Refrigeration vs. Ice in the Caribe - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 11-24-2009
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Refrigeration vs. Ice in the Caribe

I am currently sailing a Pearson 365 on our way south through the Bahamas and hopefully further. We currently do not have any refrigeration on the boat and we are trying to decide how long it will take for the investment in a refrigeration system to pay off.

Does anyone know the availability of block ice in the Bahamas and further south in the Caribe? How much does ice go for in the Bahamas?
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Old 11-25-2009
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Ice is not cheap once you leave the US. But there is more to this than the cost of ice. It is difficult to get ice in most places in the Bahamas unless you stick around the major ports. What you get is often slush. Block ice is hard to find.

The overall advantage of a fridge is convenience. I put one in before my first trip south in a CS36M and have never been without one. But it comes at a cost.. and not just the cost of the fridge. Once you get one, your power requirements go through the roof. You will need some of these ....extra insulation, extra batteries, hi output alternator, solar panels and/or wind generators to keep up. That's where it gets expensive.

So putting in a fridge in a small boat (sorry 36 is considered small for cruising nowadays ) leads to a major power management overhaul. The $1300 for the fridge will look cheap!
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Old 11-25-2009
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$5 to $7/block in the Grenadines I bought alot of it last week.

Insulation is a great deal cheaper but as Vasco says..."where is the power comming from?" Most 35 ft charter boats I have sailed put 500-1000 hrs/yr on the main engine keeping their beer cold!

I would go for a built-in, if you have the space, 12 volt heavy cold plate system with solar and a minuimum of 4 inches of high density insulation. The cold plate can 'store the cold' created while the sun is shining and when you are using the main engine for other purposes but expect to spend $2000+

We segregate our freezer with insulation over the plates and the frozen food and use the less cold top for the beer. With no power imput our frozen food has stayed solid for up to 4 days. We also have a Sears 12 volt refrigerator which was cheap (now discontinued) but it does little more than keep the milk and cokes cold and lettuce fresh using 30+amp hrs/day. Puerto Rico has a Sears perhaps you could order one through them.
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We have a Air Breeze Wind Gen and a 400 ah house bank. What the cold plate system draw in the warm weather?
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Old 11-25-2009
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It all depends on how good your insulation is. My power use is quite conservative but it's about 80 - 100 amps a day. 90% of that is the fridge. So you might get 2 days out of your batteries but the problem is how are you going to charge them? The wind generator will have a hard job keeping up in the Bahamas. You will need another source. A Honda 2000 is good but that won't work well if you only have a 20 amp battery charger, as most of these boats have. It would take the Honda over 10 hours to get your battery bank up if it's down 50%. To get the most out of the Honda you need a 100 amp charger. You see how the fridge is just the start? Holding plate systems are falling out of favour. An evaporator type is preferred. I have both types (holding plate on the CS) and the top loading Adler Barber freezer (evaporator plate) with spillover to a small front loading fridge (on the 393) works very well. I can keep ice cream hard, can't do that with the holding plate system.
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Old 11-27-2009
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Ice

Cruised in Carribean to Trinidad for 2 1/2 years with only ice. Worked fine found it everywhere. Later figured it was a good move. No battery problems
didn't have to invest in Wind Solar or run engine. Saved thousands.
Chuck

clcjr54@hotmail.com
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Old 01-05-2010
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Adler-Barbour makes an air cooled refidgerator compressor. Uses less power and works great. Not sure of the total cost but according to my cruiser friends who have this system it is excellent and very dependable. Air cooling uses much less power and needs no thru hull installation.
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Old 01-06-2010
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mitiempo will become famous soon enough mitiempo will become famous soon enough
But air cooled isn't as efficient. 12 volt pump will draw less power than it increases the efficiency. The water should be 15 to 20 degrees cooler than the air.
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Old 01-06-2010
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Try out this guy. Excellent advice. He really did write the bible on this. Me just a happy customer.

KollmannMarine Boat Refrigeration Specialist
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