I watched my dinner fly across the cabin with an explosion spattering everywhere. It looked like my little boat was bleeding internally, tired, hungry and defeated I kneeled down with my spoon and shared dinner with Chloe eating right off the cabin sole. Pasta sauce dripped down on me like amber rain and it wasn’t long before I was covered in thick goo, it must of been an appalling site but it was just the two of us. I must say, Chloe was the best crew I’ve ever had and did her best to clean every last spec within her reach and seriously risked a sprained tongue stretching at the higher morsels. It was at that time and space that I vowed I would never use a gimbaled stove at sea ever again.
Most of my friends like to make fun of me which is good because I tease to no end. On my end there is no shortage of ammunition. My stove-less boats, yes plural started the most recent lambaste. My biggest fear following water and high places is fire. Put fire on a boat, add a highly combustible element and I’m crippled with anxiety at all times. The very first thing I did on Sookie was to remove her stove, years later I bought it back and put it back in and then removed it again. I do my best not to cook when it’s rough and am more than happy with endless PB&j but without hot coffee a mutiny is close at arms. I’ve been happily using a $40.00 butane camp stove for over 10 years, fuel is cheap and can be found everywhere in the world. This little gem cooks hot and fast and is perfect for everything except cooking underway. its only real downfall is it feels like I’m smuggling 20 little pressurized bombs everywhere I go. I’ve had some pretty interesting experiences trying to make hot coffee, wedged and braced in Holding the pot with one hand and stove with the other while the boat lurched and rolled oblivious to my struggles. Chloe would always perch in the corner intently watching and waiting for what was sure to end in disaster, her sense of humor was a bit dry but she loved the shenanigans as much as I.
Alone at sea we need these little distractions to keep the mind occupied. I’m not at sea today but I am in the middle of the ocean. If I had half a brain Id just buy a brand new propane stove with oven, I’ve budgeted for it but so far it is the loneliest envelope of all, its sits collecting dust while I spend my days making the easiest project the most difficult. My latest plan was a simple Origo 3000 double burner alcohol stove. I’ve one upped myself thinking I can install a non gimbaled single burner but for that I would have to make a cut out in my beautifully varnished counter. To add to the mix I have an idea for a simple fixed stove top that I could stand behind and not beside while under way with a removable bench at counter height. This is almost to genius to work and not that it matters at this point but would save 2k for the install. The reason I’ve done nothing as of yet is I’ve been searching the world for a Taylors paraffin stove. Still no luck but its how I found and purchased a brand new bronze windlass, It arrived today and I must say its quite a formidable piece of naval history.
With each small refinement living aboard becomes less like camping and more like yachting. I continue to jump from piece to piece as I have the time and resources. 13 sunsets from now and the days will grow longer, warmer and closer to that thing we all refer to as living the dream.