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Old 27-02-2015, 02:08   #1
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To fridge or freeze that is the question

Hi all, I am seeking comments regarding cruiser's choices. I am rebuilding a 40 foot yacht for long distance cruising and have in mind to put in some variety of refrigeration. Space, as always, is limited, as are the funds to outfit a dual system of freezer and fridge. I have sailed around the world in a 32 footer and didn't have any sort of cooling at all. But now 20 years later would like to outfit a little better, (comfortably!).
A freezer into which you delve once a day (or so)? One which contains vast blocks of meat?
A fridge for milk and left overs?
Perhaps a freezer with a metal transfer plate to a cool box?
What are your preferences and why?
Appreciate your thoughts
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Old 27-02-2015, 05:19   #2
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Re: To fridge or freeze that is the question

I'm converting my 15 cu ft icebox to a "Spillover". A spillover of course is a box with an insulated divider, but with adjustable apertures so you can control the amount of cold that gets to the fridge side, the thermostat and cold plates are on the freezer side. Fridge temp is controlled by adjusting those apertures. Its the way most home side by side fridges work, or at least the regular ones do. High end ones have separate compressors etc.
It currently has an Adler Barbor super cold machine that barely makes it an acceptable fridge, but gives up in tropical heat, and forget storage of any frozen food.
I've had Rich at Cruise RO design me a holding plate system to make this big box into a split half freezer, half fridge. I say design as we went with dual custom cold plates and a larger compressor, neither off the shelf, but he will design a system that will work with what you have box wise.
This will of course consume more power than my current set-up, but I want an honest to goodness real freezer in case I catch that Mahi-Mahi.

To do it "right" I should tear out my entire icebox, and properly insulate it, it's a 1987 boat and I am sure the insulation isn't that good, instead I'm oversizing the cooling capacity which is power wasteful, but I'm too lazy or poor to tear out the icebox and start over.

Another option is to buy a stand alone fridge-freezer, there are several excellent (12V) ones, ends up being cheaper and if it fails, just buy another. If I were into tear out and re-build, I'd consider building in one of those.
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Old 27-02-2015, 05:23   #3
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Re: To fridge or freeze that is the question

As I understand the OP, he's asking whether a single box cooler should be a fridge, or a freezer.

No one can answer that question for him, but himself. How do you use the cooling?

I can't imagine that it would make sense to have a freezer but no fridge, but even this might be ok for hard core long distance sailing where you really want something frozen, which you take out from time to time. But it's hard living without a normal fridge.

A fridge with no freezer is much more usual.

As A64 pointed out, you can have both in one box if there's enough space.

Keep in mind that freezers use many times as much power as fridges do. Keeping food frozen is a pretty energy intensive activity, even with good insulation.
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Old 27-02-2015, 05:24   #4
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Re: To fridge or freeze that is the question

This as an example, you just can't convert an icebox for this kind of money
Whynter 65 qt. Portable Fridge/Freezer-FM-65G - The Home Depot

There are several, this one is meant only to give example, I'm not familiar with it.
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Old 27-02-2015, 05:34   #5
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Re: To fridge or freeze that is the question

Plenty of portable units as suggested by a64 that are impossible to beat cost wise.I have an Engel that's working great after living in the back of our 4x4 for 13 years.Some of the newer models are split internally as fridge freezer.
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Old 27-02-2015, 07:41   #6
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Re: To fridge or freeze that is the question

Quote:
Originally Posted by overtheseas View Post
Hi all, I am seeking comments regarding cruiser's choices. I am rebuilding a 40 foot yacht for long distance cruising and have in mind to put in some variety of refrigeration. Space, as always, is limited, as are the funds to outfit a dual system of freezer and fridge. I have sailed around the world in a 32 footer and didn't have any sort of cooling at all. But now 20 years later would like to outfit a little better, (comfortably!).
A freezer into which you delve once a day (or so)? One which contains vast blocks of meat?
A fridge for milk and left overs?
Perhaps a freezer with a metal transfer plate to a cool box?
What are your preferences and why?
Appreciate your thoughts
If the option is one and only one, go the freezer. You can put frozen stuff to defrost into an eski or cooler, and thus get the benefit of a fridge, but can't do the reverse.
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Old 27-02-2015, 07:46   #7
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Re: To fridge or freeze that is the question

I was thinking maybe you could also turn the thermostat down on a freezer making it a fridge, but your not doing the opposite.
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Old 27-02-2015, 12:23   #8
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Re: To fridge or freeze that is the question

Thanks all, I am rebuilding a 40 footer for long distance sailing. The first trip will be from NZ later this year via the Horn and Faulklands to Rio de Janeiro. All cold weather areas. But of course one can't set the boat up for just that short 3 month trip. I like the "spillover" idea and think that might work quite well with the spaces that I have to play with. As Dockhead says it is entirely up to me to decide on my usage. However I value the opinions and ideas of others to allow me to think of the options that they may have thought of but which might never have occurred to me.
I recall once doing a delivery of a 38 foot yacht from Istanbul in Turkey to Annapolis. We had frozen packs of bolognese sauce enough for 20 meals with 3 at a sitting. Just out from Gibraltar the freezer packed up (it was engine driven). It was a crew heartily sick of bolognese by the time we reached the Canaries!
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Old 27-02-2015, 15:46   #9
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Re: To fridge or freeze that is the question

I am putting a 6 cu ft 'solar' fridge in my catamaran. It is huge ( 2 x 4 x 3ft high), but the compressor runs on just 20 watts. It is made by Electrolux and is marketed at a Sundanzer. I think you might be able to get just the compressor if you look for parts for the Sundanzer. As a fridge, it is expected to run about 1/2 the time. As a freezer, it will run more (they just use a resister in the thermostat line. I like the low wattage. Do not expect it to cool room temp things quickly to below freezing, but you buy things already cold or frozen (except the fish you catch and not cook right away. The fridge was $1200 and the electronics is not epoxy coated but you can do that yourself. You save a lot on the solar panels and batteries by using less power, but I expect you need really good insulation, which you might not have the room for.
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Old 27-02-2015, 15:50   #10
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Re: To fridge or freeze that is the question

Here's some food for thought for you, one of the most comprehensive articles I have read on bulding in a fridge/freezer. To my way of thinking a lot of work compared to a plug in engel or similar but if you are that way inclined it's worth a look.Marine refrigeration and freezer on 22 AH per day
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Old 27-02-2015, 15:54   #11
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Re: To fridge or freeze that is the question

Quote:
Originally Posted by overtheseas View Post
A freezer into which you delve once a day (or so)? One which contains vast blocks of meat?
A fridge for milk and left overs?
Perhaps a freezer with a metal transfer plate to a cool box?
What are your preferences and why?
Appreciate your thoughts
I have both fitted but find that a) freezer pulls a lot of power and b) I am more often short of fridge space, not freezer space (the beer factor?). Am also wary of depending on freezer as primary source of meat storage etc.

Have found a very nifty little device for under $40 that enables you to use a freezer as a fridge or a freezer (or simply control the temperature - temp range -23 to +47 degC). It only draws 40mW and works on cutting on / off the primary 12v /24v (or 110 / 240) power supply to the unit so you don't have to delve into the circuits. Available in Australia / NZ / America / UK from Jaycar - Tempmaster Mk3 shortform Fridge / freezer controller. It's a kit so have to build yourself but not complicated if you can solder. TempMaster MK3 - Electronic Thermostat Kit - Jaycar Electronics

T w T
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Old 27-02-2015, 16:03   #12
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Re: To fridge or freeze that is the question

Think back to the time when you sailed on the 32 footer with no reefer. Did you really ever feel feel deprived without it? Imagine yourself in the not too distant future holed up in some far away place waiting for parts to your freezer or fridge. You can simply forget the thing is aboard because you know from past experience neither a frige or freezer is essential and move on. Or, as many do, sit and wait...

You know from experience actual passages rarely take so long that you'll miss that steak or cold beer. They're always available at your next port of call. Mayonnaise kept free of foreign proteins keeps without refrigeration, . What really, really cannot last and be safe for human consumption without refrigeration, and is it on your list of must haves?

Think about the expense and potential hassles before you commit.
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Old 27-02-2015, 16:25   #13
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Re: To fridge or freeze that is the question

overtheseas,

In the tropics it would be nice to have ice cubes. We don't have a freezer, but have mostly had a fridge, since our last icebox, a very long time ago. We like having the fridge for the fresh fish, cheese, and meat keeping it affords, and of course, some veg, as well. We solved the warm gin and tonic problem by fridging the tonic. We learned to drink beverages that do not require much in the way of refrigeration.

Ultimately, I guess it will depend on how much coolth you'll want for your cruising. I think not having a fridge might be one of those things that would affect the re-sale value of the boat, if that is a factor for you.

Ann
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Old 27-02-2015, 16:44   #14
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Re: To fridge or freeze that is the question

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overtheseas,

In the tropics it would be nice to have ice cubes. We don't have a freezer, but have mostly had a fridge, since our last icebox, a very long time ago. We like having the fridge for the fresh fish, cheese, and meat keeping it affords, and of course, some veg, as well. We solved the warm gin and tonic problem by fridging the tonic. We learned to drink beverages that do not require much in the way of refrigeration.

Ultimately, I guess it will depend on how much coolth you'll want for your cruising. I think not having a fridge might be one of those things that would affect the re-sale value of the boat, if that is a factor for you.

Ann
Interesting question. Does the presence of refrigeration on a boat affect resale value and if so how much? A brand spanking new unit maybe. But, used reefer systems, like electronics might be discounted in a potential buyers mind in terms of reliability, repair and replacement cost if any of them prove to be lemons.

The only time I've regretted not having refrigeration was when a fish so large it could not be consumed in one meal wound up on my hook. But this is a guilt thing. Murder committed for what? A small bit of fish to eat while 90% goes over the side? My compromise was to fish only when a passage was taking so long as to seriously deplete my food reserves. Then it became a case of self preservation...
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Old 27-02-2015, 16:49   #15
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Re: To fridge or freeze that is the question

what ever happened to using the bin type evaporators that are a freezer if you put stuff in it, but a frig for thing outside of it?
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