As my new boat is now swimming and shortly before delivery to me, it´s itching in my fingers to “conquer” this boat and make it fully mine. There are of course a lot of things to buy and acquire, two of which are absolutely essential. First would be the safety- and navigational equipment needed to sail the boat properly. Second is the galley – starting at pots, plates, forks, knifes, pots, bowls, sugar, pepper and salt – in short: All the stuff needed to have a coffee and a meal when underway.
The First 27 SE – as a thorough racer – does not come with a proper galley. Let´s say, Sescape offers the mini-mini-minimal amenity in terms of cooking and feasting: There is one option in the price list which says “mount for gas cooker”. I took it. Afterwards my research on gas cookers produced a wide range of possible products. One was of particular interest as it promised the best outcome (for me fast cooking, safe handling). It is called the Jetboil.
Introducing the Jetboil Minimo Cooking System
After reading a bit into this product I decided to order it at amazon.com (and nope, I don´t get paid for it) and chose the Jetboil Minimo-type of the product. The “original” Jetboil comes with a sleeker cooking pot (called the “Flash”) which some users found impractical for “real” cooking and eating with a spoon out of it. Thus, I opted for the Minimo. The price is 150 to 170 Euros, depending on the scope of parts in your delivery. Mostly, a gas cartridge is not included. For my test I took the small 100 grams cartridge.
The Minimo comes with the pot, that is covered with neoprene that insulates the pot. The manufacturer says that you can touch even the boiling hot pot – which is true, I´ve tested it. The burner is stowed in a small leather-like sack. A plastic folding stand into which three sizes of gas cartridges will securely fit is as well part of the delivery, as a plastic lid (with two openings to pour out water or soup) and a plastic cap that may be used for measuring ingredients, it also serves as the closing lid for the whole set. Nice. Quality feels solid and neatly done. Let´s fire it up!
Fire it up! My first Jetboil test
I love cooking aboard which you may have already read – from each bigger sailing trip I will bring home and publish a dedicated recipe – like my well received German Mustard-Eggs. Things will get harder indeed now that I only have one flame to count on and we will see if this is practical. So, for my first Jetboil test I decided to make me a coffee: That is, hot water and a French press.
Setting up the Jetboil system literally takes 15 seconds. You just screw on the gas cartridge, place the cooker on a solid steady surface. By opening the valve gas will begin to flow, one or two presses on the firing button will ignite a Piezo-driven spark that will instantly bring the flame to live. Further revolutions on the valve will have the flame adjusted and the fun begins. Of course, you will have the cooking pot installed on top of the flame, I just took it off for the sake of this picture. Now, I started the stopwatch to see how fast it works.
Jetboil claims that its proprietary corrugated metal ring that comes in countless slats will distribute the heat created by the flame more evenly and will “safe” heat from getting just shot around the pot to stay in contact with the pot longer – thus you need less gas or less time for the same amount of gas. My stopwatch clicked and – 0.5 litres of fresh cold water from the tap – became hand-warm after 3 minutes. After 5 minutes it started to simmer with the bottom of the pot covered in small bubbles.
At 6.45 minutes the whole system began to fizzle with the water boiling at 100 degrees Celsius after exactly 8.30 minutes. That´s not even close to the speed I thought it would have to make the water cook but I also did not have the valve completely open, so I guess you can have it much faster – but who needs it? I poured out the hot boiling water into the freshly bought French press (exclusively acquired for my new boat) and waited for 3 minutes before enjoying a steaming hot fresh coffee – that was by the way excellent.
Convenient, safe, lightweight – I like my Jetboil Minimo
So what is my verdict here? Well, of course I can´t say much as of now: I did not tried cooking with that system. But the first “hot” firing test I would consider being a success. The whole system is well produced and from what I´ve seen I would say it will last for a long time. The parts aren´t cheap or mounted in a floppy manner. The setup is fast, the utilization is safe and easy. I don´t think that I will have problems with the cooker itself.
What might be a problem on the small First 27 will be cooking a thorough meal: I can imagine making Pasta in the pot, no problem. But then you´d need to store the freshly cooked sauce, prepare the noodles and bring everything together to form a meal. Making food with this cooking system will be restricted to simple dishes with maximum two parts. For example noodles + sauce, potatoes + veggies/sauce or a soup. I might be trying to use pre-cooked ingredients like rice. We will see.
For now I am happy with my purchase: It will fit to my boat and at least will make sure I´ll have hot water at hand for drinks, add-water convenience food and simple dishes. Man grows with his or her challenges, this one is a good step forward. With the cooking system already bought, I am now sorting out what would be the minimum standard for a micro-cruising capable galley. In fact the easier task, given the next thing: Sorting out the navigational equipment.
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