Cabin Heaters for the WS42

  • December 22, 2012 10:26 AM
    Reply # 1165357 on 1144279
    Deleted user
    Jay,  yes it draws the heat down from near the ceiling and exhausts at floor level.  I don't remember the BTU output but will check next time we're at the boat.  This is a wick/drip feed system and is so efficient we haven't been able to tell how much fuel it uses.  It draws from the diesel tanks but doesn't seem to make a dent.

    We now have the boat at Emeryville and if the new fuel system is complete we'll be out New Years. Not sure where, we are suppose to meet with friends that just got back from the South Pacific.  They're in their mid thirties and already have six equator crossings under their belt.

    See you on the bay,


  • December 22, 2012 8:03 PM
    Reply # 1165567 on 1144279
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Jim:  Looks like fire works at midnight just south of the Bay Bridge - I may be out in the boat -we'll see.


  • January 01, 2013 8:41 PM
    Reply # 1170147 on 1144279
    Doug, Perhaps it is a bit premature for me to respond since I haven't actually hooked up my heater, but FWIW, I am an engineer prone to analysis paralysis and after doing all the research you have done (and maybe more) I decided (in 2003) to go with a diesel heater, a SIG-170, for our W43.
  • January 02, 2013 6:37 AM
    Reply # 1170291 on 1144279

    Ted, I appreciate your reply, as well as the abundant comments already provided.  I have read the continuing threads on this topic with rapt interest, but have been on the hard with family issues to respond.  After reading and viewing the info provided, I did more research.

    I called Dickinson to talk to their product experts about some of my installation issues.  Harmony is a WS42 ketch and the location of the mast, forward salon bulkhead, and staysail track are important data points.  My favored tack has been a diesel heater.  The Dickinson models require a 5 inch hole in the cabin top for the 3 inch chimney to exit.  Harmony's prior owner had a cabin heater and there is a 4 inch hole in the deck, but no heater.  This 4 inch hole is just forward of the staysail track and just aft of the forward salon bulkhead.  For me to install a 5 inch hole, I would intrude into the sail track and the bulkhead.  Unfortunately, Dickinson's experts weren't able to provide a suitable work around for a 4 inch chimney hole:  the 5 inch hole provides a 1 inch gap for heat dissapation on the 3 inch chimney.  I guess the 1/2 inch gap is too small for their comfort and, perhaps, the deck's too.

    So, a this point I don't have another area into which to direct the flue and drill the required 5 inch hole.  Now, I can use the existing 4 inch hole to run the flue for the Dickinson propane heater.  Or, I can investigate a new rigging system for controlling the staysail.

    If I eliminate the sail track for the staysail boom, I might be able to install a different arrangement for the staysail and then be able to install the required 5 inch flue aperture for the diesel heater.  While I have considered a roller furler arrangement for the staysail, I was not rushing into that decision.  Besides, these decisions should be mutually exclusive, and I don't want to make rigging decisions because of a heater choice.

    I eliminated the Espar type heater because it was way too expensive:  $5,500 to $6,000 installed.  This system, while seemingly well engineered, takes up a lot of valuable space in berth lockers, too.  We are not planning extended liveaboard stays, especially in the winter months.  However, we are contemplating a cruise down the ICW a few Fall seasons from now.  Most of our heating needs will result from summer cruising in Maine and late Fall sailing in New England.

    I am left with 2 options for heaters: (1) install the propane heaters, p12000 and p9000, in the salon and aft cabin, respectively, and deal with the multiple fuels and tank fillings; or (2) continue to investigate how to adequately insulate the 3 inch chiminey of the diesel heater for the salon in order to use the existing 4 inch hole in the deck. Right now, I am leaning towards option (1).  However, I do like the simpler fuel situation provided by the diesel option.

    One thought I have contemplated is trying to find some sort of insulating ring which would provide a significant amount of heat sink for the diesel chimney.  But I haven't been able to come up wtih anything.  So, the propane option has the lead until and if I can find how to solve the diesel chimney hole requirements.


  • January 03, 2013 5:37 PM
    Reply # 1171427 on 1144279
    Deleted user
    FYI my diesel heater gets awful hot.  I'd be careful about proper insulation and clearances.

    How about this stuff aerogel.
    Last modified: January 03, 2013 5:41 PM | Deleted user
  • January 03, 2013 6:29 PM
    Reply # 1171465 on 1144279

    Ed, you're absolutely right on the money!  Aerogel is something I am looking at, but even though it has tremendous radiant heat insulating properties, I am still somewhat leary about pushing the envelope.

    I guess one could say that given all of the concerns, risks, and probable uneven heat dispersal, the easiest solution is to move (i.e. sail) to a much warmer climate!  However, that is much easier said than done.

    Anyway, I continue to look at the options.  However, I am now leaning towards the Dickinson propane heaters:  enclosed flame and air supply offer some safety.  Heat quantity is passable, although we'll still have to contend with multiple fuels and the propane vapor risks.  Thankfully, I don't have to make a decision right now.


  • August 26, 2015 1:01 PM
    Reply # 3497551 on 1144279

    It has been a while since this conversation thread was updated.  Since I started the string when we began our WS42 restoration, I should update where we are.  Harmony's restoration is almost complete with mostly finish work (varnishing etc) to do.  She was launched in the Fall of 2014 for a test and we have her fully operational in 2015.

    However, the cabin heater question is still not final.  Yet, I have narrowed the decision down.  The decision is between solid fuel (20%) and diesel (80%).  Solid fuel remains an option, but a slim one.  Yes, I love a wood stove for its ambiance and ease of starting, but the only relatively safe option for our boat may be the Kimberley.  I have spoken to a WS42 ketch owner who has a Cubic Mini Wood Stove and loves it.  The Kimberley is well made and certified, but costs $4000 - $5000 to install.  The Cubic costs about $1000 to install and is not certified.

    The Kimberley will probably roast us out at its rated 48000 BTUs (???) whereas the Cubic will need tending every couple of hours, as it is 12"x12"x11" (!!!).

    That leaves diesel, as propane while great won't work in our installation.  Given the potential issues with the Dickenson burners, I am looking at a Refleks stove.  A friend of mine in Denmark installed one in his boat and its works like a charm for him.

    Anyway, I have also wrestled with how and if to heat the aft cabin.  We won't be full time liveaboards at least in the foreseeable future and our only cold weather exposure will be during October in New England and November-January going down the ICW.  For those potential 3 Dog Nights, we'll sleep in the salon.  We usually don't have guests aboard over night, so accommodations won't be a problem.

    If I install a Refleks with a copper water coil, I will be able to install a forced hot water radiator in the aft cabin if it is ever really necessary.  But at this juncture, installing a forced hot water system adds too much complexity. 

    Last Fall we heated the salon and galley with two Hurricane Lamps and on nights when outside temps got down into the mid 30's, we were able to keep the forward cabin area at a toasty low 60's.  We didn't keep them lit over night and by morning 7 hours later, the cabin had cooled to about 50.  Not bad for oil lamps.  Oil lamps aren't bad for the evenings, but for the overnight it makes sleeping a little tough.  We did have several CO detectors for safety.

    Well, I wanted to update this thread.  Unless I hear l hear something untoward about the Refleks stoves in the next few months, we will more than likely install one of their models next year. 

    Fair Winds and Following Seas!


    S/V Harmony

  • August 27, 2015 7:39 AM
    Reply # 3498622 on 1144279
    Deleted user

    For what it's worth, here's one more data point.  Our W42 has the Sigmar 170 diesel heater and it works fine for us (in Pacific Northwest.)

    It's mounted on the port bulkhead where the cabin sole steps down so it's in the middle of the main cabin at the foot of the settee.  The chimney for this location does end up a bit of a trip & snag hazard on deck, but most all chimneys are.  The chimney exits the cabin top just forward and outboard to port of the turtle, but inboard of the staysail track and lines/deck organizer - about the only place it could fit.  

    We run the heater off a removable 1.5 gallon gravity feed day tank mounted nearby instead of pumping directly from the main tanks.  You also need alcohol for priming this heater, so that's one more thing to carry. 



  • August 27, 2015 8:15 AM
    Reply # 3498670 on 1144279

    John and Julie, thanks for your reply.  Yes, I considered that location where the galley steps down to the salon on both the port and starboard sides.  I do like the center of the cabin location for heat distribution.

    Unfortunately, neither of those places worked relative to the flue location on the cabin top.  I did add a turtle hatch, but any exit point was blocked by deck equipment or other structures.  Moreover, I didn't want to have the flue bend and travel so long in order to use a dorade vent location.

    The prior owner apparently had a soapstone stove at the forward salon bulkhead starboard side.  Yep, there is a hole in the deck for the flue that I have temporarily sealed. Our WS42 is a ketch and is configured in what I believe was called the "charter" version, and this may or may not have created some different placement of deck hardware.

    Just forward of the main mast, we have a sail track for the staysail.  Unfortunately, the old flue hole is located just forward of that sail track.  Of equal concern is that the old flue hole is too close to the forward bulkhead for my comfort.

    Anyway, the sail track is basically inoperable and I have redesigned the staysail sheet attachment to eliminate the sail track but still be able to heave to when necessary.  This should give me the ability to exit the flue in a safer deck/bulkhead location.

    I am glad to hear your heater works well for you.  How do you heat the aft cabin if you do.

    I also will add a small day tank for gravity feed, and allow for filling via a line to the main fuel tank.  Having to pour fuel into the day tank every day or so will get fairly old very quickly.

    Thanks again!


  • September 16, 2015 3:10 PM
    Reply # 3529840 on 1144279

    We have the Dickinson Chesapeake in the main salon. I would not say it is a real heater but it will keep us from freezing to death and it looks good. If I was planning on cruising in colder climates I would get a  diesel fired forced air heater like Espar. Good Luck

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