One of the many modifications we have made to Tradewind, hull number 626, is to reduce the interior volume of the icebox using removable pieces of foam. On previous boats we were accustomed to using an ice chest and rowing ashore every couple of days to get ice, so having refrigeration was a true luxury. But the cavernous volume of the icebox required more engine hours, and beyond milk for cereal, a couple of cold beers, produce, and a few other items needing to stay cold, the rest was wasted space. So I set about making it into an ice-chest sized volume.


From the dumpsters around the harbor, I collected several discarded Boogie Boards for their foam. It can be measured and marked with a Sharpie pen, and accurately cut with several passes from a filet knife. Just cutting a rectangle to sit on the “ledge” about twelve inches down reduces the volume by about a third, and means no more blindly groping for items in the well at the bottom. Then I cut a vertical piece which fits snugly under the gasketed plastic insert in the middle to reduce the volume by another fifty percent, and the result is about the size of an ice-chest. After returning from a cruise I remove all pieces and swab out accumulated moisture from the well at the bottom, as I have plugged the drain, (I keep a dry bilge.) So now our solar panel mounted on the bimini, along with minimal motoring, keeps up with the electrical demands of our refrigeration system.


– Dave White, Tradewind, #626