Thursday, January 15, 2009

On boat stuff being too expensive and other silliness...

I've mentioned before that piracy is not dead and that it simply has evolved into the marine trades... Sadly finding the word "Marine" in conjunction with a product is akin to a neon light flashing on and off that says "RIP OFF"

Now one of the current projects on "So It Goes" is a revamp and makeover of the galley and part of that is a new stove and oven. The local marine stores have quite a selection of "Marine" stoves, the cheapest being about $1400 and from there going up, up and away...Which makes me think of a favorite line from one of my favorite films "Used Cars" which is quite apt......"Too Fucking high!"

Now a stove gets a lot of use and it is an important system on a boat and it makes sense not to skimp on important systems. So why not buy a Marine stove?

Well for one, our current marine stove goes through burners like they were made of some non marine friendly metal. Recently when we ordered yet another replacement burner (I won't even tell you the silly price Force 10 gets for them) we were told that what do you expect it's for a boat, why should it last more than a year? Pretty ballsy attitude for someone who sells stoves DESIGNED for MARINE use that has a suggested retail price of $1600!

So I have been looking at the non marine options and lo and behold I find there is a stove made by Browning (a company long known for its great sporting goods) who has a division (Camp Chef) that makes cookware for the camping sector in a size that is perfect for a sailboat in the 28-50 foot size range and would fit into most galleys without any undue trauma. Of course you'll have to rig a gimbal if needed but that is so simple that a couple of bolts and a dive weight will take care of that finest kind though most boats really don't need a gimbaled stove anyway.

So far so good....but it gets better! The stove is made of stainless steel just like the pricey marine models...has burners that have safety features just like the marine models! Hell the only thing that seems to make it different than the marine models is the price...for a comparable stove to the $1600 Force Ten the Camp Chef has a suggested retail cost less than $280 ( but if you get it on Amazon it will only set you back $185)

Of course that is just one simple example of the distortion of the marine/nautical market and so many others come to mind that it puts a damper on the whole sailing is a too expensive argument as long as you are not taken in by the snake oil salesman you can get along on a budget that would make my sainted Scottish mother proud!