Because we are full-time, 24 by 7, 365 days a year live aboard cruisers, we have often found ourselves spending a great deal of time in warm weather areas. For example, this summer will mark the third year in a row we’ve chosen to remain in the Bahamas during hurricane season and while we like the summer time here, it does tend to get a little warm during the July to September time period.
During the warmer weather, we try to avoid cooking inside the boat when ever possible. I’ve mentioned in past posts about how often we use our stern mounted grill and for the past couple of years we’ve supplemented our grilling with a small, 2 burner, electric cooktop that we could power off our Honda generator.
After talking about it at length, Amy and I decided we’d replace the electric burner setup with a similar propane fired option. The reasons were many, but not having to run the generator for thirty minutes every morning to make tea and coffee was high up on the list. Also, being that we already have a large, central, propane supply plumbed through out the boat, it made sense to use that fuel to power the cooktop. And finally, I’m not sure whether it was the cheapness of our electric unit ($45) or something else all together, but it shouldn’t take thirty minutes to make water boil.
Anyway, in making our plans, we both decided that a cooktop setup that was a little bit more permanent would be nice. If we don’t have to set it up and then break it down every time we use it, I suspect we are likely to use it more often.
With our plans roughly sketched out on a Heineken beer coaster, I ordered an Atwood, 2 burner, LPG drop in cook top insert online from Amazon. These are made for the RV-ing industry, but the have been used in the marine environment for years, so I wasn’t worried about it holding up.
Next up I fabricated a plywood table with the appropriate dimensions and cutout to mount said cooktop. Our location for this setup is to be the cockpit table, so when not in use, the stove needed to have a cover that allows it to act like a table. I used a length of piano hinge to tie the two together and then mounted some slide out support struts to help hold the lid when in it is in the open position. This area provides a convenient place for cooking utensils and such.
The propane line will eventually be snaked under the false cockpit floor and then it up the inside of the cockpit table leg, but for now, we’re running it externally and using cable ties until we’re sure it operates properly.
The whole thing is half finished in some easily sourced white house paint, which hopefully will allow for easy clean-up after use. I say half finished, because I ran out of time before we returned to the boat, so I'll be adding more paint at a future date.
Anyhow, initial testing has produced edible breakfast foods consisting of eggs, bacon and coffee. I've also used the cook top to make home made spaghetti sauce in our pressure cooker. So far, so good, but I’ll have a more detailed report on cooking performance later.
More to follow, end of line …