Tag Archives: Yacht stove

Sailors are best served Warm and Dry.

I used to be one of the first sailors up in the morning. At the crack of dawn, I would have been there exchanging banter with fellow sailors across the anchorage in Piel harbour, shivering, clutching a cup of steaming hot tea as the sun climbed over the local hills.

Recently, things have changed. Now I’m the last club member to awake. And when I do, it is with a feeling of extreme cosiness leading to yet another ten minutes in the bunk. Often, dreams are the most colourful and memorable at that time of the morning when all is warm and well.

What has happened, you might ask? Well, the answer is a recently fitted charcoal stove running silently through the night, keeping the boat warm and dry.

In fact, it is at its best on those miserable rainy mornings when cold, damp condensation is the norm. With a stove burning low in your hull, it is like having central heating in your boat.

Here’s the story in photographs –

Proud owner of a new BENGCO. Thanks, Darren G., for your invaluable help in sourcing it.
This is where the charcoal goes. There’s not really much room. The original seal has broken. However, aluminium foil serves well as a substitute.
How to light: Remove all ash from the previous burn (important). Fill with charcoal. Take off the bottom unit. Physically remove the wick. Soak it in methylated spirit (keeping mine in a marmite pot works well). Slot back in. Open vent. Light. Refit the bottom unit. Wait till you see a strong orange glow. Close the vent to get your desired heat setting.
My not-so-professional design work.  It must be fitted as low as possible so that you are always sucking in the coldest and dampest air, which in turn leads to a long flue pipe that is better for warming the boat.
It is still at the back of an envelope stage. The flash ‘H’ cap is still to be born.
Wardley’s sailor, Billy Whiz, lends a helping hand.
Where to put it? Blend it in with the window. I can increase the window length to cover the hole if required.
Ordered stainless steel from the internet. Toying with new material in garage.

The stove didn’t come with a pipe or a through deck flange. I have to fabricate it myself. Here, I’m offering up the parts. You must get the angle right!

The new flange is now welded up. I must decide how long the pipe should protrude and what is safe and aesthetically pleasing.

What is the right length? Here, I decided to defer welding the pipe until after installation and resolve to be careful not to scorch the deck!
The day arrived to fit into the boat. Cutting and chopping into the original fixtures and fittings hurts! But I want a boat that works for me and, as such, cannot be obsessed with the possible resale value.
Finally fitted, but not yet welded fully.
View outside. It is not yet welded fully, and there is no rain cap yet.
View from inside. Now, the pipe is welded to the flange, trimmed off, and bolted into the deck. The stove is ready to try out now.
It’s going now. It’s hard to see it visually working since it is so well contained in its stainless steel box. But believe me, there is some heat coming out of it! You must be careful going to the heads, but there is quite enough room.
Here, the Bengo stove is keeping a brew warm, and works a treat!  A full load of charcoal and set at max is required to dry out a really wet boat. The stove gets hot and glows in the dark, burning for about three hours. Afterwards, top it up and dial down the heat to a minimum, and it will run through the night, keeping the boat dry and keeping the chill out of the air.
View from the jetty. Eight bolts. Plenty of sealant. The flange works well; little heat gets to the fibreglass, even at full heat.
The design of the Bengco is such that it can be safely used out-at-sea within reason. Hot ashes can’t fall out as all are contained in a precision-made stainless steel box.