Curtain Burner

1970's Era Pressurized Alcohol Stove (aka: Curtain Burner)

As the owner of an older boat, I quickly learned the fickleness of my 1970’s era pressurized alcohol stove. Put too much alcohol in the priming tray and I would sit with my fire extinguisher aimed ready to put out the fire. On more than one occasion I found myself watching flames almost reaching the ceiling (guess that’s why it was called the “curtain burner”). Once the flame was stable, it worked fairly well; however, I was never comfortable with it. While alcohol fires can be extinguished by water, they can be hard to see and spread before anyone notices.


I had been considering my options for some time but hadn’t taken any action. Then, on the longest day of the year, a new boat owner had his sailboat in the middle of the bay, anchored for lunch and decided to try out his alcohol stove. Flames quickly engulfed the boat; thankfully there were only minor injuries however 5 people were rescued from the water. As the nearest fire boat was over an hour away, the authorities made the decision to let the boat burn to the water line, quite the site to see a burning sailboat floating around the bay.

That’s all it took for me to quickly do something about my cooking system. By the next week the stove, lines and tank were out of my boat.

Now comes the tough part, deciding what to replace it with. Go2marine carries cook stoves from several major manufactures and has recently added the Kenyon Appliance line of stoves. With electric models, self-priming alcohol, even electric grills so charcoal and liquid fuels are not needed to get that grilled look and taste, Kenyon stoves may be just what I am looking for.

Still have not decided what I am going to use as a permanent solution but for the time being, the Kenyon Express II model works perfect, fuel cartridges are long lasting, readily available and the entire unit is so portable that I can take it for a picnic, camping or where ever extra cooking space is needed.


Rub Rails

Rub Rails

When I traded my 1966 Dodge Coronet Convertible for a 1984, 7.3m Tanzer sailboat a few years ago, the replacement of the flexible rub rail was the first major project. Few projects do as much to improve the appearance of an older boat as a bright, new rub rail.

The previous owner had a marine fiberglass repair shop and his new wife didn’t like the “tippy” boat, so the trade worked out for both of us.  He got rid of the boat slip payment, his wife was happy and I got a great little sailboat made by C&C, one of the best sailboat builders in Canada, with a solid hull.

The owner had spent a bucket load of money making the boat hull as smooth as a baby’s bottom, removing every little bubble, blister or crack.  The new Awlgrip paint job was beautiful! The boat had been on stilts for 4 years while he and his crew spent their spare time painting every surface outside the boat.

As time went on, the rub rail needed to be replaced.  It was cracking and powering, looking old and worn next to the beautiful paint on the hull and decks.  No amount of cleaning and buffing seemed to make the boat’s rub rail look better.

In order to keep the boat as original as possible, the rub rail that was originally installed on the boat was purchased by contacting the boat builder to find the manufacturer and part number.

The boat was hauled and the yard put it up on mounts so that work could begin on the rub rail installation.  The flexible rub rail came in one piece, coiled into a box and it was a very heavy, thick, almost rigid vinyl rubber.   The instructions called for a heat gun to make the rubber pliable while two people guided the rub rail into place as it was stretched from the back of the stern, along the starboard side of the boat, around the bow and back along the port side to meet at the stern.  

Personally, I couldn’t visualize trying to manhandle the rub rail into place while using the heat gun.  Instead, I rented a large, industrial cook pot, cook stand and propane bottle from an equipment rental service, filled it with water and boiled the rub rail until it was soft.  Using thick, heat resistant gloves, it was easily stretched into place.  It took a fraction of the time and all I had to do was watch the water boil. 

You can’t imagine how many people in the yard told me it wouldn’t work.  After I contacted the manufacturer to make sure I wasn’t going to destroy the rub rail material, I decided it was a far better procedure for softening the vinyl enough to maneuver and apply to the seam. The rub rail covered the junction point of the fiberglass boat deck and hull. 

3M 5200 Adhesive/Sealant

3M 5200 Adhesive/Sealant

We used 3M 5200 fast cure marine adhesive/sealant to glue it in place and provide a waterproof seal.  It’s tack free in about one hour and completely cures in 24.  The polyurethane adhesive delivers strong, flexible seals, and is ideal for applications where a fast, long-term seal is needed above or below the boat waterline, such as hull to deck seams, wood to fiberglass, marine hardware, and hull and stern joints. This sealant remains flexible, allowing structural movement, and has excellent resistance to weathering and the marine environment.

There are a variety of options available when you decide to replace the current rub rails on your boat or upgrade to a different material, change rail size or both. Picking the best rub rail material for your boat depends on where and how you boat. If your boating adventures take you to unprotected docks or other areas where you want more protection for the hull of your vessel, choose a bigger, thicker rail. To lessen impact, go with softer material. A heavier rail made of harder material may be your best option if you have a work boat.

Today, companies like Taco Metals provide Rub Rail Guides by Boat Make in order to help boat owners locate new rub rails. Some rub rails are available as kits and also provide rail end caps to give your project a finished, professional touch.

Taco Metals  - Rub Rails

Taco Metals - Rub Rails

If you are unsure of which material or combination of materials will best suit your boating needs, the material descriptions will help you determine which of TACO Metal’s rub rails will best meet your requirements. TACO Metals has been manufacturing quality marine products since 1959 so you can trust that their materials have stood the test of time.

NavSim Technology Inc. GPS Enabled Marine Navigation Software

NavSim Technology creates navigation software to turn laptops, PCs and handheld devices into Portable Piloting Units. NavSim focuses on software and hardware solutions for land and marine applications that are powerful yet easy to use with today’s electronic charts and maps. NavSim’s GPS enabled technology gives boaters and hikers alike real time route tracking capabilities.

Laptop Running NavSim Navigation Software

  • NavSim’s Electronic Navigation lineup includes:
  • BoatCruiser 2.0 for power boaters
  • SailCuriser with SailTimer by Craig Summers of Indepth Navigation for sailors
  • NavCruiser PRO for professional pilots as used by the pilots on the St. Lawrence River
  • MapCruiser for land based GPS units, PDAs, pocket PCs and hardcopy topographic map printing


    Featuring BoatCruiser 2.0

    Boat Cruiser 2.0 Navigation Software
    BoatCruiser 2.0 gives pleasure boat captains top notch navigation and piloting tools. NavSim put years of research into the development of BoatCruiser’s predictive autopilot technology. Technology that promotes safety and increases the pleasure of your cruising time with advanced electronic chart planning and real time on the water route tracking.

    Once connected, BoatCruiser automatically locates and configures the other marine instruments on your boat. You can select and size up to four navigation information consoles on screen at once or select one to view full screen. You can zoom and tilt to perspective views depending on the electronic chart you use. BoatCruiser 2.0 incudes NavSim’s Fuel Consumption and Cost Calculator that estimates the amount & cost of fuel you will need to reach your destination.

    BoatCruiser 2.0 supports Electronic Charts from C-MAP, Maptech, NDI Digital Ocean, NOAA ENC S-57, QV, SoftChart & E-Topo.

    BoatCruiser 2.0 Planning Tools & Navigation Features:

  • Multiple Marine Instrument Support – GPS, AIS, Autopilot, ARPA/MARPA, Depth Sounder
  • Man Overboard
  • One Click Route Planning
  • Seamless Chart Quilting & Chart Rotation
  • High-Resolution Chart Printing
  • Parallel Index Line
  • Course Up, Chart Up, True North or Magnetic North Up
  • Customizable Markers
  • Entry or Exit Zones & Zones Alarms
  • Unique Customizable Screen Displays
  • Tides & Currents
  • Marinas, Points of Interest & Locations Search
  • Night & Dusk Displays