3rd Day is right that we all make choices--I don't think the comparison to various brands of hotels/motels is spot on but I get his intended analogy. Everyone has their things that they want aboard their boat. Some of us enjoy a simpler existence than others. And, enjoy is really the word.
All of the refrigeration
choices discussed are reasonable for the person who is using them. My husband and I never thought we'd go as long as we we have w/o refrigeration
(a freezer) on our boat.
As "the wife" aboard I'll say--sometimes it's not the wife who wants the toys of the boat -- sometimes it's the husband who enjoys the gizmos of life. And good food is a necessity, good cooking
too for that matter but refrigeration isn't always needed to achieve those good meals
. My husband would like to put in refrigeration but not for reasons of food--just to have another toy to play with. I do the food prep and food preservation and storage
, I'm the one who's more into the aesthetic we have of simple rather than fussy. I'm also a mechanical engineer
and I toy with a variety of ideas of what we could/should do for refrigeration -- so far, no refrigeration or icebox
for us. Why?
Refrigeration: We have room for it, power for it, money
for it, but we don't have it for a couple different reasons. First--and primary reason--we took what we call the "Catalan Challenge" which is from a friend of ours from Barcelona
who told us that she thought we Americans value our refrigeration too much and that we should do as the Catalans do--and eat fresh, buy fresh, as much as possible to eat healthier. We have found her to be right. As coastal cruisers, like most who cruise
along the West Coast
from AK to the Baja
coast of MX at least, we can do that--live w/o refrigeration because it is rare to go more than a week w/o opportunity to provision. Actually rare to go more than a few days without it. Not so sure about folks extending down into mainland MX...anywhere the waters warm up it changes the equation a bit.
So, we packed our existing 120VAC countertop icemaker (from home) into the boat "just in case" we found ourselves very remote
with a hankering for ice -- or needed to contribute to an anchorage potluck party
and have gone now...5 years sailing sometimes in a marina mostly NOT in a marina and mostly on our own power w/o refrigeration. And yes, we have fired up the generator
and made ice for an anchorage party. It's rare though.
We've used the icemaker--oh, maybe 50 times in the 5 years and haven't used it at all in the last 18 months. Mostly used it when we were in a marina on shore power in 2012. We don't even have the icebox
the boat came with -- that space is an uninsulated dry pantry at the moment and if we install (eventually) refrigeration, it will be 1. a freezer and 2. not in that spot.
We store foods in cool places to keep them...cool...in waters from the west side of the Baja
peninsula on north we have the nice cool Pacific to thank for a cool bilge
. We are only 2 people--having more people aboard changes the equation just a little bit. We do have a tiny little Igloo ice chest that when we purchase
meat, chicken, etc, we'll store it in there and we've bought ice and filled the little cooler with it, oh, maybe 10 times in the heat of summer. It lasts only a couple days but certainly is nice if it's really hot out. Not so nice that we feel like running our Honda EU2000
or the boat's generator
to make ice with the countertop icemaker nor so nice that we've seriously begun to think about putting in refrigeration (for us, a freezer).
I really like the OP's original idea--simple and yes should work just fine for the waters he cruises in.