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Old 21-09-2013, 10:40   #61
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Re: Alcohol or Propane?

Originally Posted by w32honu View Post
I have been reading these posts as well as other threads with interest.....

It seems that the cost of various fuels comes up quite a bit. I dont think that should even be a factor. Its really a safety/preference question.

Alcohol fuel has been mentioned a lot with reference to its high cost. And it is more expensive. But in the big scope it seems to me irrelevant. Average consumption is about 1 gallon per month cooking full time. Thats an average cost of say $15 per month or 50 cents a day. We all have to cook and eat. So if we pay $9 per month or $15 per month its not a big deal. If we are cutting it that close on the costs to the cruising kitty, then we are walking a fine line indeed.

So for me it boils down to....

Propane: High BTU, convenient, easy to use, "potentially" VERY dangerous.
Alcohol (Origo): Hot enough, convenient, easy to use, NOT so dangerous.
As I said, I had a couple of "flares" with a pressurized alcohol stove...never again. I would consider, were I in a small boat, alone or with a coupe cooking only lightly or occasionally, an Origo unit. They seem the best and safest way to use alcohol for cooking. Alcohol is still a low BTU fuel, however.

Diesel would seem the most logical for a proper gimballed stove, but I only ever see it on pretty hard-core "distance" cruisers, presumably because refilling propane is problematic outside of North America due to the absence of supply and differences in valves and related plumbing.

I'll stick with my campstove on a plank for now on my Lake Ontario-only boat. I never finished converting my old Homestrand to propane, although it is simply a matter of going to a barbeque repair parts store. I just don't want propane inside with the Atomic 4 gas inboard, even with a sensor.
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Old 21-09-2013, 11:07   #62
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Re: Alcohol or Propane?

I have cruised on a boat a non pressurised alcohol stove top and think that it is safer than propane.
Accidents with alcohol stoves are almost always due to operator error.

However, propane/butane is very hard hard to beat for convenience and with a bit of care it is still a very safe alternative.

If crusing long distance you do need a lot of propane storage. Many production boats have woefully inadequate storage and will only fit certain sized tanks. Regulators, or adaptors to fit local tanks are readily available, but you need to be able to store different sized bottles in a ventilated secure compartment.

If you can keep about 30-40KG of propane/butane your cruising life will be much easier.
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Old 21-09-2013, 11:53   #63
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Re: Alcohol or Propane?

The meaning of life boils down to...Alcohol or Propane! I sailed the seven seas, pondering this question. I even climbed Mt. Everest and spoke to His Serene Highness the Benevolent Guru of Gas, who has daily contacts with High Spirits (hic)... He too pondered about that question! A few weeks later, he had a revelation from a Higher Order...the sky million ducks flew overhead...then, he declared: "ALCOPANE, it is!" (Tell'em Charlie sent ya!)

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Old 21-09-2013, 13:00   #64
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I've pondered this alcohol vs propane question before when the budgets tight. I've decided that I can eat cold food but I still want my rum. Filling the propane tank can wait.
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Old 09-10-2013, 06:40   #65
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Re: Alcohol or Propane?

I have a Kenyon alcohol/electric and it works great for me a single hander. When I am at the dock, I use the electric. Alcohol at sea or cruising.

To refill, I got a lid from a backpacking store that has a pour spout and fits in the 1 liter metal bottles. I then refill this from my 1 gallon bottle. Very easy to refill.

It may take longer to cook than propane, but a boat is slower than a car. I relax and let it do it's business.

Someone said in a pinch you can use vodka if you cannot find alcohol.

A friend of mine really wanted to add propane. He did not have a locker, and did not like the bottles hanging off the back. So he added a propane locker on the back of his boat. Now his boat is lower in the water in the stern. LOL.
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Old 09-10-2013, 06:49   #66
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Re: Alcohol or Propane?

Have used alcohol, kerosene, electric and PROPANE! Propane by all means is by far better than the alternatives. My present boat has electric which just might get changed next year to propane.
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