I am going to write this series of posts in english. The simple reason being that I might be able to give back some of the inspiration and insights I have learned while doing my homework for this project. There’s a vast english speaking cruising community out there from which I have gotten the information needed to complete this project. For all of you to learn from what we have done, I’ll write it so you can understand it.

The confidence needed to get started, I got from THE best diy boat work channel on youtube: Sail Life. It is run by Danish software developer Mads Dahlke. Check it out!

Expanding our refrigeration capabilities has been on our list of projects since we got the boat. We have been living with an 18 litre portable compressor-driven cooler which we have lovingly given the nickname “Mårran”. When we spend upwards to 4 weeks of a summer holiday at sea, these 18 litres fall short. Further, the cooler had to be moved around and relocated to the cabin sole whenever heading out to sea, otherwise it was at risk of falling over.

Starting a project like this is about compromises. These are the three key ones we have been pondering on:

  1. Size – Space on a sailboat is always going to be at a premium. The bigger the box, the more space it will occupy in the galley, or the area suitable for installation. The bigger the interior volume, the thicker insulation material you will need. The bigger the volume, the more strain you will put on your cooling system, which is going to be the next consideration.
  2. Cooling system – There are less than a handful of manufacturers of cooling systems which you can mount yourself. The cheapest ones start at around 300 USD and will supply basic cooling for a smaller box. There’s a midrange where the manufacturers use smarter electronics to boost the cooling capacity whenever you have a high voltage in your DC system, such as when running the engine or when hooked up to shore power, to in effect lower the temperature, just above zero and thus “store” coolness in the box. These systems cost between 300-700 USD. In the higher range, you have systems which use a sea water intake and the cold of the surrounding sea to efficiently exchange heat from the compressor system.
  3. Power constraints – Depending on where you intend to go cruising, and the above factors, the power consumed by your refrigeration system will differ greatly. When running, the compressor will draw a fair number of amps and your ability to recharge the lost energy from solar, engine or shore power should influence your decision.

In the next post I will let you know how we have reasoned and what decisions we did make in the end.