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Thursday, December 10, 1998

December 11, 1998-Refer Madness

We've been hearing from friends who have been having problems with refers on their boats. Nice expensive units which fail and have to be fixed and replaced. It reminds us that we have a good refer story to tell:

We get our cold beer from a funny old refer which we bought from a guy on "F" dock in Seattle in 1987 for $25 at a swap meet. We would have paid his asking price of $40, but when trying to demonstrate it for us he hooked up the wires backwards and smoke billowed out through the wire screen case. We offered him a reduced amount and bought it anyhow. For 11 years it ran virtually 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It took a fair amount of power, but not an outrageous amount unless you consider that stuff was cool, not really cold. And it shakes the whole boat. It makes the stove shake. It shakes wine glasses in the rack. Any number of people have asked us, "What is on?", thinking we have some sort of new gen-set or something. No, it's just our old $25 refer. Since it never stopped we thought the thermostat was broke and that the capacity of the unit was diminished and that was why stuff never froze even though it ran all the time. We always planned on getting a new one as soon as this one quit. But it never did. In Mazatlan one day Judy got tired of the scruffy lining of the box and ripped it out (without warning or previous discussion, I might add), forcing me to redo it immediately (no bars at Marina Mazatlan you know, and one must keep his own beers cool if he wants one from time to time).

It was down for about 36 hours, which was its first and only Mexican vacation. Suddenly, upon restarting, the thermostat started working. Not much colder, but using less power, and maybe the cervesa was just a little colder. Cold enough anyhow. So we kept it on board. On the crossing it really sort of failed altogether. Ran continuously and stuff was barely below 50 degrees. It turns out that it was just seasick. A day or two after arriving in Marquesas stuff got cold again. This continued all the way across the Pacific.Our refer never really found its sea legs, but always recovered in port. Now we hit New Zealand. Damn, it turned into a freezer. It freezes meat! Beer has ice sometimes. We actually turned it down (Up?). So anyhow, we know a new unit would be better, maybe make ice cubes, take less power, but we sort of like this old friend, and we think he's earned his spot on WINGS. Besides, I am having trouble finding a new one for $25.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Opua



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