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I love the well area forward of the pod on my T38. Its a natural gathering area and have often thought if I was anchored off one bow the smoke and embers from a firepit would head diagonally aft rather than straight towards the sail cover. I think this is  a great concept for a quiet night with light breezes or a still night. Love to hear peoples thoughts and anyone else using one or know anything about the construction of it. I think a Wharram really lends itself to a small firepit. What do you think?


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Fire is the most dangerous thing on a boat, even an iron aircraft carrier. Wooden boat with a fire pit? Not a great idea in my book.

Thanks for your concern about me burning my boat down BB

small open fires mostly for  cooking has been going on for a long time on Dhows etc. Set up right with all the saftey precautions in mind, I think this can be a great addition to a boat. It could be argued that its more safe than butane. A friend from S Africa cooks on a "cob" and boasts how he can cook a whole chicken! What are your thoughts?Is the firebox for the Pahi 63 in the plans?

Don't know if it is safer than butane or not, I guess it depends on instalation and use. But an open fire is much less weight/space efficient than butane, just think about the volume/weight of wood/coal you'll need to cook that chicken in an open fire and compare with that of butane.
So if you are anchored in front of a beautifull beach I think you might argue that you'd rather have an open fire and I'd agree. After all, if there is a fire you can always swim to the beach. But why not make the open fire in the beach?
Now if you are making a passage I'd say open fire is a bad idea because your fire will be very inefficient, and you'll have to stop and take down the sails to cook your chicken.

thanks Ricardo


 There'll be no stopping to cook me chicken :) I do already have butane or LPG set up . Plan to have the occasional fire on the the beach too, but for the firebox, its more a social thing when I have a group sitting around talking boats , coming together for shared meals and planning the next day on a beautiful quiet night. A fire just adds a whole different dimension. Sure something suitable can be set up. Would like to see something set up on your T30 too :)

I love cooking up fish head soup too but it totally stinks out the galley so would be good to cook this outside . Also keen to be able to cook pizza up on deck, maybe on the bottom of a dutch oven turned upside down. I often cruise in company and my ship tends to become the mother ship so good to have plenty of options. Will have to design all this so it can be easily cleared away after for the nude dancing  :)

You've got a point, a fire over the water on a starry night with good company is as good as it gets.

Indeed. A small, portable one with a very good mesh cover to keep sparks from being a problem. We make them out of 55 gallon drums all the time. Just cut the bottom 1/3 off and poke a few air holes in it. You can make them really nice with fancy air hole design. On a boat you would want to put legs on it and mesh on the air holes...and maybe keep the fire below the rim.

The bottom 1/3 of a drum is 12 inches deep and 2 feet diameter. Would it be possible to sink it into the deck so that the pit hangs under? Maybe flare out the middle 1/3 of the drum, cut a 2 foot circle in the deck, and slip it in. You can then have a hard cover for it when not in use. Out of sight and mind. If the pit burns or rusts through, the coals will fall into the water.

Yes have thought about having something flush with deck. Nice!

Modern requirements for gasoline fuel force you to have them vented and the thought of what could happen if the open flame got to the fumes from that fuel, is terrifying.  

So we always were happy to make a fire on the beach and folks in the anchorage know that they can just bring some food to share, their favorite tipple, and musical instruments, and we would all sit back enjoying the firelight while we watched our boats in silhouette against the sunset sky.  Then we'd row back aboard and fall asleep on a safe boat knowing that the smoke we smell is just the smell of the campfire in our hair and not the boat on fire. 

Have you ever seen a boat on fire?  I have seen that happen three times.  They usually burn to the waterline but sometimes they blow up all to smithereenes.  

Our boat is now for sale, sadly, but we had wonderful memories and friendships living aboard her for over 50,000 safe sea miles.  Safe is step one on the way to serenity.

Ann and Nev

In Mozambique the local dhows all use open fire pits , I have met them 50 miles offshore having a good barbeque of fish!! They use a open box of wood with a good layer of beach sand in the bottom, fire consisting of charcoal ( bought locally) so no open flames to speak of and easy to extinguise with sand in box if wind pics up. Some danger in consept and personally I would only use on beach, but proven to be duable if sensible precuations taken..
Just get yourself Cobb grill and you can take the open fireplace wherever you want in your boat :-)

I think the prob generally is sparks! Does charcoal spark less than wood?

Sparks can be controlled by a screen, using dry wood, and keeping the fire small. Charcoal doesn't really throw sparks at all. I use a small charcoal grill on my Catalina 25 with no problem. Keeping the fire away from gas and other explosives is a good idea. Also, keep a bucket or two of water handy.

What about a trap door in the bottom of the barrel fire pit? When done with fire, just drop the coals in the water.

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