Monday, January 27, 2020

WDBX Interview Friday, 1/31 at 11:30 AM Eastern

Treesong of WDBX will be interviewing me about my writings, the blog, and other things at 11:30 AM Eastern.  If you're in Southern Illinois, you know what to do, if not, you can go HERE to hear the stream!

The redoubtable author and ecology activist, Treesong.
Really looking forward to this.


Review: Gas One Mini Duel Fuel Stove

When at dock we tend to use an electric burner.  Our electric is included here and, frankly, since our electric is at least partly renewables here in MD, it seemed like a better choice, climate-wise.  But on the hook, of course, that's not an option, even with our fairly beefy solar system.

We've used a number of options while living aboard, including wood, kerosene, and  permanently plumbed in propane systems, but on Constellation we fell back on using the ubiquitous butane catering burners.  They're convenient, they're VERY hot (unless the temp is below 50F, in which case they struggle, but I digress), and they just work well, despite some occasional difficulty in finding the canisters for them (and the fact that the fuel cylinders aren't recyclable or refillable).  They also have a pretty large footprint, even compared to a hotplate.

These cook well, but just finding the (unfortunately disposable) fuel cylinders can sometimes be a challenge.
We were wandering through a local Asian market with some slipmates when we came across a stove I'd not seen before.  It was from GasOne, a brand we'd used before, but this was a "mini" version of the butane countertop stove.  The pot stand was far more solid than the thin painted steel of the earlier models we'd seen, and the thing had something like 2/3rds the footprint of the regular catering burner.  Our friends bought one on the spot.  After thinking about it a bit, I went on the web looking to see if could find them again, and ran across this:
GasOne mini, duel-fuel stove.
It was the same stove, but also with a propane adapter,  At less than $40 (and considering the fact that our existing burner was rusting apace) we thought we'd give it a try.

The little stove is solidly built, and will hold up to a 22cm (roughly 10") pot without problems.  The entire top is stainless, and the burner is HOT, I mean REALLY hot (they apparently had a problem with early versions of this stove MELTING the burner.  Not an issue with the new version btw). The little stove takes up far less of our jealously guarded countertop space, and comes with a propane adapter so we can use refillable propane bottles or plumb it onto a larger tank (you'll need an additional pressure regulator, like for a barbecue).  It cooks beautifully, as a really nice control valve that allows for low simmering temperatures, has a safety feature that ejects the bottle if it overheats, and comes with a fairly stout carrying case.

There are, of course, a few downsides.  The stove is too small to take our folding oven (we kept the old one for that), but that's a small price to pay for something more easily cleaned that saves us some valuable countertop.

Followups as we use it, but so far, it's a plus.

more later


Condensation Wars, the sequel's sequel: Den-Dry

Okay, so to summarize:  When you live in an impervious fiberglass cocoon, there's no way for moisture to escape.  Breathing, cooking, normal atmospheric humidity, sea spray. . .all of these condense out of the air in your cabin against every cool surface. . .like the hull, walls, and ceiling.  It makes it rain inside sometimes.  Your cushions and mattresses condense water beneath them, resulting in sodden sheets and occasionally an epic explosion of mildew.  To combat this, we've done a number of things which, to a greater or lessor extent, have worked.  We installed a compact compressor based dehumidifier from Eugreen, that we run all winter, which pulls a gallon or more of water out of the air every day.  We've installed insulation on the surfaces that get chilled, slowing down the condensation.  Still, we get condensation beneath our bedding and the salon cushions, and it's damned irritating.

Enter Den-Dry and the lovely folks at RavenWolf Marine.  The product is a mattress and cushion underlayment consisting of little hills of spun plastic with a fabric cover on one side.  You just trim the roll to fit your application, put down the material cloth side up, then put down your cushions.  Viola! There is now air flow beneath your bedding, the moisture can escape, and you can now climb into the V berth without going EEEWWWWWW during the winter.

A little piece of Den-Dry.  The spun plastic assures air flow.
One of our slip-mates got a roll and raved about the stuff, so we thought we'd give it a shot.  The folks at RavenWolf Marine are a joy to work with, btw.  The post office lost our first order and they had us another roll on it's way the next day and were constantly on top of things

Installation is easy and can be done with ordinary scissors, though frankly a set of tinsnips might have been easier.
We've only had the material down for a couple of days, and already it's made a huge difference.  We'll likely be ordering more in the near future for the galley cushions. 

You can find RavenWolf's website here.

more shortly