This Thanksgiving I am thankful for my new refrigerator. Our 34 year old cold plate system had died. So for over a month I’ve been storing our food in the icebox located in our cockpit, replenishing the ice every other day.
It would be neat if a small refrigerator like one you would find in a dorm could replace the old system but a boat refer is not the same as one in a house. The system we purchased works off of 12 volts so when we are off the grid it won’t take a lot of energy to run. Also a sailboat refer doesn’t have a door but more like a hatch on a counter top. One reason for the hatch is the food won’t spill out when the boat is heeled over.
Trini, our 42′ foot Whitby Ketch, had a box for a freezer and refer. Pictured below, I am in the refer part and next to me is the old freezer. It’s a vast space that I decided would be better used as dry storage and the freezer, a bit smaller, would work well as the refer.
The refer installation took over 7 days.
First we gutted out the old cold plates and compressor. Dirty, heavy work.
Then Kelly took out the rusty automatic shutters. This device allowed cold air to flow from the freezer compartment to the refer.
Pulling out the parts and installing the new ones was not an easy task.
Then we lined the old freezer with 1/2 inch foam and allowed to dry for a day.
Next we lined the wall with recycled plastic panels. We sized the panels and adhered with adhesive and caulked the seams. After a day of drying we added the condenser.
The compressor installation was next. In the engine room, Kelly was able to hand the new smaller compressor himself. We hooked up the copper refrigeration lines, ran the power lines and installed the thermostat.
We also taped off the opening so we could paint it off white in order to get rid of the rusty stains.
Picture of our work space.
We had to resize our plexiglass shelves and install them.
Below is the refer with two levels of shelves. We turned it on and it worked. I can even make ice!
I went shopping and filled it up. Since there are two levels, I have to pull some items off the top shelf to access the bottom shelf. A bit of a hassle, but this is boat refrigeration.