Hail to All Things Cool
Sailors find that newly installed refrigeration might just be the best thing since sliced bread.
Tony Fastaia’s favorite cold treat was cherry 7-UP over ice. John MacEvoy mentioned his patented “Frescarita,” a low-calorie margarita made of Fresca, tequila, and a dollop of triple sec over crushed ice. Caryl Sprinzel remembered a particular thick, creamy, vanilla-tinged Greek yogurt that came cold from the fridge with honey and nuts.
Aboard Nomad, Brian and Megan Thom kept sourdough starter going in their NovaCool for five months. “We could bake bread twice a week,” said an appreciative Brian.
Jon and Nancy Doornink, living on Seadream, a Morgan 37 in Baja California, were among several who cited the “one fish” advantage. “Before decent refrigeration, we had to stop fishing at one fish. Now we can catch a couple and freeze one for a later date.”
And as politically incorrect as it may be, refrigerators clearly made cruising palatable for many spouses. Mark Bancroft’s girlfriend, Alex, for example, wouldn’t have gone with him to the Bahamas without it. The joy of cool led to their marriage.
“My wife is one fantastic cook,” wrote Bryn Fick, of Ada, Michigan, who, with his wife, Suzanne, sails aboard Wind Drift II, their 1982 S2 9.2A. Using recipes from her 30-year-old Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, Sue made trips to the grocery store whenever they stopped, cooked a week’s meals in an electric frying pan, then froze them in bags in their Adler Barbour Cold Machine.
“No way were we going to eat out of cans,” said Sue. “We don’t do that at home, and we didn’t intend to do it on the boat.”
Bryn’s favorite meal was Hungarian goulash, made from his mother’s recipe of beef chunks, red wine, bouillion, tomato sauce, and lots of onion.
“I tell you,” he said, “when you’re sitting at anchor and have a meal like that, you can’t beat it.”
We didn’t hear from disgruntled owners, which surely skewed our results. But based on this 30-boat sampling, the trouble and cost was worth the wait, not to mention the bragging rights.
“Refrigerators today are small and easy to install. There is zero maintenance. They just run,” said MacEvoy. “So the real question is, why not?”
That’s what I thought one hot Mediterranean afternoon when I finally turned on my well-traveled system and felt frost forming on the holding plate. I gently rested a beer against it, put away my tools, took a long shower, changed my T-shirt, and slowly and ceremoniously drank in the strange sensation of civilization.
“I expect it now,” said Paul McDermott of Orient, New York, speaking for all of us former cavemen. Inside Everything Works, another Seabreeze, Paul tore out the original starboard icebox and installed an easy chair for reading in its place and an Adler Barbour unit next to the stove on the port side. It’s been running free of trouble for 5,600 hours.
“Unfortunately, I have to get up to get a beer,” he said. “Nothing’s perfect on a 35-foot boat.”
Newly cool Jim Carrier is heading back to continue cruising in the Med for the spring.