Monthly Archives: December 2015

How to Recondition a Diesel Pot-style Cabin Heater

In order to cruise year-round in the Northwest, cabin heat is essential. On cold, wet days you don’t want to be shivering at anchor while the temperature drops to 35 F. So around October, repairing the Sig Marine diesel heater that came with our boat became a #1 priority.

Working on a diesel heater was scary to me though – these heaters involve setting a fire inside your boat! Fire is usually the last thing you want on a boat. But, as I learned more about it I gained confidence. It was a bigger project than expected though.

On a club meetup at Port Orchard last month with the Puget Sound Cruising Club, we were on 3 or 4 other boats in 30 degree weather that had nice, calm burning diesel heaters keeping their boat nice and toasty. This was a stark contrast to our heater which had flared up into an angry inferno a couple weeks ago. Getting the fuel and air mixture right on a heater that hasn’t been used in a number of years is more difficult than it seems.


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Good Eats While Cruising

Patrick has been bugging me for months to write a blog post about the food we eat onboard Violet Hour. So here it goes…


I LOVE food. I love thinking about it, making it, talking about it, eating it and planning my next meal to the point that it often consumes my thoughts. Honestly, it’s a miracle that I don’t weigh 300 lbs. (thanks Mom and Dad for good genes)! So when we bought our sailboat, that was my #1 priority. How can we make and eat delicious food while sailing? I wanted a chef’s kitchen on the boat. Turns out that isn’t quite practical; I learned quickly that my Cuisinart had to stay at home, but it has forced us to be creative in what we can do on the boat.


Sure we eat our fair share of grilled brats, but we don’t sacrifice ingredients! We buy Uli’s sausage, top the toasted bun with cream cheese, add some sauerkraut, Sriracha and a few cilantro leaves and voilà, you have our “house” dog.


Another favorite grill go-to is blackened salmon tacos (which by the way is currently in the top five for the Three Sheets Northwest cook-off). They start off with a blackened spice rub. I make a bunch and keep it in an air tight container to use on other meats as well. Patrick grills to perfection and warms the tortillas in foil on the grill while it’s hot. We top the tacos with an avocado, lime secret sauce, add a few sprigs of cilantro and shredded lettuce to complete. Yum!


We pre-make and freeze pizza dough. It has time to defrost while sailing and helps keep our fridge cold. Add your favorite ingredients and it makes for a cozy warm cabin and a delicious dinner.

For breakfast, we always have dehydrated hash browns onboard. You can get them at Costco, they are super easy to store, and you can cook them up in a pinch for just about any meal. Breakfast for dinner anyone? We also found a camping griddle fits well over two burners on our stove and it makes perfectly crisp hash browns, cleans up with a wipe of a paper towel and is easy to stow.



I often bake desserts in the morning when the cabin is the coolest and you need a little warmth. If I have extra fruit that we need to eat before crossing the border, I whip up an apple streusel that we can enjoy in the afternoon. Why not have some with your morning coffee too?!?

Stay tuned for more food related blog postings. Up next – biscuits and gravy on the boat, five must have ingredients and how to make the most of a grocery run.