There are some very big pluses to not having refrigeration aboard. Plus #1 is the amount of power we save, or rather have available for other things like computers, iPads and other electronic stuff.
We know of lots of veteran sailors who have sworn off fridges. Our friends Betty and Luis on Ave del Mar, are fridge-less. Beth Leonard and Evans Starzinger chose to give up refrigeration and felt all the better for it. It takes some planning and some adjustment, but it's really not all that bad.
It's not like we ever used our freezer as a freezer. Ice cubes and ice cream never existed aboard Nine of Cups. In the higher, colder latitudes, who needs ice? In the tropics, we chose to use the freezer as a cold box only, preferring to save the power for other uses. We don't have a generator aboard and starting the engine to keep the fridge cold seemed a waste, not to mention the noise factor.
David tried valiantly to get the fridge going before we left Trinidad. He soldered and brazed, evacuated the system, added dryers and filters, monitored pressures, blew out the system, added refrigerant, evacuated it again, added more refrigerant. You name it, he tried it. In the end, he figures he knows the problem .. .a blocked capillary. There just wasn't enough time to sort it out without delaying our departure. We agreed it wasn't worth the delay.
So … how have we fared? Actually, just fine. Some freshies, like carrots, cabbage, potatoes and even eggs never get refrigerated on Nine of Cups anyway. We miss yogurt for breakfast, but we've adjusted. We've determined an open carton of UHT milk lasts about 3 days unrefrigerated before souring … just long enough for us to use most of it up. We could use non-dairy creamer in a pinch, but hey, we need some luxuries. Margarine melts and cheese separates, but both are still usable, though perhaps a bit less appetizing.
We still have 30+ jars of canned chicken from our Atlantic passage plus canned tuna. The larder is full of canned veggies and fruit. We've not been ambitious enough to fish, but we could if we needed to.
Now that we're in port, refrigeration becomes even less important. Ice is easily accessible and lasts for a couple of days in the cooler. Groceries and freshies are easy to come by and cold beer is right across the street at J. P. Henleys.
So, will we eventually fix the fridge? I imagine “we” will if only to prove to the captain that he can fix it. But it's good to know we can choose to live without it, though I must admit, the biggest hardship … no cold beer once we leave port!