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August 2004

Perfect Cruisers Cookware

As you may have noticed, Larry and I avoid recommending any products or brand names until we have used an item for at least two years. Sometimes takes that long to find the flaws. But within a day or two of moving back on board Taleisin after our winter seminar tour, I knew I had found an almost perfect solution for cookware. Though I had good cookware on board already, I couldn't help thinking the stacking pots being shown at the three boat shows we went to, might solve the problem of getting three pots to fit on top of a limited space on my cooker. With the high sea-rails on the stove, it is often hard to get the handles out of the way. With Larry's urging, I loosened my purse strings and spent $170 on a set of 5 heavy-duty 18-10 stainless steel pots, two frying pans and two removable handles. They come with regular lids, plus snap-on plastic covers. I almost tossed the plastic covers before I packed the pots in my luggage. Sure glad I didn't. Why am I sounding like some sort of advert? First time we were invited to row over and join a pot luck dinner I cooked up some special African beans, removed the handle, put on the plastic cover and the pot fit neatly into my canvas bag for a spill proof trip to the next boat. Then when it came time to wash the pots and frying pans I found without the handle they fit easily into the galley sink. They fit just as easily into the icebox or on the table so I do not feel I have to carry as many serving dishes.

I think there may be several different companies that make these, as friends who go to RV shows have seen them there too. The brand we bought is Rapid Chef. You can see these on the internet.

Removing stains from wood
Wine stains - simplest solution - chlorine bleach. In Canada and New Zealand we have found you can buy thick bleach, chlorine that is about the consistency of hand lotion. Really nice because it does not splash or run.

For those who dye - i.e. use hair dyes - chlorine bleach works for this too, even if the dye gets onto painted or varnished surfaces. Leave the bleach on for two or three minutes, wipe with a wet clothe, and then repeat the process until the stain disappears.

Grease or oil - we have bare teak floors and of course drop bits of cheese or other oily foods on them in the galley. To remove these stains I use about five percent ammonia, a few drops of liquid dish soap and fresh water on a scotch bright pad, wet the area well and scrub well. Then, because ammonia can soften varnish and most of the interior near the floors is varnished, I make sure to rinse the floors well with fresh water. I repeat this a few times if necessary.

On our bare teak decks, I use the same solution but do not try to get all of the oil stain completely off as I have found that sunlight and a few days of brisk sailing with lots of salt water washing over the deck will remove the rest of the oil stains. (I confirmed this by accidentally spilling some of the oil from the can of sardines I was using as bait in my crab trap on the otherwise smart looking decks, here in British Columbia last week. The stain is barely showing this week.

Grey aging stains under damaged varnish - People have been tempted to paint over varnished hatch trim or varnished masts because the timber has become grey and unattractive. But you can often remove almost all of the staining, even that caused by iron fastenings and rusting fittings by using a 5% solution of oxalic acid. Most marine stores sell this for cleaning teak decks (I don't recommend this use for reasons we discuss in detail in the chapter on bare teak in our book, Capable Cruiser). If you cannot buy oxalic acid easily, look for concrete cleaning powder, which is sold at many hardware stores, it is the same thing. Strip all paint or varnish off the area that is grey, wet the area with the acid solution and if possible expose it to the sun. Repeat the operation until the staining is gone. If the staining does not clean up quickly, wet a small piece of paper towel with the solution and push it onto the stained area where it will stick until it dries. This keeps the area wet with acid longer. Then before you sand and prepare the area for re-varnishing, wash it several times with fresh water. If even a small bit of the acid is left on the wood, the varnish will not harden up properly.

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