tank. Make room for 2 bottles. If you cook like me you do not want to run out. Most places you would want to go have Propane. Get a colapsible cart and the pain goes away. Jeez it is not like you are hoofing it 10 miles on your back.
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Old 24-03-2008, 16:09   #41
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Kero is not the cleanest burning stuff. Propane really is easier to get, burns far hotter and is almost totally clean .......... While less explosive than gasoline it is not that much better.
hrmm .. i appreciate that there is a lot of mis-information about the dangers of propane, i really think same goes for kerosene?

i was under the impression kerosene was hotter then propane, while not quite as hot as diesel, all the comparisons i have seen have stated kerosene has a higher BTU potential (potential is not real life granted and maybe i misunderstood what i was reading, i do not really understand the whole BTU measuring thing). kerosene and diesel, while certainly flammable are not considered explosive, if you have ever tried to light a pool of either you know, it is not real easy.

i have little experience outside the states, but i would find it hard to imagine a place where propane would be easier to get then kerosene.

propane is cleaner.. i agree.. and there is much to be said for that, also being instant on is a big plus.

i really do not think propane is as safe, let alone safer then kerosene, nor do i believe kerosene is as clean and convenient as propane. they are just two different animals.
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Old 24-03-2008, 16:28   #42
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Most boat fires are "Blamed" on alcohal.
Boat US says 80% of all boat fires are electrical. Gasoline explosions from failure to run the bilge blower is the more common way to launch a boat into orbit. The rest are not in most estimates common at all but they still happen.

It's all about installation. Good propane installations include sensors as well as the solenoid. The sensors set off an alarm and cut the solenoid when propane is detected. Sintex makes a all in one package with all you need after you build a proper locker. Being heavier than air it is easy to set up the sensors. One under the stove and a second low in the bilge. I do not believe copper pipe is an approved setup. Copper is corroded by natural gas I know that to be true.

I've seen what happens to house after a NG explosion. The shock blew out every window and raised the roof about 3 inches all the way around then set it down. Every wall was out of plumb. Propane is a dangerous substance to abuse. A leaking kerosene stove on fire may not be as dangerous but it could still burn you alive. Dead is pretty much dead.
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Old 24-03-2008, 16:28   #43
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Just a comment... From what I read most fires are blamed on "pressurized" alcohol stoves. We had one of these on our first sailboat.
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Old 25-03-2008, 07:43   #44
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To qualify that... "stove related fires"
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Old 01-04-2008, 11:25   #45
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Our boat came with an Origo 6000 non-pressurized alcohol stove with oven. I thought we would replace it with propane. After using it however, I would rather have the Origo.

Fuel (denatured alcohol) is readily available at any hardware store (in Georgetown, Bahamas this season, some boaters waited for weeks for the propane truck to arrive), fires can be put out with water, it cooks as quickly as propane, and no potentially dangerous pressurized fuel to store.
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