All my research for a new engine pointed towards ease of maintenance and the install. Neither Yanmar or Westerneke met this criteria well. Other than that, they're all pretty simple small diesel engines, how the owner takes care of them will mean more than a name brand.
Questions like these are better asked to mechanics. in my opinion, otherwise you're just going to get opinions...and we all know what they're like! LOL
No, questions like these are best asked towrads experienced cruisers who have countless hours opperating the engines and dealing with what may be common issues. You'll see a thru line. For instance, the cooling system on the vovlos, I have much experience working on these, and can tell some one what to look out for as they have nuances to their design that requires special care when taking a tool to the lines. A mechanic works in a shop and rarely has any actual sea time. I don't want to hear about how they can work on engines, I already know that, they are mechanics. Obviously prevenative maintenance is crucial to the longevity of the engine. I know Yanmar is a reliable little engine, I've done many delivery's with a lot of different models, I even owned the one cyl. years ago and worked on it a lot. I wanted to hear from Westy owners and their testimonials, and yes I know a lot about oppinoins and what they are like, there are some on this forum that I value, like Maine sails. You asked why. Why is because I've been so sure I was going to buy the 3 cyl. 18 hp Yanmar for years, that I did'nt even consider looking at another. Now, I have a good reason to look at the westerbeke, but before I begin the proccess, I wanted to use this forum for what I belive it is here for, to hear from sailors, what they think of their Westerbeke's. I am thankful I did ask, I went from knowing nothing, to understanding quite a bit.
It's looking like Westerbeke is winning, considering the area I am opperating in, it's lack of services, having the mechanic that installed it, the dealer, and the warranty close at hand will be worth it's weight. Thanks everyone for your imput.