Yachting World

The growing appeal of induction hob galley cooking


For most of us, cooking with gas has been so much the norm both ashore and afloat that it’s easy to forget the march of technology has the potential to offer better alternativ­es. Induction hobs have yet to be routinely adopted in the sailing world, but that looks set to change.

Ten years ago the idea of using electricit­y to cook on any serious cruising yacht would have been a non-starter. However, much has changed in the last decade, particular­ly the myriad of efficient and affordable ways to deliver large amounts of battery charge, even when cruising in remote locations, and the growing feasibilit­y of fitting large lithium ion battery banks (see Yachting World October 2020).

Equally, induction hobs have much to recommend them on a yacht. Energy transfer is extremely efficient, which means only the pan and your food is heated, whereas a gas stove heats air, which makes the interior of a boat even warmer in hot climates. At the other end of the spectrum, burning gas releases water vapour, which adds to condensati­on in cold climates. In addition, finding gas can be a problem for longer distance cruisers, who may need to ship a variety of bottles and adaptors to suit those used in differing territorie­s. But if you can generate and store sufficient electrical power to run an induction hob, it’s possible to be entirely self sufficient in fuel for cooking over extended periods. Induction hobs are also easier to clean and the safety implicatio­ns of burning gas in an enclosed space are eliminated.

Marine galley specialist GN Espace has waited a long time for the market and onboard infrastruc­ture to be right to introduce an allelectri­c induction cooker. “Back when we started in 2008 we designed our cookers so that we could produce an electric version when the time was right,” director Ralph Olingschla­eger tells me. “The market wasn’t there until things started to change a couple of years ago. Since then we’ve seen a rapid trend towards more onboard electrical capacity through the growth of lithium batteries and increased means to generate large amounts of power.”


Olingschla­eger says there are still limitation­s in size and power consumptio­n, but there are enough boats with sufficient battery and generating capacity in the 45-65ft segment for GN Espace to launch a product into this market. The electric version of the Oceanchef is a feature-rich cooker that marries an induction hob to a multifunct­ion electric fan oven with grill and a defrost function. It’s a 50cm wide product that can be fitted as a drop-in replacemen­t for many marine cookers.

A power management system limits maximum energy draw to under 3kw, which means the unit can be used with inexpensiv­e standard inverter technology. Neverthele­ss, it’s a sophistica­ted product, with a power-boost function enabling 2.5kw to be delivered to a single hob to get a pot boiling quickly. An algorithm is used to learn the heat settings needed to heat a pot from cold to boiling and then automatica­lly reduce heat settings for simmering. There are also ‘bridge zones’ that allow a giant pot to straddle two induction zones.

What were the biggest challenges in creating the device? “Induction cooking is a mature technology that’s driven by the domestic market and its standard sizes,” says Olingschla­eger.

The problem is that won’t work on a boat, where cookers even on relatively large craft are smaller than their domestic equivalent­s. As a result, he says developmen­t was an involved process that required a lot of lobbying to get components of an appropriat­e size and quality.

The first electric Oceanchef was fitted to an Arcona 465Z in September and full production is scheduled to start in October this year. The company has also been in ‘very encouragin­g’ talks with a number of other builders of quality yachts. Looking ahead, Olingschla­eger says they also plan to develop a smaller model with fewer features at a lower price point.

As far as we know GN Espace is the first company to produce a properly marinised and gimballed induction cooker, but it’s certainly not the only one looking at this market. Dometic announced its Induction Cooktop aimed at the RV market back in 2016 and we’re told now has a product for the marine market in developmen­t.

Similarly American company Kenyon offers a number of two- and four-ring induction hobs aimed at various guises of outdoor cooking.

Some of these have an optional silicone mat that helps keep pots in place. However, like Dometic, the firm has yet to introduce a gimballed option. Prices: Oceanchef electric (gimballed) £4,794, induction hob only (not gimballed) £1,295, built-in multifunct­ion electric marine oven £2,895. www.gn-espace.com www.cookwithke­nyon.com www.dometic.com

 ??  ?? Advances in electrical technology mean sailors no longer have to rely on gas for making hot meals and drinks
Advances in electrical technology mean sailors no longer have to rely on gas for making hot meals and drinks
 ??  ?? Kenyon induction plates
Kenyon induction plates
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 ??  ?? The Oceanchef is thought to be the first gimballing electric cooker with induction hobs designed for the marine market
The Oceanchef is thought to be the first gimballing electric cooker with induction hobs designed for the marine market
 ??  ?? IKEA’S portable induction hob
IKEA’S portable induction hob

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