(Posted 10/28/2016)

(See bottom of page for post-voyage updates)

Cooking onboard will be as unconventional as some of the other aspects of our preparation.  In recent years, propane has become the most popular cooking fuel for long-distance voyagers and is a tempting fuel due to its convenience and clean burning.  It has a couple of downsides though, and these were deal killers for us.  Most significantly, it is potentially explosive, and being heavier than air, tends to settle into the hull rather than dissipating upwards.  Additionally, when it comes time to fill tanks in foreign ports, finding compatible connectors can be a hassle, as there isn't a global standard. 

From the beginning, we've looked on this voyage as something akin to backpacking on the water and our choice of a multi-fuel backpacking stove was in keeping with that concept.  The stove we'll be using is an MSR Dragonfly, capable of burning an impressive list of fuels including kerosene, diesel, jet fuel, unleaded gasoline and white gas. 

Kerosene will be our primary fuel, as it is non-explosive.  If need be, we'll use diesel fuel, which is almost universally available.  We plan to leave with 5 gallons of K-1 grade kerosene, which should last for several months. 

Kerosene burns relatively cleanly, but only after it's been primed.  Priming can be done with kerosene, but the priming flame tends to produce soot and blacken cookware.  Instead, we'll use alcohol for priming, which burns relatively cleanly and only requires about a teaspoon per lighting.

Stove assembly.

Closeup of stove assembly, showing stainless steel steam table pan
to contain food spills.Three stainless steel rods prevent the cooking pots
from sliding off the stove. 
Adjusting the wingnuts allows the rods to swivel in or out to 
accommodate various pot sizes. 

Alcohol priming container sits inside plastic peanut butter jar bolted to
the bulkhead.

Syringe with plastic tube and large needle is used to draw alcohol from priming
bottle.  Syringe is then set into a holder made from PVC pipe bolted beside stove.
Priming bottle is then capped and alcohol in syringe is squirted into priming cup of stove.

Before lighting alcohol, this priming pan is put over the stove to help
contain the priming flame.  When priming flame dies down, pan is removed and
stove valve is opened and kerosene is ignited. 

Post-voyage comments (updated 10-14-2017):

The stove gets a big thumbs up.  It was convenient to use and the pot retention rods kept cooking vessels secure, allowing us to cook even in rough weather.  It took just a couple minutes from beginning the priming process to having a roaring burner going.  In fact, the only objectionable part of the stove system was the noise, which sounded like a small jet engine.  Apparently there are aftermarket burners for this stove that are much quieter. 

 We didn't actually make use of the priming pan, preferring instead to put the cooking pot or pan on the burner before lighting the priming alcohol.  

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