sv Elysium

Cruising thrugh Life

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Trials, tribulations and adventures of refurbishing and sailing our Westsail 42.

Almost before we purchased the boat I was reading everything on refrigeration systems I could find: what follows is my personal recommendations of the various boosk on yacht refrigeration systesm: I found the book: Do-it- Yourself Boat Refrigeration by R.L. Kollmann was my least useful. It was a repeat of much of the others and outdated (I may be well advised to look at it again but till then it will stay last on my list).

The most usefuI resource was Nigel Calder's book Refrigeration for Pleasure Craft: Mine is all marked up and it too is getting dated but I found the formualas and information to be invaluable in our planning process. Then with much the same material, his other book BoatownersMechanical and Electrical Manual was more current but still held some value.

Websites also provided a wealth of information. Searching the web I found many ancedotal references to issues Glacier Bay has in it's customer service and in some references there were problems with the quality of their refrigeration products I found their box load caculator was awesome in figuring out heat loads. Without this I would have needed to create an Excel worksheet to do the work.

Also the RPARTS site provids a users forum where I could ask questions and receive answeres from a pro. After reading everything I could and discussing our needs with a variety of vendors we decided on a dual cold plate system in two boxes with a 12 v compressor on one side and engine driven on the other. This allowed (in our minds) the best of both worlds; when we had enough power the 12v would run and when we were low on power or when we needed to run the engine for anything we could use the compressor on the small Kubuta generator. We elected to put the compressor on a generator from Aquamarine (this system is a watermaker, high output alternator, and refrigeration compressor on one frame). So far this has worked well but with a small 6 hp diesel we can't run all three systems so we have to manage a little; but we don't yet see that as a big deal.

Anyway, with the box sizes and the company choosen, we delt with a local distributor and bought our products through them. I had read that dealing with a local distributor was an advantage because as you find any problems or issues you can deal locally with it and someone in the same area is more likely to be responsive as their business is effected more by a bad reputation than a national seller. Although this purchase strategy worked out reasonably well for us, the local company ended up out of business (mostly after I installed the systems) and I would have been better off dealing directly with SeaFrost. We choose (with SeaFrosts input) two cold plates for the freezer and one for the Refrigerator.

I had already decided to put the compressor next to the boxes and when the valves came in and after reading the instructions from SeaFrost (you can download them from their website ahead of time) I had decided I needed to move the valves out of the box to make maintenance and the installation of them possible. Once I choose to move them out of hte boat we had to insulate where they would end up. This too would leave us more room in the boxes for the holding plates and the tubing.

Trying then to digest what I read I had concluded that I didn't want a belt driven 12 v system. Energy on a boat is valuable enough that I didn't need any loss of effeciency from a belt and I felt even the small amount of energy lost in the belt was something I never wanted to deal with. There had at one time been two direct drive units on the market but the only other large unit left when we bought was a Seafrost DC5000. This was big enough to pull the plates down and remove all the heat of the boxes and we never found one negative comment (on the web) or from any builders about Sea Frost. To date they have been an excellent company to deal with and Cleave has always been able to help answer questions or direct me on what to do.

Not only does one need to get all the installation particulars right but getting the finished product to looke the way you wanted was also tough. We had an opening in the forward bulkhead that I hadn't bought new ribbon srtiped plywood for, and we had decieded (mostly by default) that we wree having a top opening box and the qst was what to put on the openings. RParts saved us in the lids, we simply needed to purchase a completed lid (complete with VP's) and then top it off how we wanted. And we wanted Granite! Our boat was heavy and what's a few extra pounds in the boat. So we measured up the sizes and went to a shop that created and polished stone for counter tops. Whew! Good thing we didn't hire someone and tell them what we wanted. After lifting a couple for practice we both agreed that a Granite opening for the box tops wouldn't be good enough. What we were really looking for was extra counter top, cut, bead, mix, be mean to it and all would be well. Thankfully, after lifting and deciding that no, that wouldn't be practical we choose hard maple. Not wanting to be one to make something that I could buy easily I searched the internet for large maple bead boards, bought two and modified them so they would work.

If you gotten this far there are three other pages to puruse: Layout, Instalation, and Finished (not).

I've created a pictoral history of the various stages of the works: General Installlation, Insulation, Layout, and Liners.

All images and content copyright of David A. Kall