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  • Anna Welscott

It's not always sunshine and dolphins

Updated: Oct 20, 2020

We find ourselves saying "nothing is ever easy" multiple times a day. If it's trying to cram groceries into small spaces, plugging a laptop into an obscurely placed outlet, moving items around the boat numerous times a day, or working on the millions of boat projects each day, I can say that preparing to go cruising is a lot of work and has a lot of moving parts. Don't get me wrong, I love our new lifestyle and I'm proud of us for what we have done in the past 8 months on our boat....but, some days are harder than others.

Preparing for extended ocean sailing brings more challenges, than if we were to stay close to the coast. One thing in particular that we have been dealing with is our motor. We have determined that we need to replace it, which is not an easy feat! In order for us to feel confident in our extended travel plans we have decided this is what we need to do. Our current motor is the original motor, which is a 1985 Volvo Penta MD30A. We experienced some pretty substantial oil leaks over the past few months, along with a handful of other issues. We had the Volvo experts out to our boat and were told that many parts that we need to replace are obsolete due to the age of the motor and it would be very difficult to rebuild. Also trying to find parts in different parts of the world would be a struggle as well.

After lots and lots of research, we decided to go with a Beta Marine motor which is a marine-ized Kubota tractor engine. We went with the 50 horsepower Beta 50. The motor is not complicated and parts are easy to find around the world. With the repower, we will also be getting a new transmission and two alternators. Because of the new specs, we will also need a new shaft and propeller. Sometimes we get a bit frustrated with everything we need and the cost of this project, but we try and remind ourselves that doing this will get us to the destinations that we have been dreaming about.

As a sailboat, our goal is to use the wind to travel whenever possible, however, even sailboats need to motor at times. We use it to navigate in and out of channels and marinas. We occasionally turn it on to compensate our boat speed if there is little wind, or we can use it if we ever have to get away from a leeshore, which is when the wind is blowing the boat towards land.

So, we are 4 weeks in since we ordered our new Beta 50 motor which is being built and sent from the UK. We have had the original engine picked out by a crane and have been waiting patiently for the new one to arrive!! Meanwhile Doug has worked very hard to prepare the engine room with a massive cleaning, new paint, wire and hose cleanup, and new insulation. It's not often that one has access to an engine room like this, so Doug is taking the opportunity to making it as clean and perfect as possible.

We are looking forward to having the new motor, shaft, and prop installed so we can continue on our journey. Our original plan was to be in Mexico the beginning of November, however, with the delay of our motor replacement, we hope we will be able to get to

Mexico by the end of the year.

1 Comment

Oct 20, 2020

I love the title of your blog posting. It's so true. It's not always Sunshine and Dolphins! Sorry to hear about your engine trouble. It sounds like a major problem! Your pictures were great. Isn't it amazing how they can get everything to fit together so perfectly in a sailing vessel. It puts new meaning into "everything in its place". We know what you mean--after our almost 19 years living in our motorhome. I am so glad you are able to follow your dream.

I hope you are both well. Do they have any restrictions in the Marina for Covid 19? We are in Phase 2 of Recovery here in Sun City. That means social distancing, masks, and reduced numb…

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