This picture (above) was taken with taken with my iPhone at close range and as I could not get far enough back so you will have to excuse the parallax error, but it shows the fairly well, I think the progress to date on the new fridge installation. The old fridge was noisy, the seals were worn so it ran all the time, it used a ton of electricity, iced up with gay abandon and the small freezer compartment door did not properly close. With that said I am pretty impressed that it managed to soldier on for 26 years, but it had to go and is being replaced with another, which like the first is from Norcold. The fridge is a dual voltage 12/120 model which looks pretty slick, but installation has required some modifications to the cabinet work around the unit as the overall size is a little smaller. The old fridge had what can best be described as flange around the unit and this screwed into the wooden framework. This had two functions, it sealed the gap between the fridge and the cabinetry preventing dirt and debris from entering and secondly held the fridge in place preventing it from moving when the boat moved about at sea. The new fridge lacks the flange which I miss and I hope that at some time in the future Norcold sees the wisdom in reintroducing this feature to at least some of the models in their range. The 0788 model that I am installing is fixed in position with screws through the feet which are visible when the door is opened. This works well on my boat but I could see may be a problem where the fridge is located higher from the sole where a solid attachment point may not be available. Because the fridge is less tall than the original I also have room for cutlery drawer and you can see the drawer front temporarily taped into position for photography purposes.
After talking with the technical folks at Norcold I found out that I had been operating my fridge incorrectly in the past. I had always assumed that with a dual voltage fridge one had to turn off the DC breaker before turning on the AC breaker to power the fridge but it seems that I should have been keeping both the 12 volt and 120 fridge breakers on when I was aboard. Apparently there is an automatic relay in the back of the fridge which by default runs off AC voltage, if this is interrupted or unavailable then the appliance automatically switches to 12 volts DC until 120 volts AC is restored. They have been wired that way for years, it seems, but I never knew, and now you do too.
I've never liked the way that many radar and chart plotter displays just tend to get bolted down to any free bit of space with the cables sprouting out of the back. I think this messy and I wanted to do something better. Seaglass has surprisingly never had a multi function display installed at either helm and this is something that is being addressed during this winter and spring fit out season. The truth is that I have a bunch of equipment on long-term loan from the good folks at Simrad for a series of features that I have been working on about installing an NMEA 2000 network. At the heart of the system is a beautiful 16 inch NSS evo2 MFD. I've played about for ages trying to work out the best location for this with initial thoughts that it might go above the windscreen. This looked like a good bet and would have worked well with the general refit of the headliner and lighting upgrades but a mock-up showed that it was just too far forward of the helm seat to make controlling it as easy as it could be. So further head scratching and another mock up brought me to the point I am at now with what I can best describe as a teak nacelle which sits on the self and to port of the main steering compass. The MFD can now be controlled with relative ease from the comfort of the helm seat and the large screen is easy to read from most anywhere in the salon making watching movies when swinging on a hook a distinct possibility. I am going to miss the flat surface on which I placed pilot books and charts when underway and so I have to find alternative placements for these, but I think the trade-off worth it.
In the picture above the MFD has been temporarily dropped into place just to see how it will look when finished properly; there's to be a matt black surround between the teak 'eyebrow' and edge of the MFD but this will not be installed until after the nacelle has been varnished to match the rest of the boat interior. Also, you will notice that the teak is still somewhat of a rather odd color. The nacelle is made of 9 mm marine ply onto which I have glued teak veneer with the adjoining corners and eyebrow from solid teak. Teak when freshly cut has a definite green tinge but this soon fades and the color reverts to that familiar honey tone within a few days and the nacelle is still in that phase but by the time the varnishing starts the color will be somewhat different to what you see here. I should add that the color continues to mellow even through the varnish and so with time will blend in well with the 25-year-old teak interior.