The Palani was built with an icebox (standard for yacht builds of this size in the 1970’s) which was then later converted with a holding plate. To upgrade this to modern standards would require replacing the holding plate system and adding insulation to improve the energy efficiency of the system.
Originally I was going to do this with a Cold Blue system. The core components of this system run $2500 and I would still have to upgrade the insulation. Also with this system, you build a “spill over” layout to get use of a freezer and fridge sections. Spill over is where you set the holding plate on one side set to freezer temperatures. You then place a section of insulation between that and the fridge area with holes to allow the cold are to “spill” into the fridge area. This would mean always keeping the holding plate at freezer temps even if I didn’t need a freezer at that time (inefficient energy-wise when you’re running on batteries).
So as an alternative I decided to buy 2 ARB electric ice chests. The first arrived yesterday. It’s 2 cu ft and runs on both 110v and 12v (so off of shore power when I’m docked and then off the batteries when I’m moving). This one will be the fridge. I’ll purchase a smaller one that I will use as a freezer. This will allow me to disconnect (saving power) when I’m not using the freezer.
I’ve decided to utilize the quarter berth (bed located towards the rear of the boat) for my expanded house battery bank. This will leave the front portion of the quarter berth unused and I’ll place the fridge and freezer there. Right now there is a desk (navigation station) located at the front of the quarter berth. Due to damage to the desktop that would require rebuilding I’m going to remove the navigation station. I’ll then extend the quarter berth with fiberglass giving me the platform I need for the two fridge units and extra storage underneath.
The navigation station is a relic from the days when paper charts were used for navigation. While I have paper charts as back up I’ll use a digital chart plotter for navigation that can be mounted in the wall above the fridge unit. These chart plotters are now wifi capable so most of the time you’ll control them via a tablet or phone.
The old icebox I’ll keep in place and use as bulk storage for food as it’s 4 cubic feet or so.