The Fridge (or Not…)

The fridge (or not…): there are many ways to make up for not having a fridge on board

Unless you have a 30 metre motor yacht which makes Christmas tree shaped ice cubes, in the summer the problem of not having a fridge on board, is fundamental. There are still a number of romantics around with their “lived in” boats or small motorboats who don’t have a fridge because 30 years ago sailors had fewer “city” needs and were ready to leave their safe harbour to sail the seven seas even without fresh butter on board!

It is certainly nice to have cold water on hand when sailing under the hot sun, but it is good to know that there are many ways to compensate for not having a fridge on board. Oftentimes this “modern tool” becomes a problem, especially because it consumes a lot of battery, so precious for other uses, such as for navigational tools or autopilot, for those who have it. And it is for this reason that for those small or mid-sized sailboats that have a fridge, it is good to turn it off when sailing and turn it back on again when using the motor or the battery is connected to the ground. Certainly, however, it is important not to open the fridge every two minutes when it is off, in order not to lose all that precious coldness!

Now let’s look at the different ways to keep food cool on board when there is not refrigerator. Sailboats, especially those that are a bit vintage, have an internal part of the hull, which is accessible and is in contact with the water. Often this part is in the stern and is usually very cool: more perishable foods can be kept in the thermal bag and stored there. The results are surprising! The water flowing over the hull creates a refrigerating effect which makes it so the cheese doesn’t melt and your beer is the perfect temperature for happy hour! For fruits and vegetables there is no problem, as they should be kept out in the open anyway.

If your desire for fresh yogurt at breakfast is too strong, however, another strategic move is to by a portable “mini fridge”, made specifically for boats. Of a very small size and with low energy consumption, these tools can make up for the lack of a “real” fridge. Of course, the space is very limited, so think twice before stocking up the galley with kilos of fresh cheese and butter!

In conclusion, having a boat is a relationship of compromise: living two weeks without fresh butter and ice cold water is not such a punishment…and when you are back in the traffic and your city routine, you will certainly be willing to live without a fridge in order to go back out to sea!!

Francesca Pradelli

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