Aug 192012

I went out for a bike lap around the island this afternoon, in the 90 degree, 85% humidity heat, and while I was pedaling and sweating I started thinking…always a dangerous thing…about some things on the boat.  And I may have come up with another cunningly super genius plan to minimalize, and save on some space and energy.

I mentioned that the Fritter has a large ice box built in.  It’s about twice the size of the cube refrigerator that the previous owner installed.  But it sits nice and neat under and behind the cabinets in the galley.  I also mentioned that there is a small sink with a broken faucet in the galley. So here is the basics of my plan:

Up the street from the marina about 2 blocks is one of those ice vending machines.  You can get either a 20lb. block of ice or 14lb bag of cubes for $2.  So why not grab a block, drop it in the ice box and see how long it lasts.  The insulation around the box is poor so I will have to try and find some more insulation to go around it so the ice will last longer.  I’m thinking that if a block of ice will last a week, and with enough insulation it just might, I could easily unplug and get rid of the fridge.  I figger the fridge costs about 1/3 of my electric bill, so 4 or 5 blocks of ice would even that cost out.  But if the ice box worked well enough, I could get rid of the fridge and have some more room to move around inside.  One less thing to have in the cabin.  I don’t keep a lot of food on the boat anyways so I don’t need to keep anything frozen long term.  Just enough for cold drinks and a few other minor things.

But wait!  There’s more!

As the ice melts the water drains out of the ice box and through a hose to the stern.  Why not use that water over again?  So what I can do is find a small tank, about 3 to 5 gallons or so, and run the drain line from the ice box to the tank.  From there I can run another hose from the water tank to the sink with a new faucet that runs by a hand pump.  I would then have access to some fresh water, without having to use the metered water at the slip.

There are some questions to answered to all this of course.  How long will a block of ice last in the ice box for one.  Obviously, the more insulation I can wrap around the box, the better.  Will it keep the box cool enough for my needs?  Will it drain enough water out for me to use?  How much will all this cost to put together?

Installation is pretty easy.  There is plenty of room to work in.  Lots of space for the tank and I can get to the icebox to add insulation pretty easily.  Probably the first thing I should do is go buy a block of ice and see how long it lasts, and how cold it gets in the ice box.  Then go from there.  If it all works I would have electric free refrigeration, some extra fresh water, and one less big thing in the boat.  It may not be any cheaper than what I am paying now for electric, but at least I will be one step closer to not needing to be hooked to the electric.  I’ll let you know how it all works out.

Capt. Fritter

  2 Responses to “Living Aboard, A Possible Solution to a Couple of Issues…”

  1. When you finally set sail, where will you get your blocks of ice? You might not want to move that frig too far away.

    • Ice can pretty much be had anywhere in the Keys. Most marinas have it for sale someplace and all the grocery stores carry it to. I doubt I will be out for a week at a time so getting more ice isn’t a worry.

      C. F.