As I’ve mentioned previously, we have a large freezer and a separate refrigerator on Joint Venture. There are cruisers who say that refrigeration is a luxury that they don’t need, but I love having cold storage.
To explain for those readers who are landlubbers (or worse yet, motorboaters :)) even if a sailboat has refrigeration, it’s not your normal over/under- fridge/freezer combo. Normally on a sailboat there’s a single box where everything you want to keep cold resides. You put your ice next to the cooling plate, and your lettuce on the other side of the box away from the cooling plate so that it doesn’t freeze. Maybe there’s a partition or two to try to keep the two sides separated. This leads to a guessing game of “How far should I put milk so it doesn’t freeze and also doesn’t spoil?” Or “If I remove this bag of ice how much will that affect the remaining items, will they freeze, or will they now not have enough residual cold to keep from spoiling?”
When we originally found our boat, the freezer/fridge combo seemed like a great opportunity to enjoy some of the same comforts aboard as you find living on land. The separated system allows us to keep chicken breasts and ice frozen solid and veggies crisp and fresh. To paraphrase the old McDonald’s BLT commercial, “The frozen stays frozen and the cold stays cold.”
A few days ago I defrosted the freezer and rearranged some stuff to start thinking about how we would manage things when we head out. One cool product that we’ve found to keep things even colder is “Techni-Ice.” These sheets allow you to lay them around the inside of the freezer to further help the freezer’s insulation. We also leave a few sheets on top to keep all the cold from escaping when we open the freezer. These sheets work great and we even have a half gallon of ice cream staying frozen in the freezer right now. We also found a cool little silicone ice maker that makes ice without the hassle of the usual ice trays spilling everywhere. The “Ice Orb” is great, it doesn’t spill when tilted and it freezes quickly, you can even chill a bottle of wine (if you’re into that sort of thing.)
The one disadvantage is that this system does take a lot of electricity. But I will gladly trade some extra power for ice and cold beer!