A Sailor's Stove

Sailor Photo 1Sailboat stoves withstand severe marine environments

Nickel magazine, Jun. 02 -- Romantic sailing fantasies usually include varnished teak decks and flawlessly-polished fixtures. In reality however, sun, salt-laden air and pounding waves wreak havoc on watercraft. Anything still in one piece and gleaming on a sailboat after a few days at sea is the result of plenty of elbow grease or superb materials choices. Below deck offers little relief from the elements, which is why the best ships' stoves are made of nickel stainless steel.

Sailor Photo 2"Years ago, the decision was made to use 100 per cent stainless steel, and that's what we're known for around the world," says Bryon Adams, president of the Force 10 Marine Company, a Richmond, British Columbia-based firm which has been manufacturing recreational marine appliances for more than 30 years. "We build our product out of stainless steel because we like the durability and corrosion-resistance it offers our customers. We've had stoves dropped into the harbour when a boat rolls [during hurricanes, for example]. We recover them, wash them off, replace the burner parts and continue using the stoves."

Every year Force 10 uses 205 tonnes of S30400 stainless steel sheet, ranging from 0.5 to 2 millimetres (mm) in thickness. The company's products range from stoves as small as 580 mm wide, 350 mm deep and 160 mm high to the largest model at 550 mm wide, 510 mm deep and 570 mm high.  Force 10 also manufacturers deck barbecues, cabin heaters and water heaters made almost entirely of S30400.

Sailor Photo 3The brush finish on the stoves hides fingerprints and scratches, says George Radke, who designs the stoves for Force 10. Most of the components are assembled with rivets.

Radke designs the stoves to withstand the vibration caused by the constant pounding of ocean waves. They are also built to endure the terrible punishment meted out in the boat rental market. "The 0.9-mm steel is heavier than normal and is very durable," he explains. Sailor Photo 4The stoves are designed for ease of replacement of damaged parts.

Says Adams: "In the tropics, with the heat and humidity, the [salt] air eats just about everything. If you use anything else, it won't last."