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Old 26-02-2021, 11:45   #1
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Seller replaced ice chest w dorm fridge - should it bug me soo much?

Looking for my first small cruiser (24'-32') for solo day, weekend and hopefully week long coastal cruising out of LI sound.

Keep looking at a posting for a Seafarer 26 and looks nice but ice chest was replaced with "dorm" fridge. I imagine this is nice for hanging out at the dock and maybe a day sail but just feels wrong to me.

Curious what you guys think. I suppose I could replace with a cooler or rebuild the ice chest...


Image of the boat:


Image of "intact" seafarer:
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Old 26-02-2021, 12:18   #2
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Re: Seller replaced ice chest w dorm fridge - should it bug me soo much?

I don't actually see the fridge in your photo, but that's besides my point.

I bought a boat where the PO had done something similar. He cut a big hole in the wall of the head, and shoved a standup fridge in there, with it sitting where the shower used to be in that head. I bought the boat because it was a good deal at the price, had the critical equipment I wanted, was comfortable to live aboard, and was in a location that worked for me. I thought the retro-fitted fridge was dumb, but whatever.

After cruising with it for the past year, I LOVE the standup fridge. It is actually a very significant lifestyle upgrade to be able to reach into the fridge and grab a beer, instead of constantly diving headfirst into the boat's stock icebox that opened at the top. I drastically underestimated how much this customization would mean to my everyday life as a full-time cruiser. When I meet other cruisers in an anchorage, they actually all want to come see my crazy standup fridge and exclaim in jealousy. (I'm only exaggerating a little here)

Now, all that said, the fridge my PO put in was built to run on a DC system, not just an off-the-shelf dorm room fridge. As such, I don't have trouble running it off my solar panels. I would imagine a dorm fridge would be more of a power hog, and require 24/7 use of an inverter. You should think carefully about whether your intended use of the boat will allow you to power it. If you expect to spend lots of nights at anchor, you will need significant power generation from solar, wind generators, or a diesel/gas generator. If you expect to spend lots of time at dock, thank your lucky stars the PO put this in for you, and enjoy the convenience of it!
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Old 26-02-2021, 12:31   #3
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Re: Seller replaced ice chest w dorm fridge - should it bug me soo much?

I can't tell from the photo either. There is something on the port side of the companionway that might be a fridge but I don't see where the door might be. Then there's something on the starboard side that might be a fridge.

BUT, unless the structure is permanently and irretrievably broken do you care? Can you reinstall an icebox? And why would you want an ice box? They're a pain. You have to constantly fill with ice, the bottom is always wet so any food in there has to be in plastic containers or it gets soaked.

Dorm fridge will suck a lot of battery power if you use it.
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Old 26-02-2021, 13:02   #4
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Re: Seller replaced ice chest w dorm fridge - should it bug me soo much?

I would think a dorm size fridge would be the least efficient of any household type. Has the least room for insulation. So it's going to run almost constantly burning 8 or 10 amps through the inverter. Fine for a dock queen or daysailer but not a cruising boat. They make more efficient dc powered fridges that might fit the space, but they're ten or fifteen times the dorm unit price.
If you can go back to the original structure, an ac/dc conversion unit would use a lot less power. And no ice. I've had one in all my boats. Still have to stand on your head to get that last beer out, but it beats ice.
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Old 26-02-2021, 13:05   #5
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Re: Seller replaced ice chest w dorm fridge - should it bug me soo much?

We had an icebox on our first Insatiable. Jim added insulation to the top and the outsides of it (came with only 2 ", needed more), but then we put in refrigeration for cruising long term. I'd think it will depend on your intended use of the boat how you would want to handle the situation. You have to let the water drain to somewhere, and if it goes to the bilge, then the boat will always have a wet bilge. So, you might want to T in the fridge/icebox drain to the sink drain: it needs a downhill run, tends to get ucky and slimy. We didn't have the food sitting in water, our icebox had a teak grate. You'd do better with something plastic, easy to clean in a bathtub or dishwasher.

It is possible to cruise without coolth, but you have to be willing to have your beverages cooled by evaporation, and it isn't like chilled. You can pickle extra fish you catch, or home can meats and veg, and they will be better than store bought, but still not like fresh.

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Old 26-02-2021, 13:15   #6
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Re: Seller replaced ice chest w dorm fridge - should it bug me soo much?

Quote:
Originally Posted by capt jgw View Post
I would think a dorm size fridge would be the least efficient of any household type. Has the least room for insulation. So it's going to run almost constantly burning 8 or 10 amps through the inverter. Fine for a dock queen or daysailer but not a cruising boat. They make more efficient dc powered fridges that might fit the space, but they're ten or fifteen times the dorm unit price.
If you can go back to the original structure, an ac/dc conversion unit would use a lot less power. And no ice. I've had one in all my boats. Still have to stand on your head to get that last beer out, but it beats ice.
Anything beats ice. Unless you never go more than an afternoon or very occasional weekend an ice box is just a huge pain.

However, not all dorm fridges are created equal. One of the forum members has one on a liveaboard running off an inverter and finds it pretty efficient and a fraction of the cost of a marine fridge conversion.

If it's in the budget a conversion is the way to go but even for a small box figure at least $700-$800 just for the the kit. Insulating or upgrading the box extra.
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Old 26-02-2021, 13:21   #7
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Re: Seller replaced ice chest w dorm fridge - should it bug me soo much?

Check and see if it really is a dorm fridge and not an RV fridge that runs on 12v.
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Old 26-02-2021, 13:23   #8
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Re: Seller replaced ice chest w dorm fridge - should it bug me soo much?

if that is the only thing that is concerning you, I would suggest buy the boat and try it. You can always do something different in the future if the current fridge doesn't suit.

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Old 26-02-2021, 13:42   #9
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Re: Seller replaced ice chest w dorm fridge - should it bug me soo much?

Get an Engel 12v/110v portable
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Old 26-02-2021, 14:25   #10
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Re: Seller replaced ice chest w dorm fridge - should it bug me soo much?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rblakenyc View Post
Looking for my first small cruiser (24'-32') for solo day, weekend and hopefully week long coastal cruising out of LI sound.

Keep looking at a posting for a Seafarer 26 and looks nice but ice chest was replaced with "dorm" fridge. I imagine this is nice for hanging out at the dock and maybe a day sail but just feels wrong to me.

Curious what you guys think. I suppose I could replace with a cooler or rebuild the ice chest...


Image of the boat:


Image of "intact" seafarer:

I see the fridge in upper right of pic. Trying to figure out how you get into it? Does that cushion move to allow the door to open? Is it half height or what?
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Old 26-02-2021, 14:30   #11
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Re: Seller replaced ice chest w dorm fridge - should it bug me soo much?

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Old 26-02-2021, 14:37   #12
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Re: Seller replaced ice chest w dorm fridge - should it bug me soo much?

Appreciate all the input - didn't occur to me it could be 12v - just looks like a dorm fridge. Hadn't really considered how unloved ice chests are even though I wrestled one for 4-5 days aboard a bigger boat once.

Will look at RV and Engel coolers and then necessary solar/batteries. Thanks!
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Old 26-02-2021, 14:37   #13
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Re: Seller replaced ice chest w dorm fridge - should it bug me soo much?

Id negotiate the price down based on the missing counter top, then use the saved money buy a 12v Engel or similar compressor cooler and build it in properly.

Or live with the dorm fridge for a while and see how the current consumption on a small inverter affects you.
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Old 26-02-2021, 14:40   #14
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Re: Seller replaced ice chest w dorm fridge - should it bug me soo much?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JebLostInSpace View Post
After cruising with it for the past year, I LOVE the standup fridge. It is actually a very significant lifestyle upgrade to be able to reach into the fridge and grab a beer, instead of constantly diving headfirst into the boat's stock icebox that opened at the top. I drastically underestimated how much this customization would mean to my everyday life as a full-time cruiser. When I meet other cruisers in an anchorage, they actually all want to come see my crazy standup fridge and exclaim in jealousy. (I'm only exaggerating a little here)
I might need to come over and see how cold those beers are!
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Old 26-02-2021, 14:43   #15
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Re: Seller replaced ice chest w dorm fridge - should it bug me soo much?

That's a nice looking & simple interior btw.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rblakenyc View Post
Looking for my first small cruiser (24'-32') for solo day, weekend and hopefully week long coastal cruising out of LI sound.

Keep looking at a posting for a Seafarer 26 and looks nice but ice chest was replaced with "dorm" fridge. I imagine this is nice for hanging out at the dock and maybe a day sail but just feels wrong to me.

Curious what you guys think. I suppose I could replace with a cooler or rebuild the ice chest...


Image of the boat:


Image of "intact" seafarer:
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