Boat Maintenance

Dickinson Stove

‘The Dirty Dickinson’, aptly named by accomplished sailor Richard Hudson. Our boat came with a diesel stove, a pacific model built by Dickinson. At first, it was a filthy mess that didn’t work proper. After a rebuilt, and new fuel pump, and replacing the fuel pipe in the burner inside it works well. My only complaint would be as a heater, the boat is almost too hot! Even in -20C we need several portlights open. to vent out the extreme heat generated.

As you can see in the upper left photo, soot build up can be a problem. This will happen if the fuel air ratio is wrong, soot is unburned carbon generally from too much fuel and not enough air.

To get more air the draft needs to be improved, a correctly sized chimney and kept clean goes a long way. Ensure your 12 volt fan works properly, and even leave it on low if need be to improve air flow. Fuel not thoroughly burned ends up being terribly messy inside the boat. Other problems, could exist, fuel not warmed enough, maybe the fuel delivery is too much, or even poor quality fuel that just won’t burn properly.

Notice, I have a copper tube in my burner, this is an old style burner from Dickinson. I did experiment with both and found the newer way, without the copper tube, to burn much hotter. It was nice for cooking, but it was scorching inside the boat! I think I probably use less fuel using the tube, not as hot after all.

As an update: a year or more since I renewed my stove and still working great. Just the other chilly night I did an overnight from Cobourg to Whitby with the stove turned on low. It was a rolly trip with a light breeze and building stern swell. During the whole night the boat was quite warm, everyone slept peacefully, and a pile of potatoes and onions slow cooked making a delicious meal when we arrived, and to add to the next days breakfast. All for the cost of a litre of diesel.

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