Meet the Author


John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

4 comments… add one
  • Chuck Sep 20, 2011, 9:43 pm

    Esteemed John,
    I am interested in your thoughts as to which model REFLEKS diesel heater you would recommend. I am interested in a bulletproof system, dedictated to heating water tubing to supply a modern aluminum schooner of 60′ WL and well insulated. I see many expedition yachts saying that they use them, however, the mfg’s info says they are not suitable for a vessel that remains on one side for an extended period of time; but that rolling is acceptable. I was curious as to how these persons liked their unit in an open seaway on one tack for longer distances.

    • John Sep 21, 2011, 4:40 pm

      Hi Chuck,

      I’m really not an expert on the Refleks heaters having only lived with one during our time on “Polaris” without any sailing. Jean-François knows far more than I do about them, so I would go with his opinion.

      After our time on “Polaris” I did write an overall review of heater options which you may find useful.

    • Nick Kats Sep 22, 2011, 6:37 am

      I have a Refleks, smallest size. It doesn’t make a difference if I’m heeling, have used it sailing in F7. The stove is gravity fed, and a drop of diesel at a time falls to the bottom.
      My problem was the old stovepipe cap which allowed downdrafts – useless in F3 plus. Replacing it with a one way cap solved the problem.

  • Jean-François Eeman Sep 21, 2011, 6:39 am

    Hello Chuck,
    We install Refleks on our boats. From my experience :
    – the mfg sounds right to me. When the boat heels too much all diesel is going to one side and the heater starts smoking and smelling
    – rolling is acceptable but only to a certain level !
    We believe you can enhance the tolerance by making sure the carburetor is in the axis of the boat. Of course the positioning of the heater is important (as low and and as centered as possible…).

    That is only our experience…but others might have another opinion.


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