When we were planning s/v Bosco’s refit from our comfy Colorado abode; the last thing we considered was her refrigeration. After all, the fridge worked “fine” during the survey (we learned what a joke that was) and we believed “fine” was good enough. In those early months, s/v Bosco stayed put in a marina, with 24/7 shore power. The refrigerator was always on, and it worked pretty well…not great, but not terrible either. We were utterly clueless about the issues.
Once we took off cruising, those issues came to light. Within the first 24 hours, we learned how much power the fridge sucked out of our not so great batteries (~ 12 amps/hr) and that it couldn’t keep temps below 65°F (Normal refrigeration in a home should be around 39-40°F). Food would spoil after just a couple days and if you remember any of our past blog posts, it was a VERY VERY HOT summer. Our batteries couldn’t keep up unless we motored for the entire day.
You get the idea here. A new refrigerator (or rather compressor) was one of the first things on the docket when we pulled into Oriental, NC in August.
To give you non-boaters an idea of how marine refrigeration works, its basically a compressor that chills a cold plate (or multiple plates). In many cases, the refrigeration on a boat is not much more than a glorified cooler. The cold plates do okay, but often insulation and power limit their effectiveness. The system is either air-cooled or water-cooled; each with their own pros/cons.
Well, today, there are many more effective options. After just a tiny bit of research, Jake and I decided to go with the SeaFrost brand marine refrigeration system for Bosco. We hired a gentleman, Asa, who was recommended by the owner of our marina. He is the Marine Refrigerator KING (if there can be such a thing). Seriously this guy knows his sh$%. After a quick chat with Asa, he encouraged us to get the Sea Frost BDXP compressor with a fancy icebox bin (aka freezer). The sides of the bin pull double duty as cold plates and freezer storage bin. Asa also explained that the insulation on our Island Packet is quite amazing, so we don’t even have to touch it. (another reason we are so very happy with the IP – it is such a high-quality boat…but I digress).
At this very moment, we have only enjoyed our new refrigeration system for 48 hours. I have to say we couldn’t be happier. The current air temperature was around 75°F and the freezer is happily churning at 20°F. The fridge stays in the 39-40°F range (which is just perfect). All the while it pulls 8 amps/hr when running but cycles on and off, so the actual amps is closer to ~ 3.5 amps/hr. Another perk is that its virtually silent (especially when compared to the old one). We installed the digital control panel, so we could monitor the temps and thermostat easily. The new SeaFrost is both air and water cooled, so we have options for more power conservation if necessary. I’m not a spokesperson for SeaFrost, but I would be if given the chance 😉
The dream of ice cream has been realized! We will be one of the few boats able to make ice cubes too! The best part of all of this is that with our new wind and solar generators, running the fridge 24/7 will be no big deal. YAY!