Listening to "Left Me In A Hole" by Yonder Mountain String Band
It is almost freezing outside, with snow predicted later in the week, but I'm curled up in the salon with a cup of tea and feeling toasty warm. We aren't hooked up to shore power and blasting the electric heater, nor are we running the diesel boiler heater and burning through fuel. No. The cabin is filled with a warm, dry, and quiet heat due to a little green marvel softly simmering in the corner...our wood burning stove.
When Drake was renovating Paragon in North Carolina, one major concern was warmth. We were going to be taking the boat further north than she had ever been before, and she was ill prepared to keep us cozy in frigid temperatures. Insulation was installed in every conceivable area, but there was also much talk about heaters. We wanted multiple heat sources to give us a certain amount of flexibility, but also so that our backups had backups. In the end Drake decided that a wood burning stove was an absolute must as one of the heaters. He felt that it would not only be a good heat source, but loved the ambience it would add as well.
Now, a fire on a boat is usually one of the worst things imaginable...in fact, several people have done double takes when we inform them that we have a wood burning stove on a boat. However, there is a long tradition of wood stoves on boats and with good reason. Boats can be damp, bone chilling dens of condensation, but the naturally dry heat of a wood stove counteracts the dampness and replaces it with a wonderful warmth. Add the fact that it's the perfect place to dry wet clothing and I was sold!
We were prepared for what we imagined would be a taxing installation, but had no idea that the most difficult part would be to find an appropriate stove. With the explosion of the tiny house movement there were quite a few stoves built for small spaces, but many of them failed to take into account the special needs of a boat. Not only did it need to fit into an extremely specific space, but it also has to be thoroughly secure in the worst storm conditions. A fifty-five pound cast iron stove flying through the cabin was the stuff of nightmares and drove us to do as much research as possible.
What followed was much like the story of Goldilocks, but instead of three bears it felt like there were forty. Each stove we found had some little aspect that rendered it inoperable for our purposes. If they fit the space, then the door was on the wrong side. If the door was on the right side, then the legs were too delicate to adequately secure the weight. If the legs were sturdy enough then stove wasn't recommended for marine environments. It was enough to drive us mad until...
The little cod is a little marvel made by Navigator Stove Works, Inc. in Washington State. As stated on their website it is "An old favorite along the Canadian coast. Built for hard usage in boats and small cabins. Styled to reflect the traditions of life at sea." They have several stoves whose cute names belie their durable construction, including the Sardine and the Halibut, but the Little Cod checked all of our boxes. It fit our space perfectly, the short legs could be firmly attached to a base and also kept the center of balance low, the door could be on either side, a porcelain enamel coating was offered to protect the stove from rust, and there was even an optional glass front so the fire could be seen.
|The legs are sturdy and can be secured|
|Stainless steel "sea rail"|
Drake and I have taken to spending time at a local cafe, Café Retro, that is a stone's throw from Paragon. The couple who own it are extremely nice, former boat owners themselves, and happen to make some of the best soup I have ever tasted. Ever.
|Carrot Curry Soup with homemade bread|
The next day we gathered our large duffels and headed down to the shop The carpenter was not there, but his coworker let us in and could not have been nicer. We went into the back room, under the watchful eyes of the office dogs, and found more wood than we could possibly carry. We chatted with the gentleman as he helped us fill our bags and marveled at our good fortune.
|The wood, mostly cut up, and waiting to be brought down below|