Tuesday 11 September 2018

Seeking the lost

One of the notable things about Erin Mae's Squirrel stove is that it can be completely dismantled – though I have never tried to do so. Every part comes off, which makes it easy to repair should something go wrong.

We noticed earlier this year that one bottom corner of the glass in the door had fractured. The diagonal break was clean and didn't look as though it would allow noxious gases to escape, so I left it to an opportune moment. But a few days ago the other bottom corner also fractured and last night the glass as a whole came out. I put it back together for last night's fire, trusting our carbon monoxide detectors to raise any necessary alarm, but today dismantled the door preparatory to changing the glass. The door just lifts off its hinges, and I took it to the back of the boat to remove the screws that hold the glass in place.

They came out relatively easily so I cleaned out the holes. To blow away the dust I held the door outside – and forgot that bit about Squirrel stoves coming to pieces. The baffle (shown out of position in the above photo) was no longer held in place by the glass-retaining screws and promptly fell out, down on to the pontoon, and splashed into the water.

Now Squirrel parts are not only easy to take off, but also very expensive. So instead of simply bemoaning its fate, I got out my Sea Searcher magnet and starting trawling along the marina bed alongside the pontoon. In less time than I could have hoped, I'd recovered it, covered in silt from the bottom.

This is not the first time I've had occasion to be grateful for the Sea-Searcher that came with Erin Mae when we bought her. I was so pleased I thought it was time to have another search for the car-roof magnet that I'd lost some weeks ago while working on the window we were re-siting. I worked out roughly where the window would have been positioned, started trawling and in just two minutes had located it. So different from the fruitless half-hour when it was first lost. As the photo shows, it has acquired some staining, but apart from that is perfectly OK.

Not only seeking, but saving the lost!


  1. You don’t really need to remove the screws. I just use pliers to twist the retaining clips out of the way when the glass needs replacing. It’s still a bit tense twisting them back again though!

    1. Good point, Adam. Mind you, the whole thing needed a good clean up anyway.