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Gas bottle provisions for extended cruising


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What is the issue?
Most yacht stoves operate off exchangeable butane gas cylinders. However these exchangeable cylinders offer limited capacity and are more likely to be geared towards local weekend cruising rather than ongoing live-aboard dependence.

Why address this?
Once cruising the vessels crew is entirely dependant upon the stove for food and hot drinks. Consequently they are dependant upon the stoves gas supply. Limited gas capacity forces the crew to attempt to source and provision gas more times and in places where it is difficult to obtain. This is particularly the case with international travel where filling non standard bottles may often only be achieved at very large main gas depots.

How to address this?
The optimal solution is to implement a large gas cylinder and gas locker from the outset plus a reasonably sized second cylinder, (if not equal to provide an ample reserve) to supply the vessel over long periods.

The larger the capacity that can be stored the longer the period between refills and the more likely you will be able to refill in ports of convenience. However the cylinder should not be so large that it is unwieldy to carry on and off the vessel for refills.

Not everyone has the flexibility to choose large cylinders. The requirement for gas lockers to be self-contained and both externally and bottom vented may not allow large cylinders in a particular vessels arrangement. In such a case volume may be created by multiples of smaller sized gas bottles. Although it is often more expensive to fill many smaller bottles they are more convenient to transport from the yacht to shore.

Finally if you are planning extended cruising you will most likely be moving between nations with different gas bottle standards. This means you will not be exchanging bottles but rather refilling the original bottles that you departed with for the duration of the cruise. Consequently these have to last for some time.

To ensure long service you must carefully select brand new bottles from the outset and make certain they are in excellent condition. If you are planning a passage of many years you should paint them with multiple coats of durable metal paint. As mentioned gas lockers must bottom vent. This places them in a position in most yachts where they often receive ample salt water splashes. In time this causes the gas cylinders to rust. Painting the cylinders will help protect the cylinders for the long term. However you may not be able to exchange them in the future when you return to your home port.


With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession.

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