Categories: Technical

by chris


There’s not a huge amount of space to fit modern conveniences on a Freeman 22 MKII and a fridge is a bit of a challenge. White Lady at some point was fitted with a combination gas/electric fridge mounted under the helm seat. It wasn’t a pretty installation and I removed the fridge as it wasn’t working and wouldn’t have complied with current safety regulations either. For a season I’ve been using a relatively inexpensive thermo-electric coolbox from Halfords and placing it in the ugly void under the seat. It’s be just about workable but pulls around 6 amps, is noisy and invites condensation making the contents wet.

The obvious replacement is with a compressor driven fridge, drawing more in the region of 2 amps with a greater capacity. Drawing 2 amps would allow the fridge to run continuously from my 110Ah domestic AGM battery (Taking into account a maximum discharge of 50% before damaging it).

The next problem was finding a ‘modern’ fridge which would bot be small enough to fit the available space but still have enough capacity to be worthwhile. There seems to be a relatively standard size for boat fridges but the problem here is that they are deeper than wide. The result is a fridge sticking out into the cockpit area above the port side plinth and seat. You can get a small fridge with the compressor mounted separately. The compressor could mount in the plinth locker but ultimately, the fridge in this configuration is still very small (and to my mind not really worth the bother).

My solution will be to mount a larger fridge but have the access from the rear of the seat box, opening just above the rear bench seat. Although not as intuitive, mounting this way will allow me to fit a 42l fridge with freezer (I’m fitting an Isotherm Cruise 42 Elegance model).

Unfortunately I will have to re-build the under-seat fridge box to accommodate the new unit but it’s also a great opportunity to do a decent job. The first part of this has been to replace the plinth floor material which appears to be blockboard with some woven substrate laminated with what looks like cracking car body filler. I have been informed that this may be asbestos based linoleum ! You can imagine I’m more than happy to get rid of this terrible combination of materials and am replacing it with some 18mm mahogany faced marine ply recovered from another  70’s boat I have.

Currently I’m awaiting a delivery of sapele to make up a new seat box but now have a good foundation to build on.