35-3 Cabin sole and refrigeration


New Member
Hi all
I'm new to the forum as I'm considering a 35-3 as a step up from our 28' Pearson. I really like the boat but I've identified a couple of issues that would need to be dealt with sooner or later.
The first is that the cabin sole is in need of replacement, especially the hatches over the keel and at the base of the companionway. I could live with it for a while, but can anyone comment on the time and effort to do this job? I've read some of the forum posts on this subject. I do like to do boat work myself, but I'm apprehensive about committing myself to this job by purchasing this boat. I wonder how much it would cost to have someone do it for me (probably not realistic!).

The second question is about refrigeration. On each of the 35-3 listings that I have found, there is no refrigeration. Is this just a random sampling or is there something difficult about adding refrigeration to this model? For those who have it, do they just refrigerate the aft cooler, or do both of them - and if both are they using the same unit?

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Blogs Author
If you have any sort of a work area at home, a new cabin sole is a worthy and instructive winter project. Most old boats need new ones. Yeah, a carpenter would have to charge a lot because it takes time. Many of us have done it, and all Ericson questions get answered fast.

It's pretty easy to add refrigeration to an icebox, especially with modern units available. 35-3 owners will know just how easy (or hard) for that model.

Good luck with the search and welcome aboard.


Member III
Hey Ssasailor,

Welcome aboard! If there is a listing for the 35-3 you're looking at please post it here. Many of us love to pitch in our two cents for what it's worth.

Delaminating and squeaky soles are a known issue on these mid-eighties boats. Restoring or replacing is well documented on this site and is on my to do list for sometime in the future. Fortunately squeaky soles are not structural and won't hold you back from sailing. I wouldn't let it stop you from moving forward with these vessels that sail so wonderfully.

I did refrigerate the aft cooler compartment. This is approximately 6 cubic feet in size. You'll want this information when shopping for your compressor and evaporator plate. Best not to skimp thinking you can get away with a borderline size to avoid frequent cycling of the unit. You'll also need a regulator switch for either freezer or refrigeration temperatures.

This is a potential diy project with some electrical wiring for a compressor unit made to auto detect ac or dc power supplies. The compressor got installed on the upper shelf in the (starboard) cockpit lazarette. This allowed for a reasonably straight shot for the copper evaporator lines into the back of the icebox. Mine is a Vitrifrigo unit from SMS in Seattle, pre-charged with coolant in the lines which made the job even easier. I'll attach the selection chart for Vitrifrego if you want to brush up on your Italian. (Don't worry, the translation to english is in the fine print.) Norcold offers similar units for competitive pricing if you shop around some.

If I recall the whole project took two or maybe three weekends to complete, one or two for the wiring, two or three for adding extra insulation and installing the compressor and evaporator plates. The lazarette is vented well enough not to have to resort to units that rely on seawater for cooling. Defrosting is really easy once you figure out the manifold under the sink. With the right combinations on the valves the fridge bilge is pumped into the sink using the saltwater foot pump.

If this seems a bit too much, just grab some frozen 1 gallon jugs and a bag of ice to drop into the box and head off to the islands for the weekend. Refrigeration is energy use heavy, so some folks will turn it on when at the dock or underway with the alternator supplying power until they get to their destination, and then flip the circuit breaker off to fall back on the pre-frozen bits while on the hook. If your battery bank is small you have to be careful not to deplete your house and starter batteries before you're ready to move on to the next anchorage.

The forward icebox can also be drained using the salt water foot pump if you have the right number of valves in the manifold under the sink. I use mine for dry storage.




Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Christian covered the sole question, and I would only add that you should be thankful that the boat does not come with a 15 or 20 year old refrigeration system that the owner describes as "sometimes it works, but not always..." :)
12 volt refrigeration was often a factory option in the 80's, and our '88 did not come with it. This allowed me to install a nice system in our ice box, back around 2004. More recently I replaced that system with a new Isotherm, and it's more efficient yet. (Previous compressor died at about ten years, and we always. enjoyed it so much that we figured we had amortized out the investment)

If you have pondered the sole thread here, you are nearing enlightenment already. :D
(95 replies in that one, so pour yourself a cup of coffee before starting.)


New Member
Hi all:

Here is a link to the listing

I took a long look already but I find its hard to know what kind of issues I am looking at until I go back and do my research (unless I have investigated the same model before).

I definitely try to do my research - this isn't my first boat! Our Pearson has been great and always "provided" me with opportunities to do projects.
Our current boat needs some cabin sole repair and doesn't have refrigeration, so in that sense we are prepared to move to this boat. But refrigeration, autopilot, windlass, and other items are on our "want-list", so the project list for the 35-3 will be plenty long.

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Blogs Author
Looks to me like a well maintained boat at a good asking price. And the 35 is lovely and sails well.

Installation of a windlass on Ericsons is a bit of a project but is a popular modification. There are many threads here giving scope of work.