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Solid fuel / diesel stove on Sea Otter 31’


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Hello, I am in the process of selling my much-loved 50’ narrowboat and buying a 31’ Sea Otter (limited mooring length at my new destination). One of the things (that I added) that I love most about my current boat is my Morso Squirrel stove, and the Sea Otter does not have a stove. I am pretty sure I want to get one fitted pretty soon, but I can’t decide whether to go with solid fuel again (it’s very lovely and cosy, and I like the fact it’s something to do when sheltering from the miserable weather outside), or whether to go for a diesel stove (more controllable and no need to source fuel). The main thing that puts me off the idea of a diesel stove is the fact that I like to keep my diesel tank full over winter, the Sea Otter doesn’t have a massive fuel tank, and I’m told these diesel stoves can burn through as much as 1 litre per hour, which could mean I might get through 100 litres of diesel in a month during winter, even if I only stayed onboard for a couple of nights a week. Should I just stick with solid fuel, as it is easy to source, perhaps more cosy, and won’t leave me searching for diesel in the depths of winter? Thankyou. Andrew.  

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Personally I'd stick to solid fuel. It's the only form of heating that can't really go wrong or break down in the middle of winter. But I'm a liveaboard so I'm biased I suppose.

 

What form of heating does the Sea Otter currently have by the way?

Edited by blackrose
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Thankyou blackrose, it currently has a webasto diesel heater (as does my current boat), which is very efficient, but after my first winter onboard this boat I just found the background noise from it a bit annoying when trying to relax in the evening. 

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Thankyou ditchcrawler. I suspect that if my girlfriend is onboard though then we will be very-much looking at the 0.48 litres per hour rather than the 0.18! 😉

This would still mean I might get through 6 litres a week, based on 6 hours a night, 2 nights per week. I think the Sea Otter only has around 90 litres of fuel onboard, so I feel that this might run the tank very low during, say, 3 months moored-up over winter. 

Just now, David Mack said:

If you worry about the diesel consumption during winter, where are you going to store the corresponding quantity of solid fuel?

The thing is that I will usually travel to the boat by car during the winter, and I can buy 3 bags of coal from a DIY store for £15, take these with me to the boat, and they will last for 3 weeks or so. Are you a fan / advocate of diesel stoves, David? I would love to hear your thoughts if so.  

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16 minutes ago, ARAL said:

Thankyou blackrose, it currently has a webasto diesel heater

 

Are you sure about this? Every 31ft sea otter I have seen has gas powered blown air heating. It has to be blown air on the 31 footer as there just isn't the wall space for radiators. Of course it's possible someone spec'd or retrofitted a webasto hot air system. 

Either way, blown air is far to noisy to be useable in the winter.....you'd never get any sleep, so you'll have to do something. The 31ft Sea otter is pretty compact inside, so I'd probably look at installing the smallest diesel stove you can get away with. I'd be looking at bulkhead mounted options too. These are gravity fed for simplicity so a separate tank for the stove will probably have to go in the well deck, but this can be set up to be refillable from the main tank with a pump. I wouldn't worry about diesel usage when moored up......a 25 litre jerrycan of diesel is easier to carry than a 25kg bag of coal!  

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50 minutes ago, blackrose said:

Personally I'd stick to solid fuel. It's the only form of heating that can't really go wrong or break down in the middle of winter. But I'm a liveaboard so I'm biased I suppose.

 

What form of heating does the Sea Otter currently have by the way?

 

Agreed, if the OP has room for a diesel stove they should have room for a solid fuel stove. All be it not maybe a Squirrel. Various compact small stoves can be had.

 

I hesitate to mention the Boatman stove as  iSTR somebody on here had an issue with one, but they are worth a look.

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4 minutes ago, booke23 said:

 

Are you sure about this? Every 31ft sea otter I have seen has gas powered blown air heating. It has to be blown air on the 31 footer as there just isn't the wall space for radiators. Of course it's possible someone spec'd or retrofitted a webasto hot air system. 

Either way, blown air is far to noisy to be useable in the winter.....you'd never get any sleep, so you'll have to do something. The 31ft Sea otter is pretty compact inside, so I'd probably look at installing the smallest diesel stove you can get away with. I'd be looking at bulkhead mounted options too. These are gravity fed for simplicity so a separate tank for the stove will probably have to go in the well deck, but this can be set up to be refillable from the main tank with a pump. I wouldn't worry about diesel usage when moored up......a 25 litre jerrycan of diesel is easier to carry than a 25kg bag of coal!  

Thankyou booke. The boat I am buying was a special order (it’s actually 33’) and has a radiator in the heads and in the living area, plus warm air outlets. I think maybe I should look at the option of a diesel stove, but it’s something of an unknown to me, and I do love a traditional stove. 🙂

4 minutes ago, The Happy Nomad said:

 

Agreed, if the OP has room for a diesel stove they should have room for a solid fuel stove. All be it not maybe a Squirrel. Various compact small stoves can be had.

 

I hesitate to mention the Boatman stove as  iSTR somebody on here had an issue with one, but they are worth a look.

Thankyou. I like the option of a solid fuel stove (as I am familiar with them), but wanted to hear from people who might be able to tell me about the pros and cons of a diesel stove, as I feel this is something I should at least consider. 

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5 minutes ago, ARAL said:

Thankyou. I like the option of a solid fuel stove (as I am familiar with them), but wanted to hear from people who might be able to tell me about the pros and cons of a diesel stove, as I feel this is something I should at least consider. 

 

Ah right. I perhaps misunderstood when you asked 'should I stick with solid fuel'. 🙄

 

 

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Oh yes I seen that boat on Apollo Duck. A very rare find!

I was also going to say that normally on a sea otter that size, the hot water is either by a mains immersion heater or from the engine. Not ideal if you are moored up away from hook up in the winter. However I guess the webasto on your boat can also heat the water?

 

I'd say both options are viable.....there is only really one place to install a stove and that is by removing the drawer unit opposite the fridge. This is why I'd go diesel as the stove is basically in the kitchen and personally I would not want it plastered in ash every time the stove is emptied, but that's just personal preference. With that in mind also consider that you'll be sleeping very close to it and perhaps the instant control-ability of a diesel stove may suit better.  

 

I have seen a sea otter with this done although that was one with an 'L' shaped lounge and not your parallel sofa layout. It might be more difficult for you to achieve the necessary clearances. 

 

Here's a video of a sea otter with a stove....skip to 2:25 

 

Edited by booke23
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1 hour ago, ARAL said:

Thankyou blackrose, it currently has a webasto diesel heater (as does my current boat), which is very efficient, but after my first winter onboard this boat I just found the background noise from it a bit annoying when trying to relax in the evening. 

 

So as you already have a diesel heater it would seem sensible to have your stove running from a different form of fuel (solid). Then you aren't reliant on only one form of fuel for heating should the other run out and you can't get hold of any for some reason.. Again I'm thinking as a liveaboard, but it's always good to have different independent systems on boats. A Webasto and a diesel stove are independent, but not completely if they're both drawing fuel from the same tank. As well as the possibility of running out of diesel, you only need some sort of blockage or leak in the fuel system and then both heaters are down and you're on a cold boat.

Edited by blackrose
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9 hours ago, blackrose said:

 

So as you already have a diesel heater it would seem sensible to have your stove running from a different form of fuel (solid). Then you aren't reliant on only one form of fuel for heating should the other run out and you can't get hold of any for some reason.. Again I'm thinking as a liveaboard, but it's always good to have different independent systems on boats. A Webasto and a diesel stove are independent, but not completely if they're both drawing fuel from the same tank. As well as the possibility of running out of diesel, you only need some sort of blockage or leak in the fuel system and then both heaters are down and you're on a cold boat.

Good point, blackrose. I think a small solid fuel stove might be my best option, if only because if you’re out and about and low on fuel then I guess it’s probably easier to find wood near the towpath than it is to find diesel. 

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16 minutes ago, ARAL said:

I think a small solid fuel stove might be my best option,

 

 

This is the one we fitted in ourv 30 foot NB (removed a wardrobe to fit it)

Its called a Pipsqueak and is rated at 3Kw. Once did a test to see how hot we could get the boat, had to stop the test once we got above 50 degrees C and couldn't breathe.

 

It only has a 4" square door  and 8" square firebox so 'logs' are not an option, but it is happy to consume twigs  and smokeless fuel. It will stay in more than overnight but getting the air settings takes some practice.

 

 

 

IMG_20130912_123236.jpg

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10 hours ago, ARAL said:

Thankyou booke. The boat I am buying was a special order (it’s actually 33’) and has a radiator in the heads and in the living area, plus warm air outlets. I think maybe I should look at the option of a diesel stove, but it’s something of an unknown to me, and I do love a traditional stove. 🙂

Thankyou. I like the option of a solid fuel stove (as I am familiar with them), but wanted to hear from people who might be able to tell me about the pros and cons of a diesel stove, as I feel this is something I should at least consider. 

Our 26 foot Sea Otter also has a radiator in the loo but it is heated by the engine , not the (pretty useless) gas warm air heating system

 

haggis

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I think having both is a better option - I wouldn't be without my Hot Air diesel heater.

Instant heat (within a minute od switching on) no waiting for the fire to build up or the radiators to heat.

 

 

For Spring thru Autumn when you just get the odd cool morning / evening it is far more convenient, you can even switch it on whilst in bed and its toasty when you emerge.

 

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14 hours ago, ARAL said:

Hello, I am in the process of selling my much-loved 50’ narrowboat and buying a 31’ Sea Otter (limited mooring length at my new destination). One of the things (that I added) that I love most about my current boat is my Morso Squirrel stove, and the Sea Otter does not have a stove. I am pretty sure I want to get one fitted pretty soon, but I can’t decide whether to go with solid fuel again (it’s very lovely and cosy, and I like the fact it’s something to do when sheltering from the miserable weather outside), or whether to go for a diesel stove (more controllable and no need to source fuel). The main thing that puts me off the idea of a diesel stove is the fact that I like to keep my diesel tank full over winter, the Sea Otter doesn’t have a massive fuel tank, and I’m told these diesel stoves can burn through as much as 1 litre per hour, which could mean I might get through 100 litres of diesel in a month during winter, even if I only stayed onboard for a couple of nights a week. Should I just stick with solid fuel, as it is easy to source, perhaps more cosy, and won’t leave me searching for diesel in the depths of winter? Thankyou. Andrew.  

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For a boat your size one of these would do the business: https://www.kuranda.co.uk/product-category/dickinson/dickinson-diesel-heaters/

 

I've cooked and heated my 60ft residential nb and its hot water with a Dickinson Adriatic over the past 22 years and fuel consumption is a steady 6 litres a day in the winter for the three functions just mentioned. The total running costs in that time amount to about £10 for one service kit! But much too big for your needs!

 

One of the above small space heating devices would have a somewhat lower fuel consumption – sub 5 litres I would expect. Just think about how you might squeeze additional diesel storage into the Sea Otter. Like mine, I expect they would take a water heating coil (or two) if appropriate for your hot water system.

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6 hours ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

 

This is the one we fitted in ourv 30 foot NB (removed a wardrobe to fit it)

Its called a Pipsqueak and is rated at 3Kw. Once did a test to see how hot we could get the boat, had to stop the test once we got above 50 degrees C and couldn't breathe.

 

It only has a 4" square door  and 8" square firebox so 'logs' are not an option, but it is happy to consume twigs  and smokeless fuel. It will stay in more than overnight but getting the air settings takes some practice.

 

 

 

IMG_20130912_123236.jpg

Thankyou Alan. 👍🏼

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6 hours ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

 

This is the one we fitted in ourv 30 foot NB (removed a wardrobe to fit it)

Its called a Pipsqueak and is rated at 3Kw. Once did a test to see how hot we could get the boat, had to stop the test once we got above 50 degrees C and couldn't breathe.

 

It only has a 4" square door  and 8" square firebox so 'logs' are not an option, but it is happy to consume twigs  and smokeless fuel. It will stay in more than overnight but getting the air settings takes some practice.

 

 

 

IMG_20130912_123236.jpg

Thankyou Alan. 👍🏼

Thank you all for your thoughts and input on this subject. I think when I get a chance to review my options more thoroughly (i.e. when I have taken delivery, and had a chance to spend a bit of time onboard) I will try to decide what might work best for me. Who knows, maybe I won’t even feel the need to add a stove at all. Thanks again. 🙂

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We have a Bubble stove with a backboiler that feeds a forward radiator on gravity. On a small cabin such as yours, I doubt if even the most neche individual would tolerate the high fire rate for long. Our stove on a 57' boat (43ft cabin) runs at about 4cc. (.25lts/hr) They are not maintenance free, but if used every weekend, then 2-3 mins decoking/scraping will give trouble free operation.

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3 minutes ago, Ex Brummie said:

We have a Bubble stove with a backboiler that feeds a forward radiator on gravity. On a small cabin such as yours, I doubt if even the most neche individual would tolerate the high fire rate for long. Our stove on a 57' boat (43ft cabin) runs at about 4cc. (.25lts/hr) They are not maintenance free, but if used every weekend, then 2-3 mins decoking/scraping will give trouble free operation.

You'll probably find that running on HVO (once it becomes more readily available) will eliminate the deposits altogether. The 200 litres I put through my Dickinson certainly did  – a very clean burn!

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22 hours ago, ARAL said:

Hello, I am in the process of selling my much-loved 50’ narrowboat and buying a 31’ Sea Otter (limited mooring length at my new destination). One of the things (that I added) that I love most about my current boat is my Morso Squirrel stove, and the Sea Otter does not have a stove. I am pretty sure I want to get one fitted pretty soon, but I can’t decide whether to go with solid fuel again (it’s very lovely and cosy, and I like the fact it’s something to do when sheltering from the miserable weather outside), or whether to go for a diesel stove (more controllable and no need to source fuel). The main thing that puts me off the idea of a diesel stove is the fact that I like to keep my diesel tank full over winter, the Sea Otter doesn’t have a massive fuel tank, and I’m told these diesel stoves can burn through as much as 1 litre per hour, which could mean I might get through 100 litres of diesel in a month during winter, even if I only stayed onboard for a couple of nights a week. Should I just stick with solid fuel, as it is easy to source, perhaps more cosy, and won’t leave me searching for diesel in the depths of winter? Thankyou. Andrew.  

 

 

 

I think on a little boat like yours a new vest and a can of Ralgex might be your best bet?

 

You certainly won't have room for a squirrel onboard (if that's your thing), and don't take out any lockers to fit a stove - think of your crew and fill the lockers with beer you selfish *******

 

(c:

 

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2 hours ago, Up-Side-Down said:

You'll probably find that running on HVO (once it becomes more readily available) will eliminate the deposits altogether. The 200 litres I put through my Dickinson certainly did  – a very clean burn!

The only problem with HVO that I can envisage is the propensity for vegetable oil to suffer from diesel bug in storage with low throughput. But then again, there are apparently very few outlets for non bio fuels now.

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12 minutes ago, Ex Brummie said:

The only problem with HVO that I can envisage is the propensity for vegetable oil to suffer from diesel bug in storage with low throughput. But then again, there are apparently very few outlets for non bio fuels now.

From Crown Oil 

image.png.deff1947a66f4607fa78332f840d6f97.png

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