The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Simple Alcohol Heaters Are No More

I have been thinking about heat for our J/109 lately. Not a full-on system for the Arctic like we had on or McCurdy and Rhodes 56, but rather something to take the chill off on a cold morning in early or late summer.

One idea I had was one of those portable alcohol heaters that used to be available. Origo used to make one, but then they got bought by Dometic, who promptly discontinued the product along with the much loved (by some) alcohol stoves.

And there was one from HeatMate that Practical Sailor liked a lot, but that seems to be gone, too.

What I’m realizing as I strive to keep things light, economical, and simple on our new-to-us boat, is that the market’s fixation on ever more high tech and complicated gear is making my goal harder and harder to achieve.

And the constant buying up of small companies by bigger ones like Dometic is not helping either.

Pissing me off.

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Dave Pyle
Mark Wilson

A clay flower pot on the cooker inverted above a gas burner turned low takes the edge off. Worked well for me on days when the diesel stove didn’t like the wind direction or sea state. Didn’t seem to use too much gas. Best paired with a carbon monoxide detector.

Allan Wong

I got mine from eBay. Works well. I just had trouble finding fuel during the pandemic.

I tried the clay flower pot on the propane stove. It worked well After I turned off the propane, the Carbon Monoxide detector came on. I had already turned off the heat. Good to know the detector is working.

Drew Frye

Google “good old boat stove heater” for an adaptation of your stove into a vented heater. Just a few dollars, and no more moisture, CO or CO2 in the cabin. Not a replacment for real heat, not at all, but just the thing to safely knock the chill off.

Drew Frye

I considered that the venerable Newport bulkhead heater is little more than an inverted pot over a very simple burner, and it seemed obvious. I did a few calculations (indusrial heater design is a part of my trade), tested a mock-up on the kitchen stove, and the result was perfect for my F-24, where all I wanted was a little simple heat for winter day sailing and a few cool overnights. It’s not a cruising boat, so this is enough.

Thomas Harries

That would fit my boat too. What is G10? Thanks.

Drew Frye

G10 a very high grade of Garolite pre-laminated fiberglass sheet. Overkill for this project, where structural grade fiberglass sheet will work fine. Try McMaster Carr.

G10 is recomended for high-strength, critical applications. Very good stuff.

Chris Campbell

I’m in Chester and have one of the Origo ones I no longer use. Get in touch if you’re interested!