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  #1  
Old 12-23-2011
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Passagemaking and Refrigeration. Do You Use It?

I'm wondering how many of you who do long passages, like those on the coconut milk run, actually use refrigeration as opposed to just keeping non perishable goods on board. Can anyone enlighten me here? Should I just shut the fridges off to save power and use them as storage or??
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Old 12-23-2011
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Do you like to eat? Why would you not use refrigeration?
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Old 12-23-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleDevil View Post
I'm wondering how many of you who do long passages, like those on the coconut milk run, actually use refrigeration as opposed to just keeping non perishable goods on board. Can anyone enlighten me here? Should I just shut the fridges off to save power and use them as storage or??
With decent solar and perhaps wind charging there is no need to go without particularly in the South Pacific. Refrigeration was always a problem for cruisers, being power hungry and temperamental but modern systems are less so on both counts.
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A better reply: While cruising through Australia, everyone used to come over to our boat 'cause we had the cold beer and fresh food. Sometimes a mixed blessing. Carrots keep forever. Eggs, never refrigerated, dip in boiling water for 15 seconds then coat with vaseline. They last for months. These are old time sailors tricks. There are many more.
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It all depends on the boat, and how important, (how much time and money, and room on the boat), you are prepaired to spend on refridgeration.

If it is important to you, then getting a unit that can run on the engine, or have enough electrical power generation on board to run it.

I have a full sized house style refridgerator on board. BUT I spent some money on a bigger generator, additional house batteries, an inverter, etc...

If you have a big enough boat so you have room for the additional equipement, and add enough power generation, (solar, wind, generator), to run it, then why not?

If you're in a Flicka 20, then 3 days after the ice melts in the cooler, refridgeration is probably going to be just a distant memory.

PS I've never made a passage, but if you don't have enough power to run a week at anchor, you're not going to make it on a passage either.
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Old 12-23-2011
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From our experience in the Caribbean and crossing the South Pacific there are two groups of cruisers. 95% have refrigeration and 5% do not (typically in smaller, cheaper boats). Generally the members of both groups are having a blast and if they are not it is not because they have or don't have refrigeration.

People have one to three units; we have a separate small freezer. Energy issues are not a big problem. We have 180w of solar and an AirMachine wind unit and it is either sunny or windy or both in most cruising areas. Often we will have the wind turned on because we are getting enough from the sun. We have a 5 kw genset but rarely use it. Refrigeration is not inexpensive and is one more thing to repair but it is so nice to have a cold one from time to time.
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Refrigeration is not a necessity, but it makes life SO much nicer. We had 453 watts of solar and that was usually sufficient for our refrig in the tropics (in summer, in a sunny location) plus an old (less efficient than today's) watermaker. The other option is a Honda generator -- not to run the reefer, but to recharge the batteries. If you're going the generator route, make sure that your charger is large enough to take all the power the generator puts out -- no good to have a 2000 watt generator and only a 20 amp charger, you'll have to run the generator forever.

Our boat came with an engine-driven refrigerator as well, but we only used it when we were motoring anyways. Engine driven is a pain in the neck as an "only" refrig system -- you HAVE to run the engine every day, and what happens if you want to travel inland for a few days. Plus, most engine driven systems don't have a good freezer option.

For us, using canned meats and veggies wouldn't have bothered us if we didn't have refrigeration . . . but the lack of cold drinks when it was hot out sure would have!
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Old 12-23-2011
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In the three passages that I have done we used freezers as well. That does require big house batteries that are kept charged. The boat I am currently used to teach offshore has solar panels and wind generator to supplement the alternator.
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Old 12-23-2011
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Our friends who winter the Caribbean are among the 'no fridge' set - mostly over house bank limitations and lack of supplemental power generation. But also they are primarily vegetarians (esp down south) and are mainly island hopping or spending weeks at a time on the hook - allowing daily shopping expeditions so they needn't keep anything for long.

When we carnivores descend upon them it's a bit more difficult but in fact we try to adapt to their lifestyle and forgo the meat on board. Still, the beer isn't cold either.... of course these are minor inconveniences in view of the spectacular two weeks we've often spent down there.

In contrast we have other friends who spent 3 winters in Mexico on their Passport 40 with ALL the bells and whistles.... Cold beer, fridge and freezer.. watermaker, etc etc.. decedant luxury compared to the B36.7. The sailing was not so reliable nor as thrilling but the scenery was right up there... Two very different but equally enjoyable scenarios.
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Old 12-23-2011
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Friges are a luxury. I've never had one on my boat. I drink cold beer at the bar in town,... Rum,water and lime, (grog) at sea and in secluded anchorages. I GROW LENTIL SPROUTS in a cook pot to keep my fresh green's craving satisfied. Easy and quick way to keep fresh living food in your diet. You can keep a lot of bean's and seed's for sprouting on board. I was at sea two week's one time and on the 12th day I made a sprouted lentil burger on sprouted wheat bread (cooked in a solar oven) garnished with sprouted chick pea humus and radish sprouts! Butter, milk and your staple perishables all come in a can or powder'd. I love the boxed soy milk's and stuff on my grape nuts. I even bought a nice canned cheese in Jamacia. Refrigeration keep's you addicted to the market. How long do you keep perishables any way's. A week, 2 maybe. What keep's longer than 2 week's in a fridge that isn't available in jared or FREEZ DRIED form? I Had a guy serve me something out of a fridge on a delivery that gave me food poisoning. Milk get's stinky after a few day's.Egg's are easy to store unrefrigerated. What kind of opulence do you require at Sea? On a three week passage do you really need chilled cucumber salad on day 18?
READ: SAILING THE FARM!!! sub titled "independence on 30 feet" Some of the idea's are a bit extreme but some I've used and they have allowed me to stay away from town for month's and month's. True freedom from society. Save your precious power for light's and your auto helm. You get becalmed under a cloud bank for 4 day's and you'll realize how quick your batteries drain with out wind and sun. I also stock up on those dried hard salami's you see hanging unrefrigerated at the super market. You can do wonders with canned chicken, canned hams etc. There is also a canned roasted beef out there that is awesome, of course your tuna and smoked salmon. You can eat really well out there without refrigeration!!

Last edited by Capt.aaron; 12-23-2011 at 03:57 PM.
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