As with most sailboats, the Fritter has a built in icebox. It’s fairly decent size too at about 4 cubic feet so I figgered it would be a waste to not use the damn thing if it was worth it. As it stands I have one of those little cube fridges which works fine and doesn’t cost much, but, it would be nice to have something that doesn’t rely on grid electric to keep food cold. The icebox, while big enough, has a simple flaw that all ice boxes that come installed on a sailboat have, namely no insulation. It’s not much more than a plastic box with a light coating of fiberglass around it. A recent test showed a 16 lb bag of ice lasted less than 12 hours. So, if I want to use the icebox, it will need some insulation.
Well, the fritter gods were smiling this week. A neighbor was in the middle of the exact same project and was fixin’ to throw away some perfectly good insulation that he didn’t need. So I got enough to cover the icebox on the Fritter with some left over, for free. All I needed was something to use for a vapor barrier to keep the moisture off the insulation, some glue and some filler insulation foam. Home Depot had all that so it was off to insulate the icebox.
As with any battle plan, everything falls apart with the first shot, and this was no exception. The space between the wall of the ice box next to the hull is too small to get any more insulation up into it so the foam took care of that. The rest actually went fairly easy though I am sure I left a few spots that will not get insulated. I also was able to remove one of the cabinets to allow easier access into the hold. I got everything covered on the icebox and filled in as best I could the holes I could find. How well it will work remains to be seen. I have 24 lbs of ice in there right now as of this post so we will see how long it lasts.
As with any project, doing one thing opens up another issue and this was no exception. The cabinet now doesn’t fit into place because of the insulation. It left me with some choices.
I don’t really need the cabinet. I don’t keep much stuff that requires that sort of storage so why bother putting it back in. I still have the fridge and I considered sticking it into the hole. It fits, but I will have to re route the drain from the galley sink, not a big deal, and find some nice way to frame off the hole as the fridge is smaller than the hole. At least this option gives me the fridge for shore power and the icebox for if or when I ever go out to the cold dark unforgiving seas, never to return.
The other option is to find or build a new hatchway with a door into the hold. There is a lot of room back there and once I add in a toilet and holding tank, access will be limited. I could add a cat door and put the litter box in there so the cats would have their own little place.
For the moment I will wait and see if my insulation is making a difference. If I can get three to five days out of the ice, then I may just get rid of the fridge and be done with it. If not, then either more insulation or keep the fridge. I still have a few other things to add, some seal around the icebox lid and some insulation on the lids themselves. then I’ll see how it goes.
Best part so far, I only spent $17 to get this done.