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Meet my new engine! A Beta Marine 20hp 3-cylinder.

I've been wrestling with the decision to repower for over a year now, and looking at several replacement options including the newer Yanmars, Volvo, and Beta Marine. No one reason forced me into this decision, my old engine still starts and runs. But after examining the situation I felt the case for a repower was strong enough:

  • The old engine is 35 years old and raw-water cooled. It has parts with structural rust, a broken engine mount, cracked exhaust manifold, temperamental throttle/transmission linkage, poorly performing alternator, and a number of other mild-to-moderate issues.
  • Major parts are no longer made for it - I bought a spare engine and have already been cannibalizing it for things like a new raw water pump.
  • It has occasionally overheated during normal operation even with good impeller flow, leading me to believe it has hot spots or blockages in the internal cooling channels.
  • The zincs have not been changed in likely several decades and are frozen - removing them would probably take a pneumatic impact wrench.
  • The new engine is way lighter, 100 lbs or so.
  • I am wary of pushing the engine hard or for long periods of time for this reason - I don't consider it a reasonably reliable backup.
  • The cost of maintenance over the next 5 years (with possibly a rebuild) at this point is a significant portion of the replacement cost with a nonzero probability of unsatisfying results anyway.

So I'm biting the bullet and repowering. I've chosen the Beta for its small size, design for easy maintenance, and overall positive reputation among sailors I've found in my research. H&M Marine out of Sausalito will be doing the repower. I'm opting for a 20hp as by my calculations (and experience) my current 15hp is on the low end of what my boat could use in terms of power. My 2-blade feathering Max prop will be adjusted in pitch to accommodate the increase in horsepower.

With this change it occurs to me that I've replaced or upgraded almost every major system aboard the boat! But I also know that Ananda is going to fulfill her mission and be everything I want her to be for me for for the next 10 years.