Boat systems, part 2, food storage and handling

A few months before we were planning to head south we upgraded our fridge & freezer.  We had a holding plate system that ran seawater into a condenser in the boat, and then back out at probably 15 gallons per minute (noisy!).  We occassionally got knocks on the hull from passers-by who were concerned our bilge pump was on and we were sinking.  The pump had to run about an hour at up to 1000 watts to cool down the fridge and freezer holding plates whenever we came on the boat.  Way too much power consumption. We were never very happy about the temperatures of either the fridge or freezer.

Now we have two new separate cooling systems, one for the fridge and one for the freezer.  Tiny expensive boat parts.  These condensers have keel coolers (metal heat exchangers attached to the bottom of the boat) that transfer fridge heat to water very efficiently.  No more water pumping  through the boat (so quiet!).  No more 1000 watts draws from our batteries – only about 50 watts for each system when they are running.  And accurate electronic temperature controls!!!  No more guessing at how to set the old manual controls.

Front door of fridge – watch the cold air pouring out!
Top door of fridge – all the cold air stays in!
Top loading freezer – very deep freezer

The fridge and freezer are nicely sized in sailboat terms.  We are working on how to best utilize the space.  Although it’s “sailboat big”, it’s tiny compared to what we had at home.

Best part – we can make ice!  And not just ice, 2.75 inch ice balls!!!  Perfect for a Dark and Stormy or a Rusty Nail at sunset. We will be the ‘popular’ boat at anchorages.

A collection of ice balls, and an ice ball mold

We have a three-burner propane stove/oven and two small three-gallon tanks for fuel storage.  Original equipment.  Still works fine.  This spring we also found the original 20 year old AA battery that powers the igniters.  Still works fine.  We aren’t ever going to touch that magic battery!

Fan specifically for the comfort of the chef!

Lots of cabinets for dry goods and cooking implements.  Again a lot fewer staples, pots & pans and other gadgets than we had in our house.  But who needs to many utensils when in the early morning you can just jump off the back of the boat, slowly swim to shore, and enjoy desayuno at a palapa on the playa.

We will be working on how to best provision and plan meals as we get farther away from big grocers and restaurants – one pan gourmet meals. Any provisions purchased in cardboard needs to be repackaged – bugs apparently love corrugated for egg laying and dine on the glues that hold that packaging together.

Every boat needs a hanging net.  This is ours. And we understand there in no Skippy Extra Crunchy Super Chunk peanut butter in Mexico. If you visit us down there, you better have one to appease the crew!

Skippy hiding art the bottom of the photo

And did we mention that we like wine?  Our cellar from our Reno home has paired down a bit.  Only room for about 20 bottles on the boat at a time.  As we head south access to good wine will become more scarce and our ‘cellar’ will be reallocated to new purposes.

This spot holds 13 bottles (twelve shown, one has been dispensed with).  More bottles in the ‘secret’ cellar.


  1. Awesome! The galley is one of the best parts of cruising- with all the parties you will be hosting- I highly recommend Kay & Hal Postorius’s book Cruising Cusine. Not only a wonderful collection of great onboard recipes but excellent day to day provisioning tip, tricks and guidance. One of my most favorite books ever!

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