Ever had refrigerator angst? It’s a dreadful state of mind that consumes you when your reefer doesn’t deliver the goods. It’s been known to paralyze cruisers for weeks on end, trapping them in exotic ports while they lay in wait for that rare, elusive creature known as a marine refrigeration technician.
I suffered it myself for a short time last summer, after I accidentally discharged the refrigerant from the new fridge unit I had installed. Several months later, after having been repeatedly let down by not one, but two different professionals, and suffering a summer of having to tote heavy coolers on board—the very thing I’d hoped to avoid by installing a fridge—I decided it was time to man up and do it myself.
Reading assorted treatises on marine refrigeration only elevated my angst. Various experts on web forums warned direly of the dangers of getting air into the system, failing to purge the refrigeration gauges, overcharging with refrigerant and blinding oneself with escaping gases.
On the other hand, I knew that topping up the charge in a car’s AC system is such a simple DIY task that the refrigerant and hoses are readily available in auto-supply stores. Surely, if any doofus can top up a car’s AC system, any doofus should be able to top up a marine fridge? It was time to find out.
It helped that I knew why my fridge needed a charge: soon after installing the Isotherm fridge unit I had undone one of the Danfoss BD35 compressor’s quick-fit couplings to make room for the galley sink drain hose, and heard a distinct hiss as the gas made good its escape. Had there been an unidentified leak, the repair would have involved tracing and repairing it, then sucking air and moisture out of the system with a vacuum pump before recharging. More than likely, this would have required the services of one of those elusive professionals.
I learned to sail on the Maine coast as a boy, and one of the things my elders taught me was to respect fishing gear. If you got caught up with a lobster pot, you did everything you could to get clear without cutting the pot warp. It represented a family’s livelihood and thus was ...read more
Furl PowerAre you afraid of flying—spinnakers, that is? Harken’s new Reflex 3 top-down furler will tame A-sails on monohulls from 44-58ft and multis from 39-55ft, and Code 0’s on 39-54ft monos and 36-50ft multis. All you do is heave on the furling line and the sail will roll up ...read more
Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.orgDitch the stress Owners of high-freeboard yachts best boarded via the stern sugar-scoop like to back them into a slip, but the process can be fraught on a windy day or when there’s a current running, ...read more
Five years ago I was invited, as the token sailing virgin, to set sail with my girlfriends and explore the British Virgin Islands. Six women of a certain age ditched their husbands, picked up their ukuleles and had the time of their lives.Fast forward to 2018, and I jumped at the ...read more
True innovation in monohull sailboat design can be a bit elusive these days. That’s not to say that there are no more new ideas, but it does seem that many new tweaks and introductions are a bit incremental: let’s say evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Just when it seems ...read more
For a long time, I really liked my old Tohatsu 3.5 outboard, smelly little two-stroke that it was, for its willing power and easy starting. Then it started to not want to start. Then, once started, it would run fine just long enough to get me a decent distance from the boat, ...read more
Block PartyThe elegance of these new X3M Flight blocks from Ubi Maior conceals the fact that they can handle loads of up to 15 tons. Designed to be used with a variety of textile loops, as fixed or snatch blocks, the X3M blocks have resin frames to carry the loops and anodized ...read more
Q: I am working on refinishing my cabin floorboards. I have brought them home and sanded the old finish off and would appreciate comments on using varnish or polyurethane for the sole.— Danny Love, Grand Rivers, KYDON CASEY REPLIES Polyurethane is the better choice for a cabin ...read more