Ways to heat a boat: our wood-burning stove

It’s been over a year since we installed our boat’s wood-burning stove, and since I wrote about that whole slightly-eventful procedure, so let’s report after months of running the thing continually. First a little of what’s involved in fuelling our wood stove (in case anybody wondered what we do with our time). Then I’ll talk about how it’s been as a boat stove.

Collecting wood for our sailing boat's wood-burning stove

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Yachts in quarantine

The news of the Covid-19 disease, and then the first cases of the disease, seemed to reach South America somewhat behind Europe or North America. UK friends were filling Facebook with coronavirus memes before we could appreciate these fully, and Brazil’s president’s supporters still suspect the communists of inventing the whole story, even after the US president has reluctantly started to advise that everybody stay inside. Here in Chile, as perhaps in other places, the news and the first cases formed a start from which the rest escalated rapidly. One day the neighbour’s saying it sounds like it’s only some sort of a cold really, the next he’s shouting through a mask from two metres away.

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Repairs to the puppy

It doesn’t seem so long since we last left for Argentina, at the start of winter, our first trip in our semi-repaired Space Oddity. Three months later, when the frosts were thinning and the snows were falling less frequently, the same visa-related reasons compelled us to repeat the journey. Which was a problem for our ever-expanding German Shepherd crossbreed Zibby, whom we’d adopted after the first trip as a six-week-old puppy. Without his vaccines he’d be unable to leave his homeland of Chile, and he hadn’t had them due to an unforeseen difficulty. The ordering of parcels to Puerto Williams, one of the planet’s remotest places, is an exercise in optimism or at least in patience. And this applied to the vaccines as much as anything else, awaited by vets since Zibby was a baby. These still hadn’t appeared on the day of our departure.

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Starting the journey

‘I wouldn’t buy it in that state,’ was the conclusion of the friend whom we’d asked to check out our prospective boat while deciding whether to travel down here. On the basis of his photos, and also his thorough written survey, we differed from this sufficiently to make the journey. We doubted we could afford any boat in any better state. But we arrived in Puerto Williams a bit apprehensively.

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