Hail to All Things Cool
Sailors find that newly installed refrigeration might just be the best thing since sliced bread.
Tony Fastaia of Westbrook, Connecticut, added so much power to Paper Moon, his Ericson 38, that he no longer follows his wife to turn out lights “that she left on thinking that we were still tied to the New England grid.” The new system hardly feels the draw. “You can almost live like a pharaoh, for pete’s sake.”
And Shep Wagoner, who sails Abaris, a Ranger 28 out of Deltaville, Virginia, transformed expense into immodest pride: “The lady in the next boat asked for some ice one day, and as I gave her some, I told her they were $100 cubes.”
Oddly, I had to prod the 30 boat owners to describe the moment when they turned on the fridge. It was as if, having endured warm food, high cost, and grueling installation, frost was enough.
Prompted, however, they became rhapsodic, and none more so than John Sprinzel, a legendary British sports-car figure, who at the time was teaching windsurfing with his wife, Caryl, on the beaches of Turkey, where temperatures can reach 115 F.
“When we finally got it going, the sudden beautiful coldness of the thing—the difference was magic.”
Aboard Sea Cabin, an Endeavor 33, “cheers went up,” recalled Bob McManus. I asked if they raised a toast. “Let me think—it would’ve been three Killian’s beers. That’s what the cool box will hold.”
In fact, on every boat, refrigeration changed lives and made cruising more fun—because of little things.
“A bag of ice will last until you put the cubes in a rum drink,” said Joe French of Destiny, another Seabreeze, based in St. Petersburg, Florida.
John MacEvoy liked the convenience of leaving food from weekend to weekend in a fridge plugged in at his dock in Rock Hall, Maryland. “It’s almost like having a second home.”
Leo Lichtveld added, “It was nice to buy ice cream in George-Town, Bahamas, anchor off uninhabited Conception Island, and eat ice cream in the sun.”
Mark Bancroft, cruising in the Bahamas aboard Wild Oats, a 1971 Morgan 35, “got away from the Spam and canned ham and the beef stew. I started eating vegetables again.”
All refrigeration-enabled cruisers reported better diets and a rediscovery of the joy of cooking aboard. “We now have fresh lettuce,” said Jen Portz of Seattle, her voice rising to a lilt. (See “The Lure of Cold Beer,” February 2008.) No more warm three-bean salad aboard First Light, their Hallberg-Rassy 352, she bragged. “You can have cheese!”