Simple Alcohol Heaters Are No More

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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.

Sounding Hammer Trick

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I was working with a very experienced and smart composite technician today to check out a crack in the gel coat in the bilge of our J/109.

I was pretty sure it was not structural and just the result of sloppy gel coat application but wanted a pro to check.

He sounded it with a hammer, just like anyone would, but then put his hand down as shown and explained that if there is a void he will be able to feel “bounce back” when he taps. Never seen that before.

Good news: all is fine. He figures someone just poured resin in to level it. Seen it before. That said, he is going to grind it out and repair it right with cloth and then brush gel coat.

Says it should take about half a day. The good guys are fast, too. If I tried it, it would take half a day to get the resin out of my hair, never mind the repair.

White Paint Is Our Friend

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Before and after shots of a small locker in our J-109. Way better to paint the water damaged ply than mess around with varnish trying to fix it. Brightens the boat up too. We like semi-gloss, not gloss. White is brighter inside the locker too.