Requiem for a Grill

Boat Fluff. Miss Fluff to you. Mom to me and my brother. Dee Dee to the grandkids. But on Halcyon she is Fluff.

Fluff sold her beach house in 2014. The 3-hour drive to Ocean City, MD was getting too long for her 77-year old bones and mental health (she’s 80 when she feels the need to pull out the “I’m old” card). Thankfully, she has a daughter who owns a boat so she won’t be far from the water she loves. She’ll just be on it rather than beside it.

And thus begins the 2015 sailing adventures of Fluff and the end of our Magma grill.

At home Fluff bought a Big Ass Grill (BAG). Not that she has grilled anything since 1987, or for that matter, cooks all that much since her last child, me, turned 18. She wanted this grill. It’s big. It’s shiny. It has lots of knobs. It pummels its chest screaming “Look at me!!!” And she’s waiting for me to figure out how to use it so that “she” can grill. So far I’ve connected the gas tank and learned how to make the knobs light up. Since the delivery men hoisted it up the deck stairs six days ago it has been too damn cold to stand outside reading the half-inch thick manual for more than a few minutes at a time. I’m working on it. It’s raining today and the forecast for tomorrow is the same, although the temperature tomorrow is forecast to rise about 30 degrees for the day. I’ll get back to the grill manual on Monday when the temperature goes back down to the 20s so that I can continue my martyrdom.

In the meantime I use John’s 10-plus year old Kenmore grill that he brought to our relationship along with his electrical skills. It stands stoically in the shadow of BAG readily accessible and easy to use. Even if it is falling apart bit by charred bit and we have to use pliers to turn on two of the burners, it still cooks the food I put on it.


Standing on the deck eyeing the BAG my thoughts naturally turned south towards Halcyon and its Magma gas grill. The Magma is tiny. It is the smallest in the Magma line and was nearly free at $5.00 from our sail club auction, donated by a club member who had sold his boat. It grills food just fine, if a bit awkwardly. It only seems to have one temperature, super hot, so I had to be very careful not to burn our food. Regardless of its crankiness, routing through the stuff stored in the quarter berth and bringing out the Magma signaled the end of a day’s sail when we anchored, opened the wine and beer, and I prepared a hot meal as we contentedly watched whatever winged, gilled, four-legged, or human wildlife surrounded us. The Magma fed us well.

During the heat of summer having a grill on deck means that I don’t have to turn on the propane 3-burner galley stove. The stove heats up the cabin so that those guests who don’t feel evil towards air conditioning like John and I do, aren’t made more uncomfortable.

A few years ago I started buying meat at Wyebrook Farm, just down the road. The cows are grass fed and look happy when I drive past them down the driveway towards the farm house. The pigs are the largest I’ve ever seen in person. Not that I’ve spent a lot of time around live pigs. The resulting pork chops are huge. Huge enough, as I discovered anchored in Worton Creek one summer, that only one chop at a time can be grilled on the Magma. Add Fluff to the crew count and the Ship’s Cook – me – gets moved further away from eating with everyone else on board.

The Magma looks like it has at least two boat-owner’s worth of grilling under its cover. It ain’t shiny. I don’t even know what its original color was. I know, because I tried, that I can no longer buy spare parts for it. The newer versions are just different enough that their parts don’t fit.

Before Fluff sails with us this season I will have bought a Dickinson Marine Sea-B-Que gas grill. Yes. I’m bowing so far down to self-induced pressure that my nose is scraping the gravel. It’s a daughter thing. In my head I can see her raised eyebrows as she sits in her spot in the cockpit and looks disapprovingly at the blackened Magma while I mount it on the rail. I can hear her say to me “You’re cooking on that?” quietly yet oh so brimming with meaning. I can anticipate the words “It sure doesn’t look like my Weber.” Nevermind that I use foil on top of the grate. To her the food will be close enough to the danger zone.

The Sea-B-Que was recommended by our sailing friend Dave. He uses one on his sailboat, Auspicious. Besides being new and shiny, Fluff won’t sneer at something Dave recommends. She likes him. We had lunch together and after, during the chef’s tour of the kitchen (Chef Shawn is another sailing friend), Dave carried Fluff’s coat for her. Now she thinks Dave is the bee’s knees.

Forget Peace on Earth, I’m angling for Peace on Board with my Big Ass Boat Grill. Since I’m nobody’s bee, I’ll take it any way I can get it.

3 Responses to “Requiem for a Grill”

  1. bljones Says:

    Big Ass Boat Grill- BABG. Didn’t Supertramp sing about that?

  2. Dave Skolnick (S/V Auspicious) Says:

    Dave is quite fond of Miss Fluff as well.

  3. Caleb Davison Says:

    Nicely penned. Hopefully that Sea-B-Que can handle 3 of those huge pork chops at a time.

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